Thursday, 16 August 2018

Tuesday of Week 30 Year 2

We sometimes take for granted small things or small matters in life. We think that such small things or small matters are not worth our time or attention. But sometimes, small things or small matters could later turn out to be big things or big matters. For example, a child misbehaves and throws a tantrum to get what he or she wants, but the child's parents think that it is a small matter, and lets the child have his or her way. Then when the child is already grown up, the parents later realise how rude or demanding the child is, and they are at a lost as to why their child has become like that. But the reality is, by giving in to the child's demands, the parents had sown the seeds of selfishness, entitlement, pride and ego into their child. By then, it is already too late, and the child's attitude and behaviour could not be changed.

Today's Gospel talks about mustard seed and yeast, which at first appear to be small things. The tiny mustard seed grows into a large tree and attracts numerous birds seeking food and shelter. Yeast is a powerful agent of change, and when it is added to dough, transformation takes place and produces rich wholesome bread when baked. God’s kingdom also works in a similar way, starting what seems small in the hearts of men and women who are receptive to God’s word.  It works unseen and causes transformation from within.

What do we learn from this? We learn that small things can become great, when we cultivate patience, fortitude and hope. We must be patient and hopeful and with God's grace, wait for the planted seed to grow and gradually become a tree. May we do our part in building God's kingdom, no matter how small our part may be, so that God could transform what seems small into something great, for His glory.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Saturday of Week 29 Year 2

Some people think that they can buy their way to heaven. In certain so-called Christian sects, such persons are taught that the more they give their wealth and property, the more blessings they would get from God, and the more wealthy they would become. Such teaching seems to imply that the poor and the destitute would never have a place in heaven, since heaven seems reserved only for those who have the wealth and clout. But is this true Christian teaching? Does God favour only those who are rich and wealthy?

In today's reading, we are reminded: "Then we shall not be children any longer, or tossed one way and another and carried along by every wind of doctrine, at the mercy of all the tricks men play and their cleverness in practising deceit. If we live by the truth and in love, we shall grow in all ways into Christ, who is the head by whom the whole body is fitted and joined together, every joint adding its own strength, for each separate part to work according to its function. So the body grows until it has built itself up, in love."

The reading reminds us that it is through living by the truth and love that we shall grow in all ways into Christ. The reading also cautions us not to be so easily tossed one way and another and carried along by every wind of doctrine, at the mercy of all the tricks men play and their cleverness in practising deceit. What this means is we should take care to follow the ways of Christ, and not allow ourselves to be influenced by certain so-called Christian sects, who preach contrary to the Gospel. May we be prudent and walk in Christ's ways, glorifying Him in all we do.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Tuesday of Week 29 Year 2

Some people think that having patience refers to how long someone can wait, but perhaps another way of looking at patience is about how well someone is able to behave and conduct themselves with integrity and with justice and fairness, while they wait. For example, supposing two persons are planning to get married, and one needs to go away for work or for some important reason for quite a while. While waiting, one or even both persons could get involved in another relationship, or flirting may occur, or even cheating may take place. On the other hand, if both persons are serious about their relationship and serious about marriage, then they would lovingly keep on waiting with patience until the loved one returns.

In today's Gospel, Jesus teaches us the meaning of true patience: "See that you are dressed for action and have your lamps lit. Be like men waiting for their master to return from the wedding feast, ready to open the door as soon as he comes and knocks. Happy those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes." By waiting faithfully and lovingly, the servants would later discover a reward beyond their expectation - their master will even serve them upon his return.

If those who are faithful to Jesus are rewarded beyond their expectation, then how do we treat those who have been faithful to us? Do we reward them beyond their expectation, and also be just as loving and faithful to them? Or have we taken them for granted, or even taken advantage of them?

Monday, 13 August 2018

Saturday of Week 28 Year 2

When important people or VIPs (Very Important Persosn) are invited to a function or an occasion, we often recognise the presence of such important people by saying sentences like: "Ladies and Gentlemen, we are proud to acknowledge the arrival and presence of so and so in our gathering tonight. Let us welcome them with a thunderous applause." We take pride in their being with us not only for their importance and the position they hold in the community, but also for the outstanding works they may have contributed to the community, for the exemplary lives they may have lived and for the difference they may have made in the lives of many.

But when it comes to Jesus, do we have the same pride just like we have with important persons, more so especially since Jesus is our saviour, our Lord and God? Do we acknowledge with pride and conviction Jesus' presence in our lives before others? Do we acknowledge the difference that our Lord Jesus has made in our lives? Or have we become shy or fearful to mention about Jesus, even though He is not shy or fearful towards us?

In today's Gospel, Jesus reminds us: "I tell you, if anyone openly declares himself for me in the presence of men, the Son of Man will declare himself for him in the presence of the angels. But the man who disowns me in the presence of men will be disowned in the presence of God’s angels." May we be enthusiastic and joyful in declaring Jesus in the presence of men, and give Him all the glory.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Saturday of Week 27 Year 2

No matter where we go, we would encounter laws and regulations. Each country, each state, each city, town or suburb would have certain laws that need to be observed, for the good of all. Such laws are supposed to protect those who follow what is stipulated and also deters wrong-doing. Thus, the law is like our guardian and it is expressed in the form of law-enforcement officers, and sometimes the courts may come into the picture.

In today's reading, St. Paul said that the Law was the guardian of the people until Jesus Christ came along and then they could be justified by faith. The Law was there for the people to keep to it and follow it. Yet the problem here seemed like in just keeping to the precepts of the Law, people could be doing so without any faith and only out of fear, instead of out of love and out of a desire to grow closer to God. With Jesus, we are justified by faith and are no longer under the law as our guardian, but we become sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

The question we need to ask ourselves is this: are we still stuck in keeping the law out of fear and just to get ourselves out of trouble; or have we grown in faith in Jesus, and keep the law out of love, and also observe the law of love in all we say and do?

