Monday, October 31, 2016

All Saints, 01.11.16

Apocalypse 7:2-4, 9-14 / 1 John 3:1-3 / Matthew 5:1-12

Today’s feast of All Saints is meaningful because we not only acknowledge the saints whose names we know that appear in the Catholic calendar, but also those unnamed saints in heaven that have lived a faithful and blessed life on earth and attained their eternal reward.

The 1st reading gives us an idea of how many there are in heaven: “a huge number, impossible to count, of people from every nation, race, tribe and language”.

And the 1st reading continues by saying that “these are the people who have been through the great persecution, and they have washed their robes white again in the blood of the Lamb”.

And these people, these saints, have a purpose in heaven. And that is they are praying for us to join them in heaven eventually and to praise and worship the Lord.

Over here in this world, we may not be facing great persecution, but we may be facing a great isolation. We tend to think only for ourselves and care for ourselves.

We may have forgotten of the love that the Father has lavished on us by letting us be called God’s children and that is what we are.

And as God’s children, there can be no isolation from each other. 

Rather, as God’s children we must be a companion to each other, so that what we are with each other on earth, so it will be in heaven.

There is a story of a poor boy named Howard Kelly, who was selling goods from door to door to pay for his education. One day he felt so hungry and decided to ask for something to eat at the next house he was set to visit. 

However, he lost his nerve when a lovely young woman opened the door. Instead of a meal he asked for a drink of water. She thought he looked hungry so brought him a large glass of milk. He drank it slowly, and then asked, “How much do I owe you?” “You don’t owe me anything,” she replied. “Mother has taught us never to accept pay for a kindness.” He said, “Then I thank you from my heart.” 

That little act of kindness made a mark on his heart and made him feel stronger and better. He was ready to give up in his life before that happened but because someone had showed him kindness in a very unexpected event, he regained his trust in God and man. Then he grew up and became a successful doctor.

Years later, that young woman became critically ill. The local doctors were baffled. They finally sent her to the big city, where they called in specialists to study her rare disease. Dr. Howard Kelly was called in for the consultation. When he heard the name of the town she came from, a strange light filled his eyes. 

Immediately, he rose and went down the hall of the hospital to the room. Dressed in his doctor’s gown he went in to see her. He recognized her at once. He went back to the consultation room determined to do his best to save her life. From that day he gave special attention to the case. After a long struggle, the battle was won. 

Dr. Kelly requested the business office to pass the final bill to him for approval. He looked at it, then wrote something on the edge and the bill was sent to her room. She feared to open it, for she was sure it would take the rest of her life to pay for it all. Finally, she looked, and something caught her attention on the side of the bill. She read these words: “Paid in full with one glass of milk”. Signed Dr. Howard Kelly. Tears of joy flooded her eyes as her happy heart prayed: “Thank You, God, that Your love has spread abroad through human hearts and hands.”

The truth of life is that generosity begets generosity, and one act of kindness brings on another act of kindness.

Generosity and kindness not only inspire others to do likewise, they are also the stepping stones out of our isolation to become companions with each other.

We need to be companions with each other on this earthly journey by being generous and kind to each other.

As much as we make a living from what we get, we make a life from what we give.

Let us be generous and kind companions with each other as we head towards our final destination in heaven and there we join the heavenly company of saints to thank God.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

31st Week, Ordinary Time, Monday, 31-11-16

Philippians 2:1-4 / Luke 14:12-14

One of the ways to motivate people is to entice them with rewards.

Organizations use that strategy, companies use it, society uses it and even the family would use it.

This idea of rewards springs from the fact that we usually ask ourselves before we embark on a task: What is in it for me? What am I going to gain from it?

At the back of our minds, we are already thinking of the possible reward, the kind of returns, the expected gains and the tangible as well as intangible benefits.

Yet all that points to our self-centeredness and our ego, our pride and our desires that are connected to it.

And that is what the 1st reading as well as the gospel is addressing.

St. Paul urged the Philippians that if their life in Christ meant anything to them, then they would be united in heart and mind, and there will be no competition and conceit.

Also nobody will think of his own interests first but everybody will think of other people's interest instead.

In the gospel, Jesus went further against the grain of human behaviour by teaching the way of total giving without even thinking of getting anything in return.

The point is that all we do should be for God and before God. After all whatever we do and whatever we give is not ours but given to us by God in the first place.

So if all that we do is for the glory of God, then we won't be looking for rewards and returns. Then we will truly feel the joy in doing whatever we do and giving in whatever we give because we know we do it for God and before God.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

31st Ordinary Sunday, Year C, 30.10.2016

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

There is a fruit that is peculiar to this part of the world. The characteristics of this fruit are these: it has a strong smell, it has a hard spiky shell, but its flesh is soft and a bit sticky to the fingers.
Yes, the fruit that we are talking about is the durian! Some will die for it, but some might die from it. 

And it’s all because of the smell. It is said that the durian  "smells like hell but tastes like heaven". Again that is also debatable. For some it smells like heaven and tastes like heaven; for others it smells like hell and tastes like hell.

Another peculiarity about the durian is that it cannot be plucked. When it is ripe, the spiky hard-shell fruit will fall off naturally from the tree.

Durian die-hard fans will even wait for the fruit to fall in order to get their prize. The yellowish flesh of the durian is almost worth its weight in gold.

But waiting for the durian to fall from the tree can be a risky business. Let’s say, if a bowling ball, a coconut, and a durian all fall down and hit your head. Which one hurts the most? 

Answer: Your head!

The lesson from nature about the durian is that fruits taste best when they are ripe. But most of the fruits from the shops and supermarket were plucked when they are half-ripe so that they still can have a shelf-life.

Although the difference might just be a few days or a few weeks, yet it makes a lot of difference when it comes to a naturally ripe taste and a forced ripe taste.

In today’s gospel, we heard of a wealthy senior tax collector called Zacchaeus who climbed a sycamore tree in order to have a look at Jesus.

He was anxious to see what kind of man Jesus was, so he climbed on the tree to catch a glimpse of Jesus who was to pass that way.
When Jesus came to that spot, he looked up and said to him: Zacchaeus, come down; hurry because I must stay at your house today.

It seemed that all of a sudden, things happened so fast for Zacchaeus. But things happened for a reason, and a good reason.

