21 April, Easter Sunday – Our Stronghold

21 Apr – Easter Sunday

Alleluia!

This mass is our Alleluia; our song of praise to the risen Christ who is our life and whose triumph over death we proclaim to all the world.

– Sunday Missal
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Acts 10:34.37-43

Peter addressed Cornelius and his household: ‘The truth I have now come to realise’ he said ‘is that God does not have favourites, You must have heard about the recent happenings in Judaea; about Jesus of Nazareth and how he began in Galilee, after John had been preaching baptism. God had anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and because God was with him, Jesus went about doing good and curing all who had fallen into the power of the devil. Now I, and those with me, can witness to everything he did throughout the countryside of Judaea and in Jerusalem itself: and also to the fact that they killed him by hanging him on a tree, yet three days afterwards God raised him to life and allowed him to be seen, not by the whole people but only by certain witnesses God had chosen beforehand. Now we are those witnesses – we have eaten and drunk with him after his resurrection from the dead – and he has ordered us to proclaim this to his people and to tell them that God has appointed him to judge everyone, alive or dead. It is to him that all the prophets bear this witness: that all who believe in Jesus will have their sins forgiven through his name.’
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Colossians 3:1-4

Since you have been brought back to true life with Christ, you must look for the things that are in heaven, where Christ is, sitting at God’s right hand. Let your thoughts be on heavenly things, not on the things that are on the earth, because you have died, and now the life you have is hidden with Christ in God. But when Christ is revealed – and he is your life – you too will be revealed in all your glory with him.
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John 20:1-9

It was very early on the first day of the week and still dark, when Mary of Magdala came to the tomb. She saw that the stone had been moved away from the tomb and came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved. ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb’ she said ‘and we don’t know where they have put him.’

So Peter set out with the other disciple to go to the tomb. They ran together, but the other disciple, running faster than Peter, reached the tomb first; he bent down and saw the linen cloths lying on the ground, but did not go in. Simon Peter who was following now came up, went right into the tomb, saw the linen cloths on the ground, and also the cloth that had been over his head; this was not with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in; he saw and he believed. Till this moment they had failed to understand the teaching of scripture, that he must rise from the dead.
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He saw and he believed

I was introduced to rugby when I was in school. Since then, I have always had a fascination for the ‘gentlemen’s game’.

The recent finals of the Singapore National School’s B Division was exciting. The game was between two long-time rivals and the game had been heavily skewed in favour of one of the teams and the result seemed inevitable; the leader was going to win, and win by a wide margin. By sheer dogged determination, the trailing team managed to tie the score! The game went into overtime. During the overtime, and against all odds, the trailing team scored two tries. They had won!

When I read the story, I had wondered how both the boys and parents must have felt watching their team go behind and then to have to work hard to claw back the points, and then to finally snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.

It occurred to me that our faith is much like the experience of this team. Regardless of how much preparation Jesus had had for his disciples, they were distraught at having their Lord taken away, tortured and crucified. At the point of Jesus’ death, it must have seemed an end to everything they believed in and the life they had lived for three years.

Yet, victory was won by God, and this victory was shown on the third day after Jesus’ crucifixion.

This is a powerful and beautiful metaphor for our faith. When we keep our eyes on our Father, he makes all things possible. It does not mean, of course, that we will always get what we desire. What it means though, is that our God would be there for us, regardless.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Paul Wee)

Prayer: We pray, Father, that we always remember that You are our rock and our stronghold; that You will always be there for us no matter what.

Thanksgiving: We thank You Father, for sending Your only Son to bear the burdens of our sin. We thank You Jesus, for showing us the way to live our lives in the face of challenges and difficulties; with integrity and love.

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