Tuesday, May 31, 2011

6th Week of Easter, Wednesday, 01-06-11

Acts 17:15, 22 - 18:1 / John 16:12-15

We certainly don't find it a pleasure, neither would we feel comfortable to speak before a gathering of people which comprises of intellectuals, politicians, lawyers and doctors.

That's because we are expected to use proper language and to be able to speak well and of course to know what we are talking about.

Yet we have to applaud St. Paul when we heard from the 1st reading that he addressed a council of philosophers in Athens.

For a Jew to step into Greek territory and talk about religion using philosophical language was indeed daring.

Yet St. Paul did not use sophisticated philosophical language in his presentation.

Rather he had recourse to natural law and he talked about the God in whom we live and move and have our being.

He even quoted a Greek philosopher who made this statement : "We are all his children".

In St. Paul we see the words of Jesus in today's gospel being actualized and even realized.

Indeed the Spirit will lead us to the complete truth, the truth that will only make sense when we walk the way of Christ.

Let us pray the Spirit will guide us and strengthen us to walk the way of Christ so that our lives will always be lived in truth and in love.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Visitation of the BVM, Tuesday, 31-05-11

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

The beginnings of this feast came about in the early 13th century at the height of the Marian devotion.

This feast was later extended to the entire Church in 1389 with the hope that Christ and His Mother would visit the Church and put an end to the schisms and divisions which were tearing up the Church of Christ.

Yet this feast is as relevant and important now as it was then and as it was throughout the centuries.

And this feast is as relevant and important for the Church as well as for each of us.

Just as the Church faced many dark and terrible moments in her history, we too face many trials and challenges as we strive to live out our faith.

At times the distress, the pain and the hurt may be a bit too unbearable and our faith is shaken and our hope wavers and our love runs dry.

Yet, the Lord promised to be our help and our strength.

In the gospel, Elizabeth said of Mary: Blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.

This feast is a celebration of God who is our salvation.

That's why the 1st reading says: Shout for joy, shout aloud; rejoice, exult with all your heart.

Yes, the Mother of God comes with the Lord to visit His people in their need.

The Mother of God will also come with the Lord Jesus to visit us in our need and especially in our time of distress.

The Lord has done great things for Mary. The Lord will also do great things for us.

For that we only need to rejoice and shout for joy and give thanks to the Lord our Saviour

Sunday, May 29, 2011

6th Week of Easter, Monday, 30-05-11

Acts 16:11-15 / John 15:26-16:4

If we had been in a courtroom or at least seen courtroom dramas on tv and movies, then we may know what it means to be a witness.

To stand as a witness means that one is most likely to be cross-examined, or grilled, either by the prosecution or by the defense attorneys.

To be a witness, there are two necessary elements: to know the truth, and to speak the truth.

Jesus calls us to be His witnesses.

To be His witnesses, there are two necessary elements: to know Jesus and His teachings, and also to have a deep relationship with Him.

It is from this knowledge and relationship that we witness to Jesus with our words and actions.

We witness to Jesus in a world that may not know who Jesus is, and to a world that thinks it can do without God.

In a world that is filled with hostility and disregard for human dignity, our witnessing to Jesus is vital and necessary.

Just as we heard in the 1st reading, the Lord opened the heart of Lydia to the preaching of Paul, we too must continue our witnessing so that the Lord can open more hearts.

Friday, May 27, 2011

5th Week of Easter, Saturday, 28-05-11

Acts 16:1-10 / John 15:18-21

It might be interesting to know what non-Catholics think about us Catholics.

I wonder if they think of us as rigid and ritualistic religious traditionalists, or that we are a loving and caring people who show our religious beliefs by living holy lives.

Though the opinions and views of non-Catholics about Catholics are not critically important, yet they certainly give us a view of ourselves that we can't see or maybe don't want to see.

Whatever the case may be, we must constantly remember that we are chosen to be God's holy people.

Yes, we are called and set apart to walk and live in God's ways, especially when we are faced with the attraction and the lucrative ways of the world.

Yet, we have a choice - the way of God, or the way of the world.

Jesus made a choice for the way of God and to save us when He faced the cross.

