It is the Lord who speaks: ‘Over the House of David and the citizens of Jerusalem I will pour out a spirit of kindness and prayer. They will look on the one whom they have pierced; they will mourn for him as for an only son, and weep for him as people weep for a first-born child. When that day comes, there will be great mourning in Judah, like the mourning of Hadad-rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. When that day comes, a fountain will be opened for the House of David and the citizens of Jerusalem, for sin and impurity.’
You are, all of you, sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. All baptised in Christ, you have all clothed yourselves in Christ, and there are no more distinctions between Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female, but all of you are one in Christ Jesus. Merely by belonging to Christ you are the posterity of Abraham, the heirs he was promised.
One day when Jesus was praying alone in the presence of his disciples he put this question to them, ‘Who do the crowds say I am?’ And they answered, ‘John the Baptist; others Elijah; and others say one of the ancient prophets come back to life.’ ‘But you,’ he said ‘who do you say I am?’ It was Peter who spoke up. ‘The Christ of God’ he said. But he gave them strict orders not to tell anyone anything about this.
‘The Son of Man’ he said ‘is destined to suffer grievously, to be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes and to be put to death, and to be raised up on the third day.’
Then to all he said, ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross every day and follow me. For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake, that man will save it.’
“My soul clings to You”
My family and I have just gone to watch Les Misérables. This was a fantastic experience and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Despite having watched this in earlier productions on stage and the theatre, the story continues to enthrall us.
When watching the story, one cannot help but wonder how Jean Valjean, the main character, is able to always choose to do the right thing despite the challenges he faced. He chose to forgive, and in fact, help, Javert, the policeman who oversaw his nineteen year stay in a French prison. He chose to make the tough decisions in helping those around him, putting himself at risk when doing so. I have imagined what I would have done had I found myself in the same position.
It is one of the main reasons why this musical continues to resonate with me.
Just a warning for those who do not know the storyline of Les Misérables; spoilers are coming up ahead.
The theme of “renouncing oneself” can be seen in what Jesus taught in today’s gospel, and He asks us to do this exact thing. When I first heard this passage, I found it difficult to accept; it felt very much like a motherhood statement; which sounds great on paper and seriously difficult to carry out. Yet when we look at the life of our Lord Jesus, we see Him doing as he preached; praying for those who had hurt Him and put Him on the cross, while dying on that same cross.
A daily choice has to be made when “renouncing oneself”. Jean Valjean demonstrated this in his decision to confess to the court that they had, in fact, arrested the wrong man. He could have kept quiet and allowed the man to be sentenced in his stead. He would then have been able to wipe his slate clean and to enjoy his status as a politician and a businessman! Yet, he chose to do the right thing! Such a choice certainly did not come easy. However, we see that at the end, the decision Jean Valjean made to renounce himself had set him free instead.
Similarly, we need to be able to surrender ourselves. It is only in doing so that we demonstrate our trust in our God. We truly give up “control” over our own situations and leave it to our God to provide and to protect us.
(Today’s Oxygen by Paul Wee)
Prayer – Help us Father to always have the courage and strength to do the right thing and surrender ourselves. That we may be filled with the wisdom to recognize areas in our lives where we can continue to grow.
Thanksgiving – Thank You Father for guiding and loving us. Thank You for always taking care of us as we continue to grow in faith in You.