Tuesday, June 6, 2023

9th Week, Ordinary Time, Wednesday, 07-06-2023

Tobit 3:1-11, 16-17 / Mark 12:18-27

Our faith tells us that while we have a life in this world, we also have an eternal life in heaven.

In fact, with faith and hope, we can see that our life in this world is a preparation for the eternal life of the next world.

So we can say that we have two lives – one in this world, and the other one in the next.

But, another way of looking at it is that we have two lives in this world.

And the second one begins when we realise that we have only one life in this world.

In the 1st reading, Tobit and Sarah had thoughts about ending their lives in this world.

They were in despair and distress, but they also prayed to the Lord for help.

And their prayer found favour before the Lord and Raphael was sent to bring remedy to them both.

In a way, it can be said that their second life on earth is about to begin.

In the gospel, Jesus gave a teaching about life on earth and life in heaven.

His most profound statement is that God is not God of the dead, but of the living.

When we put our faith and hope in God, then Jesus will lead us to live life to the full, and we will walk confidently from the life of this world to the life of the next.

Monday, June 5, 2023

9th Week, Ordinary Time, Tuesday, 06-06-2023

Tobit 2:9-14 / Mark 12:13-17   

In life, we wish to be self-sufficient and independent.

But the reality of life is that we are always some indebted to someone.

And it is not about owing money to someone or to a bank or an organization.

It is usually about owing gratitude for a service or favour.

We may not openly admit it, but we certainly do not like being indebted to someone.

We desire to be free from being beholden to someone.

It is most probably the pride and ego that is working up in us.

In the 1st reading, Tobit was suffering from blindness and he had to be dependent on the charity of others.

But even then, his reluctance to be dependent and his pride was manifested when he suspected his wife of stealing other people’s goods.

But in the gospel, the Pharisees and Herodians tried to trap Jesus with the question of paying taxes.

Jesus gave them a reply that took them completely by surprise.

As much as Jesus is telling them to give back to Caesar what belongs to him, He also brought them to another realization.

They have to give back to God what belongs to God, and that is love, truth, justice, mercy, compassion.

We too must realize that we are indebted to God for His love and blessings on us.

We must give thanks for what we have received from God and also do what God is asking of us.

Sunday, June 4, 2023

9th Week, Ordinary Time, Monday, 05-06-2023

Tobit 1:3; 2:1-8 / Mark 12:1-12    

To do what is good, right and loving may not be as clear as it seems.

As much as we desire to do what is good, right and loving, there are distractions and obstacles that will cause us to deviate.

Among them are self-considerations, other people’s opinions, misunderstanding of intentions, etc.

In the 1st reading, when Tobit took the duty to bury the dead man, he was taking a risk at the expense of his own life.

Even his neighbours laughed at him and mocked at him.

But Tobit held firm to his beliefs to do what is the good and right thing.

He did what he believed that God wanted him to do.

In contrast, the tenants in the gospel parable did what they wanted to do, and it was certainly not the good and right thing.

When we put our trust in God and do what is good, right and loving, God will surely bless us.

There will be obstacles, but our good deeds will be like keystones of God’s wonderful doing for other to see.

Saturday, June 3, 2023

Trinity Sunday, Year A, 04.06.2023

Exodus 34:4-6, 8-9 / 2 Cor 13:11-13 / John 3:16-18

There are many things in life that we think we know and understand quite well. 

But it is only when we encounter difficulty that we begin to think deeper about it. 

Then we may realize that there is so much more to discover and to learn. 

For example, the English language is something that we use daily. 

We use it to converse, to read and to write. We use it to express ourselves and to communicate with others. 

So, we know how to use the English language and may even know how to use it effectively. 

But can we say that we understand it well, or that we are an expert on it? 

For example, how do we explain eggplant which has no egg in it, or pineapple that does not have any apples, or hamburgers that don't have any ham? 

Or, why is it said that the nose runs, and the feet smell? It should be the other way around, isn't it? 

When it comes to singular and plural, if more than one tooth is teeth then why is more than one booth not beeth? Or if more than one mouse is mice, then why is more than one house not hice? 

So, we speak, read and write English everyday, but we may not really understand the language that well. 

Today the Church celebrates Holy Trinity Sunday. We know that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 

But we may not really understand why God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 

In fact, it would be easier to understand and believe that God is just One. 

Of course, there are many ways to explain that God is Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 

But the mystery of the Holy Trinity cannot be understood just logically or rationally. 