Saturday, 11 August 2018

Friday of Week 27 Year 2

When it comes to learning music, such as learning to play the piano or guitar or violin, there needs to be study of theory and practical. Without theory, we may not understand or appreciate what constitutes acceptable or good music, and the practical aspect may be compromised. Theory without practice would not bring us anywhere, since we may know the theory of music, but we would not know how to play the instrument. Thus in music, both theory and practical are needed, so that we would be able to harmonise and improve our musical talent.

In today's reading, St. Paul emphasised faith in Jesus Christ over the blind practice of the Law. The blind practice of the Law without having faith in God would result in the meticulous keeping of  rules and regulations, just as one would only be blindly learning music theory without having a clue about why we are doing so and how we could put such theory to good and practical use. It becomes like a "monkey see, monkey do" situation. This would lead to a contradiction on what we say and do, compared to what we are supposed to believe in.

Thus, let us not just blindly follow rules or blindly have faith, but have some proper formation on our faith, so that we would have some understanding of what we believe in and why we believe. In doing so our faith in Jesus would grow and mature as we walk in His ways.

Saturday of Week 26 Year 2

Nowadays I notice more and more people becoming proud and arrogant in their attitude and behaviour. For example, I see people driving on the road as if the road belongs to them, or they think they can weave in and out of traffic to get to where they want, with little regard for the safety of others. Some drive big vehicles or four wheel drive vehicles, and think that the size of their vehicle entitles them to bully other vehicles or cut into other people's lane. All these incidences and attitude make me wonder... have some people lost their sense of politeness, courtesy and especially humility? Humility is the quality of having a modest or low view of one's importance, and it seems as if more and more people are forgetting their humble beginnings, as they become more affluent, or are supposingly having higher education, or they think they have better standing in society.

In contrast, today's reading tells us of Job's humility. The reading tells us: "This was the answer Job gave to the Lord: I know that you are all-powerful what you conceive, you can perform. I am the man who obscured your designs with my empty-headed words. I have been holding forth on matters I cannot understand, on marvels beyond me and my knowledge. I knew you then only by hearsay; but now, having seen you with my own eyes, I retract all I have said, and in dust and ashes I repent." Job was willing to remain humble and seek forgiveness from God, instead of sticking to his pride and ego. As a result, the reading tells us that God blessed Job with wealth, property, offspring and other things, much more than Job could ever imagine.

What about us? Are some of us still holding on to our pride and ego, with a sense of entitlement? Or have we learnt to become more like Job, willing to humble ourselves and let God be our help and guide? May we be willing to walk humbly in God's ways, and glorify God in all we say and do.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Thursday of Week 26 Year 2

One reality of doing God's work or preaching the Good News is that we may face much opposition and persecution, even the possibility of being put to death. When we are faced with such opposition and persecution, what do we do? Do we slowly lose our zeal or even give up in our efforts? Do we run away and go only to places which seem safe or where we feel accepted? Do we pick and choose where we want to serve? Or are we willing to serve fervently and with much zeal, come what may?

In today's reading, Job’s friends had initially come to console him but they ended up telling him that he was being punished by God for doing wrong. Instead of being consoled by his friends, his friends persecuted him. When faced with such friends, what did Job do? Job responded to them by these words: "I know that my vindicator lives." Even though there seemed to be no sign that God cared for Job, yet Job had a spirit of abandonment to God, and had absolute confidence and trust in God.

What about us? When we are faced with difficulties or even persecutions in our lives as Christians, would we be willing to follow Job's example in having a spirit of abandonment to God, letting God take control? May we continue to do God's will with zeal and trust, and glorify Him with our efforts and with our lives.

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Wednesday of Week 25 Year 2

We sometimes bring more than what is necessary when it comes to a holiday or a trip. I remember many years ago when my grandmother was younger and able to travel, and she planned to visit and stay with an uncle and his family in Singapore for a few weeks. We were at the train station in Kuala Lumpur to send her off and I was quite perplexed to see so many bags being loaded onto the train. My dad remarked: "Wow! Are you moving house or something?" Altogether, she had about 5 big bags and they were quite heavy, and I wondered how my grandmother, who was quite small sized, would be able to managed all that luggage during the trip.

In contrast to the number of luggage brought by my grandmother, Jesus in today's Gospel "called the Twelve together and gave them power and authority over all devils and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. He said to them, ‘Take nothing for the journey: neither staff, nor haversack, nor bread, nor money; and let none of you take a spare tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there; and when you leave, let it be from there."

By not carrying additional or unnecessary luggage or burdens, the apostles were freer to go about doing their duty in preaching, teaching and healing, instead of being saddled or slowed down by such baggage, while being dependent on God's providence and care to keep going. When we get our priorities right and focus on what we are called to do, God would surely take care of us, and often times we may even get more than we need. Are we willing to trust and let God be in control, while we glorify Him in all we say and do?

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Saturday of Week 24 Year 2

I recall reading an article about the burning of paper gifts, paper houses with what seems to be lots of servants in them, even paper modern products such as computer, car and hand-phone, as if such products and facilities would still be needed when one dies and is in what some believe to be the afterworld. In the article, I learnt that the original intention for the burning of such items was not for the afterworld, as some seem to believe, but to remind one of impermanence and detachment from such things, since such things cannot be physically brought with us when we die.

In today's reading, we see a similar situation about not being too concerned with things on earth, as such things are also impermanent and one should be detached. The reading tells us: "Someone may ask, ‘How are dead people raised, and what sort of body do they have when they come back?’ They are stupid questions. Whatever you sow in the ground has to die before it is given new life and the thing that you sow is not what is going to come; you sow a bare grain, say of wheat or something like that, It is the same with the resurrection of the dead: the thing that is sown is perishable but what is raised is imperishable; the thing that is sown is contemptible but what is raised is glorious; the thing that is sown is weak but what is raised is powerful; when it is sown it embodies the soul, when it is raised it embodies the spirit."

Just as a seed dies and transforms into something better, our bodies too will die, decay and eventually turn to dust, but our souls will become better and glorious, especially if we have been maintaining a good relationship with God. This is why we should make more effort in growing in relationship with God, and not be too concerned with worldly wealth and power, since such things won't last. Are we putting our priorities right, and letting God be our guide and happiness?

