Thursday, 6 February 2020

Friday of Week 6 Year 2

It is easy for us to give a lot of comments and suggestions for improvement or changes in church. But sometimes, such comments and suggestions are just that: merely comments and suggestions, without any commitment to take action or to offer oneself to see such comments and suggestions through. For example, some people like to comment or suggest that churches these days should have a funeral parlour, since more and more people these days live in flats, apartments or condominiums, where facilities for a wake may not be available. But when such persons are asked to form a committee and help raise funds, so that a funeral parlour could be constructed somewhere in the church grounds, such persons suddenly give all sorts of excuses, or back down from their suggestions. Are some of us all talk and no action?

In today's reading, we are told that "Faith is like that: if good works do not go with it, it is quite dead." Also, the reading tells us that "A body dies when it is separated from the spirit, and in the same way faith is dead if it is separated from good deeds." We say that we have faith; we believe in God; we recite the creed every Sunday; we call ourselves Christians; but is our faith merely words? Is our faith all talk but no or little action? Are we willing to do something about what we say, or are we merely blowing hot air?

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Thursday of Week 6 Year 2

How do we treat others in church? Do we treat all as equal, as brothers and sisters in Christ; or do we treat others according to the way they dress, or their appearance, or according to the their status or rank in society? In some churches, I have noticed that when a person is well dressed or has got a title or something, some treat such a person like a VIP. But when a beggar or shabbily dressed person comes to church, some may begin to form all sorts of thoughts and assume all sorts of scenarios, whether good or bad.

Today's reading warns us: "Can’t you see that you have used two different standards in your mind, and turned yourselves into judges, and corrupt judges at that?" Today's reading also tells us that "the right thing to do is to keep the supreme law of scripture: you must love your neighbour as yourself; but as soon as you make distinctions between classes of people, you are committing sin, and under condemnation for breaking the Law."

The question we need to ask ourselves is this: Are we segregating and treating people differently in church? Are we not all brothers and sisters in Christ, regardless of how we look or who we are? If we are continuing to treat people in such a manner, how different are we compared to the world? Are we followers of Christ, or have we allowed the ways of the world to corrupt us?

Monday, 3 February 2020

Wednesday of Week 6 Year 2

When we say something, are we saying things based on our perception, feelings or emotions, without verifying the facts? Are we aware of what we are saying, or are we blindly saying things? Do we realise that words, once said, cannot be taken back?

In today's reading, we are cautioned to "be quick to listen but slow to speak and slow to rouse your temper; God’s righteousness is never served by man’s anger." God gave us two ears and one tongue, possibly to remind us that we should listen carefully and speak only when necessary, since sometimes we end up saying more than we should. Sometimes we say faster than we think, and that could only make us look foolish at the end. May we use words with caution, and use words for the glory of God.

Saturday of Week 5 Year 2

I believe most of us know that God's commandments, as well as Jesus' commandments of loving God and neighbour, are the basis for church rules and practices, whereas customs are traditional and widely accepted ways of behaving or doing something in the church community. Such rules, practices and customs did not materialise overnight, and they are meant for the good of the entire Christian community, not just for the good of a few. However, we sometimes come across certain persons or groups who are against such rules, practices and customs, because such persons or groups want things their way and for their benefit.

In today's reading, we come across Jeorboam who did not like certain rules, practices or customs among the Israelites; and Jeroboam thought to himself, ‘As things are, the kingdom will revert to the House of David. If this people continues to go up to the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem to offer sacrifices, the people’s heart will turn back again to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will put me to death.’ And so, Jeroboam created his own gods, by making two golden calves; he got the people to worship such false gods; "He set up the temple of the high places and appointed priests from ordinary families, who were not of the sons of Levi"; and even had the audacity to "institute a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth of the month, like the feast that was kept in Judah." Jeroboam did all these because he did not like certain rules, practices or customs among the Israelites, and he wanted to save his own skin. As a result, "such conduct made the House of Jeroboam a sinful House, and caused its ruin and extinction from the face of the earth."

What about us? When we are faced with certain church rules, practices or customs, would we change or discard such rules, practices or customs as we please, just because they are inconvenient to us or we feel uncomfortable towards them? Is faith like changing clothes, where we discard things which we are unable to accept? May we continue to be faithful, and walk in God's ways.

Monday, 27 January 2020

Saturday of Week 4 Year 2

One of the many realities in life is that we cannot do everything. There are some things which we can do; some things which we can do really well, as we have the gift or talent for it; and there are also some things which we just cannot do, or are able to do with some difficulty. Some things can be learnt, but learning to do such things has its limits, since we may not be naturally adept or gifted in doing such things. This is where we need to learn to let go and let others do other things which we may not necessarily be good at, or depend on God's providence to get things done.

In today's reading, king Solomon acknowledged before the Lord that he was a young man and unskilled in leadership. He asked the Lord for wisdom so that he could understand how to discern between good and evil; and to be a good king following the ways of the Lord. Because of this, king Solomon was not only given wisdom, but blessed by the Lord with power, wealth and victory over his enemies. King Solomon knew his abilities and limitations, and chose to depend on God's providence, instead of trying to do things on his own.

What about us? Are we willing and humble enough to acknowledge our abilities and limitations just as King Solomon did, and seek wisdom from the Lord, so that we could do His will? May we come to realise that ultimately, our help is in the Lord, and may we glorify Him in all we do.

Sunday, 19 January 2020

Saturday of Week 3 Year 2

What sort of response do we have when we commit sin or do something wrong? Are we willing to own up to the sin committed or the wrong done? Or would we go through great lengths to deny any wrongdoing or sin, even though the sin or wrongdoing is so evident beyond reasonable doubt? Have we allowed ourselves to become blinded by pride and ego, and think that we are never wrong or never guilty?

Today's reading shows us how King David responded when the prophet Nathan confronted him with the many sins he had committed. Instead of trying to worm his way out, or make all sorts of excuses, or deny his guilt, King David was docile and humble enough to admit his guilt and merely said: "I have sinned against the Lord."

What about us? Would we be willing to own up to our wrongdoing, our mistakes, our sins? Let us not allow pride and ego get the better of us and be humble and docile, just like King David showed us, and admit our wrongdoing, our mistakes, our sins. Let us not allow the stain of wrongdoing or sin remain, lest we end up ruining our relationship with God.

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Saturday of Week 2 Year 2

How generous are we towards others? Are we generous to all, regardless of who they are and where they come from, or are we generous only to certain persons who may be beneficial to us in some way? Are we generous in our time and wealth, even to the point where it hurts, or are we calculative in giving what we are comfortable in giving, or only what we can spare?

In today's Gospel, Jesus was home. A crowd had gathered and Jesus could have been calculative in giving his time towards the crowd, since some would have thought that Jesus ought to have some privacy and rest. However, to Jesus, being generous knows no bounds or limits, especially when it comes to doing the will of God. Instead of being calculative, Jesus was generous even to the point where it hurts.

What about us? would we be willing to be generous like Jesus, even forgoing our personal needs or comfort? Are we willing to put others before self, and follow Jesus' example, who showed us the true meaning of being generous? May we learn to be more like Jesus, who came to serve, not to be served, and in all we say and do, give glory to God.