Wednesday, February 28, 2018

2nd Week of Lent, Thursday, 01-03-18

Jeremiah 17:5-10 / Luke 16:19-31

It is said that “The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don't tell you what to see.” (Alexandra K.Trenfor)

As we think about this statement, we would want to think about what life has taught us, as life and its experiences are one of the best teachers.

And as we think about the 1st reading, we will agree with what the Lord had said in it - "A curse on the man who puts his trust in man, who relies on things of flesh, whose heart turns from the Lord."
"A blessing on the man who puts his trust in the Lord, with the Lord for his hope."

So our many experiences of life with its ups and downs has many lessons to teach us, yet we have to decide for ourselves who to put our trust in.

In the gospel, Jesus told a parable of the rich man and Lazarus. In his lifetime, the rich man looked at many things but he did not or didn't want to see Lazarus. But it was only when he was in Hades that he looked up and saw Lazarus in the bosom of Abraham.

As much as that parable has many teaching points, Jesus is also showing us where to look but not what to see.

But as we look at our lives, may we see what is for temporary and what is for eternity, that the good we do on earth will be acknowledged up above, and that we have to put our trust in God and not in man.

Let us ask to Lord to help us to look as well as to see.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

2nd Week of Lent, Wednesday, 28-02-18

Jeremiah 18:18-20 / Matthew 20:17-28

When it comes to being involved in the ministries in Church, some people may see it as just volunteering to do some work in Church or to do some work for God.

Volunteering is generally considered as an activity to provide services for no financial or social gain to benefit another person, group or organization.

But for Jeremiah of the 1st reading, he didn't volunteer to be a prophet. He was called by God to be a prophet. If he had volunteered to be a prophet, he would have given up in the face of persecutions against him.

But that doesn't mean that he had no complains. In fact, he lamented about it: "Listen to me Lord, hear what my adversaries are saying. Should evil be returned for good? For they are digging a pit for me. Remember how I stood in your presence  to plead on their behalf, to turn your wrath away from them."

Jeremiah had every reason to complain and lament, because for doing what God wanted of him, he had to face persecutions from his own people and he was left alone to fend for himself.

In the gospel, Jesus knew He too would face those kind of persecutions and abandonment. He even told the Twelve what was going to happen to Him.

But the mother of Zebedee's sons as well as the rest of the Twelve don't seem to get it. In their minds, it seems that they were following Jesus in order to get some benefits or to see what they can gain from it.

The season of Lent helps to purify and enlighten our minds and hearts as to who Jesus is. Jesus came to serve and not to be served, and even to give His life as a ransom for many. May we understand that whether we are serving in the Church ministries or not.

Monday, February 26, 2018

2nd Week of Lent, Tuesday, 27-02-18

Isaiah 1:10, 16-20 / Matthew 23:1-12

The story of the two cities of Sodom and Gomorrah can be found in the book of Genesis 19.

These two cities were eventually destroyed by fire and brimstone because of their unrepentant sinfulness and evil deeds.

In the 1st reading, the prophet Isaiah used the symbolic names of these two cities to warn his people of the anger and the judgment of God that will come upon them if they don't repent.

Even God Himself seemed to be pleading through the prophet Isaiah with these words:

Come now, let's talk this over. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be white as wool.

We may not be committing the kind of atrocious sins of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Yet, it does not mean that the lesser or venial sins are acceptable in the eyes of God.

The human tendency to crave for recognition and status is what Jesus pointed out in the gospel.

Jesus also pointed out that we have this tendency to be self-righteous and even impose our religious beliefs onto the weaker ones when they don't share our views of religious practices.

These may not seem to be major sins but they reveal to us our understanding of our Master.

Jesus our Master came to serve and not to be served.

May we follow our Master and be servants to each other in love and humility.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

2nd Week of Lent, Monday, 26-02-18

Daniel 9:4-10 / Luke 6:36-38

We know what the golden rule of life is. It is essentially this - Do unto others what we want others to do unto us.

We can find the expression of this rule in almost every religion.

Jesus also taught this golden rule of life.(Mat 7:12 ; Lk 6:31) In the gospel he teaches us not to judge or condemn. Yet Jesus also taught much more and deeper.

When He talked about compassion, it is not so much that we hope that we will receive compassion in return.

Rather we are to be compassionate because God is compassionate and in creating us He has already filled us with His compassion. It is a compassion that is without limit.

In the 1st reading, the prophet confessed that the people acted wickedly and broke God's commandments and turned away from God.

That is simply because they forgot that God is compassionate and that they were already filled with His compassion. Hence, they committed wicked deeds.

The Lenten discipline of prayer and fasting and alms-giving helps us to control the aggressiveness of our human reactions to people who cut into our path.

At the same time, the Lenten discipline also helps us to bring out the compassion for others, to understand them without conditions and to see things from their point of view without judging  them.

Let us open our hearts for God to continue pouring forth His compassion, a compassion of full measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over into the hearts of others.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

2nd Sunday of Lent, Year B, 24.02.2018

Genesis 22:1-2, 9-13, 15-18 / Romans 8:31-34 / Mark 9:2-10

Although we are already in the season of Lent which is a time of penance and abstinence, it cannot be denied that this is also the festive season, and one of the delicacies that will appear on the table is “bak kwa”.

These bak kwa smell as good as they taste, and going at $50 a kilogram, and having to queue up for 6 hours or more just to get it, it is almost as precious as gold.

Bak kwa is usually made from pork, although it is difficult to say which part of the pig it comes from. But it doesn’t matter, as long as it is delicious, we won’t bother.

And we also won’t bother how the pig feels about it. They  can’t put up a fight anyway. (But if pigs can put up a fight, they will learn karate, so that they can give a pork chop).

But pigs can’t really put up a fight, and so they end up as ham and bacon and bak kwa. 

Pigs can’t fight but they surely can feel. When a piglet is taken away from its mother, there will be tears in the mother’s eyes and she will make a moaning sound, because she knows how the piglet will end up. Yes, pigs and other animals have feelings too, if we pay attention to their reactions.

If animals have feelings, then more so do human beings, and there is a vast vocabulary to express these human feelings and emotions.

But in the first reading, we don’t seem to hear about how Abraham felt when God told him, “Take your son, your only child Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him as a burnt offering, on a mountain I will point out to you.”

