Are We Ampaws?
1 Samuel 15:16-23; Psalm 50:8-23; Mark 2:18-22
Many of us re like the rice delicacy given at Chinese new year, the “Ampaw”. On the outside, it’s filled with yummy red rice crispies stuck together with a sticky substance, but on the inside, it’s all air. Likewise, we see a lot of churchgoers who attend masses regularly and yet their lifestyles don’t reflect what is being taught to them. I too, find myself guilty of such. There were lots of times when I came out from the church and started driving home, another driver cut me off, and I got mad so I retaliated, only to realize later that I’m no different from the people in biblical times.
A lot of people believe in certain ways of worshiping the Lord, but to tell you honestly, how you worship the Lord is not important to Him. Whether you kneel-walk from the house to the church or from Luzon to Mindanao, or pray the Lord’s Prayer once or ten thousand times a day, or do attend 1 midnight mass or 12 midnight masses, it doesn’t really matter. What is really important is what’s inside of us. God would appreciate a short prayer that comes deep from the heart rather than a lengthy and profound recited or self-composed prayer worthy of other people’s praise that doesn’t really come from deep within the heart.
People in the olden days gave so much importance to religious laws, practices and rituals, while Jesus was more concerned about us loving one another, more than anything else. The people were too preoccupied and blind to see beyond the laws, rituals and religious practices that they failed to see what Jesus what teaching them.
While the Church is rich in symbolism and order, it is what is behind the symbolism that’s what’s important. It’s true, God deserves order and reverence, but salvation doesn’t depend on it. We achieve the salvation God desires for us through perseverance in both faith and works. How we treat one another is how we treat God, and how we revere the Lord and His teachings. Acts of goodness that comes from the heart through the grace of our Lord are what brings us closer to the Lord. Matt. 25:40-45 says:
“And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ “.
We are judged and our eternal destiny is determined in accordance with our works. This is what’s important.