Tuesday, October 4, 2022

27th Week, Ordinary Time, Wednesday, 05-10-2022

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

When others come to know that we are Catholics, what would we think that they will ask us?

Probably they will be interested to know about our religious practices, which church we go to, why we pray to Mary, etc.

Yes, these and other curious questions will be asked and we may be at ease in answering some of those questions, and maybe feel uncomfortable about other questions.

But has anyone ever asked us to teach them to pray?

There can be other curious questions about us being Catholics, but has anyone ever expressed interest in how we pray or who we pray to?

When the disciples saw Jesus praying, they asked Him to teach them to pray.

If ever anyone asks us to teach them to pray, let us not hesitate or feel awkward to do so.

Let us lead them to God who wants to be a loving Father to them, just as He is a loving Father to us.

Monday, October 3, 2022

27th Week, Ordinary Time, Tuesday, 04-10-2022

Galatians 1:13-24 / Luke 10:38-42   

To be human is, among other things, to be able to be independent and to have a life.

So as humans, we live an active life as we work, as we relate with others, have ambitions and goals in life.

It can be imagined for a human being to be alive and yet stays at a corner for long periods of time and do nothing.

For St. Paul, as he recalls in the 1st reading, he had an active and a purpose-driven life.

He was moving quickly in what he wanted to achieve in life that he didn’t stop and to look at what he was doing and was becoming of him.

But there was a momentary pause in his life when God called him and chose to reveal Jesus to him.

Then he realized his new purpose in life, which was to preach the Good News to the pagans.

In the gospel, Martha was also busy doing her work and she was so caught up with what she was doing that she even complained to Jesus and urged Him to get Mary to help her with her work.

Jesus stopped Martha for a moment, so that she could look up from what she was doing and see the more important things of life.

So when something stops us in our busyness, let us know that God is calling us to look up.

When we are willing to stop and look up, we will see things differently and even get a new direction in life.

Sunday, October 2, 2022

27th Week, Ordinary Time, Monday, 03-10-2022

Galatians 1:6-12 / Luke 10:25-37     

We know that the Bible is the Word of God.

To really understand the Word of God, we would have to do some Bible study in order to know how to interpret the meaning of what is written in the Bible.

There are many resources that are available that have commentaries on the Word of God.

As much as most commentaries are correct interpretations of the Word of God, it is possible that some have questionable interpretations.

In the 1st reading, St. Paul warned the Galatians that some troublemakers among them wanted to change the Good News of Christ.

Essentially the Good News is about salvation and to love God and to love neighbour.

Any deviations from that essential message of the Good News would be questionable.

In the gospel, the lawyer, in order to justify himself, asked Jesus who is his neighbour, and Jesus responded with the parable of the “Good Samaritan”.

And Jesus asked him this question: Which of these three, do you think, proved himself a neighbour to the man who fell into the brigands’ hands?

The question that we have to ask ourselves is this: Who do we think is our neighbour?

But a deeper question for our reflection would be this: Who is God sending to us so that we can be a neighbour to them?

When we realise that the neighbours are not who we want them to be but who God is sending to us, then we will have an idea of what God is really saying to us in the Bible.

Saturday, October 1, 2022

27th Ordinary Sunday, Year C, 02.10.2022

 Habakkuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4 / 2 Tim 1:6-8, 13-14 / Luke 17:5-10

At Mass, the letter “I” is used only a few times. At the Penitential Rite, it is at the “I confess”. At the Communion Rite, it is at the “I am not worthy”. And at the Creed, it is at the “I believe”. 

The letter “I” is a singular, first-person pronoun. We use “I” when we want to talk about ourselves, about what we do, and how we feel. 

So, to say “I believe”, it points to a commitment and a conviction. But to say “I believe in God” is not just a personal commitment or conviction. 

To believe in God requires faith, and faith is a gift from God. It is with the gift of faith that we can believe in God, and we respond with faith to the call of God to be His People. 

So, to be a Christian means that we have a love relationship with God through Jesus Christ. 

God does not treat us as lowly servants that He can use to do some thankless work, or to make us fear Him because He will punish wrongdoers. 

Rather, God calls us to be His children, He wants to love us, so that we can love Him in return and to serve Him with love. 

It takes faith to do all that with love. So, it can be said that with faith, we will be able to love God and to love others. 

Faith can be as small as a mustard seed, but the love can be so powerful that we can tell the mulberry tree to be uprooted and be planted in the sea and it will do so. 

But faith and love need not be so dramatic and spectacular. 

In the 1st reading, the prophet Habakkuk cried out to God even though his faith was eroding.

What Habakkuk saw around him was despair and distress. There was oppression and injustice, there was outrage and violence, and God doesn't seem to be doing anything about it. 

But Habakkuk’s faith was restored when God answered and even told him to write down the vision. 

What restored Habakkuk’s faith is that God's promises are eager for its own fulfilment, and it does not deceive. It may come slowly, but come it will without fail. 

