Monday, 12 August 2019

Saturday of the 1st Week of Advent

We live in a world where most things in life are no longer free. For example, food, clothing and many other essential things we need to survive are not free. Education, especially if we want to attain higher education, is not free. Even in our relationships, many of us love or like another because of some reason, such as the other is good or kind to us, or the other has certain attributes we like, or even because the other is useful in one way or another. We seem to expect and give at some cost, but as Christians, what sort of way of living should we strive to follow?

In today’s gospel, Jesus teaches us: “Without cost, you have received; without cost you are to give.” Jesus lives this teaching because He did many things; including curing the sick, letting the blind see, expelling demons, feeding the hungry with His words and material food; restoring the dead to life; cleansing the lepers and so on; all these without asking for any payment. Some of us may think that Jesus could do all these things and much more since He is God; but if we think about it for a moment, could we not do the same? After all, we call ourselves brothers and sisters in Christ, and so we should follow His example in the way He lived. Are we willing to receive and give without cost; and for all things give God the glory?

Friday, 26 July 2019

Thursday of Week 34 Year 1

From time to time, we may have found ourselves in a difficult or dangerous situation. When we are in such a situation, some of us may try to live in denial, thinking that such a situation is just our imagination, though the reality is that it is not. Some of us may even feel as if we have no way out and we may be tempted to give up or despair. How many of us are willing to put our full trust in God, knowing that He will do what is best for us?

Today's reading reminds us that with God, there is no problem too big, no situation too difficult or dangerous which He cannot help us out. In today's reading, Daniel had full confidence and trust in God's help and God saved him from the lions. This caused King Darius, who initially thought that there was no hope or way or solution to rescue Daniel, to joyfully exclaim: "He is the living God, he endures for ever, his sovereignty will never be destroyed and his kingship never end. He saves, sets free, and works signs and wonders in the heavens and on earth; he has saved Daniel from the power of the lions."

What does this mean to us? It means that if God is on our side and watching over us, there is no reason for us to fear. It also means that we must continuously and consistently trust in God, knowing that our salvation is in Him, and not in some other form or means. Let us therefore continue to build our relationship with Him and trust Him just as Daniel did.

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Saturday of Week 33 Year 1

What sort of expectations do we have in life? Are our expectations only concerning wants and needs of this world? What if our expectations are not met, either partially or entirely? Some of us may just shrug off such unmet expectations and carry on our merry way, thinking that it is not that big a deal. Some of us may complain or get angry since what we expect is not fulfilled. Some of us may even end up bitterly disappointed, like what happened to king Antiochus in today's reading.

In the reading, we are told that king Antiochus threw himself on his bed and fell into a lethargy from acute disappointment, because things had not turned out as he had planned. He had planned and achieved many things, and even planned to conquer the city of Elymais and sack its renowned riches. Unfortunately for king Anthiochus, his plans failed, and he suffered from deep and recurrent fits of melancholy, until he understood that life was slipping away from him, in other words, he was dying. King Anthiochus' life of worldly expectations, ended up in disappointment.

What about us? Have some of us become like king Anthiochus, when our expectations are not met? As Christians, our expectations ought to be eventually be in God's presence. If we focus only in fulfilling our expectations in this world, we may find ourselves quite disappointed, since our expectations may never be satisfied. May we strive more towards expectations which would guide us closer to God and be with Him, instead of just focusing on expectations which are merely temporary and may end up in disappointment.

Tuesday of Week 33 Year 1

How many of us are willing to have courage and willingness to sacrifice one's life to glorify God? Some of us may say that we are willing and ready to do so, but if we are really and actually put to the test or face a real possibility of being put to death, would we remain steadfast in our faith, and give glory to God? Would we be willing to lose our lives and even the lives of our families by remaining faithful? Or would we abandon our faith to save our skin or to save our families from annihilation?

Today's reading shows us an excellent example of courage and willingness to sacrifice ones life to glorify God. The reading tells us that "Eleazar, one of the foremost teachers of the Law, a man already advanced in years and of most noble appearance, was being forced to open his mouth wide to swallow pig’s flesh. But he, resolving to die with honour rather than to live disgraced, went to the block of his own accord, spitting the stuff out, the plain duty of anyone with the courage to reject what it is not lawful to taste, even from a natural tenderness for his own life."

What about us? Would we be willing to follow the example of Eleazar in today's reading, preferring to die than to commit sin? While it is easy to say that we would remain faithful, it is certainly not easy to do so, especially when it involves our families. Let us pray and continue to depend on God's help to stay true, just and faithful to our duty as Catholics.

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Saturday of Week 32 Year 1

Many of us are so used to having things or services done quite quickly, so much so that when we have to wait for a few minutes or for a while to get what we want, some of us may become quite impatient, or angry, or even give up waiting and go elsewhere, thinking that other places would be faster in their services.But the reality is that there are also many situations in life where we have no choice but to wait patiently, since such situations take time. For example, if we want to renovate our house, we need to wait for materials and manpower to arrive, and then for the renovation to be completed properly. Also, when a couple wants to conceive a child, they need to be patient and persistent in their efforts, with hope that they would be successful.

The same situation also happens when it comes to prayer. In today's Gospel, Jesus taught His disciples to "pray continually and never lose heart." When we pray, we cannot expect God to answer our prayers quickly. We need to be patient and persistent in our prayer, with hope and confidence that God would answer our prayers according to His purpose and for His glory. May we never lose heart, and pray patiently, humbly and continually, and let God do what is best for us.

Monday, 22 July 2019

Monday of Week 32 Year 1

We often hear of people spending a lot of time and effort in building their career, their wealth, their families, etc. This is because the cost of living has increased a lot, compared to the past, and the working environment has become more competitive. While our efforts to survive in this world is good and necessary, how many of us are also making effort to build our relationship with God? Have some of us allowed the need to survive and prosper in the world become more important than building our relationship with God?

Today's reading reminds us that we should "love virtue, let honesty prompt your thinking about the Lord, seek him in simplicity of heart; since he is to be found by those who do not put him to the test, he shows himself to those who do not distrust him." Instead of just focusing on our needs in the world which is temporary, we should also pay more attention to growing closer to God, which would be for our eternal future. Let us not be caught off-guard, and be prepared to meet the Lord.

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.