Thursday of Week 24 Year 2

It is easy for some of us to become attracted and distracted by so called church teaching from various other sources. We sometimes lose focus on what is true, genuine church teaching, because the teaching we read or hear from such other sources appears to come from some so-called authoritative figure, or the teaching itself seems appealing to us, or such teaching seems to satisfiy our interpretation of what being church and being a follower of Christ means. But how do we know for certain whether such teaching is genuine or bona fide?

One way of ensuring that such church teaching is genuine is to read or hear such teaching from certified or official sources, and such teaching should jive or flow from the apostles, as St. Paul reminds us in today's reading: "Brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, the gospel that you received and in which you are firmly established; because the gospel will save you only if you keep believing exactly what I preached to you – believing anything else will not lead to anything." As we can read, St. Paul is telling us that he is the genuine authoritative figure, instead of listening to so called other authoritative figures who may only lead us astray.

So what does this mean to us? It means that we must be prudent and discern what we read or hear, and scrutinise the source of such teaching. This is to ensure that we do not lose our way in our faith, and we should also guide others so that they too will not lose their way. May we make every effort to ensure we read and hear only true and genuine teaching, and share such genuine teaching to all.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Wednesday of Week 24 Year 2

It is inevitable that no matter where one serves, no matter what one does, one would somehow have one's share of critics or people who cannot accept or agree with almost everything or even to the point of everything of what one says ot does. This is because there are people who only want things done in a certain way, or they cannot accept what another does no matter how good and just it may be, or they only accept things which meet or surpass their requirements and expectations. Anything else would only encounter the displeasure or wrath of such persons.

In today's Gospel, we see examples of how we can never satisfy or please everyone, especially when it comes to service and mission. In the Gospel, Jesus tells us: "‘For John the Baptist comes, not eating bread, not drinking wine, and you say, “He is possessed.”'The Son of Man comes, eating and drinking, and you say, “Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” Yet Wisdom has been proved right by all her children.'"

At the end of the day, we need to ask ourselves sincerely: are we performing service and mission to please and satisfy others, or are we doing so for the Glory of God? Are we more concerned about getting praise, acceptance and recognition from others; or are we more concerned about doing God's will? May we put our priorities right, and ultimately in all we say and do, give God the greater glory.

Friday, 27 July 2018

Thursday of Week 23 Year 2

What is a scandal? A scandal is an action or event regarded as morally or legally wrong and causing general public outrage. Scandals come in many forms, including embezzlements that have ruined the good name or good reputation of banks; politicians having affairs; aid for the poor and hungry being siphoned off by the rich and those in power; even wealth of certain nations being robbed by those in power, causing such nations to end up in serious debt and poverty. Even the church has seen its share of scandals, including sex abuse cases, power struggles, schisms, heresies, certain corrupted practices for material or temporal gain, and so on. When a scandal happens, the trust and confidence of those affected could be reduced, or even to the point of being lost completely.

In today's reading, St. Paul talked about a different kind of scandal. He warned about eating foods that are sacrificed to idols, which could cause a scandal among the faithful, especially those who are weak in their faith. Some of us may think that it seems hardly a scandal, but in those times and even today, it would be enough to cause another's downfall in the faith. This is why we must always remember that whatever we do or say is not a private affair, especially when it comes to witnessing as Christians. The consequences of our unwise and imprudent words and actions could spread farther and wider than we think. May we be alert and discern what we say and do, so that we say and do what is just and right, for the glory of God.

Friday, 29 June 2018

Monday of Week 22 Year 2

Not everyone in this world is gifted in public speaking or have the gift of the gab. When it comes to speaking clearly, effectively, dynamically and captivatingly, one needs to treat public speaking as an art, and so training as well as practice is necessary. However, when it comes to preaching the Word of God, what sort of criteria do we really need? Do we apply the same criteria as public speaking? To some extent, the criteria required for public speaking applies, but there are some key differences. What sort of differences are there?

In today's reading, St. Paul said that he preached without any show of oratory or philosophy, although he did mention about great "fear and trembling." Also, when it came to preaching the Word of God, it is the power of the Holy Spirit complimented with the spirituality and conviction of St. Paul that mattered more. While St. Paul preached in a sensible and logical manner, it was more of the power of God that opened the hearts of his listeners, and so the one who preaches is merely an instrument in proclaiming the Good News and giving glory to God.

When it comes to preaching, it is tempting for us to seek attention, power and prestige, since our preaching could bring us quite a crowd. This is where we need to be humble and realise, just as St. Paul did, that ultimately, our preaching is not for our personal gratification, or to boost our ego, or to glorify ourselves, but to give all glory and honour to God.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Saturday of Week 21 Year 2

One reality in life is that, for most of us, we come to this world and go from this world without the rest of the world ever noticing us. Not many of us can become rich, popular, powerful or famous; and even if we do become rich, popular, powerful or famous, such things are only temporary. Though we try to make a name for ourselves, to desire for attention, to bask in the limelight or to be just famous and popular; all these things will one day wane or be lost.

In today's reading, we are challenged with a question: what is there to boast about? The reading reminds us: "it was to shame the wise that God chose what is foolish by human reckoning, and to shame what is strong that he chose what is weak by human reckoning; those whom the world thinks common and contemptible are the ones that God has chosen – those who are nothing at all to show up those who are everything. The human race has nothing to boast about to God... As scripture says: if anyone wants to boast, let him boast about the Lord."

What does this mean to us? It means we must never allow ourselves to be seduced by riches, popularity, power or fame, and become proud, egoistic and conceited, since all these things won't last. God could take these things away from us just as easily as these things were given to us. How we stand before people is not as important as how we stand before God. May we learn to remain humble and docile, and for whatever good we do, let us give thanks and praise the Lord.

