Wednesday 9 July 2014

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

When a leader such as the pope, an abbot or a religious is chosen or selected after an extended process, we may sometimes question why such a person is selected. According to the ways of the world, such a person may have not even been considered, since the world often looks at a person's popularity, strength, intelligence, power and other worldly capabilities and attributes. But the interesting thing is, God's ways and choices are not our ways and choices. God looks at things which are often not noticeable or deep within which people tend to miss out, overlook or ignore. This is why, in the 2nd reading, St Paul reminds us: "How rich are the depths of God – how deep his wisdom and knowledge – and how impossible to penetrate his motives or understand his methods! Who could ever know the mind of the Lord?"

When such leaders are chosen, they sometimes have their names changed to another name, often a name of a saint. They put on a new identiy, and perhaps pray that they will be able live up to their new name and identity. In the Gospel, Simon was also given a new name. He was called Peter, which means "Rock." Throughout the Gospel, we see Peter falling and getting up, and we sometimes wonder if Peter had really lived up to his name and identity. We wonder if Jesus had made a mistake in choosing not only Peter, but the other apostles too. After all, these 12 men were a strange mix of people. At hindsight, we begin to appreciate and realise that, no, Jesus did not make a mistake. He could see potential in Peter, and also potential in the other apostles. What appeared to be weaknesses and limitations could be transformed by God to serve His purposes.

When we are chosen and given a new identity, it is God who chooses us. God chooses us in spite of our weaknesses and limitations. God chooses the weak to shame the strong, the foolish to shame the wise, the sinner to shame the righteous. God's choice may not necessarily be understood or appreciated. That is because our vision and expectations are sometimes coloured with the ways of the world. But one thing we can depend on, God's ways are not our ways, His thoughts are not our thoughts, and His ways would turn out to be a better way in the long run. We just need to be patient and trust in Him, for He knows better than we ever could.

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