3 Nov 2019 – 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time
2 Thessalonians 1:11-2:2
Jesus entered Jericho and was going through the town when a man whose name was Zacchaeus made his appearance: he was one of the senior tax collectors and a wealthy man. He was anxious to see what kind of man Jesus was, but he was too short and could not see him for the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to catch a glimpse of Jesus who was to pass that way. When Jesus reached the spot he looked up and spoke to him: ‘Zacchaeus, come down. Hurry, because I must stay at your house today.’ And he hurried down and welcomed him joyfully. They all complained when they saw what was happening. ‘He has gone to stay at a sinner’s house’ they said. But Zacchaeus stood his ground and said to the Lord, ‘Look, sir, I am going to give half my property to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody I will pay him back four times the amount.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because this man too is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek out and save what was lost.’
Our God will make you worthy of His call
It has always been a bit of a struggle for me to believe that God would want me to answer His call and be of service. Maybe a part of it is pride. Modern culture has taught us in many ways, to want to be served and not to serve. However, I think a large part of it is that I don’t think I am worthy. No, I don’t suffer from low self esteem, I have insecurities just like most people I know. If anything, I may suffer from too much pride at times. What I find hard to believe or to take in is that I can bring anything to the table. A banquet table set for a King, prepared by many talented, dedicated and faithful people.
In the faith study group I am participating in, we were talking about evangelization. This word always made me slightly uncomfortable. ‘Good manners’ has always taught us not to discuss politics or religion amongst other things, especially to strangers, acquaintances or friends, especially at the dinner table. I would have no qualms in discussing the Catholic faith with other Catholics, but would hesitate to engage in any meaningful conversation about my faith with non believers and other Christians. I have pondered about why I feel uncomfortable about sharing my faith when it is the best thing that has ever happened to me. There are two reasons that I can come up with. First, I feel that I haven’t learned enough about Catholicism, even though I have been a Catholic all my life. My faith is like the tides at a shoreline, it ebbs and flows throughout the years; and my focus has often been on more earthly matters. In other words, I feel that I am not knowledgeable enough to answer questions or defend any biased or unfair criticism of the Catholic faith. This leads directly and indirectly to the second reason. Fear. I am afraid. I am fearful of falling short of God’s expectations, and do more harm than good if I couldn’t answer others’ queries. But deep down, I am fearful of being ridiculed, of not being cool or hip or whatever is the current term for awesomeness. In other words, fear of looking like a fool, stemming from pride.
I don’t have an immediate answer to solve the sin of pride. But after pondering over the faith study and today’s reading, it dawned on me that I am being really silly. Of course, I am not equipped nor qualified to do God’s work. I would run into walls if I tried it on my own. The key is to let Jesus take the wheel. No, this is not a ‘cop out’. Think about it. Left to our own devices, we surely would stumble due to our fallen human nature. Everything we have, everything we are, are all mercy and grace from our loving God. If we rely on Him, with continuous prayers and a sincere heart, He will hear us and make us worthy of His call. Then He can grant us the courage, the grace, the will to serve Him, and serve Him well. What we can’t overcome, our shyness, our fears or our reluctance, He can overcome if we truly humble ourselves and ask for His help. After all, He can make the impossible possible. He can make us worthy of Him.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Winnie Kung)
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, we truly love you and wish to do your will. Please grant us the grace and faith to desire goodness and to heed your call.
Thanksgiving: Heavenly Father, we thank you for deeming us worthy and loving us, even when we feel that we are not worthy.