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Monday of Week 21 Year 2

What is the difference between hurting someone and harming someone? Some of us think that there is no difference and the two mean the same thing, but actually, there is a difference between the two. For example, if a person stabs you at your abdomen with a knife, then that person not only hurts you but also harms you; but if a surgeon is handling that knife, then it might hurt you, especially when you wake up from anaesthesia, but it will not harm you. In our spiritual growth, telling someone a hard truth with the intention of fraternal correction might hurt that someone, but will not harm him or her, and it would actually be helping that someone.

In today's Gospel, we hear Jesus calling the scribes and Pharisees hypocrites and blind. Was Jesus hurting them? Surely. Was he harming them? Not at all. Jesus was actually giving the scribes and Pharisees a shock treatment, with hope that they may see the error of their ways and repent. But did the scribes and Pharisees get Jesus' point and change their ways? No, because they had become so obstinate, proud and conceited, so much so that they had become indifferent and oblivious to the hurt.

When we become indifferent and oblivious to the hurt like the scribes and Pharisees, we may actually be harming ourselves. How so? We may be harming ourselves spiritually, and slowly drift away from God's ways and end up doing our own thing. May we take notice of the hurt we experience in our spiritual journey, and let God transform us for our spiritual good.

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Saturday of Week 20 Year 2

I find it amusing listening to people who seem to have so many ideas and suggestions to make, and yet when they are asked to carry out such ideas and suggestions, they would suddenly back off and say that they are too busy, no time, unqualified and so many other excuses made. For example, there are people who have suggested that the church needs to have a better car park system, and they even suggest that a multi-storey car park should be built to accommodate the number of parishioners cared by the church. However, when such persons are asked to take charge of such a project and see it through, they all of a sudden have cold feet and try to push the task to others. Indeed, preaching ones ideas and suggestions is easy, but carrying them out is a different matter.

In today's Gospel, Jesus told the people to listen to what the scribes and Pharisees tell them since they occupy the chair of Moses, but not to be guided by what they do, since they do not practise what they preach. The scribes and Pharisees knew how to talk, and everything they did was to attract attention and make them appear as if they were holy and pious. But being holy and pious is not just about words, but more so about action, or action speaks louder than words, or walk the talk, so to speak.

What about us? Do we know only how to talk and make suggestions and demands? Or are we willing to do our part in seeing that the task at hand is done? May we learn to be humble and zealous in doing what is right, and glorify God in all we do.

Friday, 22 June 2018

Monday of Week 20 Year 2

When we meet with an accident or have a bad fall, we may fracture our hand or leg. Such a fracture could cause tremendous pain, and we may require surgery and even have the affected leg or hand be put in a cast to enable the fracture to heal. Sometimes the fracture may take quite some time to heal, and we need to bear the pain while healing takes place. However, when we sin, do we feel the pain of a fracture in our relationship with God? Do we make effort to put our sinful ways in a cast, especially by going for confession and doing penance, so that the fracture in our relationship with God could heal over time?

In today's reading, God told the prophet Ezekiel that he was about to lose his wife but he was not to mourn or grief. The reading also tells us that God had said: "I am about to profane my sanctuary, the pride of your strength, the delight of your eyes, the passion of your souls." In other words, God will allow His Temple to be destroyed by enemies and the people were also not to mourn or grief. Why were the people not to mourn and grief? Precisely because they had sinned, and Ezekiel would be a sign to them that a fracture has occured in the relationship of the people with God, and the people would experience the pain of this fracture and learn that the Lord is God.

Just as a fracture of our hand or leg causes us tremendous pain, do we feel the pain of a fracture in our relationship with God, or have we become numb or even indifferent towards the pain? May we take responsibility for the many fractures that occur in our relationship with God, as a result of our sins, and be willing and humble to be healed by our loving Lord, even if much pain may be experienced, for the good of our eternal future.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Friday of Week 17 Year 2

It is not easy for us to stand alone when it comes to upholding truth, righteousness and good principles. We may find ourselves isolated, shunned or even despised by those around us, since we have chosen to do what is right, instead of what is popular or agreeable to others. But if we look at our lives and purpose as Christians, are we called to be accepted and popular, and in doing so commit sin? Or are we willing to stick to following God's ways, even if it means being treated as an outcast, persecuted, or even face the possibility of being put to death?

In today's reading and Gospel, we see two examples of what it takes to stand alone for what one believes in and what is right. In the reading, the prophet Jeremiah was not accepted because he only had "bad" news for the people. Even though the priests and prophets in the Temple of the Lord wanted the prophet Jeremiah dead for what he said, the prophet Jeremiah refused to budge from saying what is right. The "bad" news the prophet Jeremiah told the people was for their own good, with hope that they would change their ways and return to the ways of God. In the Gospel, Jesus highlighted that a prophet is not accepted among his own people. He too had to stand alone in the face of rejection and even opposition.

But when we stand alone for what is just and right, we are actually not alone, since God is with us. May we remain steadfast in doing what is just and right, even if it means being alone in such a task, since what we do is not for our own gratification, but for the glory of God.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Monday of Week 17 Year 2

We all know that personal hygiene is important to ensure that we live healthy lives. One aspect of personal hygiene that we pay attention to is clothing, more so when it comes to undergarments. We would ensure that we wear fresh and clean undergarments, and ensure that those that have been worn or soiled are washed and dried. Wearing used or soiled undergarments would not only cause unpleasant smells to be released, certain diseases as a result of using such used or soiled undergarments may even occur. Moreover, when we do not wash such used or soiled undergarments, such undergarments may eventually end up useless or unusable, since the dirt or soiled parts may eventually become too entrenched in the fabric to be removed. The only thing that one could do when this happens is to throw away such undergarments, since such undergarments have become spoilt, good for nothing.

In today's reading, the Lord ordered Jeremiah to get a loincloth, wear it and without washing it, hide it among some rocks and then after a time take it out. By doing so, such loincloth had obviously not only become soiled, but also unusable, spoilt, good for nothing. The reading tells us that God chose His people to be His own and He bound Himself close to them, just like a loincloth is bound close to a person. Yet they did not listen to Him and followed the dictates of their own hearts and in doing so, became corrupted like the loincloth, spoilt, good for nothing.

