Liturgical Colour : White
Today brothers and sisters in Christ, we have to keep the truth, stand by that truth and stay faithful to that truth. And what is this truth? It is the truth proclaimed by Christ Himself when He taught the people and His disciples, about His mission, His nature, and the nature of God’s salvation. It is also the truth proclaimed by Stephen the first deacon of the Church in today’s first reading against those who refused to believe in the truth.
As we all should know, this world is not for Christ and His truth, and indeed the world which is filled with the evil one’s influences and darkness, opposed Christ at every turn and at every possible opportunities. This is why, there will be many hurdles and obstacles in the way of those who speak for the truth, and in the way of those who work and pledge themselves to the truth of Christ, which is what we are all, brothers and sisters in Christ are supposed to do.
What is this truth? This truth is plain and simple, which lay open and available in the entirety of the teachings of the Church. That God is one and indivisible, and loving in of His aspects. But He exists in three separate and yet equal divine persons, that is Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. The Father creates, the Son who is Word, blesses and carries out the work of the Father, and the Holy Spirit empowers and strengthens all. All three united in one, that is the essence of our faith in God who is the Trinity.
But that is not all, for God so loved the world and all of us His beloved creations who had fallen into sin and darkness, that He willingly laid aside His power and divinity in the person of the Son, who became incarnate into Man, to be one of us, through the Blessed Virgin Mary, and were born as Jesus the Christ, Son of God and Son of Man, fully divine and fully man.
Why? So that through the Son and His perfect obedience, He as the new Adam and the beginning of new life and new era, may cast away the veil and the darkness of mankind’s sins and rebellions, which began with the disobedience of the first Adam. That He became the perfect offering and sacrifice through whom the sins of mankind may be erased in its entirety and completeness, ridding them of the obstacle that barred them from returning to their loving Father.
Jesus spoke of Himself when He referred to the living bread of eternal life. That those who eat that bread will never die, not in a sense of literal death that we know of, that is the death of the physical body, which we all have to face at one point, at the very ends of our lives. What He referred to was the eternal death of the spirit, the total separation of our souls from the love of God, which is called hell, the state of hopelessness and eternal damnation.
This is what those who believe in Christ and His truth, will avoid in the end. They will not face this fate of eternal suffering. Although death may claim their bodies and their physical flesh, but it will not claim their souls, for their souls are pure and worthy of the Lord, and the Lord who loves us and gave Jesus for our sake will not let us to be claimed by death and sin. And in the end, even together with our bodies we will rise with Christ when He comes again at the end of time. Death has no power over any of us, as long as we believe sincerely and fully in God and His plan which He had revealed through Jesus.
It was the very same truth that Stephen the deacon had proclaimed to the people of God and to his prosecutors, the chief priests, the elders and the Pharisees and the Sadducees who themselves had been opposed to Christ since the very beginning. The same truth that they also refused to believe in, even after hearing them from Christ Himself, and then His Apostles and disciples, which includes Stephen.
Those people hardened their hearts against the Lord and participated actively in the resistance and hindrance of the good works of God in this world, deceiving many and preventing the salvation of many souls who remained lost to the darkness. And these are exactly who we should not become. We cannot refuse to accept the truth in God, and therefore, we must, without exception, receive the faith we received through the Church in its fullness.
And we have to be like Stephen too, who did not fear to state the truth, and preach the Good News, even against tough opposition and persistent rejection, for the sake of salvation of souls. Remember that the Lord loves all, even those who hated and rejected Him. He would not want them to be lost, unless if they continue to refuse to believe until it is far too late.
May God therefore guide us in our works, and encourage us with His strength, that we may carry out our duties, just as Stephen had done, in the footsteps of Christ, to preach His salvation to all the peoples of all nations with courage, for the sake of our salvation, all of us. May God guide us always as we walk in this path. Amen.