Tuesday, 30 May 2017 : 7th Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard from the Sacred Scriptures about St. Paul and about our Lord Jesus Christ, both of whom in the respective Scripture passages, were going to the end of their ministry. At that time, St. Paul had been informed by the Holy Spirit, that he was about to reach the end of his ministry. He was about to be arrested in Jerusalem by the authorities and from then on, proceeded to Rome for the final leg of his journey. All of this had been known to St. Paul, and he was saying his farewells to the elders in Ephesus.

And in the Gospel, Jesus our Lord was thanking His Father through prayer, at the time when He was about to enter into His Passion, the end and last stage of His earthly ministry. He mentioned how He has fulfilled perfectly what He was prophesied to have come for, and had gathered the people whom God had called upon to be His own. Thereafter, He would go on to His Passion, to accomplish perfectly through obedience and suffering, God’s promise of salvation for all mankind.

St. Paul and our Lord Jesus Himself had done a lot for the sake of the people of God, and they had contributed and done such great feats that many souls were saved by their works. They were at the end of their respective missions, and surely they were looking back at what they had done, and indeed, they could be very confident indeed, that whatever they had done, they had done well and they had given all that they could for the sake of the Lord.

They had not done all those things for their own sake though, and they did not do all their works to glorify themselves, unlike what other people would have done. They obeyed the Lord and followed Him, as St. Paul followed the path shown to him by the Lord through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and as Jesus our Lord, the Son of God obeying the will of His heavenly Father, God the Father in heaven.

Through all of these, the examples of these two which the Scriptures today had mentioned, all of us are called to reflect on our own actions in our own respective lives as Christians. Have we, as Christians, been as faithful and devoted as St. Paul had been in his faith? Perhaps we have not done as mighty a deed as what he had done, in numerous situations, where he had to endure persecution, rejection and torture, imprisonment and even death threats. However, are we confident that we are living a true Christian life?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in order for us to be true Christians in life, we all have to devote ourselves to do what the Lord had commanded us all to do, and not just to be lukewarm or inactive Christians. That means, we have to listen to the Lord, Who had taught us that we have to love Him with all of our heart, with all of our mind and with our entire being, devoting ourselves completely to Him, and then, showing the same kind of love to our fellow men and women, loving them at least in the same way as how we loved ourselves.

This is what all of us as Christians have to do in our respective lives, and one in which I am afraid to say but, in reality, many of us as Christians have not lived up to. We have not been truly faithful in actions and deeds, for in many cases, while we believe in God, many of our actions had not shown such a reality. And in the end, because others see that we do not act in the manner as how we should have acted according to our faith, we caused scandal to the Lord and to our faith in Him.

Let us ask ourselves, how many of us slandered others, bringing hurt and pain through our words, by our lack of empathy and consideration for the feelings of others around us? How many of us have caused others, our neighbours to suffer simply because of our own selfishness in life? How many of us have brought sorrows and sadness upon others because we only think about ourselves? It is all of these things which have prevented us from truly living a good, Christian life.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, listening to the Lord and taking note of the examples He Himself had shown, and which His Apostle, St. Paul had done before us, let us all reflect on all these, and let us have a new resolve in our hearts, that is the new resolve to live our lives faithfully and filled with sincere devotion and commitment, to serve the Lord with all of our hearts, with all of our bodies, minds, and with all of our strength, and do the same to our fellow men and women, showing love, care and concern wherever it is possible.

May the Lord bless us all, all of our works and endeavours, and may He strengthen us in our faith, so that we may draw ever closer to Him and find salvation and true joy in Him, together as one people, blessed by the Lord and His love. Let us do our best so that when the time comes for us to give an account before the Lord, we can confidently show Him what we have done out of faith in Him. Amen.

Monday, 29 May 2017 : 7th Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day through the readings of the Sacred Scriptures we have been reaffirmed in our faith, as we receive the story of how the disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ propagated the faith and the truth which they had received, and by their works, as shown through the works of St. Paul the Apostle and his contemporaries, that they had devoted their time to reveal the truth of God to His people.

In the Gospel today, we heard how Jesus revealed the truth which He had told His disciples with clarity. He has always taught the people using parables, that is using stories such as the story of farmers sowing seeds, or the story of the prodigal son, or the story of the mustard seed, the story of good versus bad shepherds, and many other stories, all of which are means by which Jesus delivered His teachings, which contained many truths hidden behind the story.