What about us? Are we slowly becoming like that loincloth, eventually becoming soiled, unusable, spoilt, good for nothing? May we make every effort to change our ways and grow closer to God, instead of following the dictates of our own hearts, and risk jeopardising our eternal future.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Friday of Week 16 Year 2

How loyal are we in our lives, when it comes to our family, our spouse, our workplace, in society, and even in a country? Do we seek only benefits, perks and advantages when it befits us, and when things are not to our liking or not going our way, we run away or look for alternatives? For example, if our spouse is stricken with a serious disease, would we remain loyal to him or her, or would we start looking elsewhere for gratification? When the company is facing difficult times, do we care only about ourselves and leave, looking for better prospects, or are we willing to stay and weather out the storm? When our country is going through turmoil and corruption, do we stay to do what is right and help rebuild the country, or do we run away and look for greener pastures?

It is easy for some of us to become disloyal, especially when we are more concerned only about ourselves, and perhaps our loved ones. But how many of us are willing to set aside our ego, our pride, our need for personal gratification, and remain loyal, come what may? Even when it comes to our faith, do we remain loyal when certain teachings or practices are not to our liking? Or do we run away and look for some other faith which benefits us?

In today's reading, we are reminded: "Come back, disloyal children – it is the Lord who speaks – for I alone am your Master." Ultimately, we need to choose where our loyalties lie. If we choose to remain loyal to God, then we need to come back to Him and walk in His ways. May we choose wisely and not end up following the dictates of our hearts, and in doing so, risk our eternal future.

Saturday of Week 19 Year 2

Some cultures and persons seem to think that sins committed by their parents and ancestors would cause them to be punished or greatly affected, as if such sins would be passed down throughout generations. Such cultures or persons begin to think that there is nothing they can do about it, and that the sin is beyond their control; and some begin to blame others for the situation they are in, instead of taking responsibility for themselves and striving towards change and conversion.

But the reality is this. today's reading makes it clear that God holds each individual responsible for his or her own sin. The reading tells us: "Why do you keep repeating this proverb in the land of Israel: “The fathers have eaten unripe grapes; and the children’s teeth are set on edge” 'As I live – it is the Lord who speaks – there will no longer be any reason to repeat this proverb in Israel. See now: all life belongs to me; the father’s life and the son’s life, both alike belong to me. The man who has sinned, he is the one who shall die.'" The reading also adds: "House of Israel, in future I mean to judge each of you by what he does – it is the Lord who speaks. Repent, renounce all your sins, avoid all occasions of sin! Shake off all the sins you have committed against me, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit!"

So what does this mean for us? It means that we cannot find a scapegoat or put the blame on others for sins committed. We are responsible for our spiritual growth and well-being and we can choose to avoid all occasions of sin, with God's grace and help. May we make every effort to break the vicious cycle of blaming, and instead take responsibility for our words and deeds, and glorify God in all we say and do.

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Saturday of Week 18 Year 2

How much faith and patience do we have in letting God's will be done? When our prayers are not answered; when things do not go our way; when evil seems to be happening around us and it seems as if it is hopeless to resist; when we face much ridicule and persecution; do we have faith and patience, knowing that God will take care of things? Or have we given up on God and tried to do things our way?

In today's reading, Habakkuk could not understand why Judah was punished by her enemies who were more wicked and sinful than her. He complained that God seemed silent and did nothing while wicked men swallowed up His people. But God was not indifferent or silent, Instead, God responded: "if it comes slowly, wait, for come it will, without fail. ‘See how he flags, he whose soul is not at rights, but the upright man will live by his faithfulness.’" Habakkuk was reminded that God's will would be done, not according to his terms, but according to God's terms, and all that was needed was patience and trust.

What about us? Are we able to be patient and trust that God would make a way, even though it may take some time? May we not be so easily disheartened or give up or even despair. Instead, may we remain faithful in God's love and care, knowing and trusting that in the end, good will triumph, and His will would be done.

耶稣圣心庆典 - 3



今天,我们欢庆耶稣圣心瞻礼。耶稣圣心这张圣像,显示给我们天主无比且神圣之爱。请注意耶稣圣心正燃着爱之火 ,发出爱之光与热,也因救赎我们罪人而受伤累累。耶稣圣心的肖像也明确地告诉我们牺牲小我而完成大我的精神。就是这个圣象提醒我们耶稣是我们的牧者,不停地召唤我们悔改而跟随祂。


Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Saturday of Week 17 Year 2

I believe most people prefer to hear good news. Sometimes in our pursuit of hearing or receiving good news, we may shut out or avoid news which may be uncomfortable to hear or even shut out or avoid bad news altogether. But the reality of life is that, there will always be ups and downs. We can never experience only ups, since there are times we would need to face the downs also. For example, our heartbeat shows a signal of up and down when it is being monitored. If our heartbeat were to remain level, without any ups and downs, we would be dead.

In today's reading, the priests and prophets wanted to get rid of the prophet Jeremiah, as he had prophesied against the city. But Jeremiah was prophesying bad news not for the fun of it, but to warn the people of the consequences of not amending their actions and listening to God's voice. The priests and prophets were not willing to listen to bad news from Jeremiah, but the city officials and the people chose to do so, since they were convinced that such bad news was necessary and a wake up call for all to buck up and change their ways. Because of this, the city officials and the people refused to get rid of Jeremiah.

What about us? How would we treat bad news? Sometimes the bad news we receive is good and necessary for us to change and become better persons. Sometimes bad news could actually save us from mortal danger, or even spiritual danger. May we learn to accept news, both good and bad, and continue to depend on God's love and mercy, and walk in His ways.

Monday, 28 May 2018






今天的读经提醒我们:要放松自己的思维,不要受到各种忧虑烦扰你。要控制自己,把一切烦恼交给主耶稣显现给你时的恩宠。在还没有受到真里的熏陶时,不要随心所欲,养成服从的习惯。既然那圣洁者召叫了你,那么你的行为要圣洁端庄如圣经中说,“你的行为要圣洁因为我是圣者。”假如我们相信天主,那么我们就不应该想得太多,应该把一切交给祂,而远离各种能破坏我们和天主间关系的事物。当然,我们不可放松自己,要扛起自己的责任,其他无法控制的事情就交给天主了。英文经典曲:que sera sera 是一首很有意思的名曲,大家不妨参考:世事多变化,万事难预料,未来更不是我们能看到; 要来的必定回来,让我们拭目以待吧!


