Monday 28 September 2015

Friday of Week 1 Year 2

We sometimes ask for things from God without realising the consequences of our request. For example, some of us may have asked God to help us win a lottery so that we would have enough wealth to survive on; or some of us may have asked God to help us get a job we have been desiring. But the problem is, when we do get our requests, what happens? When we strike the lottery, we may be wealthy, but we may also begin to feel insecure and afraid, and end up finding ways and means to protect ourselves and secure our wealth from thieves and robbers (both imaginary and real). When we get the job we have been desiring, we may be happy for a time, but the job may turn out to be quite demanding beyond our expectations, and cause us to experience stress or even health problems, family problems and other issues which may crop up. So at the end of the day, is what we are asking God to grant us really good or helpful for us in the long run? Are we asking such requests for our own gratification, or for the glory of God?

The Israelites in today's reading had asked Samuel for a king. To Samuel, the only king they needed was God, but the Israelites were not happy, not satisfied, not content. They wanted a human king, thinking that such a human king would bring them fame, prestige, wealth and power. But we see that throughout the history of Israel, a human king ended up bringing shame, destruction, abuses and even exile to the Israelites.

What about us? Are we still stubbornly and obstinately insisting that God give us what we want? Sometimes what we ask for may not be what we really want or need after all. May we be open, humble and docile enough to let God do what is best for us, since He knows our true wants and needs.

Wednesday 9 September 2015

Thursday of Week 1 Year 2

It is interesting to observe how some people behave when they want or need something. Some of such people may all of a sudden appear to be extra nice towards others or extra prayerful, hoping that God would take notice and be nice to them in return and grant their wants or needs. Some may begin to become demanding towards God, expecting Him to listen to their prayers or requests. But what happens when God does not give them their wants or needs? Some of such people may begin to look for other gods or other means, thinking that they would by hook or by crook get what they want. But does God have to listen to our requests and obey our will? Are we trying to control God and build our own kingdom?

In today's reading, Israel tried to force God to help them win their battles against the Philistines. They brought the ark of God to their camp, thinking that God will have no choice but to protect them and help them, since in their mind, they thought that God was in the ark and He would not allow the ark to be captured and desecrated by foreign hands. But what Israel failed to realise is that God's thoughts are not our thoughts and God's ways are not our ways. God would act according to His Will, His terms and His purposes. In the end, the ark was captured: a major catastrophe for Israel, but not an issue for God.

What about us? Have we tried to get God to do our bidding? Have we forgotten that God is God and we should be doing things to build His Kingdom and for His glory, not ours? May we learn to be humble and docile, letting God be our help and guide, and surrendering to His Will. 

Tuesday 8 September 2015

Wednesday of Week 1 Year 2

A vocation is a calling from God and we are invited to respond to the call. Some may choose to respond to the call wholeheartedly; some may respond with hesitation or with some fear; whereas some may choose to ignore or reject the call. The question is: how do we know that God is calling us? Sometimes we may be called by God, but we may not recognise His voice. This is where it may be helpful for us to seek help from another person such as a priest, a religious, a vocation director, or someone who could help us to discern whether we are being called by God, or we are just imagining things. Such a person would journey with us for a while, so that we would be able to hopefully recognise God's calling and make our choice.

In today's reading, we read about Samuel being called by God, but Samuel was unable to recognise God's voice, since he "had as yet no knowledge of the Lord and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him." Fortunately for Samuel, Eli was there and he "understood that it was the Lord who was calling the boy." With Eli's help, Samuel was able to respond to God's call, and later "all Israel from Dan to Beersheba came to know that Samuel was accredited as a prophet of the Lord."

What about us? Have we received God's call to a way of life? Are we able to recognise God's voice? Some of us may be fortunate to be able to recognise God's voice on our own. Some of us may need a little help from another person, especially from one who has been called and has recognised God's voice. Whatever the case may be, may we discern and think carefully, and may we be generous in our response for the glory of God.

Sunday 6 September 2015

Tuesday of Week 1 Year 2

Is there anyone among us who could say that we have never had any problems in life? I believe each and every one of us would have experienced problems in one way or another. It does not matter how small or how big the problem is, a problem is still a problem. So what do we do when we are facing a problem? How do we deal with the problem?

In today's reading, Hannah had a problem. She was barren, there was bitterness in her soul and she went to the temple of the Lord to express her distress to the Lord. In today's gospel, we also come across a problem - a man possessed by an unclean spirit challenged Jesus. But because Hannah and the man possessed by an unclean spirit had come to the presence of God with their problem, their problem found a solution: Hannah was delivered from her barrenness, and the man was delivered from the unclean spirit.

So if we are facing a problem, let us come to the presence of God with our problem. Let us offer our problem to God, trusting and knowing that He would give us a solution according to His time and for His glory.

Monday of Week 1 Year 2

As children, some of us may have experienced taunting from our classmates or friends. It is interesting to see how we, as children, responded when we experienced such taunting. Some of us may have just laughed it off and continued to play with our classmates or friends; some of us may have felt hurt for a little while and even said: "I don't want to friend you!", and then later snapped out of it and still continued to play with our classmates or friends; yet there are some of us who are quite sensitive and easily hurt, and we may alienate ourselves from our classmates or friends. The way we respond could sometimes be brought forward to adulthood, depending on our upbringing, how much self-esteem we have, and how much trust we have in ourselves and in God.

In today's reading, we see how Hannah was quite hurt when Peninnah had taunted her year after year, every time they went up to the temple of the Lord, because Peninnah had children and Hannah was barren. Even though Elkanah her husband loved her more, Hannah was unable to come out from wallowing in hurt, self-pity and resentment. Hannah could have also wondered whether God would rescue her from her barrenness. But as we would later discover, God did not abandon Hannah and Hannah would later be freed from her barren state.

If we were facing the same situation as Hannah, how would we respond? Would we be able to come out of our anxiety, our fears, our hurt, self-pity and resentment? Would we be willing to trust in God and let Him rescue us or do what is best for us? God's ways are not our ways, and sometimes God may be preparing something better for us. It is a question of how patient we are and how willing we are to let God be our help and guide.