29 March 2019
The Lord says this:
Israel, come back to the Lord your God;
your iniquity was the cause of your downfall.
Provide yourself with words
and come back to the Lord.
Say to him, ‘Take all iniquity away
so that we may have happiness again
and offer you our words of praise.
Assyria cannot save us,
we will not ride horses any more,
or say, “Our God!” to what our own hands have made,
for you are the one in whom orphans find compassion.’
– I will heal their disloyalty,
I will love them with all my heart,
for my anger has turned from them.
I will fall like dew on Israel.
He shall bloom like the lily,
and thrust out roots like the poplar,
his shoots will spread far;
he will have the beauty of the olive
and the fragrance of Lebanon.
They will come back to live in my shade;
they will grow corn that flourishes,
they will cultivate vines
as renowned as the wine of Helbon.
What has Ephraim to do with idols any more
when it is I who hear his prayer and care for him?
I am like a cypress ever green,
all your fruitfulness comes from me.
Let the wise man understand these words.
Let the intelligent man grasp their meaning.
For the ways of the Lord are straight,
and virtuous men walk in them,
but sinners stumble.
One of the scribes came up to Jesus and put a question to him, ‘Which is the first of all the commandments?’ Jesus replied, ‘This is the first: Listen, Israel, the Lord our God is the one Lord, and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: You must love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.’ The scribe said to him, ‘Well spoken, Master; what you have said is true: that he is one and there is no other. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself, this is far more important than any holocaust or sacrifice.’ Jesus, seeing how wisely he had spoken, said, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.’ And after that no one dared to question him any more.
Straight are the paths of the Lord, in them the just walks
Which one of us would dare to consider ourselves just, especially when we are aware of our shortcomings? It is therefore a good time to ponder, “Who will be walking in this straight path?”
In my walk with the Lord, there is a constant need for assurance that I am on the right path. So I constantly ask Him, “…is that what you want of me? Is this for me? Is there where you would have me?”
Recently, I found out about a singles event organised by one of the minority groups in Malaysia. Though at the outset I qualified to attend, I was a bit uneasy that it was open to people of all faiths and those who were divorced. No, I was not casting a stone at anyone. Yet I was uncomfortable with the thought of mingling with men who had wives somewhere. This did not sit right in my heart. Secondly, I was not fully opened to mingling with men who were not Catholics. Again, I have nothing personal against people of other beliefs, but this was my attempt to walk in the path my Lord has chosen for me.
One day before the event, I received a reminder to sign up and that was the morning I woke up anxious about God’s intervention in this area of my life. So as I consulted Him, it was clear to me that He had greater plans for me.
Sometimes, things are never that clear but the Lord who made and owns our hearts knows what we need the most in any given situation. He knows that this heart of ours needs to love Him with all that we’ve got, no holds barred. He knows that loving His people will bring us a love and joy so unique, if we only allow ourselves to try a little harder.
No doubt, some people may seem challenging, impossible even. But I am very sure we will feel very different about them after attending Good Friday mass. Because on that day, He shows us what it is like to love and how to love – to lay down our lives, our pride, our agendas so that others may receive.
Today, let’s us pray for those who are yet to receive our love, and to follow through with another act of love towards Him by loving them with His love.
(Today’s Oxygen by Josephine Dionisappu)
Prayer: Lord, help us to love like you and walk in your path in all we do.
Thanksgiving: I thank you Lord, for making my heart in the image of thine heart, I allow you to mould me to love you and my neighbour.