Thursday 19 June 2014

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

What is strength? What is weakness? We sometimes equate strength or weakness with the amount of energy or muscle we have. Some of us think that strength means being able to hold your own, to avoid losing face, being able to deal with a situation effectively to our advantage. Some people think that one needs to be "kiasu" or "scared to lose" to be strong. Some think that to be strong, one needs to be adept or capable of putting a brave front, refusing to give in, refusing to admit our mistakes or errors, refusing to say sorry or apologise, refusing to forgive others who may have hurt us or done something wrong. But are we really strong in these situations?

Today's readings give us a different view or understanding of strength. Strength means having compassion. In the First Reading, we learn that God's justice has its source in strength, and yet God is mild in judgement, and God governs us with great lenience. He could have easily used His Power to punish us or wipe out our enemies, but He chose not to. This is a great example of God's compassion towards all of us, regardless of who we are. In the Second Reading, we come to realise that God is always there to help us and guide us, even in our weaknesses. In the Gospel, we discover that each of us have got some good and some bad, some wheat and some darnel, all mixed up together. We are not perfect and no one is completely strong or completely weak. By learning to have compassion, we learn to accept our own weaknesses and limitations. By recognising our own weaknesses and our need for God’s forgiveness and compassion, we will also begin to be compassionate with our brothers and sisters who are struggling in one way or another like us.

At the end of the day, we need to learn to be compassionate, just as our Heavenly Father is compassionate to all. Being compassionate does not mean we will be at the losing end or that we are weak. Instead, we would learn to be more like our strong, loving and benevolent God.

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