1 October 2017
The word of the Lord was addressed to me as follows: ‘You object, “What the Lord does is unjust.” Listen, you House of Israel: is what I do unjust? Is it not what you do that is unjust? When the upright man renounces his integrity to commit sin and dies because of this, he dies because of the evil that he himself has committed. When the sinner renounces sin to become law-abiding and honest, he deserves to live. He has chosen to renounce all his previous sins; he shall certainly live; he shall not die.’
If our life in Christ means anything to you, if love can persuade at all, or the Spirit that we have in common, or any tenderness and sympathy, then be united in your convictions and united in your love, with a common purpose and a common mind. That is the one thing which would make me completely happy. There must be no competition among you, no conceit; but everybody is to be self-effacing. Always consider the other person to be better than yourself, So that nobody thinks of his own interests first but everybody thinks of other people’s interests instead. In your minds you must be the same as Christ Jesus:
His state was divine,
yet he did not cling
to his equality with God
but emptied himself
to assume the condition of a slave,
and became as men are;
and being as all men are,
he was humbler yet,
even to accepting death,
death on a cross.
But God raised him high
and gave him the name
which is above all other names
so that all beings in the heavens,
on earth and in the underworld,
should bend the knee at the name of Jesus
and that every tongue should acclaim
Jesus Christ as Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Jesus said to the chief priests and elders of the people, ‘What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He went and said to the first, “My boy, you go and work in the vineyard today.” He answered, “I will not go,” but afterwards thought better of it and went. The man then went and said the same thing to the second who answered, “Certainly, sir,” but did not go. Which of the two did the father’s will?’ ‘The first’ they said. Jesus said to them, ‘I tell you solemnly, tax collectors and prostitutes are making their way into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you, a pattern of true righteousness, but you did not believe him, and yet the tax collectors and prostitutes did. Even after seeing that, you refused to think better of it and believe in him.’
Thinks of other people’s interest
I recall those years when I was much younger and a teenager who wasn’t too disciplined. Whenever I was asked to help or given some household errands to run, I would feel reluctant. However, because we did not have any domestic helpers at home and since both my parents worked hard to put food on the table, there was no one else to complete the errands but ourselves. As reluctant as I was, it would still be done and surprisingly, I would feel good to have done it. Well, that is because most of those errands involved buying food and ordering takeaways.
As I got older, I continued to have random thoughts about the purpose of the things that I had to do. Was I doing this for my parents, because I respected them and loveed them for the care they had given me? Was I doing this because it showed faith and thanksgiving to our Lord Jesus? Was I doing this just for the sake of money and survival? Was I doing this because I made the other person feel good about themselves at the end of the day? I believe when we grow up to become responsible adults, we begin to be accountable for our own actions, and if we tend to look beyond ourselves, we should be responsible about how our actions can affect others interest.
As with today’s first reading and Gospel, God looks to those who have that change of heart to do good. Our Lord and creator knows us pretty well. The Lord does not look at the surface of who we are, but to look deep into our hearts for our intentions and struggles to renounce sin. It is very comforting to know this in spite of all the difficult decisions we have to make each day just to survive. But if we believe in God and constantly make the effort to actually be the good person God wants us to be, He will see it and reward us. We do not live on Earth alone. Despite the struggles to love a difficult neighbour, we still need the help of others to move forward ourselves. Thus, there is certainly no excuse not to do what pleases the Lord, for He is simple and encouraging for us to always be by his side, renouncing sin and turning towards doing good.
(Today’s Oxygen by Austin Leong)
Prayer: Oh Lord, always be in our thoughts and hearts that we aim to do good wholeheartedly and that our actions bring peace and love to those around us.
Thanksgiving: O Gracious Lord, thank you for watching over us and recognising our efforts to not sin again, forgiving us, filling us with your Holy Spirit.