Monday, May 31, 2010

Monday, 31-05-10, Visitation of the BVM, feast

Zephaniah 3 : 14-18 / Luke 1 : 39-56

As Catholics, we certainly have an affection for Marian hymns.

And if we are the Saturday Novena people, then Marian hymns certainly have a place in our hearts.

These hymns are like evergreens, and we can sing them by heart, and they also bring us back to the memories of our childhood days, since those hymns have not changed much.

I remembered someone sharing with me about how he suffered a great setback in his career and in his marriage.

He was lost and broken in the storms of life.

Then one day he happened to pass by Novena church, and since it had been a long time since he had been there, he dropped in to say a prayer.

Somehow when he was in there, a strange feeling came over him and the tune of a familiar Marian hymn kept ringing in his head and he felt very moved.

In short, it was an experience of Mary's powerful intercession and also an experience of Mary visiting him in his dark moments of life.

Well, Mary continues to be a channel of God's grace for the needy people of our time, just as she was for Elizabeth.

May our devotion to Mother Mary also lead us to glorify God and to proclaim His greatness.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

8th Week, Ordinary Time, Saturday, 29-05-10

Jude 17, 20-25 / Mark 11 : 27-33

It is not easy to admit that we are wrong, especially when we are confronted with facts.

It is even more difficult for people of authority to admit that they are wrong.

Simply because there is just too much to lose.

When the authorities confronted Jesus, it was Jesus who presented the facts.

But in refusing to acknowledge the facts, and by saying "We don't know", the authorities have exposed themselves.

Ironically, it was the people of authority that had put their own authority into question.

We are all people of authority in some way or another.

Some of us are parents who have authority over our children.

Some of us are supervisors and managers who have authority over our subordinates.

But this authority is given to us to discern what comes from God and to do the right thing.

In other words, authority is synonymous with service.

We serve our children by teaching them the right values.

We serve our subordinates with justice and fairness.

We serve like Jesus did, who came to serve by showing us how to live out the truth with love.

Friday, May 28, 2010

8 th Week, Ordinary Time, Friday, 28-05-10

1 Peter 4 : 7-13 / Mark 11 : 11-26

Today's gospel portrayal of Jesus is not one that we like to see.

In fact, cursing fig trees and being physically violent won't draw much admiration from others.

But the beginning of Chapter 11 of the gospel of Mark has it that Jesus just entered Jerusalem and soon He will face His passion.

So the Jesus in today's gospel was anxious.

He was anxious because He could see His end coming but His message about the Kingdom has not sunk into the minds and hearts of the people.

His message did not seem to bear fruit.

So His actions in today's gospel are like alarm-bells in the morning, sharp warnings to those who are aware of His message but yet do not heed it.

Even for us, the areas of conversion in our lives must begin, and begin now!

We can't wait for tomorrow because for all we know, tomorrow might never come for some of us.

Even the 1st reading reminds us that everything will soon come to an end, so, to pray better, keep a calm and sober mind.

If the Lord ask us now to show His an account of our lives, do we have fruits to show Him?

The 1st reading tells us that each of us has received a special grace.

May we be good stewards responsible for all these different graces of God, and bear fruits of love and peace, and joy and forgiveness.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

8th Week Ordinary Time, Thursday, 27-05-10

1 Peter 2 : 2-5, 9-12 / Mark 10 ; 46-52

Whenever Bible characters are named, the significance is that these characters have a role to play in God's plan of salvation.

In the gospel, we hear of a blind beggar by the name of Bartimaeus.

Bartimaeus is not exactly a person's name. Rather it means "son of Timaeus".

This emphasis on the father of the blind beggar is interesting.

We can call Bartimaeus a double tragedy.

He was blind and he lives in poverty. A really unfortunate and tragic case.

The thinking at that time would put the cause of his condition onto the sin of his father or his forefathers.

That explains the emphasis on "Bartimaeus" (the son of Timaeus)

Bartimaeus could have blamed his father or forefathers for his current unfortunate and tragic condition.

But yet when he came before Jesus, he only asked for pity and that he may see again.

