Saturday of 7th Week of Eastertide
Acts 28:16-20, 20-31
The upright shall see your face, O Lord
In my early years of teaching, I had the privilege of being attached to an experienced colleague as his co-form teacher. There was an incident where the students were teasing another classmate by making fun of his name. This went on for some time without any one of us knowing but one day, my colleague heard the names they were calling the victim. That was when I saw a total change in his demeanour.
He asked the students in question to stay back and began berating them for their lack of concern for the other party. This went on for what felt like an eternity and when he finished, both the bullies and the victim were crying. The victim was crying because he had nobody to turn to, in order to vocalise his anger, and the bullies were crying because they had never seen this side of my colleague before. I was standing by quietly at the side observing this whole episode and after the students had left, I asked my colleague why was he so livid? His answer, “You need to have lived through it in order to know it.”
In some ways, our faith needs to be a lived experience. It cannot just be a theoretical exercise where we sit down and read books to experience God vicariously. Instead, Jesus asks that we live in the world to share the love we have experienced. As Christians, we are not exempt from the struggles in life which the rest of the human world is experiencing. What distinguishes us is that we are ‘salt of the earth’ and ‘light of the world.’ The ‘saltiness’ flavour of our life comes from being able to bear the struggles in our lives with a lively faith. The knowledge that we have Jesus with us is enough to make us continue with our daily lives. The ‘light of the world’ comes from the faith which nourishes our daily struggles, and is exhibited in our words and actions.
Jesus gives us the strength to carry the cross he has given us. St Paul has been through a tougher life, but he was willing to accept it because he believed in Jesus. Knowledge of the Word of the Lord over-powered him that he made it a point to proclaim his faith in Jesus everywhere he went. St Paul saw the face of the Lord and was overcome with joy that he wanted to share it with the rest of the world.
As we come to the end of Eastertide, let us ask the Risen Christ for the strength to proclaim his Word to the people through what we say and do.
(Today’s Oxygen by Nicholas Chia)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we pray for the faith to proclaim your word in the face of adversity.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.