Sunday, 22 April 2018

Saturday of Week 12 Year 2

The Temple that king Solomon built was a huge and magnificent building. Huge blocks of finest stone were used to build it, and it was decorated with gold and silver ornaments. It was the pride and glory of Israel and a belief that God dwelt in their midst in that Temple. Because the temple appeared to be impressive and seemingly indestructible, the Israelites began to have a false sense of security, and became complacent in their faith, thinking that God would always be on their side, come what may. But the Israelites were soon rudely awakened and shaken to the core, when king Nebuchanezzar of Babylon conquered Jerusalem and his army laid the Temple to waste.

This was the basis on which the book of Lamentation in today's reading tried to put into words the sorrow and grief of the people, when they realised that they had been been putting their trust and dependence in the wrong place. Instead of being faithful to God and walking in His ways, they had walked in their own ways, thinking that the Temple would always assure them of God's presence. As a result, the people realised their folly too late, and ended up in exile and captivity.

We too could also fall into the same trap. We may have become complacent in our faith, especially when we have church structures and magnificent buildings around us, and we begin to put our trust in such structures and buildings, while we continue to commit despicable acts, instead of putting our trust in God and walking in His ways. May we open our eyes and realise that we are only creating our own illusions and false sense of security, and do our best to remain at rights with God, seeking forgiveness through the Sacrament of Confession when possible, lest we too end up in exile and captivity through our own negligence.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Saturday of Week 11 Year 2

When we look at time, we know that time is divided into hours, minutes and seconds. Each second passes by one moment at a time, not too fast, not too slow, just right. Eventually, the seconds reach a point where it completes a circle, making it 60 seconds, which then becomes a minute. Likewise, each minute eventually completes a circle, making it 60 minutes, which then becomes an hour. So, as we can see, time is in no hurry and does not need to worry about completing the circle, since it eventually completes it anyway.

Today's Gospel tells us not to worry. Just as time goes through a circle, each of us go through a circle of life; and whether our circle is big, and we hope to live a long life with few problems; or the circle is small and our life is shorter due to one reason or another; it does not matter, since the circle will one day be completed according to God’s plan and providence.

The problem with some of us is we begin to worry and fret about so many things in life, that we neglect to trust in God and walk in His ways, and we do not fully enjoy the circle of life that God grants us. But the reality is, our circle in life is not in our control, and worrying and fretting will not solve anything. What's more, if we do not enjoy the many things God grants us as we move on throughout our circle of life, we may one day end up with regrets later. So instead of worrying or fretting, let us leave it in the hands of God, be grateful and thankful for the many things God grants us, and remain in His care.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Saturday of Week 10 Year 2

What is the difference between interest and commitment? When we speak about interest, we are speaking about the interest to do something only when circumstances permit; or if it is convenient to do so; or if there is some sort of incentive or benefit to it. But how many of us are willing to take it to the next level, where we become committed to the task without excuses, even if it means much inconvenience, challenges, or difficulties? For example, when we speak about preparing bacon and eggs for a meal, the chicken merely provides eggs as its involvement, since it is convenient for it to do so. But the pig has to offer its life as a total commitment, so that ham could be provided as bacon. Are we merely content in being like the chicken, providing only that which is convenient; or are we willing to be like the pig, even to the point of making the ultimate sacrifice?

In today's reading, we come across Elisha who was called by Elijah to follow him, where Elijah threw his cloak over Elisha as a sign to follow him. Elisha initially showed interest in following Elijah, by offering to follow him after kissing his father and mother. But when confronted with a choice between showing interest and making a commitment, Elisha chose to make a total commitment in following Elijah, by slaughtering the two oxen he had, using the plough to cook the oxen, and then giving the meal to his men to eat.

What about us? We say that we are followers of Jesus. We say that we are brothers and sisters in Christ. But are we following Jesus only out of interest, when it is convenient to us? Are we brothers and sisters in Christ only when it is beneficial to us? Or are we totally committed in following Jesus, walk in His ways, and truly live and behave as brothers and sisters in Christ?

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Saturday of Week 9 Year 2

It is easy for some of us to be attracted to certain so-called church teaching which appeal to our needs, wants and desires. For example, some may have become quite influenced with certain so-called church teachings, where financial blessing and physical well-being are always the will of God for them, and that faith, positive speech, and donations to religious causes will increase one's material wealth. Quite often, such donations are to be given to the so-called church where such teaching is popularised. But if we consider rationally for a moment: can we really bribe God or try and scratch His back, expecting Him to scratch ours in return? Are such so-called church teaching what Jesus taught us?