What we need to believe is that God loves us, He wants to save us and to bring us back home to heaven. 

So, God the Father loves us, He sent His only beloved Son to save us, and Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to unite us in faith, hope and love. 

So, as much as the Bible did not explicitly mention that God is Trinity, yet in the same Bible, God also revealed the intimate relationship between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. 

The key to the understanding of the mystery of the Holy Trinity is in the intimate relationship between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

To believe in God the Holy Trinity is to believe that God wants to have an intimate love relationship with us. 

And just as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are intimately connected with each other in love, we too are called to love like God, and to be united with each other in love. 

To be like God is like how the 1st reading puts it: to be tender and compassionate, slow to anger, rich in kindness and faithfulness. 

To be like God is also to be like Moses, who pleaded with the Lord God to forgive the people for their faults and sins. 

And in the 2nd reading, St. Paul urged us to be united in love and live in peace with each other so that God of love and peace will be with us. 

So, when we are united in love and peace, we are also reflecting the intimate relationship of love and peace between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. 

To refuse to believe in God is to refuse to accept love from others and also refuse to love others. 

But, when we, who believe in God, strive to live in love and peace with each other, we are already professing our belief in God who is Father, Son and Holy spirit. 

By our unity in love and peace, we will witness to others that God also loves them, and wants to give them the peace and joy of salvation.

Friday, June 2, 2023

8th Week, Ordinary Time, Saturday, 03-06-2023

Ecclesiasticus 51:12-20 / Mark 11:27-33     

It is not easy to admit that we are wrong, especially when we are confronted with facts.

It is even more difficult for people of authority to admit that they are wrong.

Simply because there is just too much to lose.

When the authorities confronted Jesus, it was Jesus who presented the facts.

But in refusing to acknowledge the facts, and by saying "We don't know", the authorities have exposed themselves.

Ironically, it was the people of authority that had put their own authority into question.

We are all people of authority in some way or another.

Some of us are parents who have authority over our children.

Some of us are supervisors and managers who have authority over our subordinates.

But this authority is given to us to discern what comes from God and to do the right thing.

In other words, authority is synonymous with service.

We serve our children by teaching them the right values.

We serve our subordinates with justice and fairness.

We serve like Jesus did, who came to serve by showing us how to live out the truth with love.

Thursday, June 1, 2023

8th Week, Ordinary Time, Friday, 02-06-2023

Ecclesiasticus 44:1, 9-13 / Mark 11:11-26   

God’s ways are not like man’s ways, and indeed, the mysterious ways of God are much higher and may even go beyond the comprehension of man.

Similarly, God’s time does not go according to man’s time.

Man’s time is chronological, and so there are schedules, time-line and deadlines.

But God’s time is in God’s appointed time, and in the mystery of God’s plan, He decides when will be the time.

In the gospel, it may sound rather surprising and even shocking that Jesus cursed the fig tree just because there was no fruit, and furthermore, it was not the season for figs.

But that serves to show that God has control over His creation, and He can over-ride the natural sequence of time to make things happen in His time.

That is why Jesus tells us to have faith in God, and to submit ourselves to God’s time and to God’s ways.

So even though we may think that the time is not right or conducive, we must pray with faith in order to understand God’s ways and God’s time.

And then we will bear fruit in God’s time for His plan and His purpose.

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

8th Week, Ordinary Time, Thursday, 01-06-2023

Ecclesiasticus 42:15-25 / Mark 10:46-52   

A person has a name which identifies who he is and he responds to that name.

More than just a name to identify the person, the name is also a symbol of his uniqueness and dignity.

Even a nickname may have the above aspects.

In the gospel, there was this blind beggar who is called Bartimaeus.

But the gospel also mentioned that Bartimaeus means “the son of Timaeus”.

So that blind beggar was identified with a reference to someone else.

That may also indicate that his identity and dignity as a person was often ignored, and his status was also not important.

But all changed when he heard about Jesus.

He called out to Jesus like how others had called him; he began with “Son of David”.

But he also added the name which identified who he was calling: Jesus, have pity on me.

The blind man regained his sight, and as Jesus told him, his faith has saved him.

That blind man saw himself with dignity and status and as a unique person.

Just as he found his dignity and status in Jesus, we too will find our own in Jesus.

Let us ask Jesus to open our eyes to see who we really are, and we will also know how to live our lives as disciples of Jesus.