Thursday, June 30, 2016

13th Week, Ordinary Time, Friday, 01-07-16

Amos 8:4-6, 9-12 / Matthew 9:9-13

It is not really easy for someone who has done wrong to get back onto the track of life again.

Even if they truly repent of their wrong-doing, their guilt remains etched on the minds of people.

For example, for those who have been released from prison, the label "ex-prisoner" will always be in the minds of those who know them.

And as long as people keep harping on guilt, then life is being drained away. Even if one has repented and made amends for the guilt, the chains of the past bind them again when others recall the guilt.

Often, those with a guilty past are made to feel that self-respect and self-worth count for less than zero.

That was the case with Matthew the tax-collector. He gained his wealth but he lost his worth. He got his revenue but lost his respect.

And it is indeed surprising that of all the virtuous people, Jesus would call such a person who is less than zero in the eyes of others.

It will take some time for us to understand that the Divine Healer came for the sick.

It will take some time for us to understand that the Saviour came for the sinner.

But in the meantime, what we need to show to those who have done wrong is to show them the mercy of God.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

13th Week, Ordinary Time, Thursday, 30-06-16

Amos 7:10-17 / Matthew 9:1-8

If people don't like to hear bad things said about them, then how would the people of God respond when they hear bad things said about them?

Certainly they, like everyone else, would not like to hear it nor will they be happy to hear it.

But being the people of God, they would also have this responsibility of discerning what was said and how true it is.

In the 1st reading, the prophet Amos prophesied against the people of Israel, and they could no longer tolerate what he was saying.

But there was no denying that Amos spoke the Word of God. The priest Amaziah called him "seer" and told him to go back to Judah to do his prophesying there.

And for not heeding the oracle of the Lord and the prophet, the people of God had to face the consequences.

In the gospel it was the paralytic who listened to the Word of God when Jesus told him - Courage, my child, your sins are forgiven.

The paralytic then understood that forgiveness comes before healing and so he opened his heart to forgiveness, and when Jesus told him to get up and walk, he was healed and got up and walked home.

When we acknowledge our sinfulness and the call to repentance, our sins will be forgiven and we too will get up and walk towards Jesus.

May we not let our sinfulness prevent us from listening to the voice of God and the call to repentance.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles, Wednesday, 28-06-16

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

Today's feast is in some ways unique because we remember the two great saints who are the pillars of the Church - St. Peter and St. Paul.

Both were martyred in Rome in the first century and tradition has it that in AD 258, their remains were temporarily removed on 29th June to prevent them from defilement during persecution.

That is the primary reason why although the two saints have feast days of their own, today they are joined together in one feast.

But as we reflect on the readings, then we see today's celebration of the feast of these two great saints has more than just a commemorative reason.

Today we celebrated mystery - that the Church is founded on Jesus Christ and that He has given spiritual authority to St. Peter and the apostles and their successors, and that the gates of the underworld can never hold out against the Church.

We celebrate communion because the authority is for service and unity and in St. Peter and St. Paul, we see that although they had their disagreements with each other, they understand that their fundamental task is to serve the Lord and build the Church in unity.

We also celebrate mission because the Church does not exist for its own sake but for the proclamation of the Good News and for the salvation of the world.

So on this feast of St. Peter and St. Paul, let us contemplate on the mystery of God in the Church, let us work for communion in the Church and let us also be ready to respond to the call of mission of salvation.

Monday, June 27, 2016

13th Week, Ordinary Time, Tuesday, 28-06-16

Amos 3:1-6; 4:11-12 / Matthew 8:23-27

It is often said that life is so unpredictable. It is so true especially when calm turns to chaos.

It may happen on the expressway when we are driving when suddenly another vehicle swerves into our path from nowhere.

Or we may be doing our work happily when suddenly the fire alarm goes off and everyone starts to jump up from their seats and wonder if there is an emergency.

Certainly, life is unpredictable, and more so when calm turns to chaos.

But it was when calm turns to chaos that the disciples began to have a deeper glimpse of who Jesus is.

And when the prophet Amos warned the people of impending punishment and chaos, he also urged them: Israel, prepare to meet your God.

Every situation of chaos, of tribulation,  of danger is a time to meet our God and to have a deeper encounter with Him.

And when the Lord has calmed the turbulence within us, then we in turn can be His prophet of peace.

Like Amos the prophet, when we come across a chaotic situation, we will also know that it is a time to meet our God who is our Saviour.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

13th Week, Ordinary Time, Monday, 27-06-16

Amos 2:6-11, 13-16 / Matthew 8:18-22

It is almost everyone's desire to have a comfortable life.

So besides having enough to eat and a cosy place to stay in, we would also wish for financial security and also luxuries like a nice big car and maybe even servants to do our work for us.

Yet, these desires only exist in dreams and seldom in reality.

Even if these desires are achievable, they are like a bottomless pit and we can never be satisfied and contented.

There is something that Jesus said in the gospel that needs to be reflected upon and thought about.

When He said that He has nowhere to lay His head, Jesus is almost like saying that He has no place in this world and that nothing belongs to Him.

If Jesus can say that, then what about us?

And if we want to be His disciples, are we also prepared to live like Him and have nowhere to lay our head?

We must remember that we live in a passing world and we are only stewards of what we have. Nothing really belongs to us forever, and we also cannot bring anything from here to the hereafter.

If we have nowhere to lay our heads on earth, then the other aspect is that there must be somewhere we can have hope in where our hearts will be at rest and find contentment.

May our hope be in our faith in God who will grant us peace and protect us from anxiety so that our lives will be lived in joyful hope.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

13th Ordinary Sunday, Year C, 26.06.2016

1 Kings 19:16, 19-21 / Galatians 5:1, 13-18 / Luke 9:51-62

Phones were invented for telecommunication. It means that we can communicate with each other over a distance using the phone.

But nowadays, the phone, or specifically the mobile phone, is used not so much for telecommunication, but for messaging. It seems that messaging has become the norm of communication.

And with messaging, it’s not just about words but also with this thing called emoji. Emoji is a small digital image or icon used to express an idea or an emotion in electronic communication.

And emoji has a whole range from smileys to surprised to sadness. 

So instead of using words we can use an emoji to express an emotion.

One unmistakable emoji that we may have used before is that of anger, and the image or icon that is used to express anger is usually reddish and has an unpleasant expression.

