Saturday, 24 March 2018

Saint Matthias, Apostle - Feast

Not many of us realise the implications of what love means. Some of us think that we are loving the way God loves us, but actually more often than not, our love has got strings attached. Our love tends to be a selfish love, a "what's in it for me" love, or a love with conditions attached. For example, some of us say that love a person or something, but what we really mean is we like the person or thing, because the person or thing is good to us; or beneficial or advantageous to us in some way. But how should we as Christians truly love?

As Christians, we can truly love when we remain in Christ’s love, and we can remain in Christ’s love when we keep his commandments, as Jesus reminds us in the Gospel: "Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments you will remain in my love,” Not only that, our love needs to be unconditional, even to the extent of sacrificing our lives, as the Gospel reminds us: "A man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends."

The question we need to ask ourselves is: are we wiling to love totally, unconditionally, willingly and happily? Are we willing to truly love the way God loves us, so that Jesus' own joy may be in us, and our joy be complete? May we be docile, willing and humble in set ting aside our pride, our ego, and our prejudices, and love all completely, just as Jesus loves all completely.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Saturday of Week 7 Year 2

I sometimes come across people who appear to be praying fervently, and when asked why they are praying this way, one reason I hear is because there is some sort of trouble or sickness involved. Praying for God's help when trouble or sickness is involved, is fine, but what about times of happiness and joy? Also, what about praying for the needs and intentions of others, especially people who we don't like, or who have hurt us, or who are our enemies? Do we pray only for ourselves and those who are good to us?

Today's reading reminds us of who we should pray for and why we should pray: "If any one of you is in trouble, he should pray; if anyone is feeling happy, he should sing a psalm. If one of you is ill, he should send for the elders of the church, and they must anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord and pray over him. The prayer of faith will save the sick man and the Lord will raise him up again; and if he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven."

Whether we are happy, sad, sick, or even healthy, we should pray at all times, not just for ourselves, but for others also. Not only we should pray at all times, we should also pray with faith, confident and trusting that God would help us and do what is best for us, according to His time and His purposes. Would we be willing to come humbly before Him in prayer, and let Him take control, so that His will be done?

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Saturday of the 7th Week of Easter

We know that our primary duty as Christians or followers of Christ is to proclaim the Good News. Sometimes we may have become distracted or diverted from our duty, due to various circumstances, such as family matters, sickness, a recent loss of a family member, issues at work, issues at church, and so on. However, such various circumstances ought to be seen as learning experiences to depend more on God's providence and not on our own strength.

In today's reading, St. Paul did not lament about being in chains despite his innocence, but he took the opportunity to proclaim the Kingdom of God despite wearing those chains. St. Paul stayed focused on Jesus, doing His will, and depending on His providence instead of his own strength, and avoided wallowing in his predicament or unfortunate situation.

What about us? Would we be humble and willing to stay focused on Jesus and do His will, come what may? May we not allow ourselves to be distracted by the ways of the world or by the situation we are in, and focus on the ways of Christ, as we continue to depend on His providence and love.

Saturday of the 6th Week of Easter

For a message to be clear, accurate and effective, a person must not only get the facts right and accurate, but also the person must receive such facts from a reputable source. This is because, as we know, all sorts of so called facts are circulating around, and much of such so called facts could turn out to be mostly true but with some slight inaccuracies; or entirely false, or even true but needing additional support to make such facts rock solid.

In today's reading, we come across Appolos who "though he had been given instruction in the Way of the Lord and preached with great spiritual earnestness and was accurate in all the details he taught about Jesus, he had only experienced the baptism of John."Appolos may have had his facts accurate, but he needed additional coaching and instruction about the Way from Priscilla and Aquila, so that he had a reputable source to depend on and refer from. Not only that, the reading also tells us that Appolos "was able by God’s grace to help the believers considerably by the energetic way he refuted the Jews in public and demonstrated from the scriptures that Jesus was the Christ." This shows that, not only does a person need to have accurate facts with reference from a reliable and reputable source, the person also needs God's grace to make such facts rock solid.

What can we learn from this? We can realise that at the end of the day, mere facts alone are insufficient. We need supporting evidence to reinforce the facts, and such supporting evidence comes from reliable and reputable sources. However, this is not enough. We also need God's help, so that the facts being preached are ultimately from His grace and for His glory.

Friday, 9 March 2018

Saturday of the 5th Week of Easter

Some of us find it difficult to let go of control. We want to be in charge of our destiny and to build our lives according to certain ideals which we may have, some of which may have been influenced by our family, friends, peers and society. However, as followers of Christ, we cannot always have control, especially when it comes to where we are supposed to serve. This is because we are to serve where the Holy Spirit leads us, where we are most needed, not where we would be comfortable in, or where it would be convenient to us.

In today's reading, we are told that Paul and Barnabas "travelled through Phrygia and the Galatian country, having been told by the Holy Spirit not to preach the word in Asia. When they reached the frontier of Mysia they thought to cross it into Bithynia, but as the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them, they went through Mysia and came down to Troas. One night Paul had a vision: a Macedonian appeared and appealed to him in these words, ‘Come across to Macedonia and help us.’ Once he had seen this vision we lost no time in arranging a passage to Macedonia, convinced that God had called us to bring them the Good News."

