Thursday, September 30, 2010

St. Therese of the Child Jesus, Friday, 01-10-10

Isaiah 66:10-14 / Matthew 18:1-5

St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus is also known as the "Little Flower of Jesus".

St. Thérèse was declared co-patron of the missions with St. Francis Xavier in 1927.

This is quite astonishing because she was was a nun in the enclosed Carmelite community of Lisieux, Normandy in France.

Unlike St. Francis Xavier who travelled far and wide to spread the Gospel and baptized many people, St. Thérèse spent all her religious life in the cloistered convent.

Though she had thoughts of going off to the mission lands, her ill health forbade her from doing so.

Nonetheless she offered prayers for the missions and also her every little act was offered to God in prayer.

In her memoir The Story of a Soul, she said that she was just a very little soul and so she could only offer God very little things.

But it was doing these very little things with great love that  that she offered it to God for the salvation of souls.

That is also precisely the message in today' s gospel - childlike humility is the way to the kingdom of God.

It is the small childlike humble heart, one that is like that of St. Thérèse, that is considered great in the eyes of God.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

26th Week, Ordinary Time, Thursday, 30-09-10

Job 19:21-27 / Luke 10:1-12

In 1969, psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross introduced what became known as the “five stages of grief.” These stages of grief were based on her studies of the feelings of patients facing terminal illness, but many people have generalized them to other types of negative life changes and losses.

The five stages of grief can be summarized as such "
Denial: “This can’t be happening to me.”
Anger: “Why is this happening? Who is to blame?”
Bargaining: “Make this not happen, and in return I will ____.”
Depression: “I’m too sad to do anything.”
Acceptance: “I’m at peace with what happened.”

As we read about what was happening to Job in the 1st reading, it is difficult to say which stage he was at; maybe between anger and acceptance or a mixture of all.

Job's most profound statement in the 1st reading was this - This I know : that my Avenger lives.

That might sound like he had reached the stage of acceptance. But there is one more stage that he will need to come to.

And that is the stage of enlightenment. In that stage, a person will not just accept and be at peace with what has happened but will also be able to see why it happened and see God's hand moving and guiding him in the course of events.

May we pray for the grace of enlightenment so that we may gain wisdom of heart to know that we can fully trust and depend on God in whatever happens in our lives.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sts. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, Archangels, Wednesday, 29-09-10

Apocalypse 12:7-12 / John 1:47-51

The Bible has many passages referring to angels, both in the Old Testament as well as the New Testament

Furthermore the New Testament mentions frequently of angels in the significant moments.

There were angels giving messages to Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds; angels ministering to Christ after his temptation in the wilderness, an angel visiting Christ in his agony, angels at the tomb of the risen Christ, and the angels who liberated the Apostles Peter and Paul from prison.

However, it makes only two references to "archangels." They are in Jude 9 where Michael is an archangel and in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, where the "voice of an archangel" will be heard at the return of Christ.

The Roman Catholic Church honours three archangels - Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.

Michael in the Hebrew language means "Who is like unto God?" or "Who is equal to God?" St. Michael has been depicted from earliest Christian times as a commander, who holds in his right hand a spear with which he attacks the devil, and in his left hand a green palm branch which symbolizes victory over evil.

Gabriel means "Man of God" or "Might of God." He is the herald of the mysteries of God, especially the Incarnation of God and all other mysteries related to it. He is depicted as holding a lighted lantern to symbolize that only God can shed light to the mysteries.

Raphael means "God's healing" or "God the Healer". He is mentioned in the book of Tobit (3:17; 12:15). Raphael is depicted leading Tobit with his right hand, and holding a physician's alabaster jar in his left hand.

The celebration of the feast of the three Archangels focuses on three aspects of God.

It reminds us that God is almighty and is victorious over evil. Also the mystery of life and death, and suffering and evil is in the hands of God who is the source of all mystery.

God is also our Healer who forgives us our sins and strengthens us with His love.

