Sunday, 6 June 2021

Saturday of Week 12 Year 1

Imagine you are a childless couple and are already getting on in years, and you had guests at your house. While having a meal, one of the guest suddenly says: "I shall visit you again next year without fail, and your wife will then have a son." How would you respond? Quite likely some would say, "don't be silly, my wife and I are too old"; some might say, "oh come on, don't talk rubbish, factory closed long time ago (the 'factory' here refers the fertility period of a woman, before she hits menopause)."

This is exactly how Sarah in today's reading responded when she heard such words. In the reading, "Sarah laughed to herself, thinking, ‘Now that I am past the age of child-bearing, and my husband is an old man, is pleasure to come my way again!’" Yet, the guest in the reading did not take it as a joke or a laughing matter and re-emphasised, "Is anything too wonderful for the Lord? At the same time next year I shall visit you again and Sarah will have a son."

Now, this does not mean that elderly childless couples should get worried or concerned about conceiving at an old age and bearing a child. If it really happens, then we should praise God for such a miracle. But what it means is, if God can enable Sarah to conceive at an old age, just imagine what He can do for us if we are to consistently pray and ask Him. May we not laugh or scoff at such things, since God can make a way, even though there seems to be no way. May we put our trust in Him, and let Him do what is best for us, for His purpose and glory.

Saturday of Week 11 Year 1

Today's Gospel tells us not to worry, since worry would not solve anything. Instead, worry could cause us to do things in a rash manner or in a way which could make things worse. The problem with some of us is we worry and fret about so many things in life, that we neglect to trust in God and walk in His ways. We fail to realise or even admit that many things in life are beyond our control and worrying and fretting will not solve anything.

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. Let us not one day end up with regrets later for not taking things as they come and letting God take care of things. After all, if God can provide the many things around us with what they need, surely He would provide us with what we need at the right time and at the right place, according to His plan.

Immaculate Heart of Mary

How many of us actually try to take the time to ponder about the many things that have happened in our lives? Do we ponder about things good and bad, or have we been living life day in day out without much of a thought? Sometimes a certain significant event or situation has happened. Do we stop to ponder or think about such a situation or event?

Our mother Mary, whose feast of the Immaculate Heart we celebrate today, did not just remember things; she pondered over the events and experiences in her life. Mary would have pondered over the joy of the first Christmas, and also the sorrow and grief at Calvary. In today's Gospel, it was the worry and anxiety of looking for Jesus and after finding him at the temple, the surprise at the answer He gave, that Mary also pondered in her heart. Mary remembered and pondered in her heart all these events and experiences and much more.

Today, just like mother Mary did, we are invited to ponder about the many times we have experienced God in our lives. When we remember and ponder in our hearts, we become more aware of God's presence in our lives, and we begin to deepen our hope and confidence in God. The many things that have happened in our lives no longer become normal or insignificant, since through such things, we learn to encounter God in many different ways.

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Saturday of Week 9 Year 1

Why do we get involved in various church activities and ministries? Do we do so because we want to serve God and His people? Or do we do so because we want to gain some recognition or fame? Do we serve because we want to glorify God in all that we say or do? Or are we trying to gain glory to boost our pride and ego? Are we serving because we want to be respected and noticed? Or are we humble enough to serve quietly, sometimes unknown and unappreciated, but nonetheless continuing to serve with dedication and commitment?

In today's Gospel, "Jesus said, ‘Beware of the scribes who like to walk about in long robes, to be greeted obsequiously in the market squares, to take the front seats in the synagogues and the places of honour at banquets; these are the men who swallow the property of widows, while making a show of lengthy prayers. The more severe will be the sentence they receive.’"

Have some of us become like the scribes, who appear to be serving but expecting to be noticed and recognised? Or are we able to resist the need to be recognised and admired, check our motives and intentions, and serve not for ourselves but for the glory of God?

Saturday, 22 May 2021

Saturday of Week 8 Year 1

When we successfully complete a task or a job well done, some of us would try to grab credit or glory. Some may try to claim that the task or job was done through one's own effort, and in some cases, put others down to lift oneself up. While it may be good to give credit where credit is due, how many of us would be willing and humble enough to give God the glory for the task or job done?

 In today's reading, we see how credit and glory is given to God for the gift of wisdom. The reading tells us: "Thanks to her I have advanced; the glory be to him who has given me wisdom! For I am determined to put her into practice, I have earnestly pursued what is good, I will not be put to shame." Not only credit and glory is given to God, the wisdom received would be put into practice. Wisdom is not meant for one's gratification or to show how capable or great one is, but ultimately to give glory to God. Are we using wisdom properly for the good of others and for the greater glory of God?

Friday, 21 May 2021

Friday of Week 8 Year 1

In today's Gospel, we come across Jesus cursing a fig tree which had no figs on it. Some of us may initially wonder whether Jesus was acting irrationally or weird, since the Gospel tells us that Jesus felt hungry and seemed annoyed that He could not find any figs, only leaves, since it was not the season for figs. However, if we look carefully at the text, we would discover that Jesus was actually using symbolic language to mean Israel, especially the scribes and Pharisees, who had so stubbornly held to their ways of doing things and their self-righteous behaviour and attitude, instead of repenting and returning to God's ways.

If we look at ourselves, have some of us become like the scribes and Pharisees? Have we so stubbornly held to our ways of doing things and our self-righteous behaviour and attitude, instead of repenting and returning to God's ways. Have we been like the fig tree, which produces fruit only according to season, and at other times we can behave and do as we please? Let us be mindful, lest we end up like the fig tree, withered to the roots; because of our pride, prejudice, selfishness, lack of forgiveness, and stubbornness; as well as our refusal to truly, consistently and wholeheartedly do all things for the glory of God.

Thursday of Week 8 Year 1

It is easy for some of us to feel as if we are useless, or not good enough, or not capable enough, or some other reason. When we feel this way, we begin to think as if God had made a mistake in creating us, and some of us even think that we should not have been born. Some even go to the extent of having suicidal thoughts, and tragically some even go to the extent of making such thoughts a reality.

But today's reading reminds us that we are part of the works of the Lord, and that "the work of the Lord is full of his glory." Not only that, the reading reminds us: "How desirable are all his works, how dazzling to the eye! All things go in pairs, by opposites, and he has made nothing defective." This shows that God does not make a mistake and each of us are special and have got a purpose, which is ultimately to glorify Him. Perhaps we may not have fully realised our purpose, so let us not dwell in pity or even despair. Instead, let us focus on God and let Him guide us, so that in all we do we give Him the glory.