As we can see from the reading, Paul and Barnabas had no control over where they were being told to preach, and that they had to change course according to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Yet, Paul and Barnabas were willing to be humble, docile and obedient, going where they were told to go, and not according to where they pleased.

What about us? Would we be willing to let go of control and let God lead us? Would we be willing to listen to God's promptings and do His will, not ours? May we, like Paul and Barnabas, be docile and humble enough to go where we are told, so that we could be used as His instruments to bring the Good News to others, and to glorify Him.

Saturday of the 4th Week of Easter

Among the many sins a person could commit, one which is quite dangerous and could lead to even greater sins, is the sin of jealousy. A person can become engulfed in jealousy due to thoughts or feelings of insecurity, fear, concern, and envy over relative lack of possessions, status or something of great personal value. As a result, a person who is jealous could become blinded in pursuing what one lacks, even to the point of committing great evil or despicable acts.

In today's reading, we are told: "When they saw the crowds, the Jews, prompted by jealousy, used blasphemies and contradicted everything Paul said." Not only that, the Jews were so jealous that they "worked upon some of the devout women of the upper classes and the leading men of the city and persuaded them to turn against Paul and Barnabas and expel them from their territory." Great evil was committed, just because the Jews were jealous that Paul and Barnabas were attracting a bigger crowd than they could muster.

What about us? Have we allowed jealousy to run our lives and blind us to what is true? Have we become so jealous that our pride and ego is more important than doing the will of God? May we take caution and guard ourselves against being blinded with jealousy, since all we say and do ought to be for the glory of God.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Saturday of the 3rd Week of Easter

Most of us are fortunate to be living in a place where there is generally peace and security. When we are experiencing such peace and security, what do we do? Do we use such peace and security to better ourselves or take necessary steps or precautions to ensure that peace remains? Or have we become complacent, taking such peace and security for granted, and possibly losing our alertness or preparedness for possible incidences?

In today's reading, we are told that the churches throughout Judaea, Galilee and Samaria were left in peace. However, these churches did not become lax or take things for granted. Instead, they were building and fortifying themselves; they were living in the fear of the Lord, with full faith in Him; and they were filled with the consolation of the Holy Spirit while remaining in His guidance.

What about us, especially when it concerns our spiritual lives? Are we building and fortifying ourselves by growing closer to God? May we not procrastinate and be caught off-guard or unprepared, and make every effort to remain alert and prepared as best as we can, while remaining in the Lord's guidance.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Saturday of the 2nd Week of Easter

Some of us seem to think that we must be in control of everything. We find it difficult to let go or to let others help. This is because some of us are perfectionists, or we lack trust in the abilities of others. However, the reality of life is that, in many instances, it is necessary for us to let others help. This is because we cannot possibly do everything or control everything, especially as we age and become less able to manage. Also, by involving others in the task at hand, we may free ourselves time for other matters, including rest, recreation, family time, and more.

In today's reading, the apostles realised that it was not possible for them to devote themselves to the spiritual needs of the community and at the same time attend to the physical and practical needs. So what did the apostles do? They delegated authority to seven men of good reputation, who would see to the physical and practical needs of the community, while the apostles continued to devote themselves to prayer and to the service of the word. In this way, both the spiritual and physical needs of the community could be attended to.

What about us? Are we willing to delegate authority to others so that they could help in sharing the Good News through different ways? May we learn to let go of our need to be in control, and delegate where necessary, so that we can devote ourselves according to our vocation, and in all we say and do, God may be glorified.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Easter Saturday

We know that faith is a gift from God, and how we read the bible and accept the teachings of the faith depends on whether or not we received this gift of faith from God. If we have not received the gift of faith, then no matter how much we read the bible, no matter how many talks we attend which are conducted by powerful preachers, no matter how many books we read on theology, we would be reading only from an intellectual and academic level. However, sometimes we may have received faith, but because of personal interest, pride and ego, we choose not to let the faith develop and transform us. We want to be in control, or to maintain the status quo, resulting in that faith being seen as a threat, even though we may be at a lost as to how to counter it.

In today's reading, we see an example of how faith was evidently present, but the rulers, elders and scribes refused to allow such faith to change their lives. Even when presented with indisputable evidence of the man being cured, of which "they could find no answer."; and even though they admitted: "It is obvious to everybody in Jerusalem that a miracle has been worked through them in public, and we cannot deny it."; these rulers, elders and scribes still chose to go against such faith, out of sheer arrogance, pride and stubbornness.

What about us? Do we accept faith humbly and let God transform us? Or has faith become merely an academic exercise for us, to be used only when it suits us and benefits us? May we come to realise how precious and life-giving faith is, and let God transform us into something better.

