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Ordinary – 7th Sunday
When a person is so tied up to a particular mode of acting or style of life or attitude, that person loses the capacity to inspire others. It’s what we may call, in jest, in local language – “style mo bulok!” (your style stinks!). But when a person is creative and inventive and adventurous, look at the sparks he creates around him/herself. People notice and appreciate. People are uplifted.
People see traffic policemen each day but they stop to admire a dancing traffic enforcer. People may dine at any restaurant, but they choose the one with the singing waiters and cooks. Students endure any teacher but how they react to an open-minded, thought-provoking teacher. It pays to try something new. You don’t know what great things will flow from it.
In our readings today, God is showing us how to shake off our contentment with our old ways and like him, enter into an adventure of a lifetime. In the Old Testament, people associated the name “God” with a terrifying, angry, punitive Powerful Being. If you sin, then that’s the end of you. But God is telling his people: You have sinned against me, broken the rules, destroyed your commitment. But I am trying something new! I will not succumb to anger or punishment. I will forget your sins. I will forgive you.
Wow! Just feel those words and apply them to yourself. God breaks out of the old image and shows to us his real face – love in spite of sin.
In the gospel, a group of friends are bringing a sick person to Jesus but couldn’t get inside the crowded house. Guess what, if they can’t neter through the door, they’ll get in through the roof. Isn’t that novel? Destroying the roof to present a sick man for healing! Jesus must have laughed at that idea and he was moved by the faith and creativity of the paralyzed man’s friends. And the friends got what they wanted for their sick friend.
Jesus too, tried something new. He did not only heal a sick person. He pronounced the words of forgiveness on him first. Why forgive him when all he needs is a healing touch? But Jesus worked a healing of the body through the prior healing of the soul. That’s new!
How many times our lives are boring because we do the same things day in and day out, year after year. Yes, we plan doing some great things but we are afraid of trying. We feel imprisoned in the old ways. But you see, graces come when we decide to do something good and new. When you do so, you will inspire others and bring them joy.
What new thing do you want to do? Maybe: Break that unhealthy habit. Decide to help someone in need. Expand your circle of friends. Start a satisfying hobby. Try reading the Bible or visiting the adoration chapel this week. Join Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday next week and get serious with your faith. That will be new, and thrilling and inspiring too!