Tag Archives: geraldine nah

13 September, Friday – Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes

Sep 13 – Memorial for St. John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor

John’s (347-407) father died when he was young, and he was raised by a very pious mother. It was for his sermons that John earned the title “Chrysostom” (golden-mouthed). They were always on point, they explained the scriptures with clarity, and they sometimes went on for hours.

As bishop, he criticised the rich for not sharing their wealth, fought to reform the clergy, prevented the sale of ecclesiastical offices, called for fidelity in marriage, and encouraged practices of justice and charity. St. John’s sermons caused nobles and bishops to work to remove him from his diocese; twice exiled from his diocese. He was proclaimed Doctor of the Church in 451.

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1 Timothy 1:1-2,12-14

From Paul, apostle of Christ Jesus appointed by the command of God our saviour and of Christ Jesus our hope, to Timothy, true child of mine in the faith; wishing you grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Christ Jesus our Lord.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, and who judged me faithful enough to call me into his service even though I used to be a blasphemer and did all I could to injure and discredit the faith. Mercy, however, was shown me, because until I became a believer I had been acting in ignorance; and the grace of our Lord filled me with faith and with the love that is in Christ Jesus.

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Luke 6:39-42

Jesus told a parable to the disciples: ‘Can one blind man guide another? Surely both will fall into a pit? The disciple is not superior to his teacher; the fully trained disciple will always be like his teacher. Why do you observe the splinter in your brother’s eye and never notice the plank in your own? How can you say to your brother, “Brother, let me take out the splinter that is in your eye,” when you cannot see the plank in your own? Hypocrite! Take the plank out of your own eye first, and then you will see clearly enough to take out the splinter that is in your brother’s eye.’

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Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly

Very recently, we had a new member join our community. She recently had her own conversion experience and was filled with enthusiasm and eagerness. She wants so much to be in a community to keep her faith strong. And she is so grateful to now be a full-fledged member, despite our very demanding schedule. I love watching her worship. Full of joy, it comes from the heart and it shows. She is like a breath of fresh air – only that the way she dresses doesn’t quite conform to our standard code of dressing. She is a beautiful woman and dresses very fashionably. Very alluring. Our leaders were quick to point this out and I was tasked to gently advise her to be less ‘distracting’; especially when we are ministering. Before I knew more about her, I was wondering what job she held that allowed her to dress this way.  Don’t get me wrong, her dressing is by no means risqué nor lewd. It’s just that in our Christian community, we all tend to be a little prim. In any case, I found out that she held a senior teaching profession in the medical industry.

Quite recently, Archbishop William also published a reflection called ‘Studs and Tattoos’ about superficial judgements on people. What matters most is not what they wear or look like, but what their heart is like. We should never judge a book by its cover.

We are all, at some point or other, guilty of judging people. I too had my own fair share of ‘lessons’. I am plagued by my own prejudices and judgements of people – especially when they don’t match up to my expectations. It may be how they perform a task, how they react to things, how quickly they respond to requests, or why someone doesn’t help someone else in need when they are perfectly able to. ‘Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes.’.  Harper Lee in ‘To Kill A Mocking Bird’ said ‘you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them.’   We never know the story or the circumstance that led the person to behave the way they did.

Jesus doesn’t fault us for having failings. But he invites me to look to my own blind spots first. If the just person falls seven times, how often do I fall?

(Today’s OXYGEN by Geraldine Nah)

Prayer: Lord, make me more aware of my inadequacies, so that I may become gentle in dealing with others.

Thanksgiving: God thank you for seeing each of us from the inside. Thank you for seeing us with a generous and compassionate gaze. Thank you for not despising or condemning us for our shortcomings and failings. Lord, today make us gaze at annoying people as kindly as you do.

12 September, Thursday – Forgiveness is God’s medicine

Sep 12 – Holy Name of Mary

This feast is a counterpart to the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus (January 3); both have the possibility of uniting people easily divided on other matters. The feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary began in Spain in 1513 and in 1671 was extended to all of Spain and the Kingdom of Naples. In 1683, John Sobieski, king of Poland, brought an army to the outskirts of Vienna to stop the advance of Muslim armies loyal to Mohammed IV in Constantinople. After Sobieski entrusted himself to the Blessed Virgin Mary, he and his soldiers thoroughly defeated the Muslims. Pope Innocent XI extended this feast to the entire Church.

