For some reason, I am excited about the arrival Lent. Had been checking the calendar for Lent where I once again, try to see if I have a few ounces of faith left to get me through the vegetarian fast that I tried to achieve for 40 days. Had failed several years….
Lent starts on March 13th. There was one year where Lent fell before Chinese New Year and I actually managed to survive on vegetarian foods despite of the temptations of Chinese New Year pig out.
Faith is all about our inner feelings. But as human, weak as we are, we normally need to do something physical to remind us about God.
Today’s reading sort of shook me.
Second reading 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 ©
Take yourselves for instance, brothers, at the time when you were called: how many of you were wise in the ordinary sense of the word, how many were influential people, or came from noble families? No, it was to shame the wise that God chose what is foolish by human reckoning, and to shame what is strong that he chose what is weak by human reckoning; those whom the world thinks common and contemptible are the ones that God has chosen – those who are nothing at all to show up those who are everything. The human race has nothing to boast about to God, but you, God has made members of Christ Jesus and by God’s doing he has become our wisdom, and our virtue, and our holiness, and our freedom. As scripture says: if anyone wants to boast, let him boast about the Lord.
It was read by a very sweet and usually very quiet girl who was in my catechism class two years ago. We have a mass animated by all the youths. It sends chills down my spine when I see all them all grown up, praising and worshiping God. The boys and girls were 13 years old when I first started teaching catechism. Now, they have grown into handsome young men and pretty young ladies.
Before mass, I taught my class. As usual, with every new batch of students, I like to share with them about God’s calling. Almost all of them are cradle Catholics, having been born into Catholic homes with Catholic parents.
I related to them how I turned to Christianity and how I ended up teaching them catechism eventhough I joked that I merely attended 3 years of class while they had done 8 years. I like to be frank with them that I am very inadequate in terms of Bible knowledge. But whatever little I know, I share. And whatever that I do not know, I rely on research and prayers.
It is amazing how ideas and words, stories and facts pop up as I go along during lesson. I drum in them that though the lessons may seem very boring and at times, not related to their lives (we are learning about the Old Testament), there is a bigger picture to it. I drew the family tree of how God called Abraham, then Issac, Jacob, Esau and after two to three thousand years, Jesus and then, them.
I know they are surprised with the relations. And frankly, it never occurred to me till that very moment when I was scribbling the names on the whiteboard.
One of the things they studied is about God’s calling. We explained to them that there will be no Godly apparition calling them. It comes in many forms, whether we realise it or not. I told them my faith journey started with the examples shown by two persons in the hospital when they treated my son.
And when I got out of class, who…. but one of them standing there! He is Vincent’s doc. We catch up and I told him how weird that in these few years after my conversion, I have done things I never imagined. He found out that I am in the CEC (the teaching group). I laughed and said, “Funny right, from Vincent’s mom to what I am doing now?”
He said to me, “It must be part of God’s plan…” He had seen my struggles in those seven months when Vincent was alive and he knows what he is talking.
That’s why the God’s big plan sort of freaked me out. Everything is like pre-planned. Choreographed by God Himself.
As for the title of Jesus and His 40 kids, well, I just like it cos it sounds like Ali Baba and the 40 thieves. No relation at all. Just that my class has about 40 kids. And I am trying to juggle my weekends so that I have time for Jesus and the 40 kids. It is such a joy to see the children growing up in our community. Like I told my class, when I volunteered to join the CEC, my intention was to reduce the burdens of the few teachers by helping them to cook, clean or do something simple. But who knows, God has bigger plans….