The Day of Pentecost
Today we celebrate the great day of Pentecost when Christ filled the Church with the power of his Spirit and sent it out into the world to bring his peace, joy and forgiveness to all mankind.
- The Sunday Missal
Hope you had a great Easter! Today’s reflection is by Michael Goo, an artist who recently joined our team. Read more about Michael below:
Michael was born with hearing disability. He was baptized and confirmed at Church of our Lady of Perpetual Succour in 2010 after perseverance for at least 5 years. Now, he is currently serving Singapore Catholic Deaf Community as its vice president. Despite the hardships, he is still happy to bear his deafness as his cross and follow Lord Jesus daily. Being an artist, he tries his best to glorify God through fine arts.
He came across OXYGEN where his acquaintance, Patricia Ang shared her writing in Facebook, and became interested as he discovered his passion in writing after his few friends pointed it out. After one year, he decided to lend his skills to Oxygen in hope of inspiring others to love God wholeheartedly despite their difficulties. “I am struck by how sharing our weakness and difficulties is more nourishing to others than sharing our qualities and successes.” (Jean Vanier, Community and Growth)
We thank and welcome Michael, and hope that more readers will be inspired to share their reflections on God’s word with the rest of the community.
God bless and may the fire of the Spirit burn strong in your heart,
(on behalf of the Oxygen team)
When Pentecost day came round, they had all met in one room, when suddenly they heard what sounded like a powerful wind from heaven, the noise of which filled the entire house in which they were sitting; and something appeared to them that seemed like tongues of fire; these separated and came to rest on the head of each of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak foreign languages as the Spirit gave them the gift of speech.
Now there were devout men living in Jerusalem from every nation under heaven, and at this sound they all assembled, each one bewildered to hear these men speaking his own language. They were amazed and astonished. ‘Surely’ they said ‘all these men speaking are Galileans? How does it happen that each of us hears them in his own native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; people from Mesopotamia, Judaea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya round Cyrene; as well as visitors from Rome – Jews and proselytes alike – Cretans and Arabs; we hear them preaching in our own language about the marvels of God.’
1 Corinthians 12:3-7,12-13
No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord’ unless he is under the influence of the Holy Spirit.
There is a variety of gifts but always the same Spirit; there are all sorts of service to be done, but always to the same Lord; working in all sorts of different ways in different people, it is the same God who is working in all of them. The particular way in which the Spirit is given to each person is for a good purpose. Just as a human body, though it is made up of many parts, is a single unit because all these parts, though many, make one body, so it is with Christ. In the one Spirit we were all baptised, Jews as well as Greeks, slaves as well as citizens, and one Spirit was given to us all to drink.
In the evening of the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you’, and showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord, and he said to them again, ‘Peace be with you.
‘As the Father sent me,
so am I sending you.’
After saying this he breathed on them and said:
‘Receive the Holy Spirit.
For those whose sins you forgive,
they are forgiven;
for those whose sins you retain,
they are retained.’
Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained
I have often heard this: “We can go directly to God and ask Him for forgiveness. Why should we go for Confession?” The Gospel sheds light on this question. In the Catholic Church’s doctrines, Christ Jesus gave the power to the twelve disciples, the Church’s first apostles, to administer absolution of sin as they represented Him. Why is this important to us?
The Sacrament of Reconciliation is beautiful gift from God as Saint James said, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” (James 5:16) By our Confessions and the priest’s absolution of our sin in persona Christi (acting in the person of Christ), each member of the body of our Church is welcomed home through this Sacrament, into the whole community. Jesus calls us to stand united in faith and love because He himself is Love. When we receive each other home in love, we fulfill the second greatest Commandment after loving God wholly.
Remember the accusations against Jesus that He might be the prince of the demons, because He could exorcise demons (Lk 11:14-15)? He replied that if Satan divided against himself, how could his kingdom stand (Lk 11:17-18)? Likewise, if everyone goes to God directly for confession without caring for each other, it is an individual act rather than returning to communion with the Church, which is the Body of Christ. When God gave Adam a helpmate in Eve (Gen 1:18), He also instituted the first community – not solely marriage. Blessed Margaret d’Youville said, “All the wealth in the world cannot be compared with the happiness of living together happily united.” Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta said, “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”
Peter Kreeft, a writer of Christian theology and apologetics, wrote: “Christianity is God’s marriage proposal to the soul.” Through the seven Sacraments of our Church, we become one with God. The Holy Eucharist is one of them – and it is during our Mass that we are also united in universal prayers. Christ promised that if two or more gather and pray together for the same intentions, He would be there with us (Mt 18:19-20). It is much like Heaven because we are united with those who have gone before us – Mother Mary, all the Angels and Saints – in worshipping God. The Mass is the highest form of prayers and thus very powerful. God is Perfect Love Himself and gives us this beautiful gift of community, as He never wanted us to be alone from the beginning.
As we see in today’s second reading, we may have different gifts but we serve the very same God. Let us treasure each other, and see the goodness and gift of our families, friends and even those who hurt us in the past – and pray for them. Let us not pass on a good chance to catch up with those we have not seen for a long time. Perhaps we can try to reconcile with those who have hurt us and those whom we have hurt.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Michael Goo)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, fill us with Your Holy Spirit and empower us to forgive and love each other for by doing so, we also come to love You. Also remember all those who are in mortal sins and all Holy Souls in purgatory. We ask this in the name of Your Beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for our universal Catholic Church and the gift of community.