Sunday 31 January 2021

Saturday of Week 5 Year 1

Life can be seen from an optimistic or pessimistic point of view. I recall a story of twin boys who were given their birthday gifts, and both were given the same thing: a huge pile of dung. One boy sobbed bitterly saying, "Oh what a mess. What a useless pile of dung. What can I do with this pile of dung? I don't want this useless pile of dung." The other boy was very excited and exclaimed, "Yahoo! If there's this pile of dung, there must be a horse somewhere nearby!" If we received such a gift, how would we respond?

In today's Gospel, we are told: "His disciples replied, ‘Where could anyone get bread to feed these people in a deserted place like this?’ He asked them, ‘How many loaves have you?’ ‘Seven’" The disciples seemed pessimistic about feeding the crowd, but Jesus was optimistic and even gave instruction for the crowd to sit down on the ground. In the end, Jesus fed the crowd and even seven basketfuls of the scraps left over were collected after that.

What can we learn from this? We can learn that Jesus was not looking at limitations; rather He was more interested in possibilities. When we look at life from an optimistic point of view, we begin to see the many possibilities that could happen, if we are willing to consider such possibilities no matter how small they may seem and take time to make it happen with God's help. May we seize such opportunities with enthusiasm, and glorify God in all we say and do.

Thursday 28 January 2021

Saturday of Week 4 Year 1

It is good to have zeal and make effort to preach the Good News. After all, we Christians are commissioned and sent forth to do so by our Lord Jesus. However, as with many things in life, there needs to be a time and place for everything. If we spend too much time in one thing, we may end up neglecting another thing, to our detriment. For example, in our efforts to preach the Good News, we may neglect taking care of our health, and as a result, we may face serious health consequences. Such health consequences could cause us to be unable to continue preaching the Good News, whereas if we had been balanced in taking care of our health while preaching the Good News, we would be able to preach the Good News for a longer period.

In today's Gospel, we are told: "The apostles rejoined Jesus and told him all they had done and taught. Then he said to them, ‘You must come away to some lonely place all by yourselves and rest for a while’; for there were so many coming and going that the apostles had no time even to eat. So they went off in a boat to a lonely place where they could be by themselves."

From the Gospel, we can see that even Jesus and the apostles would take a break whenever they can, to take care of other matters while being diligent in preaching the Good News. This means that we should not be extreme in our efforts, but do things in a balanced way, so that we could continue fulfilling our duty harmoniously. May we learn to know the right place and the right time to do different things, so that we could continue to give glory to God in all we say and do.

Thursday 14 January 2021

Saturday of Week 3 Year 1

How much faith do we have in God? Do we have faith that God will guide and help us according to his ways and terms, or are we expecting faith to be according to our own terms? We sometimes say we have faith, but we want faith to be according to our expectations and convenience. How many of us are willing to have faith in God, and surrender to His thoughts and His ways, even though at times it may difficult for us to accept?

In today's reading, we are reminded: "Only faith can guarantee the blessings that we hope for, or prove the existence of the realities that at present remain unseen. It was for faith that our ancestors were commended." The reading reminds us that we should have faith that God will take care of things, and let His will be done, instead of constantly trying to have things our way. May we let God be in control, and glorify Him in all we say and do.

Wednesday 13 January 2021

Saturday of Week 2 Year 1

I believe many of us would want to keep clean and maintain good hygiene. After all, who among us would want to emit an odour or stench? We make so much effort to clean ourselves by bathing regularly, and even spend time grooming ourselves and putting on all sorts of sweet smelling perfume, so that we would look and smell good. All these efforts are to put on a good external appearance. But how many of us have spent an equal amount of time and effort to keep our internal appearance clean, especially in our spiritual life and our soul? Have we been regular in going for confession, and growing in relationship with God, or have we been focusing only on the externals?

In today's reading, we are reminded: "The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer are sprinkled on those who have incurred defilement and they restore the holiness of their outward lives; how much more effectively the blood of Christ, who offered himself as the perfect sacrifice to God through the eternal Spirit, can purify our inner self from dead actions so that we do our service to the living God."

When we are regular in attending Mass, receiving Holy Communion, and going for confession regularly, we are letting the blood of Christ purify our inner self, our soul. We are inviting Christ to take control of not only our outer selves, but especially our inner selves. May we not waste the many opportunities given to us to let Christ purify us, so that we would learn to grow closer to God, and glorify Him in all we say and do.

Sunday 10 January 2021

Saturday of Week 1 Year 1

We sometimes come across persons who seem to be quite adept in putting on an appearance, so that others may think that such persons are a certain way, but the reality is that their true self could be quite different from what is perceived. For example, we see some persons behaving one way when it comes to persons of authority, but with others, especially with subordinates or even with certain colleagues, their attitude and demeanour could be quite different.

It may seem as if we may be able to appear in a certain way and give others a false impression, but we ought to realise that we cannot fool God. Today's reading reminds us of this fact: "The word of God is something alive and active: it cuts like any double-edged sword but more finely: it can slip through the place where the soul is divided from the spirit, or joints from the marrow; it can judge the secret emotions and thoughts. No created thing can hide from him; everything is uncovered and open to the eyes of the one to whom we must give account of ourselves."

The question we need to ask ourselves is this: are we willing to cast aside our falsehoods and be real and genuine? Or are we still insisting in sticking to our masks or appearances? Let us not forget that God sees all and knows all. Instead, let us make more effort to remain true and grow in relationship with God.