23 October, Sunday — Signifying nothing…

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Ecc 35:12-14,16-19
2 Tim 4:6-8,16-18
Lk 18:9-14

The humble man’s prayer pierces the clouds…

We’ve all encountered this person before – the one who talks incessantly AT you; who doesn’t give you any chance to say anything because they are too busy trying to put their point across; or who simply thinks the world of themselves that no one else matters. In school, at work, and yes…even in ministry. Of course, there are those of us who have been conditioned from young to just smile and nod; or some who grimace awkwardly and extricate ourselves from such conversations.

“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled…”

Yes indeed. I was blessed to have had the opportunity to ‘coach’ seven student emcees last week as we prepared for our series of graduation ceremonies. And just as I was about to leave for the office after one of the sessions, one of them stopped me and thanked me effusively for giving him the opportunity to develop himself over the past two years as an ‘ambassador’ of our university. He went on and on about how he will forever be in our debt and that if not for us, he wouldn’t know where his life would be. So much so that he is determined to come back and pursue his doctorate with us. God bless the man indeed.

He admitted that while he could ‘out talk’ anyone in his class, it was always a mechanism to mask his insecurities. Now, after having served two years as a student ambassador, where he increased his network and got to learn from a multitude of mentors and peers, he says he has learned to listen a lot more so that when he speaks, it is with conviction and authority (relatively speaking). I was so pleased that we had been a part of his journey, I promised to keep in touch so that we could involve him in our future events. This young adult who used to exalt himself had truly been humbled to a point where his life changed course and now, he was more than prepared to help ‘sell’ our university.

“…but the man who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Then there was the student who emceed the very first session – a timid, nervous lady who, while possessing all the determination and desire, just didn’t have the voice. No matter how much she tried, she just about ‘read’ out her script. And to make matters worse, on the morning itself, both the soles of her shoes split from the front. There she was, sitting in her chair backstage, trying to rescue the situation with black duct tape. I didn’t know whether to laugh or to feel more nervous for her (she kept apologizing profusely). But after finding a tube of super glue, we sorted the shoes out and two minutes before she stepped out into the spotlight, we began a conversation about stage managers and her favourite movies. “Marvel!” was her excited response to my question and I encouraged her to treat the audience like a bunch of avid Marvel moviegoers and that she was introducing the latest movie starring all her friends.

She ended up setting the bar high for the other emcees to emulate. And she gladly stayed on throughout the three days, even though we had backups all planned.

This poor man called; the Lord has heard him.

Brothers and sisters, the Lord does indeed work in mysterious ways. And sometimes, it is not us who needs Him but others whose lives we can unwittingly affect. I have tried my best to keep up my prayer life through the past few weeks of planning, preparation, strategizing and cajoling. I admit, it has been waning…but over the past few days, His hand has worked wonders and He continues to remind me of how all it takes is a simple, ‘Help me, Lord, for I am weak.’ Then let Him work his wonders.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Desmond Soon)

Prayer: Lord, we pray that you always hear our pleas in our moments of anguish, doubt and fear. And that you never forsake us in our time of need. Thanksgiving: Thank you, dear Father, for always answering our calls for help and for showering us with your heavenly graces. Your will be done.

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