Monthly Archives: June 2011

Wednesday, 22 Jun – Testing The Fruit, Not The Message

22 Jun – Memorial for St. Paulinus of Nola, bishop; Memorial for St. John Fisher, Bishop & St. Thomas More, Martyrs

Paulinus (c.354–431) was a friend of St. Augustine of Hippo, and St. Nicetas of Remesiana, and was mentioned for his holiness by at least six of his contemporary saints.

He was a distinguished lawyer who held several public offices in the Empire, then retired from public ministry with his wife, Therasia, first to Bordeaux, where they were baptised, and then to Therasia’s estate in Spain. After the death of their only son at the age of only a few weeks, the couple decided to spend the rest of their lives devoted to God. They gave away most of their estates and dedicated themselves to increasing their holiness.

Paulinus became a priest and with Therasia, moved to Nola and gave away the rest of their property. They dedicated themselves to helping the poor. Paulinus was chosen bishop of Nola by popular demand. He governed the diocese for more than 21 years while living in his own home as a monk and continuing to aid the poor. His writings contain one of the earliest examples of a Christian wedding song.

– Patron Saint Index

John Fisher (1469–1535) studied theology at Cambridge University, receiving degrees in 1487 and 1491. He was parish priest in Northallerton, England from 1491–1494. He gained a reputation for his teaching abilities. He was proctor of Cambridge University. He was confessor to Margaret Beaufort, mother of King Henry VII, in 1497. He was ordained Bishop of Rochester, England in 1504; he worked to raise the standard of preaching in his see. He became chancellor of Cambridge. He was tutor of the young King Henry VIII. He was an excellent speaker and writer.

When in 1527 he was asked to study the problem of Henry’s marriage, he became the target of Henry’s wrath by defending the validity of the marriage and rejecting Henry’s claim to be head of the Church in England. He was imprisoned in 1534 for his opposition, and he spent 14 months in prison without trial. While in prison, he was created cardinal in 1535 by Pope Paul III. He was martyred for his faith.

– Patron Saint Index

Thomas More (1478–1535) studied at London and Oxford, England. He was a page for the Archbishop of Canterbury. He was a lawyer. Twice married, and a widower, he was the father of one son and three daughters, and a devoted family man. He was a writer, most famously of the novel which coined the word ‘utopia’. It was translated with the works of Lucian.

He was known during his own day for his scholarship and the depth of his knowledge. He was a friend to King Henry VIII, and Lord Chancellor of England from 1529–1532, a position of political power second only to the king.

He fought any form of heresy, especially the incursion of Protestantism into England. He opposed the king on the matter of royal divorce, and refused to swear the Oath of Supremacy which declared the king the head of the Church in England. He resigned the Chancellorship, and was imprisoned in the Tower of London. He was martyred for his refusal to bend his religious beliefs to the king’s political needs.

– Patron Saint Index
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Genesis 15:1-12.17-18

It happened that the word of the Lord was spoken to Abram in a vision, ‘Have no fear, Abram, I am your shield; your reward will be very great.’

‘My Lord,’ Abram replied ‘what do you intend to give me? I go childless…’ Then Abram said, ‘See, you have given me no descendants; some man of my household will be my heir.’ And then this word of the Lord was spoken to him, ‘He shall not be your heir; your heir shall be of your own flesh and blood.’ Then taking him outside he said, ‘Look up to heaven and count the stars if you can. Such will be your descendants’ he told him. Abram put his faith in the Lord, who counted this as making him justified.

‘I am the Lord’ he said to him ‘who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldaeans to make you heir to this land.’ ‘My Lord,’ Abram replied ‘how am I to know that I shall inherit it?’ He said to him, ‘Get me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove and a young pigeon.’ He brought him all these, cut them in half and put half on one side and half facing it on the other; but the birds he did not cut in half. Birds of prey came down on the carcases but Abram drove them off.

Now as the sun was setting Abram fell into a deep sleep, and terror seized him. When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, there appeared a smoking furnace and a firebrand that went between the halves. That day the Lord made a Covenant with Abram in these terms:

‘To your descendants I give this land,
from the wadi of Egypt to the Great River,
the river Euphrates.’
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Matthew 7:15-20

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Beware of false prophets who come to you disguised as sheep but underneath are ravenous wolves. You will be able to tell them by their fruits. Can people pick grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? In the same way, a sound tree produces good fruit but a rotten tree bad fruit. A sound tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor a rotten tree bear good fruit. Any tree that does not produce good fruit is cut down and thrown on the fire. I repeat, you will be able to tell them by their fruits.’
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You will be able to tell them by their fruits

Having not gone to church for more than a year now, I find myself in need of some spiritual sustenance. Friends have invited me to attend services at their Christian churches and I have attended some of these. Some services I’ve attended bear strong resemblance to some of our Catholic charismatic services. Some preachers I’ve heard bear messages of hellfire and brimstone for those who are greedy and adulterous. Some even predict the future and for some reason, the future always seems bleak.

Being the recipient of so many different kinds of messages, it can be hard to tell which message to believe and which not to. One approach would be to go through all these different messages and to pick out which are in line with the teachings of the apostles and which are not. I think throughout the history of the Catholic Church, people did this in determining which teachings were from God and which were not.

Another approach is to adopt the ‘wait-and-see’ method, which is to wait and see whether such predictions come true or not. This is another approach that people of the Church uses to test predictions, but is ultimately not very effective.
In today’s gospel reading, Jesus offers a simpler solution. Look not at the message, but on the fruits that they bear. If they produce good fruits, then the source is likely to be good. If they produce bad fruits, well then you can be quite sure that the source is not from God. So a message from a prophet may sound very true, but pay no attention to the message until you can see that the fruits they produce are indeed good.

