Saturday 31 May 2014

Corpus Christi

Some of us go through great effort or great extend to find good food and drink. We make trips to remote areas, long distances, brave through bad weather, traffic jams, difficult road conditions; all this just to taste and savour food and drink which will not last. Sometimes, the food and drink we crave for may just our luck be not available or sold out when we arrive.

However, how many of us truly value the body and blood of Christ? Today we celebrate Corpus Christi or the Body and Blood of Christ. Christ gave us His body and blood as real food and drink, not only to nourish us physically, but especially to nourish us spiritually. Do we see the value and preciousness of receiving Jesus' Body and Blood? At every Mass, we are reminded to prepare ourselves before receiving communion. Are we properly prepared to receive communion? Have we discovered any serious sins and gone for confession?

Perhaps some of us have become complacent about receiving communion. Some of us may have not been regular in attending Mass and receiving communion. Seems strange that we can be so diligent in looking for temporary food on this earth, but neglect in preparing ourselves and receiving food which is for our eternal benefit. Let us be aware of how precious, how significant, how special the food Jesus has offered us; and let us be properly disposed and prepared to receive it.

Friday 30 May 2014

Housekeeping - Trinity Sunday & Week 11 Year 2

For your easy reference, the following is a list of weeks and years with their corresponding date:

15 June 2014 - Trinity Sunday Year A
16 June 2014 - Monday of Week 11 Year 2
17 June 2014 - Tuesday of Week 11 Year 2
18 June 2014 - Wednesday of Week 11 Year 2
19 June 2014 - Thursday of Week 11 Year 2
20 June 2014 - Friday of Week 11 Year 2

Friday of Week 11 Year 2

What do you treasure most in life? Do you still continue to look for riches here on earth, or have you been seeking riches in heaven? Some of us may have been enamoured or influenced by the glitter, beauty or value of riches here on earth, so much so that we spend a lot of time accumulating them. But the question is: for how long would we be able to hold on to such riches? When we die, all these riches we have accumulated cannot be brought with us. These riches will either become worthless, lose their value over time, or end up possessed by others.

Jesus in today's Gospel reminds us: "Do not store up treasures for yourselves on earth, where moths and woodworms destroy them and thieves can break in and steal. But store up treasures for yourselves in heaven, where neither moth nor woodworms destroy them and thieves cannot break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." The riches we accumulate here on earth are only temporary. We cannot own them or hold on to them forever. The riches we accumulate for heaven is for eternity as we will not lose them. Are we reconsidering our priorities and begun focusing that which is eternal? Or are we still stubbornly interested only in that which is temporal?

Thursday 29 May 2014

Thursday of Week 11 Year 2

Some people think that they need to say a lot of things when praying. They go into all sorts of words, noises, gestures, perhaps thinking that God needs some time and hopefully will eventually hear them. Today's Gospel reminds us: "In your prayers do not babble as the pagans do, for they think that by using many words they will make themselves heard. Do not be like them; your Father knows what you need before you ask him."

Instead, we are taught the Our Father or Lord's Prayer. Though this prayer seems short and concise, it is full of meaning. In the Our Father, we learn to be humble and dependent on God's providence. Are we reciting the Our Father with meaning, humility and conviction? Are we fully aware of what we are praying while reciting the Our Father? Or are we, as the Gospel tells us, merely "babble as the pagans do?" Why the need to rush? Why the need to say so much?

Wednesday of Week 11 Year 2

When we do good things or works of charity, what is our motive or intention? Are we doing such things to show how rich, how great, or how wonderful we are? Or are we doing such things for the greater glory of God? Sometimes we may appear to be doing good, but we should be careful not to expect admiration, gratification or rewards. If we expect something in return, then perhaps we may, as today's Gospel warns us, have had our reward.

Instead, we should make every effort to do good inconspicuously. As today's Gospel reminds us, "and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you." Ultimately, we need to ask ourselves honestly: by doing good, are we glorifying God and letting His Kingdom come; or are we glorifying ourselves and letting our kingdom come?

Tuesday 27 May 2014

Tuesday of Week 11 Year 2

How much do we really love others? Do we love only those who are nice to us or love us or do good things for us? Some of us find it easy to love those who are friendly or kind to us, but some of us may find it quite difficult to love our enemies.