May we also make a choice for Jesus and walk in the way of God, so that others will truly see us as a loving and a caring God-fearing people.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

5th Week of Easter, Friday, 27-05-11

Acts 15:22-31 / John 15:12-17
Everyday we are faced with decisions, regardless of the importance of it.

It may be deciding whether to leave the clothes out to dry since the weather is so hot and humid, to making a life-long decision of entering into marriage.

But the question is how do we come to those decisions? What is involved in the decision-making process?

In the 1st reading, we heard that the apostles and elders sent delegates to Antioch to announce the decision they have made.

In that letter, we heard how they came to that decision. It was clearly stated as this : "It has been decided by the Holy Spirit and by ourselves ... "

So it was the Holy Spirit who inspired and directed the decisions and the apostles and elders prayed and discerned before making the decision.

In the gospel, Jesus told us that the Father will give us anything we ask in His name.

What else do we need to ask for, other than we be sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit in our hearts when we are making decisions.

With the guidence of the Holy Spirit, we can be assured that our decisions will bear fruit that will last.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

5th Week of Easter, Thursday, 26-05-11

Acts 15:7-21 / John 15:9-11 The human heart usually has a soft spot for those who are left aside or neglected along the way or who are always the losers in life.

There is this story of a young girl who showed her grandfather her collection of dolls.

When he asked her which doll she liked the most, she picked up a miserable-looking tattered doll.

When he asked her why, she replied - Because this one needs my love most, Nobody else would like it.

Yes, the human heart has a soft spot for the neglected, those left behind, the underdogs and those who don't seem to make it anywhere in life.

If such is the human heart, then what about the heart of God?

God loves us, and He loves us all  the more because we are sinners.

We don't deserve God's love but yet God knows we need it.

The challenge is to remain in God's love.

In the gospel, Jesus tells us that we remain in God's love by keeping His commandment of love.

In the 1st reading, we heard how Peter and James had recourse to this commandment of love as they resolved the problem of the Gentile Christians in the early Church.

Yes, we remain in God's love by keeping His commandment of love. That will soften our hearts so that we can be filled with joy.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

5th Week of Easter, Wednesday, 25-05-11

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

One of the most difficult things to change in life is our habits.

Our habits may range from the way we put on a shirt, to the way we talk, to the way we come to church and select the pew we sit on.

It is amazing to think that how much of repetition goes into an act that makes it become a habit.

And from a habit, we may develop a notion and say that that's the way we have always done it, and even to the extent of making a slogan out of it e.g. "That's the way it should be done!"

Such a situation happened even in the early Church when Jewish Christians tried to impose Jewish religious practices like circumcision on the Gentile Christians, as we heard in the 1st reading.

It was simply a case of traditional habits and conservative slogans trying to make an impact.

And if it happens in a religion, it is simply because it is already happening in our lives; it is merely a spill-over.

Actually in life, there are not that many absolutes.

Even habits can change, even principles can change.

But in order to change so as to live a meaningful and fruitful life, there is one absolute that we must adhere to.

We must remain in Jesus and let His living Word slowly prune our minds and our hearts of rigid habits and notions that create obstacles in our lives and for others.

Without Jesus, and cut off from Him, we can't change for any better.

Monday, May 23, 2011

5th Week of Easter, Tuesday, 24-05-11

Acts 14:19-28 / John 14:17-31

Blessed Charles de Foucauld (1858-1916) was a French army officer in Algeria and Tunisia during the era of the French colonial expansionism in North Africa.

But he later left the army to live alone in the vast N. African desert, where he once had his military expeditions.

He wanted to find peace and strangely enough he found peace in that vast barren land.

He then hoped to spread that peace to those he met in that place.

On his clothes he drew an image of a heart with a cross on it.

When the locals asked him what it meant, he explained to them the difference between a restless heart and a peaceful heart; he spoke of a peace that the world cannot give, a peace that can only be found in Jesus.

And they seemed to understand what he was talking about.

One of the fruits of the peace that Jesus gives is a heart that is freed from fear and worry and anxiety.

In the 1st reading we heard how Paul and Barnabas went on their missionary journeys and they put fresh hearts into the disciples, encouraging them to persevere in the faith.

So although they experienced many hardships, with Paul being stoned etc., their hearts were at peace.

