Saturday, November 30, 2013

1st Sunday of Advent, Year A, 1.12.2013

Isaiah 2: 1-5/ Romans 13:11-14/ Matthew 24:37-44

Today is the first day of December. The month of December gives rise to a few pleasant thoughts that might bring a smile to our lips.

December means that Christmas is coming and we can start writing our wish-list, but it will probably just remain as wishes.

One of our wishes may be to go for a holiday overseas.

And that would mean that we take a flight out of Singapore for a holiday break.

Taking a flight out of Singapore for a holiday is convenient, and also we want to get as far away as possible so that our boss can’t reach us or make us go back to work.

But whether for a get-away holiday or for work, taking a plane is no big deal.

And we know what usually happens when we board the plane. 

Before the plane takes off, the flight attendants will go through the safety instructions for us.

And that is one of the most challenging moments for the flight attendant.

As she goes through the instructions and demonstrations, like how to fasten the seat-belt, where to put the hand-carry luggage, how to wear the life-vest, etc., the only passengers who are paying any attention are probably those who are taking a plane for the first time in their life.

The rest will be sending out last-minute messages and emails (especially if you forgot to apply for leave), or flipping through a magazine, or talking away with someone, or just looking out of the window and dreaming away.

After all, nothing has ever happened, and it is unlikely that anything will ever happen … hopefully.

But let’s say, the plane has taken off and cruising along high in the sky, and then suddenly there is jerk, and the lights flicker and some strange noises are heard.

The seat-belt lights come on, and then the flight attendants appear with a serious look on their faces.

And then they start to go through the safely procedures again, telling us to sit straight and buckle-up and telling us where the life-jackets are and where the exits are, etc.

Now, would we be paying any attention, or would we continue to read our magazine, or keep chatting with our neighbor, or continue sleeping, or getting flustered that our in-flight movie is suddenly stopped?

Would we be suspecting anything, or would we think that it is a bad joke and no one is laughing?

In the gospel, Jesus recalled a story for the Old Testament that even children would know about – it was about Noah and the ark.

We know that Noah brought a pair of all the animals into the ark, before it started to rain for 40 days and 40 nights.

Yet Jesus said that when Noah was building the ark, the people suspected nothing.

They saw Noah and the ark as a big joke, and probably they were laughing at it, and they continued eating and drinking, taking wives, taking husbands.

They suspected nothing. Until it started raining, and raining, and raining, for 40 days and 40 nights it rained.

And then the people would have realized the reason for the ark. But it was too late. All because they suspected nothing. They sensed nothing. So in the end no one was left laughing.

So to say that God does not give warning signs is certainly not a fair statement to make.

Even though Jesus said that the Son of Man is coming at an hour we do not expect, it is to get us to be alert and ready always.

God will always give us signs; we only need to sense it and act on it.

The month of December may be a happy month for some, but certainly a busy month for many others.

There are accounts to be closed and the tedious stock-taking at the work place to prepare for next year.

And then at home, it is time to bring out the Christmas decorations and the yearly headache of shopping for presents and preparing for parties.

It seems to be more busy than happy, more stressful than joyful.
So we huff and puff, we push and rush to meet the deadline which is December 25.

It is strange to think that how December 25, which is Christmas Day, has become like some kind of deadline to meet.

But going back to that point in the gospel – do we suspect anything happening? Do we sense anything happening?

Advent is a preparation to celebrate that moment in time when God became man, i.e. the birthday of Jesus.

So all that we are doing is for the birthday celebration of Jesus. And who would not come for his own birthday celebration?

Oh yes, Jesus will come, He promised to come, and the imagery He used is that of like a thief in the night (although that is not a very comfortable imagery).

So Jesus will come in the midst of our preparations, our busyness, in our stress, in our anxiety. And He comes quietly and silently.

But we have to sense His presence. And to help us do that, the Church is offering us this Advent reflection booklet with the theme “Sensing Christ”.

It reminds us that Jesus is present in what we see, hear and touch.

And most of all Jesus is present in the persons around us.

So let us not take anyone for granted, as they are God’s gifts to us.

And let us also not take anything we see, hear or touch for granted, because that is how God is communicating with us.

Yes, Jesus is already present in those persons and things that we take for granted so often.

We only need to open our senses, and we will be able to see, hear and touch His presence.

Friday, November 29, 2013

St. Andrew, Apostle, Saturday, 30-11-13

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

Most of us would shy away from the limelight and rather work behind the scenes.

Well, that is until we have basked in the limelight and gotten a taste of the attention and the applause.

After experiencing the taste of the limelight, it might be difficult to step back into the background and go back to being behind the scenes.

We often call it "cannot let go".

St. Andrew was always referred to as the brother of St. Peter.

That title gives the impression that St. Andrew was someone who was always behind the scenes, someone who tags along behind St. Peter.

Even today's gospel seemed to imply that idea when it tells of Jesus calling Peter and Andrew, in that order.

But in the gospel according to St. John, it was Andrew who first followed Jesus, and it was Andrew who told Peter that he had found the Messiah.

St. Andrew's role in the gospels may be few but nonetheless significant.

Besides being the first to follow Jesus and leading Peter to Him, St. Andrew was also instrumental in pointing out the boy with the barley loaves and the fish that later led to the miracle of the multiplication of loaves.

In St. Andrew, we see a reflection of ourselves and our mission.

Following Christ is our top priority and leading others to Christ is our mission.

But stepping back in order that God can continue to work through us must also be our conviction.

When we can do that, then we know what it means to let go and let God.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

34th Week, Ordinary Time, Friday, 29-11-13

Daniel 7:2-14 / Luke 21:29-33

For us who live in Singapore, we often say that it is perpetual summer.

Whatever rainy days or rainy seasons we have, there is no need to buy warm or winter clothing.

In Singapore, the attire is summer wear, and we even need air conditioning for our homes and buildings.

So when Jesus said that when trees start to bud, and it means that summer is near, we may not get the reality of that idea although we can imagine it somehow.

But we know what happens when butter is put in the oven. No matter how hard or icy cold the butter may be, in the presence of heat, it melts slowly but surely.

So no matter how hard or icy cold the human heart is because of sin and evil, there is no escaping from the warmth and light of God.

One thing is certain - some hearts melt and then rise to eternal life and joy with God; others melt and sink into everlasting damnation.

