BE Empty Enough to Receive

September 19, 2021 – 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/091921.cfm)

In a village badly hit by drought, a woman decided to fetch water from the well. But before doing this, she had to find clean & available container to use. Unfortunately, almost every container she has, were already filled, and used for other things – like oil, vinegar, gas, soy sauce and others. Until eventually, she found an Empty container, which she readily cleaned and brought with her to the well. There, using her now clean container, she was able to quench her thirst, wash herself and bring some water for her family to use and drink.

A simple story but with a strong message, and that is: Thirst quenched, body refreshed and Water is enjoyed because an empty and open container is available.

This is also true in our life and faith. Common sense tells us that only an open hand can receive and share gifts. If hands are close, filled or occupied, one cannot receive or accept more. If hands are open, empty, and available, one can accept, receive, or share gifts because there are still lots of space or room available.

While they were on the way to Jerusalem, Jesus in our gospel today warned his disciples of his coming passion and death. However, they were not listening. They were so immersed with their quarrel as to who is the greatest among them. Instead of being concern of Jesus they were more concerned and pre-occupied with their power, influence, and wealth. In a sense, their hearts and minds are already full of themselves that made them unavailable and close to others. That is why when Jesus asked them about their discussion, they were embarrassed and remained silent.

Jesus then uses this occasion to reprimand them and correct them as to what constitutes true greatness in God’s eyes. True greatness, he says, does not come from having power and influence over people but consists in humble service. He tells his ambitious disciples that everyone is important, and that true greatness comes from being available to all people even down to the little children. Jesus here instructs us of what kind of followers He wants us to be. He wants us to be his great disciples by our humble service to our brothers and sisters – open, available sharers of God’s graces to all.

But, is it not true that we are rather like the ambitious apostles arguing on the road about which of them was the greatest? At times, we are full of selfish ambition; always putting ourselves first, wanting the best of everything. It is easy for us to think of what we have as completely ours, no thanks to anyone else. We fail to remember that we are stewards of many gifts which God entrusts us with and which he intends to be used in his service.

To be a disciple, then, means being open, available, and responsive to what God may ask of us at any given moment and to the needs of other. Remember, only an open, available, welcoming hand, container and heart is capable of receiving, giving and sharing God’s blessings.

We can, thus only receive, give, & share if & when we are open, available, welcome & empty enough to receive the little ones, Jesus, and the One who sent Him into our lives now and always. Lord, decrease my selfishness & my me-first attitude & as well as, increase my concern & compassion for others. Most especially during these pandemic times, open my eyes, move my heart, and prepare my hands to serve those around me who are in need for us to share Your healing graces for us now & forever. Amen.

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