11 June, Thursday — Paying the price

Jun 11 – Feast of St. Barnabas, apostle

St. Barnabas (martyred 61) founded the Church in Antioch. He was a Levite Jewish convert, coming to the faith soon after Pentecost. Barnabas is mentioned frequently in the Acts of the Apostles, and is included among the prophets and doctors at Antioch. Like Paul, Barnabas believed in the Church’s mission to Gentiles, and worked with him in Cyprus and Asia, but split with him over a non-theological matter. At the time of his death he was carrying a copy of the Gospel of Saint Matthew that he had copied by hand.

Patron Saint Index

Acts 11:21-26,13:1-3
Mt 5:20-26

“…you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.”

Money — the root of much evil. For some, it is life giving; for others, it is a black hole that sucks them up and consumes them…and, most times, their loved ones. I found myself in that dire circumstance in my 20s, and decided I had to cut off the diseased portions and learn to heal, and not cling on. Today, I find myself wondering where I would be if I hadn’t made those decisions some thirty years ago.

What I have today, I have been blessed with from God — parents who worked hard, who gave to us what we asked and what they thought would make us happy. This lockdown has afforded me time to reflect and do a spring cleaning in many ways — and I have come to realise how much excess we carry in our lives.

Over the last few weeks, we have done a clearout of our storeroom, in response to a request for donations from a Catholic organisation. The items requested are meant for displaced families who have nowhere to live because the sole breadwinner has lost his/her job. As they are placed in temporary accomodation, they lack the basic necessities such as cookware, cutlery, crockery, clothing items (the ‘4 Cs’, brought to stark reality). As the items have piled up, the realisation that my parents’ ‘just in case’ mentality towards purchases has resulted in so much clutter at home; clutter that I hope, can bring some comfort (the ‘fifth C’) in these trying times.

Brothers and sisters, we all pay the price for our folly here on earth. Some of us learn our lessons along the way, some of us lurch from one situation to another, always looking for that lifeline or handout to keep us afloat. Whether or not we learn to swim on our own or just drift along and life lead us is a matter of choice — ours.

Where then, do we find God in all of this? Surely, we are not called to be drifters, nor the perennial lifeguards for those around us. For me, God is the lifebuoy around us that either we give to those in need, or we find drifting along the tide. That circular object reminds me of the circle of community that we rely on — whether family, ministry, friends, colleagues. Like it or not, we are part of a community that can only unite if there is love. That is the only way out of any predicament we find ourselves in — love for a brother or sister, love for a friend, love even for an enemy, as Jesus preached in today’s Gospel.

But, it is easier said than done. Coming to terms with someone who has caused you hurt, anger, bitterness and a whole range of negative emotions/experiences and feelings is merely the start of that journey towards an understanding of God’s immense love for us. And ultimately, it is a journey that leads to the Cross.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Desmond Soon)

Prayer: Dear God, we pray for all those who are struggling financially, emotionally, spiritually and cannot make sense of anything around them. We pray that you fill the hearts of their family members with your Love..

Thanksgiving: Thank you Father, for the gift of Jesus and His Cross, your ultimate gift of love to us.

One thought on “11 June, Thursday — Paying the price

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  1. Thank you! I am especially touched by this: Where then, do we find God in all of this? Surely, we are not called to be drifters, nor the perennial lifeguards for those around us.

    Now time to pray on to see clearly where God is speaking to me thru this.

    Like

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