Apologies that the title for yesterday’s reflection is incorrect. It should be “5 September, Thursday – Be Cleansed and Happy!”
6 Sept 2019
The Pharisees and the scribes said to Jesus, ‘John’s disciples are always fasting and saying prayers, and the disciples of the Pharisees too, but yours go on eating and drinking.’ Jesus replied, ‘Surely you cannot make the bridegroom’s attendants fast while the bridegroom is still with them? But the time will come, the time for the bridegroom to be taken away from them; that will be the time when they will fast.’
New wine must be put into fresh skins
I had internships at different firms over the past few months and I realised that this gospel is so apt in describing my conduct at these firms. I recall that there was one firm where I enjoyed being at; the environment was bright and conducive for optimal performance, the people were friendly and inclusive and the culture was dynamic. After this stint, I had to go to another firm. I was upset for the first few days at the new firm because I realized that I missed the old firm. It was difficult for me to move on because I was still clinging on to the past. Then, it dawned upon me that if I continued to remain closed to new experiences at the new firm, I would not be able to perform well. So, I decided to be more open-minded, and found out new things that I liked about the firm. For example, there were more resources. Moreover, the people, culture and environment were just as great.
And this does not just occur in places where we work at, study in or even live in. There are almost always new experiences happening frequently, like meeting new people, coming across new experiences, seeking out new places.
From today’s gospel, Jesus is telling us that we cannot use old mindsets and attitudes for new experiences and new people. This can cause our heart and mind to be blind to the new graces that God gives us through such encounters. Adopting a narrow-minded perspective may also lead us to make hasty, but inaccurate, judgments of new people and things. Even if a new experience is negative and unpleasant, for instance, our new neighbour is grumpy and rude, we should not just dismiss him or her as someone whom we should not talk to. We can still try our best to see the good in this person. Maybe God would like to cultivate in us a virtue of patience and love to treat this neighbour well. Perhaps, one day, he or she would open up to us and be warmer to us as we do not appear as a threat to him or her. Even if this neighbour’s attitude does not change after a long period of time, God’s values can still be inculcated in us.
So, let us be open-minded to new things and people today, and be mindful of not jumping to conclusions based on our prior experiences and judgments.
(Today’s Oxygen by Brenda Khoo)
Prayer: Dear Lord, please help us to be open-minded and not conclude things too quickly based on what we have experienced in the past. Amen.
Thanksgiving: Dear Lord, thank you for allowing us to see your hand and receive your graces when we open our eyes, mind and heart to new people and experiences. Amen.