05 Jun – Seventh Sunday of Easter; World Communication Sunday
The Spirit Of Prayer And Praise
Christ prayed in the Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is the source of the prayer and praise of the whole Church. The Spirit of God is resting on us as we offer this sacrifice of praise today.
Acts of the Apostles 1:12-14
After Jesus was taken up into heaven the apostles went back from the Mount of Olives, as it is called, to Jerusalem, a short distance away, no more than a sabbath walk; and when they reached the city they went to the upper room where they were staying; there were Peter and John, James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Jude son of James. All these joined in continuous prayer, together with several women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.
1 Peter 4:13-16
If you can have some share in the sufferings of Christ, be glad, because you will enjoy a much greater gladness when his glory is revealed. It is a blessing for you when they insult you for bearing the name of Christ, because it means that you have the Spirit of glory, the Spirit of God resting on you. None of you should ever deserve to suffer for being a murderer, a thief, a criminal or an informer; but if anyone of you should suffer for being a Christian, then he is not to be ashamed of it; he should thank God that he has been called one.
Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:
‘Father, the hour has come:
glorify your Son
so that your Son may glorify you;
and, through the power over all mankind that you have given him,
let him give eternal life to all those you have entrusted to him.
And eternal life is this:
to know you,
the only true God,
and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
I have glorified you on earth
and finished the work that you gave me to do.
Now, Father, it is time for you to glorify me
with that glory I had with you
before ever the world was.
I have made your name known
to the men you took from the world to give me.
They were yours and you gave them to me,
and they have kept your word.
Now at last they know
that all you have given me comes indeed from you;
for I have given them the teaching you gave to me,
and they have truly accepted this, that I came from you,
and have believed that it was you who sent me.
I pray for them;
I am not praying for the world
but for those you have given me,
because they belong to you:
all I have is yours
and all you have is mine,
and in them I am glorified.
I am not in the world any longer,
but they are in the world,
and I am coming to you.’
Be glad to share in the sufferings of Christ because on the day his glory is revealed, you will also rejoice
One of my favorite verses in the Bible, is the ‘parable of the farmer’ –
“Does the ploughman do nothing but plough, loosen the earth, pulverize the clods with a harrow? After leveling the soil, does he not begin to sow caraway and scatter cumin, wheat and barley and put spelt as the border? For his God instructs him on what to do, He gives him guidance and discretion too” – Isaiah 28:24-26
I think of a harvest the same way I think our forefathers in faith would have thought of the Church and their mission.
A harvest is a struggle, seasonal, full of variables not within our grasp. Seeds are sown; maybe they’ll take root, maybe they won’t. A harvest is about timing – is the soil ready for the seed? Is the weather conducive? Are there pests and weeds? Sometimes a harvest is about reading the signs – is it time to sow or reap? Where do we sow, and how much do we reap?
In the Acts of the Apostles, we see the first stirrings of the Church. Like the start of the harvest, the seeds of the Church are sown, conversion by conversion. Luke brings us from the Church’s first humble steps in Jerusalem, with the receiving of the Holy Spirit by the Apostles, to the spreading of God’s word through Judea, Samaria and all along the coast, to Paul’s journeys through Asia, Greece and finally to the palace of the Roman emperor itself.
Their mission sounds exciting but the reality of their daily grind must have been excruciating. How exhausting to be constantly trying to convert disbelievers. The early apostles had to stand up to the criticism of the Jewish establishment of the time which probably means they were outcasts and stigmatized. They were persecuted by the Romans, so would have been fearful for their lives. Then there is the subject of travel and logistics. Paul was shipwrecked, cold, tired and hungry – yet he still kept going.
The apostles traveled by land and by sea sowing the seeds of God’s church, with nothing but the knowledge that “I saw the Lord before me at all times; He is by my side that I may not be shaken. Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue rejoiced; my body too will live in hope… You have made known to me the paths of life, and your presence will fill me with joy” – Acts 2:25-28.
As we go about the daily grind of our own faith journeys, difficult as they are sometimes let us give thanks for the opportunity that trials give us to flex our faith muscles. “… Be glad to share in the sufferings of Christ because on the day his glory is revealed, you will also rejoice” – 1 Peter 4:13
(Today’s OXYGEN by Sharon Soo)
Prayer: Lord we pray for your grace to discern your plans. Show us how to stay focus on you and how to place you the centre of our lives
Thanksgiving: We thank you Lord for sustaining us each day. For our family and friends who have been our pillar of support.
Mon, 06 Jun – Acts of the Apostles 19:1-8; John 16:29-33; Memorial for St Norbert, Bishop
Tue, 07 Jun – Acts of the Apostles 20:17-27; John 17:1-11
Wed, 08 Jun – Acts of the Apostles 20:28-38; John 17:11-19
Thu, 09 Jun – Acts of the Apostles 22:30;23:6-11; John 17:20-26; Memorial for St Ephrem, Deacon & Doctor of the Church
Fri, 10 Jun – Acts of the Apostles 25:13-21; John 21:15-19
Sat, 11 Jun – Acts of the Apostles 11:21-26;13:1-3; Matthew 10:7-13; Memorial for St Barnabas, Apostle
Sun, 12 Jun – Acts of the Apostles 2:1-11; 1 Corinthians 12:3-7.12-13; John 20:19-23; Pentecost Sunday