We too have our share of hardships. But we too can have hearts of peace in the face of hardships.

We don't have to go to the desert to find peace. Jesus has already given us His peace.

We only need to live our lives with the peace that is already in our hearts.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

5th Week of Easter, Monday, 23-05-11

Acts 14:5-18 / John 14:21-26

Mankind has made many great and remarkable achievements.

With the advancement of science and technology, mankind have even gone beyond our world and ventured into the great and vast universe.

Even in our world, mankind has developed machines to fly like birds in the air and swim like fishes in the seas and travel long distances over land.

Yet despite all these great and remarkable achievements, we seemed to be struggling with one thing.

We seemed to be struggling to live in peace and love.

So we may have conquered outer space, but we have yet to conquer inner space.

Maybe the problem is that we forget that our inner space belongs to God and God alone.

At times the temptation is so great that we want to become like gods and that's where trouble starts.

We must let God reclaim and restore that inner space in us and to make His home within us.

When God is at home in us, then we will be able to keep the commandment of love and live in peace with each other.

Friday, May 20, 2011

4th Week of Easter, Saturday, 21-05-11

Acts 13:44-52 / John 14:7-14

The Old Testament has this very strong sense of reverence for God.

In Exodus 33:18, when Moses asked God to let him see His face, God replied : I will not let you see My face, for no one can see My face and live.

Such was the awesome reverence and the awesome presence of God.

Having said that, what Jesus told Philip in the gospel was indeed an earthshaking statement - To have seen Me is to see the Father.

That was not only incredible and impossible for people at that time to accept,  it may also be incredible and impossible for people of the present time to accept.

Yet among the founders of the world's religions, no one has ever said what Jesus said in today's gospel.

Jesus also said something else more earthshaking and heart-pounding.

He said that He will live in those who believe in Him and those who believe in Him will perform great and wonderful works.

So do we dare to say to others : To see me is to see God!!!

Sounds incredible and impossible, but that is precisely what we are called to be; we are called to be living and visible signs of the holy presence of God.

If there is anything we are asking from God, then let it be this : Lord, when others see me, may they also be able to see You.

That might sound incredible, but with God, that is not impossible.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

4th Week of Easter, Friday, 20-05-11

Acts 13:26-33 / John 14:1-6

Many thoughts occupy our minds even as we come for Mass.

Some thoughts may be refreshing, other thoughts may cause some anxiety, other thoughts may be burdensome, yet others may be annoying.

Whatever it may be, as we come before the Lord in this Mass, let us place all these thoughts at the altar of the Lord.

Let us also listen with our hearts what the Lord wants to tell us. What does Jesus want to say to us?

We can be sure that God is speaking clearly to us in the 1st reading when St. Paul said this :

"We have come to tell you the Good News. It was to our ancestors that God made the promise but it is to us, their children, that He has fulfilled it, by raising Jesus from the dead."

The fundamental and essential thing in life is that when all is said and done, we can only rely on the promise Jesus made to us in the gospel - that He has prepared a place for us, so that where He is, we may be there too.

In all our hopes and joys, in all our griefs and anguish, may the promise of Jesus help us rise above the things of earth to the things above.

Let our thoughts be on always being with the Lord Jesus. Now and also for eternity.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

4th Week of Easter, Thursday, 19-05-11

Acts 13:13-35 / John 13:16-20

One of the potholes and pitfalls in human relationships is the disagreement in opinions that often lead to quarrels and even fights.

This often happens between superior and subordinates, between manager and worker, between parent and children, and the list goes on and on.

And because of this disagreement, there is so much unhappiness and that can make life quite miserable.

In the gospel, Jesus gave us a direction for happiness in life.

He said this: I tell you solemnly, no servant is greater than his master, no messenger is greater than the man who sent him. Now that you know this, happiness will be yours if you behave accordingly.

"Happiness will be yours if you behave accordingly". So what is meant by behaving accordingly?

In the most simple of terms, it means to be obedient.

Just as a servant is obedient to his master, and not to think that he is better or smarter than his master.

It is this kind of simple obedience that will bring about happiness in our lives because we know where we stand in life and we know that we must respect our elders and superiors.