In the first place, why was Zacchaeus curious about Jesus? Maybe because he heard that one of his followers was Matthew, the former tax collector.

Maybe he heard how Jesus was friendly with tax collectors and sinners and those despised and rejected by society.

Zacchaeus may be materially rich, yet he also longed to be spiritually fulfilled. He may have realized that he had material riches but not true riches.

And Zacchaeus may not have realized it but when he climbed the sycamore tree, he was already ripening.

He was just ready to be called by Jesus to begin the road of conversion and repentance. It may have taken some time, but it’s all in the Lord’s time.

And the 1st reading has this to say about God’s mercy: Little by little therefore, You correct those who offend. You are merciful to all, because You can do all things and overlook men’s sins so that they can repent.

So when Jesus reached the spot He looked up and spoke to him: “Zacchaeus, come down. Hurry, because I must stay at your house today.” And he hurried down the tree and welcomed Jesus joyfully.

When Zacchaeus came down from the tree, it was like the durian falling to the ground. But it was also a ground shaking moment, because that was the moment when the sinner fell into the mercy of God. But all this happens in God’s time and when it happens it is wonderful to see.

There is a story about an elephant and a dog that became pregnant at same time. Three months down the line the dog gave birth to six puppies. Six months later the dog was pregnant again, and nine months on, it gave birth to another dozen puppies. The pattern continued.

On the eighteenth month the dog approached the elephant questioning, "Are you sure that you are pregnant? We became pregnant on the same date, I have given birth three times to a dozen puppies and they are now grown to become big dogs, yet you are still pregnant. What’s going on?"

The elephant replied, "There is something that you must understand. What I am carrying is not a puppy but an elephant. I only give birth to one in two years. When my baby hits the ground, the earth feels it. When my baby crosses the road, human beings stop and watch in admiration. What I carry draws attention. So what I'm carrying is mighty and great."

Indeed what the pregnant elephant is carrying is mighty and great, and when the time comes for its birth, and when it hits the ground, the earth feels it. Because weighing about 110kg at birth, the earth certainly feels it.

When Zacchaeus came down from the sycamore tree, the earth felt it.

Jesus had waited for this moment, and hence He came to seek out and save what was lost.

The durian fruit matures roughly three months after pollination. The gestation period of a baby elephant is about 23 months.

As for the appointed time of mercy to turn a person back to God, that is in God’s hands and in God’s time.

Meanwhile as we pray for the conversion of sinners and those who do evil, let us be patient and trust in the Lord.

When the time is ripe, people will climb trees just to look for Jesus.

When they come down, may we also receive them with arms of compassion and kindness.

May we continue the mission of Jesus to seek out and to save what was lost.

May we also realize that we too are sinners, and may the ground-shaking mercy of God open our hearts to conversion and repentance.

Friday, October 28, 2016

30th Week, Ordinary Time, Saturday, 30-10-16

Philippians 1:18-26 / Luke 14:1, 7-11

No matter how far we have gone in life or how much we have achieved, it is always necessary to remember our humble origins.

More so when we remember how little we had in the past and how much we have to struggle to become who and what we are today.

Remembering our humble origins would only make us realize that we cannot take anything for granted and that whatever blessings we have received from God also has to be shared with the unfortunate and the needy.

Remembering our humble origins would cultivate in us a humble heart and we also know that without God's blessings, we won't be who and what we are today.

That is essentially the teaching of Jesus in today's gospel, that anyone who humbles himself will be exalted, and vice versa.

So we are reminded that everything is a gift from God, for without His blessings we can't achieve anything, much less have anything.

The blessings we have received from God are not just for ourselves but also for the mission of the proclamation of the Kingdom of God.

By who we are and with what we have, we are to proclaim the love of God and that is not an option.

That is our mission and it is an obligation, for which we will be held accountable.

So with humble hearts, let us remember that everything is a gift from God and we are called to share that gift.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Sts Simon and Jude, Apostles, Friday, 28-10-16

Ephesians 2:19-22 / Luke 6:12-19   (2011)

The feast of St. Simon and St. Jude is celebrated on the same day probably because they both preached the Gospel in Mesopotamia and Persia where it is said they had both been sent.

But nothing certain is known about them besides the fact that they were called as Apostles by Jesus.

The letter of Jude which forms part of the New Testament is accredited to St. Jude, and he was also related to Jesus as cousins.

Like most of the other apostles, St. Simon and St. Jude were literally unknowns and could be said to be very ordinary and simple people.

Yet God chose them to be instruments of the proclamation of His Good News and to be the foundations of His Church.

Both also suffered martyrdom. St. Simon is often represented in art with a saw, the instrument of his martyrdom.

As for St. Jude, nearly every image depicts him wearing either a medallion or a portrait with an image of Jesus.

St. Jude is also the patron saint for those in a desperate and urgent need. We have heard of enough testimonies to say that St. Jude is a powerful intercessor for us.

As we celebrate the feast of St. Simon and St. Jude, let us also ask for their prayers that we live out the Good News of salvation in our simple and ordinary lives.

More importantly, may we always carry the image of Jesus in our hearts and be a witness to His love in our lives.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

30th Week, Ordinary Time, Thursday, 27-10-16

Ephesians 6:1-20 / Luke 13:31-35

St. Teresa of Avila was quoted as saying this: I do not fear Satan half so much as I fear those who fear him.

What St. Teresa is probably saying is that as much as Satan instigates and tempts others to sin, his instruments and operatives can carry out his mission so ruthlessly that they can almost give hell to us.

And we in turn can succumb to the evil one's tactics by confronting the ones who do evil to us and we fight fire with fire with the result that all get consumed by the flames, with the evil one laughing from afar.

That is why the 1st reading tells us to put on God's armour so as to resist the devil's tactics.

And that means to realise that it is not against human enemies that we have to struggle with, but against the powers of darkness, the spiritual army of evil.

That is why we must rely on God's armour, or we will not be able to put up any resistance when the worst happens, or have enough resources to hold our ground.

So against these human instruments and operatives of the evil one, we have to pray all the time and asking for the Holy Spirit's guidance and help to see how the evil one is manipulating those to do evil and to cause us to sin.

In the gospel, when some Pharisees seem to warn Jesus that Herod has the intention to kill him, He knows who was instigating Herod to this evil intention. Jesus was able to see the tactics of the devil behind Herod's intention.