As we come before the Lord, let us admit that our faults and failings are ours and ours alone.

Before the Lord, we don't shift the blame onto others. We only need to ask for mercy and healing.

That would be our first step in our journey with Jesus.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

8th Week, Ordinary Time, Wednesday, 26-05-10

1 Peter 1 : 18-25 / Mark 10 : 32-45

There is a famous painting which was originally titled "Hands".

But we know it by its more popular name as "Praying Hands".

At the bottom left corner of this painting are the initials A.D., the initials of the artist Albrecht Durer (1471 – 1528).

The hands that modeled for his painting were the hands of his brother Albert.

He drew the hands of his brother as a tribute to his.

The reason was that Albert worked in the coal-mines to sponsor Albrecht to study in the Art Academy.

Albert also aspired to be an artist, but his work in the coal-mines left him with broken fingers and arthritis.

The painting of Albert's hands only goes to show that service is a sacrifice.

Jesus served us by sacrificing Himself, a sacrifice that freed us and saved us.

So whenever we join our hands to pray, let us remember that other things will come and go, the grass will wither and the flower will fade.

But the sacrifice we make in the form of a loving service to others, that sacrifice will remain and will be remembered.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

8th Week, Ordinary Time, Tuesday, 25-05-10

1 Peter 1 : 10-16 / Mark 10 : 28-31

At times, Christianity seemed like a religion that teaches about delayed gratification, as in we just have to suffer on earth and then we will be rewarded in heaven.

When we look carefully at the cost of being a disciple of Christ, the suffering aspect becomes clearer.

After all, Jesus Himself suffered rejection and persecution and eventually crucifixion.

So what reward is He talking about for the present time?

We may be able to accept the teaching about the reward in the next life.

But reward in this present life? That we are not too sure about.

But the 1st reading gives us some idea of what this so-called reward is all about.

It talks about freeing the mind from the things that tie us down.

It is a freedom from the things that gives us only temporary satisfaction.

It is a freedom that comes from living in the truth and in obedience to God.

And the reward is that we experience the holiness of God from within.

It is a holiness that radiates from within and attracts others and draws them to God.

Indeed, our greatest reward on earth is to live a life of freedom, and it is a life that is lived in the holiness of God.

Monday, May 24, 2010

8th Week, Ordinary Time, Monday, 24-05-10

1 Peter 1 : 3-9 / Mark 10 : 17-27

Qin Shi Huangdi (秦始皇) (259 BC – 210 BC), was king of the Chinese State of Qin from 246 BC to 221 BC during the Warring States Period. He became the first emperor of a unified China in 221 BC. He ruled until his death in 210 BC at the age of 50.

After his death, he was buried in an underground tomb, along with his treasures and also his servants (buried alive) as was the practice in those times

There was even a "Terracotta Army" to guard the tomb of the emperor.

When his tomb was discovered, his remains and the remains of those who were buried with him were taken aside for further analysis.

One of the archaeologists was examining the remains and he seemed to be looking for something.

When he was asked what he was looking for, he replied: I am looking to see if there is any difference between the bones of Qin Shi Huangdi and that of his slaves. I don't see any.

We may think it is an obvious comment, but yet it is a chilling fact that whatever we have now, will ultimately remain here on earth.

And when we come before God, we are no different from the person next to us, whether be it in terms of merit or credit.

We can't even earn heaven or eternal life. But it is given freely to us.

The 1st reading would even say that God promised us an eternal inheritance that is being kept for us in the heavens.

But while we are here on earth, we must treasure this eternal gift and inheritance.

Because where our treasure is, there our heart will be.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

7th Week of Easter, Saturday, 22-05-10

Acts 28:16-20, 30-31 / John 21 : 20-25     (2014 / 2017 / 2018)

If we were in a supermarket just to buy something, we might be tempted to browse around and see what else we can get.

We might end up getting quite a lot of stuff but forgetting to get what we actually wanted.

In that sense, a shopping list is important to help us stay focused in getting what we actually needed, and also to prevent us from going on a shopping spree.