If we had used that anger emoji before and used it quite often, then it may mean that we have anger management issues, or maybe we are playing too much of that “Angry Birds” game.

Whatever it is, anger is one of the most common emotions that we have in our lives. 

Anger is a feeling that makes the mouth work faster than the mind, and when we speak when we are angry, then we will make a speech that we will eventually regret, and that others won’t forget.

Yes, anger teaches us many lessons only if we are willing to learn from it.

In the gospel, Jesus gave His disciples a lesson on anger management.

They came to a Samaritan town, and the people would not welcome Him, and seeing this, the disciples James and John said, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to burn them up?” But He turned and rebuked them.

The fact is that anger doesn’t solve anything. It builds nothing but it can destroy everything.

And holding on to the fire of anger is like holding burning coals with the intent of throwing it at someone else; but we are the ones getting burned.

And that was why Jesus rebuked them. He wanted to free them from that anger so that it won’t destroy them.

And as the 2nd reading puts it: When Christ freed us, He meant us to remain free, and not to submit again to the yoke of slavery, which is the slavery of self-indulgence.

When we give in to self-indulgence, we give in to our anger and it destroys and burns up our love for others.

There is a story that a long time ago in China, a girl named Li-Li got married and went to live with her husband and mother-in-law.

In a very short time, Li-Li found that she couldn’t get along with her mother-in-law at all. Their personalities were very different, and Li-Li was angered by many of her mother-in-law’s habits. In addition, she criticized Li-Li constantly.

Days passed, and weeks passed. Li-Li and her mother-in-law never stopped arguing and fighting. But what made the situation even worse was that, according to ancient Chinese tradition, Li-Li had to bow to her mother-in-law and obey her every wish. All the anger and unhappiness in the house was causing the poor husband  great distress.

Finally, Li-Li could not stand her mother-in-law’s bad temper and dictatorship any longer, and she decided to do something about it.

Li-Li went to see her father’s good friend, Mr. Huang, who sold herbs. She told him the situation and asked if he would give her some poison so that she could solve the problem once and for all. 

Mr. Huang thought for a while, and finally said, “Li-Li, I will help you solve your problem, but you must listen to me and obey what I tell you.”

Li-Li said, “Yes, Mr. Huang, I will do whatever you tell me to do.” Mr. Huang went into the back room, and returned in a few minutes with a package of herbs.

He told Li-Li, “You can’t use a quick-acting poison to get rid of your mother-in-law, because that would cause people to become suspicious. Therefore, I am giving you a number of herbs that will slowly build up poison in her body. Every other day prepare some delicious meal and put a little of these herbs in her serving. Now, in order to make sure that nobody suspects you when she dies, you must be very careful to act very friendly towards her. Don’t argue with her, obey her every wish, and treat her like a queen.”

Li-Li was so happy. She thanked Mr. Huang and hurried home to start her plot of poisoning her mother-in-law.

Weeks went by, months went by, and every other day, Li-Li served the specially treated food to her mother-in-law. She remembered what Mr. Huang had said about avoiding suspicion, so she controlled her temper, obeyed her mother-in-law, and treated her like her own mother. After six months had passed, the whole household had changed.

Li-Li had practiced controlling her temper so much that she found that she almost never got mad or upset. She hadn’t had an argument in six months with her mother-in-law, who now seemed much kinder and easier to get along with.

The mother-in-law’s attitude toward Li-Li changed, and she began to love Li-Li like her own daughter. She kept telling friends and relatives that Li-Li was the best daughter-in-law one could ever find. Li-Li and her mother-in-law were now treating each other like a real mother and daughter.

One day, Li-Li came to see Mr. Huang and asked for his help again. She said, “Mr. Huang, please help me to stop the poison from killing my mother-in-law! She’s changed into such a nice woman, and I love her like my own mother. I do not want her to die because of the poison I gave her.”

Mr. Huang smiled and nodded his head. “Li-Li, there’s nothing to worry about. The herbs I gave you were not poison, but vitamins to improve her health. The only poison was in your mind and your attitude toward her, but that has been all washed away by the love which you gave to her.”

Indeed, the 2nd reading tells us: Serve one another in works of love, since the whole Law is summarised in a single command: Love your neighbor as yourself.

When we are guided by the Spirit of love, then we will not be in danger of yielding to self-indulgence and to anger.

Then we will truly be free to follow Jesus and the emotions that will be on our faces will be peace and joy.

Friday, June 24, 2016

12th Week, Ordinary Time, Saturday, 25-06-16

Lamentations 2:2, 10-14, 18-19 / Matthew 8:5-17

There are things within our control and there are also many other things that are not within our control.

We can try to control people if we have any authority or power whatsoever, and we can make them do things the way we want it done.

But even if we can do that, then there are also other areas that we can't control, ie. their thoughts, their feelings, their perspectives, their opinions.

More than that, we also cannot control the state of their health. We cannot stop it if they were to fall ill or if their health deteriorates.

Such was the realization of the centurion in the gospel. He may have authority over his soldiers under his command, and his servants too.

But he can't stop one of his servants from falling ill and in great pain. But he also realized who has authority over that and hence he turned to Jesus.

He not only believed in the authority of Jesus over such matters, he also believed in His power to heal and the spoken word of Jesus was enough for that.

We too, like the centurion, may have realized the power of Jesus to heal sickness and diseases. We too, may have experienced that healing power of Jesus.

But let us also realize that Jesus also fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: He took our sicknesses away and carried our diseases for us.

Let us put our faith and trust in Jesus our Saviour and Healer. Let Him have full control over our lives, and we will have peace of mind and heart.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Nativity of St. John the Baptist, Friday, 24-06-16

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

We might be wondering why the birth of St. John the Baptist is such a big feast-day, in fact a solemnity.

Maybe we can get an idea from the meaning of his name.

John, or in Hebrew "Yehohanan", means "the Lord is gracious" or "the Lord shows favour".

Indeed, in St. John the Baptist, God had shown His favour, not just to Zachariah and Elizabeth by blessing them with a child.

He has shown favour to the whole of humanity.

Because before St. John the Baptist came into the scene, the prophetic voice in Israel has been silent for 400 years.

When St. John the Baptist came into the scene, he breathed fire and preached thunder.

All that was to prepare the way for Jesus the Christ, the Anointed One of God.

So St. John the Baptist prepared the people to receive the graciousness from God.