In today's reading, we are reminded: "I put this duty to you, in the name of his Appearing and of his kingdom: proclaim the message and, welcome or unwelcome, insist on it. Refute falsehood, correct error, call to obedience – but do all with patience and with the intention of teaching. The time is sure to come when, far from being content with sound teaching, people will be avid for the latest novelty and collect themselves a whole series of teachers according to their own tastes; and then, instead of listening to the truth, they will turn to myths. Be careful always to choose the right course; be brave under trials; make the preaching of the Good News your life’s work, in thoroughgoing service."

The reading reminds and cautions us not to allow ourselves to be led astray and turn to teachings according to our tastes, or turn to myths, but remain steadfast to the truth, come what may, with patience and with the intention of teaching. May we always choose the right course; be brave under trials; and not falter in preserving the truth, while continuing to follow in the Lord's ways, and Glorify His Name.

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Saturday of Week 8 Year 2

Some people think that when it comes to salvation, all they need to do is to call upon the Name of Jesus and they are saved. They are also given the impression that salvation requires a personal relationship between themselves and God. It seems as if all they need to do is to take care of themselves, to each his or her own, so to speak. But is that what Christian salvation all about? Is being a Christian an individualistic affair, where one is to be concerned only with one's spiritual growth in Christ?

Today's reading dispels many of such assumptions. The reading reminds us: "But you, my dear friends, must use your most holy faith as your foundation and build on that, praying in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves within the love of God and wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to give you eternal life. When there are some who have doubts reassure them; when there are some to be saved from the fire, pull them out; but there are others to whom you must be kind with great caution, keeping your distance even from outside clothing which is contaminated by vice."

From the reading, we can clearly see that accepting Jesus is not enough, since one must also build on one's faith; be consistent in prayer life; remain in God's love; and be patient in waiting for the mercy of Jesus Christ. Not only that, one also needs to reach out to others, while showing kindness and mercy to those who may have become hardened in their sinful ways, but also being cautious not to allow ourselves and others to follow such sinful ways. Would we be willing and humble in our efforts to help ourselves and others to remain faithful in God's ways, and show good example to all?

Monday, 26 March 2018

圣周星期三

我们教友之中很有可能受到耻笑,一种不同形式的迫害或是侮辱。其中最令我们痛心的莫过于受到别人的出, 尤其是好友或家庭成员。你以为他们可以依靠或是信得过,可是他们扁扁反过来狠狠地咬你一口。更可恶的是他们的举止并不是反叛你那么简单,而是为了金钱地位和财产的关系,才出此下策。这种人为了得到物质上:有如金钱,财产 和名誉地位的暂时拥有欲,他们千方百计地出卖你。

正因为这种关系,耶稣在今天的福音中提到:“ 但是出卖人子的那人却是有祸的!那人若没有生,为他更好。”但一个人为了金钱,名誉,地位或财富,选择出卖另一个人时, 他已经把别人的生命看成一文不值. 天主把我们当着宝贝看待,可是那些出卖者却当我们是废物,时间到了就任由他们处置或抛弃。我们是否那么容易被金钱或利益所影响,而轻易出卖他人,最终毁掉自己的大好前途?难道这些人不觉得自己和其他人的生命,比起世俗间的金钱,财富,名誉和地位更为珍贵吗?而且这些物质的享受不过是过眼烟云而已!

圣周星期二

你们知道自己生活中的方向吗?你们的目标清楚吗?有些时候,这花花世界里的事物会误导或引诱我们偏离最终的方向。因此,有些人觉得人生不过是求生存,把孩子们抚养成人,在社会中留下一些纪念。总有一天,孩子们长大出外工作时,我们已经年老力衰,白发苍苍,体弱多病,再也无法工作而只能靠养老金或是私下储蓄来过活时,我们怎么办?何去何从?

这一切事情都会历历清楚在我们脑海里浮动。也可能好像依撒依亚先知说的,“我白白勤劳了,我枉费了气力而毫无益处。”但是,不久后他又反省地说,“但是我的权利是在上主哪里,我的报酬在我的天主面前。我在上主眼中是光荣的,天主是我的力量。”我们可能从别的方向寻找平安,喜乐和幸福,然而由始至终天主就是最好的方向。

到头来我们还是要问问自己:我们是否在生活中兜兜转转,更有时候失去方向,好像有些人应用GPS(Guna Pun Sesat:应用也迷失); 或者是已经在生活中调整自己的节奏,用偏向天乡的GPS(主是我们最丰富的资源/ 救世主。)