Becoming part of the flock

I confess, for a long time, I have not been attending Sunday masses.

I have so many reasons for not going – busy schedule, woke up late, childcare, budget, sickness, even the weather. Name it and I think I have made them all as an excuse already.

It is not even because I hate mass. I actually like going to one because I feel different afterwards, I feel more positive just by being there. It’s just a struggle for me at times to really want to go out and go to Church.

But I found that lately those reasons disappeared one by one. So now, if I can’t go to mass, the reason is simply laziness.

And I guess, with God’s grace, I am now more inclined to go to mass. Maybe the lenten retreat videos are really helping me. Hopefully, it will always be this way.

So today while I was in mass, there were three points that hit home. These seem to be the themes of my lenten reflection this year.

Do not be quick to judge
The first reading is the story about how God chose David among the other brothers presented to Him. The line:

“…God does not see as human beings see; they look at appearances but Yahweh looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

This reminded me of a passage in the book “The Imitation of Christ,” by Kempis Thomas that warned people about putting themselves above others because you might actually be worth less than the other. God is the only one who can see what is in the heart of people.

I realized that having too much pride, I also had a tendency before to think of myself as righteous. I looked at other people’s mistakes and think of them as bad people at once.

I used to get angry with others even if I had no connection with whatever transpired between that person and another. I judged them too quickly, listened to other people’s opinion of them and relied on one negative past experience. For me, that person had no redeeming qualities and I did not give her any benefit of the doubt.

I guess what Kempis Thomas said was true, the proud will always be envious and full of wrath.

Sadly, it is only now that I realized that I became that kind of person. I did not like those kinds of people before but I became just like them. Too quick to judge without really knowing their heart.

I am ashamed of it but I am also thankful that I finally learned of my awful behaviour. I am also extremely grateful that God did not let me continue to live that way, He helped me out of that situation and get it out my system. Most importantly, I believe, He forgave me for it.

The Miracle
The symbolism of the clay in the gospel is said to be in reference to creation story, when God created men. He did not just say “Let there be man,” like He did with the rest of creation, instead, he used dust and breathe life to it.

Jesus used clay to restore the sight of the blind man. Like the gospel, I feel like I was given a new set of eyes. Now I can see my wrongs and I am given the chance to correct them.

I still have to work on how to always have a humble heart. I think I would need alot of practice, strong will and God’s grace to always remeber to give all credit to God and not to myself. I do not want to ever have that misplaced proud feeling again.

I am thankful that I, like everyone of us, is given another chance to undo my mistakes.

Like what Jesus did to the blind, God can “recreate” us through the sacrament of confession or reconciliation.

I think, this part of the gospel got to me because this is what I am being invited to do this lent. Maybe for you, another part of the gospel or other readings will be your takeaway for this Sunday.

The Lord is my shepherd
David created this beautiful Psalm that reminds me of my goal.

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”

It will take alot of reminders for me to practice living only for His purpose. I will still worry about my family and our material needs from time to time but hopefully I would be able to let go of that too. Not that I will completely abandon caring for my family’s needs but that I will not make it as something that occupies my mind all the time.

I want to believe that He will provide what we need, so I should not concern myself of those things too much.

We would only be able to do God’s purpose in our life when we are able to abandon worldly things completely.

Only then will we will be truly happy.

 

photo by Alexas_fotos from Pixabay.com

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