13 October, Tuesday – One’s original love

Galatians 5:1-6, Luke 11:37-41

Lord, let your love come upon me

I was once asked by a fellow volunteer in a church ministry on what motivates me to continue to help out after so many years. Is it a sense of duty or perhaps an obligation to routine that makes me want to continue to help out in church? I believe the readings of today remind us that it is a desire to make visible our faith through actions borne out of love.

St Paul reminds us in the first reading that it is belief in Jesus Christ which allows us to be free from sin. Indeed, it is something which we need to remind ourselves constantly. It is the belief in Jesus which allows us to discover our purpose in life and in going back to the point in the earlier paragraph, that the love of Jesus should animate our lives. Indeed, this is something which I struggle with for there are times where I do wonder if I continue to volunteer because of my desire to be affirmed and esteemed. It is interesting that in the previous sentence, the pronoun “I” has been used three times. Perhaps it is a sign that pride and vain glory is a subtle vice to be worried about.

Jesus rebukes the Pharisees in the Gospel for their strict adherence to external rituals of handwashing. In the nature of my work, perhaps it is my pre-occupation with ensuring that there is consistency in the choice of font type, font size, font colour, line spacing, page breaks and paragraph alignment. In the world of social media, it is the use of filters and quick editing tools to ensure the best possible photo is presented to the world. Yet it is ironic that when social media was first developed, it was designed to provide an unfiltered and raw view of the world through the lens of the individual in contrast to the traditional media forms like newspapers and television channels where there exists an institutional direction guiding the reporters and editorial staff.

I was reminded by someone that nature’s beauty comes not from symmetry of straight lines but from the combination of every living being brought together in one ecosystem. The beauty of a rainforest is found in how seemingly messy things combine together to present a wonderful whole. It made me realise that sometimes being scrupulous is a sign of an underlying issue. Similarly, one should be worried when one’s actions begin to mirror the demands of the secular world of speed, efficiency and flawless perfection instead of the original intention on why they chose to join the ministry.

Jesus invites each one of us to consider how we can respond generously with our time, money and effort to proclaim the Good News to the people around us. Generosity is a free act which cannot be forced and as we continue with our lives, let us ask the Holy Spirit to rekindle in us the fire of His love in our hearts.

(Today’s Oxygen by Nicholas Chia)

Prayer: Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks to all who remind us that our purpose in life is to be directed towards Jesus


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