Thursday, 4 December 2014 : First Week of Advent, Memorial of St. John Damascene, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet or White (Priests)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we heard the readings of the Holy Scriptures, it is very clear that is a very strong message which those passages can show us and lead us in how we live out our faith. Today’s readings are about our foundations of faith and the foundations of our lives. It is our choice to have either a strong foundation and security, or to have a weak and shaky foundation and thus risking our own faith and our lives.

And it was also mentioned that, our foundation truly should be in the Lord, who is the Rock of salvation and the Rock of all. He is the strong and unbending Rock who will not be moved by anything, and He is the perfect foundation for us all. No one who put their complete trust and faith in God will be disappointed, for their Lord will secure them and care for them such that, none of them will be lost, no matter how strong the storms of this life can be.

Yes, this world of ours, and all of our lives in this world, no matter how different they are, are filled with many storms. These storms represent the difficulties and challenges which we will encounter on our path, and some of them are serious while some others are less serious but yet still a challenge for us all. In order for us to get to our ultimate destination, we have to go through these storms and endure them to reach safety in God.

What are some of these challenges and difficulties in life, brothers and sisters in Christ? They are the temptations of this world, the many temptations and offerings, which although not all of them may be necessarily bad and evil, but many of these can steer us away from our devotion to God and mislead us into following the evil one and our own human desire and selfishness.

It is in our nature to be selfish and thinking about our own good and benefits, as well as seeking for the pleasures of life. This is our human nature, brethren, and it is easy for us to be trapped in it, if we are not careful. If we allow them to take over us and conquer us, it is indeed then just the same as what the Lord mentioned as the house which was built on the foundation of sand, as when the storm comes, it will wreck the house as its foundation is weak.

This is what will happen, if we place our trust in ourselves, in our own power, in our own possessions and in the things and ways of this world. We are mere humans, brethren, and we are truly fragile. When things that are unexpected come our way, it is very often that we succumb and fall prey to the situation, and this is also the cause of much of the sorrows in this world.

Let me ask you, brothers and sisters in Christ, how many times is it in our world, that mankind had committed violence and acts of hatred, out of their fear and worry about themselves, out of their insecurities and problems? Many of this world’s tyrants and dictators were so worried of losing their power and control, and all that they had attained, their wealth and possessions, that they did all they could to preserve those, and the result is hardships, oppressions and wars.

How many of us lose our friendships or loved ones because of our fear, our worries, and especially our jealousy? It is very often for many of us to covet others’s things and privileges, because we fear and we think that in these things lie our strength and our hope. Then we are sorely mistaken, brethren. For all the things of this world are temporary in nature. Imagine, if someone is to store all his riches and treasures, all the rich cloths and goods in a storehouse and it suddenly burst into fire one day. And imagine if someone stores all of his or her wealth and possessions in a bank, or trusted them to the stock market, and one day the bank goes bankrupt or the stock market crashes.

All these show that while we mankind think that we are mighty and powerful, and if we think that we can put our trust in ourselves only, then we have to rethink it through. Trusting in mankind’s power is risky and fragile, just like a house built on sand. The wealth and possessions, fame and power that we built up in this world is not going to be carried over to the world that is to come.

Remember that Jesus said, build up our wealth in God and not in this world? This means that rather than worrying and fearing about what we need and what we have in this world, we should rather trust everything to God, knowing that He will care for us and provide for us everything that we need. Use our energy and strength instead on giving others the love, care and help which they deserved! And let me share with you the life of a saint whose feast day we celebrate today, and whose actions may inspire us to live deeper in trust to our God.

Today we celebrate the feast of St. John of Damascus, or St. John Damascene, a philosopher and teacher of the Faith, who lived in a difficult time, as during his lifetime, the place where he stayed had been overrun and under the reign of the unbelievers. Yet, regardless of all these and all the difficulties he faced, he continued to serve the Lord in various ways and became a great source of inspiration for many in the matter of the Faith.

Through his writings he revealed the great wonders of the Lord to the people, and they became rich sources of the Tradition of our Faith. And when there were heretics among the faithful who sought the destruction of holy images and icons, in contravention to the true beliefs of the Faith, St. John of Damascus was not fearful to oppose such heresy, even if that means opposing the rulers of the world, the Roman Emperor of the East, who happened to support the heretics’ faith.