May we pray always and ask the Holy Spirit to be our Advocate and guard us from the evil one and not to fall into the trap of his evil tactics.

Let us also pray for those under the power of the evil one that they will be freed from his power and turn away from evil and begin to do good.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

30th Week, Ordinary Time, Wednesday, 26-10-16

Ephesians 6:1-9 / Luke 13:22-30

There is this undeniable tension between parents and children, and also between superiors and subordinates.

It is an age-old tension that is essentially a matter of lack of understanding between the two parties and when one party imposes its opinions on the other party and the other party opposes and disagrees with the other party.

The 1st reading addresses this problem and proposes this solution: Children, be obedient to your parents; parents, never drive your children to resentment; slaves be obedient to your masters with deep respect and sincere loyalty; employers, treat your slaves kindly.

Putting all this in practical terms, the simple question that we can ask ourselves is this: How can I make the other party feel better?

Whatever status or position in life, when we ask ourselves "How can I make the other party feel better?" then the tensions and misunderstandings in relationships would be addressed.

That could also be the practical way of understanding the teaching of Jesus in the gospel when He says: Try your best to enter by the narrow door.

We would want others to open the door wide for us, but are we also willing to open the door wide for others?

When we do our best to enter by the narrow door and understand how difficult it is, then we would want to open the door wide for others.

Because we would want them to feel better in relating with us and that would also mean that we would feel better in relating with them.

We have known then tensions of relationships, whether as parent or children, or as superior or subordinate. Let us now look at the narrow door and try to make others feel better.

Monday, October 24, 2016

30th Week, Ordinary Time, Tuesday, 25-10-16

Ephesians 5:21-33 / Luke 13:18-21

It is just simply amazing how Jesus used the often taken-for-granted things of nature and everyday life to explain the mystery of the Kingdom of God.

In today's gospel, He used a mustard seed and yeast to let His listeners reflect deeper about the wonder of what God has created.

Indeed we take so many things for granted that we have become dulled to wonder and mystery.

But it is in the ordinary things of life that we can see the wonder and the mystery of the Kingdom of God.

Similarly, the 1st reading tells us that marriage is not just a social institution but it is a reflection of the love relationship of Christ and His Church.

Married couples have to look deeply at their marriage and at themselves to see that the Kingdom of God is in them and they must grow and bear fruits of the Kingdom.

We too have to look deeply at ourselves and see that the Kingdom of God is within us and urging us to grow.

May we not take anything for granted. May we also not take ourselves for granted. May we also not take God for granted.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

30th Week, Ordinary Time, Monday, 24-10-16

Ephesians 4:32 - 5:8 / Luke 13:10-17

When we are in a bad mood, it can be quite likely that our words may come out bad as well.

But it is not only when our mood is bad that our words come out bad.

Our words come forth from what fills our hearts. So if our hearts are not clean and pure, then our words will also not be clean and pure.

In the 1st reading, St. Paul urged the Ephesians to watch their words when he said: There must be no coarseness or salacious talk and jokes - all this is wrong for you

And he added: Raise your voice in thanksgiving

In the gospel, when Jesus healed the woman who bent double and quite unable to stand upright, the synagogue official had not nice words for it.

More than just being in a bad mood, the synagogue official also didn't have a right understanding of the divine purpose of the sabbath?

Hence Jesus gave this teaching: Was it not right to untie her bonds on the sabbath day?

We too have bonds that need to be untied. Bonds like bad words that come with bad mood. Bonds like impurity and resentment in our hearts that make us do all the wrong things.

May we let Jesus untie our hearts of what is unclean and impure, so that filled with His love and peace, our hearts will be healed and our lips will praise God with thanksgiving.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Mission Sunday, Year C, 23.10.2016

Isaiah 2:1-5 / Ephesians 3:2-12 / Mark 16:15-20

At the beginning of the week, we gathered all Mass offering envelopes that were in the boxes and we began recording the Mass offerings.

While we were going through the Mass offering envelopes, there was one particular envelope that we thought was rather peculiar. 

The Mass was for thanksgiving, and it was offered for a taxi driver.

The person who offered the Mass did not write down his or her name. There were no other details in the Mass offering envelope.

That sparked off a discussion about why the Mass is offered. We wondered if the taxi driver had asked the person to offer a Mass. 

Or could it be that the taxi driver had went out of his way to serve the person and so the person offered a thanksgiving Mass for him.

Whatever it is, it inspired us to pray for that taxi driver and all taxi drivers and their passengers safe on the road.

That might also bring to mind a joke about a taxi driver and a priest who died and went to heaven. The angel greeted them. He takes the taxi driver to a large mansion, then takes the priest to a smaller house. "Wait," said the priest, "Why does the taxi driver get a nicer house than me?" The angel looked at his book and said, "It says here that when you preached, people slept, but when he drove, people prayed!"  : )

Well, let us also pray for taxi drivers who bring us safely to our destinations.

Taxi drivers have this responsibility and mission to give us a comfortable ride and bring us safely to our destination.

And when we think about it, then we as Christians also have a responsibility and a mission.

Today the Church celebrates Mission Sunday and we are reminded of this responsibility and mission. And it is none other than Jesus who reminds us of this.

We heard Him say in the gospel: Go out to the whole world, proclaim the Good News to all creation.

And He continues with this: These are the signs that will be associated with believers: in my name they will cast out devils; they will have the gift of tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and be unharmed should they drink deadly poison; they will lay their hands on the sick, who will recover.

As much as it may sound exciting, we may just end up wishing, wishing that we could see these signs, wishing that we can also perform these signs. And it is rather embarrassing to say that we may not have even accomplished any one of those signs.

For example, we pray for the sick and lay our hands on them. We can only hope they recover. And if they don’t then we just shrug our shoulders and we leave it at that.

But can there be more than that? Because Jesus tells us to go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News. 

And the essence of the Good News is that we must believe the good that God has planted in us and it is with this goodness in us that we can give a Christian response to evil and danger and sickness.

There is this story on the television program “60 minutes”. It was about a family with a religiously devout mother, a rather shy father, and their 10 year-old daughter who was wheelchair bound due to some spinal deformity.