The next thing we heard is that they arrived at the place, and Abraham stretched out his hand and seized the knife to kill his son.

Abraham was a man of faith, but he certainly had feelings too. It was he who bargained with God as he tried to save the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. And now he has to sacrifice his own son! How did he feel about it? But his obedience was prompt.

We would have guessed that he would be shocked and confused and angry. He would probably asked himself, “How come?” and “How can?” And along the way to the mountain, he would probably be tempted to turn back and delete God from his life totally.

And even as we listen, we will wonder why God made such a demanding sacrifice. More than a demanding sacrifice, it was a human sacrifice.

Feelings and emotions aside, Abraham knew it was God who called him to faith. It was in faith and with faith, that he obeyed. But as Abraham seized the knife to kill his son, he was stopped by an angel. 

So, in stopping Abraham from killing his son, God in effect, was putting a stop to human sacrifice. And in effect, God is declaring that the only sacrifice He wants is that of obedience.

But for us, obedience to the will of God is often subjected to our feelings and we question whether it is worth it or not.

But when obedience to God contradicts what we think is good for us, then we have to ask if we truly love God. Abraham loved his son. But what about his love for God then?

A story goes that a king assembled his ministers and handed the chief minister a glowing pearl and asked him how much it was worth. The minister replied that it was worth more gold then a hundred caravans could carry.

Then the king asked the minister to take a hammer and smashed it. The minister replied that he wouldn’t dare do such a thing. 

One by one, the king asked the ministers how valuable the pearl was and each would raise the value higher than the other. But when ordered to smash it, none of them would do it.

Then the king’s faithful servant came along and the king asked him how valuable the pearl was and he replied that it was more valuable than he could imagine.

Then the king ordered the servant to smash the pearl. Without hesitation, the servant took the hammer and smashed it into pieces.

The ministers were shocked and screamed at the servant and asked him why he did it. The servant replied, “What the king says is worth more than any pearl. I obey and honour the king, and not some coloured stone.”

With that, the ministers realized their true standing with the king and what the king thinks of their obedience.

Jesus is the Beloved Son of the Father. Yet, he learned obedience through His suffering and He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him (Hebrews 5:8-9).

God did not demand for Jesus to shed His blood on the cross in sacrifice. It was the sin of mankind that demanded for His blood.

Yet, in shedding His blood, Jesus saved us once and for all from our sins, so that there should be no more shedding of blood, no more taking of revenge, no more payback, no more eye-for-an-eye, tooth-for-tooth.

Jesus was obedient even onto death on the cross, so that we too can obey God.

Obedience to God will always produce benefits that far exceed the consequences of disobedience. But faith and obedience must come first then God can answer our prayers. We are obedient not because we are blind, we are obedient because we can see.

A person’s greatness is usually exemplified through simple acts of obedience, like Abraham. Where faith is the root, the obedience is the fruit.

In the Transfiguration, the voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, listen to him.”

Let us listen to Jesus, let us follow His obedience to God, because obedience to God is the pathway to the life that we really want to live.

Friday, February 23, 2018

1st Week of Lent, Saturday, 24-02-18

Deut 26:16-19 / Matthew 5:43-48

People who are searching for a religion to adhere to may ask this question:

How is Christianity different from the rest of the other religions?

Well, of course there are many ways to answer that question.

One answer could be this - Christianity doesn't just teach you to be good; Christianity teaches you to be like God!

That was what Jesus meant when He said: You must be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.

In other words, we must be holy, just as our heavenly Father is holy. We must be like God our Father, no less.

To be like God means to do what Jesus did.

And that is to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us.

People might say that that is crazy, but that is what it means to be holy.

So can it be possible to be holy as God is holy?

As the 1st reading puts it, when we declare that God is our only God, then God will also make the declaration that we are His very own people.

God will consecrate us with His love and we will be living images of His holiness in the world.

So is the Lord God our only God? That is the question that we have to answer in the purifying season of Lent.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

1st Week of Lent, Friday, 23-02-18

Ezekiel 18:21-28 / Matthew 5:20-26

Back in the year 1497, the famous painter Leonardo da Vinci finished the mural of the famous Last Supper.

A rumour surrounding the painting was that the same model was used for both Jesus and Judas.

The rumour was that an innocent-looking young man, a baker, posed as Jesus.

Some years later Leonardo discovered a hard-bitten criminal as the model for Judas, not realizing he was the same man.

But that was just the rumour and there is no evidence that Leonardo used the same model for both figures and the story also overestimates the time it took Leonardo to finish the mural.

Whether rumour or otherwise, the reality of life often shows us that when the good become bad, they become the worst of all.

That is also the what the 1st reading is saying.

The good people who have experienced love and goodness are committing a grave sin when they choose to do wrong. Because they sin against the love and goodness of God.

It is also so drastic that all their earlier good deeds are wiped away.

It sounds shocking and "unjust" as the people would complain. But that is the serious consequence of sin isn't it?

Good people should know what evil is, and they should know how disastrous the consequence of sin is.

It can even distort the physical appearance of a person, as the rumour of the painting of the Last Supper goes.

It is also a contradiction when we come before the altar of the Lord with sin in our hearts.

Jesus tells us in the gospel to be reconciled with God and with our neighbour first, if we really know what we are offering.

Let not sin be hardened in our hearts but let love and forgiveness be shown on our faces.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Chair of St. Peter the Apostle, Thursday, 22-02-18

1 Peter 5:1-4 / Matthew 16:13-19

Today's feast of the Chair of St. Peter is a profound celebration that has three intertwined dimensions - decision; revelation; appointment.

Firstly, there is the question of decision. Jesus asked His disciples this point-blank question: Who do you say I am?

After following Him for a time, they had to come to a decision about who He is. They cannot borrow answers from what others think or say He is; they have to decide who He is.

Then comes a revelation from Peter that Jesus is the "Christ, the Son of the living God". Jesus confirmed that it was indeed a revelation from God and not a logical deduction by Peter.

And finally comes an appointment - Jesus appointed Peter to be the rock on which He will build the Church.

From then on to this present age, the Church has traced her origins and her authority and her apostolic succession to this divine appointment of St. Peter to Pope Francis. 

So today we offer special prayers for Pope Francis and pledge our obedience and union with him. At the same time, the Church in Singapore also rejoices and give thanks to God for Archbishop William Goh as he celebrates his episcopal ordination anniversary today.