Today's Gospel reminds us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. In the world, this may sound like a crazy or unreasonable request. But if we call ourselves Christians, then we should imitate Jesus, who even prayed for His enemies as He died on the cross. Are we willing and humble enough to follow Jesus' example and also love our enemies? Or have we become no different than the rest of the world? Our enemies may some day become our friends, or even followers of Jesus, if we love them and show compassion and good example. Are we willing to take up the challenge and love all as Jesus did?

Monday of Week 11 Year 2

Wrath or rage is one of the seven capital sins we need to watch out for. We may fall into wrath or rage quite easily, especially when we have a short fuse or a quick temper. Wrath or rage can lead us to do worse things. Sometimes, we may even kill a person or several people. In the aftermath, we may become proud and refuse to feel any remorse, or we may regret our actions utterly. By then, it is often too late.

Today's first reading shows us how Ahab fell into wrath or rage, since Naboth refused to sell him his ancestral land. Naturally, Naboth had every right to sell or not sell, but Ahab was determined to get the land at all cost. Ahab had the gall to allow Jezebel to "settle things" for him, so that he could get the land he wanted. Here, we see a classic example of not only wrath or rage, but also greed and pride thrown into a deadly mixture.

Are we guilty of wrath or rage at times? We may not necessarily kill a person, but the words we utter in our rage could still kill. Let us be mindful of our temper and seek God's help to avoid falling into wrath or rage, lest we only bring ruin to ourselves.

Sunday 25 May 2014

Trinity Sunday

How do we explain something which is not so easily explainable? Can we ever satisfactorily describe or define God? Today's readings give us some important points.

Firstly, the doctrine of the Trinity reminds us that God is a mystery. A mystery is something which we can never fully understand or fathom. We do not have all the answers and we should be humble enough to let God guide us and take charge.

Secondly, the doctrine of the Trinity tells us that God is into relationships. God chooses to come close to us by sending His Son to save us. This helps us realise that God is not distant from us, He is with us and wants us to be with Him.

Finally, God is love. This love is not just in the Trinity, it is also shared with us. God loves us so much that Jesus came to help us and save us.

When we look at the Trinity, we are reminded to be humble and happy in letting God take control. Sometimes there are things which we cannot fully explain and cannot fully understand. But if we trust and believe, God can help us. Are we still insisting in finding the answers, or are we letting God be God?

Saturday 24 May 2014

Housekeeping - Pentecost & Week 10 Year 2

For your easy reference, the following is a list of weeks and years with their corresponding date:

8 June 2014 - Pentecost - Mass of the Day Year A
9 June 2014 - Monday of Week 10 Year 2
10 June 2014 - Tuesday of Week 10 Year 2
11 June 2014 - Wednesday of Week 10 Year 2
12 June 2014 - Thursday of Week 10 Year 2
13 June 2014 - Friday of Week 10 Year 2

Friday of Week 10 Year 2

Some of us look for God in the spectacular. We think that God should make Himself known via a grand entrance. Some of us look for God in beauty, wealth and riches, or in some sort of environment we think would be more fitting and appropriate. However, would we really find God in such situations?

In today's reading, Elijah came to the presence of God when he heard a gentle breeze. It is in the simple situation, the unlikely place, the strangest circumstances, that we may find God. The question is: are we sensitive enough to God's promptings? Or have we, over the years, been so flooded with all sorts of noise, expectations or experiences, that we have failed to recognise and acknowledge His presence? God is calling us in His own way and in His own terms to do His will. Are we able to listen and obey?

Friday 23 May 2014

Thursday of Week 10 Year 2

Some of us try to do the minimum and expect to get maximum returns. For example, we may not be so hardworking in our studies or job, but we expect to do well or gain an increase in salary or a promotion. However, today's Gospel reminds us that we cannot just do the minimum and expect to get into the Kingdom of heaven.

In today's Gospel, "Jesus said to his disciples, 'If your virtue goes no deeper than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven.'" In the Gospel, we are reminded to do more than the minimum, and also to be in good terms with others. If we have problems or difficulties with a brother or sister, we cannot just ignore the problem or sweep it under the carpet. We must make every effort to forgive and reconcile, while we have the chance to do so. After all, the Gospel warns us: "Come to terms with your opponent in good time while you are still on the way to the court with him, or he may hand you over to the judge and the judge to the officer, and you will be thrown into prison. I tell you solemnly, you will not get out till you have paid the last penny."