Why did Jesus use parables in order to deliver His message to the people? That was because the truth that Jesus brought may be too difficult to be understood, and that is why Jesus used those stories, which could be easily related to by the people, who were mostly uneducated, illiterate farmers, fishermen or shepherds. And that was why Jesus used many terms related to farming, fishing and husbandry in order to deliver His messages.

But more importantly, it was then through the Apostles that Jesus revealed the fullness of His truth, as He explained the full truth of His messages, explaining the meaning behind His parables and teachings. And to them, He had given the gifts of the Holy Spirit, descending upon them, granting them the full knowledge of the faith. The Lord Himself said that they would not need to worry what to say or preach, for the Holy Spirit Himself would guide them in all of that.

The Lord had granted the Holy Spirit to guide us in our way, by putting in us the seeds of faith, hope and love, and by revealing to us the fullness of the truth which the Lord Himself had brought into the world. And that was how the Church grew and spread, from what was just a small group of the Apostles and disciples of the Lord, eventually making up thousands, and then millions and billions upon billions of souls which have been saved in God.

All of these would not have been possible, had the Apostles and the other disciples of the Lord had not laboured hard in the way that they had, sacrificing their time and effort, suffering and being persecuted for doing what they had done, and many of them had to endure prison, torture and difficulties in doing so. And yet, as the saying goes, the blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians. Without their sacrifice, many people would not have had the chance to attain salvation.

It is therefore now up to us mankind, in our world today, to continue the good works of the Apostles, to continue the mission which God had entrusted to them. Their mission has not yet ended, brothers and sisters in Christ, for in our world today, still filled with wickedness and evil, with all sorts of selfishness and human greed, we still need to be witnesses to God’s truth and revelations to the people who have not yet believed in God.

All of us need to do our part in order to evangelise and preach the Good News, not only by words and proclamations, but more importantly also through our actions. In all the things we say and do, we must show that we are truly and genuinely a people who belong to God, who obey His will and who walk in His path. And if we are to persuade others to believe in Him as we have done, we have to be genuine in our faith, and devoted wholeheartedly to Him.

Let us all pray, brothers and sisters in Christ, that all of us will be able to devote ourselves ever more faithfully to God, committing ourselves, our time and our efforts to serve Him and our fellow brethren, children of the same God. May the Lord bless us all and strengthen us in our faith always. Amen.

Sunday, 28 May 2017 : Seventh Sunday of Easter, World Communication Sunday (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, we are celebrating the seventh and second last Sunday in the season of Easter, as we approach its ending, with the coming of the Solemnity of the Pentecost next Sunday. Today we also celebrate the occasion of the World Communication Sunday, bringing to our attention the importance of communication, not just as a primary method for us all to relate with one another, but more importantly, it is through communication that we are able to spread the Word of God to others, and call more people to salvation in God.

The Apostles whom we heard in the first reading today were the ones who preached the Good News of the Lord to the world, speaking the truth of Jesus Christ and bearing His light into a world darkened by sin and evil. Had they not gone forth and courageously telling the people of the truth of Christ, many people would not have known of God’s salvation, and these souls would have been lost from God, and might have fallen into eternal damnation.

They bore the truth of God to the people, and those who heard them were touched and were moved in their hearts to follow the Lord and obey His will. But did the Apostles do all the work on their own accord? Did they do all of these by their own strength and power? No, it was because they all, as their Lord had shown them, remained firmly connected to the Lord, through none other than constant prayer and devotion.

In the Gospel passage today, we heard how Jesus Himself prayed to His Father in heaven, in a series of long prayers from the Gospel of St. John, how Jesus prayed for the sake of His Apostles and His Church. He showed them how to pray to God, the Source of their life and the Master of all. Jesus glorified and thanked the Father, as He had also done in the Lord’s Prayer, which He had taught the Apostles in a separate occasion.

Prayer indeed is not as what many of us envisioned it or knew it. Prayer is not a litany of supplications and demands, wishes and wants. Many of us thought that through prayer we are able to get what we wanted, just by asking the Lord our God and everything will be granted to us. We turned to God only when we need Him, and when He did not give us what we wanted, that is when we ended up becoming angry at Him and left Him behind.

