2 May, Monday – Do not Refuse God

2 May – Memorial of Saint Athanasius, Bishop, Doctor

Athanasius (c. 295) studied the classics and theology in Alexandria, Egypt. He was a deacon, secretary, and student of Bishop Alexander of Alexandria. He attended the Council of Nicaea in 325 where he fought for the defeat of Arianism and the acceptance of the divinity of Jesus. He formulated the doctrine of homo-ousianism which says that Christ is the same substance as the Father; Arianism taught that Christ was different and a creation of the Father, a creature and not part of God.

He became Bishop of Alexandria c. 328; he served for 46 years. When the dispute over Arianism spilled over from theology to politics, Athanasius got exiled five times, spending more than a third of his episcopate in exile.

He was the biographer of St. Anthony the Abbot. Confessor of the faith and Doctor of the Church, he fought for the acceptance of the Nicene Creed.

-Patron Saint Index

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Acts 16:11-15

Sailing from Troas we made a straight run for Samothrace; the next day for Neapolis, and from there for Philippi, a Roman colony and the principal city of that particular district of Macedonia. After a few days in this city we went along the river outside the gates as it was the sabbath and this was a customary place for prayer. We sat down and preached to the women who had come to the meeting. One of these women was called Lydia, a devout woman from the town of Thyatira who was in the purple-dye trade. She listened to us, and the Lord opened her heart to accept what Paul was saying. After she and her household had been baptised she sent us an invitation: ‘If you really think me a true believer in the Lord,’ she said ‘come and stay with us’; and she would take no refusal.

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John 15:26-16:4

Jesus said to his disciples:
‘When the Advocate comes,
whom I shall send to you from the Father,
the Spirit of truth who issues from the Father,
he will be my witness.
And you too will be witnesses,
because you have been with me from the outset.
‘I have told you all this that your faith may not be shaken.
They will expel you from the synagogues,
and indeed the hour is coming
when anyone who kills you
will think he is doing a holy duty for God.
They will do these things
because they have never known
either the Father or myself.
But I have told you all this,
so that when the time for it comes

you may remember that I told you.’

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An invitation

There was this period of time when invitations were commonly received in print. Cards were carefully designed to make the invitation very welcoming. However, with social media these days, many would turn to a quicker, cheaper and easier way of inviting friends for an occasion. It could be someone’s birthday, a wedding or baby shower. Call me old-fashioned but I prefer to receive a print invitation especially for someone’s wedding. Once, I received a wedding invitation six days away via text message… that totally put me off.

In today’s reading, an invitation stretches beyond just about having the other to be present for the occasion. It is not about just filling that one spot that has been left empty. Inviting someone into your home or celebrating a special day is about the sincerity and gratefulness of wanting that friend to celebrate with together. Just like the devout woman, Lydia, she experienced a change of heart through Jesus that she in turn opens her home to the apostles. How have we ourselves experience Jesus in our very own lives? When we become a firm believer of Christ, we have allowed Jesus into our life thus becoming a witness of how God has transformed us. Nothing is more powerful than our very own testament of God’s work in us for He had sacrificed his son on the cross.

The Church is a welcoming place that invites everyone to pray together and to worship God together. Never be afraid about entering the church even if you have no clue what goes on behind the Eucharistic celebrations. Come enter with an open mind and let God in. When the relationship between two friends is sincere, it goes both ways that both parties invites each other in on all occasions of their life journey. It takes a lot of heart in inviting a friend. Let us not take those close to us for granted. And we should reach out to one another with gratitude.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Austin Leong)

Prayer: We have truly forgotten the simple gesture of inviting from the heart these days. Let us keep in mind that God is always inviting us to His banquet, and we shall not refuse.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks for friends and family whom have not forgotten about us in their celebrations, that we are able to witness God’s love through them.

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