Liturgical Colour : White
Brothers and sisters in Christ, we are all the faithful followers and disciples of Christ, who have been called by Him to be His servants and His messengers through many nations, and to proclaim His truths to them. But we have to also be ready of the challenges and obstacles that will be on our path to the Lord. St. Paul and the other Apostles all endured sufferings and persecutions throughout their respective ministries, and all except St. John the Evangelist, the disciple whom the Lord loved, met their end in martyrdom.
Of course this did not diminish the role of St. John the Evangelist in any way. Rather, it highlighted the role he played to be the one through whom God revealed His plans for the future, and the end of times, as written in the Book of Revelations or the Book of Apocalypse, the last book in our Scriptures. This book was written by St. John the Evangelist based on what he witnessed in the visions he received while he was exiled on the island of Patmos in Greece.
Indeed, what Jesus said in the Gospel today was not wrong, for indeed, St. John the Evangelist would live to witness the coming of Christ, the Second Coming, which we also await today. But this Second Coming of Christ which John witnessed was not the actual coming of Christ, but the vision that he received, and thus he was the first to witness the perfect fulfillment of Jesus’ Messianic mission, and the complete fulfillment of the prophecies of the prophets of old.
Yet, brethren, again if we look at the Book of Revelations and its contents, there is indeed a bleak and dark future that awaits us. It again brings us to the reality, on how Satan, our former master and dominator, and the enemy of all the faithful desires to carry out his final plan to bring about the downfall of mankind, to drag them together with him into the fate awaiting him and his fellow fallen angels, and to taste power and dominion again, even if for a while.
The world is darkening, and we all know it. Mankind grow ever more engrossed in sin and wickedness, which brought about even greater darkness. The forces of this world has already started moving against us, and we will face even greater challenges from now on. We know that the position of our Church in defending its truth and positions on the central tenets of the faith and life is getting more and more difficult, with opposition and attacks that are piled up against us. This is the work of the devil to destroy us, but we must persevere.
What is important, brothers and sisters in Christ, is that we must pray. We have to pray constantly and fervently, with heart, mind and soul focused on the Lord. In doing that, we keep ourselves strongly anchored in the Lord, and we will not be easily swayed by the forces and attacks of the devil designed to make us falter on the way towards salvation. We need to have a good and healthy prayer life, that we keep constant communication with the Lord our God.
Why so? That is because through prayer we allow ourselves to listen to God and find out what is His will and plan for us. Prayer is a two-way communication between us and God, and we should always keep it that way. For prayers that are made to be like litany of requests are meaningless and in fact harmful for us, as it feeds our pride and negative emotions, through which the devil may attack us. The Lord loves us and He knows what we need, and hence, there is absolutely no need for us to demand from Him anything. Rather, let us instead spend precious and meaningful time with Him.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us from today onwards change our way of life, that we become more profoundly and strongly anchored to God, so that in all of our dealings, in our words, deeds and actions, we may truly reflect on our true nature, that is as the children of God. Let us increase our charity and life-giving actions, helping one another to reach the Lord our God.
May God continue to watch our steps, strengthen us in our faith, and affirm us in His everlasting love. God bless us all. Amen.