6 May, Sunday – Joyful Pain

6 May

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Acts 10:25-26,34-35,44-48

As Peter reached the house Cornelius went out to meet him, knelt at his feet and prostrated himself. But Peter helped him up. ‘Stand up,’ he said ‘I am only a man after all!’

Then Peter addressed them: ‘The truth I have now come to realise’ he said ‘is that God does not have favourites, but that anybody of any nationality who fears God and does what is right is acceptable to him.’

While Peter was still speaking the Holy Spirit came down on all the listeners. Jewish believers who had accompanied Peter were all astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit should be poured out on the pagans too, since they could hear them speaking strange languages and proclaiming the greatness of God. Peter himself then said, ‘Could anyone refuse the water of baptism to these people, now they have received the Holy Spirit just as much as we have?’ He then gave orders for them to be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ. Afterwards they begged him to stay on for some days.

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1 John 4:11-16

My dear people, since God has loved us so much, we too should love one another.

No one has ever seen God; but as long as we love one another God will live in us and his love will be complete in us.

We can know that we are living in him and he is living in us because he lets us share his Spirit.

We ourselves saw and we testify that the Father sent his Son as saviour of the world.

If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him, and he in God.

We ourselves have known and put our faith in God’s love towards ourselves.

God is love and anyone who lives in love lives in God, and God lives in him.

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John 17:11-19

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:

‘Holy Father, keep those you have given me true to your name, so that they may be one like us.

While I was with them, I kept those you had given me true to your name. I have watched over them and not one is lost except the one who chose to be lost, and this was to fulfil the scriptures.

But now I am coming to you and while still in the world I say these things to share my joy with them to the full.

I passed your word on to them, and the world hated them, because they belong to the world no more than I belong to the world.

I am not asking you to remove them from the world, but to protect them from the evil one.

They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world.

Consecrate them in the truth; your word is truth.

As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world, and for their sake I consecrate myself so that they too may be consecrated in truth.’

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I have watched over them and not one is lost except the one who chose to be lost

Experiencing the feeling of being lost in a foreign country is not a pleasant one. There is the fear of being robbed, of not reaching a particular objective one has set out to reach; even of getting lost and not being found. Would this be the case of the individual asking for trouble himself or just a case of bad luck? I believe the similarities between our behaviour in this case and the message behind today’s readings are a reminder to us on the importance of staying close to God.

Judas chose to be lost because he made the decision to betray Christ and then commit suicide. At first glance, it may seem like a case of guilt. However, I find that it is actually a lack of belief and faith in Christ’s love. Judas chose to believe himself instead of the mercy of God. This could have been resolved in a different way like how St Peter went through the painful experience of forgiveness.

Denying Jesus three times in Our Lord’s time of need would seem to be an unforgivable offence but our Lord chose to reconcile Peter to union with His love. Our love with Christ is a painful one because we need to surrender our hurts and past hurts to Christ. But this process of purification will eventually lead to an anticipation of being in communion with God.

As long as we make the effort to stay with Christ, he will never forget us. Let us take time now to stay in love with God despite our shortcomings.

(Today’s Oxygen by Nicholas Chia)

Prayer: Dear Lord, let us remain faithful to you.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all who bring us to love with God.

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