Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are reminded again of our obligation as Christians, as those who believe in the Lord’s resurrection and triumphant victory over sin and death, to be His witnesses and missionaries in our world today, in proclaiming His truth and love among all the people, continuing the many good works that His Apostles and disciples had begun, in all that we have heard in the past one week of this holy Easter Octave, the works of the Apostles in the Acts of the Apostles.
In our first reading today, at the conclusion of the narrative of the events that happened due to the miraculous healing of a crippled beggar at the gate of the Temple of Jerusalem by St. Peter and St. John, in the past few readings we heard how the Apostles had courageously spoken up and preached about the Risen Lord to all the people who witnessed the miracle and then later on to all the members of the Sanhedrin who opposed the Lord and His Apostles. We heard today in our first reading of the reaction of the Sanhedrin upon listening to the words that St. Peter had spoken courageously before them, revealing the folly and error of their actions in having persecuted the Lord and His disciples.
In their discussion and debate with each other, the members of the Sanhedrin could not agree on how to deal with the Apostles and their actions in preaching about the Resurrected Christ and the miracles that they had performed in His Name. They wanted to stop them and to order them not to do it again, but at the same time, they knew that what the Apostles had performed, all the miraculous occasions and healings performed had been witnessed by so many people that it would have been impossible for the Sanhedrin to refute and deny that the miracles had occurred.
We see here the bitter stubbornness of many of the members of the Sanhedrin who were still adamant in their refusal to listen to the Lord and believe in His truth. Many of them, members of the Pharisees and the Sadducees, the teachers of the Law and elders had witnessed the miracles of the Lord themselves, heard Him and His wisdom, and yet, they still refused to believe in Him. All these despite them being supposedly the most educated and best people among the community of the people of God, many of whom were knowledgeable of the Scriptures and the teachings of the prophets.
They should have been the first ones to believe in the Lord and to welcome Him and His disciples. Yet, most of them except some like Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea chose to ignore the truth, hardened their hearts and minds, preferring to continue in their prejudices and in their judgmental attitudes towards the Lord. They saw the Lord as a great rival and threat to their power, influence and privileges in the community, and hence, they tried their best to curb the spread of the news and the truth behind the Resurrection, but they could not stop the Apostles and the other disciples from speaking up despite the threats and other efforts they made. And that was because the Lord was with His servants, and His Spirit strengthened them, giving them the courage to go up against even the opposition from the powerful Sanhedrin and others.
In our Gospel passage today, we heard the Lord appearing to His disciples after He had risen to the dead, revealing that He had indeed risen and triumphed over sin and death just as He had predicted to His disciples and followers. The Lord had appeared in the flesh and communicated with His disciples, which became truly tangible evidence of His truth, and those same disciples had seen themselves the undeniable truth of the Lord’s risen glory. And they therefore proclaimed courageously this same truth, and would not be silenced by those who opposed the truth of God. Many of them were willing to endure sufferings and persecution in the midst of their works of evangelisation.
Brothers and sisters, now that we have heard these readings from the Scriptures, and if we have been following the readings in the past few days during the Easter Octave, we are all reminded that we have also been part of this same Church, the Church that the Lord had established and built on the foundation of His Apostles, especially that of St. Peter. All the saints, the holy men and women of God, the many people who had dedicated themselves, their time and efforts and even their lives, for the sake of the Lord, His glory and for the salvation of His people, all of them had shown us what it means for us to be true Christians, in proclaiming the Risen Lord, Our Lord and Saviour.
There are still plenty of areas and opportunities for us to carry on the great works and deeds that the Apostles had begun, in reaching out to those who have not yet known the Lord or have not yet discovered the truth. And if we are not sure of what we can do or should do in this matter, we often do not have to worry about it. And we have to realise that God does not call the extraordinary and the powerful to do His will. In fact, it was all those qualified ones who had ironically rejected the Lord and decided to oppress His truth and persecute His faithful ones. Instead, the Lord called the ordinary ones and made them to be extraordinary in His presence.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, what matters is our faith and also the grace of humility in our lives. Let us all allow the Lord to work through us and with us, and let us walk faithfully in His path, doing our very best to be good role models for our fellow brothers and sisters, for all those who have not yet seen the Lord’s truth or known about His salvation and grace. May all of us be the beacons of the Light of our Risen Lord and Saviour, and may He strengthen us all to walk ever more dedicatedly in His presence, now and always. Amen.