Thursday, 8 June 2023 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord, Corpus Christi (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today the Church celebrates the great Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord, celebrating the great and Most Precious Body and Blood of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, Who has given His Body and Blood for us to partake, in Holy Communion of the Church, the Sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist. On this day, celebrating this great and most important aspect of our faith, in the celebration of what is popularly known as Corpus Christi, all of us are brought together and reminded of this great real and spiritual union all of us have as the parts and members of the same Church of God, the Body of Christ, that is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. On this day, all of us are called to remember our belief in the Real Presence in the Eucharist, as we all believe that the bread and wine offered by the priests at the Holy Mass is truly turned into the real and true essence, material and substance of the Lord Himself in the Flesh and Blood.

All of us believe that the bread and wine while they may seem to appear still like bread and wine, but we believe that they have been completely turn in reality, essence and all things to the very essence of the Body and Blood of the Lord Himself, and this is what we all know as the Real Presence in the Eucharist. We believe wholeheartedly that when we receive the Eucharist in Holy Communion, all of us are not just merely remembering the event of His giving us His Body and Blood, and we are also not just commemorating the event of the Last Supper and the Lord’s sacrifice on His Cross. Instead, all of us truly believe that the Holy Mass itself is the same Sacrifice that the Lord had made on His Cross, through time immemorial and beyond the boundaries of time and space, uniting all Christians, all sharing in the Most Precious Body and Blood of the Lord that has been given to us, for us to eat, drink and share amongst us all as the tangible sign of unity in us all as Christians, members of the same Body of Christ, the Church.

That is why today, as we listened to the readings taken from the Sacred Scriptures and ponder upon the mystery and the important tenet of this Real Presence in the Eucharist, of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord that we have partaken, all of us are called to be faithful bearers of this truth, and to proclaim the Real Presence of the Lord in the Eucharist, as our faith has required of us. If we ourselves have not truly believed in the Lord’s Real Presence, His Most Holy and Precious Body and Blood truly present in the Eucharist that we receive, then how can we convince others around us, all those whom we encounter in life, that the Real Presence is the truth? Unfortunately, too many Christians out there have not had a good and proper understanding of what the Real Presence in the Eucharist is all about, and how significant it is that we have received and partaken of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord unto ourselves.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Book of Deuteronomy in which we heard of the exhortation which Moses, the leader of the people of God, the Israelites, gave to the people not long before they end their long journey and sojourn in the desert after their Exodus from Egypt. Back then, the people of Israel had lived through a long forty years of journey through the desert that lies between the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan, the ancestral lands promised to the Israelites. What should have been a rather short and quick journey from their land of slavery to a land of overflowing abundance, of milk and honey, of great blessings of God, became a great detour and long wait because of the stubbornness and rebelliousness of the Israelites who have frequently tried to walk in their own path and having constantly been refusing to follow the Lord and His commands.

Yet, the Lord still patiently cared for His people, while chastising those who have rebelled and sinned against Him. He truly loved them all much like a father cares for his children. And like a father who truly cares for the well-being of his children, the Lord shows His love and cares for us all while chastising and disciplining us with firm hand whenever it is necessary. That is true love and care, brothers and sisters in Christ, as if God only shows us what is good and enjoyable only, and not showing us proper discipline, we will end up being spoilt and then think that we can do everything as we like it, and not living our lives in the manner that we should have, as the children and people of God. Like those people of Israel, whom God had called and chosen from among the nations to be the first people that He called as His own beloved ones, God made a Covenant with them and expected them to live worthily according to His Law and commandments.

Despite having to put up with all of their rebelliousness and stubborn attitude, the Lord still gave His people providence, sustenance, food and drink throughout their sojourn in the desert. He sent them the heavenly bread, the manna, every morning without fail, and also flocks of birds every evening to keep the people well sustained and provisioned, and also crystal-clear water from the rocks itself, in the middle of the empty, lifeless and burning desert. Many among the people of Israel were indeed ungrateful and wicked, in their desires and their wants, in all the things which they demanded from the Lord. Although they had been fed and been well-taken care of, they still wanted all the things and supposed luxuries that they once had when they were still in Egypt, although they were then living there as slaves under the dominion of the Egyptians and their Pharaoh.

