9 June, Sunday – Among Friends

9 June 2019

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Acts 2:1-11

When Pentecost day came round, they had all met in one room, when suddenly they heard what sounded like a powerful wind from heaven, the noise of which filled the entire house in which they were sitting; and something appeared to them that seemed like tongues of fire; these separated and came to rest on the head of each of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak foreign languages as the Spirit gave them the gift of speech.

Now there were devout men living in Jerusalem from every nation under heaven, and at this sound they all assembled, each one bewildered to hear these men speaking his own language. They were amazed and astonished. ‘Surely’ they said ‘all these men speaking are Galileans? How does it happen that each of us hears them in his own native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; people from Mesopotamia, Judaea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya round Cyrene; as well as visitors from Rome – Jews and proselytes alike – Cretans and Arabs; we hear them preaching in our own language about the marvels of God.’
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1 Corinthians 12:3-7,12-13
No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord’ unless he is under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

There is a variety of gifts but always the same Spirit; there are all sorts of service to be done, but always to the same Lord; working in all sorts of different ways in different people, it is the same God who is working in all of them. The particular way in which the Spirit is given to each person is for a good purpose.
Just as a human body, though it is made up of many parts, is a single unit because all these parts, though many, make one body, so it is with Christ. In the one Spirit we were all baptised, Jews as well as Greeks, slaves as well as citizens, and one Spirit was given to us all to drink.
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John 20:19-23
In the evening of the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you’, and showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord, and he said to them again, ‘Peace be with you.

‘As the Father sent me,
so am I sending you.’

After saying this he breathed on them and said:

‘Receive the Holy Spirit.
For those whose sins you forgive,
they are forgiven;
for those whose sins you retain,
they are retained.’
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All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them

Our Muslim brothers and sisters recently celebrated Hari Raya Puasa, after observing the fasting month of Ramadan. Fasting is one of the 5 pillars of Islam, which also includes the expression of faith, Salat (praying 5 times a day), Zakat (the right of the poor on the wealth of the financially able), and Haj (once in a lifetime pilgrimage to Mecca).

I try to be sensitive to my Muslim friends’ routine by scheduling dinners around their Iftar, and by not overtly eating and drinking in front of them during the day. Getting them to share their reflections and experiences during the fasting month helps me to get an insight into Islam. By journeying with them during this special time, we build bonds across race and religion that draw us closer as a multi-cultural community. I also really appreciate how my Muslim friends explain the religious and personal significance of fasting to them, and this segues into a lively conversation about our faiths.

When the Holy Spirit came down upon the Apostles during Pentecost, it was a manifestation of God’s uniting power that fuels our Christian mission. With the Holy Spirit, we can do great things knowing that God is with us and in us, through all our trials and difficulties. This is helpful when many of us are reluctant to publicly proclaim our faith, fearing judgment or questions that we may not be able to answer.

Just as the Apostles were energized during Pentecost, we too can take comfort in the immense love and dynamism that a strong Christian faith provides. Brothers and sisters, I urge you to follow in the Apostles’ footsteps by proudly living your vocation in the face of scrutiny and questions. May we inspire others to do the same by our actions.

(Today’s Oxygen by Anonymous)

Prayer:  Help us dear Lord, to show respect and tolerance for all faiths and beliefs in your world.

Thanksgiving:  We thank you Father, for the gift of the Holy Spirit. It fills us with fervour to serve and glorify you.

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