A final note is that Jesus often spoke of wolves disguised as sheep coming to the people. This means that the wolves are real and present within the Church itself. It is easy to say, “This person telling me this is not Catholic, so what he is saying is not true.” But when the person speaking to us is Catholic, perhaps even ordained, are we able to sift out the truth from the non-truths? Have you put into practice Jesus’ method to discern the truth from all the other messages?

(Today’s OXYGEN by Daniel Tay)
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Prayer: We pray for the wisdom to discern the truth from the fruits rather than the message of prophets.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks to the Lord for teaching us who to follow and listen to.

Upcoming Readings:
Thu, 23 Jun – Genesis 16:1-12.15-16; Matthew 7:21-29
Thu, 23 Jun – Jeremiah 1:4-10; 1 Peter:8-12; Luke 1:5-17; Solemnity of the Nativity of the Nativity of St John the Baptist (Vigil Mass)
Fri, 24 Jun – Isaiah 49:1-6; Acts of the Apostles 13:22-26; Luke 1:57-66;80; Solmenity of the Nativity of St John the Baptist (Mass of the Day)
Sat, 25 Jun – Genesis 18:1-5; Matthew 8:5-17; World Refugee Day
Sun, 26 Jun – Genesis 14:18-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; Luke 9:11-17; Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord (Corpus Christi)

Tuesday, 21 Jun – The Golden Rule

21 Jun – Memorial for St Aloysisu Gozaga, Religious

St. Aloysius (1568-1591) was an Italian noble who grew up in a castle as the son of a compulsive gambler. He suffered from kidney disease, but considered it a blessing as it left him bed-ridden with time for prayer. While still a boy himself, he taught catechism to poor boys. At age 18 he signed away his legal claim to his family’s lands and title to his brother, and became a Jesuit novice. He tended to plague victims in Rome in the outbreak of 1591, and died of the plague himself with the desire to see God.

– Patron Saint Index
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Genesis 13:2.5-18

Abram was a very rich man, with livestock, silver and gold. Lot, who was travelling with Abram, had flocks and cattle of his own, and tents too. The land was not sufficient to accommodate them both at once, for they had too many possessions to be able to live together. Dispute broke out between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and those of Lot’s. (The Canaanites and the Perizzites were then living in the land.) Accordingly Abram said to Lot, ‘Let there be no dispute between me and you, nor between my herdsmen and yours, for we are brothers. Is not the whole land open before you? Part company with me: if you take the left, I will go right; if you take the right, I will go left.’

Looking round, Lot saw all the Jordan plain, irrigated everywhere – this was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah – like the garden of the Lord or the land of Egypt, as far as Zoar. So Lot chose all the Jordan plain for himself and moved off eastwards. Thus they parted company: Abram settled in the land of Canaan; Lot settled among the towns of the plain, pitching his tents on the outskirts of Sodom. Now the people of Sodom were vicious men, great sinners against the Lord.

The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted company with him, ‘Look all round from where you are towards the north and the south, towards the east and the west. All the land within sight I will give to you and your descendants for ever. I will make your descendants like the dust on the ground: when men succeed in counting the specks of dust on the ground, then they will be able to count your descendants! Come, travel through the length and breadth of the land, for I mean to give it to you.’

So Abram went with his tents to settle at the Oak of Mamre, at Hebron, and there he built an altar to the Lord.
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Matthew 7:6.12-14

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls in front of pigs, or they may trample them and then turn on you and tear you to pieces.

‘So always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that is the meaning of the Law and the Prophets.

‘Enter by the narrow gate, since the road that leads to perdition is wide and spacious, and many take it; but it is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it.’
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If you take the left, I will go right; if you take the right, I will go left

Whenever we eat out and there is a bit of food leftover, my wife will neatly divide the food into two piles. Then she will ask me to choose which pile I want. It’s a little act of love from her that I really appreciate.

That’s essentially what Abram did with Lot in today’s first reading. He divided the land available to them into two halves and gave Lot the choice of which half he wanted. It’s fair and it works.

A few months ago, I came to a point in my faith journey that I have learnt so much about what the Church teaches, and yet I practised so little. Overwhelmed with the volume of “what it means to be a Catholic”, I started a new journey of trying to choose exactly which area of my faith I would like to first put into practice regularly. Today I have found it.

In today’s gospel reading, Jesus reminds us of the Golden Rule that exists in all faiths: Treat others as you would like them to treat you. If I could live my life according to just this one rule, I believe I would be doing what God wants of me.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Daniel Tay)
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Prayer: We pray for those who believe and put into practise the Golden Rule.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks to the Lord who has revealed the Golden Rule to all peoples of the world.

Upcoming Readings:
Wed, 22 Jun – Genesis 14:1-12.17-18; Matthew 7:15-20; Memorial for St Paulinus of Nola, Bishop
Thu, 23 Jun – Genesis 16:1-12.15-16; Matthew 7:21-29
Thu, 23 Jun – Jeremiah 1:4-10; 1 Peter:8-12; Luke 1:5-17; Solemnity of the Nativity of the Nativity of St John the Baptist (Vigil Mass)
Fri, 24 Jun – Isaiah 49:1-6; Acts of the Apostles 13:22-26; Luke 1:57-66;80; Solmenity of the Nativity of St John the Baptist (Mass of the Day)
Sat, 25 Jun – Genesis 18:1-5; Matthew 8:5-17; World Refugee Day
Sun, 26 Jun – Genesis 14:18-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; Luke 9:11-17; Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord (Corpus Christi)

Monday, 20 Jun – Three Sides To A Story

20 Jun
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Genesis 12:1-9

The Lord said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your family and your father’s house, for the land I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name so famous that it will be used as a blessing.

‘I will bless those who bless you:
I will curse those who slight you.
All the tribes of the earth
shall bless themselves by you.’

So Abram went as the Lord told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran. Abram took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had amassed and the people they had acquired in Haran. They set off for the land of Canaan, and arrived there.