The actions and perseverance of St. John Damascene is an inspiration for all of us in how we ought to live our faith. More often than not, our lives in this world will be difficult and filled with many challenges, but if we put our complete trust in the Lord rather than in our own power and judgment, then we are bound to receive the great graces and favours of our Lord, who will guard us and protect us.

Yes, therefore, following the examples of St. John Damascene, the way of a Christian is to be true brothers and sisters to one another, showing mercy and love to those who need them, to be forgiving and loving in all things, and to be completely and fully devoted to our Lord. If we put our trust in the Lord, we shall never be disappointed, for the Lord is the Rock of our salvation, and if troubles come our way, and we anchor ourselves strongly in Him, nothing can harm us, for He will guard and protect us. God, be with us all and bless us all the days of our lives. Amen.

 

First Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/03/thursday-4-december-2014-first-week-of-advent-memorial-of-st-john-damascene-priest-and-doctor-of-the-church-first-reading/

 

Psalm :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/03/thursday-4-december-2014-first-week-of-advent-memorial-of-st-john-damascene-priest-and-doctor-of-the-church-psalm/

 

Gospel Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/03/thursday-4-december-2014-first-week-of-advent-memorial-of-st-john-damascene-priest-and-doctor-of-the-church-gospel-reading/

Tuesday, 18 November 2014 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. Peter and the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Dedication of the Basilicas)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate together with the whole universal Church, the feast of the dedication of two of the four greatest churches in the whole world. These four churches are the primary church buildings of the entire Christendom, and they are the Papal Basilicas, each of which was dedicated to important patron saints of the Church.

The first, head and mother of all the churches of Rome and the whole world is dedicated to our Lord Himself, the Most Holy Saviour of all, and also to St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist, the Lateran Archbasilica, which feast we had just celebrated a few days ago. It is the Cathedral of the Pope, and the centre and heart of the whole Christendom.

And then after that, in importance and primacy, we have the greatest church in Christendom, the Papal Basilica of St. Peter, which is probably the most well known church in the whole world, as not only that it is the most elaborate but also because the Pope celebrates the majority of his celebrations in that great basilica. St. Peter himself was martyred at the site of the great basilica, the former Vatican hills, and his bones can be found there in its necropolis.

And then we also have the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, or also known as the Papal Basilica of St. Mary Major, dedicated to the Mother of our Lord and the Protector of the city and people of Rome. And lastly, we have the Papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, or San Paulo fuori le mura, named as such because it was located outside the historical walls of the city of Rome, dedicated to St. Paul the Apostle, who was beheaded in Rome in holy martyrdom.

Today we celebrate the day of the consecration and dedication of two of these four great basilicas, dedicated to none other than St. Peter the Apostle, the Prince of the Apostles, Vicar of Christ and the leader of the Universal Church, and St. Paul the Apostle, the Apostle to the Gentiles and the writer of the many holy Epistles. Both of these greatest two pillars of the Church died in martyrdom in the Holy city of Rome, made holy because of their blood shed in that city, and the two basilicas were built over their respective tombs.

Most importantly, on this day, by looking at the life and examples set by these two saints, St. Peter and St. Paul, all of us are also called to share in their experiences and to emulate them in their actions. They too were once sinners and weak human beings, but through the Lord and their own faith, they changed themselves to be truly faithful and devoted servants of God.

God did not call the perfect and those who are already awesomely good in life to be His disciples, as they are likely to be already saved and secure in their lives in the world to come. Instead, He empowers those who are weak and fragile, and also calls those who are sinners and unworthy, who by His grace and power, are transformed to be holy tools and servants of His will.

Indeed, is it not better that those who were sinners and unworthy, by the works and graces of God be made to be worthy and just? And that was exactly God had done, wit two of His principal Apostles, the two greatest pillars of the Faith and the Church. St. Peter was a simple, poor fisherman, whose faith was often weak and he often trembled in doubt, while St. Paul was an overzealous and extreme Pharisee, who was hell bent on destroying the Church and the faithful.

St. Peter was called by Jesus from the shores of the lake of Galilee, together with his brother, St. Andrew, who was the first to be called among the Twelve Apostles. St. Peter was a humble and simple fisherman who made his living by catching fishes from the lake. Jesus called him to be a fisher of men instead, and he left behind his net and boat, and followed Him.