All that can be summed up by that last line of the 1st reading when God said this: The upright man will live by his faithfulness. 

So yes, we are given the faith to believe in God, to believe that God is good, God is love, that God is kind and compassionate. 

If we believe that God is all that, then with our mustard seed of faith, we will want to believe that people can be like God.

A story goes that a mother gave her little daughter two apples. Then, she asked the girl to give her one of the apples. She thought that if the girl gave her the smaller one, then she would teach the girl to be generous and respectful to elders.

To her shock and disappointment, the girl quickly took a bite of the bigger apple and just as the mother thought she was going to give her the smaller apple, the girl took a bite of the smaller apple too.

The mother was very sad that her daughter was selfish and cared only for herself. 

Then the girl stretched out her hand, gave an apple to her mother and said: Mummy, you eat this apple, this apple is sweeter!

The mother was ashamed that she didn’t believe in the goodness of her daughter.

Yes, we ask the Lord to increase our faith so that we can believe in the goodness of the Lord. 

And let us ask the Lord to increase our faith so that we can also believe in the goodness of people. 

May the Lord increase our faith, so that our love will also increase. 

When we are able to see the goodness of the Lord in the people and everything around us, then God's blessings will also increase upon us, and upon our mustard seed of faith.

Friday, September 30, 2022

St. Therese of the Child Jesus, Patroness of Missionaries and the Missions, Saturday, 01-10-2022

Isaiah 66:10-14 / Matthew 18:1-5    

St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus is also known as the "Little Flower of Jesus".

St. Thérèse was declared co-patron of the missions with St. Francis Xavier in 1927.

This is quite astonishing because she was a nun in the enclosed Carmelite community of Lisieux, Normandy in France.

Unlike St. Francis Xavier who travelled far and wide to spread the Gospel and baptized many people, St. Thérèse spent all her religious life in the cloistered convent.

Though she had thoughts of going off to the mission lands, her ill health forbade her from doing so.

Nonetheless she offered prayers for the missions and also her every little act was offered to God in prayer.

In her memoir The Story of a Soul, she said that she was just a very little soul and so she could only offer God very little things.

But it was doing these very little things with great love that  that she offered it to God for the salvation of souls.

That is also precisely the message in today' s gospel - childlike humility is the way to the kingdom of God.

It is the small childlike humble heart, one that is like that of St. Thérèse, that is considered great in the eyes of God.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

26th Week, Ordinary Time, Friday, 30-09-2022

Job 38:1, 12-21; 40:3-5 / Luke 10:13-16     

The words “listen’ and “silent” are made up of the same letters.

More than just having the same letters, there can also be another connection.

When we reflect upon the words "listen" and "silent", we may come to see that in order to listen, we have to be silent.

To be silent does not merely mean that we do not say anything, because we may be silent and yet in our minds, we are already formulating a response or thinking about something else.

To be truly silent is to listen so as to truly try to understand what we are listening to.

In Psalm 46:10, there is this verse: Be still and know that I am God.
It means that when God speaks to us, we will listen and we will understand.

In the 1st reading, God finally spoke to Job. All this while Job and his friends had be talking and trying to find reasons for Job’s afflictions and misfortunes.

As God spoke, Job had to be truly silent and to listen so that he could understand what God is telling him.

Job had his questions, but what mattered as God spoke was not Job’s questions but his realization.

God speaks to us in so many ways and in so many instances and experiences.

May we be silent so that we can listen to the voice of God speaking to us in various ways and in other people.

As Jesus said in the gospel, when we listen to what God is saying to us, and when we let God’s word be in us, then others will listen to what we will say to them.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

The Holy Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, Thursday, 29-09-2022

Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14 or Apocalypse 12:7-12 / John 1:47-51    

The first verse of the Nicene Creed states that God is the maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.

So the things that are invisible are not just what the eye cannot see.

The things that are invisible leads us to the awareness of the spiritual world.

Today as the Church honours the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, we are led to a deeper awareness and reflection of the reality of the spiritual world.

The Bible mentions about angels, and the Bible reveals the names of three archangels who are called Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.

They are called archangels because they carried out a specific mission in God’s plan of salvation.

St. Michael was given the task to drive out of heaven the devil and the angels who rebelled against God.

And he and the army of angels are given the task to protect those who are faithful to God.

St. Gabriel was sent to announce the Good News of salvation to Mary, and he guides those who preach the Good News on earth.

St. Raphael led Tobit to find the cure for the blindness of his father Tobias.

The three-fold mission of the Archangels is also a reflection of our mission as Christians.

We call upon God’s protection for those who are in danger. We are messengers of the Good News of salvation for those who want to be saved. And we pray for healing for those who are sick.

As we honour the Archangels St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael, may we also continue their mission on earth so that we can help others to be aware that even though they are not able to see God, yet they can believe in Him and to turn to Him for protection, for healing and for salvation.