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A Change of Heart: Reflection for the Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Salt and Light Media

March 1, 2019

by Deacon Robin Cheung

One day, a very smart professor was flying to Paris.
Sitting next to him was a young, beautiful blonde.
Since it was a long flight, they started chatting, and the professor took the opportunity to boast about how smart he was and how stupid people are.
As the young lady was trying to get some sleep, the very smart professor interrupted her, saying, “Let's play a game!”
“What kind of game?” she asked.
The professor said, “I will ask you a question. If you answer correctly, I will give you five dollars. If you don’t, then you will have to pay me five dollars, and vice versa."
She didn’t find it interesting at all.
Then the professor said, “Since I am so smart and know everything, I will do this: if I cannot answer your question, I will give you 100 dollars, but if you fail to answer my question, you will just have to give me five dollars. How does that sound?”
The lady agreed.
“Which is the largest commercial airliner in the world in terms of passenger capacity?” the professor asked.
The young lady shook her head and took out a five dollar bill.
Then she asked “What is the name of an animal which has three eyes, six noses, nine legs, and one tail?”
The professor scratched his head. Finally, he took out a hundred dollar bill and handed it to her, saying, “I don’t know!”
“But what is the animal?” the professor asked. The young lady took five dollars from her purse and said “ I don’t know either.”
Then she closed her eyes with a smile and tried to get some sleep.
In a few days, we will enter the season of Lent: a season of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, a season of reflection on God's greatness and our own unworthiness.
Therefore, there is no point boasting ourselves and criticizing others. But time and time again, we human beings seem to forget that we are from God - in fact, from the dust that God made. And we will return to dust.
If we have to boast, there is only ONE deserving of our praise and of our boast.
Who is he?
Our Lord, Jesus Christ!
However, if ever we want to criticize, we should criticize ourselves.
How do we transform ourselves into humble and non-judgmental people?
Today’s readings give us a pretty good idea.
So what is that idea?
Pray to God to CHANGE our heart.
But, before anything else, we have to admit that we are sinners and that we need God’s mercy and forgiveness. We have to make a thorough confession and pray fervently to God to change our heart.
Jesus once said, “What comes out of a person’s dirty heart - evil thoughts, theft, murder, adultery, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness.”
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, don’t despair! God loves us just the same. God is here to help us change our heart.
It will bring him great joy when he sees a sinner repent.
Last week, the Gospel reminded us to be attentive to the Beatitudes!
It highlighted the importance of true love; it pointed out that our ultimate goal on earth is to be the children of the Most High.
Today’s Gospel comes as a warning, especially for those of us who think “I've got it!”, that we are the supreme leaders of Jesus Christ, that we are smart and others are stupid.
Are we?
We should ask ourselves these questions constantly:
Are we acting like a blind guide to others?
Has the true light of Jesus Christ opened up and removed the big log from my own eye?
Is my ignorant presumption dictating my daily life?
“Oh, that's common sense!” you may think.
But don’t forget, sometimes, that our common sense is not our spouse's or our friend’s common sense.
Our common sense is not our children’s common sense.
Certainly, God’s common sense is not ours, right?
Therefore, we must be very careful when imposing our beliefs on those who express different opinions.
Despite what we think is right and beneficial to others, we must practice it with great humility and respect.
Furthermore, we should never judge those who cannot understand it or those who do not feel like accepting it. If not, the possibility of having a log in our eye is for real!
To conclude, I pray very hard every day and ask God to give me the ability to see my attitude clearly, especially when I am judgmental and arrogant, so that I can transform myself with His mercy.
I invite you to do the same!
Let us also pray very hard for our leaders, whether in our family, our Church, our government, or at work, that God may give them grace to see things spiritually, and lead us to a healthy, harmonious, and loving environment!
Most importantly, may God change our heart to be like His so that we can always speak the words of praise, humbleness, love, tolerance, and forgiveness!

Deacon Robin Cheung is a permanent deacon serving in the Archdiocese of Montreal. Previously, he served at Montreal Chinese Catholic Mission. Currently, he is at St. John Brébeuf Parish in LaSalle.
Contact him by email at robin.cheung@johnbrebeuf.ca.