16 August, Sunday — Revelling in His Joy

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Isa 56:1,6-7
Rm 11:13-15,29-32
Mt 15:21-28

I will make them joyful in my house of prayer.

Amid the current ‘safe reopening’ of our country, we continue to wait in hope that our churches will be able to fully reopen soon. As of now, we are still reliant on an online booking system where no more than 50 worshippers can attend a single mass, once a month.

But last month, I was privileged and blessed to be part of a 10-person team that supported a Zoom session on-premise. To be able to bask in His presence in the blessed Sacrament during a short adoration and to praise and worship ‘live’ brought tears of joy. It had been a long while (since late February) when I had led a P&W session in my centre and just to sing those 4 songs together with a keyboardist and guitarist was a welcome respite.

Needless to say, we prepared for it and even went down one evening to set up the technical bits — video cameras, audio input/outputs through Zoom and on ground, as well as ‘rehearsing’ the transitions from live to pre-recorded segments. And while the technical dry run was originally planned for 2 hours, it stretched to just over 3 hours; but none of us felt that urge to leave. And on the actual day, about 150 members joined us on Zoom and many commented that it felt good to ‘be home again’.

Our centre truly has become a house of prayer and a ‘second home’ for many of us over the years. Aside from retreats, I spend at least 2 or 3 nights a week there in meetings, as well as prayer/practice sessions. So when I was recently asked what our ministry meant to me, I said it was my ‘family’ and that without it, I would probably be aimlessly drinking at a bar somewhere. While ‘work’ at CSC does keep me occupied (sometimes even during the week), I still find joy in serving and helping my fellow ministry members — of course, to the best of my ability as I have other obligations elsewhere.

Brothers and sisters, I can testify to the joy that the Lord brings into one’s heart when it is open and receptive; when it bears no grudge, no pride, no disdain for others. When instead of asking, “Why me?”, we just say, “Yes, Lord, your will be done.” Because no matter how dire or impossible the situation may seem, God always finds a way to clear the seemingly insurmountable roadblocks — whether due to COVID-19, work schedules, or safe management measures. Our God WANTS us to celebrate His presence in our lives. He WANTS us to continue to have hope in our hearts. He WANTS us to overcome our fears, our worries and our anxieties.

All of which, can only come to fruition if we continue to have faith in Him. A faith that only brings joy, hope and peace to all who believe.

(Today’s Oxygen by Desmond Soon)

Prayer: Ever loving and merciful God, help us overcome our fears and doubts by opening up doors for us in our daily lives. Show us that you are always by our side so that we can fill our hearts with your everlasting joy.

Thanksgiving:  Thank you Lord, for always showering us with your love and peace.

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