In the gospel, Jesus had just commissioned Peter to take care of the early Church.

But just as quickly, Peter got distracted and was curious about the other disciple whom Jesus loved.

In a very firm and pointed manner, Jesus addressed the issue: What does it matter to you; you are to follow me.

In other words, Jesus was saying to Peter: Mind your own business, stay focused and follow me.

Even in the 1st reading, St. Paul did not lament about being in chains despite his innocence, but he took the opportunity to proclaim the Kingdom of God despite wearing those chains. He stayed focused on Jesus.

So Peter's distraction and Paul's predicament have taught us to focus our minds and hearts on Jesus and to follow him.

Nothing else really matters.

Friday, May 21, 2010

7th Week of Easter, Friday, 21-05-10

Acts 25 : 13-31 / John 21 : 15-19

During these days of the Easter season, we have heard quite a lot about St. Paul, about the zeal that he had and how anxious he was about the early church that they stay faithful to Jesus.

In the 1st reading, we learnt about St. Paul's conviction in just one short sentence from the governor Festus.

Festus referred to Jesus as someone whom St. Paul alleged to be alive.

It was not just St. Paul's conviction, but also his most profound experience of the Risen Christ, even though he had not seen the Risen Christ with his own eyes.

But that experience earned him the title of apostle.

That experience also led him to make statements like "Nothing matters to me but Christ alone" and "It is not I who live but Christ who lives in me".

That was also what Jesus wanted to know from St. Peter, when He asked him: Do you love me more than these others do?

Even from His own hand-picked apostles, Jesus wanted to know how committed were they in their love for Him.

And from us, Jesus also wants to know our convictions and our commitment in our love for Him.

So, either Jesus is our all in all in our love, or He is not at all in our lives.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

7th Week Easter, Thursday, 20-05-10

Acts 22:30 ; 23:6-11 / John 17 : 20-26           (2014 / 2018)

To a great extent, the Catholic Church shows a unity in many aspects.

We have a hierarchy with the Pope as the head of the Church.

We have a defined body of teachings.

We have a common form of worship, even though the language might be different from place to place.

So in many ways, these aspects reinforce our unity as Church.

But the unity that Jesus prayed for is not just about external uniformity.

Jesus prayed for the unity between persons and between peoples.

He used Himself and the Father as a model of that unity.

It is a unity of heart and mind; it is a communion of love.

But the human tendency is to be divided rather than to be united; to be separated than to be connected.

Jesus prayed for unity. His prayer will be fulfilled by the Spirit which binds hearts and minds in a communion of love.

And when things get messed up and even heated up as we heard in the 1st reading, then let us remember these words of wisdom from St. Augustine.

In the essentials, let there be unity.
In the non-essentials, let there be liberty.
In all things, let there be charity.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

7th Week Easter, Wednesday, 19-05-10

Acts 20 : 28-38 / John 17 : 11-19

It is said that if you truly love someone, then the test of that love is the ability to free that person by letting go of that person.

In other words, when we really love someone, we would not think being possessive of that person.

On the contrary, we would let that person have the freedom to choose to love us or not.

Jesus loved His disciples and He showed them the full extent of His love at the Last Supper by giving Himself to them.

Yet when the time came for Him to depart from them, He didn't hang on to them, but rather He entrusted them to the Father.

Similarly for St. Paul, he knew that he was leaving the church in Ephesus for good and he had to let go of them despite loving them so much.

He commended them to God to build them up with His grace.

These two instances showed us the example of a non-possessive love.

Some of the problems in our relationships stem from a possessive love, if at all we can call that love.

When we are possessive of others in our relationships, it may show that we have yet to understand the depth of God's love for us.

May the coming feast of Pentecost be an outpouring of God's love into our hearts so that we can truly love others as God has loved us.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

7th Week of Easter, Tuesday, 18-05-10

Acts 20 : 17-27 / John 17 : 1-11

Each of us has lived a number of years, anything from 18 to 80 and even more.

As we reflect on our lives, can we honestly say that our lives were worth living?

Or if given a choice, would we want to start all over again?

