Tag Archives: eternity

13 November, Tuesday – Fleeting Worldly Possessions

13 November

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Titus 2:1-8,11-14

It is for you to preach the behaviour which goes with healthy doctrine. The older men should be reserved, dignified, moderate, sound in faith and love and constancy. Similarly, the older women should behave as though they were religious, with no scandal-mongering and no habitual wine-drinking – they are to be the teachers of the right behaviour and show the younger women how they should love their husbands and love their children, how they are to be sensible and chaste, and how to work in their homes, and be gentle, and do as their husbands tell them, so that the message of God is never disgraced. In the same way, you have got to persuade the younger men to be moderate and in everything you do make yourself an example to them of working for good: when you are teaching, be an example to them in your sincerity and earnestness and in keeping all that you say so wholesome that nobody can make objections to it; and then any opponent will be at a loss, with no accusation to make against us. You see, 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.

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Luke 17:7-10

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Which of you, with a servant ploughing or minding sheep, would say to him when he returned from the fields, “Come and have your meal immediately”? Would he not be more likely to say, “Get my supper laid; make yourself tidy and wait on me while I eat and drink. You can eat and drink yourself afterwards”? Must he be grateful to the servant for doing what he was told? So with you: when you have done all you have been told to do, say, “We are merely servants: we have done no more than our duty.”’

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For the grace of God has appeared, saving all and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly and devoutly in this age…

All my friends and family have been raving about the movie “Crazy Rich Asians”.  I guess I am one of the few people that hasn’t seen the movie yet.  Honestly, living in North America, there is growing resentment towards the ‘nouveau riche’, and well-to-do Asians and immigrants. General public opinion blames them for a lot of the country’s real estate market woes. The thought of sitting through a movie based on wealthy Asians and all its stereotypes and clichés made me cringe.

Then just this week, I came upon the book (which the movie is based on) and decided to give it a read. It was entertaining as I read more, I realized that it was not just a romance novel nor a Cinderella tale. It is an ‘in your face’, satirical look at the lives of people who appear to have it all, yet who are truly unhappy.  They don’t have many, if any, meaningful friendships or relationships and are constantly trying to outdo each other. They have placed great importance on things of a transient nature above the one eternal truth. This may be a depiction of reality for some people or a pure work of fiction; whatever the case, I am reminded of one of the sermons of Bishop Barron.

In his sermon, the Bishop talked about the preoccupation and pursuit of wealth, power, honour, passion and other worldly things. These are not necessarily bad things on their own — we all seek them in one way or another. The danger comes when we forget that these are all temporary and fleeting. In fact, our time on earth is temporary and fleeting. Our goal is eternal union with our God and we should set our sights upon heavenly things. We need to see the good, the truth and the beautiful things of this world in proper prospective. We need to understand that all comes from God and to see everything in the light of God. We need to learn the value of these transient things in the light of Christ, without clinging to them, without putting too much importance or expecting too much from them. For if we place more importance on the things of the world instead of heaven, if we follow our worldly desires instead of our saviour; then for sure, we will lose sight of the eternal goal and ourselves along the way.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Winnie Kung)

Prayer: Dear Lord, we pray that we set our hearts and minds on what is truly important and eternal; let us not fall into the trap of the material world and lose sight of our goal of being in communion with you.

Thanksgiving: We thank you for granting us your grace to help us battle the temptations of this world.

3 November, Saturday – Live Humbly Fully

3 November – St Martin de Porres

Martin (1579-1639) was the illegitimate son of a Spanish nobleman, Juan, and a young freed black slave, Anna Velasquez. He grew up in poverty and spent part of his youth with a surgeon-barber from whom he learned some medicine and care of the sick.

At the age of 11, he became a servant in the Holy Rosary Dominican priory in Lima, Peru. He was promoted to almoner and begged more than $2,000 a week from the rich to support the poor and sick in Lima. He was placed in charge of the Dominican’s infirmary, and was known for his tender care of the sick and for his spectacular cures. His superiors dropped the stipulation that “no black person may be received to the holy habit or profession of our order” and Martin took vows as a Dominican brother in 1603.

He established an orphanage and children’s hospital for the poor children of the slums. He set up a shelter for the stray cats and dogs and nursed them back to health. He lived in self-imposed austerity, never eating meat, fasting continuously, and spent much time in prayer and meditation with a great devotion to the Holy Eucharist. He was a friend of St. John de Massias.

He was venerated from the day of his death. Many miraculous cures, including raising the dead, have been attributed to Brother Martin, the first black saint from the Americas.

– Patron Saint Index

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Philippians 1:18-26

Christ is proclaimed; and that makes me happy; and I shall continue being happy, because I know this will help to save me, thanks to your prayers and to the help which will be given to me by the Spirit of Jesus. My one hope and trust is that I shall never have to admit defeat, but that now as always I shall have the courage for Christ to be glorified in my body, whether by my life or by my death. Life to me, of course, is Christ, but then death would bring me something more; but then again, if living in this body means doing work which is having good results-I do not know what I should choose. I am caught in this dilemma: I want to be gone and be with Christ, which would be very much the better, but for me to stay alive in this body is a more urgent need for your sake. This weighs with me so much that I feel sure I shall survive and stay with you all, and help you to progress in the faith and even increase your joy in it; and so you will have another reason to give praise to Christ Jesus on my account when I am with you again.