Yes, the kingdom of God is near and as things get warmer and hotter, let us decide what we want to be.

We can continue to be wrapped up and be hardened by sin. Or we can start to bud and bloom with God's love.

And if we already know that God is going to triumph in the end, then we need to decide now.

34th Week, Ordinary Time, Thursday, 28-11-13

Daniel 6:12-28 / Luke 21:20-28

"Thanksgiving Day" is a national holiday with religious significance in the United States. Although it is not celebrated in Singapore, yet we heard and read about it.

For us, we know that it comes about at this time and following it will be Advent and the busy year end liturgical celebrations.

It may also mean that we start to look around and unpack our festive decorations because Christmas is only a month away.

How time flies and soon we will be looking at the last month of the year.

Even though we may not celebrate Thanksgiving as a public holiday or a religious feast, nonetheless it may remind us to be always thankful to God for His blessings.

The 1st reading tells how God protected his servant, the prophet Daniel, from the lions in the pit, and that inspired king Darius to issue a decree that praised God.

Yes, we thank God for such an inspiring story that gives us the confidence to continue to put our faith in God in times of trial.

And even though in the gospel Jesus spoke of distress, yet we again must thank God for giving us a glimpse of the turbulence that we will face in the future.

Because in that distressing and turbulent future, Jesus has already told us that when those things take place, we must stand erect and hold our heads high because our liberation is at hand.

Let us prepare for that liberation with thanksgiving and with grateful hearts.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

34th Week, Ordinary Time, Wednesday, 27-11-13

Daniel 5:1-6,13-14, 16-17, 23-28 / Luke 21:12-19

To defile the religious items of another religion is certainly being very offensive and insulting to that religion.

Furthermore it also shows that people who do such actions do not care much about life and about other people, neither are they very much aware of the spiritual world.

In the 1st reading, king Belshazzar did something very offensive and insulting. He gave orders for the gold and silver vessels to be brought out for his banquet, vessels which his father, Nebuchadnezzar had looted from the sanctuary in Jerusalem. So they were sacred vessels from the Temple.

Even though his father didn't use it for any occasion, king Belshazzar was too arrogant to have respect for anything and anyone as he and his guests drank wine from those sacred vessels.

If nobody ever dared to tell him it was wrong to do so, or even if someone did but he was too obstinate, then it was time for God to act.

When God speaks, one cannot but listen; when God shows, one cannot but see.

What king Belshazzar saw made him turn pale and he trembled. And when the prophet Daniel told him later about the meaning of "Mene, Tekel and Parsin" he would have understood every word of it.

If the abuse of sacred vessels had such a consequence on king Belshazzar, then what about the abuse and the persecution of people who are dedicated to God and belong to Him?

In the gospel, Jesus warned about the persecutions that are in store for His disciples. Yet, He also assured His disciples that they need not prepare their defence as  He will give them an eloquence and a wisdom that none of their opponents will be able to resist or contradict.

But we must also remember what Jesus taught us: Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you, bless those who curse you.

Yes, our mission as disciples of Jesus is to do just that. God will speak to our enemies and persecutors, in a way that they will see and understand.

Monday, November 25, 2013

34th Week, Ordinary Time, Tuesday, 26-11-13

Daniel 2:31-45 / Luke 21:5-11      (2017)

The end of the world may be a figment of imagination for some, a streak of obsession for others, but nonetheless a point of contention for all of us.

Movies that portray the end of the world events will always enjoy a good box-office success.

For those who can imagine more than others, they can think of things that would happen to the world, things that we couldn't have imagined.

And for most of us, as we try to come to terms with the disasters and tragedies and calamities that come one after another, and at times all together, we might wonder why it is happening and how long more do we have to endure.

And if we are wondering and trying to come to terms with what is happening around us, Jesus states as a matter of fact: And when you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened, for this is something that must happen, but the end is not so soon.

So it seems that there is more to come and it also seems that it will be for quite a long time more.

As we heard in the 1st reading, mighty kingdoms will come and go. Everything is changing such that not a single stone will be left on another and everything will be destroyed.

Yet even as the winds blow across the shifting sands and time and tide roll on relentlessly, there is one, and only one, constant stability.

In the midst of changes, big or small, God remains as the constant stability on whom we can put our faith and on whom we must put our faith.

If we do not put our faith in God who is our constant stability and who is great in faithfulness, then we will be swarmed with imaginations and obsessions that will only lead us to the abyss of delusions.

Let us stay close to God, the Rock of our faith, and who is the beginning and the end.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

34th Week, Ordinary Time, Monday, 25-11-13

Daniel 1:1-6, 8-20 / Luke 21:1-4       (2019)

Faith is not a passive or inert aspect of our lives. Faith responds visibly to something that might be expected to produce manifestations of an emotion or feeling.

Having faith would also mean participating readily or actively in the situations around us so as to reveal the presence of God in those situations.

In that sense, if we have faith then we would not be so easily influenced, acted upon, or affected by some external influence, and just being swept along with the flow.

In the 1st reading, the four young men faced a dilemma. They were exiled in a foreign land but were selected to be trained for the service of the king.

They were given food from the king's royal table, but it was food that had been first offered to idols and hence for the Jews to eat that food would be to defile themselves.

As exiles in a foreign land, going against orders would mean certain death.

But their faith in God made a way for them and as it turned out, God blessed them for their faithfulness.

In the gospel, that poverty-stricken widow put in two small coins into the treasury, and as Jesus commented, she put in all she had to live on.

In both cases of the four young men and the poverty-stricken widow, they could have just submit to their thinking and taken the easy and sensible way out of a difficult situation.

But their faith made them face the difficult situation and in doing so the presence of God was manifested in those situations and circumstances.

The world needs to experience the presence of God. That is why God chose us and gave us the faith. By our faith may we let God be present and may we call upon His blessings for our world.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Christ the King, Year C, 24.11.13

2 Samuel 5:1-3/ Colossians 1:12-20/ Luke 23:35-43

One of the most anxious days of last week was probably last Friday, the 22nd of November.

In the midst of other top news like the massive relief efforts that are going on in the Philippines in the aftermath of the Typhoon Haiyan, last Friday had a particular top news in Singapore.

And that top news was the release of the PSLE (Primary School Leaving Examinations) results. It was an anxious day for students, parents and also for the teachers.

