Reflections

Reflections

22 April 2021

Reading and meditation on the Word of God on Thursday of the 3rd week of Easter, April 22, 2021


I am the bread of life that has come down from heaven. Reading and meditation on the Word of God on Thursday of the 3rd week of Easter, April 22, 2021. Reading is delivered by Michelle Salim and meditation delivered by Andrew Lazaro, from the Church of Saint Virgin Mary the Queen in Jakarta, Indonesia. Acts of the Apostles 8: 26-40; Rs psalm 66: 8-9.16-17.20; John 6: 44-51.

BELIEVE FIRST, THEN BAPTISM

Our meditation today has the theme: Believe First, then Baptism. The dark side of life of the Early Church was the persecution of Christians. The followers of Christ were pursued, imprisoned, and murdered by the Jewish religious leaders and Pharisees. However, the work of God had never died in the face of that power of darkness. Instead, the Church has been in its dynamic growth under the power of the Holy Spirit who has been incarnated in the life of the Church with Jesus Christ as the head. The primary activity of the Church was to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ made by each member of the Church who had chosen his or her own trip outside Jerusalem. One of the strong and reliable evidences of this courageous and dynamic work was the Christian baptism of the non-Jews believers.

The Jewish people has been well known and recognized as the people of faith. Their religion has been so superior to guide people in all matters of life. If for the fact that some of them came to the true faith and believed in Jesus Christ, it should be considered as a perfection to their existing faith. That was the fact of the people and families who had followed the teachings of the apostles and disciples of Christ since the moment of the resurrection of Jesus. Meanwhile, the baptism of Gentiles certainly indicated a new growth for the early Church. The most obvious example was the story of the apostle Philip who baptized a eunuch, the servant of the Queen of Ethiopia, as told by the Acts of the Apostles today.

That non believer seemed to think about matters related in the scripture of the Jews should be only a small part of the whole truth about God. The eunuch was interested and encouraged to know more of what he was reading. His curiosity increased. Meanwhile the Holy Spirit guided the apostle Philip to satisfy that curiosity. But to become legal and genuine Christian in the following of Christ, knowing the scripture was merely a half way to go. He must be baptized. And in order to be baptized, the main condition was to believe. Therefore, the apostle Philip had to guide that non believer to confess his faith in Jesus Christ as the formal condition of baptism, then followed with the bath with water as the material condition of the baptism itself.

The formula of confession of faith is expressed in our common prayer, as we frequently say: “I believe in God, the Father of all creation… in Jesus Christ, the Son of God”. This is our main confession of faith. Jesus Christ explained this as He spoke of Himself as the Son of God, we can understand this teaching, among other things, particularly He identifies Himself as the bread of life. He plainly explains that as the Son of God, He must be a real person who is so meaningful and instrumental for our salvation . He is the bread that comes down from heaven; and whoever eats from this bread will not die. This bread is His own flesh, which is the food for all of us. Jesus is actually talking about His own sacrifice for the salvation of the whole world and the entire humanity. As a memory and an example for us, the Eucharist is the sign for our faith in the bread of the life of Jesus Christ.

Let’s pray. In the name of the Father … Lord Jesus Christ, may our faith remain strong in the baptism we have received and the Eucharist which we celebrate frequently. Our Father who art in heaven … In the name of the Father …

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