It is also this kind of simple obedience that is required when it comes to our relationship with God.

It is in obeying God and doing His will that we will attain happiness in life.

God's will for us is as plain and as simple as this - to follow His Son Jesus, who emptied Himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.

So when we empty ourselves of our pride and humbly obey our elders and superiors, we will indeed be happy in life.

St. Matthias, Apostle, 14-05-11

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



Drawing lots to get someone to do a job can be seen as a simple and convenient and also fair way to make a choice.



But to draw lots in order to select someone to ascend to an important position may seem rather primitive and undiscerning method by modern standards.



But yet that was how the Pope is elected - by the drawing of lots by the college of cardinals.



That was also how Matthias was chosen to replace Judas as one of the apostles.



However in using such a method of selection, it only shows that the apostles left the choice to God.



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



They then let the Lord guide them in making the choice by the drawing of lots.



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

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



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



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



To be available for God and to do His will is not a matter of drawing lots within ourselves, or tossing a coin to decide whether we will be available for God or not.



To be available for God is a personal decision; we have to decide.



May our decision be always for God and to do His will in our lives.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

4th Week of Easter, Wednesday, 18-05-11

Acts 12:24 - 13:5 / John 12:44-50

One of the most prominent figures in the book of the Acts of the Apostles is St. Paul.

The story of St. Paul is indeed an interesting one.

The light that shone on him on the road to Damascus seemed to have put him on the spot-light wherever he went.

Yet we know that St. Paul's prominence was not because of something he did.

Rather it was by the light of Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit that he was able to accomplish such great missionary works.

And the light of Christ continues to shine on us.

The light of Christ shines in us and through us.

The light of Christ shines in us to give us the vision of the eternal life that is promised to us.

St. Paul kept his focus on the light of Christ that was guiding him and hence he was able to perform great and mighty works for the Lord.

May we too focus on the light of Christ and keep walking in the way towards eternal life.

Monday, May 16, 2011

4th Week of Easter, Tuesday, 17-05-11

Acts 11:19-26 / John 10:22-30

The word "foreigner" is a rather neutral term.

And depending on what form it takes, we react to it differently.

When foreigners come as tourists or businessmen or investors, we will certainly welcome them with warm hospitality.

But what if foreigners come as refugees?

We may remember that when South Vietnam fell in 1975, there was a refugee problem in SE Asia, and Singapore was also affected.

Although we may sympathize with the plight of the refugees, we also see them as a problem.

Yet as we heard from the 1st reading, the first Christians were also refugees, fleeing from persecution, and they brought their faith along.

We can be sure that they faced no less the problems that present day refugees faced.

Yet they still kept their faith and the Lord helped them, and others came to believe and were converted, and hence the missionary spirit of the Church was started.

We may not be refugees because of our beliefs, but still we must always rely on the Lord for His providence and protection.

Most of all, we must listen to the voice of our Good Shepherd and follow Him closely so that we won't be lost along the way.

In the midst of life's difficulties and struggles, let us keep our hearts focused on our Good Shepherd and follow Him into our eternal home in heaven.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

4th Week of Easter, Monday, 16-05-11

Act 11:1-18 / John 10:11-18

Not many of us have any experience of sheep-rearing, or for that matter of fact, have seen a real sheep and touched one.

But from whatever material that is available about sheep, it seems that sheep are not very smart animals.

They get themselves caught in thorn-bushes and between rocks, and they will just go on grazing until they are lost from the main flock. Part of the reason is that they have poor eyesight.

But sheep have a distinctive characteristic; they have a refined hearing capability.

They can immediately recognize the voice of the shepherd and they will follow that voice.

Consequently, when they don't hear the familiar voice and they hear other voices, they will be confused and they will just follow the sheep that is in front of them.

Such is the case when the sheep are driven to the abattoir. When confused they will not move and hence they have to be driven to be slaughtered.

Jesus calls us His sheep. But we are certainly much smarter than sheep.

Yet, we may not have that kind of refined hearing capability of the sheep to hear the voice of our Master, over and above our own voice and the other voices of distraction and temptation.

So even animals like the sheep can teach us a few things.

