18 March, Saturday — Tilling the soil of our heart

Saturday of the 3rd Week of Lent

Hos 5:15-6:6
Lk 18:9-14

“Let us set ourselves to know the Lord”

The Singapore government has been embarking on the need for workers to continually upgrade. Numerous initiatives have been provided and many programmes have been introduced. Yet in spite of these exhortations, there seems to be a difficulty to embark on lifelong learning. It seems that the initial enthusiasm often fizzles out when one is going through the process. This theme can be seen in the readings of today, where prophet Hosea reminds the people that their journey with God is not meant to be a fair-weather approach, but one that entails an entire lifetime, regardless of ups and downs.

The people of Israel will need to know the Lord. To know the Lord means we need to understand the very nature and essence of Jesus. This means we will need to discover his teachings and learn the meaning behind them. It should not be just going through them because it is an obligation, but should be a relationship built on the desire to grow in love and understanding of Jesus. The Gospel reading of today is about the Pharisee and the tax collector. Tax collectors were derided in the time of Jesus because they were collecting money on behalf of the colonial masters, the Romans. They also had the opportunity to enrich themselves by collecting more than what was legally required. Certainly, their actions were not right and I believe the tax collector knew about it and thus was contrite before God.

The call to humility is not limited to those who are ordained, but to all Christians. In fact, just as learning should be life-long, the call to holiness should also be life-long. As we enter into the middle of the season of Lent, I would ask that we enter into a moment of reflection. This will allow God to enter into the darkest recesses of our lives so that they can be illuminated and allow us to walk closer to God.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Nicholas Chia)

Prayer: From the desire of being extolled, Deliver me, O Jesus.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks for those who hold us accountable for our actions.


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