Thursday, 16 February 2023

Friday of Week 6 Year 1

In today's Gospel, Jesus tells us: "If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me. For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. What gain, then, is it for a man to win the whole world and ruin his life? And indeed what can a man offer in exchange for his life? For if anyone in this adulterous and sinful generation is ashamed of me and of my words, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."

From the Gospel, we can see a few key qualities of being a follower of Jesus:

  1. If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me. Here, a follower of Jesus chooses to renounce himself, takes up his cross, and follows Jesus. It is not enough to just renounce oneself, but one also needs to take up his cross and follow Jesus.
  2. But anyone who loses his life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. Here, a follower of Jesus not only chooses to lose his life for Jesus' sake, He or she also chooses to do so for the sake of the gospel. Both Jesus and the gospel must be involved.
  3. For if anyone in this adulterous and sinful generation is ashamed of me and of my words, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. Here, one must be willing to stand up for Jesus and His words. If one is ashamed of Jesus' words, especially those words which may seem difficult to understand or accept, then how can one stand up for Jesus?
So as we can see, being a follower of Jesus is not so simple. Anyone can claim to be a follower of Jesus, but claiming to be a follower of Jesus means nothing if there is no action or personal sacrifice. May we strive towards being true and genuine in following Jesus completely, and give glory to God in all we say and do.

Saturday, 28 January 2023

Saturday of Week 6 Year 1

In today's Gospel, Peter, James and John experienced the presence of God when they saw Jesus transfigured. They had never experienced their master in this way before. In the Gospel: "Then Peter spoke to Jesus: ‘Rabbi,’ he said ‘it is wonderful for us to be here; so let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’ But things did not quite work out that way. They were only being prepared for what is to come. With Jesus they descended the mountain to the valley below and on to the garden of Gethsemane and Calvary. On the mountain, they didn’t want to leave. In the Garden of Gethsemane, they didn’t want to stay. When Jesus was arrested they all fled in fear.

We can all identify with the apostles because in our mountain-top experiences of joy and consolation we also want to stay. We want the experience to go on forever. And then in the moments of trial we want to flee. We forget that our Lord did not promise us a rose garden, but a garden of olives and a crown of thorns. We also forget that we need to face reality and go forth to proclaim the Good News, not just remain up in the mountain. The question we need to ask ourselves is: Are we still clinging on to the mountain top? Or are we willing to pick up our cross and leave to face the trials of the day.

Monday, 16 January 2023

Saturday of Week 3 Year 1

Faith is something of a mystery, since there are times what is happening is not natural or logical to us. For example, we sometimes come across certain persons who seem to be in a hopeless situation, such as an illness or taken a bad turn in life and seem heading towards doom. But such persons do not give up or give in to their predicament, and place their faith in God to be healed and change for the better. Then when all seems lost, such persons actually recover, or change and turn into a new leaf.

In today's reading, we are reminded: "Only faith can guarantee the blessings that we hope for, or prove the existence of the realities that at present remain unseen. It was for faith that our ancestors were commended." What seems lost or doomed can actually be found or rescued, when we have faith in God and let Him take control. May we not despair or doubt, knowing that God will deal with the situation according to His purposes and for His glory.

Saturday of Week 2 Year 1

It is easy and convenient for some of us to become very calculative with our time and wealth. We begin to have a "what's in it for me" attitude, and whatever we do must be beneficial to us in one way or another. We begin to take on tasks or responsibilities which may be advantageous to us or to make us look good, and we expect to be recognised, rewarded and appreciated for our efforts. But is such attitude compatible to being a follower of Jesus? Are we really following the ways of Jesus, or are we becoming engulfed in the ways of the world?

In today's Gospel, Jesus was home. A crowd had gathered and Jesus could have been calculative in giving his time towards the crowd, since some would have thought that Jesus ought to have some privacy and rest. However, to Jesus, being generous knows no bounds or limits, especially when it comes to doing the will of God. Instead of being calculative, Jesus was generous even to the point where it hurts.

What about us? Are we able to follow Jesus's example or have we become more and more worldly in our attitude and behaviour? Have we become so calculative to a point that everything has a price and a purpose for our own benefit and gratification? May we come to realise that whatever we say and do ought to be to give glory to God, and not to boost our pride and ego or gain prestige.

Thursday, 5 January 2023

7 January

“There is no more wine,” Mary says to her Son. It is neither a demand nor even a request. It is just a description of the situation at hand, which could turn out to be quite an embarrassing situation for the newly weds, and especially for the master of feast who ought to have been on top of things. She does not put Jesus in a spot. Nor does she pester Him to perform a miracle. She gives Jesus space to think and decide. She is very prudent, wise and considerate. Not only that, she knows her Son deep in her heart. Acting on her mother’s instinct at the first sign of Jesus’ willingness to deal with the situation, she immediately instructs the servants. “Do whatever he tells you,” and she does not interfere further.

Mary’s intercession clearly illustrates her role as our mediator to the Lord. She brings people to her Son and she lets Him take it from there. It also highlights her profound faith in Him - knowing fully well that whatever He tells us is wise, good, and just. When we pray and ask for Mary's intercession, let us pray with confidence and be ever ready to “Do whatever he tells you,” so that whatever we pray for will be to do His will and glorify His name.

7 January

It is very easy for us to get caught up with praying for all kinds of needs and wants, and we make much effort to pray persistently, asking God to grant our prayers. However, when our prayers are not answered, do we reflect on why our prayers are not answered? Or do we begin to think that God is not interested in our prayers, or even think that God is being very selective with answering prayers? Would some of us even give up trying to pray altogether, and turn to other so called deities for help?

In today's reading, we are reminded: "We are quite confident that if we ask the Son of God for anything, and it is in accordance with his will, he will hear us." Notice that the reading does not say that our prayers will be answered come what may, but if "it is in accordance with his will." This clearly shows that we need to pray in such a way that our prayer would jive with God's will, not our will. After all, when we pray the Our Father, we say: "Your Kingdom come, Your Will be done" and not "my Kingdom or my will." May we learn to pray earnestly to do God's will, and give Him the glory.

Friday, 9 September 2022

Thursday of Week 26 Year 2

We sometimes come across persons who seem to be good to us or treat us well, and some of such persons become our friends. We treat them as friends but do such persons really treat us as friends without any terms or conditions, or do they treat us as friends only when it benefits them or is convenient to them? Such friends are known as fair-weathered friends, who only become friends when times are good, and when times are not so good, they may abandon us, or even persecute or betray us.

In today's reading, we come across examples of fair-weathered friends. 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? Would we allow such friends to influence us and cause us to ruin our relationship with God, or like Job would we persevere and trust in His providence? May we continue to do God's will with zeal and trust, and glorify Him with our efforts and with our lives.