Friday, April 29, 2011

Easter Octave, Saturday, 30-04-11

Acts 4:13-21 / Mark 16:9-15    (2020)

To see and hear the truth, to encounter the truth, does not necessarily mean that a person is bound to believe in the truth.

Back in 1969 when man landed on the moon, some people thought that the transmissions from the space capsule were some kind of Hollywood movie.

But still the truth cannot be denied and the truth will prevail.

In the 1st reading, the rulers, elders, scribes and the Sanhedrin had seen that a miracle had indeed happened.

But their incredulity and obstinacy prevented them from admitting it and accepting it.

Even in the gospel, Jesus had to reproach His disciples for their incredulity and obstinacy.

But yet the truth cannot be denied or pushed aside, and the truth will prevail.

But the truth will prevail and be accepted only when the proclaimers of the truth bear witness to the truth with love.

The truth of the resurrection is that God loves Jesus and raised Him from the dead.

We too can overcome unbelief by bearing witness to the truth with love.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Easter Octave, Friday, 29-04-11

Acts 4:1-12 / John 21:1-14

Typically speaking, there are three meals a day - breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Of the three meals, dinner gives the most relaxing mood.

The day has come to an end, everyone is back home for this meal, it is a time not just to eat, but to relate, to relax and to recreate.

These moods were apparent during the Last Supper.

That was why when Jesus talked about betrayal, everyone was disturbed. It was not the occasion to talk about such things.

Dinner time, or supper time, is supposed to be a relaxing and enjoyable time.

On the other hand, breakfast signals the start of the day.

Even as we take breakfast, we are already thinking about the day ahead, the tasks at hand, the appointments, the schedules, etc.

We are all familiar with the Last Supper. The gospel of today tells us of another important meal Jesus had with His disciples - the Last Breakfast.

And indeed, it was a working breakfast, and the agenda is obvious - the catch of 153 fish to symbolize the nations of the world; the unbroken net to symbolize the universality of the Church; the meal of bread and fish to symbolize the Eucharist.

Like the disciples, we are also reminded of this agenda every time we come to the Eucharist.

The Risen Christ sits among us and gives Himself to us as our spiritual food.

May we in turn be the spiritual food for others.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Easter Octave, Thursday, 28-04-11

Acts 3:11-26 / Luke 24:35-48      (2019)

Today's readings underscore three interwoven aspects of our lives as Christians.

Firstly, there is the reality of the resurrection.

Jesus had to say quite a bit to convince His disciples of the reality of His resurrection - Touch me, I have flesh and bones. I am not a ghost. Yes I am risen. And I can even eat fish.

Secondly, there is the necessity of the cross. The Christ would have to suffer and die and then rise from the dead.

And thirdly, there is this urgency to proclaim repentance and forgiveness of sins.

However in life, that order somehow becomes a little different.

Firstly, we must feel the urgency for repentance of our sins, whether it is because of grave illness or some close shaves in life.

We must long for that freedom to be forgiven and to forgive others too.

But that urgency and longing can only come about when we face the cross.

Because the cross challenges us to turn away from sin, to empty out our selfishness  and to pour out our lives for others.

There is no other way to experience the reality of the resurrection except through the way of the cross.

So whenever we choose the cross, we choose what is now, and that is the life of freedom, and we also choose what is beyond, and that is the life of the resurrection.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter Octave, Wednesday, 27-04-11

Acts 3:1-10 / Lk 24:13-35

It might sound strange to hear this, but in order to recognize the Risen Christ, our eyes must be opened by Him.

It's just like what we heard in the gospel, that the eyes of the two disciples were opened at the breaking of bread and they recognized Jesus.

Even from the other gospel accounts, the Risen Christ was not immediately recognized.

To Mary Magdalene, He was a gardener. To the disciples in the upper room, He was a ghost. To the disciples at the lake of Galilee, He was a stranger on the shore. To the two disciples on the way to Emmaus, He was a lonely traveller.

But after their eyes were opened, the disciples saw every situation and every experience as a "risen" situation. In other words, every situation and experience was filled with the presence of the Risen Lord.

In the 1st reading, Peter and John saw that the crippled man needed more than just financial assistance. In fact they may have none to give him.

But out of the mouth of Peter came these precious words - I have neither silver or gold, but I will give you what I have: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, walk!

We have come and gathered at the altar of the Lord to hear His Word and to have our eyes opened again at the breaking of bread.

