Tuesday, November 30, 2010

1st Week of Advent, Wednesday, 01-12-10

Isaiah 25:6-10 / Matthew 15:29-37

There is something different about the mood of Advent; different from say the mood of Lent.

Advent brings about a longing and a waiting. In the festive sense, it may mean a longing to get the Christmas shopping over and done, and a waiting for the celebrations and the presents to begin.

But in the more important spiritual sense, the 1st reading creates in us a longing for the promise of God to be fulfilled, as well as for the day of rejoicing in the Lord to come.

These aspects are portrayed concretely as the Lord giving a banquet where there will be rich food and endless rejoicing.

Every tear will be wiped away and the people's hope of salvation is realized as they rejoice and feast with the Lord.

Yet this hope and longing must be translated into life's moments of difficulties and challenges.

In the gospel, the challenge was the shortage of food coupled with difficulty of the time and place.

Jesus again showed that our hope and longing for the Lord is not in vain.

God will provide and He will see us through.

He only wants us to trust in Him and to rejoice in His love for us.

Monday, November 29, 2010

St. Andrew, Apostle, 30-11-10

Romans 10:9-18 / Matthew 4:18-22

In the gospel account, we hear of Jesus calling St. Peter along with his brother St. Andrew.

But there was something else about St. Andrew.

In the gospel according to St. John, St. Andrew was initially a disciple of John the Baptist.

And when John the Baptist pointed out Jesus as the Lamb of God, Andrew in turn followed Him.

So we can say that St. Andrew was the first disciple of Jesus.

And it was St. Andrew who brought St. Peter to see Jesus, after telling him that he had found the Messiah.

We can learn much from St. Andrew, especially his attitude as a disciple.

After staying with Jesus and coming to know Him, St. Andrew did not keep this experience to himself, but shared it with his brother St.Peter.

So saints are not nicely sculptured statues, or just pretty colourful pictures on the stained-glass of churches.

They are common people who are opened to Jesus when He came into their lives, and after experiencing Him, they also shared Him with others, just like St. Andrew did.

Let us pray that we will continue to experience Jesus daily and like St. Andrew we will go forth to share Him with others.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

1st Week of Advent, Monday, 29-11-10

Isaiah 4:2-6 / Matthew 8:5-11

An average dictionary has got about 55,000 over entries with over 70,000 definitions.

That is a lot of words, with equally a lot of definitions.

Yet, despite their abundance, words still remain powerful.

A carefully chosen statement can save a situation, whereas a careless choice of words can ruin everything.

So if the pen is mightier than the sword, then the word is as powerful as the action.

In the gospel, the centurion recognized the authority of Jesus and the power of His word.

The centurion was himself a man of authority and so he believed that what Jesus says is as good as being done.

Jesus has said that we are forgiven and healed. He said that He wants to give us peace and joy.

What Jesus has said He has already done for us.

The season of Advent is to prepare us for the coming of Jesus.

May this season also help us realize what Jesus has already done for us.

Friday, November 26, 2010

34th Week, Ordinary Time, Saturday, 27-11-10

Apocalypse 22:1-7 / Luke 21:34-36

It is a general medical opinion that a lot of diseases like heart-attack, stroke, high-blood pressure and diabetes can be prevented and controlled.

It just requires us to be disciplined in our diet and exercise routines.

But when it comes to preventive measures, we don't usually see the concrete benefits of our vigilance.

Hence we slacken, and we say that another piece of fatty meat or missing another day of exercise won't do much harm.

Or we might even throw caution to the wind and say: let's enjoy now and suffer later.

Yet very often, it is while lying on the hospital bed in pain that we start regretting not taking care of our health and our body.

Similarly neither do we want to spend eternity in regret.

What Jesus is asking of us is to be alert and to be with Him in prayer and to have confidence in what He had promised us.

