Friday 30 October 2015

Wednesday Week 3 Year 2

It is interesting to observe what the faithful do when it comes to the Offertory at Mass. Some people would put a ringgit or two into the offertory bag or on the offertory plate; other people would give a little more; but if we work out the math, how much are we really giving to the church for various needs? Is what we are giving a fair or decent amount; or are we giving what we are really able to offer, due to our personal or family situation; or are we giving only the minimum? Seeing that money is necessary for various maintenance needs, spiritual growth of the faithful through various programmes and activities, as well as for various works of mercy, how generous are we in our giving? Are we willing to offer more than what we have been offering all these while, either out of habit or out of convenience? What about our time? Are we also willing to offer more of our time for various church activities and works of mercy? Or have we become content with merely doing or offering only the barest minimum, and expect others to do more instead?

In today's reading, we see how king David wanted to build a house for God. Perhaps he felt it was not proper or fitting to let the presence of God remain in a tent; or maybe he may have felt a little guilty or uncomfortable. But as we see in the reading, God was even more generous than king David. God assured king David that his house and sovereignty will always stand secure before Him and his throne be established for ever. The question is: if God is so generous to David, surely He has been or can also be so generous to us in many different ways. Why are some of us so calculative or stingy with our wealth and time? Do we still not have confidence and trust in God's providence, even after seeing how loving and generous He has been to David and also to us?

Monday 19 October 2015

Friday Week 2 Year 2

Have we learnt to be merciful and loving? Or are we always demanding an eye for an eye? When the opportunity arises, would we be merciful, or would we still insist and carry out justice? Some of us may say that we would be merciful, following the example of our Lord Jesus. But if someone has hurt us so bad, or caused grievous harm to us or our loved ones, would we still be able to be merciful? Or would we succumb to demanding for justice and even meting it?

In today's reading, David and his men had been given an excellent opportunity to get rid of Saul. David's men wanted justice against Saul and they thought they had an excellent opportunity to claim justice and get rid of Saul. But David chose to be merciful to Saul, even though Saul was all out to destroy him. David even forbade his men from harming Saul in any way. If we were in David's shoes, would we be able to do the same?

Sunday 18 October 2015

Thursday Week 2 Year 2

Some people like to wear green clothing, due to a number of reasons. Some even make a fashion statement of the colour green, by not only wearing green apparel, but also including other matching accessories like bags, shoes, watches and other items. But seeing green (another word for "jealousy") isn't quite the "fashion" statement we would want to make. Some of us see green due to a number of reasons, including insecurity, fear, concern and anxiety over an anticipated loss or status of something of great personal value. When we see green, we may end up committing greater sins or heinous acts.

In today's reading, we come across king Saul who was seeing quite a lot of green, since David was being praised more than he. Just because of a few additional words of praise, jealousy had taken over king Saul and made him plan to kill David. Are mere words of praise sufficient grounds for a person to become excessively jealous? If one is insecure and egoistic, even mere words could be seen as a threat. But if one realises one's worth, then it would not really matter after all. May we be on our guard and not allow the poison of jealousy to rear its ugly head, and let the Lord guide us to walk humbly in His ways.

Thursday 15 October 2015

Wednesday Week 2 Year 2

Some of us sometimes end up needing to learn things the hard way. This is especially because we feel that we are right, our pride and ego have gotten over us, and we think that we can grow and prosper on our own, even to the extent of thinking that we are self-made or more than capable of handling things without the need for God. When things don't go our way, or when we face problems and danger, then what happens? Some of us end up swallowing our pride and go back to God for help, while some would still stubbornly try to do things their way and end up in a worse situation.

In today's reading, we see how the Israelites ended up learning things the hard way, since Saul had failed the Israelites as a king. The Israelites thought that they did not need God's help and depended on Saul to bring them fame, glory and riches. But what did Saul ended up doing? Saul was leading the Israelites to imminent defeat to the Philistines, since he initially coud not find anyone who was willing to duel with Goliath, the champion of the Philistines. But God did not abandon the Israelites to their doom. God inspired and helped David to come forth and fight Goliath. When Goliath cursed David by his gods, David answered the Philistine, "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel that you have dared to insult. Today the Lord will deliver you into my hand and I shall kill you; I will cut off your head, and this very day I will give your dead body and the bodies of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, so that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that it is not by sword or by spear that the Lord gives the victory, for the Lord is lord of the battle and he will deliver you into our power."

Notice that David had said that God would give the victory. This shows that ultimately, it is God who is King. A human king like Saul failed the Israelites and brought them to the brink of destruction, but God as the eternal king brings peace, prosperity and victory. May we be wise enough to know which king to choose and depend on.

Sunday 11 October 2015

Tuesday of Week 2 Year 2

How many of us are true to ourselves, without pretense, and doing and saying things genuinely and with sincerity? Some of us may have become adept in playing games, to please our boss, leader or superior, thinking that by sounding good or curry-favoring the boss, leader or superior by saying and doing things just to please him or her, we think we would be able to remain in his or her good books. But the question is: how long can we maintain such a charade? Would we be really happy, content and at peace?

In today's reading, we are reminded that "God does not see as man sees; man looks at appearances but the Lord looks at the heart." We may be able to fool our boss, leader or superior, but we cannot fool God. We may appear to be good, holy or reliable in our tasks, but our hearts may be motivated by our pride, ego and self-preservation. We may seem to be the best candidate for a certain responsibility, but a discerning boss, leader or superior may see through our antics or false pretenses and choose another more suitable person. Let us make every effort to stop our false ways and nonsense, and humbly and genuinely walk in His ways.

Wednesday 7 October 2015

Monday of Week 2 Year 2

Nowadays, people buy wine or alcoholic drinks in bottles or cans. However, at the time of Jesus, such means of storing wine or other liquids were either totally not available or too expensive or impractical to produce (after all, they did not have manufacturing facilities the way we do). Wine and other liquids would often be stored in clay jars or in containers made of animal skin. Animal skins were particularly convenient for transportation, as they could be carried easily, were lightweight, and would occupy less and less space as the liquid was consumed.  However, wineskins required proper care and would eventually need to be discarded, since after a period of use, the leather would become worn and could easily rupture, especially if filled with unfermented or "new" wine.

Jesus uses the image of wineskins to teach us that the "wineskins" of the Old Covenant had become incapable of receiving the Good News of salvation, since spiritual blindness had festered especially among the scribes and the Pharisees. This is because the Old Covenant had been hijacked and reduced to merely following laws, customs and traditions which were manipulated and multiplied at the whims and fancies of the scribes and Pharisees. This meant that a total transformation was necessary and this transformation was brought about by Jesus, who taught us new ways (the new wineskins) of connecting with God.

If we consider for a moment, we too could be in danger of being trapped in old wineskins, especially if we allow our souls to become like old, thin wineskins, weakened by sin and spiritual neglect. It is up to us to be vigilant and careful, so that we would be able to hear, receive, and act upon the Word of God. May we take full advantage of God's constant promptings and help in offering us his grace through the sacraments to repair what is broken, strengthen what is weak, and fortify what is healthy.