In our second reading today, we then heard from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians of the account of what happened at the Last Supper that the Lord had with His disciples. At that occasion, the Lord Jesus blessed and broke the bread, and gave the bread to His disciples while saying to them that, it is His Body which He was giving to them, and when He afterwards blessed and passed the chalice filled with wine to the disciples, He said to them that it was His Blood that He was sharing and outpouring upon them, for them to partake and drink, so that through His Body and Blood, all of them may truly be united as One Body of Christ, the Church. It was there and then that the Lord began His Passion journey, as He began His sacrificial offering of His own Most Holy and Precious Body and Blood as the most worthy and perfect offering on behalf of us all, for the atonement of all of our sins.

As the Gospel reading today mentioned to us, on the discourse of the Lord to the disciples and many of the people who followed Him, of Himself being the Bread of Life, He did not mince His words in both cases, when He was telling the people about Himself as the Bread of Life and the Living Bread Who has come down from Heaven, and at the Last Supper to His disciples. He did not say that He was giving them a symbol of His Body or a symbol of His Blood. And even when His own disciples complained that the Lord was making things difficult for them by saying such things that were considered unbelievable and outrageous at best, and which was hard to be accepted by many among the people. Yet, the Lord doubled down and emphasised on what He had just told them, telling them that He is truly the Bread of Life, the Living Bread Who has come down upon us, so that He may feed us all His Body and His Blood, and all of us who share in His Body and Blood will not perish but live forever.

At that time, many of the Lord’s disciples abandoned Him and left Him, because they felt uncomfortable of what He had spoken, in saying that He was giving them His own Flesh as food for them and His own Blood as drink for them to share and partake. Is that not the exact same response from all those in the past and present who refused to believe in the Real Presence in the Eucharist? Is that not the same attitude shown by those who lack belief and faith in not believing that the bread and wine we partake in the Eucharist are no longer bread and wine, but are the very essence and reality of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord Himself? This is why today, as we listened to these words from the Sacred Scriptures, all of us are being constantly reminded of this very central and crucial tenet of our Christian faith. We must first treat the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord in the Eucharist, His Real Presence with utmost respect and worship, adoration and honour, as we should for our Almighty God and Master.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, if we look at the state of how many Christians treat the Real Presence of the Lord in the Eucharist, and how many actually believe in the Real Presence in the Eucharist, we will be really alarmed. That is because less and less people, and alarmingly low percentage of believers in the Church still believed in the Real Presence in the Eucharist. Some did not understand what the Eucharist is about, the significance of the Lord being truly present within the Eucharist in His Most Precious and Holy Body and Blood. Many of our fellow Christians, and perhaps even we ourselves may have treated the Lord with disrespect, even within the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. How many of us truly and actually spend our whole time meaningfully and well, in dedicating ourselves to the Lord whenever we attend and participate in the Holy Mass? How many of us cannot wait for the Holy Mass to end and then continue with our daily business and actions?

If we cannot even show our faith and belief in the Lord’s Real Presence, how can we expect others to believe in the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord being truly present in the Eucharist as well? If we ourselves have not treated the Holy Eucharist with the utmost respect as the Lord truly deserves it, then how can others around us believe that th Holy Eucharist, the bread and wine that by the power of God through the Holy Spirit, and by the hands of the priests whom He had appointed, to be His representatives, in this world, in persona Christi, transformed, in reality and fullness of essence, the Lord Himself present in the flesh? That is why we have to start with ourselves, by believing more sincerely and more devotedly to the Real Presence of our Lord and Saviour in the Most Holy Eucharist. We have to respect, honour and adore the Lord being truly present in our midst more, and begin doing that by living our lives in a more worthy, Christ-like manner.

Let us all remember that whenever we come and approach Him, and whenever we receive Him, we are not merely eating the bread or drinking the wine, or merely remembering the memory of His Last Supper with His disciples, or His sacrifice on the Cross. Instead, we are in fact receiving the Lord Himself in the flesh, in that even in the smallest speck of the consecrated Host and the smallest drop of the consecrated Wine in the chalice, is the Lord Himself, fully present in all His Being, in the fullness of His Most Holy and Precious Body and Blood. And that is why all of us have become the Temples of the Lord’s Holy Presence and because of that, it is imperative that we make ourselves worthy of being the Lord’s very own dwelling place in this world, as He comes into our midst, embracing us by the fullness of His love in the flesh, truly present around us and within us, all the time.

