14 May – Feast of St Matthias, Apostle
Matthias (d. 80) was an Apostle. As he could bear witness to the Resurrection of Jesus, he was chosen to replace Judas Iscariot. He preached the Gospel for more than 30 years in Judaea, Cappadocia, Egypt, and Ethopia. He is remembered for preaching the need for mortification of the flesh with regard to all its sensual and irregular desires. He was martyred in Colchis in AD 80 by stoning.
– Patron Saint Index
Acts of the Apostles 9:31-42
The churches throughout Judaea, Galilee and Samaria were now left in peace, building themselves up, living in the fear of the Lord, and filled with the consolation of the Holy Spirit.
Peter visited one place after another and eventually came to the saints living down in Lydda. There he found a man called Aeneas, a paralytic who had been bedridden for eight years. Peter said to him, ‘Aeneas, Jesus Christ cures you: get up and fold your sleeping mat.’ Aeneas got up immediately; everybody who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they were all converted to the Lord.
At Jaffa there was a woman disciple called Tabitha, or Dorcas in Greek, who never tired of doing good of riving in charity. But the time came when she got ill and died, and they washed her and laid her out in a room upstairs. Lydda is not far from Jaffa, so when the disciples heard that Peter was there, they sent two men with an urgent message for him, ‘Come and visit us as soon as possible.’
Peter went back with them straightaway, and on his arrival they took him up to the upstairs room, where all the widows stood round him in tears, showing him tunics and other clothes Dorcas had made when she was with them. Peter sent them all out of the room and knelt down and prayed. Then he turned to the dead woman and said ‘Tabitha, stand up.’ She opened her eyes, looked at Peter and sat up. Peter helped her to her feet, then he called in the saints and widows and showed them she was alive. The whole of Jaffa heard about it and many believed in the Lord.
After hearing his doctrine, many of the followers of Jesus said, ‘This is tolerable language. How could anyone accept it?’ Jesus was aware that his followers were complaining about it and said, ‘Does this upset you? What if you should see the Son of Man ascent to where he was before?
‘It is the spirit that gives life,
the flesh has nothing to offer.
The words I have spoken to you are spirit
and they are life.
‘But there are some of you who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the outset those who did not believe, and who it was that would betray him. He went on, ‘This is why I told you that no one could come to me unless the Father allows him.’ After this, many of his disciples left him and stopped going with him.
Then Jesus said to the Twelve, ‘What about you, do you want to go away too?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘Lord, who shall we go to? You have the message of eternal life, and we believe: we know that you are the Holy One of God.’
Consolation of the Holy Spirit
It had been an entire week of readings reminding us of faith and conversion. The readings tells us of Stephen and his deep faith until the very moment when he was being persecuted; Phillip bringing the Good News and working miracles among the people, eventually converting many; Saul who began his life persecuting those who believed and followed the way of Jesus, but converted with deep faith in the Lord, becoming one of those whom he used to persecute., who later spread the Word to the different regions, becoming one of the influential writers of the Bible.
Today, Peter is mentioned in the period where initial foundations of the Church and the people’s believe in the resurrected Lord Jesus began building itself up. It was a promised made by our Father and until today, two thousand years later, the foundations remain strong despite all efforts done to bring Christianity down. Apostle Peter continues to work miracles in the region and more people converted, believing in what they have seen. All is impossible without the Holy Spirit. It is very important to be reminded that it is the Holy Spirit dwelling in us Christians that we have to constantly fire up. I imagine it as a tiny flame inside our hearts. Our pro-activeness and enthusiasm is the oxygen to fire it up and keep it burning.
Let us not underestimate what we are capable of with the Holy Spirit. When we are down, it lifts us up. When we are energetic, it fires up and enable us to spread the Good News in many ways. Take chances to share your enthusiasm with the other, not to convert them, but to show with sincerity where our motivation truly comes from. We have been chosen by the Father and He has given us the gifts. Do we believe like the disciples; that we do it all for our Lord Jesus Christ.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Austin Leong)
Prayer: O Lord, do not let us forget your love for us and how You have light the flame of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, so that we continue to do Your good works and spread the Good News of your resurrected son, Jesus Christ.
Thanksgiving: What more can we ask for when You have already given us eternal life O Lord.
Sun, 15 May – Acts of the Apostles 2:14.36-41; 1 Peter 2:20-25; John 10:1-10; Fourth Sunday of Easter