Jesus had promised us eternity with Him. It is by spending every moment with Jesus in our hearts that we will be prepared for eternity with Him.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

34th Week, Ordinary Time, Friday, 26-11-10

Apocalypse 20:1-4, 11 - 21:2 / Luke 21:29-33

If we had lived or spent time in a place or a country where there is a winter season, we will know how dreary it is.

It can be wet, cold, gloomy, and life comes to almost like a standstill.

But winter will slowly give way to spring, and spring is beautiful.

The sun would be shining but yet it is cool. Everything had a bright tinge to it, from the colour of the grass to the colour of the sky.

So winter does not have the last say in the cycle of the seasons and in the cycle of life.

Out of an apparent lifelessness comes about new life.

Jesus had been talking about the disturbing signs of the end times, signs of violence and distress.

But in today's gospel, He talks about yet another sign, the sign of the kingdom of God.

Hence the disturbing signs are inevitable, but they do not have the last say.

Because the last say belongs to the kingdom of God and to the glorious coming of Jesus.

So when we face a turmoil in life, let us know that the turmoil or distress do not have the last say and neither is it the deciding factor.

The deciding factor rests on our hope in Jesus, who will come and reveal Himself to us in the calm after the storm.

It is in that calm that we know the final word belongs to Jesus.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

34th Week, Ordinary Time, Thursday, 25-11-10

Apocalypse 18:1-2, 21-23; 19:1-3, 9 / Luke21:20-28

No one likes to face a disturbing and distressful time. Even just thinking about it makes us uneasy and anxious.

Yet, if we do not have a good grip on our faith, we might just fall into the two-pronged trap of the devil.

This two-pronged trap is called deception and disappointment.

In the midst of trials and turbulent times, it is easy to be deceived by false promises of security and safety, and we may be disappointed when these securities and safety nets break and fail us and we begin to lose our faith in God.

Yet, in the midst of this fear and disappointment, Jesus comes to proclaim the Good News.

He tells us that we see disturbing and distressful things happening around us, that is a sign that the kingdom of God is approaching.

Even the 1st reading gives a similar portrayal - after the persecutions, those who suffered are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.

So let us overcome the deception and the disappointment of the evil one by asking the Lord to renew our hope and strengthen our faith.

Only in trusting in the Lord do we dare to look hopefully into the future and journey on in faith.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

34th Week, Ordinary Time, Wednesday, 24-11-10

Apocalypse 15:1-4 / Luke 21:12-19

When we read about the sufferings of Jesus in the gospels, we can see that he underwent three types of tortures.

The first was the scourging and that was to whip the accused 39 times (which was seldom needed) with leather straps that had lead ball-bearings at ends.

The purpose was to whip the person to within an inch of his death and then stop so that other forms of torture can continue.

The third torture was the crucifixion - put the cross on Jesus, march Him up to Calvary and then execute Him slowly.

Those where the soldiers' orders and they carried it out meticulously and mercilessly.

What was difficult to understand was the in-between torture.

The soldiers wanted to make fun of a half-dead Jesus.

The soldiers took off His clothes and put a robe on Him, put a crown of thorns on His head, put a stick on His hand and hailed Him "King of the Jews"

And then, they spat on Him. Spittle was not intended to hurt the body. It can't.

Spitting at a person is meant to degrade him and to insult his dignity. We can say it's a psychological torture.

By doing so the soldiers felt big by making Jesus look small.

Well, as Christians, we may be spared of physical torture, but we can be assured that we will have our share of the spittle.

It comes in form of gossips, back-biting, slandering, lying, accusations.

Oh yes, we have had our share and we have also retaliated with drop for drop.

But let us stop this vicious cycle of spitting at each other by heeding what Jesus told us in the gospel : Your endurance will win you your lives.

Others may spit at us, but we don't have to spit back.

Jesus didn't. In fact He endured the spittle all the way to the cross, and there He won life for us.

