Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Wednesday of Week 16 Year 1

The Word of God is like soil, special nourishment which enables our soul to grow so that we could bear good fruit. But for us to benefit from the Word of God, we need to examine ourselves and change our ways, so that we would benefit from such special nourishment. Today's Gospel speaks about seeds falling on different types of environments with different soil conditions. Each environment could be linked to our condition and the condition of our soul.

The first environment (edge of the path) is like people who are not the least bit interested in the Word of God. They come late for Mass, or sometimes come only for certain major occasions like Christmas and Easter. These people seem more interested in other things and come to church just to fulfil the Sunday obligation (with great difficulty at times). The second environment (patches of rock with little soil) is like people who have superficial or shallow faith. They select only bits and pieces of the Word of God which suit them, while avoiding or ignoring those parts which are unpleasant or that which they think are not relevant to them. When some challenge occurs or when they face some difficulty, their faith withers away.

The third environment (among thorns) is like people who listen and accept the Word of God, but so many other things, worries, pressures and distractions cause them to lose focus. As a result, they feel as if God has abandoned them and they fall away, when in actuality, it is they who have abandoned God. They lack trust, perseverance and patience to press on and finish the race. I suppose many of us hope and pray that we will be like the fourth environment, where we gain access to rich soil. People who are in this fourth environment thrive and flourish, producing good fruit and giving glory to God.

So which environment are we presently in? Are we stuck in a particular environment? With God's Grace and providence, we can make effort and do our part to make a change and begin producing good fruit. Let us not delay or procrastinate any longer. and let the rich soil God transform us into something better, for His glory.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Saturday of Week 14 Year 1

Some people can be devious in their dealings with others. For example, they say they have put aside their differences with certain others, but in their hearts, they still hold a grudge or have not really forgiven or reconciled with the other. When opportunity strikes, they conveniently bring forth what had happened in the past to ridicule, condemn or even persecute the other, especially when the other is in an unfavourable or difficult situation. Could some of us be having such an attitude?

In today's reading, we are told: "Seeing that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers said, ‘What if Joseph intends to treat us as enemies and repay us in full for all the wrong we did him?’ So they sent this message to Joseph: ‘Before your father died he gave us this order: “You must say to Joseph: Oh forgive your brothers their crime and their sin and all the wrong they did you.” Now therefore, we beg you, forgive the crime of the servants of your father’s God.’ Joseph wept at the message they sent to him. His brothers came themselves and fell down before him. ‘We present ourselves before you’ they said ‘as your slaves.’ But Joseph answered them, ‘Do not be afraid; is it for me to put myself in God’s place? The evil you planned to do me has by God’s design been turned to good, that he might bring about, as indeed he has, the deliverance of a numerous people. So you need not be afraid; I myself will provide for you and your dependants.’ In this way he reassured them with words that touched their hearts."

Joseph's brothers were worried that Joseph would use the past as an excuse to hit back at them or to have his revenge after what they had done to him, now that their father Jacob is dead. But as we can see from the reading, Joseph chose to forgive, reconcile and be merciful towards his brothers, instead of holding a grudge or looking for an opportunity to exact revenge. If we were in Joseph's shoes, if we were in his situation, would we be humble and willing to do the same, or would we still insist in an eye for an eye? Are we able to put to practice what we say: "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us?"

Friday, 7 July 2017

Saturday of Week 13 Year 1

In some cultures, the male firstborn or older male sibling is often favoured upon and given better privileges and blessings. This is because the male firstborn was thought to be the leader and heir to the throne or family estate. We see many examples around us where the male firstborn is given special treatment and education, with the expectation that he would eventually take over from his father as patriach, leader of the tribe, or even king.

However, when it comes to God, the firstborn is not necessarily His choice to lead His people. One example of this could be found in today's reading, where Jacob, using wile and conniving ways, managed to trick his father into getting the inheritance and special blessing supposingly reserved for the firstborn. It certainly doesn’t seem fair that Jacob would get away with such trickery but he does, although the blessing certainly included a lot of suffering: He had to flee Esau who was bitter and vengeful, as a consequence of what he had done; He got married and ended up with a father-in-law who was just as bad or even worse a trickster than he was; He had to eventually face Esau. Yet, God works in mysterious ways, and even helped Jacob. Esau was the firstborn but he seemed to have no concern for spiritual matters, whereas Jacob was sneaky and a cheat, but God knew that he had within him what it took to be the leader of his people. The culture of the time said that Esau was the chosen one, but God chose Jacob instead.

This does not mean that God is encouraging any of us to become wile, crafty or tricky to achieve our ends, since His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts, and what He had allowed to take place is eventually for His purposes and His glory. May we surrender ourselves to God' plan, and let Him use our talents and abilities for His greater glory.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

耶稣圣心庆典 - 2

人体内有各种器官,心脏是其中一个比较重要的部分。一个人可能脑死,只要他的心脏还跳动,他还是活着的。在我们社会中,心被当着是爱的标记。人们在日常生活里所表达的爱和天主赐给我们那份爱,有天渊之别。

在今天的第一读经里,我们见证天主对以色列人那种宽宏大量,迟于发怒的爱,感到非常敬佩;虽然他们经常背叛和违反天主的诫命,祂还是迟于发怒,不降祸于他们因为祂是天主,祂是圣者,祂不是毁灭者。读经中提到“我的心已经转变,我的五内已经感动,我不再按我的盛怒而行事, 不再毁灭以色列,因为我是天主,而不是人, 是住在你们中的圣者, 不是来消灭你们”。由此可见天主的威能和伟大。