Many of us did not realise that prayer is how we truly ought to communicate with God, to speak to Him from heart to heart, and not just utterances from the mouth alone. It is perfectly possible for someone to utter words of prayers without understanding them, or without meaning them. What good will it be for us to pray and yet not meaning what we say? And what good will it do for us if we are to pray for our own selfish intentions and wants?

Today, as we celebrate the occasion of the seventh Sunday of Easter and also the World Communication Sunday, let us all remember these two things, which are truly very important for us as Christians. First of all, let us all remember that we Christians need to pray, as prayer is the foundation and the fabric of our faith. Without prayer, our faith will be easily shaken, and we will easily fall into temptation and into the traps laid down by the evil one.

For prayer is what strengthens the foundation of our faith, and genuine prayers help us to grow in our spirituality and in our relationship with God. Through prayers, we communicate with God, and as in all communications, such interactions should be two-way in nature. We also must allow God to speak in our hearts, just as we want to speak with Him.

It is very often that we as human beings living in this world are often too busy and too preoccupied by our worldly matters, by our work and occupations, to the point that we are unable to hear the words which God spoke to us in the depths of our heart, because we are simply too busy to take note, and the noise of this world prevented and distracted us from listening to Him.

It is important therefore, for us all to spend time with God, and not just be preoccupied with our work. After all, we all often bother and worry about many things we have in this world, about how we do our work, about how we perform in life, about whether we can get promotion in life, in work and in our career, but do we all realise that all these things are ultimately not the most important things in our life?

God knows all that we need, brothers and sisters in Christ, and it is often that what we need are not what we want. Many of us may think that we need money, possessions, wealth, fame, recognition from others, glory and praise. Yet, all these things are truly not what we need in life. There are many people out there who are rich, powerful, respected and filled with glory and honour in accordance to the world, and yet, they are not happy in their lives.

Prayer is the way for us to seek the Lord and gain true happiness through Him. For it is He alone Who can satisfy us truly and Who will provide us what we need in life. It is why we need to pray, and not just any prayers, or just by uttering words of prayers without meaning them or understanding them, but making those prayers out of the sincerity of our hearts, from the desire we have to share our burdens, our concerns and our worries with Him. And then, let Him take care of everything for us, in His own way. Let Him speak to us, so that we may know what it is that He really wants from us.

And therefore, we come to the second thing, which all of us Christians need to take heed of. And that is the fact that, all of us as Christians need to share the knowledge, the joy and the things which we have received from the Lord, for we have known the Lord, and we have spoken with Him, from heart to heart. As the Apostles had once laboured and worked hard to evangelise and to preach the Good News, it is now therefore our turn to do the same.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us as Christians, as the members of God’s Church have been given the same mission which He had given His Apostles, at the time when He ascended to heaven in glory. He commanded all of them to go to all the ends of the earth, and preach the Good News to all the peoples, that all of them may come to know the truth of the Lord, His love and the promised salvation He has brought to them, so that through baptism, all of them may be saved.

This is what we need to do, brothers and sisters in Christ, that is to communicate the truth of God to all the nations, to our fellow men and women, to those who have not yet known the Lord, and even to those who have rejected or abandoned Him. But we do not have to worry, for the Lord will ever be on our side, guiding us and telling us what to do.

And we do not need to begin from great things, for what is needed is indeed for each and every one of us to begin from ourselves, by making sure that all of us are truly faithful to the Lord, by practicing our faith with zeal. Then, let us all also do what the Lord had taught us to do, by loving our brethren, forgiving our enemies and all those who have caused us hurt and suffering. By being role models to others, we can inspire many more people to come to the Lord.

May the Lord therefore empower us all, as He had sent us His Holy Spirit, so that all of us will be filled with the courage and strength to do what we need to do, in order to become ever closer to the Lord, and to bring more and more people to His salvation and love. May God bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

Saturday, 27 May 2017 : 6th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Augustine of Canterbury, Bishop (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, as we approach the seventh Sunday of the season of Easter, which is also the World Communication Sunday, we speak about the preaching of the Apostles to the people across the Mediterranean, throughout the many cities and towns, spreading the faith in Jesus to all the peoples, by the means of preaching and teaching.

It was by communicating that the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord had become witnesses to His truth and resurrection, to all that He had revealed to them, and to all that He had done for the sake of the whole race of mankind. These faithful servants went forth and told the people who have not yet heard of God’s salvation, and therefore allowing more and more people to come to believe in the Lord and His truth.

