1 April 2017
The Lord revealed it to me; I was warned.
O Lord, that was when you opened my eyes to their scheming. I for my part was like a trustful lamb being led to the slaughter-house, not knowing the schemes they were plotting against me, ‘Let us destroy the tree in its strength, let us cut him off from the land of the living, so that his name may be quickly forgotten!’
But you, the Lord of Hosts, who pronounce a just sentence,
who probe the loins and heart,
let me see the vengeance you will take on them,
for I have committed my cause to you.
Several people who had been listening to Jesus said, ‘Surely he must be the prophet’, and some said, ‘He is the Christ’, but others said, ‘Would the Christ be from Galilee? Does not scripture say that the Christ must be descended from David and come from the town of Bethlehem?’ So the people could not agree about him. Some would have liked to arrest him, but no one actually laid hands on him.
The police went back to the chief priests and Pharisees who said to them, ‘Why haven’t you brought him?’ The police replied, ‘There has never been anybody who has spoken like him.’ ‘So’ the Pharisees answered ‘you have been led astray as well? Have any of the authorities believed in him? Any of the Pharisees? This rabble knows nothing about the Law – they are damned.’ One of them, Nicodemus – the same man who had come to Jesus earlier – said to them, ‘But surely the Law does not allow us to pass judgement on a man without giving him a hearing and discovering what he is about?’ To this they answered, ‘Are you a Galilean too? Go into the matter, and see for yourself: prophets do not come out of Galilee.’
I walk into the Church and find myself entering the centre pews, hoping to get a good view of the altar and try not to get distracted with anything else, not even a toddler walking across me from her mother on the left to her father on the right. Sometimes, it is also hard for me not to wonder what my fellow brother or sister who happens to sit beside me is like. Instead of focusing on praying and personal reflections on the past week, we probably wonder about our neighbour’s life and being competitive with our fellow brother and sister in Christ.
We have absolutely no knowledge of the other people kneeling and praying beside us as we have our quiet time with the Lord. Who are we to judge? Only our Almighty God can see where our faults lie. We must not think too highly of our own prayer life and end up thinking that we are superior to others. The Lord watches over us and our actions all the time. In today’s Gospel, the people of Jerusalem had nothing against Jesus, yet they judged Him strongly for speaking against the Law for their judgement had been blurred by their own perceptions, making them blind to the works of Jesus.
Therefore, let us not become someone who prays with distraction and be one who humbles himself with no arrogance within him. It requires focus and passion for the Lord to build a wholesome prayer life. As in the past readings of this week, we have emphasised what God’s law brought to us, He has been praised for the great works He promises. As we come to the end of the fourth week of Lent, allow us to bend our backs, lose the pride within us and assist all those around us who need us, rather than act like the Pharisees who prayed with much arrogance towards God.
(Today’s Oxygen by Austin Leong)
Prayer: O Lord, grant us the peace in our hearts, so that we are able to calm ourselves down at the end of each day and pray also for those whose lives we have influenced.
Thanksgiving: Thank you for being the Lord and Father who promises and delivers.