Yet during his period of service to God, St. Peter often encountered many difficult moments. Today we heard in the Gospel, of the moment when he and the other Apostles were in the middle of the lake going through a great storm, and the Lord came to them walking on the water. St. Peter was the one who offered to test the Lord to find out if it was truly Him on the water, and when the Lord asked him to come towards Him, he went forth.

But for his lack of a solid faith without doubt, seeing the power of the storm and the waves, he began to falter and sink. Thus, the Lord rebuked him for his doubts after He helped him. And we know of how Peter denied Jesus three times during His Passion. It was also because of the same doubt and uncertainty, which led to fear of the retribution of the world and its powers, which led to Peter to do such things.

But the quality of Peter comes in that, he was courageous and brave, ready to take the initiative, as we know that out of all the Apostles, he was the only one in the boat to seek to walk towards the Lord, even proposing that if He is indeed the Lore, he, Peter would be able to walk on the water. Such an act, does require an incredible amount of courage and faith. Indeed, that faith was to be shaken, but it was there indeed.

And Peter eventually made the thrice profession of faith, after Jesus had risen from the dead, and when He asked him, whether he loved Him more than anyone else. In that profession of faith and love, Peter knew that he was forgiven for his denial of Jesus, and in that also, we can see the kind of faith and love which he had for the Lord, and that was why, he was made to be the Vicar of Christ on earth, and the leader of the entire Universal Church.

Meanwhile, St. Paul was once known as Saul, as a great enemy of the Church and the faithful, as some sort of an executioner, who belonged to the caste of the Pharisees, young and overly zealous, that he was blinded by his rage and youthful pursuits, seeking to destroy the Church and kill as many believers as possible. Thus, he brought the Church and the Lord much sorrow and sadness.

Yet, he was transformed from such a sinner and great enemy, into the greatest champion of the Faith, and into a figure so important and crucial to the growth of the Church and the spreading of the Good News in the early years of the Church. St. Paul as Saul encountered the Lord speaking directly to him and rebuking him for his actions on the way to Damascus, and ever since then, he repented and was converted to the Faith.

St. Paul thereafter became a great evangeliser, who went on many journeys to different cities and places to spread the Good News, and for his works and efforts to spread the Faith to the Gentiles, he was then appropriately titled as the Apostle to the Gentiles. And together with St. Peter, they went on to Rome, the capital city of the Empire, and there they were martyred for their faith. The locations where they were martyred and buried then became the two great Basilicas we know today.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, today’s celebration of the dedication of the Basilicas of St. Peter and St. Paul is a reminder to all of us, that God seeks our salvation, and He calls us all to return to Him, all of us sinners that we may be, like St. Peter and St. Paul before us, turn from our sinfulness and path of darkness, into the light and become holy servants following the examples of the two great saints whose memory we remember today.

May Almighty God therefore, with the intercession of St. Peter and St. Paul, be hearkened to strengthen our zeal and faith, so that we may become ever faithful and loving in our lives, that eventually, at the end of the days, when He comes again, He may congratulate us for our dedication and welcome us into His eternal kingdom. God bless us all. Amen.

 

First Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/16/tuesday-18-november-2014-33rd-week-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-the-dedication-of-the-basilica-of-st-peter-and-the-basilica-of-st-paul-outside-the-walls-first-reading/

 

Psalm :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/16/tuesday-18-november-2014-33rd-week-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-the-dedication-of-the-basilica-of-st-peter-and-the-basilica-of-st-paul-outside-the-walls-psalm/

 

Gospel Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/16/tuesday-18-november-2014-33rd-week-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-the-dedication-of-the-basilica-of-st-peter-and-the-basilica-of-st-paul-outside-the-walls-gospel-reading/

(Usus Antiquior) Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost, Memorial of St. Placidus and Companions, Martyrs (II Classis) – Sunday, 5 October 2014 : Holy Gospel

Sequentia Sancti Evangelii secundum Matthaeum – Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew

Matthew 22 : 34-46

In illo tempore : Accesserunt ad Jesum pharisaei : et interrogavit eum unus ex eis legis doctor, tentans eum : Magister, quod est mandatum magnum in lege? Ait illi Jesus : Diliges Dominum, Deum tuum, ex toto corde tuo et in tota anima tua et in tota mente tua. Hoc est maximum et primum mandatum.

Secundum autem simile est huic : Diliges proximum tuum sicut teipsum. In his duobus mandatis universa lex pendet et prophetae. Congregatis autem pharisaeis, interrogavit eos Jesus, dicens : Quid vobis videtur de Christo? Cujus filius est?

