Micah 7:14-15, 18-20
With shepherd’s crook, O Lord, lead your people to pasture,
the flock that is your heritage,
living confined in a forest
with meadow land all around.
Let them pasture in Bashan and Gilead
as in the days of old.
As in the days when you came out of Egypt
grant us to see wonders.
What god can compare with you: taking fault away,
not cherishing anger for ever
but delighting in showing mercy?
Once more have pity on us,
tread down our faults,
to the bottom of the sea
throw all our sins.
Grant Jacob your faithfulness,
and Abraham your mercy,
as you swore to our fathers
from the days of long ago.
Jesus was speaking to the crowds when his mother and his brothers appeared; they were standing outside and were anxious to have a word with him. But to the man who told him this Jesus replied, ‘Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?’ And stretching out his hand towards his disciples he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven, he is my brother and sister and mother.’
Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven, he is my brother and sister and mother.
In the first reading, we read of a desire for God to lead His people to pasture, and we ask for His pity and mercy. And that is probably most of our desires as well. Most of the time, we reduce our faith, we reduce God to merely providing our wants when we are unable to provide for ourselves or when we become desperate. But when everything is going smoothly, we neglect Him, we leave Him aside.
He reminds us of our identity, the identity that we are all brothers and sisters in Him, His adopted children, that we are one family. And it is the word ‘family’ that gives us an insight of how God desires our relationships with each other to be like, and that is of love. It’s the love between mother and children, children with their siblings, this love that results in forgiveness, understanding, sacrifice. But more than that — to acknowledge our Father — not just our earthly father but also our Father in heaven. To understand, experience and be aware of His love for us, how He brought us into this world and who He moulds us to be by His gifts and talents given to us.
If we have encountered His love, we will want to also do His will. For those of us who are fathers, ultimately I’m sure it is to ensure our children do not make the same mistakes as us. That they should have better lives, should be more aware, should be tough, should have discipline and be obedient. As our Father in heaven, He too desires for us to be like Him, to share His love with all. And when we do so, we realise that everyone is a brother, sister and mother in Him.
Let us today not just ask for the gifts of the signs but to ask for the giver, that Christ may live in us, in order that we acknowledge our identity as one church, one body, one family united in Christ.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Benjamin Mao)
Prayer: Dear Lord, we pray that you will be merciful to us for the times we have neglected you. For the times when we have chosen the material world over family, over you, we seek your forgiveness. Help us to be patient and continue to lead each other on this journey as we strive towards holiness as your disciples.
Thanksgiving: Dear Lord, thank you for the gift of family, thank you for giving us a place called home. Thank you for making a home in us too.