Monday, November 22, 2010

34th Week, Ordinary Time, Tuesday, 23-11-10

Apocalypse 14:14-19 / Luke 21:5-11

If we had paid some attention during our history class in school, we might have some recollection about the 7 Wonders of the ancient world.

But if we can't remember much of them, then it is quite alright because none of them have survived till now, except the great pyramids of Egypt.

But even that is danger of a slow deterioration coupled with the effects of pollution and other detrimental factors.

But what has appeared in their place are other wonders of the modern world.

So this tells us that everything is subject to the wear and tear of time, and nothing will last forever.

But the deeper reality is that the old gives way to the new. There is this constant progression of replacement.

A deeper reflection of what Jesus said in the gospel would lead us to see more than just a doomsday prediction or an end of the world prophecy.

Rather we will see that it is not the old world dying but a new world coming to birth.

God is constantly re-creating the world until His kingdom is established in the world.

But it must begin with the Church and with each individual who is called a Christian.

Sinfulness must eventually give way to holiness just as the old gives way to the new.

The greatest wonder of the world is the holiness of the Church and its members.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

34th Week, Ordinary Time, Monday, 22-11-10

Apocalypse 14:1-5 / Luke 21:1-4

Whenever the gospels mention about widows or orphans, the reference is to a group of vulnerable and defenseless people.

The society at that time was when the man of the house was the sole-bread winner, and the wife and the children were totally dependent on him.

To be a widow meant having to fend for herself and maybe even to depend on public charity, which was quite slow in coming.

In the gospel, Jesus used the offering of the widow as an occasion to teach about generosity.

The measure of generosity is not about how much is given but rather how much is left-over.

For the widow, after her offering to God, there was not much left-over, maybe almost nothing at all.

For that widow, she had given all that she could.

Jesus in turn would have to give everything He had, all He could give, just to save us.

Let us remember that generosity begets generosity and love begets love.

Let us be loving in our generosity and know that God always blesses our love and generosity.

Friday, November 19, 2010

33rd Week, Ordinary Time, Saturday, 20-11-10

Apocalypse 11:4-12 / Luke 20:27-40

When we talk about death and the after-life and heaven, we are obviously talking about matters  that are beyond human comprehension.

But at the same time, we also try to use human understanding and experience to describe the after-life and heaven.

So we will use terms like eternal rest, eternal joy and happiness, the heavenly banquet, in order to have an idea of what it is like.

But one of the most difficult topics to discuss is about relationships in the after-life.

What will happen to family relationships and spousal relationships and friendships in the after-life?

It is truly intriguing and we can speculate and wonder about the question that the Sadducees posed to Jesus.

But if we are going to speculate on that question and try to formulate possible answers, then we may have missed the point.

The important point is that in the after-life in heaven, everything is focused on God. Nothing else matters.

God is the God of life, for in God all are alive, and it is from Him that all will continue to draw life, even in the after-life.

Even on earth, it is the God of life that unites us together with His love.

So our relationships must be rooted in God who gives us the fullness of life and love.

Only in God will we be fully alive and our relationships will also be loving and life-giving.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

33rd Week, Ordinary Time, Friday, 19-11-10

Apocalypse 10:8-11 / Luke 19:45-48

One of the most difficult attitudes to counter, whether as a teenager or as an adult, is peer pressure.

If we want to stay in with the crowd, if we want to be accepted, if we don't want to be the odd-one out, then we have to give in to the peer pressure.

That might mean keeping silent and not doing anything even when we see injustice and oppression and corruption happening.

In the gospel, when Jesus walked into the Temple, He knew that there was already a price on His head.

It was a day that He should have played safe and keep cool and look away from the injustice and corruption happening in the Temple precincts.

But it was happening in the Temple, right there in His Father's house.

In cleansing the Temple, He incurred the wrath of those who were already against Him.

Not only did Jesus just drove out the injustice and corruption from the holy place, He restored the Temple to its dignity.

The people coming to offer sacrifice in the Temple would then experience the life-giving presence of God and come to know God's love for them.