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Colossians 3:12-17

You are God’s chosen race, his saints; he loves you, and you should be clothed in sincere compassion, in kindness and humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with one another; forgive each other as soon as a quarrel begins. The Lord has forgiven you; now you must do the same. Over all these clothes, to keep them together and complete them, put on love. And may the peace of Christ reign in your hearts, because it is for this that you were called together as parts of one body. Always be thankful.
Let the message of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you. Teach each other, and advise each other, in all wisdom. With gratitude in your hearts sing psalms and hymns and inspired songs to God; and never say or do anything except in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

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Luke 6:27-38

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘I say this to you who are listening: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who treat you badly. To the man who slaps you on one cheek, present the other cheek too; to the man who takes your cloak from you, do not refuse your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and do not ask for your property back from the man who robs you. Treat others as you would like them to treat you. If you love those who love you, what thanks can you expect? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what thanks can you expect? For even sinners do that much. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what thanks can you expect? Even sinners lend to sinners to get back the same amount. Instead, love your enemies and do good, and lend without any hope of return. You will have a great reward, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.
‘Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate. Do not judge, and you will not be judged yourselves; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned yourselves; grant pardon, and you will be pardoned. Give, and there will be gifts for you: a full measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap; because the amount you measure out is the amount you will be given back.’

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Bearing with one another and forgiving one another

It’s just ironical or divine intervention that I am to write the reflection for today’s reading. I can’t forgive. Not always and not easily. It’s hard to forgive and sometime I don’t want to. What do you do when something in your life is too huge to forgive? This inability to forgive has caused me much grief. This led me to question and beat myself up – was I being a good Christian?

The gospel today is really hard to follow. As humans, we suffer rejection, betrayal, loss, abandonment, infidelity. The list is endless. We get wounded by the people we love most and those closest to us. Over the last few years, I went through a series of breakdowns in relationships and loss. One after another. Each time I steeled myself up and bulldozed myself to move ahead, something else happened. All that came to a resounding crash earlier this year. Everything came to a head. I felt utterly alone. My mental and emotional health were in shambles.

I dealt with these difficult situations by simply cutting them out. People come and go in our lives. Situations change. That’s life. That’s a fact. Over time, I stopped thinking about these things and they started to blur in my mind. Truth be told, I felt a sense of freedom, not having these people in my life. I no longer felt anger nor resentment. But one thing never went away – the hurt and pain was like an irritating pincer lodged in the flesh of my heart. A sermon I heard once stuck in my mind – no matter how you feel, offer up your prayer to those people you find hardest to love. I persisted in my ‘lousy prayer’ to the Lord for all of these people, even when I felt nothing.

If one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.  Yup, it’s not easy to follow. While I felt guilty for my unforgiveness, I was in no capacity to be Christ-like, to forgive. In fact, in my emotional deficit, I could not find it within myself to give, to love, to care, to be compassionate. Truth be told, holding on to that anger and hate felt good.  It ‘vindicated’ my pain of being betrayed and wronged.

The biggest revelation for me is that the Lord doesn’t expect us to do this ourselves. It’s by His grace and timing that allows us to heal and forgive. He knows when the time is right and will create the time and place for restoration, mending and healing of brokenness. By my own strength, I could not possibly forgive these people for the hurt they caused me. But I declare today that God is real and working in our lives. Our God of love and compassion knows our circumstance, the depth of our wounds and how much we can take. Over the past few months, God has created 3 occasions for reconciliation with the people who hurt me tremendously. Each of these scenarios can only be explained as the work of God, for no amount of planning by anyone could have fabricated these occurrences. One by one, I feel that my heart has forgiven these people.

I learnt that forgiveness doesn’t mean that you have to condone or accept what was done to you. It’s not ignoring your hurt or pretending that nothing happened. It’s not burying the pain that you forget about it. The journey to healing and forgiveness required me to face pain and suffering. I had to acknowledge these feelings within me and allow myself to feel these emotions. Forgiveness is choosing to put an end to my suffering and pain by allowing God’s light to shine on the situations. Forgiveness seems unfair because it requires me, the hurt party to show an act of compassion, to make the first move. But withholding forgiveness does not punish the other person. It actually exhausts me. Forgiveness has actually very little to do with the person that hurt me, and a lot to do with me. Forgiveness is God’s medicine. It healed me. It freed me from the prison of hurt and pain.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Geraldine Nah)

Prayer: Lord Jesus, we pray to forgive through you. That our pain and suffering can be healed, so that we are free to give life to others. We pray for the people who have wronged us, and ask forgiveness if we have hurt others.

Thanksgiving: Thank you Jesus, for the ultimate act of forgiveness is your dying on the cross. Thank you for laying down your life us. May we choose always to forgive, just as you have forgiven us.

11 September, Wednesday – Seek Him

11 Sept 2019

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Colossians 3:1-11

Since you have been brought back to true life with Christ, you must look for the things that are in heaven, where Christ is, sitting at God’s right hand. Let your thoughts be on heavenly things, not on the things that are on the earth, because you have died, and now the life you have is hidden with Christ in God. But when Christ is revealed – and he is your life – you too will be revealed in all your glory with him.

That is why you must kill everything in you that belongs only to earthly life: fornication, impurity, guilty passion, evil desires and especially greed, which is the same thing as worshipping a false god; all this is the sort of behaviour that makes God angry. And it is the way in which you used to live when you were surrounded by people doing the same thing, but now you, of all people, must give all these things up: getting angry, being bad-tempered, spitefulness, abusive language and dirty talk; and never tell each other lies. You have stripped off your old behaviour with your old self, and you have put on a new self which will progress towards true knowledge the more it is renewed in the image of its creator; and in that image there is no room for distinction between Greek and Jew, between the circumcised or the uncircumcised, or between barbarian and Scythian, slave and free man. There is only Christ: he is everything and he is in everything.

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Luke 6:20-26

Fixing his eyes on his disciples Jesus said:

‘How happy are you who are poor: yours is the kingdom of God.
Happy you who are hungry now: you shall be satisfied.
Happy you who weep now: you shall laugh.

Happy are you when people hate you, drive you out, abuse you, denounce your name as criminal, on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice when that day comes and dance for joy, for then your reward will be great in heaven. This was the way their ancestors treated the prophets.

‘But alas for you who are rich: you are having your consolation now.
Alas for you who have your fill now: you shall go hungry.
Alas for you who laugh now: you shall mourn and weep.

‘Alas for you when the world speaks well of you! This was the way their ancestors treated the false prophets.’

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If you be risen with Christ, seek the things that are above.

I had my conversion experience some 8 years ago and was baptized a Catholic 27 years ago. I’d like to believe that I am a follower, and a practicing Catholic. So, I am risen in Christ! To be risen also means that I first had to die. I am to consider myself dead to sin, dead to the earthly patterns and desires. But sometimes, I fall. Actually, I tumble and roll into the trenches.

Today’s first reading tells us “Therefore, if you be risen with Christ, seek the things that are above.” I worry about the most human of things – what is my life’s purpose? Am I adding value each day? What happens if I have cancer? Will I have enough to last through my golden years? (CPF’s marketing haunts me till today).

Today’s reading reminds us that if we want to break away from the past as well as the lies in our lives, where we place our gaze is important. Instead of looking down, or looking behind, Paul challenges us to look up, look out, look in and look around.

Recently, I was scrolling through my social media feeds. I came across this teaching by a certain pastor, who preached ‘I urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling you have received.’ (Ephesians 4:1). However before we walk, we have to sit. How well we walk is how well we sit (or rest). We must know what has been accomplished for us through Christ. Know what has been accomplished for us. Rest in what Christ has done, rest in the power of the Holy Spirit. Don’t try to do before you are. Rest. And out of the rest comes spirit directed activity. We need to have a revelation of who we are, and what we do comes out of who we are. Through our baptism, we share in Christ’s threefold mission as prophet, priest, and king. What we do comes from knowing who we are. I am a prophet, priest and queen!

My problem is, and has been, one of busyness and activity. I am seeking, searching, and doing a lot. I am looking everywhere but within. I am reminded in the most creative ways by Jesus (he knows how distracted I am) that before I try to run and do, I need to be still and rest in Him

Mind the things that are above, not the things that are upon the earth. This is hard for me. As I shared, I worry and fret about so many things. I worry that I don’t plan for things. And I reprimand myself for a lack of faith when I do plan for things. Not that taking action and planning is wrong; but I’ve learnt the need to be silent and still, to hear where the Lord is leading us. And to move with the Holy Spirit as it leads. I’ve also learnt that what is ‘right’ and logical for me (and perceived by the world as acceptable), isn’t always what our Lord has planned for me. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” Yup, it’s hard to fully let go, nor is it easy to understand. But God has written the blueprint of our lives in his big book.