Sunday, 7 January 2018


主耶稣从来没有犯罪也不需要藉着洗礼去得到罪恶的宽免。那么为什么祂要接受洗礼?为了满足人类对祂的期望和希望,祂选择洗礼与人类融合在一起并分享祂的人性和神圣的天主性。 他为了拯救罪恶的人类,甘愿屈尊就卑,降生尘世,而并非罪恶昭彰人类邀请祂的降来。

耶稣的受洗正是祂传道工作的起点。祂的传道工作受到天父的肯定,因为耶稣受洗当天, 祂看到圣神化身白鸽降临在祂的头上。更有声音传自天上说,“这是我的爱子,我满心喜爱他。”这就正好说明耶稣和天父的关系是非常密切。因此我们也要追随耶稣的榜样,保持我们与天父之间的良好关系,更要执行一切善事和正义来光荣天主。


Saturday, 6 January 2018

Saturday of the 5th Week of Lent

Throughout history, humankind has been divisive in many ways. People divide themselves according to ethnic group, according to the colour of one's skin, according to the amount of wealth one has by differentiating the rich from the poor, according to the level of education or status in society, and much more. Such divisions lead to prejudice, discrimination, and unfair policies and practices, which often support one group at the expense of the other. However, this is not the way God intends us to live from the beginning. We are all part of humankind, and we should be united and loving with one another, not divisive and conceited.

In today's reading, Ezekiel tells us of how God will reunite His people who had been scattered, exiled and divided, into one people, and He would be their God and they would be His people. This reading reminded the Israelites and us too, that ultimately,  we should be one people under God. We should be children of God, instead of being divisive and prejudiced against each other. But the question is, are we united as one people under God? To some extent we are, but we are not entirely united yet. In fact, at times, it seems as if we have become even more divided. Yet we should not give up hope or despair, since God will eventually unite us completely. We just need to have faith, trust in God's help and providence, and wait patiently for the Lord to gather us together into one.

Saturday of the 4th Week of Lent

It is easy for some of us to seek revenge towards those who have cause us harm or grief. We feel that we have been wronged greatly, and we want the person or persons who wronged us to suffer. But if we consider for a moment, what is the motivation behind wanting revenge? Isn't it because our pride and ego has been hurt, and we want to supposingly heal our pride and ego by causing hurt to the other? But the reality is that, revenge is never justified, no matter how grievous the original harm may have been. In fact, seeking revenge is only for one's personal gratification and to puff up one's ego. So what's a Christian to do when one has been wronged?

Perhaps a solution could be seen on how Jeremiah in today's reading dealt with people who have wronged him. The reading tells us: "But you, the Lord of Hosts, who pronounce a just sentence, who probe the loins and heart, let me see the vengeance you will take on them, for I have committed my cause to you." Instead of giving in to revenge, Jeremiah chose to leave it to God to do the judging. Instead of trying to salvage his pride and ego, Jeremiah chose to remain humble and let God be in control, knowing and trusting that God would not abandon him. It is wise for us to do the same.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Saturday of the 3rd Week of Lent

It is easy for us to take God for granted, especially when we have received so much from Him in different ways. Some of us forget to say grace before meals or even grace after meals, and we do not thank God enough for the good things we have and the many blessings He has given us. Some of us may have even become presumptuous about God's mercy and forgiveness, that we take it for granted and not feel real contrition, remorse, and sorrow for our sins. Some think that God would forgive us anyhow, and we neglect going for confession, which is required for our sins to be forgiven.

When we take things for granted and become presumptuous towards God, we begin to take God's mercy and forgiveness too lightly. Such attitude of taking things for granted and being presumptuous can be found in today's reading, where the people said: "Come let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces, but he will heal us; he has struck us down, but he will bandage our wound; on the third day he will raise us and we shall live in his presence." The Lord responded: "What am I to do with you? This love of yours is like a morning cloud, like the dew that quickly disappears." It seems like the people were only giving lip service, instead of practising true love and knowledge of God.

What about us? Have we become like the people in today's reading, where we end up saying and doing things only to puff our ego and swell our pride? Have we become presumptuous, taking God for granted, instead of walking humbly before Him? May we come to realise such attitude, and change our ways while we have the opportunity to do so.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Saturday of the 2nd Week of Lent

In certain ethnic groups, traditions and customs, the deity is seen as a being to be feared. Persons belonging to such ethnic groups or adhere to such traditions and customs would do all they can to appease the deity, by offering the best of their produce, or offer money, hoping that the deity could be "bribed" into leaving them in peace and harmony. Some such ethnic groups, traditions and customs may even have a practice of sacrificing an animal, or even to the extent of offering human sacrifices, hoping that the deity would be appeased.

However, today's reading paints us quite a different picture of God. In the reading, we are told: "What god can compare with you: taking fault away, pardoning crime, not cherishing anger for ever but delighting in showing mercy?" Unlike a deity that is fierce, vengeful and prone to meting out punishment, we have a God who takes fault away, pardons crime, does not cherish anger, and even delights in showing mercy. Thus, let us not be afraid of God, rather let us go to Him with humility and docility for forgiveness, comfort and guidance, knowing that He will not abandon us. Let us also delight in showing mercy towards others, just as God is continuously showing mercy to us.