Let us unite ourselves in prayer for him and for the Church in Singapore and also for the universal Church throughout the world.

Let us march confidently forward in faith and love to fulfill the mission that God has entrusted to us.

Let us also put our hope in Jesus and remember His words to Peter: The gates of the underworld can never hold out against the Church.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

1st Week of Lent, Wednesday, 21-02-18

Jonah 3:1-10 / Luke 11:29-32

The name Jonah is a Jewish name and it means "a dove".

A dove is a symbol of docility and gentleness.

But Jonah was neither docile nor gentle.

In fact, he hated the Ninevites, the archenemy of Israel, because they annihilated the Northern Kingdom of Israel.

So when Jonah opened his mouth to speak what God told him to say, he was not gentle at all. In fact, he was blunt and provocative.

Yet, his message was heeded and the Ninevites started repenting.

Jesus had all the signs - his miracles over nature, over diseases and over demons.

Yet, when He proclaimed His message of repentance and conversion, he met with rejection and hostility. But, Jesus did not give up.

He knew that His message would bring about conversion, eventually.

We the Church are the fruit of that conversion.

It is for us to continue listening to this message of repentance and conversion.

Because we the Church are called to be the sign and hope of conversion, especially the conversion of the world.

We are to show the world how to move from sinfulness to holiness.

Monday, February 19, 2018

1st Week of Lent, Tuesday, 20-02-18

Isaiah 55:10-11 / Matthew 6:7-15

There is this proverb that goes like this: Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.

Quite true on the superficial level, but not true at all in the deeper level.

Words can never hurt us physically, but words can hurt us internally and emotionally.

It can even cause psychological and spiritual hurt.

Words that hurt can start quarrels, damage self-worth, destroy reputations, cause sleepless nights.

Yet on the other hand, words can also heal, inspire dreams and bring hope, sooth pain and suffering and give birth to love.

Hence, words may come about freely but we have to use them under scrutiny.

The letter of James (James 1:26) warned that the man who thinks he is serving God, but has not learnt to control his tongue is deceiving himself.

The 1st reading tells us that God's Word would not return to Him empty without carrying out His will and succeeding in what it was sent to do.

That Word we heard in today's gospel, and that Word is about love and forgiveness.

The Lord's prayer is our love expression to God. Yet to love God means that we also must forgive others their failings.

If we don't forgive others their failings, we can never speak words of love, words that heal.

But when we forgive others and cleanse our hearts, then out of the fullness of our heart, we will speak words of love.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

1st Week of Lent, Monday, 19-02-18

Leviticus 19:1-2, 11-18 / Matthew 25:31-46

It was said that the Great Wall of China was the only man-made structure that can been seen from the moon.

Whether it is true or not, the fact is that the Great Wall is a massive and impressive structure.

It was built to keep out the enemy and so it was built to be impregnable.

Yet it was breached, and many times too, simply because of traitors and betrayers; in other words, it was a case of the enemy within.

The enemy brewed from within not because of big crises but rather from small issues like welfare, honesty, integrity and respect.

Those might seem to be like small issues but they can become powerful enough that even the Great Wall cannot stop them.

Jesus also talked about paying attention to the small issues of the Christian life, issues like feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, welcoming the stranger, clothing the naked and visiting those in prison.

Those are small issues that won't make the headlines but they are important to God.

In the 1st reading, God commands His people to be holy just as He is holy.

The expression of holiness is in paying attention to the small issues of life.

These small acts of love cannot be seen from the moon, or for that matter of fact, might seem even too trivial.

But they count in God's eyes, and they count for eternity.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

1st Sunday of Lent, Year B, 18.02.2018

Genesis 9:8-15 / 1 Peter 33:18-22 / Mark 1:12-15
We have already begun the season of Lent on Ash Wednesday, and today is the 1st Sunday of Lent. But with the CNY beginning on Friday and spilling into the weekend, the Year of the Dog is barking with festive celebrations instead of fasting and penance.
Anyway we have already done our fasting on Wednesday, so we can do with a bit of feasting (more than a bit …)

By now we should know that according to the Chinese zodiac, the New Year has ushered in the Year of the Dog. So for those who born in the Year of the Dog, and for dog-lovers, let us see what the Bible has to say about dogs.

Dogs are frequently mentioned both in the Old and New Testaments. Dogs were used by the Hebrews as watchdogs for their houses (Isaiah 56:10), and for guarding their flocks of sheep (Job 30:1). These are domesticated dogs. 
But there were also then, as there are now, packs of semi-wild and wild dogs that wander about devouring dead animals and even dead bodies. So these kinds of dogs were considered unclean and they can be quite fierce.

In one gospel passage about the exchange between Jesus and the Canaanite woman, the word "dogs" are used.

In response to her pleas to drive off the devil from her daughter, He answered by saying, "It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." (Mt 15:26) In this instance Jesus was referring to the wild dogs.

But the woman replied, "Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters' table." (Mt 15:27) Her reference was to the domesticated dogs or the pet dogs. And with that Jesus granted her wish.

So in the Bible, there are generally two categories of dogs -  the wild dogs, and the domesticated pet dogs which at times are considered “a man’s best friend”.

In the gospel, we heard that the Spirit drove Jesus out into the wilderness and He remained there for 40 days and was tempted by the devil. He was with the wild beasts and the angels looked after Him.

So during those 40 days in the wilderness of the desert, Jesus faced two dangers. One was the temptations of the devil and that challenged Him in the spiritual realm, as to test whether He will stand firm on the side of God or not.

The other danger was on the physical realm. With the wild beasts roaming around and maybe among them were some wild savage dogs, would He succumb to fear and run off to safety and give up His mission?

The temptations from the devil were subtle. In the other gospels, we hear of those temptations: turn stones to bread, to jump off the parapet of the Temple, to bow down to Satan. The depths of the Heart of Jesus was tested to see where He stood and who He was.

But while the temptations of the devil were subtle, the danger from the wild animals was real, because they can cause harm and injury.

St. Teresa of Avila once said: “I do not fear the devil. But I do fear his agents.” In other words, those agents of the devil are to be reckoned with because they are the physical weapons of the devil.