May God also strengthen our faith so that as we gather together in this Eucharist, we will also become aware of the presence of angels and archangels joining us to worship and praise the Lord.

Monday, September 27, 2010

26th Week, Ordinary Time, Tuesday, 28-09-10

Job 3:1-3, 11-17, 20-23 /  / Luke9:51-56

There is only so much of setback and suffering that we can tolerate and endure.

When we snap then we will let fly without reservations, our frustrations and our grievances.

What we heard in the 1st reading is not just Job complaining about the tragedies that had happened to him.

He was lamenting bitterly to the extent that he even cursed the day he was born.

Who would not empathize with him at that point in time.What happened to him was beyond comprehension.

It was only much later that Job would come to terms with God's plan and purpose for him.

In the gospel, the hotheaded disciples James and John wanted to call down fire from heaven to burn up the Samaritan village that rejected Jesus.

They probably did not understand why Jesus would not allow it and He even rebuked them.

Only much later would they understand and comprehend who Jesus was and what He came to do.

If Jesus Himself can show understanding and tolerance, then we too must learn from Him.

With understanding and tolerance, God will slowly reveal His plan and purpose for us.

But when we give in to our frustrations and grievances, we might just forfeit God's revelation to us.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

26th Week, Ordinary Time, Monday, 27-09-10

Job 1:6-22 / Luke 9:46-50

There are some things which we would certainly like to put on display.

Whether it is at home, or in school, or at the club-house, or even in the parish office, if we have any awards, or academic achievements, or medals, or trophies, we would certainly like to put them a special display.

In a way, all those items are mirrors. They show us how good we are and what we can do.

They are also indicators of how we fare with others, to see what we are and who we are in comparison with others.

In the gospel, the disciples were ranking themselves against each other, and that's when Jesus interjected.

The model of greatness which He gave them was a humble little child.

That was really a contradiction and a paradoxical model of what we are so used to when we talk about greatness.

Because we tend to associate greatness with power and might, and achievements and possessions.

But when these are taken away, is there anything else that we can be proud of or feel great about?

We can slowly understand a bit of what greatness is all about when Job in the 1st reading said this after all he had was taken away :

Naked I came from my mother's womb, naked I shall return. The Lord gave, the Lord has taken back. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Friday, September 24, 2010

25th Week, Ordinary Time, Saturday, 25-09-10

Ecclesiastes 11:9 - 12:8 / Luke 9:43-45

Generally speaking, as one gets older, one would also get wiser.

Having crossed many bridges in life and eaten as much salt as rice, the older one gets, the more experience one would have garnered.

From those experiences of life, one would attain some depth of wisdom.

So how the 1st reading would be understood depends on whether the reader or the listener is a young person or one who has the seniority of years.

Nonetheless the wisdom and the realities expressed in the 1st reading need to be constantly revisited in order to grasp it fully.

In the gospel, Jesus told His disciples to keep these words constantly in their minds : The Son of Man is going to be handed over into the powers of men.

But they did not understand it there and then. But later they would. And later they would also realise that what their Master went through, they too would have to go through.

Indeed the wisdom and experience of life tells us this - If there is no suffering to hollow out our hearts, there would be no room for joy.

Whether for the young or for those well on in years, that is the reality.

Choosing or hoping otherwise would be vanity of vanities.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

25th Week, Ordinary Time, Friday, 24-09-10

Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 / Luke 9:18-22

If we were asked to form a simple sentence with the word "time" in it, one of the easiest sentences could be : I have no time.

Maybe that is because we use it so often in our own busy lives.

Yes, we sigh and we lament that we are so busy and we don't have much time.

The 1st reading mentions the word "time" more than 28 times.

But its purpose is not to tell us whether we have time or not.

Rather all time is in God's hands and all He does is apt for its time.

Also, though God has permitted man to consider time in is wholeness, man cannot comprehend the work of God from beginning to end.

Nor could the disciples in the gospel passage comprehend fully who Jesus was, even though Peter seemed to get it correct, but it was just for that moment.