Every year, the family make a pilgrimage to Lourdes, where healing is reported to occur. They were being interviewed by a reporter who was a typical sophisticated, secular man, and he was giving the family a hard time for being so gullible to miracles.

At one point, the reporter turned to the little girl and asked: When you pray, what do you pray for?

She replied: I pray for my daddy that he won’t be so shy because it makes him quite lonely.

That stopped the reporter for a few seconds, but he pressed on ahead, questioning the family’s purpose, and saying to the mother that they spend so much money every year going to Lourdes and there is still no miracle.

Then looking at her husband and her daughter, the mother answered: Oh you don’t get it. We have our miracle.

So do we get it? Do we know what miracle the mother is talking about? Or are we like the reporter who doesn’t seem to get it?

When we think about it, the good that God has planted in us is the miracle, and it is with the goodness that is within that we proclaim the Good News.

Today, we have 17 young children who will be receiving Holy Communion for the first time.

For these 17 young children, they will receive Jesus into their hearts and be filled with the goodness of God.

Indeed, a miracle is happening to them, and a miracle is also happening to us as we too receive Holy Communion.

We too are being filled with the goodness of God so that we can see the good in everything and give thanks for everything.

Yes, we give thanks to the parents and catechists who prepared these children for their First Holy Communion.

We give thanks that even in our struggles and difficulties and sickness, we can still see the miracles that God is working in us and through us.

We give thanks for simple things like taxi drivers who give us a comfortable ride and bring us safely to our destination.

It is in giving thanks that the Good News is proclaimed.

So let us proclaim the Good News at all times, use words if necessary, but give thanks always, because that is what is Good News is all about.

Friday, October 21, 2016

29th Week, Ordinary Time, Saturday, 22-10-16

Ephesians 4:7-16 / Luke 13:1-9

As we look at our world, we may notice a certain disparity.

There are the first world countries, i.e. the developed countries, and then there are the developing countries, and then there are the third world countries.

Some people have come up with this weird idea  that God had blessed the first world countries and left out the underdeveloped countries.

Maybe that idea is implicitly connected to the age-old thinking that misfortune has a certain connection with sin.

It is because of this sin that a person or a nation forfeits God's blessings.

In today's gospel passage, Jesus outrightly rejects this sort of thinking.

Yet Jesus went on to say that if His listeners do not repent, then they too will perish.

In other words, a person or a nation that rebels against God is on the road to disaster.

Even for our nation, we may have come this far because of a strong pragmatic direction and determination.

Yet we also cannot deny that God has blessed our nation with progress and stability.

Hence, we have to always look back at the spiritual values of faith and morality.

For us Catholics, the urgency is even greater.

As the 1st reading puts it, each one of us has been given his own share of grace, given as Christ allotted it.

We should not be tossed one way or another and carried along by every wind of false teaching or deceit.

Rather we should live by the truth and in love so that we shall grow in all ways into Christ.

May Christ be our only way and our only goal.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

29th Week, Ordinary Time, Friday, 21-10-16

Ephesians 4:1-6 / Luke 12:54-59

Let us say that we are about to leave home to come to church and we see dark clouds and hear the rumbling thunder.

It would be sheer laziness and even rather stupid if we don't bring along an umbrella, even if it is not raining yet.

Even if for whatever reason we don't expect it to rain, it is not that difficult to just bring along an umbrella.

Neither would it be too difficult to read the signs of God's presence around us and to feel the promptings of the Holy Spirit within us.

But it would require a bit of sensibility as well as sensitivity on our part.

We need to exercise some sensibility and to ask ourselves whether an act or a deed is worth doing or not, as in whether it is a good or bad act or deed.

We also need to exercise some sensitivity and to ask ourselves how we feel about what we say or think about others, as in are they worth saying and thinking about.

So in what we think, say and do, we need to ask if it is worth it. Because what we think and say and do is also a reflection of our self-worth.

In the 1st reading, St. Paul implores us to lead a life worthy of our vocation. Our vocation is a call from God to be His children.

And that means to bear with one another charitably, in complete selflessness, gentleness and patience, as well as exercising some sensibility and sensitivity in what we think, say and do.

Jesus sacrificed Himself on the cross to save us. May we live our lives worthy of His love for us.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

29th Week, Ordinary Time, Thursday, 20-10-16

Ephesians 3:14-21 / Luke 12:49-53

Two words that begin with the letter "l" and have four letters each are "like" and "love".

As much as these two words have similarities, they may also have differences.

Usually we would use the word "like" for things. We would say that we like this style of clothing, we like to eat this type of food, we like to use this kind of stationary, etc.

To use the word "love" for things would be a sort of exaggeration, because love is used in an intimate manner for persons.

The 1st reading tells us that with faith in Jesus, we will be planted in love and built on love so that we will be filled with the utter fullness of God.

In other words, God has planted His love in our hearts, and with faith in Jesus, we will grow in the love of God and bear fruits of love.

Where there is love there will be peace. But that doesn't seem to be what Jesus is saying. In fact, He said that He came to bring division.

But the division that Jesus is talking about stems from the love of God that makes us see the difference between people and things.

People were created to be loved. Things were created to be used. The reason why the world is in chaos and divided is because things are being loved and people are being used.

May the love of God empower us to begin a journey towards loving people.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

29th Week, Ordinary Time, Wednesday, 19-10-16

Ephesians 3:2-12 / Luke 12:39-48

We all know how unpleasant and frustrating it is to wait for someone or for something.

We just have to remember the last time we missed the bus or the train, and we have to spend the unproductive time waiting for the next one to come.

Or if the delivery person or the repair-man tells us that he will come between a certain time.

We may have no other choice than to just sit around and wait.

Not only can it be boring, the time is like wasted away.

Yet as much as we don't like to wait, let us also realize that the Lord is waiting for us.

He is waiting for us to respond to His promptings and to use the gifts and talents that He has bestowed upon us to reach out and serve others.

There is always someone waiting for us to help them in their troubles, to show love and care, to listen and to share.

In the 1st reading, we knew why St. Paul was so zealous and fervent about his mission.

Because he knew that what was entrusted to him was a gift of grace from God.

He knew that much was entrusted to him and much was also expected from him.

The Lord has entrusted us with His love. May we not wait any longer to put His love into action.

