Staying at the House of a Sinner

The week has not been kind to me as I have barely time and I face the laptop again to do more work. It is so frustrating that it is testing my will to try and finish the task. My energy levels are fluctuating also, which is a constant struggle, and I have to keep going at it.

I was reading this article entitled, “Thoughts of a student on the need to excel” in the Straits Times. I could empathize as growing up, I always felt the need to excel as it was the only way to make my parents proud. This is the stark reality of a student nowadays as grades matter so much. Even in the university, everyone asks each other about grades and sometimes, I look at my well-being and think to myself,               “Is it worth it?”

Quote from the article: “I remember something J.K. Rowling wrote in the first Harry Potter book. That there were more important things than Hermione’s affinity with books and cleverness. Like friendship. And bravery. But that’s changing. One day, no one will know the meaning of courage or camaraderie.

Sadly, all that really matters, all that grown-ups are trying to drill into young minds, is success. If you are not successful, there is no point in existence. That’s a pretty sad message to teach. But that is what’s happening, whether we want it to or not.

It doesn’t matter if it’s at the cost of one’s well-being. Even if you were reduced to something barely functioning, but you pulled yourself up and are sitting there, telling your story in an Armani suit, that’s all that matters. That you became a success story.”

I am sorry that you did not have people to turn to and it is important to treasure your loved ones, especially family members.

Looks like the end of the year will be battle for me as I try and live one day at a time with courage and determination. At the same time, since it is Deepavali, we are reminded to bring light to other peoples through actions of love and mercy.

The gospel reading starts with, “At that time, Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town. Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” And he came down quickly and received him with joy. When they all saw this, they began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.” But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Behold, half of your possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone, I shall repay it four times over.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to his house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost”(Luke 19:1-10).

Even though Zacchaeus was a wealthy man who probably had everything going well for him, he recognized the importance and significance of Jesus that was beyond just material wealth. I wish that people know that they have Jesus even though they may feel inadequate or unwanted.           A tax collector had an unpleasant job during that time and nobody wanted to be associated with Zacchaeus.

But Jesus saw the goodness in Zacchaeus even though he was a sinner and received him with joy which mirrored the feelings of the Father in the parable of the prodigal son. Jesus welcomed the sinner with open arms and to save what was lost to sin. Zacchaeus was also overjoyed that Jesus wanted to stay at his home and pledged to donate his money to the poor and also to repay in full those that he had cheated.

We too must recognize Jesus in our lives and not let him pass us by. Through our search for Jesus, we will find him and we must invite him into our hearts where he will dwell. Are we able to recognize Jesus?

In other news, there is a flurry of excitement and anticipation as National Geographic has the exclusive on a report,” Jesus Christ Burial Place is Exposed For First Time in Centuries” It is interesting to see the resting place of Jesus when he was laid in the tomb. The burial place is currently undergoing restoration works and I would someday like to see the place. It is of significance as it shows that the presence of Jesus is very real and that the tomb is housed inside a church, a place on sacred ground.

Jesus wishes to stay in each of our houses where he will guide us on the right path, just like Zacchaeus through his words and teachings. He searches for the lost, broken and sinner which is everyone and he just needs us to believe and pray for an increase in faith and trust.

We pray for the intentions of Pope Francis for the month of November, “That the countries which take in a great number of displaced persons and refugees may find support for their efforts which show solidarity. That within parishes, priests and lay people may collaborate in service to the community without giving in to the temptation of discouragement.”

One of my lecturers asked me last week, “How do you face rejection or controversies in relation to my writing?” I told him that there will always be people out there who will disagree with me, and I told him that the thing that keeps me going is courage and determination to look at how the things I write can make a difference in another person’s life.

This week, I would like to share a song titled “Believe” by Yellowcard – a band that has been in my music playlist since my teenager phase; they are disbanding after their current tour ends to focus on their own lives. It is true that nothing lasts forever but it is the hope that they put forth in their songs which I am grateful in keeping my spirits up in those stormy moments.

It is true that everything is going to be all right. Be strong, believe! O God, bless as we pray that Jesus will be invited into our hearts where he will stay with us.

“Think about the love inside the strength of heart
Think about the heroes saving life in the dark
Climbing higher through the fire, time was running out
Never knowing you weren’t going to be coming down alive
But you still came back for me
You were strong and you believed

Everything is gonna be alright
Everything is gonna be alright
Everything is gonna be alright
Be strong. Believe.
Be strong. Believe.

Think about the chance I never had to say
Thank you for giving up your life that day
Never fearing, only hearing voices calling out
Let it all go, the life that you know, just to bring it down alive
And you still came back for me
You were strong and you believed

Everything is gonna be alright
Everything is gonna be alright
Everything is gonna be alright
Be strong. Believe.

(Again today, we take into our hearts and minds those who perished on this site one year ago, and also those who came to toil in the rubble to bring order out of chaos, to help us make sense of our despair)

Wanna hold my wife when I get home
Wanna tell the kids they’ll never know how much I love to see them smile
Wanna make a change or two right now
Wanna live a life like you somehow
Wanna make your sacrifice worthwhile

Everything is gonna be alright
Everything is gonna be alright
Everything is gonna be alright
Be strong. Believe.

Everything is gonna be alright
Everything is gonna be alright
Everything is gonna be alright
Be strong. Believe.

Think about the love inside the strength of heart
Think about the heroes saving life in the dark
Think about the chance I never had to say
Thank you for giving up your life that day”

Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong

 

 

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