PSLE results, like the other crucial exam results, is a big thing in Singapore.

The PSLE results would determine which secondary school a student would be going to and probably the direction in life that the student would be heading towards.

And as the usual cycle goes for those who had done well there will be cheers.

But for those who did not do well, there could be tears and fears.
Of course, the limelight will be on those who scored “As” and “A-stars”.

They have done themselves proud, their parents proud, their schools proud.

They will be asked to share the secrets of their success, and maybe how they had gone against the odds to emerge the top. 

We congratulate those students who had studied hard and done well, and we must affirm them for their diligence and toil. Indeed, they sweat for their success.

Yet, the PSLE results day is also like Judgment Day for some, and we don’t get to hear about them.

They are the ones who didn’t do well enough (comparatively) and maybe, at the bottom of the heap, are those who failed and, face the prospect of having to repeat the PSLE.

I can’t help feeling sorry for them, that at such a tender age of 12 years old, they already had the sour taste of disappointment and the bitter taste of failure.

We won’t get to see them or hear about them, and they also don’t want to be seen or heard.

Yes, the failures of the education system and the failures of society are not for public viewing and it would be better that they are not mentioned at all.

But in the gospel, three people are put up as failures for public viewing. They were actually put up for execution.

Two of them were criminals, and certainly their crimes were serious enough to warrant the death penalty of crucifixion.

Their lives had been a big failure. Their failure turned them into a life of crime and now they are paying for their failure on the cross.

It is said that failure is the mother of success, in that failure can spur a person to reverse the failure and make it a stepping stone for success.

But for the two criminals nailed to the cross and waiting for their final breath, there is no more chance of reversal. Their failure in life had led them to a dead end. 

Between these two criminals was Jesus, also nailed to the cross and waiting for the final moment.

But why was Jesus crucified between the two criminals? He preached the Good News of the kingdom of God, healed the sick and worked miracles. He didn’t commit any crime!

However, He was rejected by the chief priests and elders and they conspired against Him and finally had Him nailed to the cross.

Though He had done nothing wrong, as one of the criminals would testify, His ending seemed to be one sad broken failure.

The inscription on His cross read: This is the King of the Jews. But was meant to mock Him and deride Him.

It’s one thing to be a failure, but quite another to have to die for having done nothing wrong and to be made fun of in that slow painful death. 

His friends stayed at a distance, watching His execution, probably thinking silently: He had been our hope, but now …

The leaders jeered at Him and taunted Him: He saved others, let Him now save Himself.

The soldiers mocked Him: If you are the King, save yourself.

Even one of the criminals abused Him: If you are the Christ, save yourself and save us.

But, in the midst of all this jeering and taunting and mockery, only one person saw the reality.

The other criminal, often called the good thief, who defended the innocence of Jesus made this remarkable statement: Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.

But was an absurd statement, because Jesus, like him was in a hopeless situation.

Yet, somehow, the good thief and only the good thief, saw the truth and the reality: That Jesus was King and that He was the Savior.

So, despite the massive failure of his life, the good thief passed the final exam when Jesus told him: Indeed, I promise you, today you will be with me in paradise.

It was a totally absurd conversation to the people who were there, but one condemned sinner received salvation from the King who is the Saviour.

We may know the story of the lion and the mouse but nonetheless we can hear it again with a slightly different perspective.

The lion, the king of the jungle, just had his meal and was dozing off.

Then a mouse came along, the smallest creature in the jungle, a scavenger, considered the scum of the jungle.

The mouse crept up to the lion’s half-eaten meal and hoped to have a bite of the remains.

The lion woke up and with his powerful paw caught the mouse and he roared: How dare you steal my food!

The mouse pleaded: Please let me go, please let me go, and I promise to help you whenever you need me.

The lion was amused that a tiny mouse can ever help him, so he let the mouse go.

Then one day the lion fell into a net trap laid by hunters. He couldn’t free himself from the net and he roared and roared in distress.

The mouse heard the lion’s roar of distress and ran over. With its sharp tiny teeth, it nibbled at the ropes of the net until the lion was able to break free.

The lion turned to the mouse and said: Small as you are, you were able to help me, the King of the jungle.

From then on, the mighty lion shared his meals with the tiny mouse.

On the cross, Jesus was King and Saviour, but the people saw Him as a hopeless failure.

Only the good thief, despite all his failures, saw Jesus as who He really is.

So, if we had experienced sour disappointments and bitter failures in life and we feel like a tiny mouse scuttling around for survival, then Jesus has a mission for us.

Like the mouse who nibbled at the net to set the mighty lion free, we need to nibble at the tears and fears of our disappointments and failures so that we can be free to proclaim Jesus as our King and Saviour.

Whatever difficult situations we face in life, there is only one answer, and the good thief has given us that saving answer: Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.

That answer proclaims Jesus as our King and Saviour.

Friday, November 22, 2013

33rd Week, Ordinary Time, Saturday, 23-11-13

1 Macc 6:1-13 / Luke 20:27-40

We know what disappointment is. Yet is also said that the more the expectation, the greater will be the disappointment.

So in that case, why have any expectation at all? No expectations would mean no disappointments.

But that's not how we live life. In life we will have our expectations. The question is what are we expecting?

In the 1st reading, we heard that king Antiochus threw himself on his bed and fell into lethargy from acute disappointment, because things had not turned out as he had planned.

He had planned and achieved many things - he made people worship him; he had made many conquests and his kingdom was the most powerful at that time.

He had planned to conquer the city of Elymais and sack its renowned riches. He had high expectations that all his plans would be fulfilled and that nothing could stop him.

But it all came to a stop. As it is always the case, the one who has only selfish plans of self-glory will suffer the great disappointment sooner or later.

From acute disappointment, king Antiochus suffered further from deep and recurrent fits of melancholy until he understood that life was slipping away from him - he understood he was dying.

His life was one great worldly expectation that eventually led to one great worldly disappointment.

We too have a great expectations. But our expectations are not of this world. Our expectations are of the other world where God will reward us with eternal life.

It is our faith in God that will give us this expectation. It is an expectation that won't result in a disappointment.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

33rd Week, Ordinary Time, Friday, 22-11-13

1 Macc 4:36-37, 52-59 / Luke 19:45-48

For most religions, the place of worship is a sacred place. Whether it is called a church or a temple or a worship hall, it is designated as a sacred place.