Abram passed through the land as far as Shechem’s holy place, the Oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. The Lord appeared to Abram and said, ‘It is to your descendants that I will give this land.’ So Abram built there an altar for the Lord who had appeared to him. From there he moved on to the mountainous district east of Bethel, where he pitched his tent, with Bethel to the west and Ai to the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and invoked the name of the Lord. Then Abram made his way stage by stage to the Negeb.
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Matthew 7:1-5

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Do not judge, and you will not be judged; because the judgements you give are the judgements you will get, and the amount you measure out is the amount you will be given. Why do you observe the splinter in your brother’s eye and never notice the plank in your own? How dare you say to your brother, “Let me take the splinter out of your eye,” when all the time there is a plank in your own? Hypocrite! Take the plank out of your own eye first, and then you will see clearly enough to take the splinter out of your brother’s eye.’
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Do not judge, and you will not be judged

Once, in a former job, I had a new colleague join our company. During our office meetings, as soon as the boss left, she too would excuse herself from the rest of the meeting, saying that she had work to do. I thought this was rather arrogant of her. Now, in my current workplace, I’ve picked up some time management tips. One tip on how to save time is to avoid, as much as possible, time-wasting meetings which don’t concern you. Specifically, the book I read says, “When it comes to a section that doesn’t involve you, excuse yourself from the meeting so that you can get on with work that is more urgent.”

In today’s gospel reading, Jesus tells us not to judge people. Specifically He tells us to first take the plank out of our eye, so that we can see clearly enough to take the splinter out of our brother’s eye. This plank that Jesus talked about is something that prevents us from seeing clearly. For me, in the above example, the plank would be the lack of knowledge of time-management skills. Because I didn’t know about this, I judged my colleague as being arrogant, and I was wrong to do so.

Lack of knowledge, or ignorance, is often a reason why we judge people. But other reasons can also include prejudice, bias, stubbornness, closed-mindedness, or an unwillingness to listen.

I remember a story of two knights riding in opposite directions. As they approached an arch, they saw a shield hanging from it, on which were written some words in Latin. The first knight remarked, “Ah! What a wonderful saying, ‘Truth and Justice!’” The other knight said, “I’m sorry, old man, but your Latin proficiency is somewhat lacking. The shield says, ‘Truth and Mercy!’ The two knights disagreed and eventually fought over it. When the battle was over, the knights lay on the ground exhausted. As they looked up, the shield swung around and on one side was written ‘Truth and Mercy’, and on the other was written ‘Truth and Justice’.

Whenever we judge another person, let us remember that there are always three sides to a story: Your side, the other person’s side, and the truth. Let us not hasten to judge until we have heard all the sides.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Daniel Tay)
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Prayer: We pray for ourselves, for the times when we are quick to judge another person without knowing or wanting to know the full story. May we not be judged by others in the same way.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks to the Lord for His justice and mercy.

Upcoming Readings:
Tue, 21 Jun – Genesis 13:2.5-18; Matthew 7:6.12-14; Memorial for St Aloysisu Gozaga, Religious
Wed, 22 Jun – Genesis 14:1-12.17-18; Matthew 7:15-20; Memorial for St Paulinus of Nola, Bishop
Thu, 23 Jun – Genesis 16:1-12.15-16; Matthew 7:21-29
Thu, 23 Jun – Jeremiah 1:4-10; 1 Peter:8-12; Luke 1:5-17; Solemnity of the Nativity of the Nativity of St John the Baptist (Vigil Mass)
Fri, 24 Jun – Isaiah 49:1-6; Acts of the Apostles 13:22-26; Luke 1:57-66;80; Solmenity of the Nativity of St John the Baptist (Mass of the Day)
Sat, 25 Jun – Genesis 18:1-5; Matthew 8:5-17; World Refugee Day
Sun, 26 Jun – Genesis 14:18-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; Luke 9:11-17; Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord (Corpus Christi)

Sunday, 19 Jun – Not Just One Person, But The Trinity

19 Jun – Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity; Fathers’ Day

The OXYGEN team wishes all fathers, namesakes of God the Father, a blessed Fathers’ Day!

The God Of Love And Peace
Our celebration today is a song of praise to God who has taken us up to share in the very life of the Trinity. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit is with us all.

– The Sunday Missal
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Exodus 34:4-6.8-9

With the two tablets of stone in his hands, Moses went up the mountain of Sinai in the early morning as the Lord had commanded him. And the Lord descended in the form of a cloud, and Moses stood with him there.

He called on the name of the Lord. The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, a God of tenderness and compassion, slow to anger rich in kindness and faithfulness.’ And Moses bowed down to the ground at once and worshipped. ‘If I have indeed won your favour, Lord,’ he said ‘let my Lord come with us, I beg. True, they are a headstrong people, but forgive us our faults and our sins, and adopt us as your heritage.’
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2 Corinthians 13:11-13

Brothers, we wish you happiness; try to grow perfect; help one another. Be united; live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.

Greet one another with the holy kiss. All the saints send you greetings.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
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John 3:16-18

Jesus said to Nicodemus:

‘God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost
but may have eternal life.
For God sent his Son into the world
not to condemn the world,
but so that through him the world might be saved.
No one who believes in him will be condemned;
but whoever refuses to believe is condemned already,
because he has refused to believe in the name of God’s only Son.’
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The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit is with us all

In the Singapore General Elections 2011, there seemed to be a kind of battle for votes between two young female candidates in the Marine Parade GRC. People seemed to focus so much on these two persons from the opposing teams that Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong reminded the people to vote not for one person, but for the whole team.

As I was reflecting on today’s readings, it occurred to me that the term ‘trinity’ was coined in the 13th century to represent God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, because there was no word to accurately describe the relationship between the three persons in one God. There still isn’t a way to accurately describe it, because we don’t really understand what the word ‘trinity’. As a result, we tend to focus a lot on one person of the Holy Trinity, usually Jesus, and neglect the other persons in the Trinity.