If St. Paul were to answer the question about life, he would just simply say that life is not a thing to waste words on, as we heard in the 1st reading.

What mattered to him was whether his life bore witness to the Good News of God's grace, the Good News of God's love.

Putting it in another way, do we live like children of God our Father, living not just in the temporary, but also looking forward to our eternity?

No doubt, we often get distracted by the narrowness of life, and we lose our focus on our eternal life with God.

But may we never forget that the time spent on this earth is nothing compared to the eternal life that is awaiting us

Monday, May 17, 2010

7th Week of Easter, Monday, 17-05-10

Acts 19 : 1-8
John 16 : 29-33

Fear is usually seen as a negative force which diminishes the human ability.

Fear has a sort of paralyzing effect on people.

Yet the positive aspect of fear is that we also experience an increase in the flow of adrenalin, a sort of "rush" so to speak.

That enables us to face the fear and do things that we that we are not usually capable of.

Maybe that was what the disciples in the 1st reading experienced.

They experienced the "rush" of the Spirit when St. Paul laid hands on them after they were baptized.

The experience of the Spirit made them the pioneers in the church in Ephesus.

It will be an experience they will have to fall back on as they meet with difficulties and trouble.

In gospel, Jesus said that in this world we will have trouble.

It seems to come as a package deal in being a Christian.

Coming along with trouble is also fear.

Yet Jesus sends us the Spirit to help us overcome any trouble that we will face so that there will be peace in our hearts.

Let us prepare ourselves with prayer to receive the Holy Spirit who gives us peace and courage to overcome the fear and the troubles of life.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

6th Week of Easter, Saturday, 15-05-10

Acts 18 : 23-28 / John 16 : 23-28   (2020)

Each of us has a purpose in this life. There is a meaning for our existence.

But it is not about what we do for a living, or what we do at home, or what we do in Church, or what we do for others.

At the very core of our existence, we have an identity.

From this identity flows the meaning of our existence and our purpose in life.

Jesus came to show us who we really are. We are children of God, sons and daughters of God our Father.

Jesus came to show us the Father's love, so that in Jesus, we will come to know the Father and love Him.

Jesus came from the Father and has now gone back to the Father.

We too came from the Father and we will eventually go back to the Father.

To forget this is to forget who we are and we will just become functional and lose the spiritual.

So let us ask Jesus to make His home in our hearts, so that we will be filled with His love for God and for others, and so that we will show others who we really are.

Friday, May 14, 2010

14-05-10, St. Matthias, Apostle, feast

Acts 1:15-17, 20-26 / John 15:9-17    (2020)

The name Matthias is of Hebrew origin and it means "the gift of God"

But Matthias was not chosen to replace Judas just because he had a nice and meaningful name.

Rather he was chosen by a draw of lots.

We would think that it was a rather primitive and secular method to use for such an important and sacred task.

But it only shows that the apostles left the choice to God.

They have done their part by proposing the candidates and commending them to to the Lord in prayer.

They let the Lord guide them in making the choice.

As Jesus said in the gospel, it is not we who chose Him.

Rather it is He who chose us, and He commissions us to go forth and bear lasting fruit.

Hence it is not so much our suitability for the task at hand but rather our availability for God.

Our availability is our response to God, just as St. Matthias made his availability his response to God.

So what we are is God's gift to us. How we can be available for God is our gift to God.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Ascension, Year C, 13-05-10

Acts 1 : 1-11 Ephesians 1 : 17-23 Luke 24 : 46-53

The airport is a busy place. There are always people rushing here and there and going everywhere.

But the airport can be a rather emotional place too.

At the arrival hall, there is usually the excitement and the joy of meeting someone coming home or receiving a visitor from abroad.

Somehow, the arrival hall seems brighter and more cheerful.

On the other hand, the departure hall, which is on another level, seems more sober and solemn.

People are waving goodbye with sentimental faces.

Others may be giving each other a long handshake or a hug as they bid farewell.

Some have tears in their eyes, while others just have expressionless faces.

To say it all, saying goodbye and bidding farewell can be an emotional affair.

We don't have to go to the airport to know what the feeling is like.