They teach us to really listen, and to know who the true Master is.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

3rd Week of Easter, Friday, 13-05-11

Acts 9: 1-20 / John 6:52-59

I have a younger brother and in our childhood days, my mother would always tell me to look after my younger brother.

So whether it is going to school, or going out to play or even going out as a family, I always had to keep an eye on my younger brother.

Of course I felt the pressure of the responsibility because if anything should happen to my brother, I know my mother will demand some answers from me.

Yes, I may not have to answer to my brother, but I will have to answer to my mother.

In the 1st reading, Saul had to answer to a serious question.

The voice he heard identified itself as Jesus, and the question was : Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?

Saul was persecuting Christians, but the voice and the question made it clear to him that he was actually persecuting Jesus, and that experience changed his life as he later became St. Paul.

So in the gospel, when Jesus said "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I live in him", He really means it.

When we partake of the Holy Communion, Jesus lives in us, just as we live in Jesus.

For all the troubles and distress we face, Jesus also bears it with us and He will give us the strength to overcome it.

For all the love and care we give to others, Jesus also gives them an experience of His love and healing.

Jesus is our Brother. He will protect us and save us. Because He lives in us.

Friday, May 13, 2011

St. Matthias, Apostle, 14-05-11

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

Drawing lots to get someone to do a job can be seen as a simple and convenient and also fair way to make a choice.

But to draw lots in order to select someone to ascend to an important position may seem rather primitive and undiscerning method by modern standards.

But yet that was how the Pope is elected - by the drawing of lots by the college of cardinals.

That was also how Matthias was chosen to replace Judas as one of the apostles.

However in using such a method of selection, it only shows that the apostles left the choice to God.

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

They then let the Lord guide them in making the choice by the drawing of lots.

Jesus said in the gospel that it is not we who chose Him.
Rather it is He who chose us, and He commissions us to go forth and bear lasting fruit.

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

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

To be available for God and to do His will is not a matter of drawing lots within ourselves, or tossing a coin to decide whether we will be available for God or not.

To be available for God is a personal decision; we have to decide.

May our decision be always for God and to do His will in our lives.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

3rd Week of Easter, Thursday, 12-05-11

Acts 8:26-40 / John 6:44-51

The power of attraction is an amazing thing. It goes beyond logic and reason.

From simple attractions like sales and bargains to the infatuation and attraction between opposite sexes, the whys and the hows are difficult to explain.

Yet the power of attraction is there and it cannot be denied and in a certain sense it cannot be easily understood.

In the gospel, Jesus speaks of an awesome and mysterious power of attraction.

If we believe in Jesus, it is because the power of God has drawn us to Him.

Indeed, it was the power of God's love that has drawn our hearts to Jesus and to come to this Mass to receive Him in Holy Communion.

As we heard in the 1st reading, it was also the power of God's love that drew the eunuch to request for baptism.

Jesus said: No one can come to me unless he is drawn by the Father who sent me.

By the power of God's love we are drawn into the heart of Jesus.

We are now sent to draw others into the heart of Jesus.

We need not explain why we believe in Jesus, or preach to others about Jesus.

By our hearts of love, God will draw them to Jesus.

May our hearts remain always in the love of God.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

3rd Week of Easter, Wednesday, 11-05-11

Acts 8:1-8 / John 6:35-40

If we say that seeing is believing, then we may have to think again.

Well, at least we know that what we see in movies are not that real, although the props are real enough.

But what is truly amazing is that with the rise of computer graphics, what we see in movies may not even exist in reality.

For e.g. in the movie "King Kong" that giant gorilla was a product of computer generated images; it does not even exist as a prop.

So we may not believe in what we see, but we may be very impressed with it.

In the gospel, Jesus told the people: You can see me and still you do not believe.

Yes, the people could see Jesus, that He was real, but maybe not that impressive.

Yes, impressions count, and impressions will also form conclusions, and it seemed that the people's conclusion about Jesus was that He wasn't very impressive.

They were not impressed and hence they missed the point of who Jesus really was and what He said about the bread of life.

As we gather for the Eucharist, let us go beyond impressions and understand what is truly important.

In the form of simple bread, Jesus comes to share with us His divine life.

May we receive the bread of life with awe and wonder and thanksgiving.

