Sunday, March 31, 2019

4th Week of Lent, Monday, 01-04-19

Isaiah 65:17-21 / John 4:43-54

It is often easier to talk about concepts and ideas and rather than to talk about reality and experiences.

This may sound strange but for those of us who are in the teaching and presentation business, we find it easier to talk about lofty and high-flown concepts and ideas.

To talk about reality and the human experience would require some thinking and reflection in order to find the right expressions.

In the gospel, Jesus seemed to be talking about the lofty ideas of faith and belief rather than to give the people the signs that they need.

But the court official begged Him with these words: Come down, before my child dies.

But that phrase "come down" was not to tell Jesus to stop talking up there in the air.

Rather it was an open invitation for Jesus to come and reinforce the faith that the court official had in Jesus.

The court official too had to "come down" to the essentials of his faith and believe in Jesus, and to obey Jesus to go home and believe that his son will live.

Even the 1st reading of the promise of the new heavens and new earth are expressed in the human longing for joy and gladness.

The season of Lent is to help us to renew our faith in God.

A renewed faith in the power of Jesus can bring about in a renewed faith in the wonderful and amazing things that God will do for us.

A renewed faith combined with the powerful love of Jesus can indeed bring about forgiveness and healing, which is so much needed in our world.

4th Sunday of Lent, Year C, 31.03.2019

Joshua 5:9-12 / 2 Cor 5:17-21 / Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

Generally speaking, human beings have five senses – sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch.
These five senses provide the brain with the necessary data for perception and interaction with the surroundings.

Then there is the sixth sense, which may be termed as intuition, or it could be some kind of awareness that cannot be explained in terms of normal perception. 

Of course what must not be forgotten is “common sense” which we are supposed to have but somehow we seem to be unaware of it or we don’t seem to use it that much.

Common sense tells us what is obvious about life but somehow we don’t pay much attention to it.

For example, no matter how tall we are, we won’t be able to see what is going to happen tomorrow.
No matter how big a car we drive, we still need to walk to the bed.

Yes, that is the common sense about the reality of life, but somehow our awareness and our perception of it seem to get dimmed by the busyness and anxieties of life.

And that’s why we need to be constantly reminded of the basic common realities of life, the “common sense” of life so to speak, because we do forget and then we let “nonsense” be the direction of our lives.

The gospel begins by saying that the tax-collectors and sinners were all seeking the company of Jesus to hear what He had to say. 

But why did those sinners want to seek the company of Jesus and hear what He had to say?

Could it be that they realise that their way of life is not making any sense and that what Jesus was saying was bringing them back to their senses and awakening in them the love of God for them?

The parable that Jesus told, often called the parable of the Prodigal Son, may seem rather irrational and even nonsensical. But that’s the purpose of a parable, because a parable is about a divine revelation in a human situation.

So it is not the divine revelation that is irrational or nonsensical. Rather it is the human situation that is irrational and nonsensical.

What the younger son did was totally irrational and nonsensical. He asked for his share of the property and he got it. He did the stupid thing of leaving his father for a distant country where he squandered his money on a life of debauchery.

And when he was totally down and out, he did the unthinkable of going against his Jewish tradition of hiring himself out to look after pigs.

But it was in that pigsty that all his senses rebelled against him – the sight, the stench, the sound, the filth and the hunger – and then, as the parable puts it, he came to his senses.

And as his senses awakened, common sense and all, he decided to leave that place and go back to his father.

We may have heard this parable countless of times, but we have to admit that what the father did was very surprising and unexpected.

And this is the divine revelation in the human situation. No matter how gravely we have sinned or how far we have turned away from God, God is like the father who saw his son while he was still a long way off and ran to him, clasped him in his arms and kissed him tenderly.

Indeed, that is God’s revelation in a human situation, and that may also leave us with a question. Can it be possible that God can forgive just like that? Maybe it is possible for God but not for us.

Because forgiveness is so difficult. And even if we can forgive, then we still cannot forget. 

That was what the Pharisees were saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” They cannot accept sinners, much less forgive them.

That’s also the elder son, when he said, “This son of yours, when he comes back after swallowing your property … “ The elder son can’t forgive his younger brother.

But unforgiveness is actually irrational and nonsensical. Because unforgiveness is a spiritual disease and it is manifested physically in our health issues. 
Unforgiveness is also manifested emotionally, as we become angry easily and we burn with resentment and bitterness.

But through the gospel parable, a profound divine revelation comes into a profane human situation.
God forgives, He is merciful and compassionate, He runs towards us even though we have sinned, He takes away our shame, He clasps us in His arms and He wants to heal us of the wounds of our sins.

So let us join those tax-collectors and sinners in the gospel and listen to what Jesus has to say to us.

May we come to our senses, be healed and forgiven, and be ambassadors of Jesus to bring about reconciliation, forgiveness and healing.

3rd Week of Lent, Saturday, 30-03-19

Hosea 5:15 - 6:6 / Luke 18:9-14

One of the preparations before going for the Sacrament of Reconciliation is to use the 10 Commandments for the examination of conscience.

Breaking any of the 10 Commandments is indeed a grave sin.

Hence not going for Mass on Sundays, disrespect for parents, stealing, adultery, all these are grave sins. Blatantly grave.

But what is blatant can be equally destructive as what is subtle.

We avoid obvious grave sins, yet we can forget that there are sins that are not so obvious that will cause us to trip and fall.

In today's gospel parable, the Pharisee was proud that he did not commit any grave sin ; in fact he did credible deeds.

But why was he not at rights with God?

As always, pride comes before the fall.

His problem was spiritual pride - he called another person a sinner without acknowledging to be one himself.

He propped himself up, at the expense of another person.

It was subtle, but evil. So we need to watch ourselves.

If we think we are virtuous, are we also getting self-righteous?

We can make sacrifices and perform credible deeds.

But what the Lord wants is not sacrifice. What He wants is our love for Him and for those around us.

And we if should fall, then we only need to turn to God and say : God, be merciful to me, a sinner.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

3rd Week of Lent, Friday, 29-03-19

Hosea 14:2-10 / Mark 12:28-34

In our worship, we use very lofty and transcendent names for God.

We say prayers like "I confess to Almighty God ..." or "We believe in one God, the Father Almighty".

It is an expression of who God is and that we are His creatures.

Yet the image of an almighty God was reduced to that of a broken-hearted father who is pleading with his children to return to him, as the prophet Hosea put it in the 1st reading.

God was also portrayed as a father yearning for his children's love.

But how can!? How can God be portrayed as going down on His knees and pleading with His creatures?

Could not God have used His almighty power to work some spectacular signs and bring His people back to Him?

Or just give the ultimatum : Come back or else!

Surely He could. But of course God knows better.

God knows that a forced loved is not a true love.

True love comes from a freedom to love.

As Jesus puts it in the gospel - to love with all the heart, all the soul, all the mind and all the strength.

That is the kind of love that God has for us, and an everlasting love at that.

We know how to love Him in return - and that is by loving others.

God has made His choice to love us. It is now up to us to make our choice.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

3rd Week of Lent, Thursday, 28-03-19

Jeremiah 7:23-28 / Luke 11:14-23   

Whenever we say that history repeats itself, we are more inclined to think that it is the mistakes of the past that are repeated.

These mistakes only show that the present generation has not learned much from the prior generation or from the past events of history.

This was also what the prophet Jeremiah was saying in the 1st reading.

Just about 120 years before, the Northern Kingdom of Israel had been annihilated by Assyria.

And now, the Southern Kingdom of Judah was facing the same threat from Babylon.

And God was warning them through Jeremiah. But why were they not heeding? Why were they not listening?

If anything, it is not too much to say that that the people do not love God.

Because one of the fruits of love is to listen.

Just like if we love our parents, our spouse, our children, our friends, we will listen to them with a heart of love.

Similarly when we love someone, we will also speak to that person with a heart of love.

When we listen and speak with a heart of love, then with Jesus we gather others into the peace of God's kingdom.

It is either we gather people into the peace and love of God's kingdom, or we scatter and bring division.

There isn't a third option.

3rd Week of Lent, Wednesday, 27-03-19

Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-9 / Matthew 5:17-19

Children often have some resistance with the things that we ask them to do.

Things like washing their hands before meals, brushing their teeth, going to bed early, etc.

They don't seem to be convinced that what we tell them is really good for them.

But how different are we from children when it comes to keeping God's law?

Do we really understand what it means when Moses said in the 1st reading: Observe them, that you may have life.

Yet we know that whenever God's law is not kept, problems arise and tragedies happen.

Whatever examples of problems to tragedies that we can think of, it can be certain that greed and injustice have a part in it.

It is just another case of God's law not being kept.

That was why Moses added: Tell it to your children, and your children's children.

And Jesus said in the gospel: I have come not to abolish but to complete the Law.

God's law is our life-line. Jesus is not only Law-giver. He is also the Life-giver.

In keeping the Law of God, we will have life.

Monday, March 25, 2019

3rd Week of Lent, Tuesday, 26-03-19

Daniel 3:25, 34-43 / Matthew 18:21-35

Most of us have this experience of lending money to people.

And most of the time, we end up so frustrated and feel like banging our heads against the wall.

Because we lent the money so easily, but it came back to us with so much difficulty and so slowly, if ever at all.

And of course, the higher the amount of money lent, the greater the frustration and the heart-ache.

So when it comes to talking about forgiveness, Jesus did not talk in abstract terms.

He used this experience of loans and payment.

Immediately we will know what it means to forgive. It is almost synonymous to writing off a debt.

But to be able to write off a debt, it means that we have come to the realization and enlightenment that there is something beyond money.

Only then can we let go and move on.

Similarly, to forgive someone who had done us great harm and hurt us grievously, it means that we have come to the realization and enlightenment that there is something beyond the anger, the pain and the hate.

Let us pray for this realization and enlightenment.

Because it is a special grace from God. It is His healing love that is being poured into our hearts.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

The Annunciation of the Lord, Monday, 25-03-13

Isaiah 7:10-14; 8:10 / Hebrews 10:4-10 / Luke 1:26-38

Almost everyday, we will come across some kind of announcement.

Announcements are made through public announcement systems in supermarkets, on the MRT, in schools, in the workshops and over the radio

Other announcements are just visuals on TV, signboards, public display systems, on our computers and on our mobile devices.

Announcements try to catch our attention but we can ignore them if they are not important to us.

Other announcements may be urgent and require our attention and response. How and when we will respond will depend on how we will be affected by the announcement.

The Annunciation of the Lord is an important announcement to Mary. Through the angel Gabriel, Mary is invited to participate in God's plan of salvation.

How Mary will respond is of critical importance to God's plan. Of course, we now know that she accepted it and thus God's plan took flesh in Mary.

But God's plan of salvation continues to unfold through the Church and through each of us.

Our "Yes" to God's will mean that salvation will be possible for us and for those around us. Our "No" to God's will may mean that we put our own salvation into jeopardy and others may not experience the saving love of God.

May Mary pray for us that we will, like her, say "Yes" to God so that God can save us, and through us God can also save others.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

3rd Sunday of Lent, Year C, 24.03.2019

Exodus 3:1-8, 13-15 / 1 Cor 10:1-6, 10-12 / Luke 13:1-9
One of the reasons for accepting and embracing a religion is this age-old need for protection and security in a world where violence and hostility seem so common.

And the violence and hostility have often resulted in the shedding of innocent blood. So the violence and hostility are directed at innocent and defenseless people who have no means to avert it or to stop it.

That makes people realise that they need God to watch over them (despite whatever human security measures there might be) and protection from unforeseen dangers and snares.

But in recent times, even places of prayer and worship don’t seem to be safe any longer. Churches have been bombed and attacked and worshippers were killed.

Last week, in New Zealand, two mosques were attacked by gunmen and a number were killed and wounded.

So where once it was unthinkable, now the evil of hostility and violence has attacked the sacred spaces of prayer and worship and also shed innocent blood.

Putting it plainly and starkly, evil has attacked the House of God and shed blood on holy ground. Where once it was unthinkable, now that is the reality and it is causing anxiety and fear and the faith is shaken. Just yesterday, a priest was stabbed during Mass at a Canadian church and it was live-streamed on TV. It was shocking, but thanks be to God, the priest only suffered minor upper body injuries.