May the Lord, truly present in the Eucharist, continue to help and guide us, strengthen us all in our journey throughout life. May He continue to guide and empower His Church, all of us who are faithful in this world and beyond, so that each and every one of us will continue to proclaim His truth and Good News, and may all of us continue to grow ever closer to God and His love, and may He be glorified by our actions and works, in each and every moments. May all of us be truly worthy vessels of His Real Presence as we become truly holy and worthy Temples of His Holy Presence through the Most Holy Eucharist and our exemplary lives. Amen.

Thursday, 8 June 2023 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord, Corpus Christi (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 6 : 51-58

Jesus said to His disciples and to the people, “I am the Living Bread from heaven; whoever eats of this Bread will live forever. The Bread I shall give is My Flesh, and I will give it for the life of the world.”

The Jews were arguing among themselves, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?” So Jesus replied, “Truly, I say to you, if you do not eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood, you have no life in you. The one who eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood lives eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

“My Flesh is really food, and My Blood is truly drink. Those who eat My Flesh and drink My Blood, live in Me, and I in them. Just as the Father, Who is Life, sent Me, and I have life from the Father, so whoever eats Me will have life from Me. This is the Bread from heaven; not like that of your ancestors, who ate and later died. Those who eat this Bread will live forever.”

Thursday, 8 June 2023 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord, Corpus Christi (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 Corinthians 10 : 16-17

The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a communion with the Blood of Christ? And the bread that we break, is it not a communion with the Body of Christ?

The bread is one, and so we, though many, form one body, sharing the one bread.

Thursday, 8 June 2023 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord, Corpus Christi (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 147 : 12-13, 14-15, 19-20

Exalt YHVH, o Jerusalem; praise your God, o Zion! For He strengthens the bars of your gates and blesses your children within you.

He grants peace on your borders and feeds you with the finest grain. He sends His command to the earth and swiftly runs His word.

It is He, Who tells Jacob His words; His laws and decrees, to Israel. This, He has not done for other nations, so His laws remain unknown to them. Alleluia!

Thursday, 8 June 2023 : Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord, Corpus Christi (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Deuteronomy 8 : 2-3, 14b-16a

Remember how YHVH, your God, brought you through the desert for forty years. He humbled you, to test you and know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. He made you experience want, He made you experience hunger, but He gave you manna to eat which neither you nor your fathers had known, to show you that one does not live on bread alone, but also by everything that comes from the mouth of God.

Do not forget YHVH, your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, the house of slavery. It is He Who has led you across this great and terrible desert, full of fiery serpents and scorpions, an arid land where there is no water. But for you He made water gush forth from the hardest rock. And He fed you in the desert with manna which your fathers did not know.

Thursday, 8 June 2023 : 9th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, all of us are reminded of our obligation and calling as Christians to always obey and follow the Law and commandments of the Lord, which He has provided for us to help and guide us in our way of life and actions that we may always be righteous and be committed to His path, at all times. Each and every one of us should always aspire to do what God has called us to do and to understand fully what His intentions for us in our lives in this world are. Each and every one of us are called to be holy and to be filled with love, first and foremost for God, and then to love our fellow brothers and sisters with the same love, as much as we love ourselves. These are our Christian calling and duty, for us all to follow all our whole lives.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Book of Tobit of the continuation of the story of how God sent His help to both Tobit and Sara, in the journey which Tobit’s son, Tobias undertook with the Archangel Raphael in disguise as a young man named Azarias. Tobias and Azarias went all the way to the city of Ecbatana in Media where Ragouel, the father of Sara and friend of Tobit, lived at. Through them, God made His plans to help both Tobit and Sara into motion, and Sara, who suffered from the attacks by the demon prince Asmodeus, who struck at all of her seven husbands, all killed by Asmodeus which made her own maidservants to gossip and accuse her falsely of misdeeds which distressed her very greatly. The coming of Tobias and the Archangel Raphael in disguise brought God’s help and assistance to Sara.