They courageously went forth to distant lands, to the places where no one had yet known the Lord and His love, those who were still living in darkness and ignorance, all those who were still living in a state of sin. Without the courage of these Apostles, who taught and preached with zeal, many more souls would have been lost to the Lord, into the damnation in hell.

And that was what the saint whose feast day we celebrate today, had done by devoting his entire life, in order to avoid such a fate for those who have remained in ignorance of the Lord. St. Augustine of Canterbury, the founder of the Church and its architect in the lands of the Anglo-Saxons, now known as England, set forth from Rome, under the orders of the Pope at that time, Pope St. Gregory the Great, going away from his homeland, in order to be a missionary to the people who have not yet received proper guidance in the faith.

At the time, the collapse of the Roman Empire authority in Britain has left the Christian faith over there to fall into decline, as the pagan barbarians invaded, and disestablished much of the foundations of the Church in that area, which had not been strong and extensive to begin with. As a result, St. Augustine of Canterbury went to a region mostly filled with ignorance and lacking in faith in the Lord.

Nonetheless, St. Augustine of Canterbury persevered through the difficult times, and despite the challenges he faced, including opposition from the pagans and the enemies of the Church. St. Augustine of Canterbury patiently preached to the people, calling them to accept the truths as the Lord had revealed to His Church, and therefore for them to accept Him as their Lord and Saviour.

Gradually, St. Augustine of Canterbury managed to reestablish the Church in England, establishing his diocese in Canterbury, and at the same time building crucial infrastructure and foundation for the Church in that region, which eventually flourished and many people came to end up converting to the Christian faith. This is what he had done, for the sake of the Lord and for His people, all of the hard work he had done.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, all of us are called to reflect on the actions of St. Augustine of Canterbury, as well as the works of the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord, all of whom had devoted much of their life’s work and energy in order to advance the cause of the Lord, and bring more and more souls back to the Lord’s loving embrace.

All of us should follow their examples, and learn to do the same with our lives. All of us should devote our time and effort to accomplish what the Lord had commanded His Apostles and disciples to do, and which therefore had become the same command that all of us need to obey as well. This is what we need to do, in order to fulfil what the Lord had wanted us to do.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all come ever closer to the Lord, and be ever more committed to Him. May He bless us all and give us the strength to persevere in this life, filled with ever more zeal and love for Him. May God be with us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

Friday, 26 May 2017 : 6th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Philip Neri, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard the message of the Holy Scriptures speaking to us clearly about what to expect if we are to remain true to the Lord and obedient to His truth. If we are to remain as His disciples and are faithful to Him, we will end up facing difficulties, troubles, and sometimes even persecution and sufferings that our predecessors, the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord had faced.

Yes, that was the reality of life for the many disciples and followers of the Lord, for most of its earliest history. There were many persecutions and challenges against the faithful, and the Church members were struck with tribulations and arrests. The Lord however was ever faithful to His people, never leaving them behind in their time of need.

Indeed, there would be sorrow and pain, suffering and anguish to be suffered by God’s people, as the Lord Himself had mentioned to His disciples. He did warn them beforehand that in order to follow Him, one therefore must be ready to sacrifice and to give their all if they are to obey the Lord and follow Him, for there surely will be those who would persecute them and challenge them in their faith.

But what the Lord offered us is greater than any other promises, for even though the path of His faithful ones will be painful and filled with sufferings, but at the end of it all, God will reward all those who keep their faith in Him with true joy and satisfaction, for the final victory over evil and death will be theirs. They will then avenge their sufferings and pains caused by their enemies and all those who had persecuted them.

The devil on the other hand, is also always offering us an alternative path, one that seems to be easy and less risky, one that seems to be more lucrative and enjoyable as compared to the path of the Lord. These are the temptations which he had placed in our path, hoping that we will take them and therefore fall into the trap of sin, and thus perish in damnation with him.

When times get difficult, and when challenges come on our way, it is easy for us mankind to end up being distracted and be tempted to leave behind our sufferings, and instead seek for the easy way out. That is indeed when we end up walking in the path of darkness instead of walking in the light of God. This is not what we as Christians should do, for we have to be resolute and strong in our faith, resisting those temptations in life.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day let us all heed and learn from the examples of St. Philip Neri, a renowned and holy saint who lived during the time of the Counter Reformation, and who was credited and famous with the founding of the Oratory, in order to carry on and continue the missionary works which he had started. He was known for his labours and works among the sick and the poor, serving the most destitute of the people of God.