He prepared the people to receive Jesus who is filled with grace and truth.

What St. John the Baptist did for the people of his time, we too are to do for the people of our time.

We too are to prepare our people to receive the graciousness and the favour of God.

The name John means "God is gracious" and "God shows favour".

We have an even more important name.

We are called Christians. It means the "anointed ones". It means that we are to be another Christ to the world.

May we be filled with God's grace and favour to fulfill our mission.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

12th Week, Ordinary Time, Thursday, 23-06-16

2 Kings 24:8-17 / Matthew 7:21-29

We have certain expectations with regards to a person who is at a position of authority.

For a leader, whether of a country or of a religion, we would expect him to be of a certain age, have a certain kind of disposition, dress in a certain way, etc.

For a king of a country, we would certainly expect no less, and maybe even more of of the status and the prestige attached to that title.

In the 1st reading, we heard that Jehoiachin became king of Judah when he was only 18 years old. Although only a teenager, he already did what was displeasing to the Lord.

And his reign was short, only three months, and it came to an end when he surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon.

Not only was Johoiachin no match to Nebuchadnezzar in every aspect , he also did not use his position of authority to call upon the Lord to save his country. On the contrary, he turned away from the Lord and did what was displeasing to the Lord. Hence, he had to bear the consequences.

We may not be in a position of high authority, but we are certainly in a position to call upon the Lord for His help in whatever precarious situation we are in.

But to call upon the Lord's name would also mean that we must listen to the words of Jesus and what He has taught us in the gospels.

So we have the written word of Jesus to reflect and meditate upon and we listen to Him in prayer.

So let us stand firm on the rock of our faith and as we call upon the Lord, let us also listen to His voice and do His will.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

12th Week, Ordinary Time, Wednesday, 22-06-16

2 Kings 22:8-13; 23:1-3 / Matthew 7:15-20

Every country and every nation has its share of good and bad leaders.

Whilst good leaders were far and few between and they are held in honour for the good they did for their country, the bad leaders had caused much damage because of self-interest and greed.

In the 1st reading, we heard of the high priest Hilkiah and the court secretary Shaphan finding and  reading the Book of the Law and decided to inform king Josiah about it.

The Book of the Law had been hidden in the previous tyrannical regimes that had been unfaithful to the Lord in order to save it from being destroyed.

The high priest and the court officials were bold enough to present the Book of the Law to the king probably because they saw in the king a person of integrity and justice.

Indeed, just as a tree is judged by its fruits, a person is judged by his character.

As Jesus taught in the gospel, a sound tree bears good fruit, but a rotten tree bears bad fruit.

Yes, and also a sound tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor a rotten tree bear good fruit.

Yet we have to be alert and examine ourselves constantly for corruption and decay, because a sound tree can also become a rotten tree due to negligence and complacency.

When we realize we have stopped bearing good fruits, or even started bearing rotten fruits in our lives, let us immediately turn back to the Lord for healing and forgiveness.

We can't deceive others; they will know us by our fruits.

Monday, June 20, 2016

12th Week, Ordinary Time, Tuesday, 21-06-16

2 Kings 19:9-11, 14-21, 31-36 / Matthew 7:6, 12-14

Bad news always give us the shudders.

Whether the bad news come in the form of an email or sms or a voice-mail or even in a person, we crumble upon receiving the bad news.

The question is how bad is the bad news.

Is it a letter informing you about the termination of employment, or about debts not paid, or about a lawyer's letter suing you?

Any of these is bad news, and of course there are many other types.

In the 1st reading, King Hezekiah received some real bad news from King Sennacherib of Assyria.

Essentially, it was a preview of the Assyrian invasion of Judah, the chopping up of the inhabitants and the skinning of King Hezekiah alive and they could forget about asking for mercy.

It was a time for immediate panic, but here King Hezekiah showed us a beautiful example and an inspiring lesson.

The time to panic is also the time to pray, and to really pray.

To pray is to surrender to the Lord so that He will fight our battles for us.

To pray is to trust in the Lord and enter by the narrow gate, as Jesus said in the gospel, for the road of panic is wide and spacious but it leads to perdition.

So the next time when bad news send a chill down our spines and our legs go soft, let us do what King Hezekiah did.

Let us go down on our knees and pray to the Lord.

Better to surrender to the Lord than to surrender to bad news.

In the face of bad news, the good news is that the Lord will fight our battles for us...... only if we allow Him.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

12th Week, Ordinary Time, Monday, 20-06-16

2 Kings 17:5-8, 13-15, 18 / Matthew 7:1-5

It was said that during the plague of AD 590, Pope Gregory I ordered unceasing prayer for divine intercession. Part of his command was that anyone sneezing be blessed immediately ("God bless you"), since sneezing was often the first sign that someone was falling ill with the plague." By AD 750, it became customary to say "God bless you" as a response to one sneezing.
(A typical polite response after being told "God bless you" in response to sneezing is to thank the person who has said it.)

There are many reasons why we sneeze and one reason could be that there is something irritating our nose and the natural reaction would be to sneeze in order to expel it.

As we listened to the 1st reading, we get this impression that the Israelites were irritating God time and again with their unfaithfulness and idolatry and behaved worse than their ancestors.

So when Assyria laid siege on Samaria for three years, it was already a serious warning and a long enough time for repentance. Yet the Israelites were stiff-necked and stubborn and refused to turn back to the Lord.

So in the end, the Lord had to "sneeze" them out. He allowed Assyria to capture Samaria and deported the Israelites  to Assyria. Only the tribe of Judah remained in the south.

Using again the analogy of sneezing, none of us can say we have never sneezed before. Similarly none of us can say that we have not judged others before.

More than telling us not to judge, Jesus is also telling to look at ourselves in the eye and to judge ourselves first and to remove that plank in our eyes instead of telling others about the splinter in their eyes.

When we remove that plank in our eyes and sneeze out what is irritating our nose, then God can bless us.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

12th Ordinary Sunday, Year C, 19.06.2016

Zechariah 12:10-11 / Galatians 3:26-29 / Luke 9:18-24

Whenever we talk about history, it may seem to be like a burden to the mind especially when it comes to dates, events, places and names that are difficult to pronounce.

But this where we need to remember that history is formed by people, regardless of whether they are famous or not.

The word “history” is from Greek “historia” and it means a learning or knowing by inquiry, or an investigation.

