24th Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Lord is coming to my help, who will dare to condemn me?
In today’s first reading from the book of Isaiah, it foretells what Jesus would have to endure during his passion – he who “offered my back to those who struck me, my cheeks to those who tore at my beard; I did not cover my face against insult and spittle.” He suffered way much more than mere insults with nary a single flinch, yet I feel hurt and get upset so easily when friends or family members throw sarcastic remarks my way, or others show disrespect and try to put me down. Obviously, it has to do with my ego getting bruised and I realise that my skin is far too fragile and ‘thin’ for my own good.
When I was young and ‘too scrawny’, I used to get teased at and called nicknames by boys as well as girls who seemed to enjoy shaming shy, timid girls. As I grew older, I started to build more emotional resilience but was not ‘thick-skinned’ enough as I found myself still very sensitive to what others said and would feel that pinch of hurt. I’ve been told to turn the negative around by looking at it in a more positive light, or even consider it a blessing instead. Many years later and after many experiences, I have managed to build a stronger, more resilient heart and an immunity to feelings of hurt – all thanks to Jesus.
The best life lessons come from Jesus himself. There’s much to learn from his ways — His humility for one. For only humility can beat pride out of our system. Most of those hurts came from my own ego or pride. With Jesus, it’s never about that. When he was tempted in the desert, the devil told him to throw himself down, for surely God will command his angels to protect and “bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.” (Matthew 4:11) Sounds like a lot of ego boosting, but Jesus didn’t fall for that – even though he knew of his own divinity. When others were wrong and when he was innocently wronged, he never tried to correct or change them, but instead prayed for those who nailed him to the cross (Luke 23:34).
In my own pursuit of walking in Jesus’ footsteps, I would often prick my own conscience by asking, “WWJD” (What Would Jesus Do) under such circumstances or situations? If Jesus can suffer those lashings on his body, what are mere insults? I noticed that as I learn to put aside my pride and eat more humble pie, I can now feel ‘untouched by the insults’. After all, Jesus has my back!
(Today’s OXYGEN by Cynthia Chew)
Prayer: Dear Jesus, help us to surrender our ego and pride so that we can be humble and loving like you. Show us the ultimate way to love in forgiving and praying for those who persecute us.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Jesus, for always having our backs, coming to our aid and loving us so unconditionally.