Are we making much effort to love God and neighbour? Or are we content in doing the barest minimum, and put our eternal future at risk?

St. Barnabas, Apostle

Some of us may have become so used to being in a particular way of life or in a particular place that we may have gradually become complacent. We may resist change or new ideas, since such things appears to be a threat to us. However, sometimes things happen for a reason and we may not be in control of the situation.

In today's reading, we are told that "the Holy Spirit said, 'I want Barnabas and Saul set apart for the work to which I have called them.'" This shows that our plans, our aspirations, our hopes and dreams; all these things can change according to God's plan. The question is: are we open, willing and humble enough to do what God has planned for us? Or are we stubborn and obstinate, refusing to budge or move on? Are we doing things God's way, or do we still insist in doing things our way?

Tuesday 20 May 2014

Tuesday of Week 10 Year 2

Salt and light are important things in our lives. Salt adds flavour to the food we eat. Light enables us to see and also enables us to grow and prosper.

In today's Gospel, we are reminded that "You are the salt of the earth... You are the light of the world." We are called to be good examples to others, no matter how small or insignificant it may be. We may not necessarily be famous, rich, powerful or influential, but the good that we do can sometimes be more significant than we could ever fathom. Jesus reminds us that "your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father." Are we making more effort in doing good for the glory of God?

Monday of Week 10 Year 2

Some of us may be so used to doing things on our own. Sometimes we try to make a name for ourselves and hope that we would gain acceptance and recognition for our efforts. But how many of us are willing and are prepared to be like Elijah in today's reading? In the reading, "Elijah left and did as the LORD had commanded."

If God commands us to do something, would we obey? If what God commands us is something which is not pleasant, seems difficult, or challenging, would we still obey? Some of us may say we would do it, but would we really be true to our word? Elijah surrendered to God and did what he was commanded. Are we able to set aside our preferences and surrender to God's will also?

Wednesday 7 May 2014

Pentecost Year A - Mass of the Day

Have we been filled with the Holy Spirit? Are we willing and daring enough to go and preach the Good News? When the Holy Spirit came and rested on the heads of the disciples, "they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak foreign languages as the Spirit gave them the gift of speech." Today's 1st reading also tells us that "there were devout men living in Jerusalem from every nation under heaven, and at this sound they all assembled, each one bewildered to hear these men speaking his own language about the marvels of God." The Holy Spirit gave these disciples courage to go forth to proclaim the Good News fearlessly.

Today's 2nd reading also reminds us that "there is a variety of gifts but always the same Spirit; there are all sorts of service to be done, but always to the same Lord; working in all sorts of different ways in different people, it is the same God who is working in all of them. The particular way in which the Spirit is given to each person is for a good purpose." This means that all of us are filled with the Holy Spirit. We received the Holy Spirit at baptism, and further strengthened at confirmation. Strenghtened with the Holy Spirit, we should be going forth with gusto and joy to proclaim the Good News. The question is: why are some of us still procrastinating? Why are some of us cowering in fear or not willing to commit ourselves to proclaiming the Good News in whatever way of life we are in? Are we doubtful that God can help us? Are we expecting only others to proclaim the Good News? There is no such thing as a nominal Christian; for each of us have been called, chosen, and strengthened to go forth and proclaim the Good News. Are we shirking from our responsibility?

Monday 5 May 2014

Housekeeping - 7th Week of Easter

For your easy reference, the following is a list of weeks and years with their corresponding date:

1 June 2014 - 7th Sunday of Easter Year A
2 June 2014 - Monday of the 7th Week of Easter
3 June 2014 - Tuesday of the 7th Week of Easter
4 June 2014 - Wednesday of the 7th Week of Easter
5 June 2014 - Thursday of the 7th Week of Easter
6 June 2014 - Friday of the 7th Week of Easter

Friday of the 7th Week of Easter

How much do we love Jesus? We say we love Him, but sometimes our actions do not correspond with what we say. We say we love Jesus, but we do not seem to love our family members. We say we love Jesus, but we do not show much love or patience towards others on the road, in our daily dealings, etc. We say we love Jesus, and yet we are willing to drag others to the police or even to court over trivial matters. How much do we really love Jesus?