We may relate better to someone like Nicole Seah who speaks our language and voices our feelings. But when you vote for Nicole Seah, you are voting for her whole team, not just her. Likewise, we may relate better to someone like Jesus who, like us, is human and feels what we feel. But when we pray to Jesus, we are praying to the holy Trinity.

Today as we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, let us take some time to reflect on whether or not we have paid much attention to the other persons in the Holy Trinity, this wondrous relationship of love that exists between the persons in the one God whom Jesus Christ has revealed to us.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Daniel Tay)
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Prayer: We pray to God for the grace to imitate the perfect love that exists within the holy Trinity.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks to the Lord for revealing the mystery of the Trinity to us.

Upcoming Readings:
Mon, 20 Jun – Genesis 12:1-9; Mathew 7:1-5
Tue, 21 Jun – Genesis 13:2.5-18; Matthew 7:6.12-14; Memorial for St Aloysisu Gozaga, Religious
Wed, 22 Jun – Genesis 14:1-12.17-18; Matthew 7:15-20; Memorial for St Paulinus of Nola, Bishop
Thu, 23 Jun – Genesis 16:1-12.15-16; Matthew 7:21-29
Thu, 23 Jun – Jeremiah 1:4-10; 1 Peter:8-12; Luke 1:5-17; Solemnity of the Nativity of the Nativity of St John the Baptist (Vigil Mass)
Fri, 24 Jun – Isaiah 49:1-6; Acts of the Apostles 13:22-26; Luke 1:57-66;80; Solmenity of the Nativity of St John the Baptist (Mass of the Day)
Sat, 25 Jun – Genesis 18:1-5; Matthew 8:5-17; World Refugee Day
Sun, 26 Jun – Genesis 14:18-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; Luke 9:11-17; Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Lord (Corpus Christi)

Saturday, 18 Jun – Casting Cares On Him

18 Jun
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2 Corinthians 12:1-10

Must I go on boasting, though there is nothing to be gained by it? But I will move on to the visions and revelations I have had from the Lord. I know a man in Christ who, fourteen years ago, was caught up whether still in the body or out of the body, I do not know; God knows-right into the third heaven. I do know, however, that this same person – whether in the body or out of the body, I do not know; God knows – was caught up into paradise and heard things which must not and cannot be put into human language. I will boast about a man like that, but not about anything of my own except my weaknesses. If I should decide to boast, I should not be made to look foolish, because I should only be speaking the truth; but I am not going to, in case anyone should begin to think I am better than he can actually see and hear me to be.

In view of the extraordinary nature of these revelations, to stop me from getting too proud I was given a thorn in the flesh, an angel of Satan to beat me and stop me from getting too proud! About this thing, I have pleaded with the Lord three times for it to leave me, but he has said, ‘My grace is enough for you: my power is at its best in weakness.’ So I shall be very happy to make my weaknesses my special boast so that the power of Christ may stay over me, and that is why I am quite content with my weaknesses, and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and the agonies I go through for Christ’s sake. For it is when I am weak that I am strong.
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Matthew 6:24-34

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘No one can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or treat the first with respect and the second with scorn. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money.

‘That is why I am telling you not to worry about your life and what you are to eat, nor about your body and how you are to clothe it. Surely life means more than food, and the body more than clothing! Look at the birds in the sky. They do not sow or reap or gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are we not worth much more than they are? Can any of you, for all his worrying, add one single cubit to his span of life? And why worry about clothing? Think of the flowers growing in the fields; they never have to work or spin; yet I assure you that not even Solomon in all his regalia was robed like one of these. Now if that is how God clothes the grass in the field which is there today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, will he not much more look after you, you men of little faith? So do not worry; do not say, “What are we to eat? What are we to drink? How are we to be clothed?” It is the pagans who set their hearts on all these things. Your heavenly Father knows you need them all. Set your hearts on his kingdom first, and on his righteousness, and all these other things will be given you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.’
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Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil

One of the things my Mum always told me was to “live everyday as if it was your last”. I often wondered what that phrase meant.
As a teenager,  I used to see it as a licence to live indulgently. That meant skipping school. After all, what use was there attending school if I was going to die the next day anyway? Unless there was going to be an entrance exam at the Pearly Gates with St Peter as my invigilator, I was probably much better off spending my last 24 hours having a blast and doing the things that I liked. Contrary to my hopes, however, my mum of course did not share my belief and I had to attend school reluctantly, like every other dutiful kid, preparing for my examinations.

After sometime, I finally understood what that phrase meant – to cherish each day as if it was your last. However, by then, I was in the workforce and running like a hamster on a wheel, with each day becoming increasingly mundane and difficult to savour. There were countless fires to fight, tight deadlines to rush and endless demands to meet. Worries constantly occupied my in-tray and the phrase soon became nothing more than just another popular cliché.

Then, sometime in March last-year, I got to know a double-bassist by the name of Mike (not his real name). He was part of a three-piece jazz band that played at a six-star hotel in town. A friend of mine, whom I was there with, recognised him as a classmate from University. After the band’s final set, we chatted for awhile and I discovered that he was still pursuing his studies while moonlighting on the side. He was a talented double-bassist with plans to further his passion in music overseas. Glad to be acquainted, the three of us agreed to meet up again the following week and bid each other goodbye.

Then, Mike died. He died, the next day, from a sudden heart attack.

Indeed, I am struck by the brevity of our life. I am struck by how it suddenly ends.

Yet, death is an eventual fact.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus provokes us by asking “Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?” He is reminding us about the limited nature of our life-span.

I do not think that Jesus is telling us to live our lives just for the pleasures of today.  Rather, he is reminding us not to let our worries hinder us from living out our lives significantly – precisely because he understands its brevity. Having lived for 33 years himself, Jesus understands how brief that period can be.

To empower us, he further reveals a truth about God – what matters to us matters to him.

Concerned about how you look? About what you eat? About what tomorrow may bring? God can take care of it. After all, hasn’t he already when he cleared up our mess with sin? Rather than clogging our minds with worries, why not surrender our worries to him? For as long as it affects us, it matters to Him.