May our hearts burn with God's love and may we see the presence of the Risen Christ in every person, experience and situation.

And in the name of Jesus Christ our Risen Lord, let us walk on in faith and bring His love to others.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Tuesday within Easter Octave, 26-04-11

Acts 2:36-43 / John 20:11-18

The gospel began with Mary staying outside the tomb weeping.

The gospel ends with Mary of Magdala going forth to tell the disciples that she had seen the Lord.

In between, something very personal, something very intimate, happened to Mary.

She heard the Risen Lord call her by her name, and she responded in Hebrew, her mother tongue, a language that was most intimate to her.

Before that, she was a broken person - weeping, grieving and lost.

But the experience of the Risen Lord gave her back her identity and a mission; she was Mary of Magdala and she had seen the Lord.

Similarly, the Peter who spoke on the day of Pentecost was a different person from the one who denied Jesus three times and wept.

Something happens when people experience the Risen Lord. They regain their identity and find a new purpose and mission in life.

So when we feel that life has come to a standstill, our dreams are broken, and we have more fears than hopes, the Risen Lord comes to us.

He calls out to us just as He called Mary. Mary responded with her heart.

We can't be always standing outside the tomb of emptiness or the tombs of pleasure, wealth and power and sin.

The Risen Lord calls us by our names. Let us respond with our hearts so that our lives can have a meaning and a mission.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Monday within Easter Octave, 25-04-11

Acts 2:14, 22-33 / Matthew 28:8-15

For the past 6 weeks of the season of Lent and especially over the Holy Triduum, we had gone through a flurry of activities.

There were Stations of the Cross on Fridays, and fasting and abstinence and penance, and Reconciliation services in the parishes.

All these makes the season of Lent seem like a very busy time.

Now that the season of Easter is here, it seems that so much has been scaled down and there is nothing much to do.

Yes, there is actually nothing much to do. We are just like the disciples who also do not know what to do when they heard the news of the resurrection.

In fact the ones who were scurrying about trying to do something were the guards and the elders, as we heard in the gospel.

They had to do something to cover up the truth. But the truth can never be concealed or suppressed. And that is the power of the resurrection.

As we heard Peter say in the 1st reading - You killed Him, but God raised Him up life, freeing Him from the pangs of Hades, for it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.

The power of the resurrection will lead us to the truth. We just have to let go of our sinfulness and false securities and let God raise us up to life.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Holy Thursday 21-04-2011

Exodus 12:1-2, 1-8, 11-14/ 1 Corinthians 11:23-26/ John 13:1-15

Today we begin the Holy Triduum with the commemoration of the Lord’s Supper, which was actually the Institution of the Holy Eucharist.

Today is called Holy Thursday. Some of us may remember that it is also called Maundy Thursday.

That word “Maundy” is derived from the Latin word “mandatum” which means mandate.

It refers to the new commandment of love that Jesus gave to His apostles at the Last Supper.

Jesus also instituted the Holy Eucharist and He commanded His apostles to do likewise when He said: Do this in memory of me.

Yet the strange thing is that the gospel we have just heard did not mention anything about Jesus consecrating bread and wine into His body and blood.

Instead there is this intriguing account of Jesus washing the feet of His disciples.

The account began by saying that Jesus had always loved those who were His, and now He showed how perfect His love was.

He got up, took a towel, poured water into a basin and then washed His disciples’ feet.

So, how would washing His disciples’ feet show how great His love was?

Well, for one, let us remember that it was not just the Master washing His disciples’ feet.

It was God washing man’s feet!

It was literally an out-of-this-world act of humility.

Yes, it was certainly out of this world. Yet it was as downright as an act that was out of the will.

In other words, Jesus was willing to wash His disciples’ feet. He was willing and that’s what make it loving.

Similarly, He was willing to give us His body and blood, and that’s what makes the Eucharist so loving.

In the simple humble act of washing the feet, Jesus showed us what the Eucharist is all about and what our service should be like.

Indeed, Jesus has always loved us and He showed us how deep His love is and how willingly He loved us, even to accepting death on the cross.

So later, let us spend the rest of the evening with Jesus at the Altar of Repose.

Let us stay with Jesus in His agony in the garden.

Let us recall the words of Jesus: Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass me by. Nevertheless, let Your will be done, not mine.

Jesus willingly washed His disciples’ feet. Jesus willingly gave us His body and blood.

We only need to understand this – in order to do it lovingly, we must first do it willingly.

