Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we are presented from both the readings from the Acts of the Apostles and the Holy Gospels, of the realities of the contrast and conflicts that are present between the ways and the thinking of this world, as opposed to the ways of our Lord, which He had revealed to us through Jesus, His Son, and which He had passed down to us through His Apostles and His Church.
In the first reading, taken from the Acts of the Apostles, we continue on from the discourse of the previous days, telling us how the Pharisees, the elders and the chief priests were trying to bully the Apostles and the followers of Christ, using threats and fear in order to pressure them to stop their work and their preaching among the people of God. They thought that by doing so, they would be able to halt such an insurgency against their authority, but they were very wrong in this matter.
Not only that they were not at the least disturbed or affected by the threats, but they even courageously fought back by stating the truth before all of them to hear, as they pointed out that they ought to be obeying God rather than obeying any human authority above that of God’s. And that was a direct rebuke against the elders, the chief priests, the teachers of the Law, the Pharisees and all those who had been trying to stifle and hinder the works of God as exercised through His Apostles.
Through their examples, we can see how courageous we should be as well in how we lived our lives and in how we live our faith. Many of us today prefer to conform to the world and its ways rather than to stand by our Lord and God. Certainly, we have not been as faithful to Him as the Apostles had been. But if we think that those Apostles were extraordinary and beyond our means, then let us remember that they were once sinners too like us, and human as they were, they were not perfect. They too had their doubts and uncertainties, and moments when their faith was challenged.
But God showed them the way, and led them out of their uncertainty and doubts, and He blessed them with courage and strength in order to persevere through those challenges and made their faith firmer and stronger. And through His Holy Spirit, they spoke the truth of the Gospel and the truth as revealed through Jesus Christ our Lord to the whole world, that all those who heard the truth may find their way to salvation.
Today, we celebrate the feast day of a great educator, a holy and devout man, namely, St. John Baptist de la Salle, a priest hailing from Rheims, who lived about two hundred years ago. St. John Baptist de la Salle inspired a great movement and effort through which Christian education and evangelisation were boosted and spread rapidly throughout the world, as missionaries and faithful educators went forth to the four corners of the world preaching the truth of Christ through education.
St. John Baptist de la Salle was born from a privileged family, and he eventually entered the priesthood and devoted himself as a canon of the Cathedral of Rheims, living a comfortable life as how many of the clergy of those years had lived. But instead of remaining as he was in that comfortable position, he went forth and abandoned those comforts, as he heard the higher call to serve the less privileged, the abandoned and the unloved, especially those who have none to bring them the truth of our God.
That was when St. John Baptist de la Salle founded the society of the Brothers of Christian Schools, which members devoted themselves to the advancement of the education of the masses, and the evangelisation of the truth of God through the same education, that through the practice of the faith in their daily action, all of them may find the path to God’s salvation through greater understanding of their faith.
We should see in his examples, and the examples of those who have been inspired by his examples, as the inspiration for us as well, that we may follow in the footsteps of St. John Baptist de la Salle and the Apostles, in preaching the Word of God through words and actions, that all of us may receive the salvation which God has promised to us through His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Let us commit ourselves anew, brothers and sisters in Christ, and commit ourselves wholly to help one another to reach out to the Lord and His salvation. Let us help one another, reminding each other of the obligations we have to follow the Lord and to obey Him even if the whole world may be against us. Let us make use of this season of Easter to deepen our faith and commitment to the Lord, and help to propel ourselves further on the way to eternal life. May God help us and bless us all in our endeavours. Amen.