Just like how we worry over the littlest things that matter to us, God too worries about us – simply because we are important to him.  So no matter how big or small our problem or worry, we can rest assure that our Father will handle it, if only we’re willing to let him.

Besides, Jesus isn’t just telling us not to worry. He’s giving us a command.

The command to cast our cares onto Him.

Is there anything currently in your life that’s preventing you from living out your life significantly? Are there any worries that’s hindering you from savouring each day? Why not bring it to Him?

Heavenly Father, we thank you for the gift of Jesus, your son and for giving us the freedom to approach you unreservedly. You know all that is in our hearts and in our minds. Help us to surrender our concerns to you daily and empower us with the wisdom to live our lives purposefully every day.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Cassandra Cheong)
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Prayer: We pray for those who are going through depression or finding it hard to break free of their worries and difficulties currently.

Thanksgiving: We thank God for giving us the freedom to approach him unreservedly.

Upcoming Readings:
Sun, 19 Jun – Exodus 34:4-6.8-9; 3 Corinthians 13:11-13; John 3:16-18; Trinity Sunday

Friday, 17 Jun – What are you looking at?

17 Jun
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2 Corinthians 11:18. 21-30

So many others have been boasting of their worldly achievements, that I will boast myself. But if anyone wants some brazen speaking – I am still talking as a fool – then I can be as brazen as any of them, and about the same things. Hebrews, are they? So am I. Israelites? So am I. Descendants of Abraham? So am I. The servants of Christ? I must be made to say this, but so am I, and more than they: more, because I have worked harder, I have been sent to prison more often, and whipped so many times more, often almost to death. Five times I had the thirty-nine lashes from the Jews; three times I have been beaten with sticks; once I was stoned; three times I have been shipwrecked and once adrift in the open sea for a night and a day. Constantly travelling, I have been in danger from rivers and in danger from brigands, in danger from my own people and in danger from pagans; in danger in the towns, in danger in the open country, danger at sea and danger from so-called brothers. I have worked and laboured, often without sleep; I have been hungry and thirsty and often starving; I have been in the cold without clothes. And, to leave out much more, there is my daily preoccupation: my anxiety for all the churches. When any man has had scruple, I have had scruples with him; when any man is made to fall, I am tortured.

If I am to boast, then let me boast of my own feebleness.
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Matthew 6:19-23

Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not store up treasures for yourselves on earth, where moths and woodworms destroy them and thieves can break in and steal. But store up treasures for yourselves in heaven, where neither moth or woodworms destroy them and thieves cannot break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

“The lamp of the body is the eye. It follows that if your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light. But if your eye is diseased, your whole body will be all darkness. If then, the light inside you is darkness, what darkness that will be!”
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The lamp of the body is the eye. It follows that if your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light. But if your eye is diseased, your whole body will be all darkness.

When I read this verse, I instinctively recalled an incident sometime ago. It was the weekend and my Mum and I were heading for Mass. She had gone downstairs first to start the car, which was parked in the parallel lot by the road, just opposite our flat.

Fearing that we’d be late, I grabbed my things in a fluster and left the house. I ran across the road, opened the car door, dumped my stuff on the seat and was about to get into the car, when I realised that the car interior looked different. Where my mum should have been sitting, was a portly man wbo looked at me with widened eyes. It was then that I realised I had nearly gotten into the wrong car.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus reminds us that the lamp of the body is our eye. The purpose of a lamp is to shed light so that we can see. For instance, we shine the headlights of a car on the road so that we can determine the route to our destination. The same goes for our eyes. Where we fix our gaze determines which route we take and where it ends.

To put it simply, if I had fixed my gaze clearly on the right car , I would not have ended up almost boarding the wrong one.

Jesus warns us that the quality of our eyes can affect us spiritually. How we look at the world and what we look at, can impact our lives. We can choose to fill our bodies with either light or darkness. For instance, we can choose to allow sin to enter our bodies simply by focusing on it.

However, if we focus on building our relationship with Christ, then we’ll eventually reap the fruits of our labour. This is because the more we focus on something, the more we allow it to consume our hearts and our minds, which naturally impacts the way we live our lives.

What are each of us focusing on currently?

Given the fast pace of today’s modern world, it’s easy to get swept up in the current of daily life without pausing to think for ourselves about what it is we hope to gain from our lives before it ends.

As morbid as it may seem, the truth is undeniable – we’re racing against time. Each of us, if you’re around my age, probably have about another 50 years to live (on an average). It’s not very long considering how the past twenty years have quickly flown by. At some point in time, our bodies will fail to function and our organs slowly cease to work. Where will our hearts be then? Where will  our treasures lie?

Where we fix our gaze, whilst on earth, will be the determining factor. Let’s pause and reflect on what truly matters before we lose track of time.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Cassandra Cheong)
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Prayer: Lord, help us to discover what truly matters as we make our way through life.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks to God for the remaining years of our life and for the gift of Jesus Christ.

Upcoming Readings:
Sat, 18 Jun – 2 Corinthians 12:1-10; Matthew 6:24-34
Sun, 19 Jun – Exodus 34:4-6.8-9; 3 Corinthians 13:11-13; John 3:16-18; Trinity Sunday

Thursday, 16 Jun – Appreciating the Eucharist

16 Jun
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2 Corinthians 11:1-11

I only wish you were able to tolerate a little foolishness from me. But of course: you are tolerant towards me. You see, the jealousy that I feel for you is God’s own jealousy: I arranged for you to marry Christ so that I might give you away as a chaste virgin to this one husband. But the serpent, with his cunning, seduced Eve, and I am afraid that in the same way your ideas may get corrupted and turned away from simple devotion to Christ. Because any newcomer has only to proclaim a new Jesus, different from the one that we preached, or you have only to receive a new spirit, different from the one you have already received, or a new gospel, different from the one you have already accepted – and you welcome it with open arms. As far as I can tell, these arch-apostles have nothing more than I have. I may not be a polished speechmaker, but as for knowledge, that is a different matter; surely we have made this plain, speaking on every subject in front of all of you.

