Sunday, 7 January 2018

主受洗节

主耶稣从来没有犯罪也不需要藉着洗礼去得到罪恶的宽免。那么为什么祂要接受洗礼?为了满足人类对祂的期望和希望,祂选择洗礼与人类融合在一起并分享祂的人性和神圣的天主性。 他为了拯救罪恶的人类,甘愿屈尊就卑,降生尘世,而并非罪恶昭彰人类邀请祂的降来。

耶稣的受洗正是祂传道工作的起点。祂的传道工作受到天父的肯定,因为耶稣受洗当天, 祂看到圣神化身白鸽降临在祂的头上。更有声音传自天上说,“这是我的爱子,我满心喜爱他。”这就正好说明耶稣和天父的关系是非常密切。因此我们也要追随耶稣的榜样,保持我们与天父之间的良好关系,更要执行一切善事和正义来光荣天主。

受洗后的我们已经死于罪恶,并在基督内渡新生活。到底我们是否真正了解洗礼的意义?受洗后的我们,在生活上的点点滴滴,言行举止方面是否有正确的改变?是否有履行基督徒的责任,传扬福音而光荣天主?希望大家不会推卸责任,更要衷心地实行天主的圣意。

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Saturday of the 5th Week of Lent

Throughout history, humankind has been divisive in many ways. People divide themselves according to ethnic group, according to the colour of one's skin, according to the amount of wealth one has by differentiating the rich from the poor, according to the level of education or status in society, and much more. Such divisions lead to prejudice, discrimination, and unfair policies and practices, which often support one group at the expense of the other. However, this is not the way God intends us to live from the beginning. We are all part of humankind, and we should be united and loving with one another, not divisive and conceited.

In today's reading, Ezekiel tells us of how God will reunite His people who had been scattered, exiled and divided, into one people, and He would be their God and they would be His people. This reading reminded the Israelites and us too, that ultimately,  we should be one people under God. We should be children of God, instead of being divisive and prejudiced against each other. But the question is, are we united as one people under God? To some extent we are, but we are not entirely united yet. In fact, at times, it seems as if we have become even more divided. Yet we should not give up hope or despair, since God will eventually unite us completely. We just need to have faith, trust in God's help and providence, and wait patiently for the Lord to gather us together into one.

Saturday of the 4th Week of Lent

It is easy for some of us to seek revenge towards those who have cause us harm or grief. We feel that we have been wronged greatly, and we want the person or persons who wronged us to suffer. But if we consider for a moment, what is the motivation behind wanting revenge? Isn't it because our pride and ego has been hurt, and we want to supposingly heal our pride and ego by causing hurt to the other? But the reality is that, revenge is never justified, no matter how grievous the original harm may have been. In fact, seeking revenge is only for one's personal gratification and to puff up one's ego. So what's a Christian to do when one has been wronged?

Perhaps a solution could be seen on how Jeremiah in today's reading dealt with people who have wronged him. The reading tells us: "But you, the Lord of Hosts, who pronounce a just sentence, who probe the loins and heart, let me see the vengeance you will take on them, for I have committed my cause to you." Instead of giving in to revenge, Jeremiah chose to leave it to God to do the judging. Instead of trying to salvage his pride and ego, Jeremiah chose to remain humble and let God be in control, knowing and trusting that God would not abandon him. It is wise for us to do the same.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Saturday of the 3rd Week of Lent

It is easy for us to take God for granted, especially when we have received so much from Him in different ways. Some of us forget to say grace before meals or even grace after meals, and we do not thank God enough for the good things we have and the many blessings He has given us. Some of us may have even become presumptuous about God's mercy and forgiveness, that we take it for granted and not feel real contrition, remorse, and sorrow for our sins. Some think that God would forgive us anyhow, and we neglect going for confession, which is required for our sins to be forgiven.

When we take things for granted and become presumptuous towards God, we begin to take God's mercy and forgiveness too lightly. Such attitude of taking things for granted and being presumptuous can be found in today's reading, where the people said: "Come let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces, but he will heal us; he has struck us down, but he will bandage our wound; on the third day he will raise us and we shall live in his presence." The Lord responded: "What am I to do with you? This love of yours is like a morning cloud, like the dew that quickly disappears." It seems like the people were only giving lip service, instead of practising true love and knowledge of God.

What about us? Have we become like the people in today's reading, where we end up saying and doing things only to puff our ego and swell our pride? Have we become presumptuous, taking God for granted, instead of walking humbly before Him? May we come to realise such attitude, and change our ways while we have the opportunity to do so.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Saturday of the 2nd Week of Lent

In certain ethnic groups, traditions and customs, the deity is seen as a being to be feared. Persons belonging to such ethnic groups or adhere to such traditions and customs would do all they can to appease the deity, by offering the best of their produce, or offer money, hoping that the deity could be "bribed" into leaving them in peace and harmony. Some such ethnic groups, traditions and customs may even have a practice of sacrificing an animal, or even to the extent of offering human sacrifices, hoping that the deity would be appeased.

However, today's reading paints us quite a different picture of God. In the reading, we are told: "What god can compare with you: taking fault away, pardoning crime, not cherishing anger for ever but delighting in showing mercy?" Unlike a deity that is fierce, vengeful and prone to meting out punishment, we have a God who takes fault away, pardons crime, does not cherish anger, and even delights in showing mercy. Thus, let us not be afraid of God, rather let us go to Him with humility and docility for forgiveness, comfort and guidance, knowing that He will not abandon us. Let us also delight in showing mercy towards others, just as God is continuously showing mercy to us.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Saturday of the 1st Week of Lent

Every once in a while, I come across people who seem to do things half-heartedly. It is as if the task is too difficult or complicated to do, even though in reality, the task is actually so simple that even a small child could have done it well. Such persons seem to drag their feet, or take their sweet time to get it done, but when their boss or superior comes along, they suddenly appear to be hard working or diligent, only to go back to their half-hearted routine once the boss or superior has left. Could some of us be guilty of such half-hearted attitude and behaviour?

In today's reading, "Moses said to the people: ‘The Lord your God today commands you to observe these laws and customs; you must keep and observe them with all your heart and with all your soul." While some of us could play games in front of authority, and then return to half-hearted ways, we cannot play games or behave half-heartedly when it comes to God. God expects us to observe His laws and customs wholeheartedly, in fact, we are to do so with all your heart and all your soul. Failing to observe such laws and customs wholeheartedly could lead to undesirable or even disastrous consequences. Are we willing to be humble and docile, and follow God's laws and customs, for our good and for His glory?

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Saturday After Ash Wednesday

At some point of our lives, we may have come across persons who seem difficult to love or to be with. The easiest thing for us to do is to just ignore such persons completely, or shun them, or have nothing to do with them, or ostracise them. Some of us may begin to think that such persons are not worth our time, or that they are probably condemned or beyond redemption. But how many of us are willing to accept such persons, and journey with them, depending on God's grace and mercy to help them change and grow closer to God?

In today's Gospel, Jesus called Levi, a tax collector, to follow Him. Not only that, Jesus even had a meal at Levi's house, where with them at table was a large gathering of tax collectors and others. If Jesus was willing to reach out to such persons, who society despises, shuns or considers repugnant or as some may say, "bad company," what about us? Are we willing to follow Jesus' example and reach out to such persons too? Who knows, God has His ways, and by doing our part in showing care and love to such persons, they may return to the ways of the Lord. Let us not let our pride, prejudice and ego get the better of us, and learn to be loving and compassionate, just a God is loving and compassionate to us.