Friday, 11 July 2014 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Benedict, Abbot (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listen about how God cares for us, and indeed, how He takes very good care of us, even after we have sinned and rebelled against Him. And even though this life we have in this world may be difficult and filled with challenges, He will not abandon us or let us walk alone in the darkness.

And today we celebrate the feast of St. Benedict, a well-known saint and monk, who was also known by the name of St. Benedict of Nursia, who founded the Benedictine religious order, and was well-known for his strict rule for his religious order, which entails a strict regimen of prayerful life and life lived in perfect harmony with one another and with God.

But this rule also shows the great values of love, faith, and hope that is instilled in generations of monks and religious, not only in St. Benedict’s religious order, but also many other orders who drew their inspiration from St. Benedict and his works. From this we can see, how this saint was truly a great saint, and how his works had laid a strong foundation of faith for many throughout history.

St. Benedict and many other holy men and women, and many religious and workers of the Lord were truly as what Jesus mentioned in the Gospel today, that is to be like sheep among the wolves, to walk in the path of God amid a worldful worth of sin, temptation and difficulties which Satan placed in our way, to prevent us from reaching salvation in God.

St. Benedict and the many others who came before and after him were all truly faithful and good disciples of the Lord. Not only that they remained faithful amidst all the cunning tricks and lies of the devil in order to subvert all mankind into his cause, but they also worked hard, for the good of all God’s people, and spreading the Good News to the whole world.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we must follow in the examples of St. Benedict of Nursia, that in our faith we must be truly dedicated to Christ our Lord. We cannot be half-hearted in our faith. Instead, we must ensure that every actions and deeds that we do is in tune with the Lord and His will. We must have a good prayer life and time dedicated for the Lord in our lives. We cannot excuse ourselves of having no time for God.

For if we do not open ourselves to the Lord and allow Him to work His wonders in us, then we risk endangering ourselves by bringing ourselves closer to the corruptions of this world, and yet without God as our anchor for us to hold onto, so that we may not be lost in the torrents and streams of this world. Many of mankind had failed and had fallen on their way to the Lord, all trapped and fell along the way as they got distracted from their true goal in life, that is God.

In this life, mankind are always tempted, every day of their lives. We cannot escape from the allures of the world, and all the good things that Satan used in order to detract us and pull us away from our way towards the Lord, and therefore into damnation. It is easy for us to follow our desires and our needs, and therefore forget about what our Lord had taught us. And this is truly dangerous, brothers and sisters, for we have to remember that, we have just this one chance, and only this chance in life to be freed from the ensnarement of sin.

We need to have a discipline in this life, to control our actions and deeds, so that we may temper our desires, so that we may not be enslaved by them, and therefore will not easily succumb to the temptations of Satan. Therefore, let us follow the example set by St. Benedict and many other holy men who followed after him, and also many those who came before him. We must have a heart shaped and dedicated for love, one that will not bend in the face of evil and its temptations.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all commit ourselves to a new life in Christ, one that is founded on light and not on darkness, one that is founded on love and not hatred, and one that is founded on life and not death. Let us all work together, so that we may begin anew in Christ, and live worthily from now on, if we have not done so. May Almighty God guide us and bless us on our way. St. Benedict of Nursia, pray for us as well, that we may be more like you in faith. Amen.

Saturday, 24 May 2014 : 5th Week of Easter, Memorial of Mary Help of Christians and our Lady of Sheshan in China, World Day of Prayer for the Church in China (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 15 : 18-21

If the world hates you, remember that the world hated Me before you. This would not be so if you belonged to the world, because the world loves its own. But you are not of this world, since I have chosen you from the world; because of this the world hates you.

Remember what I told you : the servant is not greater than his master; if they persecute Me, they will persecute you, too. If they kept My word, they will keep yours as well. All this they will do to you for the sake of My Name, because they do not know the One who sent Me.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the Lord is loving and merciful, and He desires nothing from us other than our love and total dedication to Him, and that is what He told Martha, on the love and dedication Mary her sister had for Him. And that is also what He truly desired from the people of Nineveh, that they abandoned their sinful ways and instead took the bold steps towards redemption and salvation.

For many of us, brethren in Christ, are like Martha, who are too busy for the Lord, busy with all the activities that we have, busy with all the things of the world, that we forget about the most important of all, that is loving Christ and giving of ourselves to Him, through our dedication and love. We revel much in the pleasures of the world and gave ourselves in, to the temptations of the devil.

We are so busy and so preoccupied in what we are doing, that we lost sight of the true goal that we have in life, and sadly, many of us are like Martha, whose intention is actually good, in wanting to serve and provide for the Lord, through her service, but became too preoccupied in the rigour of the work, that the work and business take precedence over loving our Lord and God.

We also tend to be like the people of Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian Empire, who lived in sin and basked in their sinfulness. They enjoyed all the pleasures of the world and did things abominable in the eyes of the Lord our God. This is what brought the Lord’s wrath upon them, the divine vengeance which He announced to them through Jonah the prophet.

It is easy for us to lose track of the truth and lose sight of the truth, because we have failed to filter out the noise of the world, which threatens to block the Lord from our hearts. We live in this increasingly noisier world, where mankind listen less and less to the heeding of the Lord, and pay more attention to their ego, their desires, and their wants.

The Lord speaks to us, brothers and sisters, inside our hearts, conveying to us His message of love inside our hearts, for each and every one of us. He wants us to understand the importance of love, especially the love for Him, and the love for our fellow mankind. We are truly creatures of love, created by God Himself who is Love. And yet, because we are often entangled within the evils in this world, we tend to love less and hate more, and even if we love, we tend to only love and care for ourselves.

This is why, brethren, we ought to be like the people of Nineveh, because even though they are sinful and had committed things abominable in the sight of the Lord, they repented once they knew the anger of the Lord is upon them, and humbly placed themselves, kneeling and prostrating with shame in front of the throne of God, even their king, showing the genuine nature of their repentance.

This is what made the Lord to spare all of them instead of punishing them for their sins. This is because the Lord truly loves us and does not want to punish us, all because of His eternal love. He will certainly welcome us back with love, if we repent from our sins in full sincerity.

Then, we also ought to be like Mary, the sister of Martha, at an even higher level of dedication to the Lord. This is because even without the threat of punishment or annihilation, she gave her full attention, dedication, and love to Jesus our Lord and gave her full heart to Him. That is what the Lord truly wants from us, our love.

We must not lose sight of our true goal in life, brothers and sisters, that is to reach out for the Lord, and the salvation that He offers to all of us. And we can achieve this through love, through the manifestation of our love in our words, deeds, and actions, daily in our world. In that, we show the extent of love we have for the Lord, that we listen to Him and His will, and like Mary, give our full heart’s attention for Him.

May the Lord who is loving and forgiving continue to watch over us and give us His tender love, readily welcoming us, when we turn our back on sin, and reach out for His infinite mercy. God be with us all always. Amen.