Indeed, there is a time for questions and a time for answers; a time for rejoicing and a time for suffering, a time for peace and a time for strife.

Yet, as the popular hymn goes : In His time. Yes, all happens in God's time. All that happens in our lives happen in God's time.

Having said all that, the reflection point is this : God will always have time for us ; do we have time for God?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

24th Week, Ordinary Time, Thursday, 23-09-10

Ecclesiastes 1:2-11 / Luke 9:7-9

It is said that seeing is believing. Generally speaking that may be true, especially when we have heard about something and then finally got to see it for ourselves with our own eyes.

Yet there may be other instances where seeing may not necessarily lead to believing.

In the gospel we heard that Herod was anxious to see Jesus; he had this longing to see who this Jesus was that he heard about.

But when Herod finally got to see Jesus during His passion, he didn't think much about who he was looking at.

Perhaps the pathetic state of being condemned led Herod to think that Jesus was just a shooting star that will fade off into the darkness.

Yet the 1st reading makes us reflect deeper on what we are seeing around us.

Images of the sun rising and setting, the wind blowing, the waters of the river flowing into the sea are telling us something about the reality of our lives.

Yet it is not about how much our eyes have seen or how much our ears have heard.

It is a matter of how much our hearts are filled - filled with mystery.

In the Eucharist we see things like bread and wine and we hear prayers.

May our hearts also be filled with the mystery of God's love.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

25th Week, Ordinary Time, Wednesday, 22-09-10

Proverbs 30:5-9 / Luke 9:1-6

I once read about the experiences of a missionary priest serving the indigenous tribes in the various outstations.

He and his companions were on their way to a certain outstation to celebrate Mass.

It began to rain heavily and they were not aware that a typhoon was on the way.

It delayed their journey but still they continued on their way. Part of the journey was to navigate down a steep muddy slope with the danger of overshooting and landing in the ravine.

So when they finally reached the village all wet and muddy, the village chief welcomed them and he said : Now we know how important is the Mass and the message of God's love is indeed real.

When Jesus sent forth His disciples to preach the Good News, there were no textbooks or audio-visual aids or any methodology or pedagogy.

Jesus sent them forth with bare minimum. But their message was in the stories and experiences of their lives.

That would be enough to tell others about the Good News.

After all the Bible is also made up of a large portion of stories.

The stories and experiences of our lives should already tell others what the Good News of the Kingdom of God is about.

Monday, September 20, 2010

St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist, Tuesday, 21-09-10

Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-13 / Matthew 9:9-13

Almost everyone likes to be with a saintly or holy person.

We just have to recall the throngs that crowd around the late Pope John Paul II or the late Mother Teresa and you will understand what I mean.

Yet somewhere in the lives of the saints or holy people, there was a moment of conversion. There was the experience of the divine.

The fact is that no one is born holy ; in fact everyone is born a sinner.

And no one likes to sit next to a sinner or even talk with one, especially despicable sinners.

But that was what Jesus did. He knew why He came into the world.

He came as a Saviour, a Saviour for sinners.

He didn't reject sinners or give up on them, no matter how despicable they may be.

Because He came to offer them the hope of a new life, just as He offered it to Matthew.

And Matthew turned from sinner to saint. We now call him St. Matthew.

And those whom we think are rotten sinners can become glorious saints, if only we can be Jesus to them.

May the celebration of the feast of St. Matthew the Apostle and Evangelist help us to understand why we are Christians.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

25th Week, Ordinary Time, Monday, 20-09-10

Proverbs 3:27-34 / Luke 8:16-18

It is not very comfortable to know that you are being watched.

Even the feeling that you are being watched can be quite creepy.

With the emphasis on security concerns, there are closed-circuit cameras in public as well as private buildings and in lift-lobbies and corridors.

Yet as much as we know that we are being watched, we do not know who is watching us.

But being Christians, we must accept the fact that we are being watched whether we like it or not.

Because people will watch us when they know we are Christians.

They will look at us to see if we live up to our identity as Christians.