In today's Gospel, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” Jesus did not just ask Simon Peter this question once, but 3 times. If Jesus were to ask the same question to us, what would we reply? Sometimes it seems easy to say that we love Jesus, but do we know the full implications of loving Jesus? Are we aware of what we are replying? It is easy to say things, but committing to what we say is not so easy. Jesus told Simon Peter: "Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." Would we be willing to love Jesus, even to the extend of going to places against our will?

Saturday 3 May 2014

Thursday of the 7th Week of Easter

Sometimes when we are being persecuted or put on trial, one should be prepared spiritually and mentally to face our accusers. Sometimes the kind of accusers we are facing can be manipulated to our advantage. This is the tactic which Paul used in today's reading. Because of the squabble which broke out between the Pharisees and Sadducees due to Paul's crafty statement, the accusations brought about by both parties were set aside and they became engrossed with arguments among themselves. As a result, Paul was rescued and brought into the fortress under the protection of the tribune.

Jesus reminds us: "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves" (Matthew 10:16). This means that, at times, we need to be cunning and able to defend ourselves, so that we would be able to continue in our mission in proclaiming the Good News. Are we using our intellect effectively and efficiently for the greater glory of God?

Friday 2 May 2014

Wednesday of the 7th Week of Easter

In every Christian community, we need to be fervent in prayer and be watchful over the many dangers around us. This does not mean we become paranoid or fearful, but we should be prepared for any situation with full of faith. In today's reading, St. Paul addressed these words to the elders of the church of Ephesus: "Be on your guard for yourselves and for all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you the overseers, to feed the Church of God which he bought with his own blood. I know quite well that when I have gone fierce wolves will invade you and will have no mercy on the flock. Even from your own ranks there will be men coming forward with a travesty of the truth on their lips to induce the disciples to follow them. So be on your guard..."

Dangers indeed lurk in many places, even among certain members of our Christian community. Some of our own Christian members may not necessarily be who they appear to be. There is more than meets the eye. Even among Jesus' disciples, Judas Iscariot later betrayed Jesus. This is why Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) reminds us: "Let your acquaintances be many, but for advisers choose one out of a thousand. If you want to make a friend, take him on trial, and do not be in a hurry to trust him" (Sirach 6:6-7)." Be careful who we trust, and let us seek God's help for His guidance.

Tuesday of the 7th Week of Easter

How urgent is the Good News to us? Are we enthusiastic and ever-ready to give our all and risk our lives to go forth and preach the Good News? In today's reading, St. Paul tells us: "life to me is not a thing to waste words on, provided that when I finish my race I have carried out the mission the Lord Jesus gave me – and that was to bear witness to the Good News of God’s grace." Here, we see how St. Paul was more concerned about preaching the Good News, even to the extend of facing persecution and endangering his life.

What about us? Have we become comfortable with our lives on earth, and preaching the Good News seems to be less important? Are we becoming more and more complacent as Christians? Are we losing sight of our mission the Lord Jesus has given us, just He had given Paul, that is to bear witness to the Good News of God's grace? Let us not squander our lives away in only things which are temporary here on earth. Are we willing to change and finish the race, just Paul had done?

Thursday 1 May 2014

Monday of the 7th Week of Easter

In our lives, are we trouble-free? Do we live in total peace and harmony? Quite likely, we are not so fortunate to live in total peace and harmony or trouble-free. We face all sorts of challenges and setbacks. Sometimes, we wonder how long we would be able to persevere and keep going. In the world, we may not experience the kind of peace we long for. However, Jesus in today's Gospel assures us: "I have told you all this so that you may find peace in me." It is when we are willing to let Jesus take control, when we are ready to let Him be our guide, that we wll find true peace.

Despite the many difficulties we may face, Jesus reminds us in today's Gospel: "In the world you will have trouble, but be brave: I have conquered the world." If Jesus has conquered the world, then there is no reason for us to give up or despair. Jesus is our saviour and He will lead us to victory. Are we still having doubts and hesitations about letting Him take charge?