25 Sep 2019
At the evening sacrifice I, Ezra, came out of my stupor and falling on my knees, with my garment and cloak torn, I stretched out my hands to the Lord my God, and said:
‘My God, I am ashamed, I blush to lift my face to you, my God. For our crimes have increased, until they are higher than our heads, and our sin has piled up to heaven. From the days of our ancestors until now our guilt has been great; on account of our crimes we, our kings and our priests, were given into the power of the kings of other countries, given to the sword, to captivity, to pillage and to shame, as is the case today. But now, suddenly, the Lord our God by his favour has left us a remnant and granted us a refuge in his holy place; this is how our God has cheered our eyes and given us a little respite in our slavery. For we are slaves; but God has not forgotten us in our slavery; he has shown us kindness in the eyes of the kings of Persia, obtaining permission for us to rebuild the Temple of our God and restore its ruins, and he has found us safety and shelter in Judah and in Jerusalem.’
Jesus called the Twelve together and gave them power and authority over all devils and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. He said to them, ‘Take nothing for the journey: neither staff, nor haversack, nor bread, nor money; and let none of you take a spare tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there; and when you leave, let it be from there. As for those who do not welcome you, when you leave their town shake the dust from your feet as a sign to them.’ So they set out and went from village to village proclaiming the Good News and healing everywhere.
So they set out and went from village to village proclaiming the Good News and healing everywhere.
I once went for a holiday where I did not have any check-in baggage. Instead, I had just a small hand-carry suitcase which contained all my clothes for the entire duration of the trip. My travel companions were all surprised by how little I carried. They wondered if I had packed enough clothes. It turned out that I had packed enough for myself and they had to lug their heavy bags every where they go.
We carry in our lives a lot of baggage. The past hurts which we have suffered and also the nasty remarks made by others all add unnecessary burden in our lives. The Gospel of today tells us that we need to travel ‘light’ and to move around with the least of items so that we can easily proclaim the Word of God to the people around us.
This is easier said than done. The ability to trust in the Lord is something that is very difficult to do. We are unwilling to allow the Holy Spirit to enter into the darkest recesses of our heart to heal the hurts we have. This could stem from a desire to want to stay uncorrected because it would risk exposing our own failures. Yet proclaiming the Gospel in the world requires us to live authentic lives. Authentic lives are lives where our speech and actions all are in sync with each other. As Christians, these 2 are the best ways we can reach out to the people around us.
What can we do to be ready to journey in a world where there is so much uncertainty in our lives? We can nourish ourselves with Scripture and the Sacraments which provide us with the grace to live out a Christian life in the world around us. Strengthened by these two pillars, we will be ready to accept the challenge of proclaiming the Gospel to places where we never expect to do so. Let us trust in the Lord and make use of the tools which He has given us to proclaim His message of love wherever we go.
(Today’s Oxygen by Nicholas Chia)
Prayer: Dear Lord, let us go in peace to glorify you with our lives.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all who continue to proclaim the Word of God.