May the life-giving love of God also cleanse the temple in our hearts as we participate in this Eucharist.

May it also give us the courage to confront injustice and corruption and to live our lives in freedom and with the dignity as God's children.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

33rd Week, Ordinary Time, Thursday, 18-11-10

Apocalypse 5:1-10 / Luke 19:41-44

The gospels mentioned of two occasions that Jesus shed tears.

One was one when His good friend Lazarus died. The other was what we just heard in the gospel.

Indeed, Jesus had every reason to shed tears over Jerusalem.

In the year 70AD, the city was destroyed and Temple was razed to the ground when the revolting Jews were crushed by the Roman army.

All because the message of Jesus, the message of peace did not sink into their hearts.

They did not heed the signs that God gave them.

As for us, we too can avoid impending danger and even tragedy if we look clearly at the signs in our lives.

If we do not heed the signs that God is giving us to enter into a deeper relationship with Him in prayer and to live a life of love and peace, then we are making ourselves prone to the danger and the tragedy of sin.

Let us ask God to enlighten us so as to heed the signs from God that we see around us.

When we understand the message of love and peace, then there will be no more tears.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

33rd Week, Ordinary Time, Wednesday, 17-11-10

Apocalypse 4:1-13 / Luke 19:11-28

Any shrewd person who listens to today's gospel parable will certainly have some questions to ask.

Questions like : Why must that servant be punished for not making more money out of that one pound? Anyhow, the master should be happy enough to get his money back isn't it?

Well, from the logical point of view, yes.

But if we apply this premise to our lives and to our dealings with others, then this world would be a very selfish place.

Because we will become very calculative and ask questions like: why must I waste my time for the benefit of others, or why must I be generous to others..

But let us remember that what we have, be it our time, our resources, our money, all that we have, is a gift from God.

And if gifts are not shared, then this world would indeed be a very poor and sad place.

And if gifts are not shared and used, then those gifts will also deteriorate and be wasted.

So in whatever we have been called to do, let us do it joyfully, because God always blesses a joyful and self-giving servant.

Monday, November 15, 2010

33rd Week, Ordinary Time, Tuesday, 16-11-10

Apocalypse 3:1-6, 14-22 / Luke 19:1-10

One of the famous religious paintings is by William Holman Hunt. It is called the "The Light of the world".

It was an allegorical painting that represented Jesus carrying a lantern and knocking on a long unopened door that had  overgrown weeds.

It represented what the Lord was saying in the 1st reading: Look, I am standing at the door and knocking; if one of you hears me calling, and opens the door, I will come in to share his meal, side by side with him.

The door in the painting has no handle, and can therefore be opened only from the inside, and the night scene represented the need for light.

Yet Jesus is carrying the lantern and persists in knocking on the door.

He knows that the door of the human heart will eventually open to him.

The tax-collector Zacchaeus in the gospel was one example of the door of the heart opening to the light of Christ.

Let us also persist in praying for ourselves and for those in need of conversion and salvation.

The persistent knocking of Jesus and the light of His love, coupled with our fervent prayers will open the hardest of hearts.

The reason why Jesus came is to knock on our hearts and to seek out and save what was lost.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

33nd Week, Ordinary Time, Monday, 15-11-10

Apocalypse 1:1-4 - 2:1-5 / Luke 18:35-43

There is a phrase which we use to express a sincere empathy and compassion for a person.

We would say : you have got to be in his shoes to know what he is going through.

To be really in someone's shoes is to feel how he feels, to see how he sees things as well as to understand his thoughts.

For the blind man in today's gospel, he saw nothing other than to bring his needs before Jesus.

He just needed Jesus to listen to him and understand how he felt about life and how he longed for sight.

Jesus asked the blind man this question : What do you want me to do for you?

If Jesus were to ask us that same question, what would be our immediate response?

If we have to think awhile for an answer or have to make a choice of several options, then we may not be desperately needing Jesus, as the blind man needed him.

