Daily Archives: June 9, 2008

Monday, 09 June – Holding on to our Faith

09 June – Monday in Tenth Week in Ordinary Time


1 Kings 17:1-6

Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, ‘As the Lord lives, the God of Israel whom I serve, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years except at my order.’

The word of the Lord came to him, ‘Go away from here, go eastwards, and hide yourself in the wadi Cherith which lies east of Jordan. You can drink from the stream, and I have ordered the ravens to bring you food there.’ He did as the Lord had said; he went and stayed in the wadi Cherith which lies east of Jordan. The ravens brought him bread in the morning and meat in the evening, and he quenched his thirst at the stream.


Matthew 5:1-12

Seeing the crowds, Jesus went up the hill. There he sat down and was joined by his disciples. Then he began to speak. This is what he taught them:

‘How happy are the poor in spirit;
theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Happy the gentle:
they shall have the earth for their heritage.
Happy those who mourn:
they shall be comforted.
Happy those who hunger and thirst for what is right:
they shall be satisfied.
Happy the merciful:
they shall have mercy shown them.
Happy the pure in heart:
they shall see God.
Happy the peacemakers:
they shall be called sons of God.
Happy those who are persecuted in the cause of right:
theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

‘Happy are you when people abuse you and persecute you and speak all kinds of calumny against you on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven; this is how they persecuted the prophets before you.’


Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.

My favourite singers are those who are able to sing softly while maintaining great strength in their voice. Unlike poorer singers who tend to sound airy and unpolished when they sing softly, divas such as Barbra Streisand and Celine Dion are somehow always successful at maintaining a great sense of control and strength even when they lower their voices. The same paradox is reflected in today’s Gospel reading.

In the eyes of the secular world, the beatitudes appear to be meant for “quitters” and “weaklings”. However, this view is far from the truth. Although the beatitudes address numerous “types of people”, the underlying theme of the beatitudes reveals only one kind of person: a person who seeks God with all his/her heart.

Seeking God is not an easy thing to do because unlike our family and friends who are physically available to our immediate senses, God is not. Hence, the journey towards Him is often filled with both great joy (in moments when He may feel close or reveal Himself in certain ways) and great sorrow (in moments when He feels far away and we feel abandoned and tempted to give up on our faith).

If you feel abandoned by God, tired by this journey, or question the meaning and purpose of it all, Jesus is speaking to you today. He is reminding you that you who suffer for the sake of trying to hold on to your faith are the strongest, most courageous, and would receive the greatest reward of all. How is this so? Just as good singers are able to reveal their singing skills when their voices remain strong while soft, you who mourn and thirst for God are much stronger than you realize because you are able to stay with the pain, the challenges, and the sufferings involved with following Jesus.

The secular world may mock you and call you weak for holding onto a faith that does not appear tangible. However, believe that there is more to your life than the immediate gratification of your senses. It is such faith, especially in the midst of uncertainties, you hold on to that resembles that of Elijah.

Therefore, be encouraged and comforted that you are closer to God, God’s promises, and God’s rewards than you realize. Remembering how Elijah trusted the Lord before any sign was given, let us also continue to place our trust in the Lord who fulfils His promises in the exact same way He promised, just as He did for Elijah. 

(Today’s reflection by Jean Cheng)

Prayer: O Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, I place my trust in you.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks to the saints who have bore the struggles and tests of their faith to encourage us.

Upcoming readings:
10 June, Tue – 1 Kings 17:7-16; Matthew 5:13-16
11 June, Wed – Acts 11:21b-26; 13:1-3 Matthew 10:17-19 – Feast of St Barnabas
12 June, Thu – 1 Kings 18:41-46; Matthew 5:20-26
13 June, Fri – 1 Kings 19:9a. 11-16; Matthew 5:27-32
14 June, Sat -1 Kings 19:19-21; Matthew 5:33-37
15 June, Sun – Exodus 19:2-6a; Romans 5:6-11; Matthew 9:36-10:8; Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
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Wednesday, 09 July – Understanding God

09 July

Wednesday in the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Augustine Zhao Rong, priest and companions

Christianity arrived in China by way of Syria in the 600s. Depending on China’s relations with the outside world, Christianity over the centuries was free to grow or was forced to operate secretly.

The 120 martyrs in this group died between 1648 and 1930. Most of them (87) were born in China and were children, parents, catechists or labourers, ranging from nine years of age to 72. This group includes four Chinese diocesan priests.

The 33 foreign-born martyrs were mostly priests or women religious, especially from the Order of Preachers, the Paris Foreign Mission Society, the Friars Minor, Jesuits, Salesians and Franciscan Missionaries of Mary.

Augustine Zhao Rong was a Chinese solider who accompanied Bishop John Gabriel Taurin Dufresse (Paris Foreign Mission Society) to his martyrdom in Beijing. Augustine was baptized and not long after was ordained as a diocesan priest. He was martyred in 1815.

Beatified in groups at various times, these 120 martyrs were canonized in Rome on October 1, 2000.



Hosea 10:1-3. 7-8. 12

Israel was a luxuriant vine
yielding plenty of fruit.
The more his fruit increased,
the more altars he built;
the richer his land became,
the richer he made the sacred stones.
Their heart is a divided heart;
very well, they must pay for it:
the Lord is going to break their altars down
and destroy their sacred stones.
Then they will say,
‘We have no king
because we have not feared the Lord.’

But what can a king do for us?
Samaria has had her day.
Her king is like a straw drifting on the water.
The idolatrous high places shall be destroyed –
that sin of Israel;
thorn and thistle will grow on their altars.
Then they will say to the mountains, ‘Cover us!’
and to the hills, ‘Fall on us!’

Sow integrity for yourselves,
reap a harvest of kindness,
break up your fallow ground:
it is time to go seeking the Lord
until he comes to rain salvation on you.


Matthew 10:1-7

Jesus summoned his twelve disciples, and gave them authority over unclean spirits with power to cast them out and to cure all kinds of diseases and sickness.

These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James the son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, the one who was to betray him. These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them as follows: ‘Do not turn your steps to pagan territory, and do not enter any Samaritan town; go rather to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. And as you go, proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.

The Lord is going to break their altars down and destroy their sacred stones.

I discovered God’s gift to me. It yielded plenty of fruit. With more experience in writing, I looked for more areas to serve God with it. My writing improved. My energies were spent using the gift.

After some time, I felt harassed. There were many people who needed my time, presence and that gift that God had given me. My weary heart sensed that God wanted me to stay close to Him. Outside, I was slowly wearing down after all the initial enthusiasm. My altars – my ways of serving God – were being destroyed to close the distance between God and I.

Suppose one day there is no way I can serve. But what use is ministry without God? God’s priority is to draw His beloved, including those whom He sends out, to Himself. What are your altars? We need to take time off from the altar and just be in His embrace.

(Today’s reflection by Regina Xie)

Prayer: We pray to the Lord for the courage and wisdom to know that God takes pleasure in our simple presence in front of Him.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks to the Lord for gifting us with ways to serve and praise Him.

Upcoming readings:
10 Jul, Thu – Hosea 11:1-4. 8-9, Matthew 10:7-15
11 Jul, Fri – Hosea 14:2-10, Matthew 10:16-23
12 Jul, Sat – Isaiah 6:1-8, Matthew 10:24-33
13 Jul, Sun – Isaiah 55:10-11, Romans 8:18-23, Matthew 13:1-23 – Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
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