When sin entered the world, sin turned the world into a wild world. The peace of the Garden of Eden was broken and so were the relationships between God and man, and man and nature.

Jesus went into the wilderness to restore the brokenness and to reconcile man with God and man with nature. He fought off the devil’s temptations. He faced the wild animals, not to fight them but to tame them. And if there were any wild and savage dogs among them, then Jesus would also want to tame them and turn them into pet dogs.

It is said that when properly trained, a dog can be a man’s best friend. Now, listen to this twist: when properly trained, a man can be a dog’s best friend.

And indeed, the season of Lent is a season of grace and the Good News is that through repentance, this wild world can be made into the Kingdom of God.

The spiritual exercises of prayer, fasting and almsgiving are to help us to go back to the spiritual basics and to train us in the ways of God.

And here the humble pet dog can also show us a few things. (It is said that God loves dogs. Because “dog” is “God” spelled backwards. Maybe that’s why God is using the dog to show us a few things about life)

So what can the dog show us? For us who have pet dogs, we can immediately understand this:

1. Loyalty – a dog is naturally born with a sense of loyalty for its owner, and each dog displays this loyalty in its own unique way. And that reminds us that we are made to be faithful and loyal to God who is our Creator.

2. Compassion – no matter how sad or upset you are, a dog always knows how to give you love and comfort. It reminds us that God’s compassion for us is boundless.

3. Unconditional love – a dog loves with no strings attached. If that can be said of a dog, then what can we say about God’s love for us, especially when we look at the cross.

4. Selflessness – a dog's first focus is to provide you with its joy and it is not vain or selfish. If you show it love and kindness, it will be your ultimate selfless companion. But it also reminds us of what we are called to be for others.

5. Forgiveness – we humans have a hard time forgiving each other, we hold on to hurt and anger forever, but not a dog. He will forgive you for anything you do to him, even if you take it out on him. That is something we can learn from a dog.

Come to think of it, we are much more than dogs, because we are much more in the eyes of God.

Yet the humble dog can show us something of who we truly are. Of course we are not called to be like a dog, on the contrary, we are called to be like God.

And God will send His angels to help us just like how the angels looked after Jesus in the wilderness of the desert. Most angels have wings, but some may choose to have fur. 

So if you have a pet dog, then may you be the person that your dog thinks you are. 
If we don’t have a pet-dog, there is no need to go and get one. But let us remember many of the qualities that come so easily to a well-trained dog – loyalty, devotion, selflessness, love – seems to be so elusive to humans.

A well-trained dog can be a man’s best friend. But similarly a well-trained man can be a dog’s best friend. And a well-trained man can also be God’s best friend.

So let us go with Jesus into the spiritual wilderness and be trained by Him with prayer, fasting and almsgiving to fight temptation and to bring peace to a wild world.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Saturday after Ash Wednesday, 17-02-18

Isaiah 58:9-14 / Luke 5:27-42

The season of Lent has a penitential orientation for us.

It constantly reminds us of the need for repentance and conversion.

Of course that means that we are going to be reminded of our sinfulness.

Sinfulness might seem to be an abstract subject for reflection and self-examination.

But when we reflect on our inter-personal relationships, we would immediately come to see that there are areas in our relationships with others that we have crumbled.

The 1st reading mentioned two graphic images that we can easily identify with - the clenched fist and the wicked word.

Yet when we confess our sinfulness in our relationships with others as well as with God, then we shall become like a watered garden and a spring of water that will never run dry.

Indeed, during this season of Lent, Jesus wants us to know that He came to call sinners to repentance.

Sinfulness makes us sick in the spirit. Jesus is our Healer. Let us turn away from our sinfulness and follow Him as Levi did.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Chinese New Year 2018, Friday, 16-02-18

Numbers 6:22-27 / James 4:13-15 / Matthew 6:31-34

In the Chinese zodiac, today begins the Year of the Dog. Since it is the Year of the Dog, let's see what the Bible has to say about dogs

Dogs are frequently mentioned both in the Old and New Testaments. Dogs were used by the Hebrews as a watch for their houses (Isaiah 56:10), and for guarding their flocks ( Job 30:1 ). There were also then as there are now, troops of semi-wild and wild dogs that wander about devouring dead animals and bodies and which can be quite fierce.

In the gospel passage about the exchange between Jesus and the Canaanite woman, the word "dogs" are used.

In response to her pleas to drive off the devil from her daughter, He answered and said, "It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." (Mt 15:26) In this instance Jesus was referring to the wild dogs.

But the woman replied, "Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters' table." (Mt 15:27) Her reference was to the domesticated dogs or the pet dogs. And with that Jesus granted her wish.

It is certainly with great humility to be referred to as pet dogs. But pet dogs usually have qualities like:
1. Loyalty – a dog is naturally born with a sense of loyalty for it’s owner, and each dog displays this loyalty in its own unique way.

2. Compassion – no matter how sad or upset you are, a dog always knows to give you love and comfort.

3. Unconditional love – a dog loves with no strings attached.

4. Selflessness – a dog's first focus is to provide you with it’s joy and spirit, it is not naturally vain or selfish, if you show it love and kindness, he is your ultimate selfless companion.

5. Forgiveness – us humans have a hard time forgiving each other, we hold on to things forever, but not a dog. He will forgive you for anything you do to him (to a fault sometimes).

6. Non-judgmental – a dog does not judge, it may have reservations because it sense something is wrong, but it does not judge us like humans judge each other. A dog can sense your true nature and spirit, thus it loves you for who you are inside and out.

Come to think of it, we are much more than dogs, and much more are we in the eyes of God.

Yet the humble dog can show us something of who we truly are. Of course we are not called to be like a dog, on the contrary, we are called to be like God.

And for that we need His blessings. And certainly the Lord God will bless us and keep us, and let His face shine on us and be gracious to us and bring us peace.

And later we will also bless the oranges so that we can indeed taste and see the goodness and the sweetness of the Lord.

And may we in turn be always be a blessing to our family, to our relatives, to our friends, to our colleagues.

And if we have one, then may we also be a blessing to our dogs and to all that God has created.

Friday after Ash Wednesday, 16-02-18

Isaiah 58:1-9 / Matthew 9:14-15

In the Roman Catholic Church, there are only two obligatory days of fasting.

One is on Ash Wednesday, which was just two days ago, and the other is on Good Friday.

