11 Apr – Easter Wednesday
Dear Oxygen Readers,
Serene is a new writer for OXYGEN (this is her second batch of reflections that she is writing for us. She wrote another a few weeks ago). She has generously and courageously chosen to experience God through her writing and also through sharing her life, and God through her life, with us. Here is a short bio on Serene so you can know her:
“Serene, who was baptised in 2008, was first touched by the Lord in 2005 while studying Development Studies in Brown University un Providence, Rhode Island, USA. A regular parishioner of the Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Singapore), Serene works in fund administration for hedge funds. She joined OXYGEN in the beginning of 2012 as she wanted to write for the Church, especially after receiving some encouragement on her gift in writing.”
Do join us in officially welcoming Serene onboard the team!
The Oxygen team
Acts of the Apostles 3:1-10
Once, when Peter and John were going up to the Temple for the prayers at the ninth hour, it happened that there was a man being carried past. He was a cripple from birth; and they used to put him down every day near the Temple entrance called the Beautiful Gate so that he could beg from the people going in. When this man saw Peter and John on their way into the Temple he begged from them. Both Peter and John looked straight at him and said, ‘Look at us.’ He turned to them expectantly, hoping to get something from them, but Peter said, ‘I have neither silver nor gold, but I will give you what I have: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, walk!’ Peter then took him by the hand and helped him to stand up. Instantly his feet and ankles became firm, he jumped up, stood, and began to walk, and he went with them into the Temple, walking and jumping and praising God. Everyone could see him walking and praising God, and they recognised him as the man who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple. They were all astonished and unable to explain what had happened to him.
Two of the disciples of Jesus were on their way to a village called Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking together about all that had happened. Now as they talked this over, Jesus himself came up and walked by their side; but something prevented them from recognising him. He said to them, ‘What matters are you discussing as you walk along?’ They stopped short, their faces downcast.
Then one of them, called Cleopas, answered him, ‘You must be the only person staying in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have been happening there these last few days.’ ‘What things?’ he asked. ‘All about Jesus of Nazareth’ they answered ‘who proved he was a great prophet by the things he said and did in the sight of God and of the whole people; and how our chief priests and our leaders handed him over to be sentenced to death, and had him crucified. Our own hope had been that he would be the one to set Israel free. And this is not all: two whole days have gone by since it all happened; and some women from our group have astounded us: they went to the tomb in the early morning, and when they did not find the body, they came back to tell us they had seen a vision of angels who declared he was alive. Some of our friends went to the tomb and found everything exactly as the women had reported, but of him they saw nothing.’
Then he said to them, ‘You foolish men! So slow to believe the full message of the prophets! Was it not ordained that the Christ should suffer and so enter into his glory?’ Then, starting with Moses and going through all the prophets, he explained to them the passages throughout the scriptures that were about himself.
When they drew near to the village to which they were going, he made as if to go on; but they pressed him to stay with them. ‘It is nearly evening’ they said ‘and the day is almost over.’ So he went in to stay with them. Now while he was with them at table, he took the bread and said the blessing; then he broke it and handed it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognised him; but he had vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?’
They set out that instant and returned to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven assembled together with their companions, who said to them, ‘Yes, it is true. The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.’ Then they told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised him at the breaking of bread.
Their eyes were opened
It is difficult at first to share of your faith in Christ Jesus. The “miracles”, or daily blessings, that you receive may often be perceived as mere coincidences. “You merely attribute these good things that happen to God. They may not necessarily be a result of God,” my atheistic friends often say. When this happens many times over, I sometimes lose confidence and am discouraged to share my faith.
Yet, I am affirmed and encouraged by today’s passages from Acts and Luke. Peter healed a cripple from birth simply by using the name of Jesus. And, on their way to Emmaus, two disciples had their eyes opened when they recognized Jesus through the breaking of bread. In fact, He had been walking and talking with them the whole way! It is such a gift of the Holy Spirit to be able to accept Christ Jesus as saviour. I remember how my eyes were opened on that day I was baptized. It is for this moment that evangelists persist in their calling.
Are you afraid of sharing your faith? Does today’s passages inspire you to continue? I often think back about the people who first shared their faith with me, and who accompanied me on my path of conversion. They were indeed precious to my life for it is through them that I found Jesus. Perhaps sometimes you think about the people who led you to God too, and gain encouragement from them.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Serene Goh)
Prayer: Lord I pray for all the newly baptized this Easter. May they continue to grow in faith, and share their passion for you with others.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord for touching me through the Holy Spirit, and for giving me faith in You. It means the world to me.