Tobias sought for Ragouel to give him the permission for Sara to be his wife, which Ragouel was rather reluctant to do because of everything that had happened in the recent past with all seven of Sara’s husbands who were all killed by the demon Asmodeus. Yet, Tobias reassured Ragouel and promised to take good care of Sara, and when Tobias and Sara were married together, they then began their married life by praying to God together, by entrusting themselves to the Lord and to His providence, and through that, the Lord moved to help them, and by His Archangel Raphael, the demon Asmodeus was defeated and bound, not to disturb or harm Sara or Tobias in any way, ever again. That is what God has done to all those who are faithful to Him, and not only that, by giving to us His only Begotten Son to be our Saviour, by dying for us on the Cross, God has shown us His ever enduring and most wonderful love.

In our Gospel passage today, we then heard of a teacher of the Law questioning the Lord Jesus on what was the most important commandments among all the Law and commandments of God, and the Lord answered him firmly that the whole Law and the commandments of God can indeed be summarised into two main points, and two most important fundamental action, of first of all loving God with all of our heart and with all of our might, and then at the same time, loving our fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord, our fellow mankind, all those whom we encounter throughout our lives and in whatever various means and opportunities, in the same way that we have loved the Lord and as we have loved ourselves. The whole Law and commandments of God as He has originally passed down and revealed to us, are indeed about these two most fundamental points.

And linking to what we have heard and discussed earlier on in the story of Tobias and Sara, we are reminded that God is truly filled with love for each and every one of us, and God is in His nature and essence is Love. He has shown us His most generous love and kindness, as He showed us His compassionate nature and mercy at all times, despite the rebelliousness and the disobedience we have often showed Him, all these time. He listened to our prayers and He knows our needs and challenges. The Lord does not want any one of us to be lost to the darkness, evil and sin, and hence, He showed His providence and love at the appropriate time, aiding all those who are facing hardships and challenges in life, and He Himself has shown us the most perfect manifestation of His love in sending us His most beloved Son, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, to be with us, and to touch us with His sacrifice and love, by enduring the most terrible and painful sufferings and death for our sake on His Cross.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we are reminded that as we continue to journey through our lives with love and dedication to God, we should continue to commit ourselves thoroughly and wholeheartedly at all times, loving God with all of our might and capacity, at all times and in every opportunities, entrusting ourselves to Him and being faithful to Him, remembering His love and commitment towards us. Then, at the same time, as the Lord Himself mentioned, we should also be filled with love and kindness towards our fellow brothers and sisters, love in its various forms, like the love that Tobias and Sara had for each other as loving husband and wife, and also the love we have for our parents and children, and our other family members, for our friends and all those whom we love, and also for others all around us, the compassion and love within our hearts, especially for those who are suffering and facing hardships in life.

Now, as Christians, all of us should embody this love within our lives and actions, and we should always be filled with love at all times, so that through us and our loving actions and works, more and more people may come to know of God and His love, His truth and Good News. No one will believe in us speaking of God’s Good News and truth, unless they see these things being reflected well in our own lives and actions. Worse still, if our way of life and our own actions are contrary to what the Lord has shown and taught us, and if we do not have a strong and vibrant love for the Lord and for our fellow brethren around us, then how can we call ourselves as Christians? And not only that, but all of our lack of faith and hypocrisy may even drive people further away from the Church and from the salvation in God. That is why it is important that we ourselves believe the Lord wholeheartedly and reflect our faith in our lives.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all turn our hearts towards the Lord, our attention and efforts towards Him. Let us do whatever we can to glorify His Name and to serve His cause at all times. May the Lord, our most loving God and Creator, continue to guide us through our lives and help us to live them thoroughly with faith and devotion to Him, now and always, so that we may truly be shining and great beacons of our Christian faith and God’s truth. Amen.

Thursday, 8 June 2023 : 9th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 12 : 28b-34

At that time, a teacher of the Law came up and asked Jesus, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is : Hear, Israel! The Lord, our God, is One Lord; and you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. And after this comes a second commandment : You shall love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these two.”