Therefore, since we died with Christ, we don’t have to follow the rules of a hollow and deceptive philosophy. Since we’ve been raised with Christ, we have a new status and therefore, a new way of life. We now have a power source for living.

Seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God. The word “seek” is present tense, which in Greek indicates continuing action. In other words, Paul is telling us to seek and to keep on seeking the things that are above. It is a lifetime quest.

As Christians, God wants us to be aware of many things: the power of prayer, the sufficiency of the cross, the depth of His love, the power of forgiveness, the need for patience. He wants us to know from where we have come and where we are going.  He wants us to put away the old man and put on the new man.

But God also wants us to use our minds and our mental faculties in a holy, constructive, and faithful way. He wants our attitude to be positive. He wants our focus to be on Him and what is Holy. He wants us to know that we are dearly loved by Him.

So brothers and sisters, let us fully die to ourselves and live in the new life of our baptism as priests, prophets and kings. Let us not be burdened by our past lives, our own expectations and that of others. Let us let go of our past and cast our eyes fully on the Lord and seek what is of Him, of above. Through His strength, grace and love.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Geraldine Nah)

Prayer: Loving Father, help us to understand the precious relationship we have with Christ and what it means to be in Christ and to be seated with Him in heavenly places. Help us to set our hearts on the wonderful things that You have prepared for those that love You, and more and more may we be a reflection of Christ to all those we meet today, in His name, pray AMEN.

Thanksgiving: Thank You Father, for the blessed hope that is set before all those that trust in Christ Jesus. Thank You that each of us are in Christ and He is in us. That the day is coming when He will return to take us home to be with Him in heaven. Help us to set our minds on things above and not on earthly things and to live our lives in a way that is pleasing to You, in Jesus name I pray, AMEN.

7 June, Friday – Live with Love

7 June 2019

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Acts 25:13-21

King Agrippa and Bernice arrived in Caesarea and paid their respects to Festus. Their visit lasted several days, and Festus put Paul’s case before the king. ‘There is a man here’ he said ‘whom Felix left behind in custody, and while I was in Jerusalem the chief priests and elders of the Jews laid information against him, demanding his condemnation. But I told them that Romans are not in the habit of surrendering any man, until the accused confronts his accusers and is given an opportunity to defend himself against the charge. So they came here with me, and I wasted no time but took my seat on the tribunal the very next day and had the man brought in. When confronted with him, his accusers did not charge him with any of the crimes I had expected; but they had some argument or other with him about their own religion and about a dead man called Jesus whom Paul alleged to be alive. Not feeling qualified to deal with questions of this sort, I asked him if he would be willing to go to Jerusalem to be tried there on this issue. But Paul put in an appeal for his case to be reserved for the judgement of the august emperor, so I ordered him to be remanded until I could send him to Caesar.’

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John 21:15-19

Jesus showed himself to his disciples, and after they had eaten he said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these others do?’ He answered, ‘Yes Lord, you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ A second time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He replied, ‘Yes, Lord, you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Look after my sheep.’ Then he said to him a third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was upset that he asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ and said, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.

‘I tell you most solemnly,
when you were young
you put on your own belt
and walked where you liked;
but when you grow old
you will stretch out your hands,
and somebody else will put a belt round you
and take you where you would rather not go.’

In these words he indicated the kind of death by which Peter would give glory to God. After this he said, ‘Follow me.’

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Do you love me?

Imagine this for a moment – you did something so unforgivable and uncharitable to a very close friend of yours. Be it in a moment of weakness or a very calculated act on your part. How would your friend feel about your betrayal? Hurt, anger or sorrow? Could this friend forgive you? And can you ever forgive yourself for what you have done? Would you shy away from your friend in shame, unable to face him? Or would you push it aside, hoping that time would heal this wound you inflicted? Or are you so convinced that your act was justified.

Now imagine your friend, sometime later, in your most lost, despondent state, preparing breakfast for you. He asked how you are doing in the most loving gentle way. At first you are unable to recognise him, but by that one simple loving act, you recognised him – because this was the most recognisable characteristic of your friend – one who is ever ready to love and forgive you. You’d feel awful right?