On that note, we can understand how the disciples felt.

As Jesus ascended into heaven, it will be the last time they will see Him on earth.

He had been with them from the time He began His ministry, to His suffering and death and resurrection.

He had been with them in their joys and hopes, in their grief and sorrows, in their amazement and disappointment.

Just when they have begun to understand who Jesus is to them, and how much they needed Him, Jesus seemed to bid them farewell for good.

But the meaning of the Ascension is not about saying goodbye and bidding farewell.

In fact, Jesus raised His hand and it was not to wave goodbye to His disciples.

Rather, He lifted His hand to bless them.

The Ascension is not about Jesus going up to heaven and leaving His disciples with an empty absence.

Rather, in His Ascension to heaven, Jesus blessed His disciples and promised to be present with them in a more profound way.

And it's going to be a powerful presence.

Because it will be the presence of His Spirit - the Holy Spirit.

Jesus promised that He will be present in His Church through the Holy Spirit.

And throughout these 2000 over years, the promise has been kept and will always be kept.

Because it was Jesus who made that promise.

So despite the schisms and heresies, the fractions and divisions, Jesus is present.

Despite the violence and persecutions suffered by the Church, with Catholics being beaten and battered and beheaded, Jesus is present.

Despite the arrogance and elitism, the sinfulness and the horrendous scandals that are committed by the clergy and laity, Jesus is still present.

And in our pains and hurts, our sorrow and grief, our sin and shame, our hopes and dreams, Jesus is present with us and will always be present with us.

The Ascension also marks the beginning of the Church's Novena, the 9 days of prayer to prepare for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus promised us that we will be clothed with power from on high.

Yes, the Holy Spirit will be descending (touching down) on us so that Jesus will be present in us, His Church, always.

Let these nine days be days of prayer and spiritual preparation.

We wait for the arrival of the Holy Spirit who will empower us with truth and love, with joy and holiness, so that the world can see that Jesus in indeed present in us, the Church.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

6th Week of Easter, Wednesday, 12-05-10

Acts 17:15,22 - 18:1 / John 16 : 12-15     (2014 / 2016 / 2018)

Every school or institution of higher learning has a library and that is an important resource center.

Even though there is the Internet with search engines to get a multitude of information, the library is still a necessity.

We may not be able to remember all the information there is, but there is the world of books in the library that we can delve in.

The knowledge contained in there is almost inexhaustible.

But if knowledge is inexhaustible, then truth is inextinguishable.

By inextinguishable, it means to say that the truth is already planted in our hearts and we only need to let the light of truth keep shining for us.

Hence, any enlightenment, and realization, any insight, is simply the seeds of truth in our hearts that are bearing fruit.

And that is certainly the work of the Holy Spirit.

That is also what Jesus meant when He said that the Holy Spirit will lead us to the complete truth.

So for the questions in life and about life that we do not understand and do not have the answers for, let us pray to the Holy Spirit for wisdom and to journey on in faith.

One day we will know, one day we will understand, when we let the Spirit guide us.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

6th Week of Easter, Tuesday, 11-05-10

Acts 16 : 22-34
John 16 : 5-11

It has been said that faith is taught as well as caught.

Yes, faith is taught in a catechism and it is presented in a neat and logical manner.

Yet the faith of the early Church began in a more chaotic as well as mysterious way but it was from there that the faith was caught.

In the 1st reading, we hear how Paul and Silas was flogged and thrown into prison although they were just talking about the faith.

Yet while in prison, something mysterious and wonderful happened and in the end, the jailer and his family caught on the faith and were baptized.

Hence very often it is a troubled and distressful situation that the faith is caught on by others.

Certainly this is the workings of the Holy Spirit and Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit who will lead us to all truth.

We may remember that in the beginning of the book of Genesis God sent the Spirit into the chaos and then creation came forth.

So whenever we face a troubled and distressful and chaotic situation, let us remember this.

That out of chaos, creation will come forth, and the faith is caught.

