22 March, Sunday – Who sits on YOUR throne?

22 March

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1 Samuel 16:1,6-7,10-13

The Lord said to Samuel, ‘Fill your horn with oil and go. I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem, for I have chosen myself a king among his sons.’ When Samuel arrived, he caught sight of Eliab and thought, ‘Surely the Lord’s anointed stands there before him,’ but the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Take no notice of his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him: God does not see as man sees: man looks at appearances but the Lord looks at the heart.’ Jesse presented his seven sons to Samuel, but Samuel said to Jesse, ‘The Lord has not chosen these.’ He then asked Jesse, ‘Are these all the sons you have?’ He answered, ‘There is still one left, the youngest; he is out looking after the sheep.’ Then Samuel said to Jesse, ‘Send for him; we will not sit down to eat until he comes.’ Jesse had him sent for, a boy of fresh complexion, with fine eyes and pleasant bearing. The Lord said, ‘Come, anoint him, for this is the one.’ At this, Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him where he stood with his brothers; and the spirit of the Lord seized on David and stayed with him from that day on.

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Ephesians 5:8-14

You were darkness once, but now you are light in the Lord; be like children of light, for the effects of the light are seen in complete goodness and right living and truth. Try to discover what the Lord wants of you, having nothing to do with the futile works of darkness but exposing them by contrast. The things which are done in secret are things that people are ashamed even to speak of; but anything exposed by the light will be illuminated and anything illuminated turns into light. That is why it is said:

Wake up from your sleep,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.

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John 9:1-41

As Jesus went along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, for him to have been born blind?’ ‘Neither he nor his parents sinned,’ Jesus answered ‘he was born blind so that the works of God might be displayed in him.

‘As long as the day lasts
I must carry out the work of the one who sent me;
the night will soon be here when no one can work.
As long as I am in the world
I am the light of the world.’

Having said this, he spat on the ground, made a paste with the spittle, put this over the eyes of the blind man, and said to him, ‘Go and wash in the Pool of Siloam’ (a name that means ‘sent’). So the blind man went off and washed himself, and came away with his sight restored.

His neighbours and people who earlier had seen him begging said, ‘Isn’t this the man who used to sit and beg?’ Some said, ‘Yes, it is the same one.’ Others said, ‘No, he only looks like him.’ The man himself said, ‘I am the man.’ So they said to him, ‘Then how do your eyes come to be open?’ ‘The man called Jesus’ he answered ‘made a paste, daubed my eyes with it and said to me, “Go and wash at Siloam”; so I went, and when I washed I could see.’ They asked, ‘Where is he?’ ‘I don’t know’ he answered.

They brought the man who had been blind to the Pharisees. It had been a sabbath day when Jesus made the paste and opened the man’s eyes, so when the Pharisees asked him how he had come to see, he said, ‘He put a paste on my eyes, and I washed, and I can see.’ Then some of the Pharisees said, ‘This man cannot be from God: he does not keep the sabbath.’ Others said, ‘How could a sinner produce signs like this?’ And there was disagreement among them. So they spoke to the blind man again, ‘What have you to say about him yourself, now that he has opened your eyes?’ ‘He is a prophet’ replied the man. However, the Jews would not believe that the man had been blind and had gained his sight, without first sending for his parents and asking them, ‘Is this man really your son who you say was born blind? If so, how is it that he is now able to see?’ His parents answered, ‘We know he is our son and we know he was born blind, but we do not know how it is that he can see now, or who opened his eyes. He is old enough: let him speak for himself.’ His parents spoke like this out of fear of the Jews, who had already agreed to expel from the synagogue anyone who should acknowledge Jesus as the Christ. This was why his parents said, ‘He is old enough; ask him.’
So the Jews again sent for the man and said to him, ‘Give glory to God! For our part, we know that this man is a sinner.’ The man answered, ‘I don’t know if he is a sinner; I only know that I was blind and now I can see.’ They said to him, ‘What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?’ He replied, ‘I have told you once and you wouldn’t listen. Why do you want to hear it all again? Do you want to become his disciples too?’ At this they hurled abuse at him: ‘You can be his disciple,’ they said ‘we are disciples of Moses: we know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.’ The man replied, ‘Now here is an astonishing thing! He has opened my eyes, and you don’t know where he comes from! We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but God does listen to men who are devout and do his will. Ever since the world began it is unheard of for anyone to open the eyes of a man who was born blind; if this man were not from God, he couldn’t do a thing.’ ‘Are you trying to teach us,’ they replied ‘and you a sinner through and through, since you were born!’ And they drove him away.

Jesus heard they had driven him away, and when he found him he said to him, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’ ‘Sir,’ the man replied ‘tell me who he is so that I may believe in him.’ Jesus said, ‘You are looking at him; he is speaking to you.’ The man said, ‘Lord, I believe’, and worshipped him.
Jesus said:

‘It is for judgement
that I have come into this world,
so that those without sight may see
and those with sight turn blind.’

Hearing this, some Pharisees who were present said to him, ‘We are not blind, surely?’ Jesus replied:

‘Blind? If you were,
you would not be guilty,
but since you say, “We see,”
your guilt remains.’

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“ … so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind…”

There is a particular audio version of the Rosary known as the Healing Rosary. In it, the opening reflection at the start of the 5th Glorious Mystery goes as follows:

“We pray for the wisdom to find healing in doing God’s will. Many are the frustrations of human life, the glittering career that turned to dust, the family that promised so much, the wealth that brought only misery, the poverty that made God into an enemy… teach us again and again and again, how to do God’s will”.

When we choose to treat our colleagues and subordinates as secondary to our ambitions, our self-preservation and our convenience. When we refuse to show patience, understanding and compassion in the midst of their failures and inabilities. When we throw them under the bus in the name of our own good name and worldly success. When keeping our bosses happy and protecting our favour in the boss’ eyes overrides their dignity, justice and humanity — in all these circumstances, who sits on YOUR throne?

In faith, when we use religion to serve our own purposes – for business contacts, for financial gain, for networking. When the church sanctuary is a place not of true worship but a performance stage to show off our Armani suits, or $2000 heels, how well we can sing and dance and dramatize our ‘belief’ in God. Where the prosperity ‘gospel’ comes before the Gospel of mercy, compassion, universal inclusiveness, and of authentic and sincere worship of God, where salvation is premised and ‘guaranteed’ based on worldly manifestations of wealth, success and self-aggrandizing glory. Where the poor are not welcomed to the community because they have nothing of ‘value’ to add to the network of the successful, the powerful, the affluent and the prideful. Where the blood of martyrs, Mary the Mother of God, the grace bestowed upon the Saints, are all ignored and ridiculed in place of man-made philosophy, man-worshipping narcissism and self-anointed leaders with the audacity to claim Divine anointing. Where faith and worship become so inextricably and hopelessly corrupted by worldliness, spiritual arrogance, narcissism and monetization of faith for profit — in these places and circumstances, who sits on YOUR throne?

In our work of ministry, when we despise, ridicule and place the failures of our fellow ministry members ahead of their sacred divine calling by God to serve. When we place our own pride, glory, self-aggrandization, convenience, delusions of power and authority, privilege and reputation, before the glory of God. When our faith is all about what God can do for us and how He ought to ‘reward’ us for our ministry with worldly success and reputation — in such times, who sits on YOUR throne?

When we choose to neglect our loved ones, who have been entrusted to us and placed in our lives by God for our sanctification and sacred vocation, by not choosing to spend time with them, to give of our time, our money, our patience, to love them unconditionally, to understand them more fully, to make sacrifices and die to self for their well-being — in such times, who sits on YOUR throne?

Many times, and in many situations in our lives, we do not know who sits on OUR thrones, but quite likely, again and again and again, the one that sits on that throne is simply, and quite clearly, NOT… God.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Justus Teo)

Prayer: Father help us, we often find it so difficult to allow you to be our God and to give You sovereignty over our lives, the lives which have come from you in the first place. Often, we have allowed ourselves to be enthroned and in our reign, have caused great suffering, disillusionment, disunity to others and even ourselves.

Thanksgiving: Father, thank you for showing us the way to true servant leadership. For showing us the power of an Almighty God and King and the unconditional forgiveness, compassion and unfailing love of a Father who loves His own, no matter what, even to allowing us the follow of thinking we could ever be sovereign over you.

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