12 July, Tuesday — True Love and True Choice

Tuesday of Week 15 in Ordinary Time

Isa 7:1-9
Mt 11:20-24

“… do not let your heart sink…”

I remember as a teenager, having a friend who had almost complete freedom to do whatever he wanted. I was, in fact, quite envious of the fact that his parents did not interfere with his life. What I subsequently discovered, however, was that his parents (from what I could tell, and also from his perspective) did not express any form of care for him. I remember being saddened by this realisation.

As a  parent, I have had my share of being frustrated with my children through the years. I remember the times when I have had to see them make mistakes, and the times when we, as parents, have tried to intervene (not always successfully) to try and avert potential disasters. Going back to the experience of my friend, I realise that I do so only because I care for and love my children.

In the Gospel of today, Jesus chides the towns of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum. Jesus could have kept mum and carried on with His other work. Why did He choose to do so then? Simply this — Jesus loved and cared for them. I draw comfort and strength from the fact that we all have a God who cares and loves for us. In the grander scheme of things, each one of us is just a little speck in the whole of creation. Yet, despite this, God loves us so intimately and so powerfully that He constantly reminds us of this love.

Another point that comes across in the readings of today is the fact that humanity has been gifted with free choice. In the first reading, Isaiah was sent by the Lord to meet with Ahaz, the then king of Judah, to assure him and keep him calm in the face of impending attacks from Razon, the king of Aram and Pekah, the king of Israel. God assures Ahaz, through Isaiah, that the efforts of these two men will fail, with miserable fates awaiting them. Yet, as we read further into Isaiah, we realise that Ahaz did not heed God’s words, choosing a different strategy altogether.

God could easily have made it that all of us were to live our lives according to His plan, rather than be able to choose our own paths. Had that been the case, I can envision life being rich and smooth. The Catholic Church teaches us, in the Catechism, that “God created man a rational being, conferring on him the dignity of a person who can initiate and control his own actions”.

Faith, in the face of the ability to choose, is powerful and true. When we find it difficult to choose, or when we fall, let us draw strength in the love that our God has for us; that in love, the sacrament of reconciliation has been made available to us. In our choosing to return to Him, we continue to affirm God’s love for us.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Paul Wee)

Prayer: Father, please help us to always remember that You love us truly and deeply. Help us to always draw our strength from You.

Thanksgiving: We are grateful Lord, for free choice and for the love that You have for us, your creations and your children.

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