The sacredness of the place is not just because of what is done there but because the divine presence is there and the divine presence even resides there.

Furthermore, usually the ritual sacrifice is offered on the altar of that sacred place, and hence it is in the sacred place where divinity and humanity come into communion.

Altars that were defiled or that were desecrated for whatever reason had to be destroyed and a new altar to be consecrated.

That was what we heard about in the 1st reading. After they had defeated their enemies, Judas and his brothers went up to the Temple to purify it and to dedicate a new altar so that a lawful sacrifice can be offered.

Earlier on, their enemies had defiled the sanctuary and desecrated the altar and so everything had to be purified and replaced as necessary.

But in the gospel it was not the Temple or the sanctuary or the altar that was defiled or desecrated.

It was the people themselves, who were selling and doing business (dishonestly?) that was defiling the Temple and desecrating it.

Even Jesus said that they had turned it into a robbers' den.

As we come to this place of worship, this place of prayer, let us offer a pure and worthy sacrifice.

Let us always cleanse our lives of sin, so that we can offer a sacrifice that is acceptable to God and in turn receive the abundant blessings of the Eucharist.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Presentation of the B.V. Mary, Thursday, 21-11-13

Zechariah 2:14-17 / Matthew 12:46-50

The feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary is an event that is not recorded in the gospels.

But it is found in an extra-biblical source called the Infancy Narrative of James.

According to that text, Mary's parents, Joachim and Anne had been childless, but then they received a heavenly message that they would have a child.

In thanksgiving, they brought the child Mary to the Temple to consecrate her to the Lord.

It was believed that Mary remained in the Temple to be formed and prepared for her role as the Mother of God.

The focus of this feast is to show that even in her childhood Mary was completely dedicated to God. It is from this account that arose the feast of Mary's Presentation.

A further reflection on this feast would also make us think about the environment at home and the formation that we are giving our children and our family members.

The Christian home is to be a sanctuary of prayer where the members can grow in holiness and in the ways of the Lord.

When our will is nothing less than to do the will of God, then together with Mary, we will present our lives as an offering that is pleasing to God.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

33rd Week, Ordinary Time, Wednesday, 20-11-13

2 Macc 7:1, 20-31 / Luke 19:11-28

A couple I know conceived a son after a long while. The wife just gave birth and they are now happy and thankful parents.

Both of them are amazed at the miracle of birth and life and the mother is especially overwhelmed at the fact that another life was created within her own body.

That is probably why the maternal instinct is especially strong when a mother has to protect her young - there is a very intimate physical connection between mother and child.

In the 1st reading, we can feel for the mother who watched the death of her seven sons in the course of a single day.

It was heart-wrenching and painful to see that the fruit of her body were tortured and killed right before her eyes.

Yet she endured it resolutely because of her hopes in the Lord, and she even encouraged each of her sons to face death bravely and to be faithful to the Lord.

She reinforced her womanly argument with manly courage, and for that she was especially admirable and worthy of honourable remembrance.

In the gospel parable we hear of the servants reporting to the master of the profits they had made.

The last servant gave back to the master exactly what he had been given because he was afraid of his master who was an exacting man.

So in today's two readings, we hear of courage and fear. Both had their consequences. May we have the courage to choose what is right and just. We only need to fear that we do otherwise.

Monday, November 18, 2013

33rd Week, Ordinary Time, Tuesday, 19-11-13

2 Macc 6:18-31 / Luke 19:1-10

To reflect about death is certainly not about being suicidal. Suicidal is being obsessed with ending life deliberately.

But to reflect about death is to think about how we should live our lives now so as to prepare for the end of life on earth.

Certainly we would want to have a good death, meaning to say that we want to be at peace with God, with ourselves and with others.

In the 1st reading, we heard of Eleazar, who was 90 years old, and faced the threat of death if he did not comply with orders to eat the forbidden food.

His so-called friends even urged him to pretend to eat the forbidden food by secretly substituting it for something he would prepare on his own.

At that age Eleazar would have done many reflections about life. He had hoped for a good death.

He may not have expected it to be a painful death, but nonetheless he decided to be faithful to God and to leave the young a noble example of how to make a good death.

In doing so he didn't die in vain, nor did he live in vain.

In the gospel, we heard about Zacchaeus. He would have lived in vain and died in vain had he not decided to see what kind of man Jesus was.

And when Jesus called out to him, he decided to make good his life and to work for a good death.

Jesus is always calling out to us to make a reflection of our state of life. May we reflect on it honestly and sincerely, so that our life would not be in vain, and that our death will be good.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

33rd Week, Ordinary Time, Monday, 18-11-13

1 Macc 1:10-15, 41-43, 54-57, 62-64 / Luke 18:35-43

In life, there will be misfortunes. That seems to be like the unwritten rule of life.

So in life we will experience the spectrum of sickness and suffering, of anxieties and troubles, of oppression and persecution.

The 1st reading ends off with this line - It was a dreadful wrath that had visited Israel.

Indeed it was a dreadful wrath as those who wanted to stay faithful to the Lord would have to face the possibility of torture and death.

It is most unfortunate that just because one believes in God and wants to remain faithful to Him, he would have to pay for it with his life.

But it is in times like these that faith is tested and proven.

In the gospel, the blind beggar had had his share of misfortunes - he was blind, he had to beg, and when he called out to Jesus, he was scolded and told to shut up.

That would have been enough for anyone to lose faith, but for that blind beggar, it was then that his faith was tested and proven.

He not only received his sight, but his faith has also saved him.

May we see our misfortunes as opportunities for our faith to be tested and proven, and may our faith in God also bring about salvation for us.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

33rd Ordinary Sunday, Year C, 17.11.2013

Malachi 3:19-20/ 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12/ Luke 21:5-19

Recently a company announced plans to launch its website in Singapore in 2014.

Its website membership has over 21 million members from over 30 countries (that’s quite impressive).

Essentially, it is an online dating service and a social networking service, but that is not all.

It is marketed, and targeted, to people who are already in a relationship; or putting it plainly, people who are already married.

There is no need to guess what it is all about, especially when the company’s slogan is this: Life is short. Have an affair.

However, the authorities have announced that it will not allow the company to operate in Singapore as it promotes adultery and disregards family values.

