Saturday, 23 September 2017

Saturday of Week 32 Year 1

There seems to be many things in life which we do not seem tired of doing. For example, we do not seem to get tired of watching tv, going for a movie, eating good food, surfing the internet, shopping, travelling, going for a holiday, socialising with friends, going for a party, attending a music concert, playing sports, and much more. All these things are fine and good, but when it comes to praying and growing in our spiritual life, how many of us are just as enthusiastic and not tired in doing so?

In today's Gospel, Jesus taught His disciples to "pray continually and never lose heart." Jesus reminded them, and us too, of the importance of prayer and perseverance in faith. When we are not tired of prayer and presevere in faith, then Jesus assures us: "Now will not God see justice done to his chosen who cry to him day and night even when he delays to help them? I promise you, he will see justice done to them, and done speedily." The question is: would we "berazam" or remain steadfast in our prayer and perseverance of faith, knowing that God would help us according to His time and for His glory?

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Saturday of Week 31 Year 1

There was this incident some years back, where I was in a hurry to buy some toiletries at a chinese medicine shop, and I rushed out after paying at the counter. Then, to my surprise, the shopkeeper ran after me calling my attention. I was a little nervous because I didn’t know what had gone wrong. Did I accidentally get something from the shop without paying? Did I pay the shopkeeper too little? Before he could speak, I tried to ask the shopkeeper what was the matter. He smiled and replied, "Sir, you forgot your change." Then, he handed to me a ten cent coin with a receipt.

When I reflect on this incident, I am reminded of today's Gospel: "The man who can be trusted in little things can be trusted in great; the man who is dishonest in little things will be dishonest in great. If then you cannot be trusted with money, that tainted thing, who will trust you with genuine riches? And if you cannot be trusted with what is not yours, who will give you what is your very own?"

The shopkeeper gave me the change out of his sense of honesty and not wanting me to be shortchanged, even if the amount involved seemed small. Honesty is part of our being Christian, yet I sometimes wonder whether some of us may have ignored doing small acts of honesty, like returning a borrowed pen, reporting lost objects or damaged items, paying the right price, asking for permission before using an item belonging to others, and many others. Are we able to remain steadfast in being honest, and do what is right for the glory of God?

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Saturday of Week 30 Year 1

Some of us may have experienced rejection or feel as if nobody loves us or care for us. When we feel like this, what do we do? Some begin to go into depression, and if left unchecked, may give up on life, or even to the extent of considering committing suicide. Some may even go to the extent of numbing the pain, and become ruthless or unfeeling, since they think that nobody cares or loves them anyhow, and they should not care and love others as well. But what sort of attitude Christians should have concerning rejection?

In today's reading, we are reminded: "Is it possible that God has rejected His people? Of course not!" The reading also reminds us that even the Jews are still loved by God, loved for the sake of their ancestors. God never takes back His gifts or revokes His choice. This means that even if others reject us or even if it seems as if nobody loves us or care for us, we have a God who loves us, He chose us as His own, and He will never reject or abandon us. So let us put aside such feelings, and with confidence give thanks and praise to our loving God, who has always been there for us.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Saturday of Week 28 Year 1

Imagine for a moment what happens when we die... We are shown a movie of our entire life. In the movie, we see all the things we did, and we also notice a number of blanks in between some parts of the movie. When asked why there seem to be such blanks in the movie of our life, Jesus tells us that these were the times when we sinned and asked for God’s mercy through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. When we asked for God's mercy and forgiveness, our sins are forgiven, and He does not remember them anymore. Such sins are finito, gone with the wind, so to speak.

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? The Holy Spirit is the Advocate who is constantly beckoning us to "Turn back to our loving God." And so the 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. This is blasphemy, plain and simple, since it denies the very core of God's being: His love and mercy.

So what should we do? We should constantly remind ourselves of God's immense mercy. We should 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, and His mercy enables such blanks in the movie of our life. May we grow closer to God with confidence, knowing that we have a loving and merciful God, who will care and provide for us.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Saturday of Week 27 Year 1

We sometimes hear the idiom: "Actions speak louder than words." A person can say a lot of things or make a lot of promises, but at the end of the day, words are cheap and meaningless, if such words end up merely as words and nothing is done. For example, we sometimes hear people complaining about how certain civil leaders are not doing their duty, and yet when asked to get involved and become a civil leader themselves, such persons 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 as alternative candidates to be civil leaders who are willing to bring about change and justice.

In today's Gospel, we are reminded that "Actions speak louder than words," where 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. 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.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Saturday of Week 25 Year 1

What sort of security do you seek in life? Some of us seek plenty of wealth and property as a form of security. Some seek fame, popularity and recognition as a form of security. Some seek knowledge and power as a form of security. But if we consider the various forms of security that we seek, can these truly last? No! These forms of security are only temporary and one day, we will lose them, especially when we "balik kampung" (that is, when we die). Even while we are still living, there is no guarantee that such forms of security would last, since such forms of security could be lost, stolen, become obsolete, or even become worthless or irrelevant.

In today's reading, the prophet Zechariah, in a vision, said that Jerusalem was to remain unwalled. If we consider for a moment... wouldn't it be dangerous to let a city like Jerusalem be without walls for protection and security? The reading assures us that God would be the wall of fire for her all round her, and He will be her glory in the midst of her. What this means is that, instead of relying on human forms of security, we should rely more on God for our security. Are we willing to let go of or be detached from our various forms of security, and let God be our true security?

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Saturday of Week 24 Year 1

Why do we call ourselves Christians? If we call ourselves Christians, then do we do what Jesus expects of us? Or do we pick and choose only what is convenient and comfortable for us? Sometimes, we come across people who claim to be Christians, but they want to do things their own way, as if being a Christian could be customised according to what suits them. But is that what being a Christian is all about? Are we Christians for our convenience?

In today's reading, St. Paul reminds us: "Before God the source of all life and before Christ, who spoke up as a witness for the truth in front of Pontius Pilate, I put to you the duty of doing all that you have been told, with no faults or failures..." St. Paul is reminding us that being a Christian means witnessing for the truth and "doing all that you have been told, with no faults or failures..." It means that we cannot pick and choose, or water down the truth, for our convenience and the convenience of others. May we take initiative and make effort to "do whatever He tells you" as what Mother Mary did, and do our duty for the glory of God.