In short, we must be willingly to love. Jesus gave us the example and the mandate. Let us humbly and willingly do it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Holy Week, Wednesday, 20-04-11

Isaiah 50:4-9 / Matthew 26:14-25       (2019)

One of the most heart-wrenching statements that Jesus ever spoke was what we just heard in the gospel.

He said: I tell you most solemnly, one of you is about to betray me.

Of course, we know now what the disciples do not know then.

We know it was Judas who betrayed Jesus.

Yet Peter also denied Jesus and the other disciples fled when Jesus was arrested.

It was betrayal in different forms.

Yes, we know now what the disciples do not know then at  the Last Supper.

Yet as we gather for the Eucharist, we also do not know what lies ahead for us.

When will our trials come? Will we lose faith and betray Jesus?

The disciples all betrayed Jesus. Can we ever say that we didn't, or that we will not?

Yes, we all have sinned, and no one can ever say that he is better than the rest or that he is a lesser sinner.

But as much as all have sinned, all are also offered the grace of salvation.

In our times of weakness and temptation, let us turn to the Lord and ask for His help.

He will not abandon us, nor will He betray us.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Holy Week, Tuesday, 19-04-11

Isaiah 49:1-6 / John 13:21-33, 36-38      (2019)

To come together for a meal with others is not just about consuming food or giving opinions about the food that is prepared before us.

Every meal is not just a social event; it is time for bonding and the renewing and deepening of relationships and friendship.

Jesus was gathered with His disciples for a very important meal. It was the Passover meal, a sacred religious meal, which He would later turn it into the Last Supper.

So to hear that at that meal, Jesus was troubled of heart, we can immediately sense that something is not right.

And indeed things are not right at all. One of His disciples will betray Him and another will disown Him.

And the others have varying degrees of betrayal, to say the least.

But in spite of all this, Jesus still says: Now has the Son of Man been glorified.

So even in the hour of darkness, God will still reign supreme and glorified.

As we look around at our world, our surroundings, our lives, we may see quite a bit of mess or chaos.

Yet we must remember that the Lord called us by name in our mother's womb and He has formed us to be His servants, as we heard in the 1st reading.

And He will make us to be light of the nations so that God's salvation may reach the ends of the earth.

At this altar we remember that we are called through baptism. May this Eucharist also strengthen us and empower us to shine through the darkness so that God will be glorified.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Monday of Holy Week, 18-04-11

Isaiah 42:1-7 / John 12:1-11     (2017, 2020)

Much has been said about this attitude of materialism and consumerism, this urge to have more material things and having more than necessary.

With this attitude of materialism and consumerism, the side-effect is this "throw-away" mentality.

Anything that is spoilt or broken is to be thrown away. There is no point in repairing it.

Especially with electronic goods; it may make more economical sense to buy a new set than to repair something that has malfunctioned.

That "throw-away" mentality has, in a way, affected the way people are treated.

Those who are slow, dull, unproductive, don't look good and don't speak well, or a liability to society, they are often devalued, discounted and disconnected from the rest.

Not often are they given a second chance, simply because of this "throw-away" prejudice against them.

Certainly that's not the case with God. In the words of the 1st reading : He does not break the crushed reed, nor quench the wavering flame.

Indeed, every person is precious in the eyes of the Lord, and every act of love is treasured by Him.

In the gospel, Jesus accepted that act of love from Mary even though there was a criticism against it.

For Jesus, every act of love, big or small, is treasured by Him because it comes from the heart.

As we enter into the spirit of Holy Week, let us also deepen our spirit of love.

Every act of love is treasured by God as we offer it to Him.

Nothing that we offer Him is ever thrown away or discounted or devalued.

Friday, April 15, 2011

5th Week of Lent, Saturday, 16-04-11

Ezekiel 37:21-28 / John 11:45-56

Other than rhetoric questions, generally questions probe for answers and the question will remain until there is an answer.

Today's gospel ends with questions, and those questions will have to be answered
It was a questioning time for Jesus as His hour of reckoning approaches.

As He retreated to the countryside with His disciples, He could have just put those questions on hold. He could have decided to remain there.

He could have gone on with His work of healing and teaching in a quiet way, and those disturbing questions would slowly fade away with time.

Also many people would have supported Him and kept Him safe.

But Jesus knew that that was not the Father's will, so He moved out of His safety zone,  and it will be a move that will cost Him His life.

Hence whenever we talk about doing God's will, we have to remember that it involves risk.

It involves moving out of our safety zone and moving out of our comfort zone.