So can we feel safe anymore as we come to church to pray and worship. Will God protect us from the evil of hostility, violence and terrorism? Does God know? And if He knows, why is He not doing anything to stop this evil and those who are doing it? 

In the gospel, we hear of something very disturbing and disgusting. Some people told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with that of their sacrifices.

There were not many details about it but it can be certain that it was an occult ritual. 

But Jesus didn’t seem to address this aspect of evil. Rather, He addressed the aspect of sin. He said that those Galileans who were killed were not more sinful than the rest of the other Galileans, nor were those 18 who were killed when the tower of Siloam collapsed on them.

The Galileans and those 18 were killed not because they were more sinful than the rest. Nor were those who died from terrorism attacks. They were certainly not more sinful than the rest.

And then Jesus gets to the point as He says: But unless you repent, you will all perish as they did.

And we should be bewildered. So here we are telling Jesus about this rampant evil of hostility, violence and terrorism, and He tells us that we should repent.

Of course we will protest. Jesus should make those evil people repent, and maybe tell us to forgive them. But why is He telling us to repent?

And here is where we have to turn back to the 1st and 2nd readings to understand why Jesus is telling us to repent.

The 1st reading tells us that God saw the miserable state of His people in Egypt. He heard their appeal to be free of their slave-drivers. He was aware of their sufferings and He intended to do something.

So He called out to Moses and gave him the mission to deliver His people out of the hands of the Egyptians and bring them to the Promised Land.

So God sees, God hears, God knows and God will act. And He told Moses that the people just had to invoke the name of the Lord God and He would come to their help and deliver them and be their Protector.

So all was well and good until the 2nd reading tells us that though God led His people through the desert and provided food and drink for them as they went, most of them failed to please God and their corpses littered the desert.

The 2nd reading continues: These things all happened as warnings for us, not to have the wicked lusts for forbidden things that they had. You must never complain as some of them did, and they were killed by the Destroyer.

It ends off by giving us this warning: The man who thinks he is safe must be careful that he does not fall.

So what God wants of us is our obedience and faithfulness. But when we sin, we create openings for evil to enter into our lives and in doing so, we become like those who complained and then perished in the desert.
Our sins will also weaken the faith of the Church and the threats of the evil of hostility, violence and terrorism becomes greater. It can be observed that as the faith of the Church grows weaker, the threat of the evil of terrorism becomes stronger.

Our safety is not just in tight security measures or having heavily-armed security personnel. Our safety and security lies in our obedience and faithfulness to God who is our Protector and Saviour.

It is said that evil can only thrive when the good do nothing about it. And evil will thrive as long as the faith of the Church is weak.

So let us heed the call of Jesus to repent. Let us renounce our sins, go for Confession, be faithful and obedient and call upon the name of the Lord to protect us and God will protect us and save us. That is His promise to us. 

Friday, March 22, 2019

2nd Week of Lent, Saturday, 23-03-19

Micah 7:14-15, 18-20 / Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

It is not too presumptuous to say that every family has a black sheep.

It is not necessarily one of the children. It can be anyone in the family.

And it is not just limited to the family. There are black sheep in the parish community, in the company, in society and in the country.

We can call the second son in today's gospel parable a "black sheep". After all, for what he had done to his father, he certainly deserved that infamous title.

Yet how the father in the gospel parable treated the second son is certainly a far cry from how we would treat the "black sheep" in our family, company and society .

Yet, are we not also going to admit that we are "black sheep" in the eyes of God?

And how will God treat us? The prophet Micah puts it beautifully in the 1st reading.

With a shepherd's crook O Lord, You lead your people to pasture, taking fault away, pardoning crime, not cherishing anger but delighting in showing mercy.

The season of Lent is a time to come to our senses and to admit our sinfulness and seek reconciliation with God.

And God, like the father in the gospel parable, will say: This son of mine was dead and has come back to life; he was lost and is found.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

2nd Week of Lent, Friday, 22-03-19

Genesis 37:3-4, 12-13, 17-28 / Matthew 21:33-43, 45-46

Family feuds are not just something that we see only in movies and soap operas.

It happens in real life. We read about it in the papers, we hear about it from friends, it may have even happened to us.

One of the main causes of these family feuds is over money and property.

Over money and property, children have brought parents to court and vice versa. Over money and property, sibling rivalry can become so ugly that blood relationships can become like dirty water.

It had happened from the earliest times in the story of Cain and Abel.

It happened between Joseph and his brothers as we heard in the 1st reading.

That coat with long sleeves was a symbol of favour and blessing.

Over that coat, Joseph's brothers came up with evil thoughts like murder, and then mugging and then slavery.

It was also over money and property that the tenants in the parable of today's gospel resorted to violence and murder.

It can be frightening to know, and even to realize, that money and material possession can have such a destructive grip over us to the extent that we can even lose our sense of integrity and morality.

Hence the Lenten practice of alms-giving has that purpose of helping us break free from this grip of being money-minded and being possessed by materialism.

The Charities Week envelope is a means of helping us in this Lenten spiritual exercise.

Let us see if we can give cheerfully. After all whatever we have is given to us from above, and we are only stewards, not owners.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

2nd Week of Lent, Thursday, 21-03-19

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

The current dry spell was certainly a conversational topic for us even though we live in an almost perpetually hot and humid country.

More than just talking about it, we could actually see the effects of the dry spell. It was obvious enough that the trees and bushes and the grass are drying up and wilting away and turning brown.

And there were even small bush fires here and there. If the dry spell were to last longer, it could be a problem for our famous "Garden City".

But such a dry spell only shows the below-ground situation of the trees and bushes that line our roads and walkways and parks.

Like the example that was given in the 1st reading, a tree by the waterside trusts its roots to the stream. When heat comes it feels no alarm, its foliage stays green and never ceases to bear fruit.

Such is the man who puts his trust in the Lord, with the Lord as his hope.

But as for the rich man in the gospel parable, he put his trust in the things of earth - on food, dressing, pleasure and luxury.

