19 Apr – Third Sunday of Easter
Our Advocate With The Father
We celebrate with the living Christ, our advocate with the Father, in whose name repentance for the forgiveness of sins is preached to all the world.
– Sunday Missal
Peter said to the people: ‘You are Israelites, and it is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our ancestors, who has glorified his servant Jesus, the same Jesus you handed over and then disowned in the presence of Pilate after Pilate had decided to release him. It was you who accused the Holy One, the Just One, you who demanded the reprieve of a murderer while you killed the prince of life. God, however, raised him from the dead, and to that fact we are the witnesses.
‘Now I know, brothers, that neither you nor your leaders had any idea what you were really doing; this was the way God carried out what he had foretold, when he said through all his prophets that his Christ would suffer. Now you must repent and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out.’
1 John 2:1-5
I am writing this, my children,
to stop you sinning;
but if anyone should sin,
we have our advocate with the Father,
Jesus Christ, who is just;
he is the sacrifice that takes our sins away,
and not only ours,
but the whole world’s.
We can be sure that we know God
only by keeping his commandments.
Anyone who says, ‘I know him’,
and does not keep his commandments,
is a liar,
refusing to admit the truth.
But when anyone does obey what he has said,
God’s love comes to perfection in him.
The disciples told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised Jesus at the breaking of bread.
They were still talking about all this when Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you!’ In a state of alarm and fright, they thought they were seeing a ghost. But he said, ‘Why are you so agitated, and why are these doubts rising in your hearts? Look at my hands and feet; yes, it is I indeed. Touch me and see for yourselves; a ghost has no flesh and bones as you can see I have.’ And as he said this he showed them his hands and feet. Their joy was so great that they still could not believe it, and they stood there dumbfounded; so he said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ And they offered him a piece of grilled fish, which he took and ate before their eyes.
Then he told them, ‘This is what I meant when I said, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms has to be fulfilled.’ He then opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, ‘So you see how it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that, in his name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses to this.’
You are witnesses of these things
This Holy Week began after a tumultuous week at work. The passing of Singapore’s founding father meant that the week leading up to his funeral service was filled with daily briefings and debriefings, a memorial service I had to put together for staff and students just one day after his passing, as well as a tribute room which was set up at our main campus. By the time the funeral service came along, I was running on fumes emotionally, having had to rein it all in as ‘work mode’ took over.
I believe that the Lord called me to witness many things during that historic week. A core team of colleagues bonded together to get everything done and to ensure that we would honour Mr Lee fittingly. All the preparation had been done the week before, meaning that I had to leave CER#45 abruptly on the first day (Wednesday) at dinner break, to report back to work as my team needed me. The initial disappointment (that I had let my worship leaders down) turned into a resolve to do the best I could so that a great man could be sent off to his rest. As I worked on speech drafts and email drafts late into the night, I could hear the Lord saying to me, “This is what I need you to do now.”
When the day of the funeral (Sunday) came along and everything was done, I gave thanks to the Lord for allowing me, in a very miniscule way, to capture a part of Singapore history unfolding as I watched the cortege pass by on its way to the crematorium. I surrendered my tiredness to the Lord that night and let Him take over for Holy Week. Everything went by in a blur as I caught up on some sleep and got back to ‘regular’ work. Yet again, He called me to witness another miracle as two of my ministry members opened up in humility and mended fences over a long-standing misunderstanding.
By pulling out of CER#45, the Lord led me to ‘Nox Gaudi’ on the Friday evening. There, He allowed me to witness the evangelical zeal of young Catholics who were from the universities. It was an amazing night of praise and worship, testimony and adoration and I even met the daughter of a parishoner who is now interning with me as she waits to enter university to study… communications.
Brothers and sisters, as Christians, we are called to witness the Lord’s work on a daily basis. There is no running away from it. Everything we do, see and hear is an invitation from the Lord to be a witness to, and to testify to his amazing love. What we sometimes think are hurdles, disappointments and inconveniences are merely doors which our heavenly Father wants us to step through so that we can be true witnesses to His miracles. All He asks is for us to open the doors of our hearts so that He can take us by the hand and lead us along the path that He has already laid down for us.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Desmond Soon)
Prayer: Lord, give us the faith to surrender to your will wholeheartedly, and to come to the cross on a daily basis to offer up all our fears, worries, anxieties and everything else that troubles us.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks to you O Lord for being the resurrection for us each and every day of our lives.