Restlessness. Even on weekends, my mind and body refuses to co-operate because it seems more active than usual. I say a silent prayer in the hope of getting rest but realized that it is fleeting and I wake with more thoughts than answers. My health has taken a few stumbles but is it really just a normal response? Perhaps, I need to keep reminding myself that things will turn out alright and that Jesus saves and provides.
The gospel opens by saying, “Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them.
All their works are performed to be seen. They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues, greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation ‘Rabbi.’ As for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’ You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers. Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven. Do not be called ‘Master’; you have but one master, the Christ. The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
Jesus tells us to stay humble and reminds us to observe and learn, but to not follow in the world’s mindset that places so much heavy burdens and expectations on us. It can be hard when we are faced with so many advice from others on how we should lead our lives. We come under fire when we do not conform and it can be a difficult situation, but always know that Jesus is with us.
Rather, perform works that are unseen and with good intentions so that Jesus who knows all that is hidden will reward us beyond this life. To me, I have adopted a minimalism lifestyle where I strive to have only what is required and I am trying my best to stay happy with this arrangement. The lesser I have, the more contented that I am because I live within my means.
Even if I have all the wealth and social status, I would rather put it to good use to give to others who might not have even basic needs to live through one day. It is my deepest desire to help people and for society to be more compassionate and forgiving towards each other. We do not need more negativity than what the world is trying to give us.
Also, being able to experience lowliness and humbleness is important so that in paradise, we will be with Jesus in all the glory and honor. Material wealth and status cannot buy love, hope , health and joy, and it will probably never will.
But a good heart and to always reach out to others and understand them in maintaining friendships and relationships are far more important because everyone is somewhat struggling, and others are struggling much more. Let us pray for those who have no one to pray for them and those who are feeling that they do not belong in society because of whatever reasons such as the ability to not fit in.
We should lift the burdens off the shoulders of others and know that our true master is Jesus because he created us in his likeness and image. Only sin makes us imperfect and being a servant is required of us so that we can continue to service others and with true humbleness comes true kingship.
This is the true meaning of a royal priesthood because holy men, women and religious and lay people all get a share of the kingship with Jesus but first of all, we must stoop low and cultivate the humility of service and compassion.
The responsorial psalm below summarizes the reminder for me to silently ponder in my heart that to find peace, a humble and giving heart is necessary and I need to keep pride at bay by praying because it is a constant struggle in the world.
In you, Lord, I have found my peace.
O LORD, my heart is not proud,
nor are my eyes haughty;
I busy not myself with great things,
nor with things too sublime for me.
Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong