Thursday, 20 March 2014 : 2nd Week of Lent (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we are introduced today to an important catechesis of the faith, that is on the fate of our soul, when we go to the afterlife after our life in this world ends. And it was made clear to us by the story of Lazarus and the rich man, to show the contrast between the two fates that are possible for all of us.

Nevertheless, I would like to warn all of you first to be very careful in reading and understanding this part of the Gospels, as it is easy to be misunderstood and misrepresented, as if Jesus is advocating a sort of class war or conflict between the poor and the rich. And neither should we equate poverty with salvation and riches with damnation. Not all poor will end up in eternal joy, and many rich ones will also be saved.

In order to truly understand the meaning behind the passage, we have to understand the context behind Jesus’ teaching of the parables to His students. At the time of Jesus, and as it is similar in our world today, the divide and gap in the society in terms of wealth and affluence was very pronounced, and the rich ones were very rich with great excess, while the poor was very poor, having almost nothing on themselves.

Thus, it is easier for Jesus to teach the people, if He said them in a manner which can be easily understandable to the people, and hence His choice of characters and the story, to highlight the disparity between the two. Lazarus the poor man had nothing, and sat down in front of the rich man’s mansion hoping that the rich man would spare him some food from his table.

The rich man spared him nothing, and continued to live in splendour and great excess, partying day after day without any concern for those who were less fortunate than him. So that is why, after he died, the Lord gave him his due that is hopelessness, and eternal suffering in hell, to suffer with the devil and his fellow fallen angels.

Meanwhile Lazarus was welcomed into heaven, to enjoy forever the fruits of God’s love, to enjoy the food of everlasting life and he will no longer experience hunger, unlike what he had to go through in life. This is certainly what we all want as well. After all, who will choose hell over heaven? Nobody wants suffering, because we all want happiness.

This certainly should have taught us a good lesson, that if we forget to do what is expected from us by God, then we will be judged and deemed unworthy of heaven. Remember, brethren, that the wealth and possessions that we have is a gift for us, and it is not evil. There is nothing wrong in fact with people having more wealth than others.

However, wealth itself is neutral, but it can be used for either good or bad purposes. Like the rich man, who ignored the plight of Lazarus, he failed to utilise his abundance for a good purpose, and thus he was judged against. He failed to love another mankind, and therefore this ignorance spoke out against him when he is judged by the Judge of all life.

What is of concern to us is regarding the culture of waste and excess that often permeates in our society, and we often do not think about those who do not even have enough. We often consume more than what we need, even to the point of gluttony. We forget that the excesses can be given to those who have little and none that they may have enough.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we reflect on the story of Lazarus and the rich man, that we may from now on consider our own lifestyle, whether we have been charitable to those who have little or none, giving up our excesses to them, so they too can enjoy together with us. Being rich is fine, brothers and sisters, but just make sure that we keep our less fortunate brethren in mind! God bless. Amen.

Monday, 3 March 2014 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Following the Law of the Lord is not enough, brothers and sisters, because if we are to seek salvation, then we have to devote ourselves entirely to the Lord. Jesus mentioned to the rich man, to sell everything he had and gave the possessions and the wealth to the poor. Well, we can do that of course, but what is important is to understand the meaning behind the message rather than to take it literally.

What is important for us is for us all to dedicate our heart to God and to Him alone. We cannot be divided in our attention, especially with the things of this world. It is easy for us to be distracted and be affected by our concerns for the world. We often put our possessions and wealth first in our heart and not our love for God.

It does not mean though, that rich people cannot receive salvation or be saved. What it means is rather that, rich people does have greater tendency to be diverted in their way to salvation, because of the worldly possessions they have. But remember, brethren, that wealth itself, as I often mentioned, is neutral. Our possessions and money can be utilised for the sake of the good or for the sake of bad things.

But more often than not we put our trust in these things rather than God, and we are often overprotective of our wealth and possessions. We do not easily give up our wealth for the sake of those who are less fortunate. Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is the attitude that we should provide, and regardless of our status and backgrounds.

Yes, even when we are poor, we can also be very protective over what little we have, and we can be exclusive in our own actions. Just like those rich ones who generously donated their wealth for the less fortunate indeed. We cannot have any prejudice or contempt on those whom we deem to be not as good as ourselves. First, what we have to do, is to look into ourselves and ask ourselves, whether in our own actions we have done things deplorable in the eyes of the Lord.

When we show our faith to the Lord, then we have to be genuine in our faith, and we cannot be half-hearted in our attempt to devote ourselves to the Lord. Brothers and sisters in Christ, if we want to enter the kingdom of God, then we have to be like what Christ wants us to be, that is to love, and to love tenderly! Yes, love is the basic means for us to enter into God’s kingdom.

If we do not love, then we will have no part in God’s kingdom. And this love does not mean love for our possessions, our wealth, or love just for those whom we want to love alone. This love means, as Christ often mentioned, the love for God and the love for our brothers and sisters, the fellow mankind we live with in this world.

Mankind often forget this, and are preoccupied with their own businesses and things, that they forget to do what is expected from them. We have much potential and gifts given by God, and these we can use to make a difference. Our wealth can be shared with those who are less fortunate than us.

May the Lord awaken in us, the love and dedication for our fellow men. May He bring us to love one another more and more, sharing with those who have less than us, that we may rejoice together in the Lord. May the Lord bless us with love and strengthen our devotion to Him, always and forever. Amen.

Sunday, 9 February 2014 : 5th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

We are light of the world and salt of the earth. That is what our Lord had made us all to be, all those who believe in Him and has been welcomed and are now part of His Body, that is His Church. We are all called to be light and salt for all the nations, and to proclaim the kingdom of God and the Good News of Jesus Christ to all the nations, to all the peoples, especially those who live in darkness and those who have no flavour in their lives.

Yes, we are called to bring light to those who had fallen into the darkness and to bring flavour to the blandness of people’s lives in this world. Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we hear in the first reading, from the book of the prophet Isaiah, of the examples of the things we can do, in order to accomplish this in accordance with God’s will.

In all of us, God has given seeds of faith, hope, and love, and many gifts of various types, which we can use to help one another, and bring indeed the light and flavour to the livelihood of many. Each one of us have different set of skills and abilities, granted to us by God, awaiting for us to use them for the good of our fellow men, our fellow brothers and sisters.

Yet, many of us did not use these gifts God had given us, and let them to be dormant. There are various reasons attributed to this lack of action, but the most important and common of which include, fear of failure and embarrassment, laziness and sloth, and finally, greed and desire for self-aggrandisement and glorification. All of these prevent us from utilising fully God’s gifts for each one of us.

And when this happened, the light that is in us becomes hidden, and the salt that is in us becomes tasteless and bland, and therefore the gifts in us become dormant and useless. We fear failure and embarrassment in the eyes of men, because we are concerned of how others view us and our actions, as we practice our faith in this world. We also have our own desires and temptations, that we use our gifts instead for the benefit of others, but for our own good and our own glory, often at the expense of many others.

We are often to take the first step, and have the initiative to embark on the mission of good works as the Lord had told us to do, because we are often uncertain, what will our actions do to ourselves. We often ask ourselves first many times, whether what we are doing or going to do will impact us in a way that disadvantages us, by making us look embarrassed or less preferable by our society and our friends in any way.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this world has its set of values, many of which do not necessarily agree or correspond to the values which our Lord Jesus Christ and the Lord in the Holy Scriptures had taught us. The world therefore will not necessarily see our actions based on our faith in good light, but our Lord who sees all, will see that whatever we are doing, to be good.

If we continue to be concerned about our image or standing in the society, as well as our friendships and relationships, then it may be difficult for us to be truly the light and salt of the world. To be light of the world, we have to throw far, far away our prejudices, our fears, and our uncertainties. Instead we should put our trust in God, and believe in Him only, trusting that He will guide our way to the truth.

We should also throw far away our desire and our greed, for power, for affluence, for pleasure, and for many other things of the world. If we are to become the true light of the world and salt of the earth, then we have to be truly selfless, that our beings be transformed to be conduits of God’s love and grace, that through us, the world will see the Light of our Lord and the beauty that He brings into this world, which brings flavour to all things.

We should not be worry or fearful, but yet we too should not be showy or seeking attention in any way. We have to make use of what God has given us, in faith, hope and love, and show them through concrete actions, out of pure and unadulterated and unconditional love for our brethren, just as the prophet Isaiah had said.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us from today onwards, resolve to seek out those in need, whether they are in need of material goods, basic survival items, or even as simple as needing love. Let us be the light of the world and the salt of the earth, showing this world that there is much good in God and in following God, that all mankind may be saved in the Lord. God be with us all. Amen.

Sunday, 9 February 2014 : 5th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 111 : 4-5, 6-7, 8a and 9

He is for the righteous a light in darkness, He is kind, merciful and upright. It will be well with Him who lends freely, who leads a life of justice and honesty.

For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered and loved forever. He has no fear of evil news, for his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.

His heart is confident, he gives generously to the poor, his merits will last forever and his head will be raised in honour.

Sunday, 9 February 2014 : 5th Sunday of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Isaiah 58 : 7-10

Fast by sharing your food with the hungry, bring to your house the homeless, clothe the one you see naked and do not turn away from your own kin. Then will your light break forth as the dawn and your healing come in a flash. Your righteousness will be your vanguard, the Glory of YHVH your rearguard.

Then you will call and YHVH will answer, you will cry and He will say, I am here. If you remove from your midst the yoke, the clenched fist and the wicked word, if you share your food with the hungry and give relief to the oppressed, then your light will rise in the dark, your night will be like noon.

1st Anniversary of my Blog! (16-17 January 2013 – present) Thank you for your support! Deo Gratias!

As of tonight, the time between 16 and 17 January 2014, my blog reaches its 1 year mark. It was begun with an inspiration exactly a year ago, just a month after I created my twitter account, inspired by the example of our dear Pope Benedict XVI who made the @Pontifex papal twitter account in early December 2012.

I thank all of those who had chanced upon my blog, and for my regular readers. I apologise for any mistakes I have made or any delay in my postings. The Lord had been kind to me throughout this past year, and He continues to encourage me to write despite some difficulties and challenges I have met along the way.

May this coming new year for my blog bring it to even greater heights, as I will soon write more about the Faith, the Church, and many catechesis of the Faith, from various official sources such as the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Canon Law, and many others. Thank you once again for your support, and may God bless you all!

May our faith continue to strengthen and grow in God!

 

Yours in Christ,

 

+Peter Canisius Michael David Kang

Ut Omnes Unum Sint, ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam

(That they all may be One, for the greater glory of God)

Sunday, 22 December 2013 : Fourth Sunday of Advent (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Brothers and sisters, today we enter into the last Sunday of Advent, the fourth one of all. We celebrate today the theme of love, after we had celebrated the themes of hope, peace, and joy. For indeed, these are all the things we rejoice and celebrate for in Christmas. And the most important of all, is love. That is because there will be no Christmas without love, and the greatest love is the love that God has for all of us.

For God so loved the world, that He gave us His only Son, that we who believe in Him shall not die nor suffer the effects of death, but receive life eternal in that Son. This well-known and well-read passage from the Gospel of John chapter three verse sixteen is that proof of the everlasting love and the ultimate form of love that God had shown us, and which was made manifest this Christmas.

Christmas is not just about Christmas lights, decorations, and about gifts. Christmas is not just about promotions, new goods, shopping opportunities, and something on the same line as those. Christmas is not the day preceding the Boxing Day if we think it in the terms of the gifts that we will receive and benefit from. Instead, indeed, it is all about love, about sharing the love that God had for all of us, and share it with one another in love.

Without love, our lives will not be perfect nor fulfilling. And without love, we will not have hope, peace, and joy. Love lies at the centre of our lives and is the centre of our faith. Our faith must always be based on love, because we believe in God, who is Love Himself. God is Love, and He cannot withhold His love for us, and that was why He wanted to be with us, and for us to be with Him.

Emmanuel, God is with us, is one of the many titles that Jesus Christ our Lord has. And His very presence in this world, as the Divine incarnate to the flesh of mortals, is a true example of this love. For as the omnipotent and all powerful God, eternal and limitless, God has no need for any worries or concerns because He has everything, and everything in creation belongs to Him. Yet, He concerned Himself with us, seeking our welfare and well-being.

Without this divine love, we would certainly have no hope whatsoever. Life will be meaningless and death will truly be fearsome. That is why the Lord came to us, to be with us, and to dwell with us, in Jesus Christ His Son. In Jesus lies all of our hope, and in Him we find true love, and this love is the joy of Christmas, the true joy that we should be celebrating.

So, brothers and sisters in Christ, do we come together to celebrate Christmas because we like to revel in the festivities and the partying, in all the merrymaking? Do we enjoy and look forward to Christmas because of the gifts we are to get from our friends and families? Do we look forward to Christmas because it is a time for us to travel around as it is the holiday period?

If our answers to these questions are yes, then we have missed the true intention of Christmas and the true joy of Christmas. That is precisely the problem with our modern world, where Christmas has been extensively and thoroughly transformed into a commercial property. Christmas is no longer about Christ, after which it was named for. Christmas which was about the birth of Christ, had become the fascination on Santa Claus, gift elves and all the pagan fantasies that mankind had indulged themselves in, submitting to the temptations of the world.

Every time we celebrate Christmas, we should always remember that it is about Christ, about the wondrous birth of Christ our Lord and Saviour, and about the perfect manifestation of love that God our Father showed us. He showed us all His favour, by choosing to be born of the Virgin Mary, to become one of us, and to be the lowest among us, born in a poor and dirty stable even though He was destined to be a King.

So are we ready now to celebrate the coming of Christ this Christmas? We have to bring Christ into Christmas, or otherwise our celebrations will be meaningless. Invoke Christ as we rejoice with one another, and use this opportunity to share our blessings and graces with those who have less. As people often said, that Christmas is a season of giving, but we must not limit this giving just to among ourselves and our own circle of friends.

Share the love of God this Christmas, and proclaim the joy of His coming to everyone. As we welcome Christ into our world, let us also welcome Him into our hearts, and share this Love incarnate, Christ Himself, with everyone we encountered, especially those who lack the sweetness of love.

May the Lord our God continue to bless us with love, that we will grow to love one another, and love Him more and more. May our Christmas be bountiful, peaceful, and be filled with love and joy, not for ourselves, but for the glory of God and the glory of all of God’s people! Amen.

My blog passed the 50,000th view. Thanks be to God!

My humble blog has been viewed 50,000 times as of Thursday, 21 November 2013.

Thanks be to God who has granted me the strength daily to persevere in my faith and my dedication to Him, which I offer to Him and all my fellow men through the works of my hands.

Here is the current statistics of my blog :

Days since inception : 313

Total views : 50,244

Total visitors : 29,520

Total posts : 1,655

 

Statistics by countries (Data available total – 49,578) :

1. United States of America : 17,203

2. Singapore : 12,022

3. Philippines : 4,553

4. United Kingdom : 2,547

5. Canada : 1,966

6. Italy : 1,132

7. Australia : 964

8. Germany : 714

9. India : 620

10. France : 493

11. Ireland : 493

12. Poland : 470

13. Malaysia : 410

14. Indonesia : 355

15. Netherlands : 305

16. Belgium : 240

17. Brazil : 231

18. Spain : 190

19. Hungary : 182

20. New Zealand : 172

21. Hong Kong : 162

22. Sweden : 160

23. Switzerland : 159

24. Austria : 154

25. South Africa : 153

26. Mexico : 149

27. Portugal : 148

28. Croatia : 138

29. United Arab Emirates : 127

30. Nigeria : 114

31. Malta : 110

32. Thailand : 105

33. Japan : 104

34. Saudi Arabia : 100

35. Slovakia : 93

36. Finland : 92

37. Vietnam : 91

38. Greece : 84

39. Romania : 83

40. Czech Republic : 82

41. Russian Federation : 82

42. Norway : 78

43. Argentina : 78

44. Lithuania : 76

45. Taiwan : 75

46. Colombia : 66

47. Kenya : 59

48. Puerto Rico (USA) : 53

49. Ghana : 52

50. South Korea : 51

51. Sri Lanka : 50

52. Botswana : 44

53. Slovenia : 41

54. Trinidad and Tobago : 39

55. Panama : 36

56. Israel : 35

57. Lebanon : 34

58. Denmark : 33

59. Chile : 32

60. Uganda : 31

61. Pakistan : 31

62. Vatican City : 31

63. Kuwait : 30

64. Tanzania : 29

65. Bulgaria : 28

66. Cyprus : 27

67. Cameroon : 26

68. Mauritius : 24

69. Egypt : 24

70. Costa Rica : 22

71. Bosnia and Herzegovina : 21

72. Serbia : 20

73. Ukraine : 20

74. Zimbabwe : 20

75. Turkey : 18

76. Dominican Republic : 18

77. Guam (USA) : 18

78. Latvia : 18

79. Jamaica : 18

80. Guatemala : 18

81. Barbados : 17

82. Bahamas : 16

83. Senegal : 14

84. Macau : 14

85. Venezuela : 14

86. Qatar : 13

87. Namibia : 13

88. Bangladesh : 12

89. Luxembourg : 12

90. Brunei Darussalam : 12

91. Ethiopia : 11

92. El Salvador : 11

93. Cambodia : 9

94. Peru : 9

95. Rwanda : 9

96. Belarus : 9

97. Jordan : 9

98. Bolivia : 8

99. Albania : 8

100. Ivory Coast : 8

101. Saint Lucia : 8

102. Virgin Islands (USA and UK) : 7

103. Nepal : 7

104. Grenada : 7

105. Estonia : 7

106. Zambia : 7

107. Djibouti : 7

108. Moldova : 6

109. Gibraltar (UK) : 6

110. Nicaragua : 5

111. Turks and Caicos Islands (UK) : 5

112. Honduras : 5

113. Dominica : 5

114. Mozambique : 4

115. Ecuador : 4

116. Papua New Guinea : 4

117. Uruguay : 4

118. Northern Mariana Islands (USA) : 4

119. Myanmar : 4

120. Bahrain : 4

121. Fiji : 4

122. Cayman Islands (UK) : 3

123. Swaziland : 3

124. Laos : 3

125. Iraq : 3

126. Lesotho : 3

127. Guyana : 3

128. Liechtenstein : 3

129. Bermuda (UK) : 3

130. Sierra Leone : 2

131. Solomon Islands : 2

132. Martinique : 2

133. Guernsey (UK) : 2

134. Oman : 2

135. Armenia : 2

136. Belize : 2

137. Monaco : 2

138. Marshall Islands : 2

139. Timor-Leste : 2

140. Malawi : 2

141. Haiti : 2

142. Madagascar : 2

143. Uzbekistan : 2

144. Iceland : 2

145. Togo : 1

146. Isle of Man (UK) : 1

147. St. Vincent and the Grenadines : 1

148. Maldives : 1

149. Greenland (Denmark) : 1

150. Federated States of Micronesia : 1

151. Paraguay : 1

152. Libya : 1

153. Palestinian Territories : 1

154. French Polynesia (France) : 1

155. Montenegro : 1

156. Equatorial Guinea : 1

157. Seychelles : 1

158. Macedonia : 1

159. American Samoa (USA) : 1

160. Iran : 1

Tuesday, 12 November 2013 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 17 : 7-10

Who among you would say to your servant, coming in from the fields after plowing or tending sheep, ‘Go ahead and have your dinner?’ No, you tell him, ‘Prepare my dinner. Put on your apron, and wait on me while I eat and drink. You can eat and drink afterwards.’

Do you thank this servant for doing what you told him to do? I do not think so. And therefore, when you have done all that you have been told to do, you should say, ‘We are no more than servants; We have only done our duty.’

Monday, 4 November 2013 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Charles Borromeo, Bishop (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White (Bishops)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we come together to celebrate the feast of a great and yet humble saint, that is St. Charles Borromeo, or San Carlo Borromeo as he is known in his native Italy. He was the Archbishop of Milan, the most influential and largest of the dioceses in the world today, and even then during the lifetime of St. Charles Borromeo. He was also a Cardinal of the Roman Church based on his position as Archbishop of Milan. Truly he was a very influential prelate during his time.

Yet, despite all that, St. Charles Borromeo remained, above all else, a humble, devout, and loving person, and a dedicated servant of God Most High, putting God always before himself in all things. He committed himself to the service of those who had been entrusted to him, like that of a shepherd caring for his sheep with all of his might and attention, as well as love.

St. Charles Borromeo was born from a rich family, and yet he rejected the culture of waste and excessive glamour that characterised the nobles and the wealthy during that period. He was completely dedicated and devoted to the poor, and he took his duties as Archbishop of Milan seriously, working hard for his people, and in humility, he often walked in the streets barefooted and with a cord around his neck, to symbolise the burdens he carried as the shepherd of God’s people.

St. Charles Borromeo, made a cardinal in his youth, showed great zeal as well in the affairs of the Universal Church, giving great contributions towards the effort to stem the tide of the heretical Protestantism, and spearheading, together with many other contemporary saints, the Counter-Reformation, particularly through the Council of Trent. St. Charles Borromeo ensured that the Church was thoroughly reformed and cleansed of any corruptions that had permeated the Church of God in the past centuries.

St. Charles Borromeo, despite his zeal, great dedication, and commitment to the good of the Church and God’s people, faced much opposition and resistance. Despite all those oppositions, though, he persevered, and his hard works gave a solid foundation for the Church, from which the Church and Christendom may heal from the terrible heresy of Protestantism and other heresies running rampant at that time.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, St. Charles Borromeo truly embodied what the Lord said in our Gospel reading today. That we have to love and care for the poor, and dare to step out from our comfort zone. We should not just enclose ourselves in our comfort zone, but we must take action, just as St. Charles Borromeo had done, that we love our brethren, especially the poorest, the last, the lost, the least, and the unloved, namely those rejected by society.

Being wealthy and having many possessions is God’s grace, brothers and sisters. It is a sign of God’s blessing and favour upon us. But He did not intend for us to keep all of these blessings and graces for ourselves. We ought to share those blessings with one another, and enjoy these blessings together. We should not rejoice over the suffering of others, especially not those who have nothing or little.

The Lord urged us to show love, care, and compassion to these brothers and sisters of ours. Everyone ought to have enough and sufficient for themselves, and nobody should be lacking and suffer from that. Following the examples set by St. Charles Borromeo and other saints, we should open up ourselves and not withdraw into ourselves. We cannot become mere closet Christians, but rather we must go out and be courageous to proclaim God and His love to all, especially through our own words, deeds, and actions.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, to us who have been given much, let us share with one another the joy He had given us, that our less fortunate brethren may also have the taste of this joy, and rejoice together with us as one people in God, all of whom are His children. And to those of us who have less, we too can share our joy with one another. It does not mean that because we have less then we cannot be joyful or rejoice. Be happy and glad, and celebrate life with one another, sharing the joy.

Yes, brethren, share the joy and blessings we have, that all of us, rich or poor, powerful or weak, can together praise and glorify the Lord as one people, without discriminating against each other or rejoicing over another’s suffering. May the Lord who loves us all, continues to watch over us, bless us, and embrace us with His love. God be with us, always and forever. Amen.