Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, continuing from our discourse yesterday, and continuing with the readings from the Holy Scriptures from yesterday, we heard again about how the Apostles were reassuring those disciples of our Lord who were not of Jewish origin, but instead, belonging to the Greeks, or the Romans and the other peoples collectively known as the Gentiles.
Even though at the earliest days of the Church, most of the faithful were Jews, but very quickly many non-Jews also came to believe in the Lord. They came to join the Church in droves in the many cities, particularly in the places where the Church was to be born and which were to be the foundations of the Universal Church in the years to come. Gentiles eventually rapidly outnumbered the Jews in the number of the faithful and the members of the Church.
Thus, as we have discussed and mentioned it yesterday, the ones among the faithful who wanted to enforce strict discipline in accordance with the laws of Moses and the laws in accordance to the Jewish tradition, namely the Pharisees who became the disciples of our Lord, their idea and argument was rejected as this unnecessarily brought burdens to those who want to believe in God.
Instead, the Apostles made it clear that many of those laws were redundant and unnecessary, and it was such as a result of many hundreds and thousands of years of modification and additions to the original Law passed down to them from Moses, and which Moses himself received from God. The extent of such modification and addition was such that the original meaning, intent and purpose of the Law was lost.
That was why Jesus came into the world, besides to save us, He also revealed the truth once again of His love, and how He has given the Law to help guide mankind to Him, to know of His love, and to love Him unconditionally, and do the same to their fellow brethren, without being buried underneath layers after layers of protocols and difficult commitments.
And thus, it comes now to our responsibility and the task waiting ahead of us, as the Lord has laid it Himself for us. The works of the Apostles are not done, and these have been continuing since the days when the Apostles still walked about and roamed around the earth. But the works of evangelisation, the conversion of sinners, and calling people to the presence of God still continue even to this day, and on the days to come, and the task is placed squarely on our shoulders.
There are still many people who await God’s salvation, and there are still many more souls who are waiting for God’s love and mercy, as well as His forgiveness and blessings. There are many who through our works and commitments to helping them, can find their way out of the darkness of the world and into the light of our God, but all these will require us to stand up and be courageous to take up our crosses, the commitments we have as members of God’s Church.
Today we celebrate the feast day of a great woman and a great saint, St. Catherine of Siena, well renowned since her days and even unto today, for her great zeal and piety, and for her many works in bringing mankind and many souls to salvation in God. St. Catherine of Siena was a member of the Dominican religious order, and she together with St. Francis of Assisi are the patron saints of Italy.
She encountered many visions of our Lord Jesus Christ, which propelled her to commit herself to even more good works among the people of God, through prayers and charity, giving away alms and charity to the poor, the sick and the dying, sometimes even causing annoyance to her own family. But St. Catherine of Siena never stopped doing what she thought was right in the sight of God, and indeed, she helped many on their way to God.
She travelled through many places and helped to inspire many people to follow her example, helping others on their way to Christ, and helped to rejuvenate the faith among the people who have fallen along the way and became lost in the darkness of the world. And ultimately, in her most well-known work, she even managed to push and persuade the Pope himself, who was then in a self-exile in the city of Avignon, away from Rome, to return to the city and the place where he should have been, Rome itself.
The many works of St. Catherine of Siena, and her tireless commitments to the people of God, in bringing about salvation of God to them should become our inspiration, and we should walk in her footsteps. Today therefore, let us pray and let us commit ourselves anew to God, and let us all be ever better disciples of our Lord, finding ways to devote ourselves in love to our brethren around us, and of course to the Lord as well, giving all of our heart’s attention to Him. God bless us all in our endeavours and may He always be with us. Amen.