Hence, the company’s website is also blocked from any access.

Thanks be to God that the website was not allowed to infiltrate into our country and so we are safe, at least for now.

But its waves have already flooded our minds and drowned our innocence of thought.

Because its slogan has made our minds wander around a bit.

“Life is short. Have an affair!” And who doesn’t know that life is short?! If you ever live to be a 100, you can be sure that there will not much competition and there will be no peer pressure.

But because life is so short, there will be temptation to give in to peer pleasure.

Peer pleasure as in we see our friends having fun with life and enjoying the pleasures of life as it there is no tomorrow.

And why not! Even Jesus said in the gospel that not one stone will be left on another. Everything will be destroyed!

There will be wars and revolutions, great earthquakes and plagues and famines.

We have seen all that happen in our time. And Jesus continues by saying that all that must happen, but the end is not so soon.

And we may think: You mean there is more to come? You mean the worse is not over yet?

If that is the case, then indeed, life is short, so why care?

As that slogan says: Life is short. Have an affair. 

And the ridiculous litany can continue. Life is short, so just don’t care! Pollute the air! Go ahead and swear! Do what others don’t dare! No need to be fair or square! Cheat and be a millionaire! 

These may sound ridiculous but the tragedies of life can turn the mind into madness.

In the gospel, Jesus predicted the destruction of Jerusalem and the famous temple and that happened in 70AD.

During the long siege, about a million people were killed or died of starvation.

Besides the carnage that was carried out when the city was conquered, the survivors were forced to look at the Temple being demolished and reduced to rubble.

A disaster and destruction of such a magnitude was enough to make the survivors go mad.

And as in some cases that we heard of, a person’s hair can turn white overnight.

In the gospel, Jesus painted for us a worst case scenario of disaster, destruction, persecution and betrayal.

It may not make our hair turn white overnight but it will make our hair stand.

Yet, in this worst case scenario, Jesus is also telling us to look at it with the eyes of faith.

Yes, faith will enable us to look at this terrible scenario and see it as an opportunity to bear witness.

As we know, the Philippines has suffered a tragedy and a catastrophe.

First there was a great earthquake resulting in the loss of lives, destruction of homes and churches that are centuries old.

Then came a super typhoon that caused more loss of lives and more destruction and disaster.

Yet, it is in this face of tragedy that we are presented with an opportunity.

It is an opportunity to bear witness to our faith in the sense that tragedy must not have the last say.

God will have the final say but He needs our faith to bear witness to that.

With faith in God we must support our brothers and sisters in the Philippines.

Besides material help, we must also give them spiritual help so that those who are suffering from the tragedy will not lose their minds and lose their faith.

Tragedies like these make us realize that life is short.

But just because life is short we must not and cannot subscribe to that slogan: Life is short. Have an affair.

Rather with faith, we will say: Life is short. Handle with prayer.
With faith in God and with enduring prayer, worst case scenarios will turn into blessed-case scenarios.

Friday, November 15, 2013

32nd Week, Ordinary Time, Saturday, 16-11-13

Wisdom 18:14-16; 19:6-9 / Luke 18:1-8

There are many things that we don't seem to get tired of doing.

For example, we don't seem to get tired of watching tv, eating good food, surfing the internet, shopping, travelling, etc.

However when it comes to praying and the disciplines of the spiritual life, we somehow tire out easily.

The disciples of Jesus might have felt the same way. They didn't get tired of watching Jesus work miracles day after day - curing the sick, expelling demons, giving sight to the blind, etc.

These were spectacular and extraordinary events and they were exciting to watch.

But Jesus did not call His disciples just to watch Him work miracles but to follow Him.

He called them to conversion and to a deeper faith in God.

He told the gospel parable so as to teach His disciples the importance of prayer and perseverance in faith.

It is with prayer that the all-powerful Word of God will leap from heaven and see that justice is done.

Prayer is not about watching spectacular things to happen; rather it is about perseverance and persistence and trusting in the quiet but powerful ways of God.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

32nd Week, Ordinary Time, Friday, 15-11-13

Wisdom 13:1-9 / Luke 17:26-37

As much as human beings are a part of creation, there is also something unique about human beings.

What sets human beings apart is the intellect. With the intellect, human beings are able to rationalize and see things that the other forms of creation are not able to do.

With the intellect, human beings are also able to relate and communicate with each other and with their surroundings.

Endowed with such a refined intellect, it would be an insult to be called stupid.

Yet, that is what the 1st reading said: Naturally stupid are all men who have not known God.

Those are strong and cutting words, but we certainly won't dare to use them on atheists or those who don't believe in God.

But we can certainly use it on ourselves if we say we believe in God and yet we don't follow His ways and carry out His will.

Like what Jesus said in the gospel, if we are just caught up in eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, then for all our intellect, we have to call ourselves stupid, if we cannot give thanks to God for little things and see Him in everything.

We are endowed with intellect so as to know God and to love Him and lead others to thank and glorify Him.

If that is not our intellect's priority, then whatever else that we are doing may be termed as stupidity.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

32nd Week, Ordinary Time, Thursday, 14-11-13

Wisdom 7:22 - 8:1 / Luke 17:20-25

The presence or absence of light in a room can make a difference in how the room is perceived, or on the ambience of the room.

The presence of natural light in a room can make it feel bright and spacious; the absence of which can make it feel dark and cold.

Even in the evenings the choice of lighting can determine how the room feels.

Indeed, light is a powerful element that makes things visible.

The 1st reading describes the Wisdom of God. Wisdom is a reflection of the eternal light, untarnished mirror of God's active power, image of His goodness.

Wisdom, like light, shines by just being there. It is obvious enough and there is no denying it.

That is what Jesus is saying in today's gospel: For you must know, the kingdom of God is among you.

Jesus is the Light of the world, and His presence makes us see the kingdom of God in our midst.

But we can only see the presence of the kingdom of God when we allow the light of Jesus to shine into our lives.

The presence of His light, or the absence, can make all the difference in our lives.

Let us pray for the wisdom to choose the light and see the kingdom of God in our midst.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

32nd Week, Ordinary Time, Wednesday, 13-11-13

Wisdom 6:1-11 / Luke 17:11-19         (2019)

"Thank you" may be just two words, but it is easy to forget to say them and at times even difficult to say them.