So it can be said that history makes an inquiry or investigation of the lives of the famous people in the past and gives us an account of their lives.

With regards to that, let us look at these two questions:

Question 1: If you knew a woman who was pregnant, who had 8 kids already, three who were deaf, two who were blind, one mentally retarded, and she had syphilis; would you recommend that she have an abortion?

And as we think about the answer to that question, let us look at the second question.

It is time to elect a new world leader, and your vote counts. Here are the facts about the three leading candidates:

Candidate A: He associates with crooked politicians, and consults with astrologists. He's had two mistresses. He also chain smokes and drinks 8 to 10 martinis a day.

Candidate B: He was kicked out of office twice, sleeps until noon, used opium in college and drinks a quart of whisky every evening.

Candidate C: He is a decorated war hero. He's a vegetarian, doesn't smoke, drinks an occasional beer and hasn't had any extramarital affairs.

Which of these candidates would be your choice? Here are the identities of the three candidates - Candidate A is Franklin D. Roosevelt (served as the President of the United States from 1933 to 1945), Candidate B is Winston Churchill (who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955), Candidate C is Adolf Hitler (leader of Nazi Germany from 1934 to 1945).

And by the way, back to the first question: the answer to the abortion question is that if we said yes, then we just killed Beethoven (one of the most famous and influential of all composers).

So history has a way of making an inquiry or investigation into the lives of famous people and giving an account of their lives.

In the gospel, Jesus asked two questions – who do the crowds say He is, and who do the disciples say He is.

The first question was relatively easy as the disciples gave Him the opinion of the crowds – John the Baptist, Elijah, or one of the ancient prophets come back to life.

The second question was rather difficult as they had to give their own opinion of who Jesus is.

While the other disciples were thinking of what kind of answer to give, it was Peter who spoke up and said that Jesus was the Christ of God. But whether he knew what he was saying is another matter.
And here is where Jesus gave two teachings – one about Himself and the other about us.

He said that He was destined to suffer grievously, to be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes and to be put to death, and to be raised up on the third day.

And then to all He said, “If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross every day and follow me. For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake, that man will save it.”

The first was fulfilled, as we know, on the cross, that Jesus suffered and died, and rose again.

The second is for us to understand and believe and by which we will give an account of our lives.

There is a story of a wise man who had an opponent who criticized him for everything he said and did.

Then one day someone came up to the wise man and said excitedly, “Master, do you know what I just heard about your opponent?"
The wise man replied, "Before you tell me I'd like you to pass a little test first. It's called the Triple Filter Test. Let us take a moment to filter what you are going to say.

The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?" The man said "No, actually I just heard about it."   

The wise man said, "So you don't really know if it's true or not. 

Now let's try the second filter, the filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my opponent something good?" The man replied, “No, on the contrary..."    

"So," the wise man continued, "You want to tell me something about my opponent that may be bad, even though you're not certain if it's true?" The man shrugged, and felt a little embarrassed.

The wise man continued, "You may still pass the test though, because there is a third filter, the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my opponent going to be useful to me?" The man replied, “No, not really.”

"Well," the wise man concluded, "If what you want to tell me is neither True nor Good nor even Useful, then why tell it to me or to anyone at all?"

So what we want to hear is what is true, what is good and what is useful to us.

In the gospel, Jesus told us the Truth about Himself – that He will suffer and die on the cross so as to save us.

He also told us what is good and what is useful to us – that we must take up our cross and follow Him.

In order for Jesus to save us, we too must live by the truth and speak the truth.

Like Jesus, we pour out our lives to do good and speak what is good so that it will do good to others and be useful for them.

Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. History has given us an account of His life and proved that He is the Saviour.

May we too live by His Truth, and do what is good and help others to be saved.

Then we would be able to give an account of our lives before Jesus and before others.

Friday, June 17, 2016

11th Week, Ordinary Time, Saturday, 18-06-16

2 Chronicles 24:17-25 / Matthew 6:24-34

We have both analogue and digital watches and clocks. Some prefer one to the other.

But as we look at the analogue clock or watch, there is also something worth reflecting about the ticking of the second hand.

If we do some calculations, that second hand goes 60 ticks a minute, 3600 ticks an hour, 86,400 ticks a day, 604,800 ticks a week and 31,449,600 ticks a year.

Now that is a lot of ticking. Yet that humble second-hand shows us something.

It takes one tick at a time.

That is what Jesus is telling us in today's gospel. Putting it simply, it is: Take one tick at a time.

We don't have to worry about how many ticks we have to accomplish in a year, or in a week, or in a day or even in a minute.

That is all taken care of by God.

What we need to do is to let love, joy , peace, patience, compassion, kindness, generosity start ticking in our lives.

That is what is meant by setting our hearts on the Kingdom of God and on His righteousness.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

11th Week, Ordinary Time, Friday, 17-06-16

2 Kings 11:1-4, 9-18, 20 / Matthew 6:19:23

Whether it is surprising or not, there are people who would go to great lengths and would even resort to abominable acts just to be in authority and to have power.

But when they start committing atrocities and putting people to death just to be in authority and in power then it is certainly too much to comprehend and certainly too serious a matter to look away.

But history has also shown us that those who kill by the sword will die by the sword, and even more so for those who kill the defenseless.

In the 1st reading, we heard that when Althaliah learned that her son, king Ahaziah was dead, she promptly did away with all those of royal stock by murdering them.

It only goes to show that she was so obsessed with power that she would resort to killing anyone in her way. The darkness of her obsession had enveloped her whole being. And in the end it was the darkness that consumed her life.

In the gospel, Jesus teaches us not to store up treasures for ourselves on earth, where moths and woodworms destroy and thieves can break in and steal.

But whether it is treasures, or power, or fame, or status, an unchecked obsession with these will lead us into a darkness that will blind us to what is right.

And we will even think that doing wrong is the best way to hold on to our obsessions and in the end our obsessions will consume us as we realize too late that our earthly treasures will only fade away sooner or later.

Let us turn to the Lord Jesus and ask that He shines His light on us so that we will be able to look beyond the earthly and find our true treasure in the eternity.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

11th Week, Ordinary Time, Thursday, 16-06-16

Ecclesiasticus 48:1-14 / Matthew 6:7-15

A tribute to a person, whether living or not, is a testimonial or compliment and it is given in acknowledgement of gratitude or esteem. It is given to show respect or affection for that person.

