30 July, Saturday — Doing the Right Thing

Jul 30 – Memorial for St. Peter Chrysologus, Bishop & Doctor

An adult convert, St. Peter (406-450) fought paganism and heresy, enforced reforms, and built several churches and ornate altars in his see. A preacher with outstanding language skills, he was given the name ‘Chrysologus’, referring to his ‘golden word’. 176 of his sermons have survived; it is the strength of these beautiful explanations of the Incarnation, the Creed, the place of Mary and John the Baptist in the great plan of salvation, etc., that led to his being proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1729.

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Jer 26:11-16,24
Mt 14:1-12

The king was distressed but, thinking of the oaths he had sworn and of his guests, he ordered it to be given her, and sent and had John beheaded in the prison.

As a mother of young children, I feel that it is a constant battle to try and instil in my children the right values to live by. I want to arm them with a working moral compass that will always point them in the right direction to do the right things in life. I want them to be able to make their own choices and understand, and live with the consequences of it. At the same time, when I think back to my teens and twenties, I ponder whether some of the life choices that I made then were right. If I could, I would go back and tell my teen/twenty-something self to think more rationally before doing some of the things I did.

But hindsight is a wonderful thing, and I suppose the choices that we made in the past have made us who we are today, be it for better or worse. There was a lesson in all of that that we needed to learn. So, while I try not to be a ‘helicopter parent’ and to let my kids learn life’s lessons on their own, I am keenly aware that sometimes there are things beyond my control that may influence their decision. One such thing is peer pressure. And this is more a prevalent problem now than it was when I was growing up, thanks to social media and cancel culture. As much as I would tell my children, “God will never cancel you”, at the end of the day if their friends do, they will feel it keenly. I can only pray and be there for them if, and when, it happens, which I hope it will never.

The two readings today present such an example of doing the right thing, especially if one is in a position of authority. In the first, the princes of Judah believed that the prophet Jeremiah was indeed sent by God to prophesy to them and let him live. On the other hand, Herod in the second reading bowed to social pressure and the need to ‘save face’ and had John the Baptist beheaded.

So what about us? How would we react, especially in the face of social pressure? There’s a famous quote: “Do what’s right, not what’s easy”. And I think therein lies the difficulty of doing the right thing: it’s never the popular course of action, and it is never convenient. It would be a lot easier to do the easiest thing, which is to bend to others. I pray that if there is one important lesson I could impart to my children, it would be to do the right thing, and I would pray they find the courage to do that. Because doing the right thing will give them power over themselves, and that is something that no one can ever take away from them. I pray it will be the same for you too.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Annette Soo)

Prayer: Lord, please be our guiding light to do what’s right with all our might. Lend us courage to hold true to our beliefs to do the right thing, especially in the face of adversity.

Thanksgiving: Lord, we give you thanks for giving us guidance through your Word. Let our lives be an inspiration and an example to our children and to others around us.

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