But it is only in moving out that God moves in.

It is only when we move out to face the questions of life that we will begin to see what God's will for us is.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

5th Week of Lent, Friday, 15-04-11

Jeremiah 20:10-13 / John 10:31-42

There are so many similarities between what the prophet Jeremiah of the 1st reading went through and what Jesus suffered.

Both had so many enemies disparaging against them. Both felt terror from every side and suffered abandonment and humiliation, even from their friends.

Jeremiah called upon God to be his vindicator and to deliver him from the hands of evil men. He even hoped to see the vengeance that God will inflict upon his enemies.

That is also often our reaction to those who do evil and wickedness against us. Whether aloud or under our breath, we will call retribution upon these wicked people.

Like Jeremiah, how else can we react to the ungratefulness for the good we did. How else can we react for being blamed and punished even when we are innocent?

We may not want to admit it, but the thirst for vengeance has a deep root in us.

Jesus also believed in vindication. He believed that His Father is with Him always and will eventually glorify Him.

Yet Jesus did not ask that vengeance be exacted on His enemies or those who abandoned and betrayed Him.

In fact He forgave His enemies and those who did Him wrong. He didn't even asked that His enemies be punished.

So there is a difference between vindication and vengeance.

We need to believe that in the end God will vindicate us i.e., God will reward us for our faith and perseverance.

There is no need to ask for vengeance. If we are vindicated, what good will there be of vengeance?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

5th Week of Lent, Thursday, 14-04-11

Genesis 17:3-9 / John 8:51-59      (2020)

Whenever we talk about promises, we may have this expectation that the fulfillment will be in our lifetime.

That is the obvious expectation, otherwise there would be nothing much to look forward to in the promises.

Such is the case with marriage - Till death do us part - and also the promises made in priesthood.

So, when promises are broken, how can there not be disappointments?

In the 1st reading, when God made a covenant with Abraham, let us remember that Abraham never got to see the fulfillment in his lifetime.

But his faith and trust in God made him see something more and understand something deeper.

In a word, it is eternity. Abraham was not expecting to see hordes and hordes of his descendants to appear before him in his lifetime. It was going to be something beyond the present.

It is with that perspective that we can understand what Jesus meant when He said: Whoever keeps my word will never see death.

That's a divine promise. It is a promise of eternity for eternity.

When we believe in that promise, then death is not a finality.

Rather, life will have the final word and it will be for eternity.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

5th Week of Lent, Wednesday, 13-04-11

Daniel 3:14-20, 24-25, 28 / John 8:31-42

I wonder if we know what the truth of life is? If someone were to ask you what the truth of life is, what would you say?

If I were to answer that question, my reply would be this: Life is difficult. And if I were asked to elaborate I would just simply say: That's the truth.

Doesn't sound like good news isn't it? And not that inspiring either.

So if we harbour this notion of having it easy and smooth going in life, then we can just dream on, because it is an impossible dream.

Even Jesus didn't have it easy at all. He is the Truth, yet He was challenged, ridiculed, persecuted and eventually executed. Well, the crucifixion was a form of slow execution.

So it was with the three young men in the 1st reading. In keeping their faith in God, they were pushed into the fiery furnace.

So the truth is that life is not only difficult, but there will also be the sharp flames of trials and the pain of the cross.

Yet it is with faith in God that we can accept and embrace this truth about life.

When we let Jesus, who is the Truth, make His home in us, then we will be able to walk on in life despite the flames of trials and difficulties.

Monday, April 11, 2011

5th Week of Lent, Tuesday, 12-04-11

Numbers 21:4-9 / John 8:21-30

For some kind of understanding between persons or between people to happen, there must be a common factor or a common denominator.

For e.g. in Singapore, where there are many races with their own languages and dialects, there must be an official language.

The official language not only facilitates communication, but also in many ways, the official language promotes understanding and racial harmony.

In the gospel, Jesus did not speak a different language to His people.

Yet, as much as they heard Him, they did not understand Him or even misunderstood Him.

Maybe before the last word left the lips of Jesus, the people were already thinking of what to refute or retort.

We all know that this can never lead to a sensible communication or to a deeper understanding.

We may know who Jesus is. But more than knowing about Him, Jesus wants us to understand Him from the heart.

We don't need to be bitten by fiery serpents to know that He loves us deeply and that He wants us to be persons of love too.

