12 August, Sunday – Don’t Look Back In Anger

12 August 

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1 Kings 19:4-8

Elijah went into the wilderness, a day’s journey, and sitting under a furze bush wished he were dead. ‘O Lord,’ he said ‘I have had enough. Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.’ Then he lay down and went to sleep. But an angel touched him and said, ‘Get up and eat.’ He looked round, and there at his head was a scone baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. But the angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, ‘Get up and eat, or the journey will be too long for you.’ So he got up and ate and drank, and strengthened by that food he walked for forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.

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Ephesians 4:30-5:2

Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God who has marked you with his seal for you to be set free when the day comes. Never have grudges against others, or lose your temper, or raise your voice to anybody, or call each other names, or allow any sort of spitefulness. Be friends with one another, and kind, forgiving each other as readily as God forgave you in Christ.

Try, then, to imitate God as children of his that he loves and follow Christ loving as he loved you, giving himself up in our place as a fragrant offering and a sacrifice to God.

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John 6:41-51

The Jews were complaining to each other about Jesus, because he had said, ‘I am the bread that came down from heaven.’ ‘Surely this is Jesus son of Joseph’ they said. ‘We know his father and mother. How can he now say, “I have come down from heaven”?’ Jesus said in reply, ‘Stop complaining to each other.

‘No one can come to me
unless he is drawn by the Father who sent me,
and I will raise him up at the last day.
It is written in the prophets:
They will all be taught by God,
and to hear the teaching of the Father,
and learn from it,
is to come to me.
Not that anybody has seen the Father,
except the one who comes from God:
he has seen the Father.
I tell you most solemnly,
everybody who believes has eternal life.

‘I am the bread of life.
Your fathers ate the manna in the desert
and they are dead;
but this is the bread that comes down from heaven,
so that a man may eat it and not die.
I am the living bread which has come down from heaven.
Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever;
and the bread that I shall give is my flesh,
for the life of the world.’

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“All bitterness, fury, anger … must be removed from you …”

A few days after I left my job, my godmother’s mother was hospitalized and as I had the time, I started to accompany her daily during her stay in the hospital, till she returned home to the Lord. During these 25 days, I learnt a lot from her about God, her love for God’s people, her gift of intercession, as well as various lessons on how to live life without carrying unwanted baggage. One day, during one of the quieter mornings, we started talking about the reasons why I had left my previous work organization and, after I finished with my reasons, Aunty said to me, “Girl, do not keep anger in your heart”. It was a simple one liner, but it was not an easy one liner to practice. Aunty started sharing her life with me – her childhood, her marriage to Uncle, being a mother to 5 children, as well as being a prayer warrior for God. Aunty shared that there were many moments in her life where she could react with anger, but instead, she chose to forgive because anger has the ability to hinder one from loving a person wholeheartedly and without judgment, and harbouring anger could cause a breakdown in relationships.

Reflecting on my own life, I started to notice patterns as a result of anger or harbouring anger in my heart – decisions that were made based on anger usually cause hurt to someone else or myself. I had a tendency of imploding from the inside rather than confronting the individual that made me angry (unless I was extremely close to that person and I feel safe expressing my negative emotions), and I realized the detriment this had on my own well-being. Since the conversation, I have been trying to let go of anger, particularly towards certain people in my life, and although it is quite difficult, it is still something I want to persist in moving forward.

In today’s second reading, St. Paul reminds us that holding on to bitterness and anger grieves the Holy Spirit and instead of harbouring such negativity, we, as children of God, should practice kindness and compassion in our lives, and to forgive those who have hurt us in a loving, brotherly (sisterly) way. Let us learn to give our anger to God and exchange it for love, as Christ did for us.

(Today’s Oxygen by Hannah Huang)

Prayer: Heavenly Father, teach us how to love our fellow brothers and sisters, especially those who we find hard to love. Grant us the graces to forgive and not to harbour anger in our hearts.

Thanksgiving: Dear loving Father, thank you for your gentle reminders that we are your children and that you love us for who we are.

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