30 November, Saturday – Panorama

Nov 30 – Feast of St. Andrew, apostle

Andrew was the first Apostle of Jesus Christ. He was a fisherman by trade, and the brother of Simon Peter. He was a follower of John the Baptist. Andrew went through life leading people to Jesus, both before and after the Crucifixion. He was a missionary in Asia Minor and Greece, and possibly areas in modern Russia and Poland. He was martyred on a saltire (x-shaped) cross, and is said to have preached for two days from it.

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Romans 10:9-18

If your lips confess that Jesus is Lord and if you believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, then you will be saved. By believing from the heart you are made righteous; by confessing with your lips you are saved. When scripture says: those who believe in him will have no cause for shame, it makes no distinction between Jew and Greek: all belong to the same Lord who is rich enough, however many ask his help, for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

But they will not ask his help unless they believe in him, and they will not believe in him unless they have heard of him, and they will not hear of him unless they get a preacher, and they will never have a preacher unless one is sent, but as scripture says: The footsteps of those who bring good news are a welcome sound. Not everyone, of course, listens to the Good News. As Isaiah says: Lord, how many believed what we proclaimed? So faith comes from what is preached, and what is preached comes from the word of Christ. Let me put the question: is it possible that they did not hear? Indeed they did; in the words of the psalm, their voice has gone out through all the earth, and their message to the ends of the world.

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Matthew 4:18-22

As Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who was called Peter, and his brother Andrew; they were making a cast in the lake with their net, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.’ And they left their nets at once and followed him. Going on from there he saw another pair of brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John; they were in their boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. At once, leaving the boat and their father, they followed him.

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“Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”

I recently returned from a lengthy work trip that took me to some far flung places; places that I would have never visited on my own dime. It was a challenging assignment, with many highs and its fair share of lows. It had been quite a few years since I had gone on such a long posting and the time away made me realise how my world in Singapore was insiduously closing in on itself as the days flew by.

We are inherently resistant to change and become comfortable with routines, oftentimes regardless of how well they serve us. Sometimes, it takes a jolt to the system to ignite a reframing of our current state of life. I took on a new portfolio, met foreign partners, and experienced a living environment that was slower-paced than the one in Singapore. I felt refreshed and took time to reflect on my life and relationships. New thoughts and insights came to me effortlessly, as if the world was speaking to me directly.

As the year draws to a close, there is a frenzy of activity to complete projects, prepare the kids for their final exams, and to prepare for 2020. I’m sure the apostles were also perennially working to fulfil God’s mission. As tempting as it can be to be in full ‘doing’ mode, I wonder if we are better served by blocking out periods of time for new experiences, reflection, and rest. It is in these times that God can reach through to us, speaking to us individually in the ways we are most inclined to hear.

Brothers and sisters, our lives are works of art in a continual state of evolution. Let us appreciate the painter’s mastery both up close, and from afar.

(Today’s Oxygen by Anonymous)

Prayer:  Dear Lord, may we never be too consumed with life to not hear your voice. May we actively listen to your will for our lives.

Thanksgiving: We thank you Father, for the wonders of our planet and for the opportunities you bless us with. We will always be grateful for your majesty and grace.

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