Monday, October 17, 2016

St. Luke, Evangelist, Tuesday, 18-10-16

2 Tim 4:10-17 / Luke 10:1-9

To serve God by proclaiming the Good News is never an easy task.

From the 1st reading, we get to see that St. Paul had to struggle and endure a difficult time.

His band of co-workers had split up and some had even gone against him.

His only consolation was that St. Luke was with him, and he made it a point to say it.

From the few occasions that St. Paul mentioned him as his beloved physician, and from what St. Luke wrote in the Gospel and in the book of the Acts of the Apostles, we get to see what the person of St. Luke was like.

He was a committed friend of St. Paul, and he paid special attention to those that were forgotten or pushed aside by society.

He wrote about Jesus reaching out to the poor, the lowly, the outcasts, the sinners and women.

What he knew about Jesus, he wrote it in his gospel, and he certainly carried out in his life.

His commitment to St. Paul in his time of need bore witness to that.

As we read the gospel according to St. Luke and mediate on it, a challenge is also awaiting us.

We too have to write another account of Jesus.

It is going to be an account that is not written in words but in actions for all to see.

From that gospel of our lives, others will be able to see who Jesus is.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

29th Week, Ordinary Time, Monday, 17-10-16

Ephesians 2:1-10 / Luke 12:13-21

Every now and then, we might find ourselves asking ourselves what is the meaning of our lives here on earth.

And depending on how we have been brought up and what values we were instilled with and what we are influenced with, we will have a variety of answers.

Answers like: to be happy; to be comfortable; to enjoy life; to be rich; to be successful, etc.,

How many of us can truly say that life is a journey of discovering God? Because many of us live our lives pursuing our physical and sensual desires and our own ideas.

That is because, as the 1st reading puts it, we were "following the ways of the world, obeying the ruler who governs the air, the spirit who is at work in the rebellious."

We were like the man in the gospel who had his own ideas about life and wanted Jesus to be his judge and arbitrator.

And Jesus tells us the parable of the foolish rich man who wanted to store up treasures on earth for his own enjoyment only to have his life taken back by God.

Certainly that tells us that we should be storing up eternal treasures in heaven instead of hoarding treasures here on earth.

Yet the 1st reading reminds us that we are a treasure in ourselves - we are God's work of art, created in Christ Jesus to live the good life as from the beginning He had meant it to be.

And that is the true meaning of our lives - to discover that we are the treasures of God and it is within us.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

29th Ordinary Sunday, Year C, 16.10.2016

Exodus 17:8-13 / 2 Tim 3:14 – 4:2 / Luke 18:1-8

There is one thing that we all know how to do even though we were not taught how to do it.

In fact, we don’t even need to learn how to do it, because it comes instinctively. The thing that we are talking about is that we all know how to complain.

We not only know how to complain, we seem to enjoy doing it, and we also seem to enjoy doing nothing about it.

Anyway, if we are not doing anything to make it right, then why do we keep complaining about it being wrong.

Maybe that was what came into the mind of Moses when the Amalekites came and attacked Israel at Rephidim as we heard in the 1st reading.

Israel had just come out of slavery in Egypt and they were in no state whatsoever to fight with anyone, and there came the Amalekites intending to make minced meat out of them.

The Amalekites’ unrelenting brutality towards the Israelites began with an attack at Rephidim. This is recounted in Deuteronomy (25:17–19) with this admonition: “Remember what the Amalekites did to you along the way when you came out of Egypt. When you were weary and worn out, they met you on your journey and attacked all who were lagging behind (typically women and children): they had no fear of God. When the LORD your God gives you rest from all the enemies around you in the land He is giving you to possess as an inheritance, you shall blot out the name of Amalek from under heaven. Do not forget!”

So instead of complaining about why God brought the Israelites out of Egypt only to be butchered by the enemy, Moses ordered Joshua to march out to engage the enemy, while he will stand on the hilltop with the staff of God in his hand.

So Moses kept his arms raised with the staff of God in his hands while Israel fought the Amalekites. But when he let his arms fall, Israel also began to lose the battle.

So he sat on a stone, with Aaron and Hur supporting his arms till sunset, and Israel defeated the Amakelites. 

So instead of complaining and succumbing to despair, Moses lifted up his hands to invoke the help of God, and when his arms grew tired, he had support from Aaron and Hur, till Israel prevailed over the enemy.

So the lesson that we can learn from this is: If we want to complain, then complain to the one who can help us. Moses raised up his hands to God to invoke His help.

The Responsorial Psalm begins with this: I lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where shall come my help? My help shall come from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

In the Mass, the priest says this: Lift up your hearts; we respond with: We lift them up to the Lord.

Yes, we lift up our hearts with all our burdens and our complains, and the priest continues with: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God, and we respond with: It is right and just.

When we lift up our eyes to heaven and lift up our hearts to the Lord, the Lord God will do what is right and just for us, so that when we overcome our burdens, then we will give thanks to God.

And instead of giving in to complain, which is futile, we will be a consolation for others so that they will know that God will bless them with enough.

And that is what the gospel parable is telling us – the need to pray continually and never lose heart, and that God will console us.

The widow seems to be complaining and pestering the judge who neither fears God nor respects man. But it was her persistence for what is right and just that prevailed over the unjust judge.

And Jesus taught us this – Will not God see justice done to His chosen ones who cry to Him day and night even when He delays to help them? I promise you, He will see justice done to them and done speedily.

Yes, that is what Jesus promised us, that God will see justice done and done speedily, so that instead of complaining which is futile, we will have the consolation from God.

The following story is a narration and the tag line is “I WISH YOU ENOUGH” and the narration goes like this: 

Recently, I overheard a mother and daughter in their last moments together at the airport as the daughter's departure had been announced. Standing near the security gate, they hugged and the mother said: "I love you and I wish you enough."

The daughter replied, "Mom, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Mom." They kissed and the daughter left.

The mother walked over to the window where I sat. Standing there, I could see she wanted and needed to cry.

I tried not to intrude on her privacy but she welcomed me in by asking, "Did you ever say good-bye to someone knowing it would be forever?" 

"Yes, I have," I replied. "Forgive me for asking but why is this a “forever” good-bye?"

"I am old and she lives so far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is her next trip back will be for my funeral," she said.

When you were saying good-bye, I heard you say, "I wish you enough." May I ask what that means?" 

