Wednesday 22 November 2017

Saturday of Week 2 Year 2

Are we generous or big-hearted only towards certain persons or certain groups? Or are we big-hearted or generous towards all? Sometimes, we may have been big-hearted or generous only towards persons or groups we like, or we can get along with, or when it is convenient to us. But what about those persons or groups we are not familiar with, or we are not close with? Are we willing to be generous or big-hearted towards them as well?

In today's Gospel, Jesus' relatives thought that Jesus was out of His mind, since he was home and even then, a crowd had gathered and Jesus was still willing to be big-hearted and generous towards the crowd, even though, in their mind, Jesus ought to have some privacy and rest. However, Jesus' relatives missed the point about Jesus, since to Jesus, being generous or big-hearted knows no bounds or limits, especially when it comes to doing the will of God.

What about us? would we be willing to be big-hearted or generous, even to the point of forgoing our personal needs or comfort? May we be humble and follow Jesus' example, who showed us the true meaning of being big-hearted and generous, and in all we say and do, give glory to God.

Saturday of Week 1 Year 2

How many of us are willing to give another person a second chance? Some of us may do so out of compassion, but there are also some of us who rather let the person be condemned or ostracised, especially if the person had done something to hurt us. What if we are the ones who have done something wrong and are asking for a second chance? Would we then "pay it forward," so to speak, by being compassionate and merciful towards others and give them a second chance as well, just as we have been given a second chance?

In today's Gospel, we come across Matthew, a tax collector who had been called by Jesus to follow Him. As a tax collector, Matthew was hated by his countrymen because he was selling his services to the Romans to collect taxes and, in the process, made a handsome profit. In the eyes of the Jews, Matthew had already messed up his life, and was considered beyond hope or redemption. However, Jesus was well aware of this and yet He was willing to give Matthew a second chance by inviting him to follow Him.

Likewise, Jesus gives us plenty of chances to start again. He sees us for what we are in terms of our past foolishness, but he also sees what we can become in terms of our future possibilities. Would we be willing to set aside our prejudice, pride, self-righteousness and ego, and give others a chance, just as God has given us many chances to turn back to Him?

Tuesday of Week 3 Year 2

We often make a lot of effort and time in building our relationship with our parents, siblings and loved ones. Sometimes we even bend backwards, trying to accommodate their requests or demands, in an effort to maintain family bonds. All these efforts are fine and good, but the reality is our parents, siblings and loved ones are not going to be with us forever. Some may move to another place and may be less reachable, some may pass away due to old age or sickness. What would become of us then, when our parents, siblings and loved ones are no longer with us?

In today's Gospel, Jesus is reminding us that our efforts should not only be in building relationships with parents, siblings and loved ones. Rather, our efforts should especially be in building a relationship with God, by doing the will of God. Our physical relationships will not last, but a spiritual relationship with God would last. Are we willing to double our efforts, and grow spiritually and closer to God?

Monday of Week 3 Year 2

I once visited a parishioner whose husband ran an Aikido school. Her husband joined us for tea, and while having a chat on various topics, her husband shared with me about his Aikido school. It seems that Aikido is a martial art, like karate. However, Aikido is a unique way of self-defense because, unlike Karate which uses force which can be lethal, Aikido uses the assailant’s aggression against himself. As her husband enthusiastically shared his experiences in practicing and teaching Aikido, I recall how Aikido could be related to today's Gospel. How so?

In today's Gospel, we see how Jesus used the principles of Aikido to defend himself against the scribes. The scribes accused Jesus by claiming that "‘Beelzebul is in him’ and, ‘It is through the prince of devils that he casts devils out.’"But Jesus used such statements to point out the scribes flawed logic by countering, “How can Satan drive out Satan?” In the end, the scribes were made to look foolish, since their accusation or "aggression" was used against themselves.

What about us? Have we been caught in such an embarrassing situation where we had accused others of something, only to end up having such accusations thrown back to our face? May we learn to be humble and check our motivations and intentions, so that we do not end up making false or illogical accusations or comments, and end up looking silly or foolish.