An alcoholic fell on his knees and cried out to God for help. God heard his cry, and in quite an extraordinary way he touched the man’s heart, and led him out of the bondage of his addiction. This was a dramatic spiritual experience for the man, who felt as if he had been born again. In the workplace he spoke of this extraordinary intervention of God, and how he had now turned his will and his life over to the care of Jesus. One man scoffed, “Don’t tell me you have started to believe all that rubbish about miracles, about turning water into wine, for example.” “Well now,” said the man, “speaking of miracles, in my house God has actually turned wine into food.”
- Miracles begin when I stop playing God, and God is free to take over, and be God!
- It is not possible for a person to fall on his knees, cry out to God, and not be heard.
- taken from “150 More Stories for Preachers and Teachers” by Jack McArdle
Sirach 36: 14-18a
Vindicate those whom you created first, fulfil what has been prophesised in your name.
Give those who wait for you their reward, let your prophets be proved true.
Grant, Lord, the prayer of your servants, in the terms of Aaron’s blessing on your people,
so that all the earth’s inhabitants may acknowledge that you are the Lord, the everlasting God.
They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem; Jesus was walking on ahead of them; they were in a daze, and those who followed were apprehensive. Once more taking the Twelve aside he began to tell them what was going to happen to him, ‘Now we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of man is about to be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the gentiles, who will mock him and spit at him and scourge him and put him to death; and after three days he will rise again.’
James and John, the sons of Zebedee, approached him. ‘Master,’ they said to him, ‘We want you to do us a favour.’ He said to them, ‘What is it you want me to do for you?’ They said to him, ‘Allow us to sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your glory.’ But Jesus said to them, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I shall drink, or be baptised with the baptism with which I shall be baptised?’ They replied, ‘We can.’ Jesus said to them, ‘The cup that I shall drink you shall drink, and with the baptism with which I shall be baptised you shall be baptised, but as for seats at my right hand or my left, these are not mine to grant; they belong to those to whom they have been allotted.’
When the other ten heard this they began to feel indignant with James and John, so Jesus called them to him and said to them, ‘You know that among the gentiles those they call their rulers lord it over them, and their great men make their authority felt. Among you this is not to happen. No; anyone who wants to become great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be slave to all. For the Son of man himself came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’
In the Gospel reading, one can realise that God uses our lives to bring ourselves to new stages of our faith journeys.
How many times have we wished that we were financially, academically, emotionally, socially well-to-do, or are jealous of those who are? Of these times, how often have you acknowledged these desires and feelings, and brought them to prayer? I say ‘acknowledged’ because many of us in our busyness often push these thoughts aside and try to focus on what we think is doing God’s will. Many of us wouldn’t go to God and admit ‘I think I want a lot of money’ because we have been taught that money isn’t everything. Or that one cannot serve two masters at the same time.
Those of us who have are in the position of the sons of Zebedee every time we make that sort of seemingly ungodly request.
But—surprise—God wants us to tell Him all the desires of our hearts. Even those that go ‘Let us sit at your left and right.’ Sometimes it’s baffling how such desires can block out our focus on the Father. No matter how much we try to focus by pushing them away, we can’t. In the words of a priest who directed a retreat I attended, it’s as if someone switched off all the lights. Where is God? you ask.
Next time, try to be like the sons of Zebedee. Ask the Lord, and deal with the problem at hand. For a while, you will look like you are doing the wrong thing. But as we continue reading the Gospel passage, we find that it is through such desires that God will speak to us. As a result of James and John’s request, Jesus could give the great lesson that He later demonstrated at the washing of the feet—one must serve in order to lead.
Listening to God requires attention, and if something is taking away that attention, dealing with it is sometimes the best way to go back, and the best way to allow Him to speak to you.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Regina Xie)
Prayer: Lord, guide us who are in the dark.
Give thanks to the Lord for: His great plan for us.
Thu, 31 May – Zephaniah 3:14-14 or Romans 12:9-16b; Luke 1:39-56; Feast of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary
Fri, 01 Jun – Sirach 44:1, 9-13; Mark 11:11-26; Memorial for St. Justin, martyr
Sat, 02 Jun – Sirach 51:12-20; Mark 11:11-25, 27-33; Memorial for Sts. Marcellinus & Peter, martyr
Sun, 03 Jun – Proverbs 8:22-31; Romans 5:1-5; John 16:12-15; Feast of the Most Holy Trinity
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Disclaimer: The reflections expressed in this e-mail are the writer’s own. They may not necessarily reflect the teachings of the Catholic Church. Nonetheless we should all be able to learn something from it.