So if Jesus were to ask us that question let us ask that we love Him more and more.

In the first reading, the Lord had a complaint against the church of Ephesus.

He said that they have less love now than they used to.

May our only prayer request to Jesus is that we will love Him more and more everyday.

Friday, November 12, 2010

32nd Week, Ordinary Time, Saturday, 13-11-10

3 John 5-8 / Luke 18:1-8

There is no doubt that God listens to our prayers. And God would certainly pay attention to earnest and persevering prayers.

And if we think that God is not answering our prayers, then maybe we have to see what our prayers are all about.

In other words, we have to listen to our own prayers, for a change.

Prayer is not about trying to change God's mind or God's will.

It would be rather absurd to assume that if we say long and persistent prayers, God would finally give in and grant us what we want.

That would make prayer look like some kind of magical method that can make God do something.

Rather prayer is an act of faith and it is the source of strength which will empower us.

It is with prayer that we will continue to strive for justice and work for peace.

It may mean that we come to realize and accept that some things cannot be changed immediately.

It may also mean that we put our trust in God and believe that with God, nothing is impossible.

Whatever it may be, our earnest and persistent prayer should bring our wills to conform to God's will.

It is God's will "to see justice done, and done speedily".

Thursday, November 11, 2010

32nd Week, Ordinary Time, Friday, 12-11-10

2 John 4-9 / Luke 17:26-37

The "stand-by" state in electrical and electronic equipment like tv sets and dvd players and computers is interesting.

In that state, when the equipment is activated, it immediately jumps to its full operational capabilities without having to go through the start up process and other delays.

But it is also a state in which it uses a considerable amount of energy as compared when it is totally shut down.

For most of us, life is generally busy, but it is usually busy with monotony.

In other words, we are usually busy with the same stuff - work, chores, assignments, appointments.

After a while, we might just enter a shut-down state as in that we might just exist for function but may not have motivation.

Like Jesus said in the gospel, we just slide into the monotony of eating and drinking, buying and selling, and we shut down to life and meaning.

Yet the 1st reading reminds us to watch ourselves because there are many deceivers in the world.

Hence we must stand firm in faith and stand-by with truth in our hearts, and prepare to witness to the truth. All the time!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

32nd Week, Ordinary Time, Thursday, 11-11-10

Philemon 7-20 / Luke 17:20-25

Human beings have this tendency to want to have a hold on the future in order to have a sense of security.

That is why fortune-telling and horoscopes etc. is such an attractive and thriving business.

Yet we may get so engrossed about wanting to know the future that we lose hold of the present.

We forget to live in the here and now.

That is what Jesus meant when He said that "the kingdom of God is among you".

In other words, the kingdom of God is in the present and in the now!

God wants to be present in the NOW of our lives and it is in the here and now that He reveals Himself to us.

Our present may not look that nice and rosy.

We may be struggling in our difficulties and worries and anxieties.

Just like in the 1st reading, the slave Onesimus was worried about his future because St. Paul was sending him back to his former master Philemon.

Yet it is in those difficulties and struggles that God reveals to us how much He loves us.

He even let His only Son Jesus suffer grievously and die for us.

In Jesus we are assured that God will always be with us. As it was, as it is  and as it always will be.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

32nd Week, Ordinary Time, Wednesday, 10-11-10

Titus 3:1-7 / Luke 17:11-19

A story has it that two angels were sent to collect the prayer petitions of the people.

One angel was given a basket to collect the people's needs and requests, and the other angel was given a basket to collect the thanksgivings.

On their way back to heaven, the angel carrying the basket of the people's needs and requests was full and over-flowing, whereas the the angel carrying the people's thanksgiving was light and there were few thanksgiving.

That is not surprising isn't it. By and large, people are more concerned with their needs rather than the need to give thanks.

In the gospel, even Jesus expressed disappointment that those who were healed of the dreaded disease of leprosy did not come to give thanks.