And usually when a person has passed on that many tributes are given especially when it is a famous person.

Probably it would be best when a person's life on earth comes to a close that a tribute be given as there would be no further developments and also a proper assessment can be given.

In the 1st reading, what is given can be said to be a tribute to the great prophet Elijah. He represented the prophets by his appearance with Moses in the Transfiguration of Jesus.

But the tribute is not just about the marvels that he did while on earth. There is also an element of the future appearance of Elijah: "He will turn the hearts of fathers towards their children. Happy shall they be who see you, and those who have fallen asleep in love; for we too will have life."

As much as Elijah worked marvels and the tribute is about him, yet it is also certain that he was a man who is close to God and listens to the voice and God.

Needless to say that he was a man of God and a man of prayer.

That is also what Jesus is teaching us as He taught His disciples the prayer of the "Our Father".

We are a people of God and we must also be a people of prayer. The prayer of the "Our Father" is the blue print for our prayer. By our prayer may we point others to God and show them that God is our Father.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

11th Week, Ordinary Time, Wednesday, 15-06-16

2 Kings 2:1, 6-14 / Matthew 6:1-6, 16-16

The question "Where is God?" can be framed as a more philosophical question "Does God exist?" and there can be philosophical discussions on the proofs of the existence of God.

But more often, the question "Where is God?" is asked by people who believe in God but are facing difficulties, distress and doubts.

That kind of question cannot be appeased with philosophical reasoning. Rather the cry behind the question is a cry for God to come to the help of those is difficulties, distress and doubts.

That was also the cry of Elisha as he took the cloak of Elijah and struck the water.

Elijah had earlier taken his cloak and struck the water and the water divided and they had crossed over dry-shod.

But now, Elijah was taken up to heaven and Elisha was left alone to continue the mission of being a prophet of God.

Elisha needed a sign from God to affirm him of his mission and hence he cried, "Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?" And he was given the sign as the water parted.

In our doubts, difficulties and distress, we too would cry out "Where is God?" We would want God to come to our help and and to give us a clear sign that He is real and present.

But as Jesus said in the gospel, God knows what is happening with us. Three times Jesus said "your Father who sees all that is done ... "

Yes, God sees and He knows what is happening. We need to keep praying with faith, so that when God gives us the sign, we will be able to see it and know that God is indeed real and present.

Monday, June 13, 2016

11th Week, Ordinary Time, Tuesday, 14-06-16

1 Kings 21:17-29 / Matthew 5:43-48

Whenever we say that someone "can get away with murder", we usually mean to say that someone can escape without being caught or being punished.

We don't mean it literally, because we know that no one can get away with murder, especially when the crime is committed in public.

Even if the murderer can escape being caught or being punished by the law, he will eventually have to answer for it before God.

Yet, we heard in the 1st reading that king Ahab apparently got away with murder by just being repentant and doing some acts of penance.

But we must also read the whole story to get the whole picture. In the end, king Ahab also died from a stray arrow in battle, and dogs came to lick his blood.

His reputation, as recorded in the 1st reading, was that of a king who behaved in the most abominable way.

So king Ahab did not have a good end to his life, nor a good name to go down with in history. In short, he was a tragedy.

Similarly, if we as disciples of Jesus are not doing anything exceptional, then it might be a tragedy.

It is certainly not an ordinary matter if we were to follow what Jesus teaches us - love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

Indeed, we are called to be like the God we believe in. As disciples of Jesus, we can't get away from that.

As disciples of Jesus, to be like Jesus is certainly not doing or being something exceptional.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

11th Week, Ordinary Time, Monday, 13-06-16

1 Kings 21:1-16 / Matthew 5:38-42

Small matters cannot be underestimated. Because small matters can escalate into big issues and have drastic consequences.

More so if the small matters are in regards to selfish desires. It can be said that the smallness of a person is in portion to the smallness of the matter of his desires.

In the 1st reading, we can see how small a person that king Ahab was. He wanted Naboth's vineyard to be his vegetable garden, and he was even willing to pay for it or even give Naboth another vineyard.

But as Naboth puts it clearly: The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my ancestors!

That should be clear enough for king Ahab, but he sulked and he was like throwing a tantrum over a small issue.

In came his wicked wife Jezebel, and she schemed and plotted against Naboth, and in the end, an innocent man lost his life.

This is certainly shocking and atrocious  to us who, like Naboth, want to live a good life and be faithful to God and walk in His ways.

Yet, the wickedness and evil that we see happening around us can be overwhelming, and if we don't stand by faith in God, then we will succumb and become like the smallness of the wicked and evil people.

So when Jesus tells us to offer the wicked no resistance, we may think that it does not make much sense, and they may even take kindness for weakness.

But in reality, the only way to overcome the smallness of evil is not to resist it with eye for eye and tooth for tooth. Resistance of this kind will only feed it and make it grow into a big issue with drastic consequences.

Rather, let us stand by God in faith, and wait for His help for He is our salvation. God alone is our hiding place and He will save us from distress.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

11th Ordinary Sunday, Year C, 12.06.2016

2 Sam 12:7-10, 13 / Galatians 2:16, 19-21 / Luke 7:36 – 8:3

Most of us know what the flag of Israel looks like. For those of us who have been on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, we would have seen the flag.

It is quite a simple flag – two blue stripes at the top and bottom against a white background, to symbolize the stripes on a tallit, the traditional Jewish prayer shawl.

And in the middle, between the two blue stripes is the six-pointed Star of David, or the Shield of David.

Needless to say, the “David” that is referred to is king David in the Bible, so it might be necessary to know a bit of the Bible in order to know who this king David was.

But even without referring to the Bible, we would have heard stories about king David in our early catechism classes.

For example, we would have heard of the story of the battle between David and Goliath, and how the young David overcame the giant and heavily armed Goliath with just a sling and a stone. 

So never underestimate the simple and humble.

And it was king David who united Israel as a nation and he brought about the golden age of Israel, as Israel became a wealthy and mighty nation under his rule.

But the glory of king David also had a terrible blemish and it went into the pages of the Bible.

It was not just a terrible blemish; it was a hideous sin, and it was what we heard in the 1st reading.

In summary, he committed adultery with Bathsheba, and when he found out that she was pregnant, he tried to make her husband Uriah the Hittite to take responsibility, and when he failed, he schemed to have him struck down in battle.