But the things of earth will pass, and death will be like a scorching heat that will consume what we hold on tenaciously as our own. But we will still have to pass on. And where to?

When we put our trust in the things of above, then we will know where we will eventually go to. The bosom of God is our final resting place. We must keep reminding ourselves of that.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

2nd Week of Lent, Wednesday, 20-03-19

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

In our very urbanized country, things have changed so much and so fast that we can even get nostalgic over things like a charcoal stove.

We certainly can remember waiting for the kettle of water to boil over the charcoal stove, and how we can squat there or do other things while waiting.

But with everything changing so fast and so much, it seems that life should be more convenient and we should have more time.

Yet, the irony is that with life getting more convenient, we also begin to avoid discomfort and we don't see any meaning in it.

On a deeper level, we also want to avoid suffering because suffering is negative and meaningless.

Even in the 1st reading, the prophet Jeremiah was asking the Lord to deliver him from his adversaries and from suffering.

In the gospel, James and John also wanted the glory, but Jesus asked them if they could take the suffering as well.

The same question is also asked of us : Can you drink of the cup that I am going to drink?

Just as water has to be boiled before it can be fit for drinking, we too will have to go through the sharpening fires of suffering before we can find its meaning.

There is meaning in suffering. It is called redemptive suffering. It is the kind of suffering that Jesus showed us when He was nailed to the cross.

May we too offer up our suffering in love like Jesus did, for our redemption as well as the redemption of the world.

Monday, March 18, 2019

St. Joseph, Spouse of the BVM, Tuesday, 19-03-19

2 Sam 7:4-5, 12-14, 16 / Romans 4:13, 16-18, 22 /  Matthew 1:16, 18-21, 24 or Luke 2:41-51

Needless to say, whenever the topic of family life is discussed, one of the common problems is about the challenges that parents faced in bringing up their children.

Very often two models are offered for parents in the way they bring up their children.

One model for mothers is Mary, who can easily be related with and there is also a strong devotion to her.

The model often offered to fathers is St. Joseph. Yet there is so little information about him in the scriptures, much less about how he brought up Jesus.

Furthermore we may even think that St. Joseph had it easy - his wife was sinless, and Jesus was the Son of God.

But what about this? He didn't know how his wife got pregnant before they were married. His kid left them for three days without telling them where he was.

Yet, no word and no speech of St. Joseph was recorded in the gospels.

But maybe his silence was his greatest asset and quality.

It portrayed him as a listening and understanding person.

He listened carefully to God, and although he might not have understood fully what God's will was for him, he faithfully obeyed and did as he was told.

St. Joseph is not just a model for fathers. He is a model of faith and love for us who want to do God's will and walk in the ways of the Lord.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

2nd Week of Lent, Monday, 18-03-19

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

No one can ever say that they have never made a bad mistake and done something really wrong.

So to err is human, but the biggest error that any human being can ever commit is not to ask for forgiveness.

So whenever we make a bad mistake or did something really wrong, we must admit it and the next course of action will be to ask for forgiveness and to make amends for it.

That was the prayer of Daniel in the 1st reading as he pleads to God for his people. He confesses that they have sinned, done wrong, acted wickedly and betrayed God's commandments.

So to err is human, but to forgive is divine. And God forgave His people, over and over again, for the repeated sins of His people.

Yes, God will always forgive us when we sin and do wrong. And of course we must be repentant and to make amends for our sins.

We do that by doing penance and making atonement for our sins.

But what God really wants of us is to also forgive others just as He has forgiven us.

That is in the Lord's Prayer. God forgives us and we in turn must forgive those who did wrong to us.

It is forgiveness that will break the vicious cycle of sin. Indeed to forgive is divine, and it is in forgiveness that the power of sin is broken and healing can then begin.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

2nd Sunday of Lent, Year C, 17.03.2019

Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18 / Philippians 3:17 – 4:1 / Luke 9:28-36
The season of Lent is indeed a spiritual season. It puts before us the three spiritual disciplines that will help us to respond to the call of repentance and prepare us for the renewal of faith.

The three spiritual disciplines are prayer, penance and almsgiving. Practically speaking, all the three spiritual disciplines are “do-able”, i.e. they can be done. The question is the level of difficulty in each of them.

Let us look at “almsgiving”. This weekend, the “Charities Week” envelopes are distributed to us to help us respond to the call of almsgiving.

There are a couple of things that we can do with these envelopes. We can leave it at the pews. Or we can put in some money and drop it immediately into one of the donation boxes and then forget about it.

Or we can bring it home and leave it lying around and slowly let it disappear from our sight and from our conscience.

Or we can look at it and think about it and count our blessings, in the sense that we have to honestly ask ourselves how much God has blessed us with, either materially or financially.

Will we consider the Old Testament practice of offering back to God one-tenth of what we have received from Him?

So the “Charities Week” envelope is not a piece of paper for us to put in some money. It is for us to do some thinking and to do some generous giving.

When it comes to penance, what comes to mind especially in the season of Lent is fasting and abstinence from certain kinds of foods.

While fasting and abstinence have health benefits for the body, what do they do for the soul? Certainly, food and drink are the basic necessities of life.

But when we fast and abstain, we will come to see that as much as we want to eat till our hearts content, we only need that little to get through the day.

So it is a want versus a need. And as we fast and abstain, we will come to see that God has blessed us with enough for everyone’s need, but there will never be enough for everyone’s greed.   

So fasting and abstinence are forms of prayer through which God tells us that as much as food and drink can satisfy a hungry stomach, only He can fill an empty and thirsty heart.

In the gospel, we heard that Jesus brought Peter, James and John up the mountain not for any other purpose but to pray.

And for Peter, James and John, praying on that mountain was no ecstasy. In fact, they were sleepy.

And that too is our experience. And we even beat the 3 apostles in some areas of prayer. Besides being sleepy during prayer, we get distracted with our gadgets, we speed up our prayer so that we say what we need to say quickly, we skip our prayers although we won’t skip our meals. 

Yet, in the presence of those three sleepy-heads, something wonderful happened. As Jesus prayed, the aspect of His face was changed and His clothes became brilliant as lightning.

This event is called the Transfiguration, and it is important enough that the three gospels have recorded it and in Singapore there is also a church named after it.