She began to smile. "That's a wish that has been handed down from the generations. My parents used to say it to everyone." She paused a moment and looked up as if trying to remember it in detail and she smiled even more.

"When we said 'I wish you enough' we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them". Then turning toward me, she shared the following, reciting it from memory.

"I wish you enough sunshine to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye."

Her tears welled up in her eyes but she was able to smile as she walked away.

Indeed we will have enough of consolation from the Lord and may that stop us from complaining about life.

Instead, may the consolation we receive make us raise our eyes to heaven and lift our hearts to the Lord in thanksgiving.

And may we also share that consolation with others and may they also give thanks to God.

Friday, October 14, 2016

28th Week, Ordinary Time, Saturday, 15-10-16

Ephesians 1:15-23 / Luke 12:8-12

The term blasphemy may be generally defined as anything from defiant irreverence to intentional sacrilegious acts .

Hence, it can mean acts like cursing God or wilfully degrading things relating to God.

It can also be attributing some evil to God, or denying Him some good that should attributed to Him.

Yet we believe that God is love and forgiveness and He will forgive us even if we had committed the most heinous sin.

So what did Jesus mean when He said that "he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven"?

The purpose of this phrase was to strengthen the disciples in the face of persecution and to deter them from falling into apostasy (giving up the faith) out of cowardice or doubt.

It was also meant as an admonition - a sin can only be unforgivable if repentance is impossible.

So in other words, it is not whether God will forgive; it is a question of whether we want to repent or not.

Because along with repentance is also the trust in God's love and mercy and forgiveness.

To be able to declare that is to stand before others and witness to God and all that He has done for us.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

28th Week, Ordinary Time, Friday, 14-10-16

Ephesians 1:11-14 / Luke 12:1-7

In the Creed, we profess God is the maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.

So in the reality of our world, there are things that we can see and things that we can't see but we know that they exist, eg. air.

But there is also the reality of the spiritual world which we know exists but because it is the spiritual world, it can't be measured or quantified.

Even for ourselves, as much as we have a physical reality, we also have a spiritual reality.

The 1st reading states that we have been stamped with the seal of the Holy Spirit. This seal certainly cannot be physically seen or measured.

But as Jesus said in the gospel: Everything that is now covered will be uncovered, and everything now hidden will be made clear.

The Holy Spirit is the pledge of our inheritance, which brings freedom for those whom God has taken for His own, to make His glory praised.

Although stamped with the seal of the Holy Spirit, we can still cover it and make it ineffective by living a life that is not pleasing to God and not giving glory to God.

Among other sins, we do that by hypocrisy which in essence is living in falsehood and with lies, but it is not a life lived in freedom of the truth.

Jesus tells us to beware of this sin of hypocrisy because it will cost us our inheritance of eternal life with God.

Rather let us live our lives under the direction of the Holy Spirit so that we can live in freedom and give glory to God always.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

28th Week, Ordinary Time, Thursday, 13-10-16

Ephesians 1:1-10 / Luke 11:47-54

Whether it is used in the secular or religious sense, the word "blood" has a connotation to the aspect of life.

In a blood transfusion, it can be said that life is given to another person who has lost much blood.

When blood is shed, it means that people are injured or killed in a spate of violence or war.

In the religious sense, and especially in the Christian sense, when blood is shed, it means that there is forgiveness of sins and a new life is given.

That is what the 1st reading means when it says that through the blood of Christ, we gain our freedom and the forgiveness of our sins.

And of all the spiritual blessings that God has blessed us with, the most precious is the Blood of Christ that was shed to save us.

What we receive at Holy Communion is the Body of Christ. And the Body of Christ points specifically to His Heart. At Holy Communion we received the Heart of Christ.

And just as the heart pumps blood to all the parts of the body, we receive the Heart of Christ at Holy Communion and it is His Blood that flows in us that brings us forgiveness and healing and brings us to life in Christ.

And just as Christ shed His Blood on the cross to save us, He now sends us forth into the world to bring about forgiveness and healing and salvation.

We carry the Blood of Christ in our bodies. May we also like Christ, offer our lives for the salvation of the world through reparation and making sacrifices for the forgiveness of sins.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

28th Week, Ordinary Time, Wednesday, 12-10-16

Galatians 5:18-25 / Luke 11:42-46

It may not be that necessary to define what a grave and mortal sin is. Definitions may only lead to more discussion about words and terms.

But in order to know what a grave and mortal sin is, we just have to take a look at the 1st reading of today.

Acts like fornication, gross indecency and sexual irresponsibility, idolatry and sorcery, feuds and wrangling, jealousy, bad temper and quarrels, etc., and similar things do not need much explanation and definition.

When self-indulgence is at work these are what will happen and it is obvious what kind of morality they belong to.

As much as the morality of these acts are grave and mortal, yet in the gospel, Jesus pointed out something else that is not so obvious.

Self-indulgence will lead to grave and mortal sin. Yet self-indulgence will also lead to other sins that are not so obvious like hypocrisy and oppression and injustice and deception.

Jesus is not saying that these are lesser sins. In fact, He had harsh words for the Pharisees and the lawyers of the Law for committing such sins and getting away with it.

As the 1st reading puts it, if we are led by the Spirit, then no law can touch us because the Spirit will be our life and we will be directed by the Spirit.

We have to crucify all self -indulgent passions and desires if we want to be lead by the Spirit and truly belong to Christ.

Then we will be able to bear the fruits of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Monday, October 10, 2016

28th Week, Ordinary Time, Tuesday, 11-10-16

Galatians 5:1-6 / Luke 11:37-41

There is this story of an old man who was going around planting very small fruit trees.

When he was asked when those trees would bear fruit, he replied: Probably years after I am dead.

So then, why plant them if he wasn't going to enjoy the fruits of his labour?

The old man replied: I didn't find the world empty of fruit trees when I was born. So I am planting these fruit trees for others who will come after me, just as others had done before me.

I narrate this story because I find it interesting that Jesus said in the gospel: Give alms from what you have and then indeed everything will be clean for you.

In the Jewish tradition, charity is represented by righteousness and justice, and the poor are entitled to charity as a matter of right rather than benevolence.

Following from that, the Church also teaches that private acts of charity are considered  a Christian duty, and not done for others to admire.

