09 June – Monday in Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
1 Kings 17:1-6
Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, ‘As the Lord lives, the God of Israel whom I serve, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years except at my order.’
The word of the Lord came to him, ‘Go away from here, go eastwards, and hide yourself in the wadi Cherith which lies east of Jordan. You can drink from the stream, and I have ordered the ravens to bring you food there.’ He did as the Lord had said; he went and stayed in the wadi Cherith which lies east of Jordan. The ravens brought him bread in the morning and meat in the evening, and he quenched his thirst at the stream.
Seeing the crowds, Jesus went up the hill. There he sat down and was joined by his disciples. Then he began to speak. This is what he taught them:
‘How happy are the poor in spirit;
theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Happy the gentle:
they shall have the earth for their heritage.
Happy those who mourn:
they shall be comforted.
Happy those who hunger and thirst for what is right:
they shall be satisfied.
Happy the merciful:
they shall have mercy shown them.
Happy the pure in heart:
they shall see God.
Happy the peacemakers:
they shall be called sons of God.
Happy those who are persecuted in the cause of right:
theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
‘Happy are you when people abuse you and persecute you and speak all kinds of calumny against you on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven; this is how they persecuted the prophets before you.’
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.
My favourite singers are those who are able to sing softly while maintaining great strength in their voice. Unlike poorer singers who tend to sound airy and unpolished when they sing softly, divas such as Barbra Streisand and Celine Dion are somehow always successful at maintaining a great sense of control and strength even when they lower their voices. The same paradox is reflected in today’s Gospel reading.
In the eyes of the secular world, the beatitudes appear to be meant for “quitters” and “weaklings”. However, this view is far from the truth. Although the beatitudes address numerous “types of people”, the underlying theme of the beatitudes reveals only one kind of person: a person who seeks God with all his/her heart.
Seeking God is not an easy thing to do because unlike our family and friends who are physically available to our immediate senses, God is not. Hence, the journey towards Him is often filled with both great joy (in moments when He may feel close or reveal Himself in certain ways) and great sorrow (in moments when He feels far away and we feel abandoned and tempted to give up on our faith).
If you feel abandoned by God, tired by this journey, or question the meaning and purpose of it all, Jesus is speaking to you today. He is reminding you that you who suffer for the sake of trying to hold on to your faith are the strongest, most courageous, and would receive the greatest reward of all. How is this so? Just as good singers are able to reveal their singing skills when their voices remain strong while soft, you who mourn and thirst for God are much stronger than you realize because you are able to stay with the pain, the challenges, and the sufferings involved with following Jesus.
The secular world may mock you and call you weak for holding onto a faith that does not appear tangible. However, believe that there is more to your life than the immediate gratification of your senses. It is such faith, especially in the midst of uncertainties, you hold on to that resembles that of Elijah.
Therefore, be encouraged and comforted that you are closer to God, God’s promises, and God’s rewards than you realize. Remembering how Elijah trusted the Lord before any sign was given, let us also continue to place our trust in the Lord who fulfils His promises in the exact same way He promised, just as He did for Elijah.
(Today’s reflection by Jean Cheng)
Prayer: O Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, I place my trust in you.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks to the saints who have bore the struggles and tests of their faith to encourage us.
10 June, Tue – 1 Kings 17:7-16; Matthew 5:13-16
11 June, Wed – Acts 11:21b-26; 13:1-3 Matthew 10:17-19 – Feast of St Barnabas
12 June, Thu – 1 Kings 18:41-46; Matthew 5:20-26
13 June, Fri – 1 Kings 19:9a. 11-16; Matthew 5:27-32
14 June, Sat -1 Kings 19:19-21; Matthew 5:33-37
15 June, Sun – Exodus 19:2-6a; Romans 5:6-11; Matthew 9:36-10:8; Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
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