24 February, Friday — Shout to the Lord

Friday after Ash Wednesday

Isa 58:1-9
Mt 9:14-15

Shout for all you are worth, raise your voice like a trumpet.

I sometimes watch and rewatch episodes of reality talent shows on youtube, where the contestants (usually singers) initially appear on stage looking unsure, nervous, lacking confidence but end up leaving to standing ovations, a ‘golden buzzer’, and huge life-changing affirmations from the panel of judges. Those moments when each contestant finally feels vindicated, lifted up and celebrated never fail to bring me to tears.

We humans crave attention and affirmation. We seek approval from our teachers, parents, friends, people in charge, an authority figure, trainer/coach. On social media, we keep a tally of how many likes and shares our posts garner. Then it becomes a ‘competition’ among friends, organisations, brands, even siblings – how many more can I get over you? How much louder can I shout, in order to get the attention of ________ ?!

I too, used to crave being the life of the party or any social gathering. It was a tonic for me to ‘be seen’ and to be acknowledged as ‘The Legend’ (I kid you not, it was a moniker given to me by an ex-colleague). But over the years, I have come to realise that all that ‘recognition’ pales in comparison to knowing that God sees me for who I am, each and every day. That He loves me, no matter what my faults are and how many times I have sinned. So now, I save my voice for glorifying Him at mass and in retreats.

I have been blessed over the past year (in fact, since Easter last year), to have had many opportunities to praise, worship and glorify God. And in expressing my love and gratitude for Him, I have come to appreciate a lot more, those who have stood by me and loved/tolerated me for as long as I have known them – and yes, even at work. I recently received an affirmation from my boss that I never expected. I almost wanted to ask him, “Are you sure??” but thought better of it and just said ‘Thank you’.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, God works His wonders, only if we are open to being moulded/formed in the most unexpected ways. He uses people you least expect and places you in situations that you can only shake your head at. All that He asks is that when you emerge from the other side, you give him a mighty ‘Hallelujah!’ and acknowledge that alone, we can do nothing. And that it is only by His grace that we overcome and achieve.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Desmond Soon)

Prayer: We ask our heavenly Father for the grace to continue moulding each of us in His image, and that in our worst trials, He shows us His loving face.

Thanksgiving: Glory be to the Father, for giving us the freedom to sing His praises and to shout of His love from the depths of our soul, to the top of every mountain we scale.


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