Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we almost come to the end and conclusion of the season of Easter, with tomorrow being the Solemnity of Pentecost Sunday, the last day of the fifty glorious days of Easter. Today we are therefore reminded that the works of the Lord and His Apostles are far from being completed, and in fact they are still being done and continuing even to this day, and even beyond to the future. The mission that the Lord has entrusted to each and every one of us still continues through us, the same mission that God told His disciples, to go forth to all the peoples of all the nations, and baptise them in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The Lord has called us all to follow Him, to do the same as His disciples had done all those years ago, just as we heard from our first reading today, from the Acts of the Apostles, of St. Paul the Apostle who went to Rome and continued his ministry even as he was waiting for his appeal to the Roman Emperor for his case. He was free to go anywhere and in that way, he ministered to the faithful Christians in Rome, and the Jewish people as well as the Gentiles there who were interested to know more about the Lord Jesus and His teachings and truth. St. Paul continued to work there until he was martyred during the Great Fire of Rome and the intense persecution of Christians after that.
In our Gospel passage today, we heard of the Lord speaking to His disciples after He had risen from the dead and just before He was about to ascend into Heaven in glory. He spoke to them regarding what was to come and what they ought to expect. The disciples asked about St. John, the disciple who was closest to the Lord, and He mentioned that St. John would not die or perish before the end of times, when the Lord comes again. This can be understood in many different ways, but most common opinion is that St. John would see the end comes as he received it in a vision as he related them to us through the Book of Revelations. Alternatively, some believe that St. John, the only Apostle not to die a martyr, was just sleeping and still waiting for the coming of the Lord.
Nonetheless, whatever the case is, the sufferings of the Apostles and the many other disciples and holy people of God highlighted to us that the work of the Church and the ministry that we all share in various different ways in our world today, are far from over. On the other hand, the challenges awaiting the Church and the faithful in the present day are just as hard and difficult for the faithful to endure and overcome. Often times in our world today, we have to struggle and face rejection, hardships and obstacles as we walk down this path that the Lord has set before us, as we follow the guidance of Our Lord and Shepherd.
But those should not then become excuses for us not to follow the Lord faithfully as we must remember how our predecessors have suffered for their faith, and yet they faced those sufferings with great courage and faith. They carried on their crosses in life, and dedicated their time and efforts to walk in the path shown by them through the Holy Spirit. They showed how even if one were to suffer and were persecuted and challenged in their faith, they could not be shaken and they could remain firm in faith even if they had to go through worst of treatments, and they also inspired one another to remain committed and trusting in God as well.
Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, the responsibility is ours to continue the good works that our predecessors had done, and there are indeed still a lot to be done. There are still a lot out there who have not yet been touched by the light and hope of Christ, and many have yet to hear the Good News of His salvation. It is up to us to continue the good works that the Apostles had begun and which their many successors throughout the generations had continued, the Popes, bishops, priests and many others, all those who committed themselves to the spreading of the message of the Gospels, the salvation of God to all mankind.
As I mentioned earlier, we have to stay firm in our faith in the Lord and trust in His guidance and providence. The saints and martyrs, many of our holy predecessors were inspired and strengthened by the Holy Spirit, that came onto them from God, giving them the power and courage, the ability and desire to commit themselves to the Lord in ever greater way. They might have been ordinary people, but they allowed God to lead them and guide them, and giving them the strength to do even things that man might have considered impossible. That was how they endured through even the hardest challenges and persecutions.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore commit ourselves to a new life inspired and strengthened by the Holy Spirit, and as we commemorate Pentecost tomorrow, let us all ask for the Holy Spirit to continue to guide us and our path, and give us the courage to step forward and commit ourselves for the benefit and good of all, in obeying the laws and commandments of God, and in being truly faithful and worthy sons and daughters of God, all of us who call ourselves as Christians, who through our common baptism share in the same mission to evangelise the whole world. May God bless us and be with us always, with our every work. Amen.