Yet Jesus did not tell us to be prepared to be watched by others.

In fact He says that we should be like the light that makes people see.

As children of the Light and Truth, our thoughts, our words, our actions should be transparent, sincere and honest for all to see.

The 1st reading from the book of Proverbs gives directions in life that might sound rather basal and banal.

Yet these directions form the wisdom of life that ask us this basic question:

What will we choose to do if we know that no one is watching us?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

24th Week, Ordinary Time, Friday, 17-09-10

1 Corinthians 15:12-20 / Luke 8:1-3

From what we can see in the gospels, there is no doubt that women have an equal place as well as an equal importance in God's plan of salvation.

The women who accompanied Jesus on His mission, followed Him as a result of having experienced the saving love of God and its healing powers.

But more than just  physical and spiritual healing, they also experienced Jesus in a deeper way.

We may wonder how a woman with a dark and terrible past like Mary Magdalene, can actually be together in the company of Joanna, a woman of wealth and status.

Maybe here we can see how Jesus handles people with diverse backgrounds and personalities.

He lets them experience the Good News of salvation by healing them of their sins and other afflictions.

Then He keeps them focused on the Good News and on the Kingdom of God.

That was also what St.Paul was urging the Christians in Corinth. He told them to keep focused on the resurrection of Christ as the truth and the foundation of their faith.

It is the resurrection of Christ that is truly the Good News that Church proclaims.

It is also the resurrection of Christ that will keep us united in faith and love.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

24th Week, Ordinary TIme, Thursday, 16-09-10

1 Corinthians 15:1-11 / Luke 7:36-50

I read about this sharing from a member of the Alcoholic Anonymous and this is what that person said.

"Sometimes I wish that everyone became an alcoholic for a short time. It's like entering into a dark place and falling into a dark hole.

But when you hit rock-bottom, and then slowly climb back up, it changes you the way you wouldn't believe it.

Before you may have been proud; now you're humble because you know how vulnerable you are.

Before you may have been selfish; now you're loving because you know what life without love is like.

Before you may have been judgmental; now you are more forgiving because you know from bitter experience how easy it is to fail."

In the gospel, Jesus illustrated this point with Simon the Pharisee and the woman.

And there is another point : we may not be alcoholics but surely we are addicts - sin-addicts.

When we realize that, then we will know what it means to forgive and to be forgiven.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Our Lady of Sorrows, Wednesday, 15-09-10

Hebrews 5:7-9 / John 19:25-27 or Luke 2:33-35

We may wonder why the Church picks those moments of grief and sorrow and suffering and turns it into a celebration.

Yesterday we celebrated the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

Today we bring our hearts back to the foot of the Cross and enter into the grief and sorrow of our Lady.

Maybe there are certain things in life that can be learnt through sorrow and suffering.

The cross, a symbol of shame and death is turned by Christ into a symbol of life and glory.

As Mary stood by the cross in sorrow and pain, she was also changed and transformed.

In that moment of her greatest sorrow, Christ proclaimed Mary to be the Mother of the Church.

By dying on the cross, Christ gave life to us and gave Mary to be our Mother.

So when sorrow and suffering are put into the hands of God, something beautiful happens, something glorious happens.

When we meet with troubles or distress, or sorrow and suffering, let us go to Mary and stand with her at the foot of the cross.

Even when we sink into the depths of sorrow and suffering, God assures us this: a beautiful moment is about to happen, a glorious moment is about to begin.

Let us stay close to Mary and we will share in the glory of the cross.

Exaltation of the Holy Cross, Tuesday, 14-09-10

Numbers 21:4-9 / Philippians 2:6-11 / John 3:13-17

Death by crucifixion, to say the least, is barbaric. It was a cruel form of execution ending with a horrific death.

And we don't deny the fact that Jesus died that kind of cruel and horrible death.

But as St. Paul said in the 2nd reading, the crucifixion and death of Jesus is for us, the very essence of our faith and hope.