Monday, May 10, 2010

6th Week of Easter, Monday, 10-05-10

Acts 16 : 11-15 / John 15:26 - 16:4    (2014 / 2018)

To talk about religion with someone is not exactly a comfortable conversational topic.

Furthermore to talk about it with another Catholic may not be any easier than to talk about it with a non-Catholic.

Whoever it might be, we prefer to talk about how hot the weather is, where to find the best food, the price of COE or whatever.

Yet, one of the most profound ways for God to move the hearts of people is through the sharing of our experience of Jesus.

That is one of the ways of witnessing. That was what St. Paul did in the 1st reading.

Through preaching the Good News and sharing the experience of Jesus, the Lord opened the heart of Lydia to accept what St. Paul was saying.

Of course not everyone will accept what we say or what we share about Jesus.

Yet, if people do listen, it is because the Lord had opened their hearts, and the Spirit of truth has guided them.

The Spirit needs us as His instruments and His mouthpiece.

May the Spirit of truth make us willing to open our mouths so that others will be willing to open their hearts.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

5th Week of Easter, Saturday, 08-05-10

Acts 16 : 1-10 / John 15 : 18-21     (2020)

In life, we are often confronted with the two ways of deciding and acting.

There is the way of the world, which is always more popular and also easier to follow.

But a deeper reflection would tell us that the way of the world is inevitably a selfish and self-centered approach which does not bring about much good.

The other way is the way of Jesus. It is obviously a more difficult way, but one that leads us to discover the meaning of life and wonders of love.

As it is, the world talks about retribution, revenge, to think about ourselves and to be No. 1 even at all costs.

The way of Jesus shows us sacrifice, humility, love and care for others.

To follow the way of Jesus can result in scorn and contempt. Others will see us as weak and soft and will even call us losers.

Yet in the end, the way of Jesus has proven to be a more gentle and yet more powerful way that brings about the beauty and the meaning of love.

Let us remember that we serve only one Master. Hence for us it is only His way.

Friday, May 7, 2010

5th Week of Easter, Friday, 07-05-10

Acts 15 : 22-31
John 15 : 12-17

The council of apostles and elders that met in Jerusalem to discuss the issue of the Gentile Christians was the first of many councils to come.

From that council, there are a lot of directions that the present day Church can learn from.

Firstly, they did not agree with some Jewish Christians who insisted that circumcision is necessary for salvation.

Furthermore they reinforced their decision with prayer and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

It is our belief that God chose us to be in His Church to be a sign of His love and salvation to the world.

With prayer and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we can help others to come to know God and to love Him.

With the Spirit of love in our hearts, we can indeed fulfill the commandment of love and also help others do the same.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

5th Week of Easter, Thursday, 06-05-10

Acts 15 : 7-21
John 15 : 9-11

Meetings and discussions can consume a lot of time.

But what can often make meetings and discussions really boring and frustrating is that after all that is said, there are either no decisions or action-plan, or that the outcome is rather ambiguous.

The 1st reading recorded the discussion in the early Church regarding the Gentile Christians took up a long time.

In the end, Peter stood up to speak.

What he said was not to fuel the argument further, but rather he recalled what Jesus had done for them and that they were saved by His love and grace.

Peter also recalled for them the teaching of Jesus that they were not to lay burdens on others that they themselves could not carry.

That brought about silence to the entire assembly.

It is amazing how the recollection of the love of Jesus and His teaching cleared the minds of those in the assembly.

It is certainly necessary for us to recall for ourselves the love and the teaching of Jesus.

In simple words, that is what Jesus said in the gospel : Remain in my love.

That would certainly reduce unnecessary arguments that waste so much time and energy in discussions.

But more importantly, that will also deepen our faith in the love and teaching of Jesus.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

5th Week of Easter, Wednesday, 05-05-10

Acts 19 : 1-6
John 15 : 1-8

Leaves on the ground are a common sight in Singapore because we have many trees around.

The leaves are also of different shades and shapes. But whatever stage that they are in, the fact is clear.

They have fallen off from the trees or plants.

And then the reality of the state of these leaves will slowly become clear to us.

They are dying or are withered and dead altogether.

