Monday of Week 23 in Ordinary Time
“…is it against the law on the sabbath to do good, or to do evil; to save life, or to destroy it?”
Working in a bank as a relationship manager, I was required to sell investment products such as unit trusts, which are invested in different types of shares. As part of my due diligence, I often spent a lot of time looking into how these products are ‘built’ — how they made money, as well as how investors benefited from them. I remember there was one product I looked at which did not benefit the clients. If anything, investors bore all the risks, while the bank reaped all benefits if prices rose.
I prayed and thought about it, and decided I was not going to sell it. As part of the daily sales activities, we were required to report our daily tasks and the names of the prospects we were speaking with. One particular day, my manager asked me why I wasn’t bringing in any sales, and I explained my thoughts to him. Annoyed, he warned me that I was putting my career at risk. It was a tough time for me, as I debated about my family’s financial future versus that of my clients. I ultimately chose to leave my job, not being able to resolve my internal conflict.
In the Gospel of today, the scribes and Pharisees were watching Jesus to see if He was going to heal a man with a withered hand on a Sabbath. Our Lord could have chosen to do one of these: firstly, heal the man, secondly choose to do nothing, or lastly, choose to defer the healing to another day which was not on the Sabbath. The last two actions would have saved Him a lot of trouble, and would have kept Him safe from criticism and trouble. Instead, Jesus chose to heal the man.
This got me thinking — we are regularly called to make such decisions. For example, I could have chosen to just sell the financial product. After all, it was up to the clients to make those decisions, and nobody forced them to do so. I could have made the commissions, keeping me in the good books of the bosses, paving the way to promotions and financial benefits. That was the path many of my colleagues took, and that often made me question my decision.
In the first reading, Paul the Apostle writes to the Colossians about his happiness, and willingness, to suffer for them. Again, Paul could have avoided all the sufferings by either concealing his actions, or simply not doing this difficult work.
As I prepare this reflection, it has become clear to me that our faith requires us to constantly make conscious decisions about sacrificing our comfort, and possibly, our well-being in leading the Christian life. Our Lord Jesus asks us if we are willing to “break” the Sabbath to do good and to save lives. The question is, when the time comes for us to do so, would we be willing to stand up and take this tough stand?
Let us continue to pray for strength, and faith, to be able to do so!
(Today’s OXYGEN by Paul Wee)
Prayer: Father God, we pray that we may always remember that our lives go beyond our time on Earth. That in making our choices, we remember that these choices will affect our eternity.
Thanksgiving: We praise You and we thank You Father, for blessing us with everything in our lives. We are grateful for the love You have for us.
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