Sunday, 21 July 2013 : 16th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Psalm 14 : 2-3ab, 3cd-4ab, 5

Those who walk blamelessly and do what is right, who speak truth from their heart and control their words, who do no harm to their neighbours.

And cast no discredit on their companions, who look down on evildoers but highly esteem God’s servants.

Who do not lend money at interest and refuse a bribe against the innocent. Do this, and you will soon be shaken.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Romuald, Abbot (Scripture Reflection)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard about how we should love God and do things for the sake of the Lord, but we must do it because we truly love Him, with the full sincerity of the heart, and not with any hidden intentions or desires. It is natural for us to have those kind of desires, to be glorified and praised ourselves, as it is part of our human nature. We are naturally attracted to glory and power, and that is why, even in the things that we do, we would certainly want to be praised and glorified for the successes we achieved.

When we pray, when we fast, and when we do things that the Lord told us to do, do it in secret and in our own private space, although it is not wrong indeed to do it in the open. That is because when we do things in secret, we are safe from the presence of others who can look at what we are doing. In doing that, it will remove that obstacle of pride from our hearts, because when someone is with us, we no longer focus on ourselves when we pray, and because we subconsciously know that someone is looking at us, and we are certainly tempted to exaggerate things so that people would praise us.

When we closed off ourselves from the world, in our prayer, our fasting, and our almsgiving, we can then focus solely on the Lord, and to whom we give the alms to. So that we will not be led astray and instead believe in our own personal human glory instead of bringing glory to God. Remember that prayer is a conversation between ourselves and the Lord, not a means through which we should glorify ourselves by showing our piety to others.

It does not mean then we should never pray in public or do something pious in view of others. Indeed, doing it at the right moment, and especially with the right intentions and understandings would enable us to be tools of evangelisation, as these also may bring light and understanding to others who had no understanding about the faith in the Lord. Through our prayers, our actions, which we share to them, we will be able to bring a new light to them, and may even bring them to salvation through their acceptance of Christ as their Lord and Saviour.

Yes, whenever we pray, fast, or do something according to our faith, be it in public, or in private, do it for the right intentions, and for the right state of our heart and mind. That we do these all for the glory of God, and God alone, and for the sanctification and purification of our sinful self and the salvation of our soul, and not to accumulate and gather human glories and human praises.

If we know then how to pray sincerely with our heart, and use that chance to truly communicate with the Lord who loves us, and wants to speak with us, we will then find the true meaning of our faith in God, and we will be enriched in our own lives, by the love that God gives us and through His grace, that He grants to those who truly loves Him, and not merely loving themselves in the guise of loving God.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us be sincere in all our actions, and do not place ourselves before the Lord in all things. Do not place our desires and our greed to take over us and make us fall into sin, yes, into the sin of pride, because we glorify ourselves rather than God. Be truthful in all our actions, and do them because we truly love the Lord in all the things that we do. Do not seek personal glory, but glorify the Lord at all times.

For human glory is fleeting, and human achievements are temporary in nature. But great is the glory and the reward that await us in heaven, if we remain faithful, truthful, and steadfast in our faith in God, and remain in His love. Remain always in God’s grace, and He will grant us the eternal reward of glory in heaven. Seek not what will not last, but seek what will last forever.

Today, we also commemorate the feast of St. Romuald, a well known religious and abbot, whose life was truly exemplary to us. St. Romuald was once a sinful man, who indulged in all things evil in his youth, and led a debauched life. But after a life-changing experience and revelation of the faith, he changed his ways, and became a truly holy and dedicated person for the Lord. He founded many monasteries and established a strong monastic practice in the society at the time.

St. Romuald in particular placed a great importance on the understanding on the faith, and the serenity of oneself in prayer, that one can be truly be united with God, and truly focus themselves to the Lord their God, avoiding any kind of distractions that may lead them astray from the path of salvation. St. Romuald’s life also shows the kind of prayer that the Lord wants from us, a prayer made out of pure love and dedication for the Lord, in the silence of our hearts. It does not mean that all of us should become monks or join the religious orders in order to do so, but even a simple act of taking a time in silence, in the midst of the business of our lives, we can achieve this, that through a well-conceived prayer, our faith in God will grow ever stronger, and we will be ever closer to Him.

May God strengthen us, strengthen the edge of our humility, and remind us at all times to bring glory to Him, and not to strive for our own personal glory. May He bless us at all times in all the things that we do, that in all that we do, we bring life and love to all around us, that in whatever things that we do, God will be praised and glorified, forever and ever. Amen.

Saturday, 15 June 2013 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflection)

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today Christ taught us through the Gospel, how to be truthful to ourselves, and to keep truth enshrined within our hearts, and to be sincere, in our dealings with our fellow man and with God. That we should speak out sincerely what is within our hearts rather than resorting to oaths and promises, that we cannot be certain to uphold, and end up becoming false oaths and empty promises.

That was why Christ told us to be sincere and truthful to ourselves, rather than being liars because we lie about our true intentions through false promises and oaths, and even as betrayer because we are seen as unfaithful to those promises and oaths we had made, worse still if these oaths and vows were made in the Name of the Lord, or His Holy City, heaven and earth, as the falsehood will certainly sully the Holy Name and the divinity of our Lord. Certainly God will not take kindly to that.

God has all the authority over all heaven and earth, and all things are His own, and He is the only One who is ever truthful to all of His promises and His vows, ever since He promised to Abraham that his descendants will be as plentiful as the stars, and the promise of salvation through the Messiah, in which He gave Himself through His own Son, Jesus Christ, as the Messiah and our Redeemer. He is always true to His words.

He promised salvation to all of mankind, whom had been under slavery of sin, and the punishment of death for our rebellion and the rebellion of our ancestors. Yes, as we heard in the first reading today, and as we know it, our Lord Jesus Christ is the pure and spotless lamb of sacrifice, and none other than the very Lamb of God, who was blameless and sinless, but was made into the Paschal Lamb of sacrifice, to bear all our sins, that through His Blood, the Blood of the Lamb, we are made whole and clean of our faults, and therefore once again worthy of the Lord, a fulfillment of His promise.

That is why, my brothers and sisters in Christ, that we should not make vows, oaths, or promises, unless we are absolutely certain and sincere about the choices that we make, so that we will not be lying both to God, to ourselves, and to those around us who are witnesses to the oaths, vows, and promises that we had made. Only if we are dedicated to the choices we made, just like Christ obeying the promises of God’s salvation to mankind and pushed forward all the way to the very end at Calvary, enduring sufferings upon sufferings, that we can endeavour to make such promises, oaths, or vows.

Otherwise, just be sincere about our feelings and our opinions. If we disagree upon a certain matter, do not be afraid to say no to that matter, and to say yes to a matter if we agree with it. In doing that, we are being sincere and truthful to ourselves, and to others, and we will remain righteous and just in the eyes of our brethren and most importantly, in the eyes of the Lord our God.

Sincerity and truth can go a long way, my brothers and sisters in Christ, and if used appropriately, they will certainly be a boon in relationships, and will help to bring about peace, harmony, and love among the peoples. Is that not a good thing to do? Let us reflect on our own lives, on our own words and actions, whether we have remained true to ourselves, or whether we have always lied to ourselves, to God, and to our neighbour, by hiding behind layers of false promises and oaths.

Let us be ever faithful to God, be ever truthful to Him and to our neighbours, and hide nothing from God, and in our sincerity, our God who is truth and who loves truth, will reward us. God bless us all. Amen.