Essentially, the Transfiguration is a revelation. The Transfiguration reveals Jesus in His glory, His glory that is hidden in the ordinary.

The Transfiguration also reveals the identity of Jesus as the Son of God, the Chosen One, the one who we must listen to.

So as we listen to the account of the Transfiguration, what does God wants to reveal to us?

One thing for sure is that God reveals to us in the ordinary things and events of our lives. So with the Lenten spiritual disciplines of prayer, penance and almsgiving, they reveal to us who we are and also who God is in our lives.

Besides those three spiritual disciplines, the ordinary things of life can also reveal to us who God is in the ordinary people around us.

A man was late for Mass and he hurried to church and got to his pew just in time for the opening prayer. But as he bowed his head, he noticed the shoe of the old man next to him touching his own shoe. He sighed to himself, “So much room. WHY must he let his dirty shoe touch mine?”

This bothered the man greatly but it didn’t seem to bother the old man at all.

He tried to pay attention to the Mass but his thoughts kept going to the old man’s dirty shoes that were touching his nice looking shoes. 

The old man sang the hymns loudly, but the man with the nice shoes was irritated. He grumbled to himself, “Wear dirty shoes still want to sing so loud.”

After Mass, the man wanted to have a word with the old man about entering the church in his dirty shoes. He tried to be polite so he began with, “Hi, how are you?”

The old man’s face brightened up and he said, “You know, I have been coming here for a few months already and you are the first to say “Hi” to me. The old man continued, “I know that my appearance is not like all the rest of you, but I really do try to always look my best. I try to look my best and clean my shoes before I come to church, but my long walk to church made my clothes wet with sweat and my shoes become dirty and dusty.”

When the man heard this, he could only bow his head and look at the old man’s dirty shoes. And the old man continued, “I am sorry if my dirty shoes touched your nice shoes. I am sorry.”

The man managed to say, “Oh please don’t say sorry. Your shoes are not that dirty.” And he said silently to himself, “My heart is dirtier …”

Well, ordinary shoes, maybe a bit dirty, but through it God makes a revelation and a heart receives a transfiguration.

So as we continue climbing the mountain of Lent, let us look for the signs of revelation from God. It is in those revelations that our hearts will receive a transfiguration.

Friday, March 15, 2019

1st Week of Lent, Saturday, 16-03-19

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

Although some people believe in a supreme being, or a divinity, they nonetheless like to remain as "free-thinkers" (although that is a local colloquial term)

Maybe the attractive factor here is the freedom.

The freedom to remain uncommitted, the freedom to live one's life according to one's own precepts, the freedom to believe whatever what one wants to believe in.

Yet in today's 1st reading from Deutoronomy, we hear two declarations.

The first declaration was from the people, that the Lord God will be their God.

And God declared that they will be His very own people.

Such a declaration of commitment is not unlike marriage vows, and such a commitment actually frees both parties to love each other more deeply.

We commit ourselves to God by following His ways, and keeping His statutes, His commandments and His ordinances.

God in turn commits Himself to us by empowering us to be a consecrated people, a holy people.

A people set apart to show others a way of living that is much more meaningful and truthful.

But if we are like "free-thinking" Christians, then are we doing anything exceptional, especially when the other non-Christians do just as much.

As Christians, Jesus calls us to be perfect, to be holy, just as our heavenly Father is perfect and holy.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

1st Week of Lent, Friday, 15-03-19

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

A piggy-bank is the common name for a coin container used by children. They usually are in the design of a piglet or some other kinds of animals.

The purpose is to instill in children the habit of saving and being thrifty.

In the past, a piggy-bank is usually made of ceramic with a slot for putting in the coins. When it is full, the children would bring it to the bank and have the money deposited into their bank account and they would receive a new piggy-bank.

Because in the past, a piggy-bank has no other openings other than the coin-slot, so that the children cannot take out the money in it, other than breaking it, which is not likely what the children would do.

At times, we may think that all the good that we do is stored up in a piggy-bank somewhere in heaven, and when we go to heaven, that spiritual piggy-bank will be a testimony of how good we have been on earth.

Yet, at the same time, some may think that all the good that they have done will guarantee them the reward of heaven.

Just as pride comes before the fall, they may become complacent in their faith and slip into vice and sin.

That is what the 1st reading is pointing out if the upright man renounces his integrity, commits sin, copies the wicked man and practises every kind of filth, he will be severely punished. All the good that he has done will be forgotten, will not be counted at all.

We shouldn't be surprised at this because the good that we do flows from our faith which is a gift from God. We can't claim any credit for the good we do. In fact it is our duty to do good because our mission is to be a sign of God's goodness to others.

So if our virtue goes no deeper than just keeping the letter of the law, like not killing or murdering, and expecting to be rewarded for just that, then we will be in for a surprise.

So being upright and doing good is not for reward in heaven or saving up credit in a spiritual piggy-bank.

Being upright and virtuous is our duty to God and our obligation to our fellow human beings. In the end, we can only say we are poor and humble servants of God who did our best to fulfill our duty.

1st Week of Lent, Thursday, 14-03-19

Esther 4:17 / Matthew 7:7-12

Just a cursory glance at the congregation in the Sunday Eucharist and we can see a varied disposition to prayer.

It can be anything from being distracted and dreamy to being absorbed in the divine mystery.

Even when we try to say what prayer is, we usually say that we ask God for something.

But when we come before God Almighty, we certainly do more than just ask.

More so if we have an urgent desperate need, we will invoke, we will appeal, we will beseech, we will implore, we will beg even.

In the 1st reading, we heard that queen Esther took refuge with the Lord in the mortal peril which had overtaken her. She besought the Lord God of Israel with a desperate urgent prayer.

It was certainly not just asking but more like imploring and even begging.

So when Jesus tells us to ask, we must understand it as imploring and begging from God.
When Jesus tells us to seek, it is to be an all-out search for the signs from God.
When Jesus tells us knock, it is not just to tap tap on the door but to bang it with urgency.

Let us reflect on the prayer of queen Esther and let us know that in urgent desperate times, that can also be our prayer as we earnestly ask, seek and knock.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

1st Week of Lent, Wednesday, 13-03-19

Jonah  3:1-10 / Luke 11:29-32

Generally speaking, people don't like to listen to correction.