Yet the Church encourages the faithful to embrace this spiritual discipline of fasting especially during this season of Lent, and especially on Fridays.

This spiritual discipline of fasting is not just a religious or pious act but rather one that expresses a deep longing for conversion and repentance and for the healing grace of the Lord.

It is because we see how detestable our sins and transgression is that we pray and fasting is indeed a form of prayer.

Also when we see sin and evil happening around us, like oppression of the poor and violence on the weak, injustice and deceit, then all the more we must pray and fast.

For the sin and the evil in the world, and even in the Church, let us take seriously our prayer and the discipline of fasting.

Then when we cry out to the Lord, He will answer; when we call out to Him, He will answer: I am here.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Thursday after Ash Wednesday, 15-02-18

Deuteronomy 30:15-20 / Luke 9:22-25

Shocking words are not what we usually like to hear because they disturb us.

But when the same shocking words are repeated over and over again, we become numb to it. It loses its "kick", so to speak.

So when we hear the words of Jesus in today's gospel, what is our response?

Are we raising our eyebrows and wondering if what He is saying is for real?

Yesterday, we began the season of Lent with an emphasis on prayer, penance and almsgiving.

All this are not ends in themselves but are means to help us feel for others, to feel our "within" and more importantly to feel God in our lives.

All this is to help us respond to God's Word.

Like what Moses said to the people in the 1st reading: See, today I set before you life and prosperity, death and disaster.

The words of Jesus may not sound very consoling to us.

But those are the words that point us to the way of life and eventually to eternal life.

The way of life is the way of the cross.

To choose otherwise is to choose ruin and disaster.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Ash Wednesday, 14-02-2018

Joel 2:12-18 / 2 Cor 5:20 - 6:2 / Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

The season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, and the Mass also has a peculiar name to it - Ash Wednesday Mass.

In today's Mass, we have that ritual where ashes are marked on the forehead.

It recalls the ancient Old Testament practice of smearing ashes on the head and other parts of the body as a sign of repentance and penance. Add on sackcloth to it and it is certainly not comfortable at all.

But that is in the Old Testament. For now, the ashes are neatly marked on the forehead but the purpose and significance is still the same - a sign of repentance and penance for our sins.

As the ashes are marked on the forehead, two formulas are used. "Repent, and believe in the Good News"; "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return"

So before Almighty God, we come in repentance and penance, and also to acknowledge our mortality - that we are dust.

In the Bible, human life is often compared to that of grass and flowers - "All flesh is grass and its beauty like the wild flower's. The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows on them" (Isa 40:6-8)

Truly what looks so beautiful now will disappear.

That's why when Jesus talked about prayer, fasting and almsgiving, He cautioned about why we are doing it and who we are doing it for.

If it is done for people to see, to attract their attention and to gain their admiration, then it is done in vain. It will just fade and disappear.

Jesus repeated three times: "And your Father who sees all that is done is secret will reward you".

But God our Father is not just seeing what is being done in secret. He is looking at us whom He had created from the dust of the earth and created in His image.

Our Lenten journey of repentance and penance is to turn our eyes back to God our Creator so that all we do is what He wants us to do.

When we turn to ashes and dust, let not our lives be lived in vain and let our lives be futile.

Let us set our eyes and our hearts on God our Father so that  even as everything turns to ashes and dust, even as we turn to ashes and dust, God's image that He created in us will live forever.

And God who sees all that is done for Him will reward us.

6th Week, Ordinary Time, Tuesday, 13-02-18

James 1:12-18 / Mark 8:14-21

The Lord's Prayer, or the "Our Father" is a prayer that Jesus taught His disciples when they asked Him to teach them to pray.

It is also a prayer that we pray at Mass and at our devotions e.g. Rosary

When we do a reflection on that prayer, all seems well and good until we come to that part which has "Lead us not into temptation".

It seems that we are asking God our Father not to lead us into temptation. But why would God our Father want to lead us into temptation?

It could be a case of translation, since the original text is in Greek. But the 1st reading would help to clarify this and help us come to a clearer understanding.

It says: Never, when you have been tempted, say, "God sent the temptation". God cannot be tempted to do anything wrong, and He does not tempt anybody. Everyone who is tempted is attracted and seduced by his own wrong desire.

So "Lead us not into temptation" is understood as imploring God our Father to protect and guard us from falling into the temptation of our own desire and from that of the evil one.

In the gospel, Jesus urges us to keep our eyes open and be on our guard. We need to know what our weaknesses are and in what areas we are prone to fall into temptation.

God our Father will not lead us into temptation. It is we who lead ourselves into temptation, and we need to ask God to protect from our evil desires.

Let us draw our hearts nearer to God especially in praying the "Our Father" and may God cleanse us of the evil within us.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

6th Week, Ordinary Time, Monday, 12-02-18

James 1:1-11 / Mark 8:11-13

The life of a Christian is certainly no different from the life of the others around him.

By and large, whether atheist or believer, rich or poor, religious or laity, man or woman, life has its difficulties and struggles.

More so for us who believe in God, we are certainly not spared of these turmoils of life, and we cannot expect to either.

We are either coming out of a storm or headed towards one, though there might be a moment of peace when we are in the eye of the storm.

Yet we must continue to believe that although God did not promise us that there will be no storms, He did promise us that He will be with us in the storm.

This faith in God is a powerful sign for others to recognize that God is indeed truly with us in our difficult and stormy moments.

The problem the Pharisees had with Jesus was that they expected Him to work spectacular and phenomenal signs.

Jesus refused to give them any of these kind of signs because He has already given them the example of His life.

To give them more signs would be like to show a blind man more pictures.

In Jesus, we see how our Master faced His difficulties and struggles and He showed us how to overcome them by putting His faith in God His Father.

The 1st reading attested to this and urges us to see our trials as a blessed privilege for growth of a deeper faith in God.

Faith is like a teabag. You have to put it in hot water before you know how strong it is.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

6th Ordinary Sunday, Year B, 11.02.2018

Leviticus 13:1-2, 45-46 / 1 Cor 10:31 – 11:1 / Mark 1:40-45
If looks don’t give an impression, or don’t give any impression, then there is no need for mirrors.

Certainly, good looks are important in so far as to give a good first impression.