It is the sign of supreme love, the sign of the extent that love will be shown in order to save us.

But the cross as a sign of hope and love is a paradox.

Because a cruel and horrible death seems to be a contradiction of hope and love.

But in Jesus, the reality of death has become the symbol of hope and love.

When we see the arms stretched out and nailed to the cross, we see the arms of love stretched out to save us.

The cross of death has become for us the symbol of life and love.

In the cross, the sting of death is erased by the love of Jesus.

In the cross, God showed He loved the world so much that He gave His only Son to save us.

In the cross, we now know that God sent His Son into the world not to condemn the world, but rather through Him, we and all creation will be saved.

For that we must give thanks to God and carry the cross of life and love.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

24th Week, Ordinary Time, Monday, 13-09-10

1 Corinthians 11:17-26, 33 / Luke 7:1-10

The gift of faith is indeed a wonderful thing.

But when this gift of faith is shown by unexpected people or persons, then it is really amazing.

Such was the case with the centurion in the gospel passage.

Being a soldier and a pagan, he was not likely to be a prominent figure in the religious circles.

But when he showed his faith in Jesus, even Jesus was amazed - He was "astonished"!

But was there something else about the centurion besides his gift of faith? Could it also be that  his military discipline had an influence on him?

We can say that the centurion took Jesus seriously. He didn't take Jesus for granted. He believed in Jesus.

So if a pagan can have such an attitude towards Jesus, then what about Christians? What about us?

That was the question St. Paul asked the Corinthians regarding their attitudes during the celebration of the Lord's Supper.

They were taking the Lord's Supper for granted and even profaning the Eucharist.

We too could end up taking the Eucharist for granted when what we celebrate at Mass does not flow into our lives.

Let us remember that when we come for Mass and receive communion, we profess our faith in Jesus and we enter into the mystery of His death and also share in the glory of His resurrection.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

23rd Week, Ordinary Time, Saturday, 11-09-10

1 Corinthians 10:14-22 / Luke 6:43-49

In almost every religion, food is used in worship as a sign of communion with the deity.

That is why in the worship, some thing is offered for sacrifice.

It can be an animal, or some produce of the land, or some cooked food.

It is offered to the deity, and then the devotees partake of some of the food as a sign of communion with the deity.

Even in our Eucharist, the bread and wine are offered and through the consecration of the priest, we partake of the Body of Christ in communion.

In the 1st reading, St. Paul had to remind the Christians that they are indeed in communion with Christ as they partake of the breaking of bread in the Eucharist.

Yes, they had to be reminded because familiarity can be the death of reverence.

We too can forget that we are in communion with Christ and that Christ lives in our hearts.

From the words that come out of our hearts, we will know how aware we are of the presence of Christ in us.

As Jesus said in the gospel: For a man's words flow out of what fills his heart.

By our words, others will know whether we truly worship God or not.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

23rd Week, Ordinary Time, Friday, 10-09-10

1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-27 / Luke 6:39-42

Living in HDB flats (public housing) has its conveniences as well as its irritations.

One irritation, at least on the ears, is when someone decides to start practicing the piano, or the trumpet, or sings along with the karaoke.

Somehow the Do-Re-Me of the music scales, or an out-of-tune melody, or that annoying voice of the karaoke singing, pervades and invades our consciousness and subconsciousness.

At times, we wish we could be deaf for just that particular period of time.

But the intrusion on our ears should also open our eyes to see that practice and training are necessary disciplines for any kind of skill.

Even St. Paul noted in the 1st reading that athletes go into strict training just to win a prize that will eventually wither away.

One spiritual exercise that we ought to do at least twice a day is the examination of our conscience.

We can do it once in the middle of the day and another before we end the day.

As we give thanks to God for His blessings, we also ask God for the grace to see the planks in our own eyes that obstruct us from seeing the goodness of the people around us, and the lessons of love that life is teaching us.

So the next time we hear someone plonking away at the piano, or blaring away with the trumpet, or singing out of tune, let us see the perseverance and persistence.