The teacher of the Law said to Him, “Well spoken, Master; You are right when You say that He is One, and there is no other besides Him. To love Him with all our heart, with all our understanding and with all our strength, and to love our neighbour as ourselves is more important than any burnt offering or sacrifice.”

Jesus approved of this answer and said, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that, no one dared to ask Him any more questions.

Thursday, 8 June 2023 : 9th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 127 : 1-2, 3, 4-5

Blessed are you who fear the Lord and walk in His ways. You will eat fruit of your toil; you will be blessed and favoured.

Your wife, like a vine, will bear fruits in your home; your children, like olive shoots will stand around your table.

Such are the blessings bestowed upon the man who fears the Lord. May the Lord bless you from Zion. May you see Jerusalem prosperous all the days of your life.

Thursday, 8 June 2023 : 9th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Tobit 6 : 10-11 and Tobit 7 : 1, 9-17 and Tobit 8 : 4-9a

When Tobias and Raphael had entered Media and were already approaching Ecbatana, Raphael said to Tobias, “Friend, we shall spend the night at the house of Ragouel. He is a relative of yours. He has no son, just an only daughter called Sara.

When they arrived in Ecbatana Tobias said to Raphael, “Friend Azarias, take me straightaway to our friend Ragouel.” So Raphael led Tobias to Ragouel’s house and they found Ragouel sitting by the door of the courtyard. They killed a sheep and served them numerous dishes.

After they had bathed and washed, as they were relaxing before the meal, Tobias said to Raphael, “Friend Azarias, tell Ragouel to give me Sara my kinswoman. Talk about what you were saying during our journey, that the matter may come about and be accomplished.”

Ragouel overheard the conversation and he said to Tobias, “Eat, drink and be merry tonight. You are the man who has most right to take Sara my daughter because you are my kinsman. Indeed it is impossible for me to give her to any other man but you, because you are my closest relative. But, my son, I must tell you the whole story. I gave her to seven husbands from among our kinsmen. They each died on the wedding night. But, for the moment, my son, eat and drink and the Lord will arrange things for you.”

Tobias said, “I shall eat nothing if you do not stop now and bring this matter to a conclusion.” Ragouel said to Tobias, “Take her from now on; I give her to you according to the Law of Moses and you have to understand that God Himself gives her to you. Receive your kinswoman, from now on you are her brother and she is your sister. She is yours from today and forever. Now God will bless you this night and may He give you both His mercy and peace.”

He called his daughter Sara and taking her by the hand, he gave her to Tobias as his wife. He said, “According to Moses’ Law, take her now and bring her to your father’s house.” And he blessed them. Ragouel then called Edna his wife; taking a sheet of parchment, he wrote down a matrimonial contract and they both affixed their seals.

Then they all began to eat. Ragouel called his wife and said to her, “My sister, prepare the other room and take Sara there.” Edna did as Ragouel told her and she took Sara to this room and Sara began to cry. Edna dried her daughter’s tears and said, “Have courage, my child, the God of heaven and earth will change your sorrow into joy. Have confidence, my daughter!”

When Sara’s parents had left the room and closed the door, Tobias got up from the bed and said to Sara, “Get up, my sister, and let us ask the Lord to have mercy on us and save us.” She got up and they began to pray, asking that they be given life. Tobias began like this, “May You be blessed, o Lord God of our fathers, and may Your holy and glorious Name be blessed forever. May the heavens and all creatures bless You. You created Adam and You gave him Eve, his wife, as a helper and companion, so that from these two the human race might be born.”

“You said : ‘It is not good that man should be alone, let Us give him a companion who is like himself.’ Now, Lord, I take my sister to myself in sincerity and love, not merely seeking pleasure. Have mercy on us and grant us a long life together.” Together they said, “Amen,” and returned to bed for the night.

Wednesday, 7 June 2023 : 9th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us listened to the words of the Scriptures, in which we are reminded of God’s providence and love for each and every one of us. All of us are promised a life that is free from the sufferings of this world and all the troubles surrounding us now, which will be ours in due time. The Lord leads us all to this journey towards this new and everlasting life, after our worldly journey comes to an end. We are reminded today that our life in this world is not an end to itself, but is merely a temporary stop towards an eternity to come. Eternal life awaits all of us and no matter how much hardships and sufferings that we will have to endure now, in the end, the Lord will lead us to a new life and existence that is free from all sufferings and hardships, into a life that is full of the grace and love of God, when all of us are risen from the dead with Christ.