We can forget to say them when we don't appreciate the good deeds that people do for us, or we may just take them for granted.

We can forget to say "thank you" when people give way to us when we are going in or coming out of the MRT, or when others give way to us on the road.

And we might find it difficult to be thankful, especially to God, when we are going through a rough time and we feel that He isn't helping us or answering our prayers.

But with whatever little faith that we have, we must believe that God only wants the best for us, and when we pray, we also must believe that God is listening and that He knows what we want.

If we can thank God even if our prayers are not answered according to the way we want it, then we can be sure that our faith in God has deepened, and that we can trust Him enough to say that He knows what He is doing and that He knows what He is going to do.

Thankfulness and gratitude are the expressions of our faith.

May we do our best in thanking God and believe that He only wants to do the best for us.

Monday, November 11, 2013

32nd Week, Ordinary Time, Tuesday, 12-11-13

Wisdom 2:23 - 3:9 / Luke 17:7-10     (2015, 2019)

Our beliefs and our destiny have a connection.

Our beliefs shape our destiny, not just in this life but also in the next life.

Because out of our beliefs flows our actions, and our actions slowly form our habits.

Our habits shape our character and by our character we build our destiny.

The 1st readings tells us that God made us imperishable; He made us in the image of His own nature.

But it was the devil's envy that brought death into the world.

In other words, sin has distorted our beliefs.

Sin has also robbed us of our destiny, which is to be fully human and to be fully loving.

That is why Jesus reminds us in the gospel that we are merely servants.

No doubt, we are made in the image of God's nature and God's nature is love.

Hence, to love God and love others is our duty. We are servants of love and we can't expect a reward for it.

When we heed the call to this duty to love, we begin to build our destiny in this life and as well as in the life to come.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

32nd Week, Ordinary Time, Monday, 11-11-13

Wisdom 1:1-7 / Luke 17:1-6

The examination of conscience is a spiritual exercise in which we examine ourselves before the Lord in prayer and to reflect on how we had been in union with God and how we had followed His ways.

One question that we may have to ask ourselves honestly is this: How many lies have I committed today?

Yes, lies. Not just spoken lies, but also lies in action, e.g., hypocrisy, craftiness, cunning, scheming, deceit, deception, etc.

More importantly, we need to ask ourselves: How did my life get so cluttered with so many lies?

The answer is simply this - we deceive ourselves into believing that one little lie will be alright for just this one time.

But the truth is that one little lie will begin to complicate our lives. And it will multiply until our whole life becomes one big lie.

That is what the 1st reading is saying: that Wisdom will never make its way into a crafty soul, nor stay in a body that is in debt to sin.

Yes, the Spirit of the Lord shuns a person of deceit and lies and deception.

The plain truth is that if we can live with one sin, then we can also live with many sins.

Jesus warns us in today's gospel that an unrepentant sinner is an obstacle to others and we have to watch ourselves of the sins we commit.

So if we desire to be truly wise, then we must be at odds with sin and detest sin.

Because true wisdom, the wisdom that comes from God is at odds with sin and deceit.

It is only with divine wisdom that we can see that virtue, honesty, faithfulness and humility are truly the ways we should live our lives.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

32nd Ordinary Sunday, Year C, 10.11.2013

2 Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14/ 2 Thessalonians 2:16-3:5/ Luke 20:27-38

Last week, there were two occasions which made us turn our attention to the dimension of the spiritual world.

First, there was All Saints Day, a day in which we ponder about the great company of saints in heaven.

The saints are in the spiritual dimension of the presence of God, a dimension that is beyond the here and now.

Yet, it is also a dimension that we are in touch with, and what we could term as “the communion of saints”.

And then on the next day, which is All Souls Day, we remember those who have gone before us and we offer prayers for them that God will grant them eternal rest.

So, whether it’s All Saints and All Souls, it is a spiritual dimension that calls for our attention and evokes our emotions.

But just the day prior to All Saints and All Souls, there is this peculiar event called Halloween.

Halloween is of western origins. Halloween actually means “Hallowed Evening” which means holy evening.

Because it is on the 31st Oct, which is the eve of All Saints Day, the Church termed it as a holy evening and a vigil for the celebration of All Saints Day.

But it was actually to counter a pagan festival of a Celtic religion called “Druid”.

In that “Druid” religion, it was believed that on that day, the 31st Oct, the spirits of all those who died during the year would rise up and roam around. 

The Church tried to counter that by naming that day Halloween and propagated the teaching that the souls of the virtuous will rise to heaven and rejoice in heaven in the celebration of All Saints Day.

However, that didn’t quite succeed. The idea of a holy evening didn’t change the people’s fantasy of the scary and ghostly. (Sigh, just like how a talk on ghosts will always attract more people than a talk on saints!)

Hence, even nowadays, the general theme of the Halloween party is to dress up like the figures of the underworld.

So adults and even children will dress up as zombies, vampires, witches, warlocks, corpse, etc.

By and large, it is to be scary and ghostly, and all that is supposed to be for fun.

Yet, we may wonder where is the distinction between what is for fun and what is for real.

Is it real fun, or is that having fun with the real?

What we heard in the first reading was for real.

The seven brothers and their mother stood firmly in their faith against the temptations to deny God.

And with that, the persecution and torture began. One by one, the seven brothers were tortured and killed. They were skinned alive, dismembered and subjected to other grisly forms of torture.

And the mother who saw all her seven sons perish in one day was finally put to death.

Indeed it was a heart wrenching story of martyrdom and we cringe at the thought of how human beings can be so viciously tortured and executed just because of their faith in God.

In the Gospel, we heard about the Sadducees, who didn’t believe in the resurrection, posing a seemingly ridiculous and absurd scenario to Jesus.

The Sadducees would have known about the story of the martyrdom of the seven brothers and their mother.

However, they twisted that story around and made up a case of seven brothers and a woman and threw in a law from Moses about marriage and having children.

Their question was this: In the after-life, whose wife would she be, since all seven brothers had married her?

They were not asking that question for fun. But their question was funny or at least, it sounded funny.

But that is because they didn’t believe in the resurrection and hence to them, the after-life was some kind of shadowy, meaningless existence in a place called Sheol.

And because the after-life seemed so absurd and meaningless, then their aim was to enjoy a life of luxury and have their desires fulfilled.

That was why the Sadducees were rich and they hold high positions, because this life was all they had. Beyond the grave is a meaningless existence.

And here is where Jesus gave a teaching on the after-life and on the resurrection.

Beyond the grave is not a meaningless existence.

Rather, beyond the grave, we rise to be with the God of the living, the God who is life and who gives life.

If we believe in that, then it must have an impact in the present life, in the here and now.

We just can’t go around and dressing up and acting like zombies and vampires or get fascinated with the scary or ghostly.

That would be a mockery of the after-life, and an insult to the God of life.

If we truly believe in the Resurrection, then we would want to live a life of holiness.

We would want to be in communion with the saints in heaven by asking them for their intercession.

We would also want to be in communion with those who have gone before us, by praying for them so that they can be with God and have the fullness of life.

Halloween may have come and gone, and some might see it as a funny costume party that has no meaning.

But we know what it means – it means “Holy Evening”.

And if we truly believe in the Resurrection, we also want it to have in our lives, a holy meaning.

Then we would truly witness to God, who is God not of the dead, but of the living.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Dedication of Lateran Basilica, Saturday, 09-11-13

Ezekiel 47 : 1-2, 8-9, 12 / 1 Cor 3 : 9-11, 16-17 / John 2 : 13-22

In 1980, Pope John Paul II went to Sicily, and as we might be aware, Sicily is the heartland of the Italian mafia.

There the Pope proclaimed the dignity of the human person and the sacredness of life.

He told the people that they have a right to live in peace.

Those who are guilty of breaking this peace have many victims on their conscience.

Outrightly, the Pope declared that killing is NOT allowed, and no man, no organization, no mafia can ever violate this holy law of God.

What the Pope said was merely to reiterate what St. Paul said to the Corinthians in the 2nd reading: that we are the Temple of God, and that the temple in us is sacred, and if anyone destroys this temple, God will destroy him.

But the mafia wanted to have a say too.

To ridicule the Pope's teaching, they killed two priests.

And to push the point further, they bombed the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the feast of the dedication which we are celebrating today.

The mafia thought that by bombing the mother church of the Catholic faith, which is also the Cathedral of the Pope, they have put a dent on the Church.

But they forgot; they forgot that the Church is not just about buildings and structures.

The Church in essence, is the faithful, which is  a living Temple, the Mystical Body of Christ.

Just as that Temple is sacred, we too are called to holiness.

So let us cast out all that is sinful, and renew ourselves in this Eucharist, as temples of prayer.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

31st Week, Ordinary Time, Friday, 08-11-13

Romans 15:14-21 / Luke 16:1-8

When God created mankind, He created them in His image. Hence it is with goodness that God created each and every person.

It is with the goodness of God that is within that each person that will hear the call to holiness and live life in the ways of God.

In the 1st reading, St. Paul affirmed the Romans that they are full of good intentions and perfectly well instructed and able to advise each other.

Yet he also said that he had put some things rather strongly, so as to refresh their memories.

The need to refresh their memories was that people have rather short memories about truth and teaching and they need to be reminded, lest complacency makes them forget about it all together.

When the truth and the teachings of Jesus are reiterated, then people will be reminded of who they are, of who their Creator is, and what they are called to be.

Otherwise, the ways of the world will slowly corrode our hearts and we will tend to lean towards the thinking and the ways of the world, even though we call ourselves Christians.

In the gospel, Jesus told a parable that exposes this corrosion and decay. The steward had recourse to the thinking and the ways of the world so as to ensure his security for the future.

Yet for us, we know that our future, whether early or eternal, lies in the hands of God our Creator.

Our thoughts must spring from the goodness that God has put within us, and our ways must be that of truth and love.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

31st Week, Ordinary time, Thursday, 07-11-13

Romans 14:7-12 / Luke 15:1-10

To want to be in control does not mean merely to keep things in check and to have some stability in the situations around us.

More than that we want to be in control of the situations and the circumstances around us, such that we can alter the settings to our advantage.

It is just like how we want to be in control of our computers or gadgets. We don't often leave the settings as they are when we first get them.

We will fiddle around with the settings to suit our needs and our likings. That may be useful in that we can call it our personal computers and personal gadgets.

But when we transfer this need to be in control in order to alter the settings in our lives and even in the lives of others, we might run into trouble.

Because certain settings in life is not for us to alter or tamper or manipulate with.

The 1st reading states that the life and death of each of us has its influence on others; if we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord, so that alive or dead we belong to the Lord.

It means to say that the fundamental controls of our lives belong to the Lord, and we cannot alter or manipulate those controls.

Having said that, the application of this principle is that we should never pass judgement on others or treat them with contempt.

In the gospel, this principle of  control was violated when the Pharisees passed judgement on Jesus and they treated the tax collectors and sinners with contempt.

In response, Jesus told two parables that point to the heavenly joy over repentant sinners.

Yet at the same time, we are also reminded that eventually we will have to come before the Lord and give an account of our lives.

That is certainly inevitable and beyond our control. May we be able to give an account of our repentance and obtain mercy and forgiveness from the Lord.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

31st Week, Ordinary Time, Wednesday, 06-11-13

Romans 13:8-10 / Luke 14:25-33         (2019)

To express some spiritual realities, it may be helpful to use ordinary and understandable everyday life experiences and realities.

When St. Paul wanted to talk about sin and its consequences, he used the idea of a debt as an analogy.

He put it in such a way that when we sin, we owe God something. Maybe that is where we get this idea that we will have to pay for our sins.

Today's 1st reading tells us to avoid getting into debt. It means that we must not owe anyone money or borrow things without returning it back.

It also means that we must avoid getting into sin and to "owe" God an explanation for not keeping His commandments.

And we know what God's commandments are. And we also know that they are not impossible to keep.

And we also know that to love God and love neighbour will be for our good and our salvation.

Yes, we know that in keeping God's commandments we live in the freedom of truth and love.

When we sin, we not only put ourselves in debt, we also do not know the cost of our sins.

Hence Jesus tells us in the gospel to "work out the costs". If we have a sinful intention or motive, do we know what is the cost and can we ever pay it?

The debt of sin is painful and destructive. But the debt of love cannot hurt anyone because it is the answer to every one of the commandments. Hence, let us continue to love God and our neighbour.

Monday, November 4, 2013

31st Week, Ordinary Time, Tuesday, 05-11-13

Romans 12:5-16 / Luke 14:15-24

One of the uncomfortable experiences is to be in a place where you are new but everybody knows each other.

One example of this kind of experience is the first day at work in a new place.

We just long for someone to come and talk with us and show us how things are done and guide us along the way.

In such times, we can say that we are quite vulnerable.

We can be vulnerable to people who might befriend us but with vested interests and ulterior motives.

In the 1st reading, we are told not to let our love be a pretense. In other words, our love and concern should be real and genuine.

Hence, we must examine our motives for helping others. We also must not make excuses for not helping others when we can.

When we help others out of love and care for them, it is not for gain but to give.

To give love will cost us - it will cost us our time, it will cost us our energy, it will cost us our very selves.

Let us remember that Jesus loved us and it also cost Him His life.

But when we love others as Jesus loved us, then we have said "Yes" to the invitation to the banquet of love.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

31st Week, Ordinary Time, Monday, 04-11-13

Romans 11:29-36 / Luke 14:12-14

We don't like to feel indebted to someone or beholden to someone.

We don't have this feeling of freedom whether be it simply just owing thanks or having a duty to someone in return for help or a service.

Also because we want to do everything on our own resources and not dependent on anyone.

In the 1st reading, it seems that God wants to make us indebted to Him or beholden to Him when it says in this line: God has imprisoned all men in their own disobedience only to show mercy to all mankind.

But the truth is that we disobey God and fall into sin because we want to be independent and free to do what we want.

But the fact is that we cannot be totally independent from our Creator, nor can we have that total freedom to do whatever we want.

And the point is that when we fall into sin, there is also no way to get out of it with just our will-power or on our own strength.

We need the mercy of God. We do not deserve it and have no right to it. Yet God gives it freely when we ask for it.

In that sense we are indebted and beholden to God. We need His mercy if we want to be saved. We can't save ourselves.

And because we can't save ourselves, neither can we save others or make them indebted or beholden to us.

That is what Jesus is saying in the gospel. What we have freely received, we also must freely give.

When we understand that is how it is with God's mercy, we too will be merciful. We will understand the saving love of God and also lead others to understand His saving love.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

31st Ordinary Sunday, Year C, 04.11.2013

Wisdom 11:22-12:2/ 2 Thess 1:11-2:2/ Luke 19:1-10

The Bible has many interesting and amazing stories that fascinate our imagination and capture our attention.

One of those stories is about the city of Jericho in the Book of Joshua in the Old Testament.

After crossing the River Jordan into the Promised Land, the Israelites faced the fortified city of Jericho.

The walls of Jericho were fortified, not just to keep out the enemies but also to hold out the water when the River Jordan gets flooded.

So it seemed unlikely for the Israelites to easily break through the walls of Jericho and conquer it.

And this was where God instructed Joshua of an amazing battle plan.

Joshua was to lead the priests carrying the ark of covenant, together with the soldiers and they were to march round the city once, with the priests blaring the horns. 

They were to do that for six days.

Then on the seventh day, they were to march round the city seven times and sounding their horns.

Then at the seventh round, as the priests were blowing the horns, Joshua was to instruct the Israelites to give a loud shout, and the walls of Jericho would collapse and the Lord will deliver the city to Joshua and the Israelites.

Joshua must have wondered at first about that weird battle plan.

Instead of using battering rams to break the walls and special troops to scale the walls, the Israelite warriors would seem like some kind of joke to the defenders of Jericho.

But on the seventh day and on the seventh round, with horns blowing and with a loud shout, the walls of Jericho collapsed and the Israelites conquered the city, and they had the last laugh.

That was certainly an unusual military strategy. But when the Lord fights for His people, it would always be in an unusual way, and amazing as well.

In the gospel, we heard that Jesus entered the city of Jericho, the same city that Joshua conquered many centuries ago.

There was nothing unusual about Jesus going to the city.

He was not going there to conquer the city and neither was He going to shout and make the walls collapse.

He was just an ordinary visitor, but He had an unusual observer.

A senior tax collector and a wealthy man by the name of Zacchaeus was anxious to see what kind of man Jesus was. 

Maybe Zacchaeus had heard that one of the tax collectors had become His disciple, and that this Jesus mixes around with the outcasts and the despised.

So maybe Zacchaeus was just curious to see what kind of man Jesus was, but he had no intention of getting to know him.

So anxious and curious was he that he climbed a sycamore tree just to catch a glimpse of Jesus.

He thought that no one would notice him. He had thought that after getting a glimpse of Jesus, he would climb down the tree and go home and life would go on as usual.

Did Zacchaeus ever expected Jesus to look up and noticed him? 

Did he ever expected Jesus to call out to him and even want to go to his home?

By the way, the name “Zacchaeus” means pure, and it also means clean.

When Jesus called him by name, Zacchaeus might have suddenly realized what his name meant.

Zacchaeus was a wealthy senior tax collector which means that his reputation and his wealth were quite questionable.

But just like the walls of Jericho which had crumbled and collapsed many centuries before, the walls of the heart of Zacchaeus also crumbled and collapsed at the call of Jesus.

Zacchaeus let Jesus into his heart to clean it and make it pure again.

Today, as we come for Mass, Jesus is also telling us that He want to go and stay in our homes.

But we have to let Him into our hearts to clean it and make it pure again.

And like Zacchaeus, we have to do some letting go.

A man was sharing with his wife about his idea of living and dying.

He said to her: Never let me live in a vegetative state, totally dependent on medicines and liquid from a bottle.

If you see me in that state, I want you to disconnect all the contraptions that are keeping me alive. I would rather die.

The wife looked admiringly at him and said: Ok, I’ll do it.

And then she got up and went to disconnect the TV, the cable, the computer, the laptop, the handphone, the X-box, the playstation. 

And then she went to the fridge and threw away all the beer.
As for the man… well, he nearly died. (Ask for it and you will get it)

Jesus came to seek out and to save what was lost, but we also must give up what is making us unclean and impure.

How the walls of Jericho crumbled and collapsed was amazing. 

How Zacchaeus let Jesus change his life was also amazing.

Let us not go off from here without inviting Jesus to go back with us. 

With Jesus, many amazing things are waiting to happen. Only if we invite Him into our hearts.