28 July, Thursday — Works in Progress

Thursday of Week 17 in Ordinary Time

Jer 18:1-6
Mt 13:47-53

“…he would start afresh and work it into another vessel, as potters do.”

As a child, I always thought that I would grow up to be a teacher. It felt like a pleasing choice to my parents, and it usually elicited approving nods from my adult relatives. My plan was pretty simple — score sufficiently decent grades, get on to the teaching track and let the rest sort itself out.

Well, my life didn’t quite turn out that way. Like a Yiddish proverb that says “we plan, God laughs,” I reckon He must at least have broke out into a playful grin when He saw my plans.

At 19 years old, I experienced God in a deeply personal way; the kind that changes one’s life right upside down. And I began the quest to discover God’s purpose for me. What is God’s will for my life? What is the vocation God has for me? Where is He sending me? The initial years were tough. As a newly converted Catholic and a young adult who was figuring out my identity, letting go of old ways, and learning to commune with God, there were many times when I wanted to give up. Thankfully, God’s thoughts and ways are above mine, for God doesn’t give up so easily on His children.

In today’s first reading, Jeremiah was called by the Lord to observe a potter wielding his artistry. The vessel that was being shaped had failed to turn out as the potter had envisioned. Instead of discarding the lump of clay, the potter proceeds to rework it into another vessel as seemed good to him. In biblical Hebrew, it is read more as “re-working,” giving readers a sense that the action of the potter is ongoing as the final shape of this clay is still unfolding.

The good news is, while we may be impatient with ourselves in this slow work of spiritual growth, God sees us as works in progress. Every mistake we make is redeemable by Jesus Christ and can be turned around for good. Every plan that fails to materialise, despite our painstaking efforts, is an invitation to wait for an even better one that God has for us.

The psalmist reminds us that God’s mercies are new every day. Each new day is God’s invitation for us to surrender as vessels of blessing to others. Of course, this divine mercy is not to be taken for granted. The gospel reminds us that there will be some kind of sorting process on judgement day. All shall be called to account, and the righteous will be separated from the evil. Let us then choose wisely, by yielding ourselves into the hands of the divine potter and letting ourselves be shaped as vessels for good.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Cassilda Lim)

Prayer: Dear Jesus, remind me that it is you who chose me and call me to bear much fruit. You shape and prune me because you love me and have a purpose for me. May I not take your love for granted and always choose you above all things.

Thanksgiving: Thank you for your new mercies that never gives up on me. With You, there is always forgiveness. This is why You are worthy of worship.

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