Even if they are threatened with punishment, they may even be indifferent about it.

More so if the one telling them is junior, or has a lesser status, or is weaker in the general sense of the word.

Such was the case with Jonah. He had initially resisted the order from God to preach repentance to the Ninevites.

They were his enemies, they had conquered his country, they despise his people, and obviously they won't listen to him. They may even turn against him and his life will be at risk.

But in the end, Jonah went to Nineveh and preached the message of repentance as God told him to.

And much to his surprise, it only took one day for the Ninevites to repent, from king right down to the animals, and they did penance.

They believed that in doing so, God will have mercy and spare them the punishment, and God relented.

We may have tried to correct others and even threatened them with God's punishment, but we don't seem to be able to achieve any results. In fact, what we got was indifference or defiance.

But before we give up on people, let us look at ourselves and ask if we are a sign of repentance and conversion with our own lives.

Let us be that sign of God's love and mercy to others, and let us trust that the Lord God will act to bring others back to repentance and conversion.

1st Week of Lent, Tuesday, 12-03-19

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

Very often, it seems to us that the forces of evil are victorious and even overwhelming.

Men of violence assert their power and might over innocent people and even kill them.

It seems that justice is slow in coming, if ever at all.

The movie industry will take advantage of this fact by churning out all those kind of "pay-back" movies.

Justice is done only in reaching out for the gun. But it is only confined to the dream-world of the movies.

So where is justice? Is there any justice?

Yet we know that there is justice. At least, we will remember Jesus saying this : He who draws the sword will also die by the sword.

Yet, Jesus also did say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who treat you badly.

Those are profound words of truth, profound words of life, words which, as the 1st reading puts it, does not return to the Lord empty without carrying out His will and succeeding in what it was sent to do.

We can only understand what justice is when we know what the truth is about.

In the gospel, Jesus taught us a prayer. It is a prayer of truth.

It is a prayer for justice. When we pray the Lord's prayer, we are also praying that the truth of God will bear fruits of love in our lives so that we will work for justice in the world.

Truth goes before justice. Because there can never be justice without truth.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

1st Week of Lent, Monday, 11-03-19

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

We can be quite indifferent about laws and regulations when we just see it as what we cannot do and what we should not do.

It can be easy to view it as a prohibition and then find ways and means to go around it or even to commit the offence and try not to get caught and punished for it.

If that is the case, then it is just observing the letter of the law. But how about the spirit of the law? And what is meant by the spirit of the law?

In the 1st reading, we heard about the commandments that the Lord gave to Moses to give to the people.

Yet we also heard one phrase that is being repeated and interspersed between each set of commandments, and it is this: I am the Lord.

It means to say that behind the laws and commandments that were given is also the Giver of the Law, and the Giver puts His spirit in the laws and commandments.

Hence when we break the laws and go against the commandments, it is the Lord God that we are disobeying and going against.

In the gospel, Jesus puts the spirit of the Law in the very basic forms of charity like feeding the hungry and giving drink to the thirsty, welcoming the stranger and clothing the naked, caring for the sick and visiting those in prison.

Yet these are not just acts of charity to those in need. Jesus made it very clear that whatever is done, or not done, the receiver is the Lord.

May our eyes be opened during this period of Lent to see the Lord in the laws and commandments, and also in all peoples.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

1st Sunday of Lent, Year C, 10.03.2019

Deuteronomy 26:4-10 / Romans 10:8-13 / Luke 4:1-13
The Catholic Church has a Ritual Book of Blessings and in it are the prayers of blessings for people and for things.

So the prayers of blessings for people include birthday blessings, wedding anniversary blessings, blessing of expectant parents, blessing of children and adults in the various situations of life.

And then there are blessings for things from the holy to the ordinary. So there are blessings for chalice and paten, ciborium, vestments, cross, statues, bells, right down to water, oil, salt and candles.

And then come those extra-ordinary blessings which may happen only once a year, like blessing of palm branches which happens on Palm Sunday.

Last Wednesday, which was Ash Wed, we had one of those extra-ordinary blessing, which is the blessing of ashes, and the ashes are obtained by burning the palm branches from last year’s Palm Sunday. That is why we requested for the return of the palm branches.

Now the prayer for blessing of the ashes goes like this:
O God, who desire not the death of sinners, but their conversion. Mercifully hear our prayers and in your kindness be pleased to bless + these ashes, which we intend to receive upon our heads, that we, who acknowledge we are but ashes and shall return to dust, may through a steadfast observance of Lent, gain pardon for sins and newness of life after the likeness of your Risen Son.

So as we are marked with the blessed ashes, we are reminded that we are dust, we ask for forgiveness of our sins, we ask for the grace to be faithful, for God does not want us to perish but to have life in the Risen Christ.

And with the ashes marked on our foreheads on Ash Wed, we begin the season of Lent, the 40 days of Lent, which is focused on repentance and conversion.

But it is only on Ash Wed that we are marked with ashes and not for 40 days. And even for those of us who are marked with ashes on Ash Wed, as we leave after Mass, some would want to wipe off the ashes on their foreheads as quickly as possible.

Although it would be a good sign of witnessing to our faith, we are not too sure about what others might think of it. Especially after the evening Mass of Ash Wed, when we walk around with those ashes in the form of a cross on our foreheads, others might not want to take the lift with us, or that they might just want to avoid us.

And those ashes can be quite messy, they are rough, they can cause an irritation for those who have sensitive skin. In short, there is nothing really nice about those ashes.

But it was just for one day, and even then not for the whole day, nor for 40 days.

But in the Old Testament, as a sign of repentance, those rough, messy ashes are put on the head and face, besides also wearing sack-cloth.

So, yes, ashes are only for Ash Wed. But it is also a start to the 40 days of Lent. There is no need to put on ashes for 40 days, but those ashes should also make us reflect and meditate about those 40 days that Jesus spent in the desert. So it is like from ashes to Jesus.

And on this 1st Sunday of Lent, we hear once again the account of Jesus in His 40 days in the desert, and being tempted by the devil.

