08 May, Wednesday – Knowing the Father

8 May 2019


Acts 8:1-8
That day a bitter persecution started against the church in Jerusalem, and everyone except the apostles fled to the country districts of Judaea and Samaria.
There were some devout people, however, who buried Stephen and made great mourning for him.
Saul then worked for the total destruction of the Church; he went from house to house arresting both men and women and sending them to prison.
Those who had escaped went from place to place preaching the Good News. One of them was Philip who went to a Samaritan town and proclaimed the Christ to them. The people united in welcoming the message Philip preached, either because they had heard of the miracles he worked or because they saw them for themselves. There were, for example, unclean spirits that came shrieking out of many who were possessed, and several paralytics and cripples were cured. As a result there was great rejoicing in that town.
John 6:35-40
Jesus said to the crowd:
‘I am the bread of life.
He who comes to me will never be hungry;
he who believes in me will never thirst.
But, as I have told you,
you can see me and still you do not believe.
All that the Father gives me will come to me,
and whoever comes to me I shall not turn him away;
because I have come from heaven, not to do my own will,
but to do the will of the one who sent me.
Now the will of him who sent me
is that I should lose nothing of all that he has given to me,
and that I should raise it up on the last day.
Yes, it is my Father’s will
that whoever sees the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life,
and that I shall raise him up on the last day.’

…I shall raise him up on the last day.

What a ‘bold’, adrenaline-filled week it has been from the apostles’ perspective – casting out demons, healing the sick and even chastising the Sanhedrin and Pharisees at the risk of losing their lives for Christ. And what a far cry from the downcast, disheartened, distraught bunch that witnessed the gruesome crucifixion after the long, arduous trek up Calvary.

It truly is amazing how people can perform ‘out of their skin’ given the right motivation. As a fervent supporter of Liverpool Football Club, I have witnessed more than a few games this season when previous teams would have capitulated. This current crop, however, are a different kettle of fish altogether. Not only are they fighting tooth and nail for the fans, their manager (a Catholic, no less) has obviously given them the belief that they are destined to win something. And I hold firm that after yet another bruising encounter last weekend, which will take the championship to the final day of the season, the team will be raised up on the last day; even if they do not win the league in spite of amassing a record points total.

And such is Jesus’ call to all of us – that we live our lives here on earth to the fullest, as destined by God when He created us. It is our responsibility to our maker to make the right choices and to go down the paths that have been marked out for us. But then, what happens when we make a wrong turn? What if we get led down a wrong path because of circumstances beyond our control? Brothers and sisters, our God is a merciful, loving and forgiving God who is always waiting for us to come back to him as long as we are sincere and contrite. He will never deny us the chance to live the life that will lead us to His pastures on the day we leave this earth. It is a promise already made by Jesus in today’s gospel – that whoever sees his Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life.

I don’t know about you but I have seen Him, in a vision during a retreat in 2012. And I continue to cling on to that vision each time I fall when I sin against Him. I continue to look for Him at every mass and every adoration session, always willing Him to appear again before me so that I can jump into the sea like Peter did; and to be the ‘rock’ that others can rely on so that their burdens are lightened. Looking back on the past few months, it has been rather ‘adrenaline-filled’ for me, especially in ministry where I have said ‘Yes’ on more than a few occasions.

Brothers and sisters, when the chips are down and you wonder if all your efforts are ‘worth it’, just bear in mind what the apostles had to endure as they were sent out into the world to preach the Good News. Let us always fix our gaze upon the Lord and hold fast in the belief that come what may, we will be standing before Him on the last day, waiting to walk into His open and loving arms.

(Today’s Oxygen by Desmond Soon)

Prayer: Father, we pray for the grace to live a life that is pleasing to you and that edifies your everlasting love for us so that those around us can be inspired as well.

Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for moulding us and for shaping us into your sons and daughters. And for never letting us go in spite of our failings and shortcomings as we navigate life.

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