Are You Burdened?


27 February 2011 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 49:14-15; 1 Cor 4:1-5; Matthew 6: 24-34

There is a lesson we can pick up from my family. Two uncles claim that they have taken the wrong course in their lives. The eldest wanted to become a lawyer, but was forced to take medicine because a doctor gives a family prestige and honor. He bailed out after a few years and became a manager. The youngest, wanted to take medicine, but my grandfather said that he should follow his footsteps, so he took law.

My dad, on the other hand, was independent-minded and stubborn. So, he took what he wanted: agriculture. Since he was happy with it, he raised us to follow our hearts. So far, my brothers and sisters are satisfied following their dreams. Oh, and I am too. Very much.

These raises some questions.

Have you ever felt tired of doing what other people require you to do? Have you ever felt that you are just ‘going through the motions’ like an automated machine or a hotel receptionist with a ready smile when a guest comes in? Have you ever felt that the ‘persona’ you project at work is different from the real you? Or simply, are you so confused about your situation that you feel your heart is divided between what you have to do and what you really want to do?

If your answer to these questions is yes, or moving towards a nod, then perhaps it is time to ask sincerely about whom or what we serve. You might be serving two masters; or at least, trying to give 100% of our one and only life to two things (which is impossible, as Jesus says in the Gospel today).

Unfortunately, for most of us, we are forced to face this choice once a tragedy befalls us or when our values are threatened. If a child of yours tells you that he or she does not want to run the family business which you have painfully put up, what would you say? Your business or your child’s happiness? Or, what would you choose, a well-paying job or a work you are inspired to do, but it not at par with the pay of the former? In the spiritual plane, God’s will or something else?

Second, everything will fall into place after we decide on what or who governs our lives. Jesus said, “Do not worry… Your heavenly Father knows that we need (these things) but seek first the Kingdom of God … and all these things will be given to you.”

Many of us have experienced some tragedy or failure in our lives, some to a greater extent. When a setback happens, our reaction is usually worry and anger. If God is good, why did He allow this to happen?!!! We would vent out our frustrations and disappointments on God. Sometimes it is good to accept that these things happen. I know this is such a strong statement to blog, but (put all of your frustrations into one simple sentence), indeed, _ _ _ _ happens! I remember one actress who said, “It is not the burden you carry that breaks you, but how you carry it.”

Check nature. One of the my favorite shells is the Venus comb murex. They have spikes, some of them long. In college, I collected shells. I always wondered why the spikes didn’t break up easily with the lash of the waves on rocks on the beach. The reason is simple: they rode with the waves. The same thing, we just have to accept that misfortunes do happen. The difference is in how we face them.

We know that many of our burdens overload us because some are unnecessary. If you have two masters, you carry both of them.

The Gospel tells us that to unburden ourselves, we must be aware that we cannot serve two masters. We have to decide on only one, and put all of our effort to it. (I hope you choose God.) And all other things will fall in place.

For Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ, the former General of the Society of Jesus, he said that “what or whom we are in love with, will decide what we will do daily.” So he said, “Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.”

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