Dicunt ei : David. Ait illis : Quomodo ergo David in spiritu vocat eum Dominum, dicens : Dixit Dominus Domino meo, sede a dextris meis, donec ponam inimicos tuos scabellum pedum tuorum? Si ergo David vocat eum Dominum, quomodo filius ejus est?

Et nemo poterat ei respondere verbum : neque ausus fuit quisquam ex illa die eum amplius interrogare.

English translation

At that time, the Pharisees came to Jesus, and one of them, a doctor of the Law, asked Him, tempting Him, “Master, which is the great commandment of the Law?” Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God with you whole heart, and with your whole soul, and with your whole mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment.”

“And the second is like this : You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments depended the whole Law and the prophets.” And the Pharisees being gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, “What do you think of Christ, Whose Son is He?”

They say to Him, “David’s”. He said to them, “How David then died in spirit, call Him Lord, saying, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, sit on My right hand until I make Your enemies Your footstool?’ If David then call Him Lord, how is He His Son?”

And no man was able to answer Him a word; neither did any man, from that day forth, ask Him any more questions.

Sunday, 6 July 2014 : 14th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the Lord has entrusted this world to His Son, Jesus Christ, including all of us who live in this world. And in Him He bore salvation to us all, and remade us anew in light. As the possessions of Christ we have been liberated from this world and the darkness that is in it. We have been made anew in Christ and we ought to be grateful for it.

God lifted us up from the despair and hopelessness caused by sin, and bringing new hope into our hearts, with the coming and the life and death of Jesus Christ, who had knocked down the gates of hell and broken the chains that enslaved us to sin and death. He gave us a burden, yes, that is a burden to be the disciples and followers of Christ, but this burden is a temporary one, and one far better than the eternal burden we are to bear if we choose to forsake God and His ways.

As the Lord had said, that we ought to cast away our old ways, the ways and the pleasures of the flesh which corrupts us and makes us unclean before the Lord. We ought to be rid of our corrupted habits and lack of control over ourselves, and instead following the way of the Lord and resolve in our hearts that we will be faithful forever to the Lord who made all things possible, and who awakened in us a new hope and gave us a new life.

If we rely on the power of men and the power of this world, we are at risk brethren, for the power of men is limited and flawed, while the power of God is never exhausted and never fails to satisfy. The way of the Lord is not an easy one, but it is better than the path that seems to be easy, that is the path of Satan, but which leads to eternal damnation and destruction to all who are caught in his snares.

This world has always been against us and all the Lord’s creation, since it belongs to the evil one and lays in the dominion of the evil one, ever since mankind tainted the world by their rebellion against God’s will. It is founded on evil and therefore evil is strong in the world, but that does not mean that we are hopeless under the dominion of the evil one. Instead, as we all know, our Lord had liberated us through Jesus Christ His Son, whom He had sent into this world in order to save it.

And it is through Jesus, His life, His teachings and His works, and ultimately through His death, that God gave hope and life to mankind, and brought us a way to escape the bonds and chains of death and sin. But this is only if we repent and change our sinful ways, and follow the Lord with all of our hearts and with complete and total devotion. That means we must no longer rely solely on ourselves but on the divine providence and love of our God.

Do you all remember the parable which Jesus told His disciples? The one comparing those who built their houses on sand and those who built their houses on solid rock? This is a clear reminder to us by our Lord, how we cannot rely on our own strengths and powers in life, for it will be indeed like building up our houses on sand, which will not last against the forces of evil arrayed against us.

Instead, depending on God is indeed like those who built their house on solid rock. Remember, brothers and sisters! Even our Church is built on the foundation of the solid rock of faith, on the faith of Peter, whose name was given by Jesus, and which means ‘rock’. We all know that Peter’s own faith was not perfect, and he fumbled a few times during his time of following Jesus, culminating in his three-times denial of the Lord during His Passion.

It was not in his own human power and greatness that Peter eventually depended on, and it was not for the sake of human praise and worldly glory that he sought to do in the world. Rather, he surrendered himself completely to the Lord, just as all the other Apostles had done, and in that way, allowing the Lord to use him to do great things in the world and strengthening the faith of many others.

