Saturday, 19 August 2017

Saturday of Week 23 Year 1

Sometimes we come across people who think that, since they keep on falling into sin, they should not bother to have their sins forgiven through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Some even think that their sins are so shameful or embarassing, that they are reluctant to confess their sins, thinking that the priest would scold them or even punish them severely for committing such sins. Some even go to the extent of thinking that God would be like a fierce judge, who would punish them severely for committing such sins. But should Christians have such an attitude towards the Sacrament of Reconciliation? Should Christians numb themselves with such fear of punishment, even to the possibility of despair?

In today's reading, St. Paul reminds us: "Here is a saying that you can rely on and nobody should doubt: that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. I myself am the greatest of them; and if mercy has been shown to me, it is because Jesus Christ meant to make me the greatest evidence of his inexhaustible patience for all the other people who would later have to trust in him to come to eternal life." If Jesus can be so patient and merciful towards Paul, then surely Jesus can be just as patient and merciful towards us. If that is the case, we should not worry or fear about confessing our sins, and take every opportunity to do so, since Jesus is tenderly and patiently waiting for us to return and grow in relationship with Him.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Saturday of Week 22 Year 1

It is certainly not easy to live a Christian life, especially when we are bombarded with all sorts of temptations and worldly attractions. If we are not careful, we may end up trapped in such temptations and worldly attractions, and risk ruining our relationship with God. So how does a Christian overcome such temptations, values and ways of the world?

The answer can be found in today's reading, where St. Paul reminds us: "Now you are able to appear before him holy, pure and blameless – as long as you persevere and stand firm on the solid base of the faith, never letting yourselves drift away from the hope promised by the Good News..." The keywords here are to persevere and stand firm. This means that we must do our very best and not give up, even if we fall, since Jesus gives us many oppotunities to pick ourselves up and try again, especially by going for confession to cleanse away our sins. May we remain steadfast in our faith, and continue to trust and depend on Jesus, and let Him be our help and guide.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Saturday of Week 21 Year 1

When God gives us certain gifts, talents and capabilities, such gifts, talents and capabilities are meant to be put to good use, especially to glorify God. But what happens to some is that they begin to think that such gifts, talents and capabilities are for themselves to use for their own benefit and glory. Some even become lazy and let their gifts, talents or capabilities go to waste, even to the point of one day losing such gifts, talents or capabilities, as a result of neglect or lack of practice. Are some of us guilty of reserving such gifts, talents or capabilities only for ourselves?

In today's gospel, the servant who buried his one talent in the ground was called "wicked and lazy" by his master. Some may think that the master seemed rather harsh with his words and in his treatment of that servant, but we must remember that the master had given the servant the one talent not for him to do as he pleases, but to benefit the master. Instead, the servant chose not to be bothered about what his master expected, and as a result, he suffered the consequences.

What about us? Are we putting our gifts, talents or capabilities to good use for the glory of God? Or have we become complacent or not bothered? Let us not end up like that "wicked and lazy" servant, losing our relationship with God due to our attitude and neglect, and end up being "thrown into the dark, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth."

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Saturday of Week 20 Year 1

How generous are you when it comes to church and church activities? Would you be willing to give much time, talent and even money to enable the church to grow and carry out its mission? I find it amusing and interesting when I see what some people do when it comes to generosity. Some people would make all sorts of excuses, saying that they have not much time or money for church, and yet they can afford to buy big fancy cars, own property in affluent neighbourhoods, go for holidays overseas and even own several classy or high-end gadgets. Likewise, I have come across people who are not so well off, and yet they are willing to offer much time, talent and whatever amounts they can for church. Are we being generous for the glory of God, or are we being generous for ourselves?

In today's reading, we hear how Boaz affirmed Ruth on her kindness and generosity towards her mother-in-law, especially in leaving her own people and her own land and following her mother-in-law to a foreign land. Because of her generosity, Ruth was further rewarded when Boaz took her as his wife and she also became part of the genealogy of Jesus.

What about us, are we willing to be just as generous like Ruth, knowing that God has been so generous to us in many ways? May we come to realise that everything we have in life is because of God’s generosity. We wouldn’t have anything, we wouldn’t even be alive, if it weren’t for God’s generosity, and God wants us to be generous like He is. Are we willing to change our attitudes and ways, and give glory to God with our generosity?

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Saturday of Week 19 Year 1

How easy it is for some of us to fall into the sin of serving other gods, especially when we begin to treat wealth, property and other things as more important than God. For example, we say we love and serve God, and yet some of us seem to find it difficult to take time off from our work to come to church on Sunday, because business seems to be brisk and profitable on Sundays. Also, some of us say we love and serve God, but we seem to spend more time in pursuing our personal interests, instead of church or charitable activities to give glory to God. When we do such things or have such an attitude or behaviour, then are we really loving and serving God, or have we strayed away from God or even rejected God outright?

In today's reading, "The people answered Joshua, ‘No; it is the Lord we wish to serve.’ Then Joshua said to the people, ‘You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the Lord, to serve him.’ They answered, ‘We are witnesses.’ ‘Then cast away the alien gods among you and give your hearts to the Lord the God of Israel!’ The people answered Joshua, ‘It is the Lord our God we choose to serve; it is his voice that we will obey.’" Notice that in the reading, Joshua challenged the people to "choose today whom you wish to serve." And the people made a firm choice in choosing to serve God, and not some other foreign god.

What about us? Are we willing to make a firm choice and choose to love and serve God, just like the Israelites did? Or have our hearts become divided, or even rejected God, in pursuit of other gods such as our wealth, our property, our fame and popularity, and other things? May we choose wisely, and not end up regretting later for making a wrong choice.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Saturday of Week 17 Year 1

Does it really matter to us what other people think about us? Some of us may have learnt not to let other people's thoughts or opinions affect us. However, there are some of us who crave attention or good feedback, and what others think or say about us may affect us tremendously. When we crave such attention, we may be doing so to feed our ego and inflate our pride. When we do not get the attention or good feedback we crave, we may become despondent, paranoid or insecure.

In today's Gospel, we come across King Herod who cared more about his reputation and the opinions of others, instead of doing what is morally right and just. As a result, John the Baptist lost his head, so that King Herod could "save face." What about us? If our reputation is at stake, would we continue to remain steadfast in doing what is right and just? Or would we become self-centered, and care only about ourselves and our reputation?

Saturday of Week 18 Year 1

Do we have faith? Or do we doubt? An author of unknown origin once quipped: "Doubt sees the obstacles; Faith sees the way. Doubt sees the darkest night; Faith sees the day. Doubt dreads to take a step; Faith soars on high. Doubt questions 'who believes?';  Faith answers, 'I.' Indeed, when we have faith, nothing would be impossible.

But what has happened to the disciples in today's Gospel? Why were they unable to cure the boy who was a lunatic and in a wretched state? The reason could be because the disciples had let their ability to heal go to their heads. They began to think that they are the ones doing the healing rather than God. In their pride and ego, they began to think that "it is me!" doing it, instead of acknowledging that the source of healing power is God Himself. Because of this, Jesus admonished them, saying: "Because you have little faith. I tell you solemnly, if your faith were the size of a mustard seed you could say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it would move; nothing would be impossible for you."

What about us? Have some of us become like the disciples in today's Gospel? Or have we learnt to remain humble and remain steadfast in faith in the Lord? May we always remember that all that we are and capable of comes from God, and give Him the greater glory.