When we understand who Jesus is, we will also understand the meaning of love and what it means to be a loving person.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

5th Week of Lent, Monday, 11-04-11

Daniel 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62 / John 8:1-11     (2020)

One of our most common weakness is our tendency to participate in gossips, regardless of whether we are the initiator or the contributor.

Gossiping is already bad enough. But the damaging aspect of gossip is that judgement is also involved.

Whenever we gossip about someone, it is quite likely that the person's reputation is tarnished and his character is smeared.

Another aspect is that these kind of judgement can also literally cost a life, as we heard in the 1st reading.

The two elders bore false witness against Susanna but Daniel would want to have no part in it.

In the gospel, Jesus showed us what to do when we encounter a gossiping or slandering session.

His initial silence when asked for a judgement on the adulterous woman showed His one concern.

His concern was not so much for Himself as in how to get out of a sticky situation.

His concern was for the woman who had already suffered so much degradation and came to the point of almost losing her life.

So the next time before we initiate a gossip or even make our contribution, let us remember this scene of Jesus stooping down and writing in the sand in silence.

By our silence, others would know our opinions.

Friday, April 8, 2011

4th Week of Lent, Saturday, 09-04-11

Jeremiah 11:18-20 / John 7:40-52        (2020)

One of the most convenient ways to come to a conclusion is to make an assumption.

In logic an assumption is a proposition that is taken for granted, as if it were true based upon presupposition without preponderance of the facts.
So whether it is a correct or an incorrect assumption, we usually begin by saying "I think ..."

But when the assumption is wrong, then the conclusion is also wrong.

In today's gospel, there were a lot of assumptions made about Jesus and specifically about His identity.

In the midst of these assumptions, an unexpected challenge came from Nicodemus.

He challenged the people to give Jesus a hearing and to discover for themselves who Jesus was.

But the assumptions far outnumbered and eventually drowned out the challenge.

We too have our own assumptions about who Jesus is. We also need to verify our assumptions about Jesus.

It is about moving from "I think that Jesus loves me" to saying "I know that Jesus is loves me".

We also need to be careful about making assumptions. For as the 1st reading puts it : But You, Lord of hosts, who pronounce a just sentence, who probe the loins and heart.

Making assumptions are not just out of convenience; we may not want to face the facts that are within us.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

4th Week of Lent, Friday, 08-04-11

Wisdom 2:1, 12-22 / John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30     (2020)

When I was studying theology in the Seminary, difficult as it was, I thought that I understood it reasonably well.

That was what I thought until I went to the parish and I had to teach catechism to children and teenagers.

Then I realized how little I knew and how little I understood, especially if I had to use simple language to get it across.

If understanding a subject like theology is difficult, then trying to understand a person is certainly no less easier.

And it would be easier to just make assumptions and presumptions and subsequently make conclusions about a person. That would also save a lot of time and energy.

And that was what they did to Jesus. From the little they knew about Him, they immediately made their conclusions.

Anyway, for someone preaching the dangerous message of love and claiming that God is His Father, He better be silenced. That was their assumption, presumption and conclusion.

And Jesus was silenced by their conclusions. But for just three days.

So as the 1st reading puts it : The godless say to themselves, with their misguided reasoning.

We too could have said things about others with our misguided reasoning and silenced them with our conclusions.

We too could have said things about others that were based just on our assumptions and presumptions.

Maybe we need to ask ourselves why are we doing that so often.

When we realize how little we know about ourselves, then we will also realize how little we know about others, and also how little we know about God.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

4th Week of Lent, Thursday, 07-04-11

Exodus 32:7-14 / John 5:31-47   (2019)

The one thing that creates some problems for us and makes us feel aged is this thing called forgetfulness.

Forgetfulness afflicts everybody, and especially when we are no longer that young and we forget this and that, then we become the butt of jokes.

Anyway if our individual forgetfulness can give us problems, how about the forgetfulness of a nation?

Certainly it would be disastrous, as in the case of Israel.

It was not that long ago since they experienced the liberation from Egypt and the miraculous parting of the Red Sea.

But soon they forgot about the God who saved them and they created an idol in the image of an animal!

In fact, forgetfulness is too lame a word to be used here.

The word should be stupidity. The Israelites were stupid enough to forget, and for that they wondered in the desert for 40 years just to have their memory corrected.

The 40 days of Lent is indeed a time for us to recall and remember the saving acts of God and the wonderful graces He poured into our lives so that we won't forget the meaning of love and mercy.

It  is also a time to cleanse ourselves of other distractions that have come into our lives that make us lose focus and forget about God in our lives.

