12 May 2019
Acts 13:14, 43-52
Paul and Barnabas carried on from Perga till they reached Antioch in Pisidia. Here they went to synagogue on the Sabbath and took their seats.
When the meeting broke up many Jews and devout converts joined Paul and Barnabas, and in their talks with them Paul and Barnabas urged them to remain faithful to the grace God had given them.
The next sabbath almost the whole town assembled to hear the word of God. When they saw the crowds, the Jews, prompted by jealousy, used blasphemies and contradicted everything Paul said. Then Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly. ‘We had to proclaim the word of God to you first, but since you have rejected it, since you do not think yourselves worthy of eternal life, we must turn to the pagans. For this is what the Lord commanded us to do when he said:
I have made you a light for the nations,
so that my salvation may reach the ends of the earth.’
It made the pagans very happy to hear this and they thanked the Lord for his message; all who were destined for eternal life became believers. Thus the word of the Lord spread through the whole countryside.
But the Jews worked upon some of the devout women of the upper classes and the leading men of the city and persuaded them to turn against Paul and Barnabas and expel them from their territory. So they shook the dust from their feet in defiance and went off to Iconium; but the disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.
Apocalypse 7:9, 14-17
I, John, saw a huge number, impossible to count, of people from every nation, race, tribe and language; they were standing in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb, dressed in white robes and holding palms in their hands. One of the elders said, ‘These are the people who have been through the great persecution, and because they have washed their robes white again in the blood of the Lamb, they now stand in front of God’s throne and serve him day and night in his sanctuary; and the One who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them. They will never hunger or thirst again; neither the sun nor scorching wind will ever plague them, because the Lamb who is at the throne will be their shepherd and will lead them to springs of living water; and God will wipe away all tears from their eyes.’
‘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.’
Thus the word of the Lord spread through the whole countryside.
The role of the Christian is called to evangelise to the people around them. This does not mean going out to a stranger to share with them the Gospel although if that is a suitable way to reach out to them, then one could consider using it. However, in order to be good people of evangelisation, we will need to have good role models which we can draw an example from. The readings of today show us the traits of a role model which we can emulate.
The apostles in the first reading were very happy to have heard the Word of God and diligently shared the word with the people in the world. They continued to spread the word to the non-Jewish community. God’s salvation is not limited only to one group of people but is extended to the entire world. This means that we will need to continue to spread the word of God to the people in the world who matter to us.
Sometimes we can share the faith with the Christian community who are living in our midst. Fellow Christians also need reminders to know of the need of why God is needed in their lives. The faith journey which they are in could be at a low point – they might need some encouragement in order to push themselves out of the situation they are in.
Jesus reminds us that His sheep know Him. To know Christ requires us to spend time in reading the Bible and also to spend time in prayer. Only by being in contact with God can we learn how to trust in His plan for us. The world we live in is one which keeps us occupied and distracted from be in touch with God. We need to constantly be in touch with God to discover what He wants from us. God is the role model which we should emulate and this will definitely allow us to discover the plan which He has in store for us.
(Today’s Oxygen by Nicholas Chia)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we pray that we remain faithful to the message of love which you have preached.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all who continue to show the way to Heaven.