Daily Archives: January 22, 2017

23 January, Monday – Second Salvation

23 January 2017

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Hebrews 9:15,24-28

Christ brings a new covenant, as the mediator, only so that the people who were called to an eternal inheritance may actually receive what was promised: his death took place to cancel the sins that infringed the earlier covenant. It is not as though Christ had entered a man-made sanctuary which was only modelled on the real one; but it was heaven itself, so that he could appear in the actual presence of God on our behalf.

And he does not have to offer himself again and again, like the high priest going into the sanctuary year after year with the blood that is not his own, or else he would have had to suffer over and over again since the world began.

Instead of that, he has made his appearance once and for all, now at the end of the last age, to do away with sin by sacrificing himself. Since men only die once, and after that comes judgement, so Christ, too, offers himself only once to take the faults of many on himself, and when he appears a second time, it will not be to deal with sin but to reward with salvation those who are waiting for him.

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Mark 3:22-30

The scribes who had come down from Jerusalem were saying, ‘Beelzebul is in him’ and, ‘It is through the prince of devils that he casts devils out.’ So he called them to him and spoke to them in parables, ‘How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot last.

And if a household is divided against itself, that household can never stand. Now if Satan has rebelled against himself and is divided, he cannot stand either – it is the end of him. But no one can make his way into a strong man’s house and burgle his property unless he has tied up the strong man first. Only then can he burgle his house.

‘I tell you solemnly, all men’s sins will be forgiven, and all their blasphemies; but let anyone blaspheme against the Holy Spirit and he will never have forgiveness: he is guilty of an eternal sin.’ This was because they were saying, ‘An unclean spirit is in him.’

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Death took place to cancel the sins

I have been in a long-distance relationship for the past three years and it is going strong. There have been countless ‘hellos’ and ‘goodbyes’ at the airports. We come and then we go, spending a period of time together and then we look forward to the next trip. With our Lord God, time seems to be of an infinite nature. He does not count the years or by when that He has to achieve a milestone, or perform a miracle or sending a saviour to us. In His time, God sent Jesus to suffer and die for our sins. Jesus, of flesh and blood, living among us to be crucified and to have the sins from generations past forgiven through His passion on the cross.

With such an act of love, how do we as children of God respond and give ourselves back to God in love as well? Today’s reading and Gospel tells us of how God removes the evil in our lives. We are reminded of his power to expel evil and also the sins that we commit in our daily lives. Surely we do not take all these for granted. We respond by showing acts of love to those around us; the persistence of maintaining unconditional love to others, beginning from home, to family members and to those who are in need.

Jesus came and died for our sins, the Holy Spirit came down upon us to grace us with the gifts to do good. Are we prepared to meet and welcome God in the second coming? It was only about two thousand years ago that Jesus lived among us. Week after week, we are given all the opportunities to do God’s work. Let us not get caught up with the materialism of this world, but to be aware of the good that we have to do, so that we are to be rewarded by our Father in heaven, to save us from all temptations, to be ready and welcome His second coming.

(Today’s Oxygen by Austin Leong)

Prayer: Oh Lord Jesus, please continue to guide us in doing good. We can be filled with hatred and disappointments day after day; be with us so that we know that Your greater love can make us conquer the little things, for the greater good in life.

Thanksgiving: I am grateful for your son Jesus Christ, let us sing a new song to the Lord for he has worked wonders.

22 January, Sunday – Breaking the Bad

22 Jan – Memorial for St. Vincent, deacon and martyr

Vincent of Saragossa (d. 304) was a friend of St. Valerius of Saragossa in Spain, and served as his deacon. He was imprisoned and tortured in Valencia, some of it by burning on a gridiron, for his faith. He converted the jailer and was finally offered release if he would give up the sacred texts to the fire, but he refused. He was martyred during the persecutions of Diocletian.

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Isaiah 8:23-9:3

In days past the Lord humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in days to come he will confer glory on the Way of the Sea on the far side of Jordan, province of the nations.

The people that walked in darkness
has seen a great light;
on those who live in a land of deep shadow
a light has shone.
You have made their gladness greater,
you have made their joy increase;
they rejoice in your presence
as men rejoice at harvest time,
as men are happy when they are dividing the spoils.

For the yoke that was weighing on him,
the bar across his shoulders,
the rod of his oppressor –
these you break as on the day of Midian.

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1 Corinthians 1:10-13,17

I appeal to you, brothers, for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, to make up the differences between you, and instead of disagreeing among yourselves, to be united again in your belief and practice.

From what Chloe’s people have been telling me, my dear brothers, it is clear that there are serious differences among you.

What I mean are all these slogans that you have, like: ‘I am for Paul’, ‘I am for Apollos’, ‘I am for Cephas’, ‘I am for Christ.’ Has Christ been parcelled out? Was it Paul that was crucified for you? Were you baptised in the name of Paul?

For Christ did not send me to baptise, but to preach the Good News, and not to preach that in the terms of philosophy in which the crucifixion of Christ cannot be expressed.

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Matthew 4:12-23

Hearing that John had been arrested, Jesus went back to Galilee, and leaving Nazareth he went and settled in Capernaum, a lakeside town on the borders of Zebulun and Naphtali. In this way the prophecy of Isaiah was to be fulfilled:

‘Land of Zebulun! Land of Naphtali!
Way of the sea on the far side of Jordan,
Galilee of the nations!
The people that lived in darkness has seen a great light;
on those who dwell in the land and shadow of death
a light has dawned.’

From that moment Jesus began his preaching with the message, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.’

As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee he saw two brothers, Simon, who was called Peter, and his brother Andrew; they were making a cast in the lake with their net, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.’ And they left their nets at once and followed him. Going on from there he saw another pair of brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John; they were in their boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. At once, leaving the boat and their father, they followed him.

He went round the whole of Galilee teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom and curing all kinds of diseases and sickness among the people.

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These you break

At the beginning of this new year, some of us may have set out resolutions to keep up with for the rest of the year, while some of us probably gave up on writing down any because we hardly follow through with them anyway. It is not resolutions that are important for us Christians, but the work on our relations with God that is to set out how our year will turn out to be. Will this coming year be a mundane year, just like the previous one? Is this going to be a tough, uphill battle with many uncertainties coming our way? Have we set ourselves up to build a stronger and more intimate relationship with God?

In today’s first reading, God the Father is being praised for the joy and happiness which he has brought to His nations and people. He has come to lift the burden upon men, that he breaks away the hardships that we put on our shoulders. He does this because God wants to have a relationship with us, that he only wants good for us. For a healthy outcome in a relationship, there is some form of desire of good for the other, a stage of letting go the hardships and breaking away from the comfort for ourselves. So that we may be less burdened but to live a more fulfilling life ahead of us with the good relationships that we form.

Getting back to the Gospel of today, Jesus calls out to the first disciples. Very ordinary fishermen who left their daily work and followed Jesus. We are the very ordinary people whom He has called out. Perhaps, not in the sense of calling us to vocation, but His calling to always build a strong relationship with Jesus, to be able to follow Him throughout our daily tasks and work.

We do not need to set unfulfilled resolutions year after year; we just need to break away from our undesirable habits, let our hearts give thanks and praise the Lord everyday. Call out to him to share that yoke with you. In this way, you will be fulfilling more resolutions than you think, and perhaps by the end of the year, when you think back, you would have had a healthy relationship with God and those around you. It could turn out to be a productive and eventful year.

(Today’s Oxygen by Austin Leong)

Prayer: O Lord, dwell in me that I may look up and march through my day with you.

Thanksgiving: I give thanks to be able to wake up today to conquer my day with you.