It was an atrocious sin, and when the prophet Nathan confronted him, king David could have just silenced him and do away with him. But that would, of course, add sin upon sin.

But this is where king David came to his senses and realized that God knows what he had done.

He could only say: I have sinned against the Lord.

But that was enough to bring about God’s forgiveness. David only had to openly admit to his guilt and God was all ready to forgive David.

In the gospel, we heard about a woman who had a bad name in the town, coming before Jesus with an alabaster jar of ointment. She waited behind Him at His feet, weeping, and her tears fell on His feet, and she wiped them away with her hair and she covered His feet with kisses and anointed them with the ointment.

She did not say anything but her actions showed that she was confessing her sins to Jesus, and she was forgiven. Jesus understood that by her actions, she was asking for forgiveness and it was granted to her.

So high and mighty king David and the despised and lowly woman in the gospel made an outward confession of their sin.

And this outward confession of sin is necessary in order to obtain the mercy and forgiveness of God.

As the Responsorial Psalm puts it: But now I have acknowledged my sins; my guilt I did not hide. I said “I will confess my offence to the Lord.” And you, Lord, have forgiven the guilt of my sin.

There is this story of a little boy visiting his grandparents was given his first catapult.  He practiced in the woods, but he could never hit his target.

As he came back to Grandma’s back yard, he noticed her pet duck.  On an impulse he took aim and let fly.  The stone hit the duck, and the duck fell dead.

The boy panicked.  Desperately he hid the dead duck in the wood pile, only to look up and see his sister watching.  Sally had seen it all, but she said nothing.

After lunch that day, Grandma said, “Sally, let’s wash the dishes.”  But Sally said, “Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen today.  Didn’t you Johnny?”  And she whispered to him, “Remember the duck!”  So Johnny did the dishes.

Later, Grandpa asked if the children wanted to go fishing.  

Grandma said, “I’m sorry, but I need Sally to help me make supper.”  Sally smiled and said, “That’s all taken care of.  Johnny wants to do it.”  Again she whispered, “Remember the duck.” So Johnny stayed while Sally went fishing.

After several days of Johnny doing both his chores and Sally’s, finally he couldn’t take it anymore.  He confessed to Grandma that he’d killed the duck.

“I know, Johnny,” she said, giving him a hug.  “I was standing at the window and saw the whole thing.  Because I love you, I forgave you.  But I wondered how long more you would let Sally make a slave of you.”

Yes, sin makes us a slave of our guilt, and the trouble is that we try to cover up one sin with another and we get chained up and dragged down by our sins.

But by confessing our guilt, God forgives us and frees us from our sin so that we can be at peace with God, with others and with ourselves.

That is what happens at the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We confess our sins, and Jesus forgives us and frees us from our sin so that we can have peace within.

Our guilt would make us want to hide our sin, but we must know that we can’t hide anything from God.

On the contrary, we find refuge in God as the Responsorial Psalm puts it: You are my hiding place, O Lord; You save me from distress. 

Let us confess our sins, so that we can have peace within.  

Friday, June 10, 2016

St. Barnabas, Apostle, Saturday, 11-06-16

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

St. Barnabas was not one of the twelve Apostles chosen by Jesus, but the book of the Acts of the Apostles named him as an apostle (Acts 14:14).

Together with St. Paul, they preached the Good News to the Gentiles. But there are some distinct characteristics about them.

St. Paul wrote epistles but there was none from St. Barnabas in the New Testament. There are quotes from St. Paul in Acts and in other passages in the New Testament, but there seems to be nothing written of what St. Barnabas said.

Yet it can be said that St. Barnabas was as much a man of words as he was of action.

His name means "son of encouragement" and he was given that name when he converted to Christianity and sold his goods and property and gave the money to the apostles.

Indeed, he lived up to that name as he was the first to take in St. Paul after his conversion when others were still suspecting him.

In the 1st reading, we heard that St. Barnabas was sent to Antioch to look into the great numbers of conversion, and when he was there, more people were won over to the Lord.

He then went to look for St. Paul to help out in the work in Antioch and it was there that the disciples were first called "Christians" and that became the most identifiable term.

In word and in deed, St. Barnabas was a sign of encouragement for others in their faith and in their lives.

May we follow the example of St. Barnabas and be for others an encouragement and consolation in word and in deed.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

10th Week, Ordinary Time, Friday, 10-06-16

1 Kings 19:9, 11-16 / Matthew 5:27-32

If we had been through a storm, we will know that it is quite a frightening experience. There will be heavy rains together with lightning and thunder.

In a situation like this, we would surely want to stay indoors and keep ourselves away from the chaos happening outside.

But if the chaos of the storm is not outside but inside, then it certainly means distress and turmoil.

Like how the 1st reading described the mighty wind - it tore the mountains and shattered the rocks.

And when we are in distress and in turmoil, that is how we feel - we feel torn and shattered.

And surely we wouldn't think it is a blessing. Neither would we think that God is speaking to us in that distress and turmoil.

For the prophet Elijah, he had to endure the mighty wind, the earthquake and the fire before he heard the sound of a gentle breeze and there he heard the voice of God.

So the mighty wind, the earthquake and the fire prepared Elijah to hear the voice of God in the sound of a gentle breeze.

Certainly, we would hear the voice of God in quiet and peaceful surroundings. But the distress and turmoil of life will certainly sharpen our openness to the voice of God in a calmer situation, as it did for Elijah.

So when we are in distress and in turmoil, let us give thanks to God and see it as a blessing. Because God is going to speak to us softly.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

10th Week, Ordinary Time, Thursday, 09-06-16

1 Kings 18:41-46 / Matthew 5:20-26

One of the most challenging aspects of being human is in our relationships with other people.

Because in these relationships, there is always the need for understanding, for communicating, for loving and for caring.

These become rather difficult when relationships are strained.

In a strained relationship, we may want to avoid further misunderstanding and hurt by keeping a "safe distance" from the other.

But by maintaining a "safe distance", we only end up in an uncomfortable silence or even a "cold war".

Hence, in the gospel, Jesus issued this challenging teaching: If you are bringing your offering to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, go and be reconciled with him first.

In other words, the act of reconciliation must always be initiated by the person who has been wronged. Sounds strange isn't it?

But keeping a safe distance and by maintaining silence is simply avoiding the issue.

Neither is waiting for the party who has done wrong to come to us and apologize be a fruitful option. It might be a futile wait.