在我们之中有一些教友常常被世间的事物束缚:有如生活状况,人际间的影响,各种不同的习惯 等等。我们不能释放这些事物,往往是因为我们认为它是属于我们自己的;其中最常见的是财富:钱财或是产业。一个人甚至认为与其他需要的人分享财物是不可理喻的。财物对他们来说是命根,以为只有钱财才能买到幸福和快乐。

当我们被钱财束缚时,我们就好像今天福音中所提到的富豪那样,而我们就会忘了生活中什么是最重要的。福音中也提到我们不能同时侍奉两个主人: 天主和财富。虽然福音中的富豪看来循规蹈矩,恪守十诫,但是他的心中没有主的存在,而是被钱财占有了他整个灵魂。试想想看我们本身是否遭遇同样的命运?是否好像富豪那样爱财不爱主?一旦天主召回我们的灵魂,世上的财富是否能一起带走?当然是不可能的。很可能有些人一旦醒悟时已经太晚了。所以我们要认真地想清楚来世所要的是什么:永恒的快乐或是永恒的受苦?

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Saturday of Week 16 Year 2

Over the years, we have come across certain individuals who commit all sorts of evil deeds and at the same time, appear to be pious and holy. Such persons call themselves Christians and even come to church and worship, but they do not live Christian lives. Some even think that God is on their side at all times, and they think that what they say and do outside of the church would not have any consequence to their relationship with God.

But the reality is: God and sin are incompatible. We cannot expect to remain in relationship with God, if we continue to sin and commit deplorable acts. We cannot hide our words and deeds from God, as today's reading tells us: "Yet here you are, trusting in delusive words, to no purpose! Steal, would you, murder, commit adultery, perjure yourselves, burn incense to Baal, follow alien gods that you do not know? – and then come presenting yourselves in this Temple that bears my name, saying: Now we are safe – safe to go on committing all these abominations! Do you take this Temple that bears my name for a robbers’ den? I, at any rate, am not blind – it is the Lord who speaks." God cannot be fooled by our deception and antics, and our coming to church does not mean we would get a free ticket or "get out of jail card" to get our sins cleared and we can continue to do as we please with impunity.

Perhaps we should ask ourselves: are we really following God's ways in our words, attitudes and conduct? Or have we been following the ways of the world, and putting on a front or a show at church. Let us be reminded that God is not blind, and if we continue our charade and masquerade, we do so only at our peril.

Friday, 25 May 2018


当你表示你会做某些事情时,你是真心的吗? 有时候我们说:“是”可是潜意识里是“不”。别的时候,我们说:“是”但其实是“可能”。 我们当中有几人可以一贯性的说“是”就是代表“是”呢?

今天的读经里提醒我们:“不可指天起誓,不可指地起誓,不论什么誓都不可起;你们说话,是就说是,非就说非,免得你们招致审判。”有时候我们会面对不能履行承诺的状况,而造成自己面对尴尬的场面甚至于会造成某种问题。因此我们不可轻易发誓或立下承诺,必须严谨考虑一切后果。为何要“找碴” 或“自找麻烦”呢? 我们是否因为要取悦别人而做出承诺呢?还是我们是为了光荣天主呢?

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Saturday of Week 15 Year 2

I believe most of us are doing our best to remain in good terms with God. Even though we may have fallen and sinned, we pick ourselves up and with God's grace, try to avoid sinning again. Of course, this is not easy, since the ways of the world tempt us with many kinds of wrongdoing, and we depend on God's grace and providence to turn away from sin and remain faithful to the Gospel.

However, there are times we come across people who choose to remain evil and do evil or nasty things. Such persons have no qualms about committing despicable acts, as they prefer to remain proud, egoistic and conceited. In today's reading, we see examples of such persons, who "plot evil, who lie in bed planning mischief! No sooner is it dawn than they do it – their hands have the strength for it. Seizing the fields that they covet, they take over houses as well, owner and house they confiscate together, taking both man and inheritance." Such persons don't think about God, and they don't even bother about Him. But to these evil doers, God has this to say: Woe to those who plot evil" and "your necks will not escape; nor will you be able to walk proudly."

What about us? Are some of us persisting in doing evil and committing despicable acts, even after hearing such warning from God? Ultimately, we have a choice: we can choose to stop our evil ways, or to continue doing so, and risk our eternal future.

Friday, 11 May 2018

10th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

Why do some of us blame others when something goes wrong? Some blame others because they desire to be recognised, appreciated and respected. Some do so because they want to appear good in the eyes of others. Some do so because they think that they are above mistakes, faults and sins. Some do so because they want to hide their true selves which they are afraid to reveal. In reality, when we blame others we are looking for a scapegoat whom we burden with our guilt. This is exactly what happened in the first reading where Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent.

In today's Gospel, Jesus was teaching the people. He was told that His mother and relatives were looking for Him, and Jesus said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother." This tells us what discipleship is all about, namely, the hearing and doing the will of God. Some people seem to think that Jesus showed lack of respect for Mary by replying in this way. But that is farthest from the mind of Jesus. To Jesus, family ties are not what matters. Mary’s motherhood was important and necessary and therefore she was to be blest for it. But what really matters is to hear and do the will of God. Thus they are the ones who are blest.