St. Philip Neri ministered to many sinners, prostitutes and all those who have been abandoned and rejected by the society. Certainly, all of his works did not entail easy or manageable tasks, and many of them required him to devote most of his time to a life of service, both to God and to His people. He encountered challenges and rejections, where people refused to believe in all that he had said.

And yet, St. Philip Neri persevered through all of them, calling many people to repent from their sins, and indeed, they repented and turned away from those sins towards the Lord. Many souls who had once been condemned to damnation, had been saved by the good works of St. Philip Neri, all because of the fact that St. Philip Neri never gave up on the mission which God had entrusted to him, and he placed his complete trust in the Lord.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us as Christians have to do the same, and following their examples, we should do our best in order to show our love, care and concern for our brethren in need, all of those who have sinned against God, and all those who have been sundered from God’s love. We have our calling, mission and responsibility in order to help our brethren who are still lost to the Lord, that these may find the way to return to our God and His salvation.

May the Lord strengthen our faith, and may He empower us all in order to become ever more faithful in all things, so that we may draw ever closer to God, and find our salvation in His most Holy Name and Presence. May God bless us all. Amen.

Thursday, 25 May 2017 : Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we commemorate the great Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, remembering the moment when our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, ascended into His heavenly glory, and was taken up physically away from us, so that none of us can see Him any longer, and this was the ending of the earthly ministry of our Lord which began from the moment He was conceived in the womb of His mother Mary, through His birth, His youth and growing years, His work among the people of God, and finally His Passion, suffering, death and resurrection.

On this day we remember the moment when the Lord ascended into heaven, not so that He left us behind or abandoned us, but rather because as He had mentioned to His disciples, that He went ahead in order to prepare the places He had destined for us all. It was in the Ascension that we truly know that the Lord was indeed Who He had claimed to be, as the One Who had come down from heaven, and not merely just a Man.

On several occasions, Jesus had said that no one had known or can know the Father, the Creator God, save for the One Who came from heaven itself. And He was indeed referring to Himself when He said such words, revealing His unearthly origin, as the One Who had come down from heaven, and taking up the flesh of humanity, becoming like one of us in appearance and in physical body, but in reality, is also the Divine Son of God.

Jesus our Lord was the Word of God made Flesh, as the Divine Word Incarnate. He was the Word with which the Father willed to create all things found in creation. Through Him all things were made and all existences were willed to be. And through Him also, all of us have seen God, He Who was once invisible and beyond human comprehension and understanding, have revealed Himself to all mankind.

He is the Love of God made incarnate into flesh, God Who is Love, Who descended into this world out of His great and everlasting love for us all, His beloved and yet unworthy children. We have sinned because of our disobedience against God’s will, and yet, He Who loves us beyond everything else still loves each one of us, despite of our shortcomings and wickedness.

And to that extent, He had come to save us from certain destruction, by readily bearing up our sins and wickedness upon Himself, all the punishments and consequences for those sins we committed. He bore on the cross all those punishments, so that by His wounds all of us may receive liberation from the tyranny of sin and evil. He has freed us all by His love and sacrifice.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, what the Lord had promised us all has been reaffirmed to us. The Lord ascended into glory is a premonition and a preview to our own glorious ascension into an eternity of glory and grace, when we come to our final victory against evil and death. When the Lord comes again to claim all of us His faithful ones, He will separate us from the wicked, and bring us all together into His loving embrace.

But we must not just care only for our own personal safety and well-being. For indeed, many of us have been saved because we believe in the Lord, and we obey Him in all that He had commanded us to do, and we act in ways that are worthy of the Lord and His love. However, we must keep in mind what the Lord Jesus had commanded His Apostles and disciples, just before He was about to ascend from them into heaven, His last and most important command to them.

He commanded all of them to go forth to all the nations, to all the peoples, so that they might bring the truth and revelations which they have received, and bring them to the people of God who still lived in the darkness, those who still refused to welcome Him, those who rejected Him and His truth, all those who continued to live in a state of sin, and all who were still ignorant of His truth and salvation.

