24 April, Tuesday – Knowing God

24 Apr – Memorial for St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen, priest & martyr

St. Fidelis Sigmaringen (1577-1622) was a lawyer and teacher of philosophy. Disgusted by the greed, corruption, and lack of interest in justice by his fellow lawyers, Mark Rey abandoned the law, became a priest and a Franciscan friar with his brother George. He changed his name to Fidelis and gave away his worldly wealth to poor people in general, and poor seminarians in particular. He served his friary as guardian, and worked in epidemics, especially healing soldiers. He led a group of Capuchins to preach to Calvinists and Zwinglians in Switzerland. The success of this work, and lack of violence suffered by mission was attributed to Fidelis spending his nights in prayer. He was, however, eventually martyred for his preaching.

“Woe to me if I should prove myself but a halfhearted soldier in the service of my thorn-crowned Captain.”

  • St. Fidelis

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Acts 11:19-26

Those who had escaped during the persecution that happened because of Stephen travelled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, but they usually proclaimed the message only to Jews. Some of them, however, who came from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch where they started preaching to the Greeks, proclaiming the Good News of the Lord Jesus to them as well. The Lord helped them, and a great number believed and were converted to the Lord.

The church in Jerusalem heard about this and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. There he could see for himself that God had given grace, and this pleased him, and he urged them all to remain faithful to the Lord with heartfelt devotion; for he was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and with faith. And a large number of people were won over to the Lord.
Barnabas then left for Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him he brought him to Antioch. As things turned out they were to live together in that church a whole year, instructing a large number of people. It was at Antioch that the disciples were first called ‘Christians.’

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John 10:22-30

It was the time when the feast of Dedication was being celebrated in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the Temple walking up and down in the Portico of Solomon. The Jews gathered round him and said, ‘How much longer are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.’ Jesus replied:

‘I have told you, but you do not believe.
The works I do in my Father’s name are my witness;
but you do not believe,
because you are no sheep of mine.
The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice;
I know them and they follow me.
I give them eternal life;
they will never be lost
and no one will ever steal them from me.
The Father who gave them to me is greater than anyone,
and no one can steal from the Father.
The Father and I are one.’

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I know them and they follow me

How do we know somebody? Is it through the various identification papers which he/she has or even the occupation in which they are engaged in? Such an approach is what the world adopts but it certainly is not what we are called to do. The readings of today remind us that God knows each one of us by name.

The faith we hold is a gift from God. This faith allows us to discover the breadth and depth of God’s love for us as seen in Jesus Christ dying for our sins. This is something which is easy for us to comprehend but we can appreciate the fact that God wants us to know Him as well as He knows us.

God the Holy Spirit is with us in our lives. He will show us the way in which we can know God and He will allow our actions and words to manifest themselves in a way which will be aligned with God’s plan. Being called Christian means we need to become Christlike. Patience, forgiveness and generosity are the fruits of being a Christian. Let us ask God to grant us the grace to share these gifts with the people around us.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Nicholas Chia)

Prayer: Heavenly Father, grant us the ability to live a life in line with what your son has called us to do so

Thanksgiving:  We give thanks for all who show us what it means to be Christian.

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