26 July, Sunday — He calls, qualifies, justifies, then glorifies!

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

1 Kgs 3:5,7-12
Rm 8:28-30
Mt 13:44-52

…those he called he justified, and with those he justified he shared his glory.

It has been an interesting season for me since the implementation of the ‘circuit breaker’ and its subsequent lifting to allow a gradual safe reopening of our economy. Looking back over the past three months, I can feel Him moving me towards a different phase in my journey of leadership, both at work and where I serve in my spirituality centre.

On the work front, I have let go a lot of the operational, day-to-day matters to my 3 deputies and as a consequence, am getting embroiled in more cross-divisional work that has necessitated me meeting with new senior colleagues and giving them a history lesson of sorts. What has been interesting is how, as I look back over the 10 years I have spent with the university, I can vividly recall all the milestones — both organisational and personal — which have helped define my current role. The satisfaction of being recognised as a significant contributor with legacy knowledge, yet being able to reorientate my division each time there has a been a leadership change or significant development, only gives me the confidence that I am on the right path.

Early this year, we took on board three new colleagues and there are two more coming in the next few weeks. These reinforcements are necessary in order for us to take our game to the next level. Unfortunately, this has meant that some of the ‘old guard’ have to make way and one or two others have resigned. I see it as a chance to refresh, renew and reset — three words that I have been constantly reflecting on during the lockdown period.

Over at our centre, we held our first Zoom session last Friday evening for the entire community. While each ministry had been conducting their own prayer meetings over the past months, our leaders felt that we needed to find a way to get everyone back together on Zoom. So while we made all the technical preparations and organised a dry run (we are limited to no more than 10 on site), we prayed hard for the Lord to bless and guide us so that the planned 90-minute session would run smoothly.

Thankfully, with close to 150 members on Zoom, the session went off smoothly without any technical glitches (save one or two issues with slides and camera angles). As I sang of His goodness and love, in the presence of Jesus in the blessed sacrament, I shed tears of joy. I had missed worshipping Him in song and it was evident that we had all been craving this moment — when we could raise our voices unabashedly from our hearts and proclaim his goodness, love and mercy. It felt like a small weight had been lifted from within my heart and as I gazed at Him on the altar, I could feel his love radiating so powerfully.

I believe that these moments of glory would never have been possible if I had not allowed God in during this period, even more intimately. Already, another door has opened for me to help with a new initiative elsewhere. Hopefully, this leads to more opportunities for me to shine my light into the lives of our priests and laity, who labour tirelessly under unrelenting pressure from those seeking God amidst so much strife, uncertainty and change.

As my own spiritual director has guided me always with his ‘let it sit and let God in’ teaching, I begin to appreciate how His presence has helped me hold my tongue on more than a few occasions, and to be less judgmental about others. This has enabled me to harness the talents of those around me and to deliver outcomes which I never would have thought possible at the start of this year. And as I continue to mentor some of my younger staff, as well as one or two seeking answers in a friend’s startup, I remain amazed at His capacity to give so generously.

Indeed, brothers and sisters, while it is sometimes hard to ignore God’s call, it is ultimately up to us to discern what He truly asks of us. Because one thing’s for sure, as long as your heart is in the right place, He will qualify you abundantly so that you have nothing else to do but to marvel at His glory when you reach the end of the journey.        

(Today’s Oxygen by Desmond Soon)

Prayer: Abba Father, only you know what’s in store for us as we continue to labour in your vineyard. May you always bless us and grace us with all that is necessary in order to fulfil the mission you have called each of us to.

Thanksgiving:  We thank you Lord, for giving us the courage and wisdom to act on your Word, spoken to us in our hearts.

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