Here Jesus places the primary focus on the motives behind the outward and an inward giving of alms - which should be love (cf Matthew 6:1)

So alms-giving is not just a duty but it also should be an act of love.

Let us also remember what Jesus said in Matthew 25:45: Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.

So let us continue to plant trees of life that will bear fruits of love.

It is not just because of duty; it will also cleanse our souls.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

28th Week, Ordinary Time, Monday, 10-10-16

Galatians 4:22-24, 26-27, 31 - 5:1 / Luke 11:29-32

There are many lessons we can learn from the events of history and from the peoples of the past.

These events also help us to create a greater awareness of our current situation and we also see that we have many advantages over the peoples of the past.

We may feel anything from feeling sorry to being critical of the people in the gospel passage.

They were asking Jesus for a sign when THE sign was standing right before them.

Jesus could only ask them to reflect upon the events of their own history and upon the lessons of their past, and He quoted two figures of the past for their reflection - Jonah and the Queen of the South.

Similarly Jesus is also asking us to reflect on the events of our history so as to be more aware of our present spiritual state.

Events like our baptism and our experiences of God all point to God's love for us and His mercy and forgiveness of our sins.

We don't need more signs from God. We only need to remember and reflect upon the marvelous deeds He has done for us.

May we also respond to the call of Jesus for repentance and conversion.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

28th Ordinary Sunday, Year C, 09.10.2016

2 Kings 5:14-17 / 2 Tim 2:8-13 / Luke 17:11-19

Whenever we go for a holiday overseas, there is one thing that we would most likely do.

Of course besides taking many photos, we would most likely want to get a souvenir from that place.

So if we were to go to Paris, we would probably get a miniature figure of the Eiffel Tower.

Or if we were to go to New York in the US, we would probably get a miniature figure of the Statue of Liberty.

And if tourists were to get a souvenir from Singapore, what do we think it would be? Would it be a figure of a merlion? Which can be quite strange because unlike the Eiffel Tower or the Statue of Liberty, the merlion does not exist in reality.

Yet, the merlion symbolizes a reality. The body symbolizes Singapore's humble beginnings as a fishing village when it was called Temasek, meaning 'sea town' in Old Javanese. Its head represents Singapore's original name, Singapura, or 'lion city' in Malay.

Hence the merlion is a popular souvenir for tourist when they visit Singapore. Besides being a unique symbol of Singapore, it also looks like some mystical creature that has a story to tell.

It is also a meaningful gift to present to visitors from overseas. It would be a uniquely Singaporean souvenir.

In the 1st reading, we heard of Naaman, the commander of the army of Syria, who was cured of his leprosy when he immersed himself seven times in the river Jordan.

Certainly he was overjoyed and he returned to see Elisha to thank him and to present him a gift. But Elisha refused to accept the gift, which was presumably some material reward.

And then Naaman made a rather strange request. He asked Elisha for permission to be given as much earth as two mules may carry.
We may wonder, why earth (or soil)? Why not ask for the waters of the river Jordan, since he had immersed himself in it and was cured of his leprosy? 

One reason could be that the earth reminded him of his mortality. 

Naaman came to the land of Israel as a leper looking for a cure, and it was in the land of Israel that he found hope and was cured of the dreadful disease.

But more than that, as he stood before Elisha, he said this: Now I know that there is no God in all the earth except in lsrael.

And he continued: I will no longer offer holocaust or sacrifice to any god except the Lord.

So more than just wanting to get a souvenir from the land of Israel, which would become just a memory, Naaman wanted the earth from the land of Israel because it was there that he had an experience of the God of Israel.

For Naaman, the earth from the land of Israel would be a living reminder of the God of Israel whom he will worship from then on.

That would make us think about the pilgrimages that we have made to the Holy Land or to the holy sites like Lourdes and Fatima.

We may have brought back souvenirs like religious objects made of olive wood, or statues of Our Lady of Fatima or Lourdes water.

Are these objects just reminders of our trips to these places, or are they objects of experiences which continue to live in our lives and deepen our faith in God?

In the gospel, we heard of the ten lepers who came to Jesus and called out to Him to have pity on them.

Jesus told them to go and show themselves to the priests. As they were on their way, they found themselves cleansed and cured of their leprosy.

Finding himself cured, one of them turned back praising God at the top of his voice and threw himself at the feet of Jesus and thanked Him. 

That made Jesus ask this disturbing question: Were not all ten made clean? The other nine, where are they?

The other nine, where were they? Maybe for those nine, now that they are cleansed and cured, they can go on with their lives. 

For them, Jesus was an encounter (and a souvenir) and it probably stopped there. Their lives can now go on without Jesus. 

And Jesus even had to make this comment: It seems that no one has come back to give praise to God, except this foreigner (who was a Samaritan).

So to put it bluntly, Jesus expects us to give thanks and to be grateful. 

And we express that thanks and gratefulness by doing reparation and expiation for our sins and for the sins of others.

This coming Thursday is the 13th October. That date, 13th October, reminds us of the last apparition of Our Lady at Fatima in 1917.

An account of that day went like this – the three children were surrounded by a crowd of 70,000 persons under a torrential rain. 
Lucy asked again of the Lady: "What do you want from me?" She answered: "I am the Lady of the Rosary, I desire here a chapel in my honor to be built, that people continue to recite the Rosary every day. The war is going to end (WW I), and the soldiers will soon return to their homes." Then Lucy asked: "May I ask you for cures and conversions, will you grant them?". The Lady answered: "Some yes, others no. It is necessary that they ask pardon for their sins, that they don't offend God our Lord, and that He is already too much offended."

This is just an excerpt from the accounts of the apparition of Our Lady at Fatima.

The gist of the message of the apparition of our Lady at Fatima is essentially to make reparation and to offer sacrifices for the conversion of sinners.

And for us who are in the parish that is dedicated to the Sacred Heart, the devotion to the Sacred Heart compels us to make reparation for our sins and to offer sacrifices for the conversion of sinners. Many souls are lost because there is no one to pray for them.

By making reparation for our sins and offering sacrifices for the conversion of sinners, we express our gratitude to Jesus, and at Mass we give thanks to God for loving us and saving us.

Let us give thanks and be grateful so that like Naaman and the Samaritan, our faith will lead us and others to salvation.