But as we come before the altar of the Lord to offer ourselves in union with Jesus, let us ask the Lord for the gift of wisdom and understanding, even before we embark on the task of reconciliation with those we are avoiding.

Let us ask the Lord to pour forth His love to heal our hurt and anger and resentment.

We need to be healed by the Lord before we can go forth and be reconciled with others.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

10th Week, Ordinary Time, Wednesday, 08-06-16

1 Kings 18:20-39 / Matthew 5:17-19

A constitution is a body of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is acknowledged to be governed.

Generally, it is understood that the purpose of the constitution is for the good of the country or organization.

Hence, to change the constitution is no light matter. If that is the case, then to abolish the constitution is a very grave matter indeed, and the consequence will be chaos and havoc.

In the gospel, Jesus said to His disciples: Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law or Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete them.

Probably the reason for saying this was that His disciples were thinking that Jesus was starting a revolution against the system.

More so for those who were already not happy about the religious system at that time, they were looking forward to some radical change.

And with Jesus teaching with authority, they could be thinking that He would be the one to lead them to a revolution and a radical change.

So Jesus had to tell them solemnly that till the end of time, there will be no change in the Law and its purpose must be fulfilled.

And that is what Jesus is also telling us - that His teachings are to guide us to live a life that is centred on love and charity.

Yet, we must also keep to the discipline of His teachings so that we can experience true freedom.

True freedom is not to break from the Law but to keep it. Because true freedom is about keeping the ways of the Lord so that we can live a life focused on God.

May we keep to the teachings of Jesus and help others do the same.

Monday, June 6, 2016

10th Week, Ordinary Time, Tuesday, 07-06-16

1 Kings 17:7-16 / Matthew 5:13-16

Stories of faith and generosity always make a deep impression on us.

The story of the widow's faith and her generosity towards Elijah in the 1st reading, will not only impress us, but it also impressed Jesus.

He referred to it when he was preaching in the synagogue in his hometown of Nazareth (Luke 4 : 25-26).

That widow shared with Elijah what she had every right to keep for herself and her son.

She shared what stood between her and starvation to death.

Her faith and generosity was the essence of what Jesus was talking about in the gospel.

Our generosity is like the light that shines out from us.

Our faith is like the salt in the food which could not be seen but could be tasted.

Our generosity shows our faith, and our faith nourishes our generosity.

Salt and light are essential elements in our daily lives.

Similarly, our faith and generosity are essentially what we should live in our lives.

That is also what others are essentially looking for in us.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

10th Week, Ordinary Time, Monday, 06-06-16

1 Kings 17:1-6 / Matthew 5:1-12

In the Bible, a blessing from God means a gift of life and love from God.

A life lived with love means living life with vigour and strength and joy, and it lets a person be at peace with God, with others and with oneself.

In the gospel, we heard about what is often called the beatitudes.

Beatitudes is not about attitudes.

Beatitudes means blessings from God.

So what Jesus is saying is that God is blessing those who are poor in spirit, those who are gentle, those who are merciful, those who work for peace.

Yet we live in a world where it seems that might is right, where money calls the shots and where authority is used to dictate.

But Jesus promises God's blessings on those who follow His truth and His way.

For example, being gentle and compassionate might be seen as soft and weak especially when we give way to others.

But there will come a time when we ourselves will be in need of some gentleness and understanding from others.

God's blessings don't come disguised.

They come as realized, and almost as soon as the next moment.

Blessed are we when we take time to count them.

10th Ordinary Sunday, Year C, 05.06.2016

1 Kings 17:17-24 / Galatians 1:11-19 / Luke 7:11-17

If we have to choose a name, whether for ourselves or for someone or for something, what criteria would we use.

What do we think a name should have, or should be?

Certainly a name must have a good meaning. No one would choose a name with a strange or funny meaning.                          

A name should also have a nice sound to it. And it should also be easily pronounced by aunties and uncles, as well as by grandmothers and grandfathers, because a difficult-to-pronounce name might dislodge their dentures  : P

For example, Sacred Heart in French is “Sacre Coeur”. The French pronunciation can be rather difficult.

With all these considerations, what would we think of the name “Barnabas”?

Although that name is found in the New Testament, it is not that common or popular a name.

But it has a good meaning. It means “son of consolation” or “son of encouragement”.

The apostles gave that name to a convert who sold away his property and gave the money to the apostles.

And Barnabas, who was that convert, lived up to his name. He went around preaching the Good News that brought consolation to those in distress, and he encouraged the Christian communities to stand firm in their faith in the face of trials.

St. Barnabas was indeed a great figure in the early Church, and his feast day is on the 11th June.

So the name Barnabas has the meaning of “one who consoles and encourages”.

Consolation and encouragement are two qualities that also express the love and mercy of God.

Consolation and encouragement are also two qualities that people yearn for in times of grief and brokenness.

In the gospel, we heard that Jesus was on His way to a town called Naim with His disciples and a great number of people.

When He was near the gate of that town, there was another crowd coming out.

It was a funeral procession of a dead man, the only son of a woman, who was a widow.

In that moment, divinity was met with a tragedy; life was met with a death.

When Jesus saw the widow, He felt sorry for her. His heart went out to her.

Then He told her, “Do not cry.” He then went up a put His hand on the bier, and the next thing He said was, “Young man, I tell you to get up.”

And the young man was brought back to life, and with that the people were filled with awe and praised God.

Jesus felt for the widow. His heart went out to her. He consoled her, and He even brought her son back to life.

With that, Jesus renewed the faith of the widow and the faith of the people the faith and gave them the courage to face the trials of life.

In what Jesus said and did, He taught the people about the heart of God – the heart of God that goes out to us to console us and to encourage us.

There is a story by an unknown writer and the title is “The most important part of the body”. The story goes like this.

My mother used to ask me what was the most important part of the body. Young as I was, I thought sound was very important to us. So I would say, “My ears, Mommy!" 

“No!” she would say. “There are so many people who cannot hear well or cannot hear at all! But you keep thinking and I will ask you again soon.” And so it went on until several years passed before she asked me again. 

Since making my first attempt, I contemplated on the correct answer. Or so I thought I had! 

So this time I told her, “Mommy, sight is very important to everybody, so it must be our eyes.” 

She looked at me and told me, “You are learning fast, but there are many people who cannot see clearly or even not at all.” 