That was what the Lord had told His followers to do, for a simple reason. If we do nothing for the sake of these people, then we are truly condemning them to fall into eternal damnation, for if we do not act in order to bring the truth of God to them, then who will do so? We cannot assume that there will be someone out there who will do the work for our sake. No, brethren, we have to step up to the challenge given to us by the Lord, and do as what He had commanded us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, how should we then act? We do not need to do marvellous or great things. What we all need is really for us to start from small and little things which we can do, beginning from ourselves and from our own families and relatives. We should spend our time to do as the Lord had taught us, that is to show love in all of our actions, showing concern and care for our fellow brethren, for all those who we see as those who are in need, even for strangers.

Once we have begun doing what is right and just in the sight of the Lord, our actions themselves will speak louder than words, and they will become a source of inspiration for many others, who hopefully will be touched by what we have done, and therefore, through us, they may find out the love of the Lord. This is what we all should do, that we live our faith truly through our actions and deeds.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us therefore today, as we commemorate our Lord’s glorious Ascension into heaven, seek to deepen our relationship with Him, and devote ourselves anew to love and care for our brethren, especially those who are in need, and all those who have yet to come to understand the love and truth of God, and all those who have been blinded by the darkness of sin, and therefore remain separated from the love and salvation in God.

May the Lord help us all that we may be ever more courageous and be filled with faith, so that in all things we do in this life, we will grow ever more and more committed to the Lord and to our fellow men and women, calling to salvation all those whom the Lord had called to receive His grace and love. May the Lord bless us all. Amen.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017 : 6th Week of Easter (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard how the Lord guided His Apostle, St. Paul, who went to various places across the Roman Empire in order to preach His truth to the people, and today we heard the part when St. Paul went to the region now known as Greece, the venerable ancient city of Athens, which was then known to be a centre of learning and science, the centre of ancient wisdom and understanding, the heart of philosophy and intellectual studies.

St. Paul went to a people who had long history of scientific knowledge and discovery, and who came after a long line of famous philosophers and thinkers, who made Athens their home. These people believed in their pagan gods, the gods of nature, of the sky, lightning, the seas and the earth, and all other natural phenomena, which we may be more familiar of as the Greek pantheon of gods and goddesses.

It must have been quite a challenge for St. Paul to have come to the Areopagus, the place where the Greek philosophers gathered to debate about many things, including the matters of the supernatural, about their gods and goddesses. And there came St. Paul bearing the truth to them, the truth about the One and only Living God, the True God Who created all things, and rejecting the falsehoods of their pagan gods.

But St. Paul persevered through, revealing the folly of worshipping gods and idols which were made of human creations, and were made out of gold, silver and all forms of human craftsmanship, and not something that transcends the world itself. He revealed the truth about the Lord, Who was still unknown to those pagan peoples, but through St. Paul and his teachings, they came to know of the Lord and His salvation.

St. Paul showed the philosophers the emptiness and the futility of worshipping the elements of nature, which are merely creations and products of the creation by the Creator. If those things which had been created were truly amazing that mankind came to worship them as gods and idols, then truly, all the more and all the greater is the One Who had created all of them.

That is why all of us worship the Lord our God, for He is the one and only true God, from Whom all life came from, and from Whom all things were created, including each and every single one of us. He has come into this world, by His own accord, in order to reveal Himself to us all, that through that revelation all of us might finally see His truth and learn to accept His light, and live no longer in the darkness.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, it is too often that we mankind refused to follow the Lord, especially because we have hardened our hearts against Him. We placed our trust in our own might, in our own intellect and in our own abilities, to the point that we could not comprehend the truth of the Lord, as what some of the people at the time of St. Paul had done.

Yet, as we heard from the readings, some of the philosophers were intrigued by what St. Paul had said, and wanted him to explain more about the Lord to them. It was from this moment that the foundation of the faith in that region began to be established and strengthened. It was the willingness of the pagans to open their hearts to the Lord, which allowed Him to enter into their hearts and turn them towards the way to salvation.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we should heed this example, and also turn ourselves completely and wholeheartedly towards the Lord. Let us all believe in Him, our Lord and Creator with all of our heart, with all of our strength and might, so that we may draw ever closer to Him, and not be distracted by the temptations found in this world, so that we may find our way to the salvation in our God. May God bless us all. Amen.