Daily Archives: September 4, 2006

Tuesday, Sep 5 – Response To Attack

05 Sep

CRITICISM

No TV star, however popular, is immune from criticism. Garry Moore once announced that he was giving St. Christopher medals to members of his staff. Some views, believing him to be Jewish, berated him for what they thought was hypocrisy in giving away a Catholic sacramental. others, who thought him a Catholic, scolded him for thrusting his religion upon others.

Garry Moor, who happens to be an Episcopalian, remarked, “If you say ‘Happy Mother’s Day’, someone is going tow rite in and say, ‘What’s the matter? You don’t like your father?'”

– Lovasik (1,000 Stories You Can Use, by Frank Mihalic)

The Church has always been, and will always be, criticised by others. What is your response as a member of the Church?

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1 Corinthians 2:10-16

The Spirit reaches the depths of everything, even the depths of God. After all, the depths of a man can only be known by his own spirit, not by any other man, and in the same way the depths of God can only be known by the Spirit of God. Now instead of the spirit of the world, we have received the Spirit that comes from God, to teach us to understand the gifts that he has given us. Therefore we teach, not in the way in which philosophy is taught, but in the way that the Spirit teaches us: we teach spiritual things spiritually. An unspiritual person is one who does not accept anything of the Spirit of God: he sees it all as nonsense; it is beyond his understanding because it can only be understood by means of the Spirit. A spiritual man, on the other hand, is able to judge the value of everything, and his own value is not to be judged by other men. As scripture says: Who can know the mind of the Lord, so who can teach him? But we are those who have the mind of Christ.

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Luke 4:31-37

Jesus went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath. And his teaching made a deep impression on them because he spoke with authority.

In the synagogue there was a man who was possessed by the spirit of an unclean devil, and it shouted at the top of its voice, “Ha! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are: the Holy One of God.” But Jesus said sharply, “Be quiet! Come out of him!” And the devil, throwing the man down in front of everyone, went out of him without hurting him at all. Astonishment seized them and they were all saying to one another, “What teaching! He gives orders to unclean spirits with authority and power and they come out.” And reports of him went all through the surrounding countryside.

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Have you ever studied, or tried studying Einstein’s Theory of Relativity? I once did a basic course on it in university, and it was such a headache! It spoke of objects becoming heavier when they move faster, and time slowing down at speeds near that of light. By the time I was halfway through, I was so confused about the questions I was given that I nearly gave up. Fortunately, I approached a Physics major friend of mine (Lloyd), and using simple words, he explained it to me such that I was able to understand (though I no longer do!). That was only possible because Lloyd used Physics to explain the quirks of Physics. Without that, the Theory of Relativity really was nonsense to me!

In today’s first reading, St. Paul tells the Corinthians (and us), that we have to have the Holy Spirit in us in order to be able to understand spiritual stuff… like God. Without the Holy Spirit’s inspiration and guidance, God is nonsense and beyond our understanding. Resurrection from the dead is hogwash, as even the disciples taught before Jesus actually rose from the dead. But with the Holy Spirit enlightening us, and as it did the apostles on the first Easter, we can come to understand some of the mysteries of God, and so come to believe.

Today’s gospel reading is sure to strike a chord with Catholics in Singapore, what with the local church being sued for a case of alleged botched exorcism. As members of the church, how does such a situation affect us? It must affect us in some way, for we are all members of the church that seems to come under attack. How do we respond?

Well, for one thing, it will help for us to familiarise ourselves with what is going on, and to learn through talks or discussions with others on what exorcism really is, so that we are able to explain how it works and does not work to non-Catholics around us, should they ask.

Secondly, we must remember that the Holy Spirit which we ask to guide and inspire us, is a Spirit of Love. At no time should we find ourselves placing judgement on those who would attack the church in any way. And there will be those who will use this incident as an opportunity to attack the church. We are called not to share bad news about others, but good news about Christ. Let us refrain from talking bad about others, and talking good about God.

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Prayer: We pray for the Holy Spirit of Love to dwell within each of us, to strengthen, to guide, to inspire, and to teach us to love one another as Jesus loves us.

Give Thanks to the Lord for: An opportunity to share the Faith with others.

