Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Thursday of Week 31 Year 1

Some of us may think that losing something which seems small or insignificant may not be a big thing, especially when we have plenty to spare and we find that it is not worth worrying or fretting about such a lost. However, sometimes what seems small and insignificant could be just as important or serious. For instance, a small lump may seem insignificant, but if we are not careful and see a doctor for diagnosis and quick treatment if necessary, we may be in big trouble as that small lump may turn out to be malignant.

Today's Gospel shows us that, when it comes to saving us, God takes everything seriously, even what seems small and insignificant. He wants each and every one of us to be with Him, even if it is one sheep, or one drachma, or one whatever. Each and every one of us is important to God, and when we confess our sins and make more effort to return to His ways, "there is rejoicing among the angels of God over one repentant sinner." May we follow God's example and treat all things, big and small, with love and care, so that none would be lost.

Monday of Week 31 Year 1

In life, some of us like to do things or favours for others, with the hope that others would do the same for us. For example, in business, some of us may take a client out for a nice meal, with hope and expectation that the client would buy more things from us, or even consider us as a long-term supplier. Some of us do this because we follow a "you scratch my back, I scratch yours" principle, where we hope to receive what we give, and help each other benefit. But how many of us are willing to give, without expecting to receive anything in return?

In today's Gospel, Jesus said to his host, one of the leading Pharisees, ‘When you give a lunch or a dinner, do not ask your friends, brothers, relations or rich neighbours, for fear they repay your courtesy by inviting you in return. No; when you have a party, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; that they cannot pay you back means that you are fortunate, because repayment will be made to you when the virtuous rise again.’

What Jesus is telling us is that we should give freely, generously and happily, without expecting anything in return. By doing so, our giving would be sincere, without strings attached, without any terms or conditions, not for our own benefit, not to boost our popularity or ego, and not for our glory, but for the glory of God.

Wednesday of Week 30 Year 1

A man was riding his motorcycle along the highway, when all of a sudden, he lost control of his motorcycle and met with an accident, which left him near dead. He ended up in a hospital in a coma, in a vegetative state. He had a girlfriend whom he had planned to marry, and despite the doctor's advice that the man may eventually die, the girlfriend chose to give up her job and her time to nurse him, with hope that he would some day recover. For several months, there seemed to be no response from the man, but the girlfriend did not give up. Slowly, some signs began to appear, as the man gradually was able to move his eyes, then he began to try to speak, and after much care and love, he was able to walk. It was a miraculous and joyful moment, when the man was eventually united with his girlfriend in marriage.

What the girlfriend went through and did for the man, is what the spirit would do for us in today's reading. In the reading, "The Spirit comes to help us in our weakness. For when we cannot choose words in order to pray properly, the Spirit himself expresses our plea in a way that could never be put into words, and God who knows everything in our hearts knows perfectly well what he means, and that the pleas of the saints expressed by the Spirit are according to the mind of God." Even though the situation initially seemed helpless and hopeless, the man was able to make a reasonably good recovery with tremendous help from his girlfriend. Likewise, even though we may have experienced some sort of helpless and hopeless situation, the Spirit would help us recover and move on. Are we willing to have much trust and faith in the Spirit, and let Him be our help and guide?

Friday, 12 July 2019

Saturday of Week 29 Year 1

What sort of achievements are we looking for in life? Are some of us only looking for money, wealth, fame, property, recognition, higher status and so on? How long can we really hold on to such things? Perhaps some of us may be able to hold on till old age, but the reality is that all these things will be lost, or end up being taken by others, when we return to the Lord. Then what would happen to us? Would we be with the Lord, or would we end up away from the Lord?

In today's reading, we are cautioned: "The unspiritual are interested only in what is unspiritual, but the spiritual are interested in spiritual things. It is death to limit oneself to what is unspiritual; life and peace can only come with concern for the spiritual. That is because to limit oneself to what is unspiritual is to be at enmity with God: such a limitation never could and never does submit to God’s law. People who are interested only in unspiritual things can never be pleasing to God."

The question is: are we still going after unspiritual things here on earth, thinking that such things would benefit us for the long term? Or have we made more effort to strive for more spiritual pursuits, to grow closer to God? May we come to realise what is really important in the end, and strive more towards what is spiritual, for our eternal good.

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Saturday of Week 28 Year 1

In today's gospel, Jesus says, "Everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven." What is this sin that could not be forgiven? This unforgivable sin is our attitude when we say, "There is no hope, God cannot forgive me." When we have such an attitude, we are commiting the grave sin of despair, where we say that God cannot or is incapable of forgiving us. It is as if the Holy Spirit cannot do anything to change us or help us, and that we are doomed. This is blasphemy, since it denies the very core of God's being: His love and mercy.

So what should we do? We should remember of God's immense mercy and not have any thought of despair, since God shows His love to us even if we are sinners, His mercy is without end and greater than our sinfulness. May we not doubt God's mercy towards us, and grow closer to Him with confidence, knowing that we have a loving and merciful God, who will care and provide for us.

Wednesday of Week 28 Year 1

Every once in a while, I get someone coming to me for confession, but all they are saying is what others have done wrong, and they seem blameless. But are such persons really faultless, or are such persons merely being self-righteous and judgemental towards others? Some of us still fail to realise that all of us are human, and we may not know the full facts or details. Thus, why do we still insist in looking at or judging others with coloured eyes?

In today's reading, St. Paul warns us: "No matter who you are, if you pass judgement you have no excuse. In judging others you condemn yourself, since you behave no differently from those you judge. We know that God condemns that sort of behaviour impartially: and when you judge those who behave like this while you are doing exactly the same, do you think you will escape God’s judgement? Or are you abusing his abundant goodness, patience and toleration, not realising that this goodness of God is meant to lead you to repentance?"

When we judge others, even though we may have at some point of time done the same thing as what others have done, we are merely being hypocrites. May we be humble enough to admit our own failings, and learn to be compassionate and encouraging towards others, instead of trying to be self-righteous and judgmental.

Saturday of Week 27 Year 1

I sometimes come across persons who like to make lots of suggestions or complaints, but when they are asked whether they would be willing to get involved and improve things, they begin to make lots of excuses and dare not commit themselves. They prefer to remain as keyboard warriors or only talk or complain, but are unwilling to offer themselves to bring about change and progress. I recall several people asking when a building complex would eventually be built, to provide more classrooms, meeting rooms, and facilities for the parish. When asked whether such persons would be willing to be part of the building committee, and work towards gathering funds so that such a building complex may eventually be realised, such persons would quickly excuse themselves from being involved, or even try to change the topic altogether.

In today's Gospel, Jesus tells us: "Still happier those who hear the word of God and keep it!" It is fine and good to hear the word of God, but just hearing the word of God won't mean anything, if we do not internalise it, ponder upon it, and share it with others. In other words, we should not just talk or hear without action. May we not keep the word of God to ourselves, but go forth and preach the Good News, just as what Jesus commanded us to do.