May that also help to bring out the patience and understanding in ourselves.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

23rd Week, Ordinary Time, Thursday, 09-09-10

1 Corinthians 8:1-7, 11-13 / Luke 6:27-38

It is said that a trapped snake can get so angry and confused that it will bite anything, including itself.

We may find this puzzling or amazing, but that is a good image of what happens to us when we let anger and resentment control us.

We get trapped by our own anger and resentment and we end up biting and hurting ourselves.

When we get angry, we think we are getting even with our enemy.

The truth is that we are harming ourselves more than we are harming our enemy. (If our enemies were to know this, they would be satisfied just to keep irritating us, because we will do the rest of the damage)

So when Jesus said : "Love our enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who treat you badly", we are actually doing good to ourselves.

Because by following what Jesus teaches us, we free ourselves from anger and resentment, and we become open to the love and compassion of God.

It is a loving compassion that is given in full measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, that will turn our so-called enemies into our friends.

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, feast, Wednesday, 08-09-10

Micah 5:1-4 / Matthew 1:1-16, 18-23

The Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary was celebrated as early as from the seventh century.

From early sources there were stories of the birth of Mary, and from these sources we also learnt the names of Mary's parents, Joachim and Anne, as well as the tradition that the couple was childless until an angel appeared to Anne and told her that she would conceive.

The birth of Mary was also miraculous. She was conceived without sin as a special grace because God had selected her to become the mother of His Son.

Hence the birth of Mary is also closely connected with the feast of her Immaculate Conception which is celebrated on December 8.

The significance of the feast of the birth of Mary emphasizes that the birth of every person is a sign of hope and a renewal in faith in the God of life and love.

For Mary, God has chosen her and prepared her to be the channel and the instrument through which the Saviour Jesus Christ would come into the world.

So in celebrating Mary's birthday, we celebrate our faith and hope in God who is the source of all life and love.

We rejoice with Mary for the marvels that God has done for her and done through her.

Because through Mary, God sent us His only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Through Mary, we know that God is with us always.

For that, we rejoice and celebrate with Mary and together with her, we give thanks and glory to God.

Monday, September 6, 2010

23rd Week, Ordinary Time, Tuesday, 07-09-10

1 Corinthians 6:1-11 / Luke 6:12-19

Whenever there is a wrong that is done unto us, we will be thinking of ways of how to avenge ourselves and get even with the other party.

We might think of taking revenge and exact a punishment on the other party.

The options can be anything from embarking on a legal suit to some ugly tactics to cause the other person physical harm.

The 1st reading talks of a case, maybe just one out of many, in the Christian community in Corinth.

To resolve the case, it was brought to the civil law courts and left to their judgment.

But St. Paul criticized such an option and said that they should be ashamed that matters within the community should be brought up before the civil law courts.

To make matters worse, it was the members within the community who were wronging and cheating each other.

They simply forgot that they had been washed clean and sanctified and justified in Jesus through baptism.

They forgot that they were chosen by God to be His people and to be His instruments of holiness and forgiveness, of mercy and compassion.

Just as Jesus chose His twelve apostles, we are also chosen to be His own.

Let us always remember our Christian calling, so that we can be sent out to bring about forgiveness and healing.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

23rd Week, Ordinary Time, Monday, 06--09-10

1 Corinthians 5:1-8 / Luke 6:6-11

The term "common sense" may look like self-explanatory and it is the basis of all thinking and reasoning.

But when things get too muddled up and the thinking and reasoning becomes unclear, then we use another principle and that is "go back to basics"

In the gospel the scribes and Pharisees have devised a set of rules and regulations about the Sabbath and the Law that it had become so complex and confusing.

And they were watching Jesus to see where He would step out of line.

Yet Jesus took the situation and appealed to common sense by going back to basics.

So He asked the question: is it against the Law on the Sabbath to go good, or to do evil; to save life or to destroy it?

If the gospel passage showed how people can lose their common sense, then the 1st reading showed how even Christians can deteriorate into immoral and shameless creatures.

