13 August, Friday — God’s Plan for You

Aug 13 – Memorial for St. Pontian, pope, martyr, and St. Hippolytus, priest, martyr

Pontian was among the first victims of an anti-Christian new emperor. Rounded up with the antipope Hippolytus, Pontian was deported to the labour mines. While imprisoned, Hippolytus reconciled his differences with Pontian and even ordered his followers to bring themselves back to the Church. Before he succumbed to the harsh treatment of the mines, Hippolytus became a true confessor of Christ. Pontian, in the mines only two months, was brutally beaten to death by his jailers.

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Jos 24:1-13
Mt 19:3-12

“…this was not the work of your sword or your bow. I gave you a land where you never toiled, you live in towns you never built; you eat now from vineyards and olive groves you never planted.”

Today, in our first reading, Joshua gathers all the tribes of Israel at Sechem and shares how the Lord the God of Israel knows what they have been through, that God was with them right from the start, from their ancestors and many generations after. God has been with them throughout, protecting them, leading them out of slavery, defeating the Egyptians and many others who threatened the Israelites.

The Israelites are where they are today for it is part of God’s plan. We are where we are today for He too has a plan for each and everyone of us. We will never fully know His entire plan for us; but what we do know is that His plan is good and desires the best for every one of us. How easy would it be if we knew God’s plan for us, and we could fulfil it to be pleasing to God. If that were the case, why even bother creating us?

Just as in the Gospel, we read of how some people are born with various conditions; maybe in different countries, different family situations, different medical support, various levels of comfort. We are all unique in our way. In His creation, we are created to love and to be loved. In that loving is the free choice that God gives to all of us, at the expense of us hurting Him, hurting ourselves and others. We are not perfect and neither too, are the choices that we make. But even the consequences of these wrong choices, as seen in the first reading from the Old Testament, has led to the birth of Christ, our salvation and the salvation of the world — God’s plan.

Luke 12:7 says that even the very hairs of our head are numbered and Jeremiah 29:11 mentions how God plans to prosper us and not to harm us, to give us a hope and a future. God knows us even better than we know ourselves.

Knowing this, let us continue to move forward with trust and confidence, that God is always with us and is for us. Let us live our lives to glorify Him and make choices that we know won’t hurt him, ourselves or others. But even if we happen to be hurt or cause hurt, may we also have the courage to reconcile. Let us learn to accept our differences, ‘misfortunes’ and ‘weaknesses’ and forgive others for theirs. For what do we live for? Do we live for the sake of others or fitting into societal norms, or for the kingdom of heaven? Lord, may your will be done and your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Benjamin Mao)

Prayer: Dear Lord, we pray that we will continue to trust you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, to love and honour you all the days of our lives. May our lives and our marriages here on earth work towards reflecting your love for each and everyone of us. May we learn to rely on you more, so as to be better able to discern your will and your plan for us. Amen.

Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for helping us to understand what you are doing for us by explaining to it to us. Thank you Lord, for creating us as we are. Thank you for accepting us and loving us as we are, desiring to lead us to the best that we can be. Amen.

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