Upcoming Readings:
Wed, 6 Sep – 1 Corinthians 3:1-9; Luke 4:38-44
Thu, 7 Sep – 1 Corinthians 3:18-23; Luke 5:1-11
Fri, 8 Sep – Micah 5:1-4a or Romans 8:28-30; Matthew 1:1-16, 18-23; Feast of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Sat, 9 Sep – 1 Corinthians 4:6b-15; Luke 6:1-5; Memorial for Bl. Peter Claver, priest
Sun, 10 Sep – Isaiah 35:4-7a; James 2:1-5; Mark 7:31-37; 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Disclaimer: The reflections expressed in this e-mail are the writer’s own. They may not necessarily reflect the teachings of the Catholic Church. Nonetheless we should all be able to learn something from it.

Monday, Sep 4 – Jesus Christ Crucified

04 Sep

For men, it is impossible; for God, nothing is impossible. – Matthew 19:26

ATOMIC POWER

Nowadays everyone on earth is afraid of one big thing; it is called the atom bomb. It is so powerful that it can kill everybody on earth. But atomic power also has many good uses.

Now just where do we find all these atoms that produce this immense power? All around us. Everything you are looking at right now is made up of nothing but atoms. It was always that way; but for thousands of years nobody knew about them and so the atoms all around us just lay there unused and asleep. But then some scientists discovered the power locked inside an atom, which is smaller than a grain of sand… Now we know about it and we are frightened at what atoms can do…

This atomic possibility within you today is the Holy Spirit… But until you wake up to the fact that he is there, nothing atomic is going to happen.

– Frank Mihalic (1000 Stories You Can Use, Volume Two, by Frank Mihalic)

Is there something you cannot do, no matter how hard you strive?

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1 Corinthians 2:1-5

Brothers, when I came to you, it was not with any show of oratory or philosophy, but simply to tell you what God had guaranteed. During my stay with you, the only knowledge I claimed to have was about Jesus, and only about him as the Crucified Christ. Far from relying on any power of my own, I came among you in great “fear and trembling” and in my speeches and the sermons that I gave, there were none of the arguments that belong to philosophy; only a demonstration of the power of the Spirit. And I did this so that your faith should not depend on human philosophy but on the power of God.

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Ps 118:97-102

Lord how I love your law!

Lord how I love your law!
It is ever in my mind.
Your command makes me wiser than my foes;
for it is mine for ever.

I have more insight than all who teach me
for I ponder your will.
I have more understanding than the old
for I keep your precepts.

I turn my feet from evil paths
to obey your word.
I have not turned away from your decrees;
you yourself have taught me.

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“The only knowledge I claimed to have was about Jesus, and only about him as the Crucified Christ.”

Our faith is not the clever invention of theologians, but is a gift from our Lord. God came to this earth in the person of his son who was crucified for our sins. In the person of Jesus Christ, we have the fullness of revelation. St. Paul spoke to the Corinthians not as a clever theologian trying to make the faith palatable for people of his time, but he spoke the truth about what has been revealed to him.

Arguments may clear away doubts but only God’s grace can transform hearts. And God’s grace is poured out into the hearts of unbelievers when we speak the truth and not twist it with our ideologies, and self-serving justifications.

I am always saddened when I hear fellow Catholics, even some whom you would least expect to hear from declaring that the teachings of the Church are in need of reform and radical change and that the Church, through her teachings, has filled people will guilt and despair.

The psalmist today does not think that God’s law is an oppressive feature. Far from it. He considers knowledge of God’s law as the sure norm of human flourishing and he is filled with gratitude. Teachers of the faith today would do well to present the ancient faith in new and refreshing ways so that the people of today would experience the liberation that comes when we know the law of God.

“O beauty ever ancient ever new! Late have I loved thee, Late have I loved thee.”

(Today’s OXYGEN by Nick Chui)

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Prayer intention: For all teachers of the Catholic faith, that they would be faithful to the teachings of Our Lord and his Church.

Thanksgiving: For all who love the law of the Lord.

Upcoming Readings:
Tue, 5 Sep – 1 Corinthians 2:10b-16; Luke 4:31-37
Wed, 6 Sep – 1 Corinthians 3:1-9; Luke 4:38-44
Thu, 7 Sep – 1 Corinthians 3:18-23; Luke 5:1-11
Fri, 8 Sep – Micah 5:1-4a or Romans 8:28-30; Matthew 1:1-16, 18-23; Feast of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Sat, 9 Sep – 1 Corinthians 4:6b-15; Luke 6:1-5; Memorial for Bl. Peter Claver, priest
Sun, 10 Sep – Isaiah 35:4-7a; James 2:1-5; Mark 7:31-37; 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Disclaimer: The reflections expressed in this e-mail are the writer’s own. They may not necessarily reflect the teachings of the Catholic Church. Nonetheless we should all be able to learn something from it.