Oh no, I am days late on my reflection as I struggle to make time for Jesus and my family due to the heavy academic workload which has been draining my energy away. In the gospel reading, Jesus angrily drives out all the people in the temple who had turned it into a marketplace with all the farm animals and money changers. Jesus says, “Take these out of here and stop making my father’s house a marketplace.” (John 2:13-22). Jesus also promises that even though his temple is destroyed, he will raise it up in three days. Jesus was not referring to the physical temple but the temple of his body.
Often, we are afraid to be Catholics as we only practice our faith in church and not outside of church as well. We need to learn to help others who need our help and not push them away because we do not know the answers. We need to try. Trying and ignoring are two different aspects that must not be mixed together.
Last week, I attended mass at James Cook University which was organised by their own Catholic Society and today I attended their first inaugural campus mass at Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). Even though I was busy, I made time to attend these two masses to show my support to the other societies and also to pray for more strength as I needed time to reflect and find peace. It allowed me to look at my own temple which was similar to that of a marketplace with all the pent up emotions, worries and it was filled with chaos; the sad reality is that I felt an emptiness in me that made me feel unworthy and forgotten.
Was I pushing Jesus aside? Yes I was, but I always go back to Him to cleanse the temple of my heart so clouded with sin and full of noise. I needed to drive all these negativity out to let Jesus come into my heart again. The Dedication of the Lateran Basilica is the diocese of our Holy Father, Pope Francis and it is a timely reminder that we need to give meaning to each other to have a vibrant church and always be reminded of our baptism.
It is not the amount of beautifully built churches but the people inside them. The problem with Catholics is that we are passive in our faith and are afraid to help other people to guide them to give them hope and love. As Catholics, we are called to do so much more which is to create the living church where we can bring Jesus to people and tell them that there is Someone who loves them as they are, in spite of all their flaws, weaknesses, sin and that there is redemption in His grace.
These past few weeks, I have been in low spirits due to the situations that I have encountered and the gospel reading tells me to look to the Holy Spirit for support and reconciliation. The notion of reconciliation is to go to Jesus to be filled with the Spirit to get back up and to have a temple that is filled with the living God. I have learned about the concept of Kenosis as well which means to empty oneself. It means emptying ourselves completely and to take up our cross, knowing that Jesus is with us. Therefore, I have learned to do the things I can and surrendered the rest to Jesus, praying that things would turn out right, and even if it does not, I just need to move on and accept the crosses of life.
I am grateful for the people who have encouraged me and reminded me of my faith as a Catholic. I pray that God will increase my faith and that I will seek refuge in Jesus whose presence is enough for me. I am only left with two weeks of school before my final examinations which means more late nights and fluctuating emotions, but I know that I can do this through my own efforts and God’s grace. “Zeal for your house will consume me.” (James 2:13-22).
I would like to end this post with a hymn “We are Called” by David Haas to realise that we can use our Christian identity to do so much more and Jesus calls us to evaluate ourselves, so that we can be made whole again. I am glad that the people I am praying for have their prayers answered and that Jesus will continue to walk with them and help them through their struggles in health and life.
“We are called to act with justice.
We are called to love tenderly.
We are called to serve one another, to walk humbly with God.
Come! Open your heart!
Show your mercy to all those in fear!
We are called to be hope for the hopeless,
so all hatred and blindness will be no more! “
Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong