Tuesday, June 30, 2015

13th Week, Ordinary Time, Wednesday, 01-07-15

Genesis 21:5, 8-20 / Matthew 8:28-34

A child may not have a big lung capacity. But its cries can make heads turn, especially in a restaurant or in a hall or even in church.

Somehow when a child wails and weeps, we just can't ignore it and we will attend to it especially if it is our child.

In the 1st reading, we heard of Hagar being sent away with her young son into the wilderness with just some bread and a skin of water.

When the skin of water was finished, Hagar abandoned the child under a bush and she went off at a distance because she couldn't bear to see the child die, while the child wailed and wept.

But God heard the cries of the child and sent an angel to rescue mother and child from death.

Indeed, God hears the cries of His people, especially children, and will come to their rescue.

In the gospel the two demoniacs were shouting angrily at Jesus, but their shouts turned to pleading as they asked Jesus to send them into the herd of pigs.

Over and above the shouting, Jesus heard the cries of the two possessed persons for healing and freedom. And He healed them and set them free.

So whenever we hear cries of distress or shouts of anger, let us also hear, over and above those cries and shouts, a plea for a need.

It's actually a cry and even a wailing for healing and for freedom.

God heard the cries of Hagar's child and the two demoniacs. May we also have the ears to hear the cries of those in need.

Monday, June 29, 2015

13th Week, Ordinary Time, Tuesday, 30-06-15

Genesis 19:15-29 / Matthew 8:23-27

The 1st reading gives the account of the destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.

It's a well-known Bible story, partly because it is a fire and brimstone kind of story about destruction and punishment for sin.

But it is also a story that has a mystery to it that would raise immediate questions. It is about Lot's wife who turned into a pillar of salt just because she looked back. Several reasons were given for this.

One common view of Lot's wife turning to salt was as punishment for disobeying the angels' warning. By looking back at the "evil cities" she betrayed her secret longing for that way of life. She was deemed unworthy to be saved and thus turned to a pillar of salt.

Another view is that when Lot's wife looked back, she turned to a pillar of salt upon the sight of God who was descending down to rain destruction upon Sodom and Gomorrah.

One reason for Lot's wife looking back, and that was to check if her daughters, who were married to men of Sodom, were coming or not. Instead, she saw God descending to rain fire and brimstone upon Sodom and Gomorrah. Thus, the sight of God turned her into a pillar of salt.

Another view has it that because Lot's wife sinned with salt, she was punished with salt. On the night the two angels visited Lot, he requested of his wife to prepare a feast for them. Not having any salt, Lot's wife asked of her neighbours for salt which so happened to alert them of the presence of their guests, resulting in the mob action that endangered Lot's family.

Whatever reason it might be, the fact is that our lives must be directed towards God. If not then we will be easily distracted and lose focus and lose our directions.

Especially in the storms of life, we must keep our focus on Jesus and keep heading towards Him. Only Jesus can keep us from danger and from sinking into the salty waters.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles, Monday, 29-06-15

Acts 12 : 1-11 / 2 Timothy 4 : 6-8, 17-18 / Matthew 16 : 13-19

St. Peter and St. Paul are two great apostles who strengthened the faith of the early Church and kept it in unity.

But these two saints were as different as night and day and they even had their differences recorded in Galatians 2: 14.

Although it was St. Peter who affirmed the identity of Christ, his character and actions did not quite reflect the meaning of his name, which means "rock".

St. Peter was rash and impulsive and we can certainly remember his triple denial of Jesus.

St. Paul was a brutal opponent of Christians before his conversion and he had a fiery character.

But it was strange that Jesus chose these two men who were far from perfect or even suitable to be the leaders of His Church.

Yet, that showed who was the spiritual and guiding force behind the Church.

In spite of their differences and shortcomings, Sts. Peter and Paul were united in a common goal and mission.

Both died as martyrs, an act which showed that the purpose of their lives were not for their own glory but for the glory of God.

This feast of Sts. Peter and Paul shows us that despite the differences and failures in personalities and characters, the Church can be united for a common goal and mission.

The lives of Sts. Peter and Paul show us that God can choose the weak and imperfect persons to be the leaders of His Church.

Because it is through these imperfect human instruments that God shows the Church and the world that what is impossible for man is not impossible for God.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

13th Ordinary Sunday, Year B, 28.06.2015

Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24 / 2 Cor 8:7,9, 13-15 / Mark 5:21-43

When we say that something is unbelievable, it means that it is unlikely to be true or that it is too difficult to believe.

For example, the following can be rather unbelievable: Over a period of 200 years, three ships perished at the same location off the coast of Wales, on the same day (5th December) and all three ships had only one survivor. The three survivors all had the same name – Hugh Williams.

Call it incredible, or improbable, or impossible, or unbelievable, it all means more or less the same thing.

But recently, the word “unbelievable” had an added dimension to it.

A group of children were singing a song and it began with the word “unbelievable” and I wondered what kind of song is that, because it had some kind of Chinese tune but English words.

Until someone told me that the song had gone viral on the internet, and it had an unbelievable popularity.

So I went to check it out, and I was tickled by how cheesy it is, how lame the lyrics are, and yet how easy it is to sing that even the kids can sing it.

Well, if you haven’t heard it yet it goes something like this: 
“Un-un-un-un-unbelievable, that’s what you are,             
come be my coffee table and I’ll be your sofa.”
“Un-un-un-un-unbelievable, so near yet so far,              
please be the metal cable to my cable car.”

You can go and listen to the rest of the song if you wish. But I have to tell you it’s so cheesy and so corny that it would be better that no one is around when you listen to it.

But it has become popular and gone viral on the internet that even the producers and the singer thought it was quite unbelievable.

The unexpected can be quite unbelievable and many a times it is a pleasant surprise.

In today’s gospel passage, we hear of two persons who were certainly surprised.

But they had to go through a desperation. Jairus was desperate for a cure for his daughter who was desperately sick, and the unnamed woman was desperate for a cure for her haemorrhage.

Jairus had to kneel at the feet of Jesus and plead earnestly with Him. The woman had to go behind Jesus through the crowd in a desperate bid to touch His cloak.

What Jairus and the woman did was certainly not that unbelievable.

In a time of desperation and not having any other options, we would go down on our knees and touch the statues or the holy pictures in order to get some divine attention and hope for divine intervention.

But what Jairus and the woman did, and what we would do in a time of desperation is certainly not unbelievable.

The key factor in all is faith. Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has restored you to health.” To Jairus He said, “Do not be afraid; only have faith.”

Yes, the key factor is faith. Because faith sees what is invisible; faith believes the unbelievable; and faith receives the impossible.

Every week, there are something like 50 to 70 Mass intentions that are offered in the petition boxes, together with Novena petitions.

And during the feast day celebrations, there were about 2,300 petition envelopes that were offered to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Every Mass intention that is offered must be fulfilled and the Church takes a serious view on how it is accounted for.

That is why the Mass intentions must be published so that we know that our Mass intentions are recorded and the priests will look through these intentions before Mass.

The petitions that are received in the petition boxes and those received during the feast day are read by the priests and a prayer is offered for them too, and they are placed at the side altars of Mother Mary and St. Joseph.

Whether it is the offering of Mass intentions or writing in a petition, it is an act of faith.

Because faith sees what is invisible – that Jesus will read those petitions and act on it.

Because faith believes in the unbelievable – that Jesus will feel those who reach out to touch Him. And that’s why in the gospel, Jesus turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” And His disciples were bewildered and said, “You see how the crowd is pressing round you and yet you say “Who touched me?” 

Yes, faith tells us that Jesus knows and feels it when we reach out to touch Him.

And faith receives the impossible, because what is impossible for man is not impossible for God.

Surely, God’s help is only a prayer away. We only need to act on that prayer.

Jairus went down on his knees. The woman touched the clothes of Jesus.

We only need to write down our prayer in a Mass intention or a petition.

God will read it and He will act upon it. That is not unbelievable.

With faith, we will believe that God will grant only what is good for us. 

But it takes a lot of faith to believe that.

Friday, June 26, 2015

12th Week, Ordinary Time, Saturday, 27-06-15

Genesis 18:1-15 / Matthew 8:5-17

It is quite obvious that wherever Jesus went, people will come and approach Him with their requests.

Today's gospel gives us a glimpse of a typical day of Jesus.

But we can be sure that whatever Jesus did for the people, whether He healed them, or whether He taught them, energy was required and He would get tired.

So when He went to Peter's mother-in-law's house, probably it was to take a break. He needed to rest for a while.

But when He saw Peter's mother-in-law in bed with a fever, He immediately attended to her need.

So whether in public or in private, whether it was in the presence of a centurion, or before a demanding crowd or attending to a poor feeble woman, Jesus poured out all His love and power.

Jesus was not certainly the type who would be at their best in public, but are at their worst in private.

Hence, for us, there must also be a unity in our actions and our attitudes.

What we are in public should be a reflection of who we are in private and vice versa.

In other words, what we are on the outside should be a reflection of what we are in the inside.

So whether it is outside or inside, let us know that we are to reflect God's love and care always.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

12th Week, Ordinary Time, Friday, 26-06-15

Genesis 17:1, 9-10, 15-22 / Matthew 8:1-4

It is not that easy to laugh at yourself when you are the brunt of a joke.

It would also take a lot of sense of humour to laugh at yourself when the joke went on for 24 years.

When God made the promise to Abraham of land and descendants, Abraham was already 75 years old.

Time and again, Abraham wondered how this promise of God is going to be fulfilled.

He and his wife Sarah even came up with their own ideas as to how to fulfill the promise on their own.

Yet, everything had failed, and as we heard in the 1st reading, when God told Abraham, who was then already 99 years old, that Sarah (who was 88 years old) would conceive and bear a son, just what would be the response of Abraham?

Well, he could have flared up at God for His empty promise and for telling him that he was going to have a child at 99 years old!

But after waiting for 24 years, maybe Abraham had "matured" in that he had the sense of humour to laugh at it instead of fuming over.

Maybe that is where we get the saying - Laughter is the best medicine.

But leprosy is certainly no laughing matter. Yet the leper in the gospel passage had the faith and the courage to come to Jesus for a cure.

And we can say that the leper had the last laugh. And we can also say that those with faith will also have the last laugh. Let us ask God for that kind of faith.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

12th Week, Ordinary Time, Thursday, 25-06-15

Genesis 16:1-12, 15-16 / Matthew 7:21-29

Very often, in the intricacy of our human relationships, we want to embark on the most pragmatic plan that will bring about the maximum benefits for all.

It is what they would call the win-win situation. But how often have these so-called win-win situations worked in the long term?

In the 1st reading, we  heard of how Sarai came up with a pragmatic plan so that it would be a win-win situation for her and Abram and Hagar the slave-girl.

But man's ways are often not God's ways and in the end, that supposedly win-win plan turned into ruins.

So does it mean that we don't plan at all and just wait for things to happen?

Surely we must plan, but the question is that are our plans in accordance with God's will?

Today's gospel can be summed up in one phrase - doing God's will.

The kingdom of God is not about being pragmatic or practical or about winning.

The kingdom of God is about knowing the will of God and doing it.

It is about trusting God as we go through the narrow gate and walking the long hard road.

Nativity of St John the Baptist, Wednesday, 24-06-15

Isaiah 49:1-6 / Acts 13:22-26 / Luke 1:57-66, 80

The name " John" appears for the first time in the Bible in today's gospel.

It is a Jewish name (Yohanan) and it means "God is gracious".

Why Elizabeth gave her son that name and why Zechariah confirmed it was not mentioned.

But we can suppose, and quite correctly, that she was expressing her thanks and praise to God for this gift of grace in her son, and that God was merciful to her and saved her from the shame of being barren.

Indeed the name "John" was very befitting for the Baptist because he was the herald of a more important person.

He ushered in the appointed time of grace.

In fact, he ushered in the fullness of grace that was embodied in the person of Jesus Christ.

In Jesus Christ, God came as a man to visit His people and to redeem them from the slavery of sin.

As it was then,  so it is now. Every moment is a time of grace.

God still visits us not only to save us but to make us the light of the nations, so that salvation may reach all nations, as we heard in the 1st reading.

May we live each moment in the grace of God, so that we may be channels of light and life to others.

Monday, June 22, 2015

12th Week, Ordinary Time, Tuesday, 23-06-15

Genesis 13:2, 5-18 / Matthew 7:26, 12-14

It is said that opportunity knocks only once. And when it knocks, we should be quick to grab it, otherwise it will be gone for good.

But when only one opportunity presents itself to more than one person at the same time, then the competition will become greater to see who gets the opportunity first.

So the one who is stronger, faster and smarter will get it, and many a times the competition will get hostile and violent.

In the 1st reading, there was a dispute  between Abraham and Lot. From that dispute we could see the character of each of them.

Although Abraham was older, he let Lot, who is his nephew, make the choice of the land. And Lot, pouncing on the opportunity took the choice lands.

But because of his generosity and his humility, God blessed Abraham and whatever he owned.

That act of Abraham reminds us that our generosity towards others will not be overlooked by God.

Because at times, we feel that we are giving to the dogs what is holy and throwing our pearls in front of pigs and we feel that we get trampled upon and taken advantage of.

But God sees; God knows; and He will give us what is holy and what is eternal - His love for us. Not just once but many times over and overflowing from our hearts and onto others.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

12th Week, Ordinary Time, Monday, 22-06-15

Genesis 12:1-9 / Matthew 7:1-5

If we have to categorize the people we know into two groups, then one group will be people we like and the other group will be those whom we do not like.

Whatever reasons it may be, whether we like some and don't like others, a judgement is formed in our minds about them.

If we like a person, it could be because there is something attractive and nice about that person. That opinion or impression may not be easily changed unless something drastic were to happen.

And if we don't like a person, it could be because there is something repulsive about that person. Again, that opinion or impression may not be easily changed into a favourable one.

Whatever it may be, it comes down to the matter of our choice. We choose to see what we want to see in others and from there we form our opinions and inevitably our judgements.

A further reflection would be that we could tell a lot about ourselves by what we choose to see in others, be it what we like or dislike about them.

Like what Jesus said in the gospel, the judgements that you give are the judgements you will get.

As for Abram in the 1st reading, it is quite obvious what the Lord sees in him. The Lord saw many possibilities in him. The Lord saw the goodness in him.

In fact the Lord sees the goodness in all He has created. In the creation story, whatever God created, He saw it as good.

And God sees the goodness in each of us. That tells a lot about who God is.

And what do we see in others? What we see in others tells a lot about ourselves. May we have the eyes of God to see the good in others.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

12th Ordinary Sunday, Year B, 21.06.2015

Job 38:1, 8-11 / 2 Cor 5:14-17 / Mark 4:35-41

The month of June is often called the holiday month because it’s the month of school holidays. The other holiday month is December.

And being school holidays the children would expect their parents to bring them out of the country for a holiday.

Depending on the budget, it can be anywhere from regional to the continental.

And if continental Europe is the choice, then one place that is not really the top choice would be Normandy beach in France.

But it will be the place to visit for some who were there on the 6th June 1944. They were not there on that day for a holiday, but for D-day, a day that they will not forget, and it is also a day that they hope will never happen again.

That was the day when Allied troops began a massive assault across the English Channel on Nazi-occupied France in order to liberate Europe from the German occupation.

In that one day of heavy fighting, over four thousand soldiers lost their lives. 

A soldier’s account of the landing on one of Normandy’s beaches had it that as the landing craft drew near the beach, the soldiers could hear bullets tapping on the ramp of the landing craft. 

And when the ramp was lowered, and as the soldiers charge out, it was all hell breaking loose. It was a day that the surviving veterans would never forget and they hope will never happen again.

No amount of preparation before they set off across the Channel from England prepared them for this nightmare, as they crossed over to the other side.

But it was a day to be remembered, not just for the carnage, but also for the courage that brought about the liberation of Europe.

Not so dramatic was the gospel account when Jesus said to His disciples, “Let’s cross over to the other side.”

As they set sail, they may not be prepared for what was to come, although the Sea of Galilee was known for blowing up sudden storms and claiming lives.

And indeed a gale blew up and the waves were breaking into the boat so that it was almost swamped, meaning to say it was going to sink.

We can imagine all the shouting and panicking in desperation, and in the midst of all that, Jesus was sleeping, head on a cushion, and maybe snoring even!

How can He? And so the disciples had to wake Him and say, “Master, do you not care? We are going down!”

But what were the disciples expecting Jesus to do?

Maybe they merely wanted Him to help them keep the boat afloat till the storm blew over and that they reach the shore safely.

But did they expect Him to stop the storm just like that. Certainly not, otherwise they won’t be filled with awe, and they wondered “Who can this be? Even the wind and the sea obey him.”

Now we, we are much smarter than the disciples. Because we will ask Jesus that no storms will ever hit us.

And then, should a storm hit us, we will ask Jesus for a bigger boat to keep us safe and secure in the storm.

Surely, this is what we expect for believing in Jesus.

We expect life to be leisurely and sailing over calm and tranquil waters. 

Well here is the good news. If we are asking our God to let our lives be smooth sailing, that there will be no storms in life, and that our boats will be unsinkable, then here is the good news.

The good news is this: God says No!

And we will ask – why? We will always ask why because we can’t quite take “No” for an answer.

We are not much different from the character of Job, from the 1st reading.

Job met with one storm after another, and he too asked why???

Oh yes, we want answers, especially when storms start to blow, and ships start to sink.

Here, let us listen to a reflection that might help us to understand why God may say No to our requests.

It goes like this:

I asked God to take away my bad habit. 
God said, No. It is not for Me to take it away, but for you to give it up.    

I asked God to make my handicapped child whole. 
God said, No. His spirit is whole, his body is only temporary.  

I asked God to grant me patience.   
God said, No. Patience is a byproduct of tribulations; it isn't granted, it is learned. 

I asked God  to give me happiness. 
God said, No. I give you blessings; Happiness is up to you. 

I asked God to spare me pain. 
God said, No. Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares and brings you closer to Me.  

I asked God to make my spirit grow. 
God said, No. You must grow on your own, but I will prune you to make you fruitful. 

I asked God for all things that I might enjoy life. 
God said, No. I will give you life, so that you may enjoy all things. 

Let us remember that when God says No, it is not a rejection. 

Rather it is a re-direction; a re-direction to see that God’s plans are to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11)

So God will not say that there will be no storms in our lives or that the waters of distress will not swamp our boats.

But Jesus will be with us in the storms. But the storms that He will quell are not the storms out there but rather the storms that are within, the storms in our hearts.

To these storms He says, “Quiet now. Be calm.” As Psalm 46:10 would say “Be still, and know that I am God.”

In the midst of the storms in our hearts, we just need to listen to the voice of Jesus and be still and we will know who God is and where He is.

Yes we need to be still and be calm and we will be able to say Yes to God’s plans for us, plans that are always for our good. 

Simply because God loves us. And the prophet Jeremiah will tell us that God not only loves us, but He loves us with an everlasting love (Jer 31:3)

Friday, June 19, 2015

11th Week, Ordinary Time, Saturday, 20-06-15

2 Cor 12:1-10 / Matthew 6:24-34

The word "opposite" will give us ideas like different, contrary, incompatible, irreconcilable, contradictory, etc.

Some examples of opposites are hot-cold, bright-dark, rich-poor, above-below.

So one is mutually exclusive of the other in the usual understanding of the term.

So what Jesus taught in the gospel is a typical example of that mutually exclusive concept - you cannot be the slave of two masters; you cannot be the slave of both of God and money.

But going beyond the concept of being mutually exclusive, can there be a complementation in that one can lead to the other?

In the 1st reading, St Paul talked about the thorn in his flesh to curb his pride and it has become his weakness.

But when the Lord told him that "My grace is enough for you: my power is at its best in weakness." he in turn was able to say that he was quite contented with his weakness, and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and the agonies he went through for Christ's sake. For when he is weak that he is strong.

His weakness has become his strength, although the two concepts are opposites and are mutually exclusive.

Similarly, and like St. Paul, money may be our weakness and we also can't do without it.

But just as the Lord told St. Paul that His grace is enough, may the Lord also reveal to us how to use money wisely and to help the poor.

May the Lord teach us how to master money and by our charity may it be of service to others.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

11th Week, Ordinary Time, Friday, 19-06-15

2 Cor 11:18, 21-30 / Matthew 6:19-23

What is obvious does not need much common sense to derive its meaning.

But what is obvious can escape our attention, just as common sense may not be that common.

Just like what Jesus taught in today's gospel about treasures in heaven.

It is obvious enough that whatever treasures we have amassed in this world cannot be brought to the next world.

Besides the possibility of being destroyed and stolen, our earthly treasures can go as far as with us into the coffin but no further.

That's obvious enough especially when we see death happening everyday. But our hearts may be somewhere else and thus that obvious reality may not be stark enough to jolt us into our common sense mode.

Although the teachings of Jesus is often obvious enough and appeals to our common sense, what St. Paul talked about in the 1st reading does not make much sense - in fact he says that he seemed to be talking like a fool.

And he even says that he had something to boast about - his sufferings - imprisonment, whipped, beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, always in danger,

But his heart, his daily preoccupation, is his anxiety for the churches.

His heart is for the people of God and their salvation.

That's where St. Paul's heart was. So where is our heart, and what are we anxious about? Because where our heart is, there is also our treasure. That's obvious enough.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

11th Week, Ordinary Time, Thursday, 18-06-15

2 Cor 11:1-11 / Matthew 6:7-15

Have we heard about the seven wonders of the world? Then again there are the seven wonders of the ancient world and the many wonders of the modern world.

The seven wonders of the ancient world have faded off and disappeared from the modern world.

And the modern world has more than just seven wonders. Almost everyday something marvellous appears and we wonder at the wonders that man can create.

Yes, the world is moving on ahead wonderfully with more and more wonders each day.

Can the same be said of the kingdom of God? It has been over two thousand years since Jesus came and how has Christianity progressed? How has the kingdom of God taken root on earth?

In the prayer that Jesus taught us, often called the Lord's Prayer, He mentioned about the coming of the kingdom of God.

In little and in wonderful ways the kingdom of God has taken root on earth and it will grow.

It must grow first of all in us. The kingdom of God can never be completed.

As long as the Lord's Prayer is being recited, the kingdom of God will grow.

May it continue to grow in our hearts so that it will grow in the world.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

11th Week, Ordinary Time, Wednesday, 17-06-15

2 Cor 9:6-11 / Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

We certainly won't like it when others think of us as a "show-off" or that we like to brag and boast about the things we do.

As much as we don't like it, we also cannot deny that we have this tendency or an urge and even impulsion to try to impress people and to give ourselves a good standing.

It happens in job interviews, in presentations, and even in ordinary conversations with others, we like to impress and to make an impact on others.

Some people may even be so obsessed with it that they will even exaggerate and even go to the extent of lying.

The 1st reading talks about sowing - thin sowing means thin reaping; the more you sow, the more you get.

But there is also another proverb - what you sow is what you get. When one sows lies in order to impress and to make an impact, then in time for reaping comes, others will know who is the liar.

Jesus taught about the spiritual disciplines of almsgiving, prayer and fasting in the gospel.

Yet, there is also the temptation to twist these three spiritual disciplines with our ulterior motives so as to make an impression and impact on others.

Hence, Jesus cautioned us - everything we do must be done in secret, and God our Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward us.

Let us embark on the "secret way" and that is to avoid attracting attention to ourselves and to turn our attention to God.

In doing so, we will help others to turn their attention to "the One who provides seed for the sower and bread for food" and to give thanks to Him and to give glory to Him in our humble and quiet ways.

Monday, June 15, 2015

1th Week, Ordinary Time, Tuesday, 16-06-15

2 Cor  8:1-9 / Matthew 5:43-48

The phrase "Survival of the Fittest" is something we hear quite often in the discussion about evolution and also about staying power in the work place.

By fittest, it means that an organism has those attributes that allow it to get the most out of its environment: gather food, drink, oxygen, rest, sex. The better it is at doing this, the more fit it is.

When those attributes are lacking, then survival will be at stake and life will be endangered.

In the 1st reading, St. Paul made an interesting note about the churches in Macedonia, of how throughout great trials by suffering, their constant cheerfulness and their intense poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity.

St. Paul attested that they gave not only as much as they can afford, but far more, and quite spontaneously. It seems that the generosity of the churches in Macedonia amazed him.

St. Paul also made this profound note - that they offered they own selves first to God, and under God, to the other churches.

This would certainly go against the theory of the "survival of the fittest" as the usual tendency is to protect and preserve the self.

And that is why Christianity is so profound and challenging, because Jesus came to show service and sacrifice is.

For those who believe that God let the sun to rise on bad men as well as good, and the rain to fall on honest and dishonest men alike, they will follow the call of Jesus to love their enemies and pray for those who persecute them.

For the Christian, it is not about survival of the fittest. Because to live is to love and serve through sacrifice

Sunday, June 14, 2015

11th Week, Ordinary Time, Monday, 15-06-15

2 Cor 6:1-10 / Matthew 5:38-42

The fundamental and basic truth of Christianity can be expressed quite simply - love God and love neighbour.

That is also what Jesus said in the gospel when He was asked which is the greatest commandment of all (Mt 22:36-37 / Mk 12:30-31 / Lk 10:27)

But what can be expressed simply may not necessarily mean that it can be accomplished so easily, as we heard in today's gospel passage.

Among other things, this is what Jesus taught : offer the wicked man no resistance; if someone hits you on the right cheek, offer him the other as well; if anyone orders you to go one mile with him, go two miles with him, etc.

That seems to be the high end of Christianity and certainly quite difficult to achieve.

But before we think about trying to attain the advanced stage of Christian discipleship, it would be better to know what is the basic requirement.

The 1st reading states among other things these basic qualities - purity, patience, kindness, holiness. 

Let us ask the Lord to grant us the grace to attain these basic qualities as a disciple.

So that in all that we do we will live out the fundamental and basic truth of Christianity - to love God and to love neighbour.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Year B, 14.06.2015

Hosea 11:1, 3-4, 8-9 / Ephesians 3:8-12, 14-19 / John 19:31-37

As our parish continues to celebrate the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus this weekend, I would like to begin with a story that sounds rather crass or crude.

But I will tell it nonetheless and I hope you will just bear with it, although you might have heard it before.

One day the different parts of the body were having an argument to see which is the most important.

"I should be the most important," said the brain , "Because I run all the body's systems, so without me nothing would happen." 

"I should be the most important," said the blood, "Because I circulate oxygen all over so without me you'd waste away."

"I should be the most important," said the stomach, "Because I process food and give all of you energy." 

"I should be the most important," said the legs, "because I carry the body wherever it needs to go." 

"I should be the most important," said the eyes, "Because I allow the body to see where it goes." 

"I should be the most important," said the rectum, but before he could continue, all the other body parts laughed at the rectum and insulted him, so in a huff, he shut down tight. 

Within a few days, the brain had a terrible headache, the stomach was bloated, the legs got wobbly, the eyes got watery, and the blood became toxic. They all had to give in to the rectum and let it be the most important.

As much as it sounds rather crude to talk about such things, yet there is a point to it.

Some parts of our body we give them honour and take care about how they appear, like our hair, our face, etc.

But some parts of our body we cover it because of decency. And because they are covered up, we may not pay that much attention to them.

But they are no less important than those other parts that are exposed.

Earlier you heard a rather crude story. Now let us look at something rather gruesome.

In the gospel, we heard about three bodies hanging on crosses. 
Because of the religious festival, the Jews asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken away.

So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified and then of the other.

And when they came to Jesus, they found He was already dead. 

And here is where a soldier did something rather gruesome.

The soldier used a lance and pierced His side.

It seems that the dead body of Jesus was subjected to further abuse and the soldiers want His innards to hang out, just to be sure He is dead. That’s really gruesome.

But just as God has the power to change tragedy into victory, what was gruesome became something awesome.

The soldier pierced His side with a lance and immediately there came out blood and water.

What was pierced and exposed is none other than the heart of Jesus.

And what was exposed is not just an organ, but the very core of Jesus, the very core of His divinity and humanity.

And out of that core, out of the heart of Jesus, flowed forgiveness and healing as symbolized by the water, and also mercy and love as symbolized by the blood.

It is out of this gruesome exposition of the heart of Jesus that evokes in us our reaction and response.

In one the apparitions to St. Margaret Mary, Jesus reported said to her : "Behold the Heart that has so loved men ... instead of gratitude, I receive from the greater part of mankind only ingratitude ...".

During the triduum in preparation of the celebration of the feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, we came as a community in prayer and devotion to the Sacred Heart and we offered our petitions in the coloured envelopes together with our wounded and weary and wandering hearts.

From a certain perspective, our petition envelopes are like lances that pierce the Heart of Jesus and He offers us His healing and forgiveness, His love and mercy.

But we may become like spiritual consumers – we put in our petition and we expect a response from God.

Pope Pius XI stated that "the spirit of expiation or reparation has always had the first and foremost place in the worship given to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus".

Reparation is the action of making amends for a wrong one has done. Practically it means going for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and frequent reception of Holy Communion, especially Communion on the First Friday of the month, and the observance of the Holy Hour.

True devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus means that we acknowledge that we had not loved Jesus as much as He had loved us, and that we have ignored His love and mercy, even though His wounded exposed Heart is offering us healing and forgiveness.

We, the priests of the parish, will pray for the petitions offered up to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

May love and mercy, healing and forgiveness flow from the wounded and Sacred Heart of Jesus to those who offered up these petitions so that they will love Him more and more.

And as we look deep into the Heart of Jesus and love Him in return, may we also remember that He commanded us to love one another as He has loved us.

To love others may at times be like letting them pierce our hearts with a lance and cause us pain. 

But when our hearts are in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, then we will find consolation and be at peace.

And we will go on loving, just as Jesus has shown us in His Sacred Heart, that He will always be loving.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Immaculate Heart of Mary, Saturday, 13-06-15

Isaiah 61 : 9-11 / Luke 2 : 41-51

When I was in school, I used to hear a lot of this phrase "Remember by heart".

It applied to anything from mathematical formulas to grammatical rules to eating habits.

I remembered those things, although I don't have to ponder on them or question them.

Mary did not just remember things; she pondered over the events and experiences in her life.

In her relationship and experience of Jesus, she indeed had rich and deep memories.

There is the wonder and joy of the first Christmas, the sorrow and grief at Calvary.

And in today's gospel, it was the worry and anxiety of finding Jesus and the astonishment at the answer He gave.

All this Mary remembered and pondered in her heart.

And as she pondered, the mystery of God was slowly revealed to her, the will of God was slowly made known to her.

The feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary invites us to have a contemplative heart.

It is only with a contemplative heart that we can recall our past in retrospection and see the hand of God in our personal history.

It is with a contemplative heart that we become more aware of the presence of God in the present, and that will deepen our hope and confidence in God to journey into the future.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Friday, 12-06-15, Year B

Hosea 11:1, 3-4, 8-9 / Ephesians 3:8-12, 14-19 / John 19:31-37

The feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus began as a devotion in the late 17th century, but in 1889 it was raised to a solemnity.

The most significant source for the devotion to the Sacred Heart in the form it is known today was St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647–1690).

St. Margaret Mary claimed that Jesus requested to be honored under the figure of His heart, also claiming that, when He appeared radiant with love, he asked for a devotion of expiatory or atoning love, with the Sacrament of Reconciliation and frequent reception of Holy Communion, especially Communion on the First Friday of the month, and the observance of the Holy Hour.

In one the the apparitions, Jesus reportedly said to her : "Behold the Heart that has so loved men ... instead of gratitude I receive from the greater part of mankind only ingratitude ...".

The Sacred Heart is often depicted in religious art as a flaming heart shining with divine light, pierced by the lance and wounded, surrounded by a crown of thorns, surmounted by a cross and bleeding.

Sometimes the image is shown shining within the bosom of Jesus with his wounded hands pointing at the heart. The wounds and crown of thorns are symbols of the sufferings of Jesus, while the fire represents the power of divine love.

Pope Pius XI stated that "the spirit of expiation or reparation has always had the first and foremost place in the worship given to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus".

In other words, when we are able to grasp the length and breath, the height and depth of the love of Jesus as shown in His Sacred Heart, we will also want to offer Him all our love and all our heart, and do penance and offer love sacrifices for our sins and the sins of humanity.

May we worship and adore the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and may He make our hearts like His, so that we too will offer our prayers, our love and our lives for the salvation of mankind.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

St. Barnabas, apostle, Thursday, 11-06-15

Acts 11:21-26; 13:1-3 / Matthew 10:7-13

St. Barnabas was not one of the twelve Apostles who were chosen by Jesus.

Yet in Acts 14:14, he, together with St. Paul were called apostles, as they were sent by the Church for a mission and to preach or deliver a message.

To be called an apostle was indeed a great privilege for St. Barnabas, considering the fact that he was one of the first converts to Christianity.

And indeed, he lived up to his calling as an apostle. He and St. Paul undertook missionary journeys together and defended Gentile converts against a faction which insisted on circumcision.

We also heard from the 1st reading that they also gained converts in Antioch, and it was there that the disciples were first called "Christians".

So St. Barnabas was a great figure of evangelization in the early Church.

The 1st reading described these simple but important qualities in him - for he was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and with faith. And that is what is needed for mission and evangelization.

In the gospel, Jesus tells us what is NOT needed for mission and evangelization - provide yourselves with no gold or silver, not even a few copper coins for the purse; no haversack, no spare tunic, no footwear or staff.

And we might remember what St. Peter told the crippled man in Acts 3:6 "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk."

We don't need silver or gold or all those accessories. We only need Jesus; without Him we can do nothing. 

And when it comes to mission and evangelization, people are only expecting this from us - they expect to see Jesus in us and that we share the Good News of salvation with them.

May we be filled with the Holy Spirit and with faith as we proclaim Jesus to others.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

10th Week, Ordinary Time, Wednesday, 10-06-15

2 Cor 3:4-11 / Matthew 5:17-19

If we are lost in a thick jungle in the darkness of the night and there is no guiding aid to help in getting directions, we may desperately try to figure out a direction and go that way.

But the strange thing is that after a while we will just come back to where we started off from, if we are able to recognize those surroundings.

Otherwise we will be walking round and round in circles with no way out and yet we may think we are going somewhere.

Having a map may not be of much help in that kind of darkness and in that kind of terrain. Having a compass would certainly be more helpful, and of course a guide who knows the ground would be best.

When we understand that, then we would know that God's revelation in the Bible from the Old Testament to the New Testament went from phase to phase and finally culminated in Jesus Christ.

And as Jesus said in the gospel, He came not to abolish the Law and Prophets but to complete them.

It is just like having a map, and then acquiring a compass and then finally a guide comes along to journey with us on the way.

The 2nd reading would also emphasize that the covenant the Lord made with us is not of written letters but of the Spirit who gives life.

Let us ask the Spirit to guide us in our journey of life and to see that Jesus is the one who will lead us to the completion and fulfillment of life.

Monday, June 8, 2015

10th Week, Ordinary Time, Tuesday, 09-06-15

2 Cor 1:18-22 / Matthew 5:13-16

What do we call a radio or a tv that doesn't work? Or for that matter of fact, any appliance or machine that does not work?

And if it cannot be repaired then it would be better to just throw it away. Having it around is of no use whatsoever.

In the gospel, Jesus calls us the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

It is difficult to imagine salt that has lost its taste. Salt that has no taste cannot be called salt. There is no name to describe that kind of kind of thing.

But we can certainly imagine a light bulb that cannot work. It is spoilt and hence we throw it away.

But salt and light are also spiritual symbols of our baptism. Salt preserves our faith and keeps us from being ruined by sin.

The light of Christ is what we received at our baptism and that light must shine out in our lives through our words and actions.

But we must say "Yes" to God for the graces that He has given to us at our baptism.

And as we heard in the 1st reading, God had said "Yes" to us and made us His children through baptism.

We, in turn must say "Yes" and keep saying "Yes" to God to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

10th Week, Ordinary Time, Monday, 08-06-15

2 Cor 1:1-7 / Matthew  5:1-12

Monday is not usually a day that we look forward to going to work nor are we that productive.

Mondays can be called "Moody Monday" because we have to drag ourselves out of the weekend and get into the working gear.

And Mondays can be all the more moody and gloomy when we get the work of others thrown on our desk and we grumble and growl at being arrowed for having to do somebody else's work.

And since we can't get out of it, we give in and succumb to this "No choice" situation.

But is it really that we have no choice? Do we see this kind of "suffering" as no choice and with no options out?

But the 1st reading gives us two perspectives of this kind of "suffering". One is that God will comfort us in all our sorrows (and suffering) so that we can offer others, in their sorrow, the consolation that we have received from God.

The other is that when we are "made" to suffer, then it is for the consolation and the salvation of others.

So suffering and sorrow have a redemptive value and it can be a source of consolation.

In that sense it can be said to be a blessing. And when we reflect on the Beatitudes of the gospel passage, that is also what it is saying - that in sorrow and suffering, there can blessings.

So let us ask the Lord to bless our Mondays and also to bless everyday so that in when we face suffering and sorrow, we will also experience blessings

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Corpus Christi Sunday, Year B, 07.06.2015

Exodus 24:3-8 / Hebrews 9:11-15 / Mark 14:12-16, 22-26

One of the greatest threats to Europe during the 5th Century came from Eastern Asia.

The Huns led by Attila had swept through Asia and in the year 452 was on the verge of invading Italy. 

The Huns were savage and barbaric in every aspect, killing men, women and children, plundering, sacking and destroying.

Attila the Hun was especially and utterly cruel in inflicting torture, greedy in plundering and famous for ripping apart his enemies and drinking their blood.

Rome which was then the seat of the crumbling Roman empire waited in helpless terror for utter destruction.

The pope at that time, Pope Leo knew he had to defend his flock and so he decided to go and meet Attila the Hun at the risk of his life and try to negotiate for peace.

Before he set off, Pope Leo celebrated the Eucharist.

As he ate and drank the Body and Blood of Christ, he thought to himself: If Attila were to rip me apart and drink my blood, then he would also be drinking the blood of Christ and that might convert him.

So with that, the venerable and simple old man went forth to meet the merciless young destroyer who only knew how to kill and plunder.

It was a tense meeting as the Pope pleaded with Attila to stop the bloodshed and spare Rome and the innocent people, and at the same time wondering when he was going to lose his life.

Then in a spectacular and surprising turn of events, Attila ordered his army to stop attacking and return to their base camp.

Many speculations were offered for this sudden and unexpected change in Attila the Hun.

It would be that a sum of money was given to him to stop him from attacking.

Or that his army was short of supplies and worn out, and there was a famine and plague in Italy at that time.

But another story has it that when Attila’s servants asked him why he suddenly changed his mind, he told them this:

While the Pope was talking to him, there appeared above the Pope’s head, two figures with drawn swords, and they seemed to threaten Attila unless he consented to do as Pope Leo had requested. Those two figures were said to be St. Peter and St. Paul.

Well, the fact was that Attila and his savage hordes turned back and Rome was saved at the mitigation of Pope Leo.

The interesting point in all this is that although Pope Leo knew that he could lose his life, he also believed in the power of the Eucharist.

He believed that Christ was in him and that the Blood of Christ flowed in his veins.

This is also what St Augustine taught us: the Eucharist is the only food that changes us to become like what we eat. We partake of Christ’s Body and Blood, and we become like Christ.

Indeed, Jesus the Lord gives us His Body and Blood so that He can live in us and we in Him.

Today, we the Church celebrates the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ.

It is not just about the bread and wine becoming the Body and Blood of Christ after it is consecrated.

It is also about us who receive the Body and Blood of Christ at Holy Communion.

Yes, it is Holy Communion. We are receiving something very sacred. We are receiving Christ the Risen Lord.

And all this is happening at the Eucharist, at the Mass. And it is happening every day, and happening all over the world, because there is not just Sunday Mass but there is also weekday Mass. Yes, there is Mass every day.

And if we really believe what is happening at Mass, and if we really believe that we are receiving what Jesus is giving us, His Body and Blood, then we would be coming for Mass, not just on Sunday, but every day.

The following true story was related to Sr. M. Veronica Murphy by an elderly nun who hear from the lips of the late Reverend Father Stanislaus SS.CC. (The Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary)

In a little town in Luxembourg, a Captain of the Forest Guards was in deep conversation with the butcher when an elderly woman entered the shop. The butcher broke off the conversation to ask the old woman what she wanted. She had come to beg for a little meat but had no money. The Captain was amused at the conversation which ensued between the poor woman and the butcher:

“Only a little meat,” the elderly woman pleaded. “But how much are you going to give me?” the butcher asked her.

“I am sorry,” the woman responded, “I have no money but I will hear Mass for you.” Both the butcher and the Captain were very indifferent about religion, so they at once began to scoff at the old woman's answer. 

“All right then,” said the butcher, “you go and hear Mass for me and when you come back I'll give you as much meat as the Mass is worth.” 

The woman left the shop and returned an hour later. 

She approached the counter and the butcher, seeing her, said, “All right, then, now we will see.” 

He took a slip of paper and wrote on it "I heard a Mass for you." He then placed the paper on the scales and a tiny bone on the other side but nothing happened. Next, he placed a piece of meat instead of the bone, but still the paper proved heavier. 

The Captain, who had decided to stay on at the shop to see how the small drama would end, looked at the butcher. Both men were beginning to feel ashamed of their mockery. 

The butcher placed a large piece of meat on the balance, but still the paper held its own. The butcher, exasperated, examined the scales, but found they were all right. Placing an extremely large piece of meat on the scale, it still favored the weight of the paper. 

Removing both items, he again checked the mechanism of the scale and then weighted several other items, and the scale proved to be exactly accurate. 

Exasperated, the butcher said kindly to the woman, “What do you want my good woman, must I give you a whole leg of mutton?” 
At this he placed the leg of mutton on the balance, but the paper outweighed the meat. An even larger piece of meat was put on, but again the weight remained on the side of the paper. 

This impressed the butcher so much that he converted, and promised to give the woman her daily ration of meat. He kept his promise and the business flourished more than it ever had before. 

As for the Captain, he left the shop a changed man, and became an ardent lover of daily Mass. Because of that incident, he became a daily attendant at Mass and his children were trained to follow his example. Peace and happiness in the home increased as the love of God grew in the family. Two of his sons became priests, one a Jesuit and the other a Father of the Sacred Heart. 

Later when his sons became priests, the Captain advised them to say Mass well every day and never miss the Sacrifice of the Mass through any fault of their own. 

Father Stanislaus finished by saying “I am the Religious of the Sacred Heart, and the Captain was my father.”

This story is often called “The weight of the Mass”. And indeed what we receive at Mass outweighs anything that we can ever have or achieve on our own.

Pope Leo believed in the power of the Mass and that outweighed the terror of Attila the Hun.

Our faith in the Mass and in the Body and Blood of Christ will certainly outweigh all challenges and difficulties that we will ever face.

We just need to believe that we receive Christ and that He lives in us.

Friday, June 5, 2015

9th Week, Ordinary Time, Saturday, 06-06-15

Tobit 12:1, 5-13, 20 / Mark 12:38-44

When we read a story or watch a movie, it will be helpful to pay attention to the details in the opening chapters or opening scenes.

A good story and a good movie will also present the beginning in such a way that when the story or movie comes to the end, the beginning and ending has a connection and that everything about the story or movie makes sense.

But what happens in a story or in a movie has many similarities with what happens in life. In fact, our life story has enough details to make it into our personal movie.

The story of Tobit and Tobias in the 1st reading is like how a story in a movie unfolds. We have been following the story of Tobit since the beginning of the week and today we have come to the end of the story.

And as we come to the end of the story, we see that everything that has happened happened for a reason.

Tobit and Tobias would surely be amazed at what was revealed to them because those were events that they remembered that had happened to them but didn't and couldn't make the connection then.

In the gospel, Jesus was looking at people putting money into the treasury. Some were putting in a significant amount but it was of no significance to them.

A poor widow came and put in two small coins of insignificant value, but it was significant enough for Jesus to note it.

What the poor widow had given was noted by Jesus and remembered even until now.

So whatever happens, happens before the eyes of God. And God has a plan and things happen according to His plan.

May we see God's plan in the small and little things, so that we will give thanks and praise to God in all things.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

9th Week, Ordinary Time, Friday, 05-06-15

Tobit 11:5-17 / Mark 12:36-37

We might wonder why the people were delighted with what Jesus said in the gospel.

What was it that seemed to be like good news to them?

The topic of discussion was the title "the Christ" which means the anointed one.

The title was closely connected to another title "son of David".

At that time the religious authorities maintained that the Christ must necessarily be a direct descendant of King David.

However the problem was that King David's direct line of descendants was already terminated when the Persians conquered Judah.

So there was this question about the Christ being the son of David because the possibility was almost non existent.

So when Jesus quoted the psalm from David and explained it, He cleared the confusion and doubts the people had in their minds.

That was why they were delighted, because they could now believe again.

We too have our questions about life, about the existence of God, about suffering and about eternal life.

But may the Word of God grant us some directions for our lives so that even as we may not be able to have answers to the questions of life, we will still walk in the directions that lead to God.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

9th Week, Ordinary Time, Thursday, 04-06-15

Tobit 6:10-11; 7:1, 9-14; 8:4-9 / Mark 12:28-34

A love story is a beautiful story. It is a beautiful story because it is about love.

Married couples also have a love story. It is a story of how they met, how they fell in love, how they courted and how they finally got married.

But the story does not stop after marriage. Their love story must continue as they journey together into a ripe old age.

The 1st reading can be called a love story between Tobias and Sarah. It was a story of how they met, how they were married and more interestingly how they prayed on the first night of their marriage.

They prayed for God's grace and protection, and they prayed that God be kind to them and bring them to old age together.

But it is also God's love story - of how He loved them and how He brought them together and how He blessed and protected them in their marriage.

God also has a love story for each of us - of how He loved us and how He blessed us and how He journeyed with us through life.

We too must have a love story to share - of how we loved God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind and with all our strength. and how we have loved our neighbour as ourself.

When we have a love story to share, we make the world a beautiful place. Because love is beautiful.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

9th Week, Ordinary Time, Wednesday, 03-05-15

Tobit 3:1-11, 16-17 / Mark 12:16-27

Whenever we see a person in misery, it will  evoke our sympathy.

To suffer alone can be one of the greatest misery because loneliness itself is a great misery.

In the 1st reading, we heard Tobit's prayer of lamentation. That line of his prayer "Therefore, Lord, remember me, look on me. Do not punish me for my sins or for my heedless faults ... " says it all, that he was alone in his suffering.

But in the same passage, just after his prayer of lamentation, we also heard that "It chanced on the same day that Sarah" was insulted by one of the maids, and she grieved and sobbed and even contemplated suicide.

At the end of the passage of the 1st reading, we also heard that the prayer of each of them found favour before the Lord God and Raphael was sent to bring remedy to them both.

Indeed, God hears the cry of the lonely and lost, the least and the last, because these are the ones who have no one to turn to and they only have God to help them.

For them, God is their only hope and when God answers their cries, they will know who God is.

God is God of the living and He is the God of life and love. He lifts up those in misery and He raises the poor so that they can experience His love and mercy.

May we in our misery turn to God and receive His mercy.

Monday, June 1, 2015

9th Week, Ordinary Time, Tuesday, 02-06-15

Tobit 2:9-14 / Mark 12:13-17

Distress and turmoil have no respect for anyone, not even for people of faith.

Especially for those who have a firm belief in God, their faith will be tested in the distress and turmoil of life.

In the 1st reading, we heard about how Tobit, a man of deep faith, had his share of distress and tribulations in life.

He became blind by a freak accident and he had to depend on generosity of others.

Also when he wrongly accused his wife of stealing a lamb, Anna, his wife also retaliated by scorning his faith and good works.

Such are the trials and turmoils that all will have to go through, and that includes people of faith who believe and trust in God.

Even for Jesus who came to love people and do good, the chief priests and scribes and elders sent the Pharisees to question Jesus about paying taxes, with the intention to catch Him on something that He says.

Jesus could have felt disgusted by all that scheming and plotting but He turned it into an opportunity to teach the people and it also left His questioners baffled.

So in the face of distress and turmoil, we need to ask ourselves: What can ever separate us from the love of God? (Romans 8:35)

If God is for us who can be against us? (Romans 8:31) Or what can ever be against us? Distress? Turmoils?

We belong to God. Let us keep faith in Him and fight the good fight of faith.