In the 1st reading St. Paul instructed Titus to remind his people that was their duty to be obedient to the officials and representatives of the government.

If that is considered a Christian duty, then all the more it is an obligation and also the very essence of being Christian to give thanks to God for His blessings and graces.

What more will God not give since He had already given His only Son?

We only need to give a basket-full of thanks and praise to God.

In turn we will receive blessing upon blessing, grace upon grace.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Dedication of Lateran Basilica, Tuesday, 09-11-10

Ezekiel 47:1-2, 8-9, 12 / 1 Cor3:9-11, 16-17 / John 2:13-22

The Lateran Basilica was built around 324 by the Roman emperor Constantine, and it is the cathedral of the city of Rome.

The Lateran Basilica is the official church of the Pope since the 4th century.

It is also called the "Mother of all churches" and on Holy Thursday, the Pope and priests will celebrate the Eucharist there.

This feast reminds us that we belong to the universal church, with Christ as the Head of the Church which is His Body.

Hence we acknowledge that the Church is not just a building, but the body of believers who are scattered all over the world, yet spiritually united in the body of Christ.

We also acknowledge, in the celebration of this feast, that the Pope is the head of the Church and we pledge our obedience to him and our unity with the whole Church.

May we continue to be united as Church and as the Body of Christ and be a sign of salvation to the world.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

32nd Week, Ordinary Time, Monday, 08-11-10

Titus 1:1-9 / Luke 17:1-6

People who are given the responsibility of teaching and formation have an honorable as well as a tremendous task on their shoulders.

But the fundamental requirement is that they have to practice what they preach.

Whether as parents or teachers or priests, they form and teach others by their example, especially the young.

The young may not listen to words of wisdom but they will surely observe our actions and examples.

It is by our actions and examples that they form their character and habits in life.

So it is from us adults that the young learn how to forgive or how to be revengeful, how to love or how to hate, how to be generous or how to be selfish.

If the young learn from us either the good or the bad, then we as Christians can also be a source of inspiration or a source of scandal to others.

For that reason St. Paul urged Titus in the 1st reading to choose church leaders carefully.

It is by their life and example that they lead and teach.

In the gospel Jesus also told us to watch ourselves and to be aware of our actions and examples.

We also have to realize that our actions and examples flow from our hearts.

So if Jesus is not there then our actions and examples are leading others nowhere.

Friday, November 5, 2010

31st Week, Ordinary Time, Saturday, 06-11-10

Philippians 4:10-19 / Luke 16:9-13

It is often said that "Money is the root of all evil". A more accurate expression may be: "For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil.

When it comes to the topic of money, there are no shortage of quotes, but endless worries over its shortage.

Interestingly enough, today's readings also talk about money.

St. Paul talked about money, not about its shortage but rather about how he managed.

So whether in poverty or in plenty, full or empty stomach, there was nothing he cannot master with the help of the One who gave him strength.

Jesus also warned us in today's gospel that if we cannot be trusted with money, then who will trust us with genuine riches.

But the lure of money is just one in the array of temptations and pitfalls that people have fell into.

At the core in the discussion of money and its use and abuse is the virtue of honesty and integrity.

At the core of the teaching of Jesus in today's gospel is the question of who and what is our master.

That question will be answered when we show that we can be trusted in small things.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

31st Week, Oridnary Time, Friday, 05-11-10

Philippians 3:17 - 4:1 / Luke 16:1-8

Many a times, some of our best ideas come about out of a desperate situation.

It takes some urgency or emergency to get us to try out ideas and options that we would not have considered before.

Such was the case with the dishonest steward in today's gospel.

This parable can be difficult to interpret and understand if we don't understand the point that Jesus was making.

Jesus was focusing on the urgency and energy with which a worldly man secures his future when it is in jeopardy.

Jesus is even urging us, the children of light, to have an urgency when it comes to our eternal future.