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Luke 14:1,7-11

On a sabbath day Jesus had gone for a meal to the house of one of the leading Pharisees; and they watched him closely. He then told the guests a parable, because he had noticed how they picked the places of honour. He said this, ‘When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take your seat in the place of honour. A more distinguished person than you may have been invited, and the person who invited you both may come and say, “Give up your place to this man.” And then, to your embarrassment, you would have to go and take the lowest place. No; when you are a guest, make your way to the lowest place and sit there, so that, when your host comes, he may say, “My friend, move up higher.” In that way, everyone with you at the table will see you honoured. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the man who humbles himself will be exalted.’

 

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I shall survive and stay with you all

Has it ever crossed your mind that sometimes you are so contented about your believe in the Father, and that life on Earth is rather meaningless and you are just ready to live a faithful life in the Kingdom of God. Perhaps you felt that you have repented and been through reconciliation with our Father, thinking that the earthly life and responsibilities are not meaningful to you as living in the Kingdom of God. We began to complain about the life here, about the awful people we meet around us and that we cannot wait to die and actually live in the presence of our fellow brothers and sisters in Heaven. Does that really make us ready to die from this world and be in the arms of our creator?

Like in today’s Gospel, St. Paul felt exactly like that, ready to die and be with God. However, he felt that he had to continue living to guide people to building their faith in the Father. How are we going to live this life then? Do you think you are really so ready to meet your creator our Lord? Just because He had created you, and now you want a simpler life by actually leaving it to be with Him is not His game plan for us. We have a worth being on Earth. We are to live a faithful and be a Christian to others.

What do you plan to do in this life on Earth to please our Father? Do we humble ourselves so that others see the goodness in us? Have we been good Christians that others look up to? Looking back at the lives of our great saints, their motivation is in the love for the people and in God for guiding through their way of life on Earth. As for us, the lay people, all we need is to be guided by our Father through our everyday actions. Let us not get into the dilemma thinking we are good enough to enter the Kingdom of God, but to live an optimistic and responsible life on Earth.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Austin Leong)

Prayer: We cannot take our own lives for it is a sin, so we have to live the life which our Father has given us, give me the courage to enrich others in the Christian living and that I may be a humble example.

Thanksgiving: We cannot take our own lives for it is a sin, so we have to live the life which our Father has given us, give me the courage to enrich others in the Christian living and that I may be a humble example.

27 October, Saturday – The Time is Now

27 October

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Ephesians 4:7-16

Each one of us has been given his own share of grace, given as Christ allotted it. It was said that he would:

When he ascended to the height, he captured prisoners,
he gave gifts to men.

When it says, ‘he ascended’, what can it mean if not that he descended right down to the lower regions of the earth? The one who rose higher than all the heavens to fill all things is none other than the one who descended. And to some, his gift was that they should be apostles; to some, prophets; to some, evangelists; to some, pastors and teachers; so that the saints together make a unity in the work of service, building up the body of Christ. In this way we are all to come to unity in our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God, until we become the perfect Man, fully mature with the fullness of Christ himself.

Then we shall not be children any longer, or tossed one way and another and carried along by every wind of doctrine, at the mercy of all the tricks men play and their cleverness in practising deceit. If we live by the truth and in love, we shall grow in all ways into Christ, who is the head by whom the whole body is fitted and joined together, every joint adding its own strength, for each separate part to work according to its function. So the body grows until it has built itself up, in love.

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Luke 13:1-9

Some people arrived and told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with that of their sacrifices. At this he said to them, ‘Do you suppose these Galileans who suffered like that were greater sinners than any other Galileans? They were not, I tell you. No; but unless you repent you will all perish as they did. Or those eighteen on whom the tower at Siloam fell and killed them? Do you suppose that they were more guilty than all the other people living in Jerusalem? They were not, I tell you. No; but unless you repent you will all perish as they did.’

He told this parable: ‘A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came looking for fruit on it but found none. He said to the man who looked after the vineyard, “Look here, for three years now I have been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and finding none. Cut it down: why should it be taking up the ground?” “Sir,” the man replied “leave it one more year and give me time to dig round it and manure it: it may bear fruit next year; if not, then you can cut it down.”’

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“…. it may bear next year; if not, then you can cut it down.”

The earliest part of my life was really challenging. I was born out of wedlock, brought up by my grand aunt, and had a childhood when I felt everything to be a struggle.  I started going to church at the age of 12, and sometime after that, I remembered asking God, “Why me?”.

Since then, I have had many similar conversationswith others. In fact, an acquaintance saw that I had been putting some faith-related posts on social media and touched base with me. His first question to me was something like this: “Would you still have faith iflife was difficult for you?”. His point to me was that if God was all loving, why does He allow bad things to happen, and why does He allow it to happen to good people?

In the Gospel today, Jesus teaches us that those who were killed by Pilate, or who were killed in Siloan were no more guilty that those who were not. This is an important lesson as the Israelites believed that God punished only those who were more sinful than others. This is something relevant for our understanding as well.

Rather than going into a discussion about why bad things happened to people, Jesus stressed the importance that everyone prepare for the time for us to leave this earthly world. He gives the parable about a fruitless fig tree. While the vinyard owner had intended to have the tree cut down, the gardener convinces the owner to keep it for an additional year to fruit, failing which it would be be cut down.

While it continues to live, the fig tree does not know that it has just an additional year. Like the fig tree, we do not know how long more we have.  By talking about “perishing”, our Lord does not talk about our physical deaths. Rather, He is talking about our eternal lives.

Let us focus on doing the right things, now. We simply do not know when our time on earth is up.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Paul Wee)

Prayer: Help us to have a sense of urgency Father, to make our faith in You red-hot. Help us to believe and act in line with Your plans.

Thanksgiving: We are grateful to You for Your teaching Lord Jesus. For Your reminder that our time here on earth is limited. Thank You for blessing us with each day to do Your work.