By blessing those who hear the word of God and do it, Jesus has put an end to the vicious cycle of blaming. He has placed responsibility where it belongs: on our shoulders. When we allow God to enter our life, when we discover God in the hearing and doing of His will, we also discover ourselves in the process. We discover that before God, we are naked and transparent. We discover that blaming others is a form of pride and others suffer for our mistakes, faults and sins. We discover that there is nothing we can hide from Him and thus we have to be responsible for our acts. Why so? Because hearing and doing God’s will is something between God and us. He not only sees our acts but our motives, too. Blaming others does not take away the guilt from us. We may fool people but we cannot fool God. There is nothing we can hide from God. Moreover, in hearing and doing God’s will, we also discover that others, like us, are also building a relationship with God. Since we share the same goal with everyone else, we are to help instead of blaming others, so that ultimately, we are doing God’s will. Then we do not only become responsible for our acts, we also become responsible for each other, and in doing so, we become true disciples of Jesus.

How do we begin true discipleship? The beginning of discipleship is conversion: "Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand." To repent and to be forgiven - to be converted - is to begin our journey to God which consists in first accepting and then doing something about our self-centredness and our sins and then letting God take over. When we accept our faults and sins and be sorry for them, we are reconciling with God which leads to reconciliation with others. It is when we embrace reconciliation with God and with others, we begin to be true disciples.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Our Lady, Mother of the Church - Memorial

What does it mean to be a church? Is a church merely a building? Of course not! A church is more than a building, since the early Christians did not even have proper buildings which we call churches today. Instead, a church is the faithful; the people of God; the community and body of Christ; united as one in love, charity, faith and prayer. There is no room for individualistic attitudes or personal agenda, since as church we are sons and daughters of God, brothers and sisters in Christ.

In our church communities, we have one person who has been guiding us and praying for us and with us since the early times of Christianity. That one person is our Lady, Mother Mary. In the Gospel, when Jesus was dying on the cross, He gave Mary to the beloved disciple, and in doing so, gave Mary to us, His disciples. In the reading, we see Mary with the apostles, joined in continuous prayer. Mary did not stay aloof or keep to herself, but was there praying for and with the apostles, after Jesus was taken up into heaven. The readings show us that Mary is also our mother, and that is why we celebrate "Our Lady, Mother of the Church" today.

With Mary as our mother, let us continue to trust in her love and care, and follow her example in reaching out to others in love and prayer. Let us offer our presence as she did, to all in need, especially the sick, the aged, the destitute, the downtrodden, and many more, so that in all we do, God may be glorified.

Monday, 7 May 2018

Thursday of Week 13 Year 2

In today's reading, the prophet Amos kept warning the Israelites of the impending doom which would happen to them if they did not change their ways and return to the Lord's path. But Amaziah the priest of Bethel, influenced the king of Israel into thinking that the prophet Amos was a fraud, a fake and a troublemaker. Not only that, Amaziah dared to challenge and chase away the prophet Amos, by saying: "Go away, seer; get back to the land of Judah; earn your bread there, do your prophesying there. We want no more prophesying in Bethel; this is the royal sanctuary, the national temple." By saying so, Amaziah was convinced that God would not allow anything to happen to the nation and to the temple, since he believed that God was with the nation and resided in the temple. But what Amaziah failed to realise is that it was God who had sent the prophet Amos to warn the Israelites, and that God was not confined only to the temple.

What can be learn from this? When we are proud and egoistic, we fail to listen and take heed of God's voice and warning. We begin to think that we are ok and nothing will happen to us. But we may realise when it is too late, that we had been only fooling ourselves into complacency and a false sense of security. May we learn to walk humbly in God's ways, take heed of His promptings, and let Him be our guide.

Wednesday of Week 13 Year 2

In today’s gospel two men from the country of the Gadarenes were healed at the expense of some pigs. Jesus allowed the devils who had possessed the two men to leave the men, and enter into a large herd of pigs some distance away. As a result, "the pigs charged down the cliff into the lake and perished in the water."

When the townspeople heard what had happened, what did they do? Instead of rejoicing and being grateful to Jesus, the townspeople implored Jesus to leave. Instead of appreciating the healing and saving power of Jesus, they did not welcome Jesus into their town. Why did they respond in this way? Perhaps it may be because, the townspeople were more concerned about the loss of the pigs and the potential profits to be made. The townspeople seemed to value more about material wealth and possession, instead of Jesus' presence and salvation.

What about us? Do we value God more than our material possessions? Are we going to welcome Jesus in our lives or let Him go? Some of us may say that we value God more, but do we really mean what we say, or are we just putting on a show, while we continue to cling on to our wealth and possessions, instead of giving glory to God? May we come to realise what is more important, more valuable, and more lasting, and change our ways, while we have the opportunity and time to do so.

Friday, 4 May 2018

Wednesday of Week 10 Year 2

Just imagine for a moment you are in a room full of so-called priests who believe that their god is true and all-powerful, how would you feel and respond? Some of us would feel quite uncomfortable and may even begin to wonder whether we are in the "wrong crowd" so to speak. Some of us may fear for our lives, and some may even go to the extent of joining those so-called priests, just to save their skin. How many of us would stick to our guns, stay committed and steadfast to our faith, and let God deal with the situation, even if it means that we may face persecution, ridicule, or even death?

In today's reading, the prophet Elijah faced a precarious situation where he was confronted with 450 priests of Baal. Even though Elijah was clearly outnumbered, he also knew that he had God on his side. With confidence and trust, he challenged the priests of Baal to implore their so-called god to send down fire to burn the holocaust. In the end, it was the priests of Baal who lost the battle and had to eat humble pie, as the bull they prepared was left untouched, whereas on Elijah's side, "the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the holocaust and wood and licked up the water in the trench. When all the people saw this they fell on their faces. ‘The Lord is God,’ they cried, ‘the Lord is God.’"

What about us? Would we become so easily disheartened or worried when we seem to face incredible odds? Or would we be like Elijah, knowing and trusting in God's providence? May we not let ourselves falter from our faith, remain steadfast, and know that God would help us according to His terms and for His glory.

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Tuesday of Week 9 Year 2

When we want something, we would go all out to get it, hopefully in a legal, fair, just and proper way. For example, if we want to win a marathon, we would train our bodies by putting lots of practice in running marathons; we would go to the gym often to tone our muscles; we would eat nutritious food so that we would build energy; we would ensure we get enough rest; and we would not give up no matter how long it takes. All these efforts are made to achieve something in this life. But what about our spiritual life? Do we take as much effort or go all out to grow in relationship with God, and prepare ourselves for that which is more permanent?