Just a simple reflection on the common sight of dried-up and withered leaves will bring home the message of Jesus in today's gospel.

The message is clear enough - cut off from Jesus, we can do nothing, and we will wither and die.

But with Jesus and in Jesus, we will reflect the beauty of life, just as the leaves reflect the beauty of the tree or plant.

It is this beauty that will bring back those who have separated themselves from Jesus.

That will be the fruit that we can bear for Jesus.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

5th Week of Easter, Tuesday, 04-05-10

Acts 14 : 19-28 / John 14 : 27-50       (2015 / 2017)

One of the factors that draw people to a religion is that it gives them this sense of peace.

They will speak of experiences like being being troubled and in distress and then something mysterious happens.

For whatever reason, they will just be drawn to a church, and there they will feel a sense of peace and calmness.

Or they may hear a hymn and the tune or the words just resonate in them.

Or they may look at the crucifix or a holy picture or statue and they will feel that God is with them and they experience a sense of security.

Say it anyway we want, the experience is similar as well as familiar - the experience of peace.

These experiences only go to show that Jesus continues to give us peace, especially in our troubled lives and in our troubled world.

It is only with this peace that Jesus gives that will enable us persevere in our faith and empower us to face the many hardships of life.

At every Eucharist, Jesus gives us His peace when He says : I leave you peace; my peace I give you.

Let us continue to trust in Jesus, the Prince of Peace, and may we not troubled and afraid of the difficulties of life.

Monday, May 3, 2010

5th Week of Easter, Monday, 03-05-10 Feast of Ss. Philip and James, Apostles

1 Cor 15:1-8 / John 14:6-14            (2019)

From the gospel accounts, we know quite a bit about the characters of some of the apostles like Peter, James and John.

But with apostles like Philip and James (son of Alphaeus) we only have snippets.

Yet from these snippets, we can make out a picture of who they were.

Philip was the type who wanted to see the reality before going any further.

That was why in the gospel, he asked Jesus to let them see the Father, and then they will be satisfied and hence can proceed to the next step or the next stage.

So even when at a much earlier in the gospel, when Philip told Nathanael about Jesus, his persuasion was just a gentle "Come and see" (John 1:46)

That was Philip. He needed to see first before he could move on and ask others to do the same.

Philip and James saw Jesus but they took a long time before they came to really know Him and to understand Him and eventually loving Him.

And when they came to love Jesus, they also proclaimed Him and made Him known.

Such is also our spiritual journey. We may know quite a bit about Jesus, but there is certainly much more that will be revealed to us.

So how we live our lives and how we proclaim our faith, that will show how much we know Jesus and how much we love Him.

Let us always pray that we will grow deeper in our love for Jesus.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

4th Week of Easter, Saturday, 01-05-10, Memorial of St. Joseph the Worker

Genesis 1:26 - 2:3
Matthew 13 : 54-58

Today the Church celebrates the memorial of St. Joseph and specifically under the title of St. Joseph the Worker.

Hence St. Joseph is also the patron of all working people, besides being the patron of the Church, fathers and carpenters and also of the dying.

Being a patron of all working people, we would feel a deep affiliation with St. Joseph because we spend a considerable amount of time at work.

And we could relate with him in what was told of us in the scriptures.

We are told that he took his family to Jerusalem every year for Passover, something that could not have been easy for a working man.

We know he was a carpenter, a working man, and in the gospel a skeptical question was asked about Jesus, "Is this not the carpenter's son?" (Matthew 13:55).

He wasn't rich for when he took Jesus to the Temple to be circumcised and Mary to be purified, he offered the sacrifice of two turtledoves or a pair of pigeons, allowed only for those who could not afford a lamb (Luke 2:24).

There is much we wish we could know about Joseph, about where and when he was born, about how he spent his days, about when and how he died.

But Scripture has left us with one of the most important knowledge of who he was - "a righteous man" (Matthew 1:18).

May we always turn to St. Joseph for his intercession before and at the end of our work.

May we also be righteous and honest in our dealings at work and with our superiors and colleagues so that in all we do at work, we will give glory to God.