And when it comes to good looks, it is more than just having nice clothes. It is about the hair and how to stop the receding hairline. It’s about the body and how to reduce the expanding waistline. It’s about the face and how to get rid of those stretch-lines.

And talking about the face, that’s what we usually look at in a photo, especially our face.

We rather not look at those photos in which we are not happy about how we look. But then there are no bad photos actually, because that’s how our faces look like sometimes; either it’s the wrong angle or the wrong pose.

But the fact is that many people complain about their looks, but almost none will complain about their brains, although the face and the brain are so close.

And more fundamentally, the Bible tells us that as much as man looks at the outward appearance, God looks at the heart (1 Sam 16:7).

Yes, God looks at the heart, whereas we tend to be captivated by outward appearances.

So we may admire or envy those who look good and gain easy acceptance. But at the same time, we also feel sorry for those who look less than plain or ordinary. They are often overlooked and swept under the carpet.

But being plain or ordinary looking is certainly not as bad as repulsive- looking that people would want to avoid.

Such was the case of the leper in the gospel. How he contracted leprosy, we were not told. But the 1st reading tells us how the religious law at that time looks at lepers.

If a swelling or a scab or shiny spot appears on a man’s skin, a case of leprosy of the skin is to be suspected. Then comes the action to be taken – the leper must wear torn clothes, his hair disordered, must live apart and outside the camp, and go around crying out “Unclean, unclean…”

Regardless of whether it was contagious or not, the disease has rendered the leper to be physically unclean as well as spiritually unclean. That was why the leper was separated from his people, as well as forced to be separated from God.

For the leper, it was not so much the pain of leprosy that was eating away at him physically. It was the pain of separation and rejection that was eating into him spiritually.

As if the separation and rejection of his own people was not painful enough, he had to find out if God was also rejecting him. That was like the last straw that will break him.

Whatever he knew or believe about Jesus, the leper came to Him and pleaded on his knees, “If you want to, you can cure me.” It was really a life-or-death moment for the leper. It may sound more like a demand, but good manners may not be needed in a desperate matter.

Yes, Jesus felt sorry for him, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said, “Of course I want to! Be cured.”

To a desperate demand, Jesus responded with a demanding decision, “Of course I want to! Be cured.”

When Jesus looked at the leper, He was not looking at the disfigurement. Jesus looked beyond and into the leper’s heart, which was broken by separation and rejection, a heart disfigured by pain and rejection.

Jesus came to seek and save what was lost. He came for the sick, not the healthy. He came for the sinners, not the saints.

Jesus is looking at each one of us and what does He see? As we look at ourselves in the mirror, what do we see? It is not what we are looking at that really matters, but what we see.

Whatever or whoever we see in the mirror, maybe we can think about this: If the whole world was blind, how many people would we be able to impress?
If it is going by looks, then the answer is obvious.

We may not suffer from leprosy, but it hurts and it is painful when people give us dirty looks.

The pain and the hurt of the leprosy of rejection and separation eat into us.

That’s when we must turn to Jesus and plead, “If You want to, You can cure me.” And Jesus will respond, “Of course I want to! Be cured.”

And He stretched out His hands on the cross and died for us. By His wounds we are healed. Because Jesus came to take away our pain and He carried our hurts for us.

But we must have faith in Jesus that He wants to do that for us. We too must go down on our knees and plead with Him. But we must put our faith in Him.

Because pain and rejection look backward. Fear looks around. But faith always look forward. 

Yes, Jesus looks at us, He looks into us so that we can be healed, so that we can look forward with faith and proclaim the wonders that He has done for us. 

Friday, February 9, 2018

5th Week, Ordinary Time, Saturday, 10-02-18

1 Kings 12:26-32; 13:33-34 / Mark 8:1-10

Whenever it comes to the topic of authority and religion, much can be said and much can be left unsaid.

Yet, it cannot be denied that authority and religion are not mutually exclusive; in fact they are distinctly connected in some areas.

In the 1st reading, king Jeroboam used his authority to turn the hearts of his people away from the God of Israel to worshipping idols.

That is the adverse effect of authority on religion especially when the motives are far from religious.

King Jeroboam used his authority to secularize the sacred.

But the warning at the end of the 1st reading pointed out the dire consequence of such a deed. Eventually, the Northern Kingdom of Israel was annihilated.

But when authority is understood as a position of service, then authority will look into how people are fed and taken of.

In the gospel, Jesus multiplied the loaves to feed the people. He did this to show God's authority in providing and caring for people

In a way, Jesus was showing that as long as we care for people, then God will provide.

Our mission is to sanctify the secular, so that the presence of God can be seen in all aspects of life. God's authority will provide whatever we will need for this mission.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

5th Week, Ordinary Time, Friday, 09-02-18

1 Kings 11:29-32; 12:19 / Mark 7:31-37

A breakup or a separation is usually an emotionally draining affair. Probably scorching words were used with the parties involved being angry and hurt.

And after it is over, no one would want to talk about it or hear about it anymore. As much as there are resentment and bitterness, there is no point in opening up those wounds anymore.

In the 1st reading, we hear of how Israel was separated from the House of David. The prophet Ahijah simply tore his new cloak into twelve strips and gave ten strips to Jeroboam, and that was the sign of the separation.

Not much was said, but there was also not much worth hearing. The people brought this on themselves and there is nothing they could say to bring the nation back together again.

In the gospel, we heard of Jesus healing a deaf man who also had an impediment in his speech.

But the man is also a symbol of the people of God, a people who are deaf to the voice of the Lord and whose mouths do not give the Lord glory and praise.

In healing the man's deafness and his speech impediment, Jesus showed that He came so as to open the ears of the people so that they can listen to the voice of the Lord and not harden their hearts.

Jesus came to open their mouths so that they can sing praises to the Lord and give thanks for His wonderful deeds.

When we sin, we separate ourselves from God and we close our ears to the voice of God and no prayer comes from our mouths.

Jesus came to forgive and to save and turn our hearts back to God, so that our ears can hear again what the Lord our God has to say to us and with our mouths we will respond with praise and thanksgiving.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

5th Week, Ordinary Time, Thursday, 08-02-18

1 Kings 11:4-13 / Mark 7:24-30

There are many things etched in our memory, among which are the experiences of our our childhood and growing up years.

Yes, we carry all these memories of the experiences into our adulthood and they shape our lives as we grow.

