10 June, Monday – Happyness

10 June – Memorial of Mary, Mother of the Church

The joyous veneration given to the Mother of God by the contemporary Church, in light of reflection on the mystery of Christ and on his nature, cannot ignore the figure of a woman (cf. Gal 4:4), the Virgin Mary, who is both the Mother of Christ and Mother of the Church.

In some ways this was already present in the mind of the Church from the premonitory words of Saint Augustine and Saint Leo the Great. In fact the former says that Mary is the mother of the members of Christ, because with charity she cooperated in the rebirth of the faithful into the Church, while the latter says that the birth of the Head is also the birth of the body, thus indicating that Mary is at once Mother of Christ, the Son of God, and mother of the members of his Mystical Body, which is the Church. These considerations derive from the divine motherhood of Mary and from her intimate union in the work of the Redeemer, which culminated at the hour of the cross.

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Genesis 3:9-15,20

After Adam had eaten of the tree the Lord God called to him. ‘Where are you?’ he asked. ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden;’ he replied ‘I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.’ ‘Who told you that you were naked?’ he asked ‘Have you been eating of the tree I forbade you to eat?’ The man replied, ‘It was the woman you put with me; she gave me the fruit, and I ate it.’ Then the Lord God asked the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ The woman replied, ‘The serpent tempted me and I ate.’

Then the Lord God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this,

‘Be accursed beyond all cattle,
all wild beasts.
You shall crawl on your belly and eat dust
every day of your life.
I will make you enemies of each other:
you and the woman,
your offspring and her offspring.
It will crush your head
and you will strike its heel.’

The man named his wife ‘Eve’ because she was the mother of all those who live.

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John 19:25-34

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. Seeing his mother and the disciple he loved standing near her, Jesus said to his mother, ‘Woman, this is your son.’ Then to the disciple he said, ‘This is your mother.’ And from that moment the disciple made a place for her in his home.
After this, Jesus knew that everything had now been completed, and to fulfil the scripture perfectly he said, ‘I am thirsty.’

A jar full of vinegar stood there, so putting a sponge soaked in the vinegar on a hyssop stick they held it up to his mouth. After Jesus had taken the vinegar he said, ‘It is accomplished’; and bowing his head he gave up his spirit.

  It was Preparation Day, and to prevent the bodies remaining on the cross during the sabbath – since that sabbath was a day of special solemnity – the Jews asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken away. Consequently the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with him and then of the other. When they came to Jesus, they found he was already dead, and so instead of breaking his legs one of the soldiers pierced his side with a lance; and immediately there came out blood and water.

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It is finished

Over the past weekend, I attended a preparation camp for an upcoming retreat for young adults. A few of us (5 adults) had been approached a few months back by the organisers to help out as facilitators and I gladly said ‘Yes’ because I had nothing on and could take leave for the 4-day/3-night retreat happening this very week.

At the stay-in camp, I got a chance to interact with the young adults in my centre and boy was I blown away. From their sharings to the worship sessions, the way everything was planned and organised, I could tell that this bunch of 50 or so youth were truly fired up with the Holy Spirit in their hearts. This was in spite of their challenges as 25 to 30-something Christians, one or two of whom already in the stage of parenthood.

Having expected nothing from this camp, I came away extremely humbled and envious of these soldiers for Christ. Many of them have been serving in the centre since their teens, some even longer than myself. I shared with one of the leaders that I was envious because they had encountered God so early in their lives (compared to me). So I considered myself merely an infant compared to most of those serving in the team.

And while I discerned that many were struggling with various issues in their lives, they truly gave their all when it came to worship and intercession. The prayers they lifted up for the retreatants, the songs they lifted up in worship to praise the Lord – the feeling of real joy was evident and was reflected in the way everyone came together to pray for those who were hurting, and even in the packing up after the camp came to an end at 4pm on Sunday.

Heading home that evening, I realised that our work was only beginning even though the camp had effectively ‘finished’ for me. Nursing a wounded shoulder (I stumbled and fell awakwardly during a game), I could only marvel at how these young adults, each with their own crosses to bear, were all giving so willingly of themselves to ministering to brothers and sisters who are also struggling but who were yet to encounter God in their lives.

Having been part of the company of young adults whose passion and zeal burn brightly, I can only say that the retreat (please pray for the 131 retreatants who will be coming this Thursday) is in the safe hands of our young leaders, who are more than ready and willing to pass on the love of Christ which they in turn received at their own encounters. They are all sitting at the foot of every cross being shouldered, ready to catch, ready to give loving support and willing to listen and share with similarly wounded souls.

Brothers and sisters, if I could only bottle up the zeal and unabashed joy that each of my fellow service team members exudes during their prep sessions, I would be a millionaire many times over. Truly, God qualifies those He calls and I look forward in anticipation of sharing and being a part of this already life-giving retreat.

(Today’s Oxygen by Desmond Soon)

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we pray for the young adults who will be attending YCER#16 as well as the organisers. Fill them with a double outpouring of your love, joy and peace so that they may encounter you in all your glory.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all those who have nothing to give except their time and their hearts. We thank you for these selfless warriors who soldier on in spite of their crosses in life.

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