同样的在第二读经里,天主派遣他的圣子到世界上来拯救和坚强我们,显示祂对我们无微不致的博爱. “ 救祂依照祂丰富的光荣,藉着他的圣神, 赐以大能,坚强你们内在的人。愿基督因着你们的信德,住在你们心中,使你们的爱的扎根建基。这样你们就能同众圣徒,领悟基督的爱是怎样的长,阔,高,深,并知道基督的爱是超过人所能理解的,那么你们就会充满天主的一切富裕了”。今天的福音也提醒我们天主无限伟大的爱,尤其是当他把圣子派遣到世上,为救赎我们而在十字架上牺牲自己的奉献,令我们倾崇敬佩。

既然天主那么宠爱我们,那么, 我们如何去回应?是否也应该把这份爱传给周遭的人?请不要忘记: 天主并没有把这份爱赐给特定的人或是特定的团体;祂把爱传给每个人:好人坏人,富翁,穷人,卑微贵贱,一视同仁。耶稣把圣心献给我们正是再提醒大家千万不可戴着有色的眼镜去传爱。让我们在没有任何压力下,虚心归于天主和祂建立一个更密切的关系。让耶稣圣心引领我们,使我们也能像耶稣不分彼此去爱每个人,。建立一个美满的天主教会的大家庭。

Friday, 16 June 2017

基督聖體聖血

在日常的生活中, 我們會覺擦或聽到各種評語。假如這些話沒有后續的行動,那可不必理會。例如有個人對你說『我愛你』那麼你就要注意他是否認真或是信口齒黃罷了。其實這句話可以在很多方面聽到,電視前,廣告裡,收音機中等等﹔對人們來說已經失去了意義。因此,我們注重的不是甜言蜜語而是以實際的行動來証明一切。

今天我們歡慶耶穌聖體聖血瞻禮的同時,也記得祂曾經說過祂愛我們。耶穌沒有說謊。他的話是付諸以行的。他給了我們寶貴的聖體和聖血,甘願犧牲自己為了拯救世界,為我們贖罪。每當我們在彌撒中領聖體或是朝拜聖體時,我們應該感到很榮幸,很特別,因為受到天主恩寵 和愛的滋養。

可是,很多教友們不把主耶穌的恩寵當成寶貴的恩賜,完全沒有好好准備參加彌撒,沒有辦告解,也沒有做足一小時前的齋戒就領聖體,更不必說靜默祈禱或穿上最好的衣物到聖堂參加彌撒﹔沒有准備身心的潔淨就隨便領聖體。反而,當受邀參與皇宮或重要宴會時,大家都會好好准備,好好打扮一般后又規規矩矩地出席現場。那麼大家對參與彌撒盛宴時,是否做好同樣的准備?

今天,讓我們大家懷著感恩的心情,感謝天主的愛,因他把聖子賜給我們,好讓那些相信祂的人們都能得到永生。為報答主耶穌賜給了我們他的聖體和聖血的恩惠,讓我們每次參加彌撒前也好好地准備自己,以純潔的身心迎接主耶穌到我們心中,滋養我們的靈魂﹔也把耶穌的愛傳給別人吧!

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Friday of Week 10 Year 1

These days, I notice fewer and fewer people going for confession regularly. Quite often, I observe many people going for confession only during the Advent and Lent season, where the Sacrament of Reconciliation is held from parish to parish at different days and times. But how many people actually make effort or take the trouble to go for confession regularly, perhaps at least once a fortnight, or if necessary once a week? This gives me the impression that many have become less sensitive to sin as they are influenced by the ways of the world. The irony here is that these people would have no qualms in bathing regularly or putting on expensive perfumes, but neglect to "bathe" their souls regularly.

In today's Gospel, why did Jesus tell us to “tear out your eye, or cut off your hand and throw them away if they cause you to sin?” What Jesus is trying to tell us is that He wants us to choose life and happiness by doing what is good rather than choosing death and suffering by doing evil. This also means we must find out if there is any relationship or activity or group that causes us to sin and separate us from God. If there is, we must cut it off from our life, with help and grace from God. If we have committed sin, we must cut it off by going for confession, and not allow the sin to fester and ruin our soul. Are we willing to take action by going for confession regularly so that our soul would be scrubbed clean? Let us not procrastinate further, and let our loving God cleanse our soul (through the Sacrament of Reconciliation) and heal us back to a healthy relationship with Him.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Thursday of Week 10 Year 1

Every once in a while, we come across certain persons who do church work or get involved in church activities or church ministries, but with the intention of being seen, or being heard, or being known by others, or even to receive praise or admiration from others. Such persons seek attention and would use various ways and means to appear to be invaluable, or indispensable, thinking that without them, the activity, ministry, or even the church, would collapse. Some have even gone so far as to make it a habit in taking lots of pictures of themselves being involved in such activities or ministries, to show others their abilities, accomplishments, or how capable they are. But are such attitudes or behaviour compatible to how a Christian should behave and conduct? Are such attitudes or behaviour following the ways of Christ?

In today's reading, we are reminded: "For it is not ourselves that we are preaching, but Christ Jesus as the Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake." Moreover, the reading reminds us: "And we, with our unveiled faces reflecting like mirrors the brightness of the Lord, all grow brighter and brighter as we are turned into the image that we reflect; this is the work of the Lord who is Spirit."This means that our efforts and involvement in various church activities or ministries, should not be to blow our own trumpet or to show off or even to feed our pride and ego, but to serve others with humility and joy, knowing that our efforts are ultimately for the glory of God. Are we willing to let go of our pride and ego, and become vessels who reflect the brightness of the Lord to others?.