Wednesday, 6 February 2013 : 4th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Sts. Paul Miki and Companions, Martyrs (Gospel Reading)

Mark 6 : 1-6

Leaving that place, Jesus returned to His own country, and His disciples followed Him. When the Sabbath came, He began to teach in the synagogue, and most of those who heard Him were astonished. But they said, “How did this come to Him? What kind of wisdom has been given to Him, that He also performs such miracles? Who is He but the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? His sisters, too, are they not here among us?” So they took offense at Him.

And Jesus said to them, “Prophets are despised only in their own country, among their relatives, and in their own family.” And He could work no miracles there, but only healed a few sick people, by laying His hands on them. Jesus Himself was astounded at their unbelief. Jesus then went around the villages, teaching.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013 : 4th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Sts. Paul Miki and Companions, Martyrs (Psalm)

Psalm 102 : 1-2,13-14,17-18a

Bless the Lord, my soul; all my being, bless His holy Name! Bless the Lord, my soul, and do not forget all His kindness.

As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust.

But the Lord’s kindness is forever with those who fear Him; so is His justice, for their children’s children, for those who keep His covenant.

9th Anniversary of my experience at Mass in the Catholic Church (6 February 2004 – present)

Today marks the 9th anniversary since the very first Mass that I fully participated in. That Mass was not the first Mass I ever attended, since I had attended the wedding Mass of my aunt two years before that.

However, on Friday, 6 February 2004, on the first Friday of the month, on the feast day of Saints Paul Miki and Companion the martyrs, which remained as a strong memory in my mind, is the first Mass I attended and I participated in, save for receiving Communion of course.

Yes, I was not a born Catholic, but was baptised as a teenager in September 2004. This year marks my eighth year in the Catholic faith.

I would like to thank God for His constant love for me, and His constant guidance to me. I would not be here, not even writing this blog regularly on the faith, if God is not with me since the very beginning. Thank you everyone too, for your constant support, love, and prayers.

Sts. Paul Miki and Companions, pray for me, and for all of my brethren in faith.

St. Peter the Apostle, St. Peter Canisius, and St. Michael the Archangel, my patrons, pray for me too, and also for all my brethren in faith.

King David of Israel, my namesake, pray for me, and for all of God’s beloved children.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013 : 4th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Sts. Paul Miki and Companions, Martyrs (First Reading)

Hebrews 12 : 4-7,11-15

Have you already shed your blood in the struggle against sin? Do not forget the comforting words that Wisdom addresses to you as children : “My son, pay attention when the Lord corrects you and do not be discouraged when He punishes you. For the Lord corrects those He loves and chastises everyone He accepts as a son.”

What you endure is in order to correct you, God treats you like sons and what son is not corrected by his father?

All correction is painful at the moment, rather than pleasant; later it brings the fruit of peace, that is, holiness to those who have been trained by it. Lift up then, your drooping hands, and strengthen your trembling knees; make level the ways for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled but healed.

Strive for peace with all and strive to be holy, for without holiness no one will see the Lord. See that no one falls from the grace of God, lest a bitter plant spring up and its poison corrupt many among you.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013 : 4th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Agatha, Virgin and Martyr (Scripture Reflection)

Today, the readings showed us that to God, nothing is impossible. For He has all the authority on this world and beyond. All lives lay under His power, and even death could not escape Him. This is because Christ Himself would conquer death, through His own death on the cross. His resurrection proved that death no longer has power over mankind. Christ bought us with His priceless and precious Blood from the enslavement of death and sin.

It is through His suffering on the cross, that Christ made all of us, especially those who believe in Him, pure and worthy of God’s Kingdom. It is through faith, that we are saved, just like the woman with the bleeding, whom out of her great faith, dared to push on and approached Jesus to be healed. Her effort paid off when the Lord healed her and also praised her for her great faith. Jairus, too, in his great faith, knowing that the Lord can save his daughter, reached out to Jesus, humbly asking Him to be willing to heal her.

Can we also be as humble and as faithful as they are? Many of us in this modern world, are particularly too proud to admit that we had erred, and that we had made mistakes in our lives. If we are so proud and unwilling to admit our faults to our fellow man, then even more so we are unwilling to admit our sin to God, and even to ask for forgiveness with great humility. Let us be not like the people in Jairus’ house, who laughed at Christ, and did not believe in Him, and His mastery over even death.

However, again, let us not be mistaken, that faith alone can save us fully and entirely, without any action in the practice of our faith. Our faith is not an instantaneous matter, since it takes action to nurture our faith in God, and our love of others. Just like Jairus who went all the way to seek for Jesus to heal his daughter, and the woman, who braved through the immense crowd to reach Jesus to touch His cloak. Can we also strive to do this extra effort to bring our faith into practice, to reach out to one another, and therefore in the end able to reach the Lord? Remember that Christ told us that whatever we do for those who are the least and weakest in our society, that we do it to the Lord, and in doing so, the Lord knows us and recognises us, as those worthy of Him and His Kingdom.

Today, we also commemorate the feast day of St. Agatha, a well known martyr of the third century AD, who was martyred by the then still pagan Roman Empire. St. Agatha dedicated her virginity to God, and God alone, in a similar way to the nuns and religious today do. She was also very firm in her faith and deeply against paganism and idol worship in the Roman society at the time. When a pagan Roman prefect named Quintianus made approaches to her, she rejected him firmly, and this eventually led to her martyrdom, in defense of her faith, and of her virginity that she dedicated to God.

St. Agatha’s deep faith and practice of her faith through her martyrdom should be a great example to all of us the faithful in Christ. Not to follow her into martyrdom, but in always ensuring that our faith remain strong and alive, that when temptations and challenges come, we will be able to stand fast to our faith, and did not falter, even when faced with suffering or death. Let us live in accordance with the example made by St. Agatha and other holy saints of God, so that we too are found worthy to God and worthy of life eternal.

St. Agatha, Virgin and Martyr, pray for us. Amen.