In today's reading, we are reminded: "You should be living holy and saintly lives while you wait and long for the Day of God to come... So then, my friends, while you are waiting, do your best to live lives without spot or stain so that he will find you at peace. Think of our Lord’s patience as your opportunity to be saved. You have been warned about this, my friends; be careful not to get carried away by the errors of unprincipled people, from the firm ground that you are standing on. Instead, go on growing in the grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ."

What we achieve here on earth is only temporary, and may one day be forgotten or become irrelevant. But God is patiently beckoning us to come closer to Him and to walk in His ways, and attain that which is premanent or eternal. May we open our eyes and come to realise what really matters in the end, and do our best to live lives without spot or stain, so that the Lord would find us at peace and ready to meet Him, when He calls.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Saturday of Week 14 Year 2

I sometimes wonder whether we are living in an era where people are becoming more and more complacent or taking things for granted when it comes to sin. For example, when it comes to Lent and Advent, the number of faithful who come for the Sacrament of Reconciliation seems to depend on when and where confession takes place. At the beginning of Lent or Advent, the number of faithful who come for confession seem so few, so much so that at times, it seems as if the number of priests who have come to listen to confession are more than the faithful present. Yet, towards the end of Lent or Advent, the numbers seem to swell up tremendously, and the priests present find it difficult to cope. Some faithful even take their sweet time to come, sometimes quite late at night, and expect the priests to still be there.

In contrast to the way some faithful are when it comes to sin, today's reading tells us of the prophet Isaiah who had a mystical vision of the holiness of God. The prophet confessed his sinfulness, and subsequently he was cleansed and healed of his sinfulness, because he experienced the overwhelming glory of God. Not only that, the mystical experience also made him readily and willingly respond to God's call to be His messenger.

If we realise, just as the prophet Isaiah did, the magnitude of God's holiness, and how incompatible sin is to God, then surely we should make every effort to go for confession more often, instead of just waiting for Lent or Advent to come by. Have some of us become so lax or have a "tidak apa" attitude or "don't care" attitude when it comes to sin? Or have some of us have the misguided notion that sin should be accumulated into one lump sum before seeking confession? Let us not be caught off guard or unprepared, and make more effort to seek confession when possible, as our eternal future may be at stake.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Saturday of Week 13 Year 2

In the Old Testament, God raised prophets every once in a while to remind people of who they are, and how they should live and behave. When a prophet prophesises, the prophet says: "It is the Lord who speaks", to emphasise that the prophecy is not the prophet's own words or invention, but it is God who speaks through the prophet.

Today's reading not only demonstrates this point, but it also gives the people hope of the future where something wonderful is about to happen, where there will be restoration and blessings to come. However, such hope comes with conditions attached. The people are foretold of the will of God and his future plans for his people, and that they are to cooperate with God’s intentions through prayer, patience, persistence, and obeying with faithfulness. Also, the people are foretold of what needs to be done in the present, where they are to called to repentance and to go back to the ways of the Lord. This means that, in a nutshell, the people need to do their part with cooperation and repentance, for the prophecy to be fulfilled.

In our present times, such prophecies of hope were fulfilled when Jesus came, to bring us out of mourning and sadness, and lead us to rejoicing and gladness. Jesus came to save us from our sins and restore our relationship with God. The question is: are we cooperating with repentance, so that Jesus could transform us and help us?

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Saturday of Week 12 Year 2

The Temple that king Solomon built was a huge and magnificent building. Huge blocks of finest stone were used to build it, and it was decorated with gold and silver ornaments. It was the pride and glory of Israel and a belief that God dwelt in their midst in that Temple. Because the temple appeared to be impressive and seemingly indestructible, the Israelites began to have a false sense of security, and became complacent in their faith, thinking that God would always be on their side, come what may. But the Israelites were soon rudely awakened and shaken to the core, when king Nebuchanezzar of Babylon conquered Jerusalem and his army laid the Temple to waste.

This was the basis on which the book of Lamentation in today's reading tried to put into words the sorrow and grief of the people, when they realised that they had been been putting their trust and dependence in the wrong place. Instead of being faithful to God and walking in His ways, they had walked in their own ways, thinking that the Temple would always assure them of God's presence. As a result, the people realised their folly too late, and ended up in exile and captivity.

We too could also fall into the same trap. We may have become complacent in our faith, especially when we have church structures and magnificent buildings around us, and we begin to put our trust in such structures and buildings, while we continue to commit despicable acts, instead of putting our trust in God and walking in His ways. May we open our eyes and realise that we are only creating our own illusions and false sense of security, and do our best to remain at rights with God, seeking forgiveness through the Sacrament of Confession when possible, lest we too end up in exile and captivity through our own negligence.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Saturday of Week 11 Year 2

When we look at time, we know that time is divided into hours, minutes and seconds. Each second passes by one moment at a time, not too fast, not too slow, just right. Eventually, the seconds reach a point where it completes a circle, making it 60 seconds, which then becomes a minute. Likewise, each minute eventually completes a circle, making it 60 minutes, which then becomes an hour. So, as we can see, time is in no hurry and does not need to worry about completing the circle, since it eventually completes it anyway.

Today's Gospel tells us not to worry. Just as time goes through a circle, each of us go through a circle of life; and whether our circle is big, and we hope to live a long life with few problems; or the circle is small and our life is shorter due to one reason or another; it does not matter, since the circle will one day be completed according to God’s plan and providence.

The problem with some of us is we begin to worry and fret about so many things in life, that we neglect to trust in God and walk in His ways, and we do not fully enjoy the circle of life that God grants us. But the reality is, our circle in life is not in our control, and worrying and fretting will not solve anything. What's more, if we do not enjoy the many things God grants us as we move on throughout our circle of life, we may one day end up with regrets later. So instead of worrying or fretting, let us leave it in the hands of God, be grateful and thankful for the many things God grants us, and remain in His care.