Friday, October 7, 2016

27th Week, Ordinary Time, Saturday, 08-10-16

Galatians 3:22-29 / Luke 11:27-28

We know that when we keep the law and be good citizens, then we can be assured that the law will protect us.

Anyway the law is supposed to protect those who follow what is stipulated and also deters wrongdoing.

So we can say that the law is our guardian and it is expressed in the form of law-enforcement officers.

Yet we know that there can be loopholes in the law such that the guilty can get away scot-free and law-enforcement officers can be corrupt.

Hence, we may be able to understand what the 1st reading meant when St. Paul said that the Law was the guardian of the people until Jesus Christ came along and then they could be justified by faith.

The Law was there for the people to keep to it and follow it. Yet the problem here could be that in just keeping to the precepts of the Law, there may not be a faith that is expressed in a covenental relationship of love.

Because it is in believing in God who loves us and sent His Son Jesus Christ to save us that we want to love Him in return and to express our love for God through the precepts of our faith.

Hence, we keep the Law not because of benefits or punishment but because we love God who loved us first.

As Jesus said in the gospel, happier still are those who hear the Word of God and keep it. Because hearing the Word must lead us to believe, and in believing we must be loving.

Otherwise, it will just be a case of hearing and then doing nothing about it.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Our Lady of the Rosary, Friday, 07-10-16

Acts 1:12-14 / Luke 1:26-38

The feast of the Holy Rosary originated from the naval victory at Lepanto on the 7th October 1571.

The small combined Christian fleet defeated the mighty Turkish armada, thus stopping the invasion of Christian Europe.

The victory was considered a miracle and Pope St. Pius V attributed it to the praying of the Holy Rosary and the intercession of Our Lady.

Indeed the Rosary is a very special devotion to Our Lady.

The Popes always recommend the Rosary and placed repeated emphasis on it.

It is not just a vocal prayer but also a mental prayer; it is a personal as well as a communal prayer.

It is a form of prayer that leads us to experience Christ through Mary.

The repetitive chant-like prayers brings our minds and hearts to a stillness that opens us to the presence of God in our lives.

In that stillness, we know we have a Mother who is always with us in prayer and who leads us to do the will of God in our lives.

The greatest battle that is fought is in our hearts and the greatest victory is when we surrender to God's will and become His servants, just like Mary did.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

27th Week, Ordinary Time, Thursday, 06-10-16

Galatians 3:1-5 / Luke 11:5-13

Whenever if comes to offering hospitality or rendering a service, there is this unspoken but understood social etiquette to be observed (at least in the local context).

We are not obliged to offer hospitality or render a service at all costs and without a limit.

On the other hand, we can't demand hospitality or a service on our own terms and expect others to render it unconditionally.

The parable in today's gospel can be difficult to understand and accept whether we put ourselves in the shoes of the man who is in bed inside the house or the one who is at the door requesting for bread.

In terms of social etiquette, there is no obligation to give unconditionally and there is the need to know the inconvenience caused by our request, whether reasonable or otherwise.

But if such social "laws and norms" are to be adhered, then there will be no one who go out of their way to help or serve those who are in need.

In the 1st reading, St. Paul asked this question: Was it because you practised the Law that you received the Spirit, or because you believed what was preached to you?

Yes, we need to know what is stated in the Law, but we also need to be opened to the workings of the Holy Spirit.

God gives us the Holy Spirit freely so that we will dare to ask and be given, we will go on searching and we will find, and we will keep knocking till the door is opened.

With God nothing is impossible. We just have to let the Holy Spirit lead us to ask, seek and knock.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

27th Week, Ordinary Time, Wednesday, 05-10-16

Galatians 2:1-2, 7-14 / Luke 11:1-4

The word "upstart" has two meanings. One is that it is a series of movements on the parallel or asymmetric bars, by which a gymnast swings to a position in which the body is supported by the arms above the bar, especially at the start of a routine.

The other refers to a person who has risen suddenly in rank or importance, and it may also have the connotation that he behaves arrogantly and fearlessly.

It can be said that St. Paul was an upstart of sort. He had been a persecutor and an enemy of the Church but after his experience on the road to Damascus where he experienced the Lord Jesus in the form of a bright light, he had a conversion and after some time he began preaching the Good News.

He even went to Jerusalem to meet up with the apostles to verify his teaching and he got the affirmation from them.

He certainly moved from persecutor to proclaimer in a short period of time and became a prominent figure in the early Church.

But as he stated in the 1st reading, he fearlessly (though not necessarily arrogantly) confronted Cephas (St. Peter) about his behaviour and his pretence with regards to eating with the pagans in the presence of the Jews.

St. Paul was certainly exposing himself to criticism for being an arrogant upstart but he understood the meaning of eating with others, regardless of whether they were pagans or Jews.

Because he saw the meal as the occasion where God the Father was feeding His people with the bread of love, a meal in which there is no distinction between pagan and Jews.

As we come to the Eucharist to partake of the bread of life and the meal of love, let us put aside all distinction between ourselves as well as all faction and contention.

As in the prayer that Jesus taught in the gospel: give us today our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who is in debt to us.

So let us partake of the bread of life, let us share in the bread of forgiveness, and let us proclaim the love of God who gives us our daily bread of love.

Monday, October 3, 2016

27th Week, Ordinary Time, Tuesday, 04-10-16

Galatians 1:13-24 / Luke 10:38-24

One of the causes of dissatisfaction and discontentment in our lives is that we look away from our own turf and we begin to envy the seemingly greener pastures that other people are in.

We begin to look at others and start to dream about their cushy lives, their exciting jobs, the nice things they have, their happy families, etc.

We allow these distractions to come in because we think that who we are and what we are doing is insignificant, boring, frustrating, unrewarding and unrecognized.

That is simply because we are dissatisfied and unhappy with what we are doing.

In the gospel, Martha complained about her sister, maybe because she was unhappy about not getting any recognition and attention.

She was simply distracted from what she was doing.

Jesus was not saying that sitting around and listening to Him is more important than cooking and cleaning.

Jesus is saying that whatever we are doing, we just have to be focused and count our blessings and give thanks to God.

That is the one thing that is important and that is also the one thing that is needed in our lives.

Because that is also the one thing that will bring out satisfaction and happiness in our lives.