Otherwise, as the 1st reading puts it, we might end up making food into our god and can even be proud of something that we ought to be shameful and worldly things are the only important things to us.

St. Paul urged his people not to give way but to remain faithful to the Lord.

Hence the urgency is not to get into a flurry of activity to prepare for our eternal destiny.

Rather the urgency is in the ordinary and the monotony of life.

When we can be faithful to the Lord in the small ordinary things and remain focused on the Lord despite the monotony of life, then we are prepared for eternal life.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

31st Week, Ordinary Time, Thursday, 04-11-10

Philippians 3:3-8 / Luke 15:1-10

Whenever we are at a supermarket or a shopping center, we may come across this announcement over the public announcement system - that a child was found wondering and the parents are to come and claim back their child.

Usually it is when the child is found wondering around and brought to public attention that the parents then realize that their child was missing.

In the gospel, we hear of a different kind of announcement.

It is an announcement of a search. It is a search for an object or a thing that may seem quite unimportant or of little value, and that it can even be written off.

But it is a different kind of search. It is God who is doing the searching and He is searching for those who have lost their way in life.

They are lost and yet they are considered as unimportant and of little value and can even be written off.

To think that God is frantically searching for such persons is indeed very mind-boggling, because we usually wouldn't be bothered about such persons.

We can even say that God is desperately searching for the lost.

Yet that is the God that we believe in because it is revealed to us that God loves us with an everlasting love and He wants us to be in the joy of His love.

To put it simply, God cares about each one of us and loves us dearly and He wants us to remain with Him always.

Just as we search desperately and frantically when we lose our wallets and hand-phones, God searches for us when we go astray and get lost in the way of life.

No one is unimportant or of no value to God. Because each person is created unique and is special in the eyes of God.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

31st Week, Ordinary Time, Wednesday, 03-11-10

Ephesians 2:12-18 / Luke 14:25-33

There is a story about two university professors who were talking about their students.

One professor said that he had about 200 students who attend his lectures.

The other professor thought for a while and then he said : I also have about 200 people who attend my lectures, but I don't know how many of them are really my students.

We might think - how can one listen to the lecturer and not be his student? What is the difference anyway?

That's the same question that Jesus is asking us also : What is the difference between a follower and a disciple?

Great crowds followed Jesus wherever He went, but He was not too concerned about the  number of followers.

He was more concerned about who really wanted to be His disciple.

To be a disciple of Jesus means to learn from Him, to give up one's will for His and to have Him as the sole master of his life.

In the 1st reading St.Paul gave various aspects of discipleship.

One is to do all that has to be done without complaining or arguing so as to remain innocent and genuine children of God.

For St. Paul, he would even be willing and happy to shed his blood for the faith of his people.

Yes,  the price of discipleship had to be carefully considered.

Because either Jesus is Master of our all, or He is not master at all.

Monday, November 1, 2010

All Souls Day, Tuesday, 02-11-10

Today, or maybe some time along the week, we will make it a point to go to the cemetery or the columbarium to pay a visit to our departed relatives and loved ones.

Paying a visit to the departed in the cemetery or at the columbarium is a solemn occasion.

We will say a prayer and if possible light some candles at the tomb.

I will be bringing my parents to visit my grandparents' niche later on in the day.

My parents will do what they did every year when they visit my grandparents' niche.

They will say a prayer and then they will take turns to stand before my grandparents niche to say something personal.

It is amazing and edifying just  to see my parents talking to my grandparents just like as if they were alive and present before them.

That was profound for me because even in death, the bond of relationship is not broken or forgotten.

In death there is a separation but in faith there is a connection.

Because we believe that God is God not of the dead but of the living.

So the departed are alive in God and if they are still in a state of purification in Purgatory then the Church teaches us that we can help them with our prayers and Mass offerings and other works of faith.

Indeed praying for the departed is a profound act of faith because it expresses our faith in eternal life and in the saving love of God.