The devil tempted Jesus with only three temptations. If He were the Son of God, then He could turn the stones into bread to feed His hunger. He would be safe, even if He were to jump off the parapet of the Temple. And He could have all the earthly power and glory if He just bowed down to the devil.

These three temptations could be just simply put like this – The devil tempted Jesus with what He would want. And yet in overcoming the temptations, Jesus showed us what we really need. So essentially, it is a want versus a need.

The devil’s temptation is to confuse us between a want and a need. Well, “want” has four letters, and so is “need”.

And it is in those areas of our life that we must see the similarities as well as the differences.

“Love” has four letters, and so has “hate”. We want to love those who love us and hate those who are against us. Yet Jesus tells us that it is in loving our enemies that we will know the greatness of the capacity of love that God has created in our hearts.

And talking about “enemies”, that word has seven letters, and so has “friends”. We want friends and we don’t need enemies. But often it is our so-called friends who will hurt us and betray us.

We want God to give us success and we blame God when we fail. “Success” and “failure” has the same number of words. Success can get into our heads and make us proud, but failure will always keep us humble and dependent on God.

So in many areas of our life, there seem to be similarities as well as differences. A want may seem like a need. But a want is only for ourselves, and a need is essentially for us to turn back to God and trust in Him.

So let us remember those ashes on Ash Wed, and let us follow Jesus into the 40 days of Lent. May we see that we will always be tempted on what we want, but Jesus will help us to know what we truly need.

May we rise from ashes, and rise to trust in Jesus. 

Friday, March 8, 2019

Saturday after Ash Wednesday, 09-03-19

Isaiah 58:9-14 / Luke 5:27-32

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, March 7, 2019

Friday after Ash Wednesday, 08-03-19

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

When the concept of compartmentalisation is applied to the organisation of structures right down to medication boxes, it makes a lot of sense.

Not only is it logical, it may even be necessary to get processes in place and running and to achieve results.

But when the concept of compartmentalisation is applied to the spiritual life, then things begin to get mixed up and religious practices begin to look rather superstitious.

The two readings of today talk about fasting. But in the 1st reading, the people were asking why should they keep fasting if the Lord never sees it, and why do penance if the Lord does not notice it.

And through the prophet Isaiah, the Lord retorted: Look, you do business on your fastdays, you oppress all your workmen; look, you quarrel and squabble when you fast and strike the poor man with your fist.

And the Lord continued with this: Fasting like your today will never make your voice heard on high. Is that the sort of fast that pleases me, a truly penitential day for men?

When fasting is compartmentalised as a stand-alone act, without any connection to the other areas of life and faith, then it would look odd and even rather nonsensical.

So fasting must go together with prayer and almsgiving, and with that repentance and conversion and a turning back to God and walking in His ways.

Then the season of Lent will bring about a humble and contrite heart, and when we call upon the Lord, He will answer, "I am here."

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Thursday after Ash Wednesday, 07-03-19

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

The word "today" can sound ordinary or significant, depending on how it is used in the context.

Especially if it is emphasized, then that word has a powerful and profound meaning.

In the 1st reading, the word "today" appeared three times in the passage, and all at the significant parts.

That word in the passage has an urgency; it implies the moment is now, a decision has to be made immediately, and a commitment is required.

All that urgency is not about a deadline or or about speed and haste. It's about life and death, obedience and defiance, blessing and curse.

In the gospel, Jesus would even emphasize that urgency by telling us to take up our cross every day and follow Him.

So it means that everyday there will be the cross.

But we have to decide if it's going to be the cross or the world for us.

Yes, we have to decide, today and everyday.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Ash Wednesday, 06-03-19

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

Today as we begin the season of Lent with Ash Wednesday, we are reminded of a couple of fundamental truths.

Firstly, we are reminded of our mortality, and that is why ashes are marked on our foreheads. It is a profound as well as a grim reminder that we are dust and in the end it is unto dust we shall return.

Secondly, we are reminded of who is our Creator and that we are His creatures. And as creatures, there is nothing that we can boast of as our own achievement or accomplishment. Just as we shall turn to dust, all our achievements and acclaims are like dust before the Lord our God.

And finally, we are reminded that we are sinners but God is merciful, compassionate and forgiving. He is calling us to turn back to Him and to repent of our sins. Though our hearts are broken by our guilt, God will heal and forgive a humble and contrite heart.

That is why the season of Lent come with the three spiritual disciplines of prayer, penance and almsgiving.

We pray because we want to acknowledge that God is our Creator and Saviour. We do penance like fasting to repent of our sins and to turn away from temptation. We give alms because nothing of what we have is truly ours, and to help the poor is our duty and our responsibility.

So the season of Lent reminds us of who God is and who we are and what we should do.

Let us go back to the Lord our God with all our heart and we will find mercy and compassion, forgiveness and healing.

Monday, March 4, 2019

8th Week, Ordinary Time, Tuesday, 05-03-19

Ecclesiasticus 35:1-12 / Mark 10:28-31

When it comes to giving, many profound things can be said about it.

For example, "No one has ever become poor by giving" (Anne Frank); "Happiness doesn't result from what we get but from what we give" (Ben Carson); "We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give" (?) and many more profound reflections.

Even the 1st reading has something to say about giving: Honour the Lord with generosity, do not stint the first fruits you bring. Add a smiling face to all your gifts, and be cheerful as you dedicate your tithes.

That's where we get statements like "be a cheerful giver", whether giving to God or giving to others.

So it seems that even in giving, we are urged to be cheerful and to be generous, and to encourage us further, we are told that we will be rewarded, and the 1st reading would even say that the Lord will reward a cheerful and generous giver seven times over.

So giving can be challenging enough to our human tendency, because we are more likely to be calculative and to look for what we can gain from what we give.

Even in the gospel, Peter asked Jesus what is there for him and the rest who have left everything to follow Jesus.

Yes, the act of cheerful and generous giving can be difficult.

Yet, the 1st reading reminds us to give to the Most High as He has given to us, generously as our means can afford.

May we come to see what the Lord God has given to us. And may we also come to see that the purpose of our life is to give it away, cheerfully and generously.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

8th Week, Ordinary Time, Monday, 04-03-19

Ecclesiasticus 17:24-29 / Mark 10:17-27

It would be interesting to ask people what they want in life.