Or was I wrong, lowering myself so as to lift you high, by preaching the gospel of God to you and taking no fee for it? I was robbing other churches, living on them so that I could serve you. When I was with you and ran out of money, I was no burden to anyone; the brothers who came from Macedonia provided me with everything I wanted. I was very careful, and I always shall be, not to be a burden to you in any way, and by Christ’s truth in me, this cause of boasting will never be taken from me in the regions of Achaia. Would I do that if I did not love you? God knows I do.
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Matthew 6:7-15

Jesus said to his disciples: “In your prayers do not babble as the pagans do, for they think that by using many words they will make themselves heard. Do not be like them; your Father knows what you need before you ask him. So you should pray like this:

Our Father in heaven,
may your name be held holy,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we have forgiven those who are in debt to us.
And do not put us to the test,
but save us from the evil one.

“Yes, if you forgive others their failings, your heavenly Father will forgive you yours; but if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive your failings either.”
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Give us today our daily bread

Earlier this year,  a friend of mine invited me to attend a worship session at her church. It was a non-denominational Christian church located in town. At the entrance of the worship hall, I noticed that there were ushers distributing little pre-sealed plastic containers containing a white circular wafer and some Ribena.

“It’s for communion service later,” explained my friend. They have it once a month. Later, during the service, the worshippers were invited to consume the wafer and Ribena after the pastor led them in prayer. I was amazed as each worshipper held the wafer and confessed their belief that it was the body of Christ. I was further amazed when they professed that, by consuming it, they would be healed and made whole again.

This left a deep impression on me. First, I was struck by how more and more Protestant churches are moving towards instituting a communion service during their Sunday worship. Apparently, this was not the only church to have one.

Second, I was struck by the reverence that they had for the body of Christ and the conviction with which they professed their belief in its healing power. It really made me wonder how much do I, as a cradle Catholic, truly appreciate and believe in the power of the Eucharist?

Having gone through catecheses, I do believe that the Eucharist is the real presence of Christ. This means that whenever I consume the Eucharist, I do believe that Christ is there, powerfully present in the host, and sanctifying me. However, I can’t deny the fact that there are times when I do tend to take the Eucharist for granted.

For instance, there are times when I consume the host out of habit and, after having received it from the communion minister, I walk back to my pew wondering what I’m going to do next once mass ends. There are times as well, when I kneel at the pew, with the host in my mouth and I’m at a lost about what to pray.  I end up uttering a quick prayer because I’m taught that that’s what I must do.

Nevertheless, I am thankful that, despite my inattention, I am still given many chances to seek God and be conscious of his real presence.  Unlike the worshippers in my friend’s church, I have the opportunity to receive Christ and encounter him in the Eucharist every single day in daily mass. I also have the opportunity to seek him out in adoration.

Including readily-available reflection booklets and easily-accessible online reflections on God’s words, there are indeed a lot of avenues available for us to seek God for our daily bread.

The next time I receive Christ in the Eucharist, I am going to give him my full attention.

Nothing is too big or too small for our Lord to handle. In a world that is constantly changing and challenges are rife, we need Christ as our sustenance. Let’s try to maximise the graces that God has given us.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Cassandra Cheong)
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Prayer: Lord, sustain us. Help us to encounter you frequently in the Eucharist and to rely on your strength for our daily bread.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks to God for the institution of the priesthood and for people through whom He has given us our daily bread.

Upcoming Readings:
Fri, 17 Jun – 2 Corinthians 11:18.21-30; Matthew 6:19-23
Sat, 18 Jun – 2 Corinthians 12:1-10; Matthew 6:24-34
Sun, 19 Jun – Exodus 34:4-6.8-9; 3 Corinthians 13:11-13; John 3:16-18; Trinity Sunday

Wednesday, 15 Jun – The Heart Of The Matter

15 Jun
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2 Corinthians 9:6-11

Do not forget: thin sowing means thin reaping; the more you sow, the more you reap. Each one should give what he has decided in his own mind, not grudgingly or because he is made to, for God loves a cheerful giver. And there is no limit to the blessings which God can send you – he will make sure that you will always have all you need for yourselves in every possible circumstance, and still have something to spare for all sorts of good works. As scripture says: He was free in almsgiving, and gave to the poor: his good deeds will never be forgotten

The one who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will provide you with all the seed you want and make the harvest of your good deeds a larger one, and, made richer in every way, you will be able to do all the generous things which, through us, are the cause of thanksgiving to God.
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Matthew 6:1-6. 16-18

Jesus said to his disciples: “Be careful not to parade your good deeds before men to attract their notice; by doing this you will lose all reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give alms, do not have it trumpeted before you; that is what the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win men’s admiration. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you give alms, your left hand must not know what your right is doing; your almsgiving must be secret,  and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.

“And when you pray, do not imitate the hypocrites: they love to say their prayers standing up in the synagogues and at the street corners for people to see them. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you pray, go to your private room and, when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in that secret place, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.

“When you fast do not put on a gloomy look as the hypocrites do: they pull long faces to let men know they are fasting. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that no one will know you are fasting except your Father who sees all that is done in secret; and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.”
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But when you pray, go to your private room and, when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in that secret place, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.

During my previous job, I had to consider and make decisions which affected the lives and liberty of others.  It required me to step out of my comfort zone regularly and challenge myself constantly to achieve the tasks at hand. It was truly a rewarding and enriching experience, but it was also very nerve-wrecking.

Having preferred climbing the stairs to my office, I often found myself having a “quick-conference” secretly with God, almost every morning, in the stairwell. There, I would pause just before I stepped out onto the landing, and desperately pray, “Help me to remember Lord, that nothing’s going to happen today, which you and I can’t handle together!” Thereafter, feeling a little more encouraged and slightly re-assured, I would then scurry on towards my ‘battlefield’ of work.