Therefore, our Church was founded by our Lord Himself, Jesus Christ, who founded it on the faith of Peter, His disciple, whom himself depended on the Lord as his foundation, and thus, we all in the Church draw our strength from God, who had entrusted it all in His Son, Jesus Christ. Those who placed their trust and faith in Him will not be disappointed.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as mentioned, the path of following the Lord is not an easy one. Satan, the evil one, is bound to do all within his ability and cunning mind in order to draw us away from the Lord, the source of all our salvation and strength. And as mentioned, we know that this world does not match us, and we stand out in contrast to the ways of the world if we choose to follow Jesus our Lord. However, does this mean that we should conform to the world and follow its decadent ways at the price of our very own soul? It is not worth it. Truly.

We have to be more proactive in our faith from now on, brethren, that is to truly proclaim the Lord as our Guide and our Saviour in all of our words, actions and deeds from now on. If we believe, we should not hesitate, and we must indeed be courageous no matter how things will turn up for us. Let us begin to put our trust in Jesus and follow Him all the days of our life.

If live turns difficult and problems spring up along the way, then it is best for us to help one another and be there for one another, just as Christ Himself is always with us to guide us and protect us. And it is very important as always, for us to pray and pray fervently, that we may always be close to our Lord and remain always in His love. May the love of our Lord Jesus Christ enfold us and bring us to His eternal peace and happiness. God bless us all. Amen.

Thursday, 3 July 2014 : Feast of St. Thomas, Apostle (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast of one of the Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, that is St. Thomas, also known as the Twin and famously also as St. Thomas the doubter, the one whom we know in the Gospels to be the one who doubted that the Lord had risen from the dead after His Resurrection and after He had shown Himself to the Apostles except to St. Thomas, who was not with the others on that day.

And St. Thomas also voiced out openly his doubt when Jesus announced His intention to travel to Jerusalem for the last time, when He would eventually face His Passion and death, before the aforementioned Resurrection from the dead, which St. Thomas had no faith in. St. Thomas said to the other disciples, that they would go unto their death with Jesus together as they went to Jerusalem, in his own words, ‘Let us go and die together with Him.’

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this attitude which St. Thomas exhibited is truly common in our Church, and among all of us. It is easy for us to condemn others for their lack of faith, but we often fail to realise that in each one of us, we have our own ‘Thomases’ dwelling in us, and we often exhibited actions and behaviours that marks us as no better than little Thomases.

How often in our lives is it that we have so much on our hands and on our minds that we forget about God and about His existence? How often in our lives is it that we are angry at God for apparently not being there for us and accuse Him of abandoning us and ignoring us? And how many of us actually give thanks to God for His kindness and blessings in our lives, be it in big or small things? If we have done all these, or forgetting to do what is due to God, then we are just like Thomas the doubter.

But the quality of the faith that was in Thomas, was that he believed and repented his previous transgressions immediately once the Lord showed Himself to him in the fullness of His Risen glory. Thomas believed when he had seen and heard the Lord in person, to which Jesus kindly commented that, indeed that is good, but He said that how much better it would be if he had not doubted at the first place, that even without seeing the Lord, Thomas had believed.

We who believe in Jesus today, without witnessing directly the events of His life, death and resurrection are truly blessed indeed, because we believe without the need to witness directly the Lord and His majesty. But are we truly free from doubt and moments of weakness in our faith and devotion to the Lord? More often than not, this is not the case. In our lives, as history had often shown, mankind had succumbed too many times to doubt, especially in God’s providence and saving help, and came to rely on their own strength and ended up in darkness.

This is what we need to avoid, brethren, in each and every one of us. We should support each other to awaken the faith within us, that we are to have genuine faith in the Lord, one not based on blind obedience or lack of awareness of the Lord, but on the genuine faith that arise from the hearts of men. We need to follow in the example of St. Thomas and do even better than that.

Let us realise that the Lord is present, real and concrete, in the world around us through His love for us. Let us realise how much God truly cares for us, and let us doubt no longer but believe truthfully and completely place our trust in God. May we all be able to grow stronger in faith, hope and love, and make this world a truly better place for all the faithful ones in God. God bless us all. Amen.

Sunday, 18 May 2014 : Fifth Sunday of Easter (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 14 : 1-12

Jesus said, “Do not be troubled! Trust in God and trust in Me! In My Father’s house there are many rooms; otherwise, I would not have told you that I go to prepare a place for you. After I have gone and prepared a place for you, I shall come again and take you to Me, so that where I am, you also may be. Yet you know where I am going.”

Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. If you know Me, you will know the Father also; indeed you know Him, and you have seen Him.”

Philip asked Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and that is enough.” Jesus said to him, “What! I have been with you so long and you still do not know Me, Philip? Whoever sees Me sees the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me?”

“All that I say to you, I do not say of Myself. The Father who dwells in Me is doing His own work. Believe Me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; at least believe it on the evidence of these works that I do.”

“Truly I say to you, the one who believes in Me will do the same works that I do; and he will even do greater than these, for I am going to the Father.”

Sunday, 4 May 2014 : 3rd Sunday of Easter (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate and continue to glorify God who is risen in glory, and we know this God, who has been revealed to us, as the Saviour Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary as a Man, but unlike that of other man, He is without sin and perfect, as He is both God and man at the same time. And this truth is kept on being repeated in this holy season of Easter, so that we may know and understand this and be faithful.

Brethren, Christ had been revealed to us through His Apostles, and He had revealed Himself to those who believed in Him, that they all may believe and be affirmed in their faith. He had taught His precepts to the people, and showed them His truth and His nature as both the Son of God and the Son of Man. He came in love for them and for us, for a singular reason, that is to save all of us from certain death for our rebelliousness and sins.

The Messiah had been promised by the Lord since the beginning of creation and time, when God first told of the promised rescue and salvation of mankind through Adam and Eve, the first of mankind. But this Messiah is not one who comes in glory and power, or rule the people by the force of power or strength. Instead, as written in the Book of the prophet Isaiah, this Messiah would be a healer and brought healing to the souls of the sick and the wicked.

And also that this Messiah would be a suffering Messiah, who suffered for the sins and the rebellions of God’s beloved people. This blameless and innocent servant of God would suffer that we may not suffer the consequences of our sins, that is death, separation that is eternal from God, and hence, hell. He descended into hell so that we would not fall into hell ourselves, and be risen with Him in glory, as He rose on Easter day.

Those who did not believe in Christ failed to see how impossible it is for them to comprehend that the Messiah should suffer for their sake. The Jews in particular refused to believe in Him because of the lies of the elders and chief priests desperate to retain their teaching authority amongst the people, even though that amounted to lying and having blatant disregard for the truth. They blinded the people against the truth itself, and even agitated them to resist and reject the truth.

Thus were the people led to sin, and to reject the salvation of God. But the Lord did not give up on them, and instead He sent them His servants, that were the Apostles, by sending them the Helper, the Advocate He promised them, the Holy Spirit of God. Thus then in the first reading today, St. Peter preached with great courage about the truth of Christ, and in the process gained many for the cause of the Lord.

The same happened to the disciples who walked on the way towards the village of Emmaus from Jerusalem, they were in doubt and their hearts were in tatters, but the Lord Himself who was risen, appeared to them and guided them along the way, that from doubt, they turned into faith, and their tattered hearts He made anew with the words of courage and love. The Lord appeared to them and strengthened their minds, hearts and souls.

Then these two disciples when they recognised Jesus at the breaking of the bread became courageous and vigorous proclamators of the Lord and His resurrection. They courage that God had placed in their hearts turned into the courage to spread the Good News of salvation, which they joyfully spread to the Apostles who were themselves in fear, that they too may believe. They courageously ran the entirety of the distance back to Jerusalem, with joy and adulation, where previously they had walked with doubt and fear in their hearts.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we progress through Easter, today we are all challenged, to be true disciples and faithful people of God, with the necessary change in attitudes and hearts as experienced by the servants of God mentioned, that we undergo a profound and complete transformation from our old lives that we lived in sin, into a new life that is anchored firmly on the faith and love of God.

We have to be courageous, like that of Peter, the Apostles and the other disciples of Christ, and also that of the holy martyrs who defended the faith even unto suffering and death, and yet rejoice because they managed to gain for the Lord the salvation of many souls and their liberation from the darkness of sin. We have to be strong and motivated in our lives to always preach the Good News of the Lord Jesus Christ, through none other than our own actions, words and deeds, that in all the things that we do, we will always proclaim and reflect the truth of the Lord in us.

May God be with us all, guide us as we go through this life, that not only our lives may be holy, but we may have the energy and strength to carry out what He has laid down for us, that is to bring the Good News of His glorious resurrection and the hope He brought, to all the peoples of all nations. God bless us all. Amen.