In our first reading today, taken from the Book of Tobit, in which both Tobit and Sara, who were facing great tribulation and hardships back then, were praying fervently to God to help them out of their predicament and hardships. Each one of them were suffering greatly because of the challenges that they faced, with Tobit suffering from his blindness and from the ridicule even from his own wife and friends, after his blindness and attitude made him unliked by those who were around him. Meanwhile, Sara was the daughter of Ragouel that was a friend of Tobit’s. She was beset by a powerful demon named Asmodeus, who has struck at all the seven brothers who were married to her and became her husbands. Thus Sara was ridiculed by her own maidservants that accused her of having murdered all of her past husbands when she had done no such thing.

In distress, both Tobit and Sara prayed to the Lord and sought His help and guidance, and the Lord heard them in their distress and all of their prayers. The Lord sent His Archangel Raphael, one of His chief Angels to guide and help both Tobit and Sara, as He sent him to accompany Tobias, the son of Tobit on his journey. Eventually, through the assistance rendered by the Archangel Raphael and all that God had sent to His faithful servants through His Archangel, both Tobit and Sara were liberated from their misery and troubles. They were given reprieve, and not just that, but even greater blessings from God, much as what we may know of another tragic story in the Scriptures, that of the man of God, Job, who similarly faced hardships and difficulties before he was freed from all those.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard of the Lord Jesus speaking to a group of Sadducees who challenged the Lord, questioned Him and attempted to test the Lord by using a case study, which was rather similar to what we have heard from the Book of Tobit. The Sadducees were one of the two most influential and powerful groups in the society of the Jewish people at that time in the region, especially at Judea and in Jerusalem. Those Sadducees consisted of those whose beliefs were diametrically opposite of the conservative and hardline religious members of the Pharisees. As opposed to the deeply spiritual and Law-observant Pharisees, the Sadducees were those who rejected any spiritual aspects of the Jewish society. They did not believe in the resurrection, or the Angels or any other spiritual matters.

Thus, they were mostly a worldly people with lots of influence and wealth, through which they exercised their power and influence. They asked the Lord regarding how resurrection was possible if in the case study they presented, seven brothers who shared a wife eventually died, and when the woman herself died, whose wife she would be, as they thought in the ways of the people of this world. The Lord thus refuted their thoughts and way of beliefs, by saying that whatever the world to come is to be like, it will be different from our way of life in this world, which is often materialistic and even to the point of being hedonistic and selfish, filled with greed and worldly desires. There is indeed a life beyond death, life that is fully satisfied by the fullness of grace from God.

The Lord Jesus reminded us all that if we seek satisfaction from this world, we will soon be easily disappointed by the hardships, challenges, rejection, ridicule and all the obstacles we may encounter on the way. Like what Tobit and Sara had experienced during their most difficult moments, without the guidance and strength in God, and without the hope of the life that is to come in the Lord, we will easily give in to despair. But God is always with us, by our side, guiding us and strengthening us throughout our journey, and as He has often demonstrated, even in our own lives, we should continue to entrust ourselves to Him and to walk ever more faithfully in His path, living our lives well and righteously so that we will always be good role models and inspirations for one another.

We should not be easily swayed and tempted by the many worldly temptations all around us, or by any desires for worldly matters and corruptions, all the pursuits of worldly glory, pleasures, ambitions and more among all those that we encounter in this world. And if we do encounter hardships in life, we must always remember that God is there by our side, supporting and guiding us all in each and every moments without fail. We may have to endure sufferings and hardships, but we must remember that God has suffered the ultimate suffering, rejection, ridicule and persecution for our sake, and He has endured what we are enduring as well. All of us are always in God’s good hands, and we ought to remember this fact.

May the Lord continue to strengthen and encourage us by His love, His grace and ever present guidance in our daily lives, so that we may always walk ever more graciously and with faith in the path that He has presented to us. Let us all continue to be upright and commit ourselves each day with ever more dedication and obedience to Him, now and always. Amen.