Interesting because of the answers that they might give.

The probable answers are: I want health; I want success; I want freedom; I want independence; I want to be rich, etc.

How many would say this: I want to find meaning in life.

Or, I want to be the person that I am created to be.

That can be the question for our reflection. What kind of person do I want to be?

Do I want to be a deceitful person, a greedy person, a nasty person, a selfish person, a wicked person?

Or do I want to be a loving person, a generous person, a compassionate and caring person,  a trustworthy and honest person?

Such a question is essentially a question of identity.

Because in answering the question, we begin to ask about who we really are, why we are created, and what is the meaning of our existence.

All those questions point to a turning back to God, which is in essence, a repentance.

As the 1st reading puts it, to those who repent, God permits return, and He even encourages those who are losing hope.

In other words, when we are losing meaning and hope in life, God comes to us with open arms and gives us meaning in life.

When we down to nothing, God will come up with something.

But God is not just something.

He is our meaning. He is our everything

Saturday, March 2, 2019

8th Ordinary Sunday, Year C, 02.03.2019

Ecclesiasticus 27:4-7 / 1 Cor 15:54-58 / Luke 6:39-45
Let us begin with a riddle: what has words but does not speak?  - A book.

What has words but no one reads? – the Terms and Conditions, usually in small print (maybe they don’t want us to read it)

It is also said that actions speak louder than words. Of course we presume that those are edifying actions. Yet for those of us who are drivers, we also know that on the road, some hand gestures done with a finger can mean very impolite words.

What has words but no one wants to hear – an angry person. The tongue has no bones but it can break the heart. And the tongue of an angry person can cause a heart attack, to the one who is listening and maybe even to the one using it.

The tendency is that we use bad words to express our angry and bitter feelings. And there are some days the supply of available swear words are inefficient to meet our demands. Oh yes, we have those kind of days. 

But bad moods and volatile emotions are never reasons to curse and use cruel words. And even if we regret it later, we can’t simply brush it off with “I didn’t mean what I said”. No. We meant what we said. Just that at that moment, we couldn’t control it and we let it fly off our mouth before tasting those words.

The problem is that we will never know how long our words will stay in someone’s heart, even long after we have forgotten that we said them, whether for better or for worse.

Already from this, we are reminded of the lessons of life. One of which is that we must control our tongue when our heart is bitter. Certainly, silence is better than angry words.

And also angry words are spoken with a raised voice. But instead of raising our voice, let us raise our words. It is the rain that grows flowers, not the thunder.

But words, whether kind or otherwise, are just expressions from a source. The source of our words is none other than our heart.

And that’s why Jesus said in today’s gospel passage that a man’s words flow out from what fills his heart.

And that’s why words can heal or hurt. It is from one heart to another. Only a heart can heal another heart, and a heart can break another heart, with words that flow from the heart.

As Jesus said, a good man draws what is good from the goodness of his heart; a bad man draws what is bad from the store of badness from his heart.

There is this story of two altar servers.
Two altar servers lived in two different cities, serving in different churches, but both of them wanted to become priests. Both of them had the exact same experience.

One altar server was late for Mass. Because he was in a hurry to do everything he needed to do, he accidentally knocked the chalice that contained the wine. After the Mass, the priest called the boy and shouted, “Get out of here! You’ll never serve as an altar server again!”

At another church, the altar server was also late for Mass. And he too, knocked the chalice that contained the wine, spilling it onto the floor. After the Mass, the priest, called the altar server and said, “It's all right. You'll do better next time. You'll be a fine priest for God someday.”

Thirty years later, the second altar server became Archbishop Fulton Sheen, one of the most loved religious leaders in America. 
And the other altar server? He became Joseph Tito, an atheist and the ruthless dictator of Yugoslavia.

Words are powerful. They can heal or hurt. They can encourage or destroy.

Every day, we hear polite and kind words, as well as impolite and hurtful words. And then what happens? Our heart is like a sink-trap. All the polite and kind words get drained away quickly and what is left in the sink-trap are the remnants, and in this case, the impolite and hurtful words.

Much as those remnants in the sink-trap are to be gotten rid of, somehow we let them stay there, right in our hearts. And of course those things don’t do any good to our hearts.

And today, Jesus talks about what is stored in our hearts. He reminds us that our hearts are created to be good, because our hearts are created by God.

Jesus wants to clean our hearts of all that rubbish that is caught in the sink-trap of our hearts.

Jesus wants to clean and heal our hearts and make it a store of goodness. Jesus wants to make our hearts like His.

There are many ways that we can let Him clean our hearts. One way is through prayer. Another can be through the Devotion to the Sacred Heart.

We have just launched a new revised edition of the Devotion to the Sacred Heart and it is now available.

Just as a heart can break another heart, so too a heart can also heal another heart.

Jesus wants to clean and heal our hearts with His blood and cleansing water that flows from His heart.

Let us prepare our hearts to be cleansed and healed through the Devotion to the Sacred Heart and through atonement and reparation.

May we let Jesus fill our hearts with His love, so that from what fills our hearts, our mouths will give thanks and praise, and proclaim the Good News of God’s love to others.

7th Week, Ordinary Time, Saturday, 02-03-19

Ecclesiasticus 17:1-15 / Mark 10:13-16

From what science is telling us, we know how vast the universe is and how much mystery there is in it.

There are things like black holes and many other galaxies.

In our galaxy alone, there are billions of starts, each separated by millions of light years.

In the face of such vastness and coupled with so much mystery, we may feel that we on earth are quite insignificant.

Because there is so much more around us.

But is this "more" just measured by size and vastness?

The 1st reading brings us back to the reflection of how much "more" we are.

This "more" is much more significant than that of the whole universe.

Because God our creator clothed us with strength like His and made us in His image.

He filled us with understanding and knowledge.

He put His own light into our hearts to show us the magnificence of His works.

Hence we may already be exploring outer space, yet we need to reflect and understand and appreciate our inner space.

And it is only with the heart and the simplicity of a child that we can praise and glorify God, our Father and Creator.