Looking back now, I’ve come to realised that without those short 2-minute prayers in the stairwell, I would not have found the strength or wisdom that I needed.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus appears to be telling us when or where we should pray. I doubt, though, that he’s saying we must pray secretly in a stairwell. Rather, it’s really not about the venue – but an issue of the heart.

The Pharisees were extremely concerned with how they looked in people’s eyes. They were more interested in flaunting their ‘spirituality’ or showing others their ‘holiness’ – proof that they were the elite among God’s chosen.  They were only as eager about worshipping God as about increasing their standing in society. However, they missed the heart of it all.

Jesus is reminding us that prayer is really just about God.

It doesn’t matter where or when we pray, so long as when we do, we’re genuine about it.  Our focus and attention is on Him.

We can pray within our inner room which is our hearts, anytime and anywhere –  e.g. the few minutes before we step into our next meeting, while we’re travelling, waiting or eating, in the stairwell, when we’re in the shower or in the sky – the possibilities are endless.

What if you’re feeling distant and finding it difficult to pray? A friend of mine gave me a very good piece of advice – just try anyway.  You can always let God know exactly how you feel.  Sometimes, silence in itself is a prayer. Even an acknowledgement of your distance from God or your struggles with Him can also be a prayer – as long as you’re involved with God in your life.

What is our reward? Proverbs 3:5 states “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.” We are acknowleding God, in one way or another, whenever we pray (or struggle to).  As long as we acknowledge God, we can be sure that He directs our paths, whether or not we consciously see it.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Cassandra Cheong)
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Prayer: Help us Lord to remember you in our daily walk and encounter you in our prayers.

Thanksgiving: We thank you Lord for the people who have prayed for us and are keeping us in their prayers.

Upcoming Readings:
Thu, 16 Jun – 2 Corinthians 11:1-11; Matthew 6:7-15
Fri, 17 Jun – 2 Corinthians 11:18.21-30; Matthew 6:19-23
Sat, 18 Jun – 2 Corinthians 12:1-10; Matthew 6:24-34
Sun, 19 Jun – Exodus 34:4-6.8-9; 3 Corinthians 13:11-13; John 3:16-18; Trinity Sunday

Tuesday, 14 Jun – The Challenge

14 Jun
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2 Corinthians 8:1-9

Now here, brothers, is the news of the grace of God which was given in the churches in Macedonia; and of how, throughout great trials by suffering, their constant cheerfulness and their intense poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity. I can swear that they gave not only as much as they could afford, but far more, and quite spontaneously, begging and begging us for the favour of sharing in this service to the saints and, what was quite unexpected, they offered their own selves first to God and, under God, to us.

Because of this, we have asked Titus, since he has already made a beginning, to bring this work of mercy to the same point of success among you. You always have the most of everything – of faith, of eloquence, of understanding, of keenness for any cause, and the biggest share of our affection – so we expect you to put the most into this work of mercy too. It is not an order that I am giving you; I am just testing the genuineness of your love against the keenness of others. Remember how generous the Lord Jesus was: he was rich, but he became poor for your sake, to make you rich out of his poverty.
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Matthew 5:43-48

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘You have learnt how it was said: You must love your neighbour and hate your enemy. But I say this to you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; in this way you will be sons of your Father in heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on bad men as well as good, and his rain to fall on honest and dishonest men alike. For if you love those who love you, what right have you to claim any credit? Even the tax collectors do as much, do they not? And if you save your greetings for your brothers, are you doing anything exceptional? Even the pagans do as much, do they not? You must therefore be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect.’
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But I say to your, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust.

Some months ago, I found myself gradually straying away from a group of friends – people whom I grew up with over the years. The group dynamics seemed to have changed and I found myself disagreeing more and more with them. Our mindsets seemed to have become poles apart. Initially, I wondered if it was because they had changed. I found it more and more difficult to love them and accept them for who they were, but then I realised it was because I too had changed and they were also learning to adjust to me.

I am sure all of us have people whom we find it difficult to accept or love, simply because we do not condone their actions, have different values or are appalled at their mindsets or behaviour. They may end up being people whom we clash with in the office or at school, or people whom we constantly struggle and argue with at home. They become our crosses because we find it a challenge to co-exist peacefully with them.

However, I am reminded by today’s Gospel that God is just and fair to all. He does not discriminate by making the sun shine only on the good, but on the bad and the good alike. I realised that’s because as long as we are here on earth, our time is not up yet and all of us are still works-in-progress. Our challenge is to learn how to help one another grow, by our experiences or even by our differences. We are challenged to keep an open mind about the individual who is vastly different from us, challenged to respect and learn more about that person’s life experience and to look beyond what we perceive him or her to be.

Overtime, we learn the best ways or methods of dealing with certain people constructively and more importantly, we discover truths about ourselves.

Look at it from a different perspective – are we currently an obstacle to someone else becoming Christ-like? Are we currently an obstacle to that person’s growth? Have we persecuted or condemned others consciously by our actions and the judgments we’ve passed?  Have we become another’s “enemy”?

If so, let us not become the cause for someone else’s stumbling, but strive instead to become instruments of growth for ourselves and for others.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Cassandra Cheong)
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Prayer: We pray for those who are being persecuted, that God may grant them the strength and wisdom in dealing with their persecutors.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks to God for people who have given us their love.

