Daily Archives: September 29, 2019

29 September, Sunday – Proof of Life

29 September 2019

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Amos 6:1,4-7

The almighty Lord says this:
Woe to those ensconced so snugly in Zion
and to those who feel so safe on the mountain of Samaria,
those famous men of this first of nations
to whom the House of Israel goes as client.
Lying on ivory beds
and sprawling on their divans,
they dine on lambs from the flock,
and stall-fattened veal;
they bawl to the sound of the harp,
they invent new instruments of music like David,
they drink wine by the bowlful,
and use the finest oil for anointing themselves,
but about the ruin of Joseph they do not care at all.
That is why they will be the first to be exiled;
the sprawlers’ revelry is over.

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1 Timothy 6:11-16

As a man dedicated to God, you must aim to be saintly and religious, filled with faith and love, patient and gentle. Fight the good fight of the faith and win for yourself the eternal life to which you were called when you made your profession and spoke up for the truth in front of many witnesses. Now, before God the source of all life and before Christ, who spoke up as a witness for the truth in front of Pontius Pilate, I put to you the duty of doing all that you have been told, with no faults or failures, until the Appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,

who at the due time will be revealed
by God, the blessed and only Ruler of all,
the King of kings and the Lord of lords,
who alone is immortal,
whose home is in inaccessible light,
whom no man has seen and no man is able to see:
to him be honour and everlasting power. Amen.

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Luke 16:19-31

Jesus said to the Pharisees: ‘There was a rich man who used to dress in purple and fine linen and feast magnificently every day. And at his gate there lay a poor man called Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to fill himself with the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even came and licked his sores. Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried.

‘In his torment in Hades he looked up and saw Abraham a long way off with Lazarus in his bosom. So he cried out, “Father Abraham, pity me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in agony in these flames.” “My son,” Abraham replied “remember that during your life good things came your way, just as bad things came the way of Lazarus. Now he is being comforted here while you are in agony. But that is not all: between us and you a great gulf has been fixed, to stop anyone, if he wanted to, crossing from our side to yours, and to stop any crossing from your side to ours.”

‘The rich man replied, “Father, I beg you then to send Lazarus to my father’s house, since I have five brothers, to give them warning so that they do not come to this place of torment too.” “They have Moses and the prophets,” said Abraham “let them listen to them.” “Ah no, father Abraham,” said the rich man “but if someone comes to them from the dead, they will repent.” Then Abraham said to him, “If they will not listen either to Moses or to the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone should rise from the dead.”’

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They will not be convinced even if someone should rise from the dead

My journey in ministry has taken an interesting turn of late, and I am curious as to what the Lord has planned for me. As I navigate new waters and start to be called upon by our spiritual director, who has been making his presence felt in many ways, let’s just say that his methods may be a tad ‘unconventional’ for those around who have been serving for a long time. I must say, though, that he has brought about much-needed change at the centre.

And while some of the changes appear to be merely cosmetic, I can appreciate why they had to be implemented. Sometimes, change needs to be seen in order to be felt. And when visitors see these changes and comment on them, the ripple effects can be quite beneficial. “Wah, so clear!”; “Finally there are new screens. Can see the words better.”  (both referring to the new monitors that have been installed); “Like a breath of fresh air.” (referring to our new logo). Of course, the more cynical among us may ‘pooh pooh’ the changes but there is no denying the positive vibes radiating among those who welcome change.

In this day of instant gratification, it has taken us literally close to 2 years to effect these much-needed changes. Some may be puzzled and ask, “What took you so long?” I, for one, have experienced the inertia that is present when things start to get a wee bit too comfortable and familiar. It is human nature after all, to be content with the tried and tested, to stick only to what we know and not try new things, new ways in order to improve. Countless meetings debating the merits and pitfalls of processes and procedures come to naught when the mindset is ‘if it ain’t broke, just let it be.’ Just yesterday, a ministry brother and myself finally identified a whole wall of decommissioned, discarded equipment to dispose of. What a carthartic experience it was, as we finally shed years of ‘baggage’ and legacy (for me at least).

So how do we convince those who continue to stick to their old mindsets and ways of thinking that in order to move forward, one needs to change from the inside? Even after Jesus rose from the dead, there are many who doubt, many who continue to live in sin, many who question if He actually is present in our lives. We just have to look around in our parishes to gauge whether people actually believe Jesus is present during mass. Because it appears that unless there is clear evidence, many of us just don’t accept the fact that He is truly with us and continues to walk among us.

Brothers and sisters, how long are we going to continue living in denial? How long are we going to carry on thinking that we are right all the time, and that others around us don’t know what they are talking about? How long are we going to continue to preach to others without listening closely to fresh perspectives? How long are we going to say, “I have been around longer than you, therefore I know better”?

Jesus died and rose from the dead. In doing so, He changed the lives of those who saw, those who heard and those who believed. Let us continue to believe that He is changing lives even today.

(Today’s Oxygen by Desmond Soon)

Prayer: Jesus, you continue to light our paths and carry us through all the seasons of our lives. May you always continue to be the guiding light as we navigate through the rough seas.

Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for never giving up on us.