28 June, Sunday — Jesus, Our Reward

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

2 Kgs 4:8-11,13-16
Rm 6:3-4,8-11
Mt 10:37-42

“Anyone who finds his life will lose it; anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it. Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me; and those who welcome me welcome the one who sent me.”

It has been a tough few months for me. This whole year, in fact, has been a roller coaster that however won’t end up where the ride began. Already coping with so many transitions in my life, COVID-19, together with the consequences it brings, has forced me to take on more challenges and manage more transitions as I seek to adapt, persevere and to win this battle to emerge stronger from this adversity. Plans have gone down the drain, wrong investments made, wrong choices which led to adverse consequences, whether financially and eventually affecting me emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually as well.

With the masses online, Christ quickly became merely an obligation and was pushed to one side where I’ll make some time, on Sundays. Life was filled with questions, “What am I going to do now?”, “What is the future going to be like?”, “What can I plan for now?”. Suddenly it felt that I had no identity, lost my motivation, direction, purpose and meaning. I was just trying to do everything I could in order that I can survive and still provide for my family. I lost control, I allowed the world to influence me, instead of allowing Christ to take control.

As with the first reading, myself and my wife have been trying for a child since we got married a year ago, but to no avail. We took on many a baby’s necessities as gifts from others who didn’t need it anymore. We were so prepared for a baby, but we were nowhere near that prepared to receive Christ should He wish to stop by.

Today’s readings provide me with a sense of realignment, to take stock of what I’m doing, why I’m doing and who I’m doing all these for. What my ultimate goal is and what is God’s plan for me. I think for me, more than spreading God’s love, it is also to be filled with His peace and to share that peace of Christ to all. Especially in these times of uncertainty, without Christ, we can so easily be influenced by the world and fall into anxiety, fear, discouragement and the lack of will to live purposefully.

Peace is about providing the assurance, as in the second reading, where Christ came not to be saved but to save. In our darkness, He is our light and He is there, maybe we just haven’t turned around since we are all looking in the same ‘direction’ as the crowd. In fact, this is supposedly the best time to evangelise, for when people need something to hold on to, to turn to, to understand what they are going through, to hear their cries, to listen, to give hope; we all know who is the best person who can meet them where they are at.

The Gospel reminds us that in trying to take control of our lives, we can try so hard but eventually, even after we have attained what we have worked so hard for, it still doesn’t seem enough. It is only in the surrendering to Christ that we can discover our true calling and purpose in life. For life is far bigger than ourselves, hence we are reminded also that

Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me; and those who welcome me welcome the one who sent me.”

Brothers and sisters, as we enter this 13th week in ordinary time, may we pause to reflect on what we have done, the people around us, the many times and people that we have taken for granted, a God that we have possibly neglected. That maybe it’s time for us to turn around, away from the ‘direction’ of the crowd, and to also help lead others to the true light, the true vaccine, the meaning of life — to our Father.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Benjamin Mao)

Prayer: Dear Lord, I pray that we may have meek and humble hearts like yours, to welcome the people around us, not to spread fear and anxiety, but to bring hope and peace. May we listen not just to any news, but to the Good News, to your voice in a very distracting and disturbing world. Dear Lord, may we know that you are never far away and that you are always reaching out to us with open arms. May you give us the confidence that come what may, we will always hold you close to us, that our faith will not falter. Forgive me Lord, I love you.

Thanksgiving: Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

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