Besides the memories of our schooldays, there are also memories of family activities as well as religious experiences.

For the daughter of the Syrophoenician woman who begged Jesus to cast the devil out of her, that would be one memory that will stay with her for the rest of her life and would have shaped her life.

What became of the daughter, we do not know, but certainly her mother will keep recalling how she begged Jesus for help and her wish was granted.

But for king Solomon, as he grew old, he somehow forgot how his father David had been faithful to the Lord.

The Lord even appeared to him twice to warn him not to follow other gods, but he did not obey. It was such a tragedy for someone who had seen how God made his father great, and he himself was made great by the Lord, and yet lost it all because of unfaithfulness and disobedience.

As we recall and remember the wonders and the blessings that the Lord has bestowed upon us, let us also pledge our faithfulness and obedience to Him.

May we tell of the Lord's goodness to the next generation and urge them to remain faithful and to obey God always.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

5th Week, Ordinary Time, Wednesday, 07-02-18

1 Kings 10:1-10 / Mark 7:14-23

One of the basic needs of mankind is food. In fact, it may even be the most fundamental need of all creatures.

Flowing from that need, food has also become a sign of communion. Hence, there are such things like communion sacrifices or ritual food.

Our partaking of Holy Communion is a profound example of a communion sacrifice and a ritual food in which we come into communion with the Lord Jesus.

But many religions also have dietary laws in which some types of food are forbidden and hence, would render a practitioner of a particular religion ritually unclean.

This was the context of the discussion about food in today's gospel. Yet Jesus also made a very radical teaching about food.

He pronounced all foods clean. He also pointed out that what is really unclean is actually what comes out from the heart.

As Jesus said, it is from within, from men's hearts, that evil intentions emerge: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, malice, deceit, indecency, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within and make a man unclean.

As we participate in the Eucharist, we also prepare ourselves to come into communion with Jesus.

So what is the state of our hearts? If there is sin, have we gone for the Sacrament of Reconciliation so as to receive forgiveness and healing and be in a state of grace to receive Jesus the Lord.

Let us remember that God and sin cannot exist together in our hearts.

We come to the Eucharist not just to consume a piece of wafer but to receive the Lord Jesus. May our hearts be pure so that our lives will be holy.

Monday, February 5, 2018

5th Week, Ordinary Time, Tuesday, 06-02-18

1 Kings 8:22-23, 27-30 / Mark 7:1-13

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that "The Church is both visible and spiritual, a hierarchical society and the Mystical Body of Christ. She is one, yet formed of two components, human and divine. That is her mystery, which only faith can accept." (#779)

Yes, the Church is human as well as divine. Yet at times, the flawed humanness of the Church has also blurred the divine aspect of the Church.

In other words, if the Church fails to be like Jesus Christ her Lord, then she has failed in being essentially what she was created to be.

In the 1st reading, king Solomon marvelled and praised God for coming down from the highest heavens to dwell in the humble Temple he had built.

Yet his prayer is nothing less than a plea - Listen to the prayer and entreaty of your servant, Lord my God; listen to the cry and to the prayer your servant makes to you today. Day and night let your eyes watch over this house, over this place of which you have said, "My name shall be there".

Yes, it is so easy for people to lose the sense of the divine presence in the house of God and when that happens, the presence of evil starts to grow in the hearts of the people who can be right there in the house of God.

That was why king Solomon pleaded that God watches over the Temple which is a sign of His presence among His people.

Similarly in the gospel, Jesus admonished Pharisees and scribes for putting aside the commandment of God to cling to human traditions.

So it is like doing something religious but with an ulterior human motive and vested interest.

When that happens in the Church, then we have failed. We have showed a sinful human side of the Church and suppressed the divine aspect.

We need to plead to God as one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church: Listen to the prayer and entreaty of your servants, Lord my God; listen to the cry and to the prayer your servants make to You today. Day and night let Your eyes watch over this house, over this place of which You have said, "My name shall be there".

Sunday, February 4, 2018

5th Week, Ordinary Time, Monday, 05-02-18

1 Kings 8:1-7, 9-13 / Mark 6:53-56

Whatever poor opinions some people may have about the Mass, there might be times when we wished that something dramatic will happen at Mass that will make them change their minds.

But whatever we wish may also not be likely to happen, and those who are skeptical and cynical about the Mass may not be likely to change their stand, even if something dramatic will happen.

In the 1st reading, something dramatic did happen when the ark of the covenant was brought in to the Temple.

A cloud, symbol of the presence of God, filled the Temple and because of the cloud, the priests could no longer perform their duties: the glory of the Lord filled the Temple.

We may think that this dramatic event will reinforce the faith of the people and that it will be remembered by the future generations.

Yet, in 586 BC, the Temple was razed to the ground by Israel's enemies because the people lost faith in God and they even defiled the Temple, maybe because they couldn't see God's presence in the Temple.

But when Jesus stepped out of the boat at Genessaret, the people recognised Him and started hurrying all through the countryside and brought the sick on stretchers for Him to heal them and they even begged to touch the fringe of His cloak so that they can be healed.

Somehow, the people was able to see the presence of God in Jesus. God's presence was not just in the Temple. God has now come to be with the people in the person of Jesus.

And Jesus is now present in us and because we receive Him in Holy Communion, we carry His presence in our hearts.

May others see the presence of Jesus in us, and may we also believe deeply in the presence of Jesus at Mass.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

5th Ordinary Sunday, Year B, 04.02.2018

Job 7:1-4, 6-7 / 1 Cor 9:16-19, 22-23 / Mark 1:29-39

Some names in the Bible, especially in the Old Testament, are not that easy to pronounce. Some are tongue-twisters, while others seem to have at least two ways of pronunciation, e.g. the name of the prophet Isaiah.

But the name of the character in the 1st reading should be easy to pronounce. His name has only three letters –        J-O-B. So it’s pronounced as “job” as in “office-job”.

Now, about the character called Job in the 1st reading, what he said in the passage seems to be like a description of his life which sounds like some kind of lousy job: “Is not man’s life on earth nothing more than pressed service, his time no better than hired drudgery? Like the slave sighing for the shade, or the workman with no thought but his wages”.

That may somewhat make us think about our jobs. Do we love our jobs, or do we just need our jobs? Seems like we just need it more than we love it.