St. Paul warned that even a small amount of yeast is enough to leaven all the dough.

Yes, even a small sin is enough to make us lose our common sense and make us behave worse than animals.

Let us go back to basics and go back to Christ, our bread of life, who empowers us with sincerity and truth.

Then, everyday, we will be able to do good and give life to others.

Friday, September 3, 2010

22nd Week, Ordinary Time, Saturday, 04-09-10

1 Corinthians 4:6-15 / Luke 6:1-5

A maxim is a written set of principles or rules of conduct.

In the 1st reading, St. Paul used this word to state a simple principle or rule and that is "Keep to what is written".

Most probably he was referring to the Scriptures and to the written set of teachings that were handed to the Christian community at Corinth.

He made recourse to that maxim because the Christians at Corinth were beginning to interpret the teachings to their own convenience and advantage.

What was too demanding and affected them personally they would give leeway for themselves and go with the broadest possible options.

St. Paul wanted to bring them to their senses and to help them see the truth and the reality of their spiritual deterioration.

Yet in the gospel, it was the Pharisees who were harping on keeping to the Law of the Sabbath.

But their intention was to reinforce and propagate their religious fundamentalist ideas.

But it is not a question of rigidity or laxity when it comes to religious teachings.

Jesus came to teach us the Truth so that we will have freedom when we keep to His teachings.

In Jesus, we have the Truth who will lead us to the Way of Life.

Let that be our spiritual maxim.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

22nd Week, Ordinary Time, Friday, 03-09-10

1 Corinthians 4:1-5 / Luke 5:33-39

We would like to think that reaction and response might sound similar.

A reaction may be described as a reverse movement or tendency; an action in a reverse direction or manner, or an action in response to some influence, event, etc.

A response may just be an answer or reply, as in words or in some action.

So a reaction and a response do not have much of an obvious difference as such.

But we may think of reaction as going against, whereas we can look at response as connecting with.

In the gospel, the Pharisees and scribes seemed to be reacting to eating and drinking habits of the disciples of Jesus by comparing them to the disciplined habits of the disciples of John the Baptist.

In their reaction, they had already formed a judgment on the disciples of Jesus.

In the 1st reading, St.Paul urged the Christian community to refrain from premature judgment about anybody's role in the community.

Because premature judgment is like a reaction which goes against others and causes dissension and animosity.

But to be able to respond to the criticisms and judgments around us instead of reacting, then we must first make a renewed response to God's call to us.

God has entrusted us with His love. Our response to God is to be found worthy of His trust.

When we start responding to God's love within us, then we will also begin to connect with people around us in love.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

22nd Week, Ordinary Time, Thursday, 02-09-10

1 Corinthians 3:18-23 / Luke 5:1-11

Generally speaking, the people who have a keen sense of analytical judgment would have a good standing in the eyes of people.

They are able to give a logical and rational assessment of a risk or a gamble and they lay out the consequences clearly before our eyes.

We would deem these people as wise and so indeed they are.

But in the gospel, Peter would have thought of himself as a fool if he were to follow what Jesus told him to do.

He did reason out a little as to why it would be another futile effort but nonetheless he did as he was told.

Needless to say, the consequences were beyond imagination.

But a more astonishing consequence was that Peter was not only humbled but he even acknowledged  his sinfulness.

Our faith can be explained with reason and is also rationally sound. Even St. Peter would say in 1 Peter 3:15 "always have your answer ready for people who ask you the reason for the hope that you have".

Yet, we also proclaim the mystery of faith. It is a faith that goes beyond logic and rational and it is a leap of faith into mystery.

It is in this mystery of faith that we realise that we can be wise only in the ordinary sense of the word but it is God who is Wisdom.

So there is nothing to boast about in the wisdom of man.

God granted wisdom to man so that he can understand that besides logic and rational, there is also the greater mystery of faith.

Without this mystery of faith, then all the wisdom of man will end up in foolishness.