19 March – Laetare Sunday
1 Sam 16:1,6-7,10-13
“God does not see as man sees; man looks at appearances but the Lord looks at the heart.”
We have all been told as we were growing up, “Do not judge a book by its cover.” Yet, we are always drawn to those individuals with the perfect hair, the impeccable fashion sense and the smoothest complexion. Or those individuals that have the latest gadgets, a new watch every other month. It doesn’t matter what kind of person they are — we all gravitate towards them like birds to a shiny object.
Is it all worth it? I remember when I was playing soccer in my younger years, the oft-mentioned piece of advice was always “It doesn’t matter if you can play or not, just look good, can already.” Perhaps those were the first steps of my journey to being the marketeers’ ideal customer.
But as I get older, the fascination of wanting the latest and greatest gadgets fades and as I progress along my faith journey, I realise that the Bible really has the answer to life, the universe and everything.
As I read and reflect on the characters and parables in the scriptures, it seems that God is always telling me that simplicity and detachment to earthly things is the key to everything. Our Lord of Lords and King of Kings was born in a simple manger. The greatest prophet, John the Baptist, lived in the desert, wearing a robe of camel hair and surviving on locusts and wild honey. The leaders of the early church were fishermen. There were no illusions of grandeur at all.
Naaman the leper was healed of his leprosy, by simply immersing himself in the Jordan. Elisha did not even meet Naaman face to face, merely sending a messenger. Another parable that I have always been drawn to, is the parable of the tax collector and the Pharisee. It reminds me to be intentional in my prayers and to pray with the right attitude. To not do it for show but be intentional in how we worship the Lord through our thoughts, words and deeds. That worshipping the Lord is the main thing and not to worry if I sing out of tune or not. It is what we hold in our hearts that matters and the Lord knows us better than we know ourselves. So, we could be doing all the rituals and the right things at the right times, but if our actions are just routine, then it counts for nothing.
If I can be simplistic about it, our faith revolves around the great commandments — “Loving God” and “Loving neighbour”. If we manage to do this, our future is secured. But as the saying goes, “Easier said than done”. But it can be done! With our eyes firmly on Jesus and with Mama Mary as our guide, we can all achieve it.
Maybe then, there will be some who will then be drawn to us, and aspiring to be like us, living for the glory of God and working towards our heavenly reward.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Calvin Wee)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, you are the source of everything and you give us everything that we need. Grant us a desire to always want to be with you and not let the things of the earth distract us from working towards our heavenly home with you. Amen.
Thanksgiving: Heavenly Father, we thank you for showing us how to love you more, how to live simply with you at the centre of our lives. We humbly entreat you, Lord, to grant us the right attitude in our hearts as we strive to be your instruments here on earth. Amen.
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