Stumped again, I continued my quest for knowledge and after a few years, mother asked me a couple of times more and always her answer was, “No. But you are getting smarter every year, my child!” 

Then one year, my grandfather died. Everybody was sad and everybody was crying. 

Even my father wept. I remember that especially because I had never seen him cry before.

My mom looked at me when it was our turn to say our final good-bye to grandpa. She asked me, “Don’t you know the most important body part yet, my child?” 

I was shocked when she asked me this now. I always thought this was a game between her and me. 

She saw the confusion on my face and told me, “This question is very important. It shows how you have lived your life. For every body part you gave as the answer in the past, I have told you that it was wrong, even giving you the reason why. But today is the day you need to learn this important lesson.” 

She looked down at me as only a mother can. I saw her eyes welling up with tears. She said, “My dear, the most important part of the body is your shoulder.” 

“My shoulder? Is it because it holds up my head?” l asked. 

“No,” she replied, “it is because it can hold the head of a friend or a loved one when they cry. Everybody needs a shoulder to cry on sometime in life. l only hope that you have enough love and enough friends that you will always have a shoulder to cry on when you need it.” 

Then and there I knew that the most important body part is the part that shows sympathy to the pain of others. 

People might forget what we said. People might forget what we did. But people will NEVER forget how we made them feel. 

On Friday we celebrated the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and with it we also celebrated our parish feast day.

Before that we had a triduum, three days of prayer, during which petition envelops were given out for us to write our prayer petitions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Over those three day, about 3000 prayer petition envelopes were received and they are now placed at the side altars of Mother Mary and St. Joseph. 

It was just a humble prayer petition envelop, but it was also a symbol of the Heart of Jesus on which we write down the cries of our hearts.

Jesus offers us not just His shoulder but also His Heart to cry on.
And when He has wiped away our tears, let us also ask Jesus to make our hearts like His.

Let us be a consolation and encouragement for others so that they can feel the Heart of Jesus and maybe even a shoulder to cry on.

In times of grief and anguish, in sorrow and in pain, let us be a consolation and encouragement for others, so that they will know that Jesus comes to visit them and to give them life and hope.

Friday, June 3, 2016

The Immaculate Heart of Mary, Saturday, 04-06-16

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

The feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is closely connected to the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus which was celebrated yesterday.

This feast highlights the joys and sorrows of Mary in doing the will of God, her virtues of obedience and humility, her love for God and for Jesus, and not least, her love for all people.

In Christian art, the Immaculate Heart of Mary is depicted with a sword pierced through the heart, and wrapped with roses or lilies.

In the gospel of Luke, Simeon prophesied that a sword will pierce through her heart (Lk 2:35) because of the sorrows and sufferings she will have to go through with Jesus.

Hence, closely connected to the devotion of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is the seven sorrows of Mary :

1. The prophecy of Simeon (Lk 2:35)
2. The flight to Egypt (Mt 2:13-14)
3. The finding of Jesus in the Temple (Lk 2:43-45)
4. The meeting of Jesus and Mary on the way of the cross
5. The crucifixion
6. The taking down of the body of Jesus from the cross
7. The burial of Jesus (Jn 19:38-42)

Usually seven Hail Marys are also said while meditating upon the seven sorrows of Mary. Furthermore, the devotion to the Immaculate Heart would also include going for Confession before or after the first Saturday of every month, receive Communion and the praying of the Rosary.

All this is in reparation for the sins committed against her Immaculate Heart, which are also the sins committed against the Sacred Heart of Jesus, because the two Hearts are closely and intimately connected.

It is also a way of expressing our union with the Hearts of Jesus and Mary and sharing in their love for all people and praying for the conversion and salvation of sinners.

Yes, we and all peoples are in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary. May Jesus and Mary be in our hearts and in the hearts of all peoples too so that all will be saved.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Friday, 03-06-16, Year C

Ezekiel 34:11-16 / Romans 5:5-11 / Luke 15:3-7

The heart can be understood in various ways. Scientifically and medically speaking, it is understood as a vital organ.

Psychologically speaking, the heart is understood as the center of emotions and feelings.

Morally speaking, the heart is the seat of good or evil, because out of the heart flows our words and actions that define us as a moral being.

In today's feast of the Sacred Heart, we celebrate God's unconditional love for us that is expressed in the heart of Jesus.

That heart of Jesus is expressed in the gospel as a shepherd who would do the ridiculous thing of leaving the 99 behind to go looking for that lost sheep.

And when he found that lost sheep, he would carry it on his shoulders and rejoice and call for a celebration.

What we would write off and "forget it", Jesus would write it in the palm of His hands (Isa 49:16) and remember by heart.

Today we are invited to enter into the heart of Jesus to experience love, forgiveness and healing.

In His heart, we come to see that Jesus, in His love for us, died for us while we are still sinners and hopeless in our sin, in order to reconcile us with God.

May our heart be like that of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, so that we can forgive and even love our enemies, and give thanks for those who show God's love to us.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

9th Week, Ordinary Time, Thursday, 02-06-16

2 Tim 2:8-15 / Mark 12:28-34

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a medical term that is characterized by unreasonable thoughts and fears (obsessions) that leads to repetitive behaviors (compulsions). It's also possible to have only obsessions or only compulsions and still have OCD.

OCD causes severe anxiety in those affected. OCD involves both obsessions and compulsions that take a lot of time and get in the way of important activities of the person.

That being said and not wishing to go into the details, it can also be casually said that we have a bit of obsession and a bit of compulsion in our lives, although it is not that serious enough to require medical attention.

Especially those negative aspects like anger and resentment that drain away our time and energy. We still can function normally but it would be gloomy with dark clouds hovering over us.

Still, we can break away from this negative obsession and compulsion by turning to the teaching that Jesus gave in reply to question about the commandments:

"This is the first: Listen Israel, the Lord our God is the one Lord, and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: You must love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these."

So it is obvious that the way out of anger and resentment is to love. And Jesus states it clearly: to love God and neighbour with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind and with all our strength.

It is not an obsession or compulsion but rather a total immersion into the depth of love, and it is God that loved us first and hence the love is there for us.

So let us not chain up this love with our negative obsessions and compulsions. Jesus is calling us to immerse all of our heart, all of our soul, all of our mind and all into His love.

Yes, it is possible to be a person of love. We only need to immerse all of ourselves into the love of Jesus.