Monday, May 9, 2011

3rd Week of Easter, Tuesday, 10-05-11

Acts 7:51 - 8:1 / John 6 : 30-35

It is said that there are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.

That is so true when we reflect deeper on it.

Because more than shelter and clothing, we need food to satisfy our most basic need and to curb the hunger for survival.

But that does not mean that we can make food our gods; rather we need to see food as from God.

That is why we say grace before and after meals to thank God for His providence.

In the gospel Jesus tells us that He is the bread of life.

Jesus is not just the bread for hunger but He is also the bread of life.

In partaking of this bread, our hunger in life and our hunger for life is fulfilled.

In the 1st reading, St. Stephen understood Jesus as his bread of life, and hence he was able to give up his life willingly in witness to Jesus and to even ask forgiveness for his persecutors.

As we come up for communion later, let us receive Jesus with reverence and thanksgiving and adoration.

We are receiving the bread of God which comes down from heaven to satisfy and fulfill our hunger.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

3rd Week of Easter, Monday, 09-05-11

Acts 6 8-15 / John 6 : 22-29

There is this classroom joke about a teacher who asked her class to write a composition with the title "What would I do if I had $10 million?"

So all the kids started writing. Then the teacher noticed a boy who just sat there doing nothing.

So she asked the boy: And why are you doing nothing?

The boy replied : If I had $10 million, that's what I'll be doing - nothing.

But we know for a fact that whether we had $10 million or just only 10cents, we won't just sit around and do nothing.

We want to be doing something, simply because we are task-oriented and goal-centered beings.

But in all that we are doing, what do we hope to achieve? What is our purpose in life?

In today's gospel, Jesus is asking us this: What are we working for? What is the purpose of all that we are doing?

Is it something that is not just temporary but even something that we can bring into eternity?

In all that we are doing and working for, is it leading us to God?

That's more than a $10 million question; it is a question about our eternity.

Friday, May 6, 2011

2nd Week of Easter, Saturday, 07-05-11

Acts 6:1-7 / John 6:16-21

There is a famous poem called "Footprints in the sand" which we have probably come across before.

It is about a person who had a dream and was walking along a beach with the Lord.

Suddenly, across the sky, scenes appear from the person's life.

For most of the scenes, there were two sets of footprints in the sand - one belonging to the Lord and the other to the person.

What confused the person was that during the most trying times of life, there was only one set of footprints.

The person then asked the Lord why was he alone during the most trying times in life, since there was only one set of footprints.

The Lord replied : I would never never leave you alone during your times of trials and sufferings.

When you saw only one set of footprints, that was when I was carrying you.

In the gospel, when the wind was strong and the sea was rough, Jesus appeared to His disciples and said : It is I, do not be afraid.

When life gets too stormy, let us remember this gospel passage and remember those words : It is I, do not be afraid.

And let us also believe that in those dark moments, the Lord is carrying us.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

2nd Week of Easter, Friday, 06-05-11

Acts 5:34-42 / John 6:1-15

There are many sayings and idioms with regards to the truth.

But I like this one because it is rather graphic - When the water subsides, the rocks will appear.

Truth is like those rocks; they will withstand the ebb and flow of the tide.

In other words, truth will stand the test of time.

And that was what the wise Pharisee Gamaliel told the Sanhedrin with regards to the apostles.

He told them that truth will stand the test of time. If the apostles were telling the truth, and if indeed that truth comes from God, then they will not only be unable to destroy it, they might find themselves fighting against God.

Through the centuries and with the flow of the sands of time, the Catholic Church has proclaimed the truth that the apostles have taught.

But when all is said and done, the fundamental truth that we must proclaim is that God is love and He loves us with an unconditional love.

It is God's love that multiplied the loaves and fed the thousands that we heard about in the gospel.

It is God's love that the world needs to hear about so that they will know why we believe in God and trust in His providence.

Yes, God will provide, He will always provide, because He loves us.

2nd Week of Easter, Thursday, 05-05-11

Acts 5:27-33 / John 3:31-36

In life we have many things to think about.

We think about our health and we try not to indulge in "sinful" foods that will result in high cholesterol or high blood or heart problems.

We think about our wealth and we hope that we will have enough savings to enjoy a golden sunset.

