Thursday 24 August 2017

Saturday of Week 25 Year 1

What sort of security do you seek in life? Some of us seek plenty of wealth and property as a form of security. Some seek fame, popularity and recognition as a form of security. Some seek knowledge and power as a form of security. But if we consider the various forms of security that we seek, can these truly last? No! These forms of security are only temporary and one day, we will lose them, especially when we "balik kampung" (that is, when we die). Even while we are still living, there is no guarantee that such forms of security would last, since such forms of security could be lost, stolen, become obsolete, or even become worthless or irrelevant.

In today's reading, the prophet Zechariah, in a vision, said that Jerusalem was to remain unwalled. If we consider for a moment... wouldn't it be dangerous to let a city like Jerusalem be without walls for protection and security? The reading assures us that God would be the wall of fire for her all round her, and He will be her glory in the midst of her. What this means is that, instead of relying on human forms of security, we should rely more on God for our security. Are we willing to let go of or be detached from our various forms of security, and let God be our true security?

Sunday 20 August 2017

Saturday of Week 24 Year 1

Why do we call ourselves Christians? If we call ourselves Christians, then do we do what Jesus expects of us? Or do we pick and choose only what is convenient and comfortable for us? Sometimes, we come across people who claim to be Christians, but they want to do things their own way, as if being a Christian could be customised according to what suits them. But is that what being a Christian is all about? Are we Christians for our convenience?

In today's reading, St. Paul reminds us: "Before God the source of all life and before Christ, who spoke up as a witness for the truth in front of Pontius Pilate, I put to you the duty of doing all that you have been told, with no faults or failures..." St. Paul is reminding us that being a Christian means witnessing for the truth and "doing all that you have been told, with no faults or failures..." It means that we cannot pick and choose, or water down the truth, for our convenience and the convenience of others. May we take initiative and make effort to "do whatever He tells you" as what Mother Mary did, and do our duty for the glory of God.

Saturday 19 August 2017

Saturday of Week 23 Year 1

Sometimes we come across people who think that, since they keep on falling into sin, they should not bother to have their sins forgiven through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Some even think that their sins are so shameful or embarassing, that they are reluctant to confess their sins, thinking that the priest would scold them or even punish them severely for committing such sins. Some even go to the extent of thinking that God would be like a fierce judge, who would punish them severely for committing such sins. But should Christians have such an attitude towards the Sacrament of Reconciliation? Should Christians numb themselves with such fear of punishment, even to the possibility of despair?

In today's reading, St. Paul reminds us: "Here is a saying that you can rely on and nobody should doubt: that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. I myself am the greatest of them; and if mercy has been shown to me, it is because Jesus Christ meant to make me the greatest evidence of his inexhaustible patience for all the other people who would later have to trust in him to come to eternal life." If Jesus can be so patient and merciful towards Paul, then surely Jesus can be just as patient and merciful towards us. If that is the case, we should not worry or fear about confessing our sins, and take every opportunity to do so, since Jesus is tenderly and patiently waiting for us to return and grow in relationship with Him.

Thursday 17 August 2017

Saturday of Week 22 Year 1

It is certainly not easy to live a Christian life, especially when we are bombarded with all sorts of temptations and worldly attractions. If we are not careful, we may end up trapped in such temptations and worldly attractions, and risk ruining our relationship with God. So how does a Christian overcome such temptations, values and ways of the world?

The answer can be found in today's reading, where St. Paul reminds us: "Now you are able to appear before him holy, pure and blameless – as long as you persevere and stand firm on the solid base of the faith, never letting yourselves drift away from the hope promised by the Good News..." The keywords here are to persevere and stand firm. This means that we must do our very best and not give up, even if we fall, since Jesus gives us many oppotunities to pick ourselves up and try again, especially by going for confession to cleanse away our sins. May we remain steadfast in our faith, and continue to trust and depend on Jesus, and let Him be our help and guide.

Thursday 10 August 2017

Saturday of Week 21 Year 1

When God gives us certain gifts, talents and capabilities, such gifts, talents and capabilities are meant to be put to good use, especially to glorify God. But what happens to some is that they begin to think that such gifts, talents and capabilities are for themselves to use for their own benefit and glory. Some even become lazy and let their gifts, talents or capabilities go to waste, even to the point of one day losing such gifts, talents or capabilities, as a result of neglect or lack of practice. Are some of us guilty of reserving such gifts, talents or capabilities only for ourselves?

In today's gospel, the servant who buried his one talent in the ground was called "wicked and lazy" by his master. Some may think that the master seemed rather harsh with his words and in his treatment of that servant, but we must remember that the master had given the servant the one talent not for him to do as he pleases, but to benefit the master. Instead, the servant chose not to be bothered about what his master expected, and as a result, he suffered the consequences.

What about us? Are we putting our gifts, talents or capabilities to good use for the glory of God? Or have we become complacent or not bothered? Let us not end up like that "wicked and lazy" servant, losing our relationship with God due to our attitude and neglect, and end up being "thrown into the dark, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth."

Wednesday 9 August 2017

Saturday of Week 20 Year 1

How generous are you when it comes to church and church activities? Would you be willing to give much time, talent and even money to enable the church to grow and carry out its mission? I find it amusing and interesting when I see what some people do when it comes to generosity. Some people would make all sorts of excuses, saying that they have not much time or money for church, and yet they can afford to buy big fancy cars, own property in affluent neighbourhoods, go for holidays overseas and even own several classy or high-end gadgets. Likewise, I have come across people who are not so well off, and yet they are willing to offer much time, talent and whatever amounts they can for church. Are we being generous for the glory of God, or are we being generous for ourselves?

In today's reading, we hear how Boaz affirmed Ruth on her kindness and generosity towards her mother-in-law, especially in leaving her own people and her own land and following her mother-in-law to a foreign land. Because of her generosity, Ruth was further rewarded when Boaz took her as his wife and she also became part of the genealogy of Jesus.

What about us, are we willing to be just as generous like Ruth, knowing that God has been so generous to us in many ways? May we come to realise that everything we have in life is because of God’s generosity. We wouldn’t have anything, we wouldn’t even be alive, if it weren’t for God’s generosity, and God wants us to be generous like He is. Are we willing to change our attitudes and ways, and give glory to God with our generosity?

Tuesday 8 August 2017

Saturday of Week 19 Year 1

How easy it is for some of us to fall into the sin of serving other gods, especially when we begin to treat wealth, property and other things as more important than God. For example, we say we love and serve God, and yet some of us seem to find it difficult to take time off from our work to come to church on Sunday, because business seems to be brisk and profitable on Sundays. Also, some of us say we love and serve God, but we seem to spend more time in pursuing our personal interests, instead of church or charitable activities to give glory to God. When we do such things or have such an attitude or behaviour, then are we really loving and serving God, or have we strayed away from God or even rejected God outright?

In today's reading, "The people answered Joshua, ‘No; it is the Lord we wish to serve.’ Then Joshua said to the people, ‘You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the Lord, to serve him.’ They answered, ‘We are witnesses.’ ‘Then cast away the alien gods among you and give your hearts to the Lord the God of Israel!’ The people answered Joshua, ‘It is the Lord our God we choose to serve; it is his voice that we will obey.’" Notice that in the reading, Joshua challenged the people to "choose today whom you wish to serve." And the people made a firm choice in choosing to serve God, and not some other foreign god.

What about us? Are we willing to make a firm choice and choose to love and serve God, just like the Israelites did? Or have our hearts become divided, or even rejected God, in pursuit of other gods such as our wealth, our property, our fame and popularity, and other things? May we choose wisely, and not end up regretting later for making a wrong choice.