We can tell our boss to give us a raise because there are three companies after us. Well, that’s no lie, because the three companies are the PUB, HDB and Singtel. But they are after us for other reasons.

Someone else that has a similar name as Job is the late Steve Jobs. He has this to say: The only way to do a great job is to love what you do. 
Of course he can say that. He is Steve Jobs, and he did a great job with the iPad and the iPhone.

But we are no Steve Jobs. On the contrary, we may have no job satisfaction, no job security and no job suits us. So in short, it is “no job, no hope, no cash”.

And even if we get a new job, we may probably not like it any better, and so as we begin Monday, we long for Friday.

So Job said it quite right in the 1st reading – Life on earth is nothing more than pressed service, no better than hired drudgery, like a slave sighing for the shade.

And then at the end of that 1st reading, we say “Thanks be to God”. Seriously? But it is the Word of the Lord, so we better say “Thanks be to God”. Seriously!

So the 1st reading seems to say that life is like a lousy job. And we might want to chip in and say that life is not just like a lousy job; life is just lousy.

The pessimistic summary of life can be put into just three words – hard, suffering, pain. Yes, life is hard, there is suffering, there is pain.

In the gospel, Peter’s mother-in-law would initially agree with that. As she lay in bed with fever, she would be thinking about how hard life is, and now she is suffering from fever that weakened her and made her lie in bed.

But the fever could just be the symptom. There could probably be a fire burning within that is consuming all her joy and happiness in life. In other words, life had become like a lousy job, having to always give, give, give and being taken for granted, always having to be around the house to make sure things are provided for and yet not a word of thanks.

That could also be our complaint about life. As the fire burns and consumes within, we become dissatisfied about our jobs, unhappy about our family and relationships, unsure about the present and uncertain about the future. Yes, life has become like a lousy job.

But in the gospel, we hear that Jesus went to the mother-in-law, took her by the hand and helped her up. And the fever left her and she began to wait on them.

Interestingly, if it was the fever, we would think that Jesus would have laid His hand on her head to cure her fever. Yet, He took her hand. Seems like the fever is just a symptom. Seems like there is a fire burning within and Jesus came to heal that. So when Jesus took her by the hand, the fever left her.

Maybe there is also a fire burning within that makes us feel that life is like a lousy job. 

But just as Jesus cured many who were suffering from diseases of one kind or another and cast out many demons, He also want to do the same for us.

Jesus came to confront our suffering and pain and to cast out the demons of selfishness, greed, pride, unfaithfulness and disobedience so that we will realise that life is not like a lousy job.

Some people have a job because they need it. But Jesus wants to take us by the hand so raise us to life so that we can love and serve.

The difference between a job and a loving life is that if we are doing it because no one else will, then it is just a job. But if we are doing it because of Jesus, then it is a service.

If we quit because someone criticized us, then it is a job. If we keep on serving, then it is love.

If we do it as long as it does not interfere with our other activities, then it is a job. But if we are committed to serving even if it means letting go of other things, then it is a life lived with love.

If we quit because no one thanked us or praised us, then it is a job. If we stick with it even though no one recognized our efforts, then our reward is in God’s blessings.

God calls us to a life of love and service. Let us not make it into a job.

But let us first stretch out our hand and let Jesus take us by the hand to lead us to that quiet place of prayer where He will heal us and drive away those demons and turn that consuming fire within into a flame of love and service.

Conversion begins by first being with God in prayer, and only then can we be of love and service to others.

God is calling us to repentance and conversion, so that He can give us a life to be lived in love and service.

Let us not turn our life into a job, and then make it into a lousy job.

Friday, February 2, 2018

4th Week, Ordinary Time, Saturday, 03-02-18 (St. Blaise, Memorial)

1 Kings 3:4-13 / Mark 6:30-34

Today is the feast day of St Blaise, and the Church celebrates his feast day as a memorial.

St. Blaise was the bishop of Sebaste in Armenia during the 4th century.

Not much is known about his life and according to various accounts, he was a physician before becoming a bishop.

He was reputed to have miraculously cured a little boy who nearly died because of a fishbone that was stuck in his throat.

Devotion to him spread in the Middle Ages and from the 8th century, he has been invoked on behalf of the sick, especially those afflicted with illnesses of the throat.

Hence, on this feast day of St. Blaise, a blessing of throats may be given by  a priest or deacon during Mass or after Mass depending on pastoral situations.

The blessing of throats is a profound sign of the struggle against illness in the life of the Christian.

As the Roman Ritual puts it - The blessing of the sick by ministers of the Church is a very ancient custom, rooted in the imitation of Christ Himself and His apostles.

So as much as we Christians feel and experience pain as the rest of humanity, yet our faith in God helps us to grasp more deeply the mystery of suffering and to bear our pain with greater courage, just as St. Blaise did in his martyrdom.

Through the intercession of St. Blaise, may we fight strenuously against all sickness and seek the blessings of good health, so that we may bear witness to God's love and His providence.

Prayer of blessing of throats :
"Through the intercession of Saint Blaise, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from every disease of the throat, and from every other disease. In the name of the Father and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit.
R. Amen."

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Presentation of the Lord, Friday, 02-02-18

Malachi 3:1-4 / Hebrews 2:14-18 / Luke 2:22-40

A major part of our lives is spent on waiting.

We wait for the baby to be born, we wait for our children to grow up and be independent, we wait for our retirement; we wait to return to the Lord. Indeed, we spend a lot of time waiting.

Besides that we also have to wait for people who are late, we wait for the bus or train and whatever.

But there is something interesting about waiting. Most of the time, whatever we are waiting for shows up sooner or later.

For Simeon and Anna, they had waited for a long time, and finally their hope was fulfilled.

When Mary and Joseph presented Jesus in the Temple, God's ancient promise of sending a Saviour was fulfilled and the Covenant was ratified with the presentation of Jesus in the Temple.

Yes, God has come to save His people and the blessing and lighting of candles and the procession is to symbolize that the light of salvation is already shining on the Church and on the world.

Yes, the light of salvation is shining and yet we still wait.

We wait for the light of the Holy Spirit to prompt us and lead us to fulfill God's work of salvation in our lives.

Like Mary and Joseph, Simeon and Anna, let us wait for the Lord in prayer, and have our candles lit, and be ready to do His will when He calls.