We also think about our relationships, and that will include our marriage, our parents, our children and our loved ones.

And then on and off, we might think about the after-life. Strange that we think about it only on and off.

Because the after-life is about eternity, as compared to this life which is only temporary.

In the gospel, John the Baptist said that anyone who believes in Jesus has eternal life.

But eternal life does not begin after death. In fact it begins with this life, with the here and now.

And it is not just about saying that we believe in Jesus. To believe is also to obey and follow the truth that Jesus has taught us.

No doubt the cares and concerns of this world will continue to engage our minds and hearts and the voices of this world will try to convince us that the glitter and luster of this world is what we really need.

But St. Peter will remind us in the 1st reading - Obedience to God comes before obedience to man.

To believe in Jesus means to obey His teachings and to set our minds and hearts on things above and not on the things of earth.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

2nd Week of Easter, Wednesday, 04-05-11

Acts 5:17-26 / John 3:16-21

It is not often that we would come across someone who goes by the name of Nicodemus.

Although it is a name found in the Bible, yet it does sound unusual and it is not among the contemporary and popular Christian names.

Also because if we know something about the Nicodemus in the gospel, he was apparently not cast in a very good light - he came to see Jesus in the night.

But in reality, Nicodemus was not as shadowy a figure as we thought. In fact he saw the light in Jesus and that was why he came to see Him.

And it was to Nicodemus that Jesus proclaimed the very core of the Bible message which can be found in today's gospel.

Yes it is in John 3:16-17 "For God loved the world so much .......... through Him the world might be saved".

Indeed that is the very core and center of the message of the whole Bible - that God loves us and will save us so that we may live life fully on earth and also eternal life in heaven.

That was the mission of the apostles as the angel freed them from prison. They were told to proclaim the good news about this new life.

So whatever our name is, we are called by God to proclaim the Good News of New Life.

And that is God loves us, He does not want to condemn us, rather He wants to save us so that in Jesus we will find the fullness of life.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Saints Philip and James, 03-05-11, Tuesday

1 Corinthians 15:1-8 / John 14:6-14

The feast of these two apostles St. Philip and St. James is celebrated together because of the church dedicated to them in Rome (which is now called the Church of the Twelve Apostles).

What we can see from the scriptures is that St. Philip was a sincere and straight-forward person.

It was he who told Nathanael that he had found the Messiah and told him to came and see for himself (Jn1:45)

Yet it was also the same Philip who asked Jesus to let him see God the Father so that he will be satisfied.

James (the Lesser) was a relative of Jesus and as bishop of Jerusalem, he and St.Peter settled the issue about accepting non-Jews into the faith without having to undergo circumcision.

So in St. Philip and St. James, we see the two aspects of the Church - the missionary aspect and the community aspect.

St. Philip brought others to Jesus, and St. James acted in union with the community to make a decision.

In these two saints, we also see the Church in these aspects of her growth and journey in faith as we continue to bear witness to Jesus who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

We as Church also need to grow into a deeper understanding as missionary and also as community.

When we truly experience Jesus as our Way, Truth and Life, then we will indeed be a missionary and community Church.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

2nd Week of Easter, Monday, 02-05-11

Acts 4:23-31 / John 3:1-8

The name Nicodemus, in Greek, means "conqueror  for the people".

Since Nicodemus was a leading Pharisee and had a say in the council of the Sanhedrin, the name indeed suited him.

But though his name may mean "conqueror for the people", and he had a matching status, there is one frontier that Nicodemus had not yet did battle with or conquered.

The gospel says that he came to see Jesus at night. Night is used as a symbolism for sin and evil.

But for Nicodemus, night was used to symbolize his pride, his fears, his false sense of security.

By coming to Jesus at night, we can see that Nicodemus was struggling with his pride, his fears and himself.

Those were the frontiers that he has yet to face and battle with.

Yet the promptings of the Spirit were strong enough for him to make the first step to Jesus.

It was just the first step but it was a vital step because it was a step towards being led by the Spirit.

May we too be open to the promptings of the Spirit in our hearts. May our first response be always in prayer and with prayer.

With the help of the Spirit, we will be able to face ourselves and conquer whatever is blocking us from God.