Daily Archives: December 16, 2013

Monday, 16 Dec – Tuning our Ears of Faith

16 Dec

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Numbers 24:2-7,15-17

Raising his eyes Balaam saw Israel, encamped by tribes; the spirit of God came on him and he declaimed his poem. He said:

‘The oracle of Balaam son of Beor,
the oracle of the man with far-seeing eyes,
the oracle of one who hears the word of God.
He sees what Shaddai makes him see,
receives the divine answer, and his eyes are opened.
How fair are your tents, O Jacob!
How fair your dwellings, Israel!
Like valleys that stretch afar,
like gardens by the banks of a river,
like aloes planted by the Lord,
like cedars beside the waters!
A hero arises from their stock,
he reigns over countless peoples.
His king is greater than Agag,
his majesty is exalted.’

Then Balaam declaimed his poem again. He said:

‘The oracle of Balaam son of Beor,
the oracle of the man with far-seeing eyes,
the oracle of one who hears the word of God,
of one who knows the knowledge of the Most High.
He sees what Shaddai makes him see,
receives the divine answer, and his eyes are opened.
I see him – but not in the present,
I behold him – but not close at hand:
a star from Jacob takes the leadership,
a sceptre arises from Israel.’

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Matthew 21:23-27

Jesus had gone into the Temple and was teaching, when the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him and said, ‘What authority have you for acting like this? And who gave you this authority?’ ‘And I’ replied Jesus ‘will ask you a question, only one; if you tell me the answer to it, I will then tell you my authority for acting like this. John’s baptism: where did it come from: heaven or man?’ And they argued it out this way among themselves, ‘If we say from heaven, he will retort, “Then why did you refuse to believe him?”; but if we say from man, we have the people to fear, for they all hold that John was a prophet.’ So their reply to Jesus was, ‘We do not know.’ And he retorted, ‘Nor will I tell you my authority for acting like this.’

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Lord, make me know your ways

The intentions of someone’s actions are often interpreted and more often than not, mis-interpreted by others. We pride ourselves on our prior knowledge and then choose our actions accordingly to anticipate, if not react, to the behaviour we think will come. Unfortunately for the Jews in the Gospel of today, this course of action backfired.

They wanted to question the authority of Jesus’s message and use his answer to challenge him. Sometimes we give greater credence to people from a different background because we hold them in higher expectation. It is my belief that the Gospel can be proclaimed by both the beggar and the rich man. The former’s message is often ignored but I believe we need to tune our ears of faith to be receptive to this message.

Faith is a deep understanding of the ways of the Lord and the psalmist reminds us today of the importance of adhering to this message. Balaam, in choosing to bless and not curse Israel, was shown to him the ways which the Lord desired of him. We need to take time to pray and reflect on what it means to be a Christian in today’s world.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Nicholas Chia)

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Prayer: Lord, we pray for your love.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks for those who want to know God.