Daily Archives: January 13, 2019

14 January, Monday – Nothing Better than the Real Thing

14 January 2019

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Hebrews 1:1-6

At various times in the past and in various different ways, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets; but in our own time, the last days, he has spoken to us through his Son, the Son that he has appointed to inherit everything and through whom he made everything there is. He is the radiant light of God’s glory and the perfect copy of his nature, sustaining the universe by his powerful command; and now that he has destroyed the defilement of sin, he has gone to take his place in heaven at the right hand of divine Majesty. So he is now as far above the angels as the title which he has inherited is higher than their own name.
God has never said to any angel: You are my Son, today I have become your father; or: I will be a father to him and he a son to me. Again, when he brings the First-Born into the world, he says: Let all the angels of God worship him.

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Mark 1:14-20

After John had been arrested, Jesus went into Galilee. There he proclaimed the Good News from God. ‘The time has come’ he said ‘and the kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent, and believe the Good News.’

As he was walking along by the Sea of Galilee he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net in the lake – for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you into fishers of men.’ And at once they left their nets and followed him.

Going on a little further, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John; they too were in their boat, mending their nets. He called them at once and, leaving their father Zebedee in the boat with the men he employed, they went after him.

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“He has spoken to us through His Son…”

Anyone who knows me will know that I have been a foodie for the longest time. For those who don’t, you would just have to take one look at me and realise that.

One of the foods which I love is the Vietnamese pho. I first tried it on our honeymoon in Australia when we got married some 22 years ago. I remember my then fiancee telling me, from the time we first met, about the flavourful broth, the freshness of the beef and the freshly cooked bean sprouts and mint leaves.

I began to look forward to the first time we got to eat this phenomenal food. I imagined how it would be like, but nothing really compares to the first time the noodles were put in front of me. No amount of words nor the most descriptive language could ever do it justice.

The Jews had only experienced God through the prophets, all of whom cajoled, warned, taught and spoke of the goodness of God. Yet, they were totally unprepared for the experience of Jesus. It was only by interacting with Him, in the daily encounters and conversations that people built a relationship with Jesus. In spite of all the collective knowledge, the learning (of our faith, and what it means to be Christian, of who God is) is actually through having a relationship with Him.

Ever since I was baptised about 30 odd years ago, I have tried hard to connect with God, through my readings and in my intellectualisation, all of which left me with the feeling that there was something still lacking.

And just like the actual act of eating the Vietnamese pho, I only began to experience what knowing Jesus was like when I set aside all my previous learnings and head knowledge and actually started to have a relationship with Him.

Nothing helps us know God like having a real encounter and relationship with Jesus. Brothers and sisters, let us continue to seek Him; to REALLY encounter Jesus.

(Today’s Oxygen by Paul Wee)

Prayer: Father, we pray that we will reach out and accept Your love for us; to truly experience the richness and depth of this love.

Thanksgiving: Thank You Father, for sending us Your Son, Jesus Christ, to show us how to live and how to truly love those around us.

13 January, Sunday – I am the Beloved

13 Jan – Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord

The Baptism Of The Lord

The Father anointed his beloved son, Jesus, with the Holy Spirit and with power, to bring healing and peace to all the nations.

– The Sunday Missal

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Isaiah 40:1-5,9-11

‘Console my people, console them’
says your God.
‘Speak to the heart of Jerusalem
and call to her
that her time of service is ended,
that her sin is atoned for,
that she has received from the hand of the Lord
double punishment for all her crimes.’

A voice cries, ‘Prepare in the wilderness
a way for the Lord.
Make a straight highway for our God
across the desert.
Let every valley be filled in,
every mountain and hill be laid low.
Let every cliff become a plain,
and the ridges a valley;
then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed
and all mankind shall see it;
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’

Go up on a high mountain,
joyful messenger to Zion.
Shout with a loud voice,
joyful messenger to Jerusalem.
Shout without fear,
say to the towns of Judah,
‘Here is your God.’

Here is the Lord coming with power,
his arm subduing all things to him.
The prize of his victory is with him,
his trophies all go before him.
He is like a shepherd feeding his flock,
gathering lambs in his arms,
holding them against his breast
and leading to their rest the mother ewes.

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Titus 2:11-14,3:4-7

God’s grace has been revealed, and it has made salvation possible for the whole human race and taught us that what we have to do is to give up everything that does not lead to God, and all our worldly ambitions; we must be self-restrained and live good and religious lives here in this present world, while we are waiting in hope for the blessing which will come with the Appearing of the glory of our great God and saviour Christ Jesus. He sacrificed himself for us in order to set us free from all wickedness and to purify a people so that it could be his very own and would have no ambition except to do good.
But when the kindness and love of God our saviour for mankind were revealed, it was not because he was concerned with any righteous actions we might have done ourselves; it was for no reason except his own compassion that he saved us, by means of the cleansing water of rebirth and by renewing us with the Holy Spirit which he has so generously poured over us through Jesus Christ our saviour. He did this so that we should be justified by his grace, to become heirs looking forward to inheriting eternal life.

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Luke 3:15-16,21-22

A feeling of expectancy had grown among the people, who were beginning to think that John might be the Christ, so John declared before them all, ‘I baptise you with water, but someone is coming, someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to undo the strap of his sandals; he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire. Now when all the people had been baptised and while Jesus after his own baptism was at prayer, heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily shape, like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you.’

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You are my son the Beloved; my favour rests on you

With the turn of each year, many of us may have adopted the annual tradition of setting new year resolutions. 2019 will (finally) be the year we eat clean, exercise regularly and sleep early. We will spend quality time with family and friends who matter, or decisively end a toxic relationship or a friendship which has run its course. Professionally, we will work smart and finally clinch the promotion we deserve. At least, this is what everyone seems to be saying on social media.

The world bombards us with expectations such as “You are what you have. You are what people say about you.” We are told we need to hustle – to get out there and work it until we find the opportunities we want in life. We need to fight for whatever is worth having. In stark contrast, the Word tells us that we are loved unconditionally, loved as we are, flaws, warts and all.

Having spent all our lives tuned into what the world is telling us to be, the greatest challenge for many of us is to fully accept the truth that we are God’s children, His Beloveds. At today’s feast of the Baptism of the Lord, we are reminded of our identity as God’s children, just as Jesus is the Beloved Son. As I reflected on today’s readings, a dear friend sent a poem which presciently encapsulates how I aspire to live the life of the Beloved in 2019, as well as the years ahead:

For Presence (John O’Donohue)

Awaken to the mystery of being here

and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.

Have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.

Receive encouragement when new frontiers beckon.

Respond to the call of your gift and the courage to follow its path.

Let the flame of anger free you of all falsity.

May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame.

May anxiety never linger about you.

May your outer dignity mirror on inner dignity of soul.

Take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek no attention.

Be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul.

May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Stephanie Seet)

Prayer: Dear Father, we pray that we may always remember and live out our identity as your beloved Children.  Help us to reach out to those around us as people loved unconditionally. 

Thanksgiving: Thank you God for the gift of Your perfect and unconditional love.