Upcoming Readings:
Wed, 15 Jun – 2 Corinthians 9:6-11; Matthew 6:1-6; Matthew 6:1-6.16-18
Thu, 16 Jun – 2 Corinthians 11:1-11; Matthew 6:7-15
Fri, 17 Jun – 2 Corinthians 11:18.21-30; Matthew 6:19-23
Sat, 18 Jun – 2 Corinthians 12:1-10; Matthew 6:24-34
Sun, 19 Jun – Exodus 34:4-6.8-9; 3 Corinthians 13:11-13; John 3:16-18; Trinity Sunday

Monday, 13 Jun – Knowing When To Give

13 Jun – Memorial for St Anthony of Padua, Priest & Doctor of the Church

St. Anthony’s (1195-1231) wealthy family wanted him to be a great nobleman, but for the sake of Christ he became a poor Franciscan. When the remains of St. Berard and his companions, the first Franciscan martyrs, were brought to be buried in his church, Anthony was moved to leave his order, enter the Friars Minor, and go to Morocco to evangelize.

Shipwrecked at Sicily, he joined some other brothers who were going to Portiuncula. One day when a scheduled speaker failed to appear, the brothers pressed him into speaking. He impressed them so that he was thereafter constantly travelling, evangelizing, preaching, and teaching theology through Italy and France.

A gifted speaker, he attracted crowds everywhere he went, speaking in multiple tongues. Legend says that even the fish loved to listen. He was a wonder worker. As one of the most beloved saints, his images and statues are found everywhere. He was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1946.

– Patron Saint Index
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2 Corinthians 6:1-10

As his fellow workers, we beg you once again not to neglect the grace of God that you have received. For he says: At the favourable time, I have listened to you; on the day of salvation I came to your help. Well, now is the favourable time; this is the day of salvation.

We do nothing that people might object to, so as not to bring discredit on our function as God’s servants. Instead, we prove we are servants of God by great fortitude in times of suffering: in times of hardship and distress; when we are flogged, or sent to prison, or mobbed; labouring, sleepless, starving. We prove we are God’s servants by our purity, knowledge, patience and kindness; by a spirit of holiness, by a love free from affectation; by the word of truth and by the power of God; by being armed with the weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left, prepared for honour or disgrace, for blame or praise; taken for impostors while we are genuine; obscure yet famous; said to be dying and here are we alive; rumoured to be executed before we are sentenced; thought most miserable and yet we are always rejoicing; taken for paupers though we make others rich, for people having nothing though we have everything.
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Matthew 5:38-42

Jesus said, ‘You have learnt how it was said: Eye for eye and tooth for tooth. But I say this to you: offer the wicked man no resistance. On the contrary, if anyone hits you on the right cheek, offer him the other as well; if a man takes you to law and would have your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone orders you to go one mile, go two miles with him. Give to anyone who asks, and if anyone wants to borrow, do not turn away.’
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Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow

A few years ago, an old acquaintance of mine was facing a potential lawsuit and needed a substantial sum of money so that he could settle the matter out of court. He approached me and requested to borrow a sum. I asked him to give me some time to think about it as the requested sum, given the state of my bank account then, was a substantial amount for me. Over the next two days, I deliberated over the matter and sought the counsel of some mutual friends. Some advised against it while others asked if I was mentally prepared to forfeit the loan.

After giving the matter much consideration, I eventually declined the person’s request. Needless to say, we have grown further apart since that incident.

Looking back on the incident, I have often asked myself if, given the chance, would I have done things differently? What if the person was an extremely close friend? Or what if the sum requested had been much smaller? I am uncertain what my answer would be.

Reflecting on today’s passage, I am not sure if I can be as selfless as Christ demands me to be.

The evidence is simple. I am cautious when it comes to donating money to charities and persons who busk along the underpasses or who try to sell tissue paper to me, at double the price, for a living. Given the nature of my past job, I can’t help but wonder if some of them are using the money to support unhealthy habits like drug addictions or gambling. For the healthier looking ones, I even wonder if they’ve actually tried to find a job. I walk past them often, donating occasionally from time to time, to a rare few.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus’ message serves as a timely reminder to me that God is looking at the generosity of my heart. It is not the amount of money I give, but the attitude of my heart that counts. I am reminded not to judge our fellow brothers and sisters on earth, for only God sees what is secret in their hearts, but to open up my heart a little wider to at least one of them.

True generosity is the giving of alms from our hearts. It means caring for someone else other than myself. It could mean giving my time or money to someone else who needs it, or simply administering an act of kindness to someone, from an unjudgmental heart.

Does this mean then that I am to give to every single person whom I meet, who asks of me? It may appear so from today’s Gospel passage. However, the bible also says that we are called to be faithful stewards of God. This means using the resources, that God has given us, discerningly. These resources include our time and money.

The message today is simple. If we have not been giving alms from our hearts, then maybe it’s time we start. If we have been unkind to someone in our thoughts or actions, let us begin by extending an act of kindness to that person from our heart; or if we have not been investing our time or money in God’s kingdom, then maybe it’s time we share our resources with those around us who are in need of it.

On the other hand, if we have been giving all our resources away, to the extent that we have become burnt out, tired and possibly even resentful, then maybe it’s time to reflect and discern if we need to draw a line. Even Jesus needed time alone for himself and he spent it away from the crowds, on the mountain, doing what he enjoyed best – spending time solely with his Father. God loves a cheerful giver and if we’ve given to the point that we are no longer happy about it, then maybe it’s time for us to have a breather.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Cassandra Cheong)
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Prayer: We pray for the generosity to be kind to others, especially persons whom we find it most difficult to be kind to, and for the wisdom to use our resources wisely.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks to God for the people who have touched our lives, in one way or another, with the generosity of their hearts.

Upcoming Readings:
Tue, 14 Jun – 2 Corinthians 8:1-9; Matthew 5:43-48
Wed, 15 Jun – 2 Corinthians 9:6-11; Matthew 6:1-6; Matthew 6:1-6.16-18
Thu, 16 Jun – 2 Corinthians 11:1-11; Matthew 6:7-15
Fri, 17 Jun – 2 Corinthians 11:18.21-30; Matthew 6:19-23
Sat, 18 Jun – 2 Corinthians 12:1-10; Matthew 6:24-34
Sun, 19 Jun – Exodus 34:4-6.8-9; 3 Corinthians 13:11-13; John 3:16-18; Trinity Sunday