For it is to God alone that we must say : You alone are my God.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

4th Week of Lent, Wednesday, 06-04-11

Isaiah 49:8-15 / John 5:17-30

Whenever we talk about a relationship, we can assume it is between two persons.

Yet a relationship can only happen between two person when there is a depth of affection for each other.

In the 1st reading, we get an idea of the relationship that God wants to have with His people.

It is a relationship with the depth of the affection of a mother for her child at her breast or the child in her womb.

It is a relationship that is not just affectionate but also with a deep intimacy.

In the gospel, Jesus called God His Father. Jesus had a very affectionate and intimate term for that - Abba.

That depth of affection and intimacy with God His Father is also what Jesus wants to have with us.

Religion is about the worship of the divine.

But in Jesus, our worship of God is a relationship that is affectionate and intimate.

Yet our relationship with God must also turn our relationships with others into one that affectionate and intimate.

Just as God loves us, we too must love others with the same depth of love.

Monday, April 4, 2011

4th Week of Lent, Tuesday, 05-04-11

Ezekiel 47:1-9, 12 / John 5:1-3, 5-16     (2019)

Some questions are difficult to answer, especially when the answer required has to be a "Yes" or "No".

In answering these questions, we reveal quite a bit about ourselves, about our convictions, about our expectations.

In the gospel, when Jesus asked the sick man "Do you want to be well again?" his answer tells us about his convictions and his hope and maybe even about his faith.

He was convinced about the healing powers of the waters when it was disturbed, but yet at the same time, he did not expect to receive it, simply because no one helped him to get to the water in time.

So his answer was a typical "Yes, but, you know ...", and followed by the "Ifs" and the "Maybes".

Jesus is asking us to be convinced about what He can do for us. No Ifs or Buts or Maybes.

As we pray and reflect on the Word of God, the question of our faith in Jesus will come up again and again.

Yet the question of faith is to help us come to a slow but sure and certain conviction of who Jesus is on our lives.

We may hesitate, we may even stop for a while in our journey of faith because of our doubts.

But let us remember that Jesus won't give up on us.

He will certainly help us; we only need to give Him a convicted "Yes".

Sunday, April 3, 2011

4th Week of Lent, Monday, 04-04-11

Isaiah 65:17-21 / John 4:43-54    (2019 / 2020)

It is often easier to talk about concepts and ideas and rather than to talk about reality and experiences.

This may sound strange but for those of us who are in the teaching and presentation business, we find it easier to talk about lofty and high-flown concepts and ideas.

To talk about reality and the human experience would require some thinking and reflection in order to find the right expressions.

In the gospel, Jesus seemed to be talking about the lofty ideas of faith and belief rather than to give the people the signs that they need.

But the court official begged Him with these words : Come down, before my child dies.

But that phrase "come down" was not to tell Jesus to stop talking up there in the air.

Rather it was an open invitation for Jesus to come and reinforce the faith that the court official had in Jesus.

The court official too had to "come down" to the essentials of his faith and believe in Jesus, and to obey Jesus to go home and believe that his son will live.

Even the 1st reading of the promise of the new heavens and new earth are expressed in the human longing for joy and gladness.

The season of Lent is to help us to renew our faith in God.

A renewed faith in the power of Jesus can bring about in a renewed faith in the wonderful and amazing things that God will do for us.

A renewed faith combined with the powerful love of Jesus can indeed bring about forgiveness and healing, which is so much needed in our world.

Friday, April 1, 2011

3rd Week of Lent, Saturday, 02-04-11

Hosea 5:15 - 6:6 / Luke 18:9-14

When we review how our prayer life is going, we may be able to notice how our prayer life has changed in the way we pray.

We may have started off by reciting formula prayers like the Our Father and Hail Mary and the Rosary.

After a while we may feel we want to move on to a deep form of prayer and we will practice meditation on the Word of God and other forms of deeper prayer.

Then we might want to go further and pray to God in a spontaneous way and we start composing our own prayers.

Whatever form of prayer we might have adopted, what is essential is not so much what we say or do in prayer.

Rather it is the awareness in prayer; the awareness of who we are with.

When we realize who we are with in prayer, then we will also realize who we really are.

In the presence of God who is infinite love and mercy, we can only humbly admit that we are nothing without Him and that we constantly need His love and mercy.

Whatever words we might use in prayer and whatever thoughts we might have, let us always remember the prayer of the tax collector in the gospel: God, be merciful to me, a sinner.