This is the story of Peter. The last time they encountered each other was a sad occasion – Peter, betrayed Jesus 3 times. Yet after his death, the resurrected Jesus showed himself to his friends 3 times. And specifically to the one who betrayed him, Jesus forgave and loved him. Jesus takes Peter aside from the others and gives him the opportunity to affirm a threefold pledge of his love. The one, supreme condition for Christ to renew Peter’s commission to tend his sheep is Peter’s love for Jesus.

Recently, I found myself too in the position of Jesus. I had been hurt by an act of an individual. The breach of trust was so painful, so sorrowful, so shocking. To cope, I vowed never to come face to face with this person again. It was a pain I nursed for a few years. Over these years, I showed the classic symptoms of grief – irritable, numbness, bitterness, detachment, preoccupation of the loss, and the inability to show or experience joy. Try as I might to be Christ-like, I could not bring myself to forgive this person. Then one day, out of the blue, this person came to me and apologized so profusely. I was caught off-guard and didn’t know how to react. Days later, I was still holding onto the hurt and felt guilty for being un-Christ like.

It is so much easier to hold on to anger and resentment. But to love someone who has betrayed you – is simply too hard. God, in his mercy and grace, had pushed me to this comfortable space. I am learning that it’s only with God’s grace, that we can do what is deemed impossible.

Jesus too experienced betrayal. Yet He forgave and loved so much. He set an example for us. That is no doubt a tough act to follow. “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.” (Luke 17:3-4). However, to follow Jesus is to love. Love is the one, supreme condition for each of us who aspires to be an apostle. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favour and a good name in the sight of God and man – (Proverbs 3:3-4). Our risen Lord gives us the opportunity again and again to love. If we have drifted away, due to whatever circumstance in life – be it hurt, betrayal or simply lack of interest. Jesus is asking us too today ‘Do you love me?’ Do you hear this invitation? Can we not live in the past, but live in the here and now? Live with love.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Geraldine Nah)

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for being an example of love. Having received your mercy, teach us Lord to be compassionate and forgiving to others.

Thanksgiving: Thank you for your mercy, in showing compassion and love to us for the many times we betrayed you.

29 May, Wednesday – Something has to die for something to live

29 May 2019

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Acts 17:15,22-18:1

Paul’s escort took him as far as Athens, and went back with instructions for Silas and Timothy to rejoin Paul as soon as they could.

So Paul stood before the whole Council of the Areopagus and made this speech:
‘Men of Athens, I have seen for myself how extremely scrupulous you are in all religious matters, because I noticed, as I strolled round admiring your sacred monuments, that you had an altar inscribed: To An Unknown God. Well, the God whom I proclaim is in fact the one whom you already worship without knowing it.

‘Since the God who made the world and everything in it is himself Lord of heaven and earth, he does not make his home in shrines made by human hands. Nor is he dependent on anything that human hands can do for him, since he can never be in need of anything; on the contrary, it is he who gives everything – including life and breath – to everyone. From one single stock he not only created the whole human race so that they could occupy the entire earth, but he decreed how long each nation should flourish and what the boundaries of its territory should be. And he did this so that all nations might seek the deity and, by feeling their way towards him, succeed in finding him. Yet in fact he is not far from any of us, since it is in him that we live, and move, and exist, as indeed some of your own writers have said:

“We are all his children.”

‘Since we are the children of God, we have no excuse for thinking that the deity looks like anything in gold, silver or stone that has been carved and designed by a man.

‘God overlooked that sort of thing when men were ignorant, but now he is telling everyone everywhere that they must repent, because he has fixed a day when the whole world will be judged, and judged in righteousness, and he has appointed a man to be the judge. And God has publicly proved this by raising this man from the dead.’

At this mention of rising from the dead, some of them burst out laughing; others said, ‘We would like to hear you talk about this again.’

After that Paul left them, but there were some who attached themselves to him and became believers, among them Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman called Damaris, and others besides.

After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.

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John 16:12-15

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘I still have many things to say to you
but they would be too much for you now.
But when the Spirit of truth comes
he will lead you to the complete truth,
since he will not be speaking as from himself
but will say only what he has learnt;
and he will tell you of the things to come.
He will glorify me,
since all he tells you
will be taken from what is mine.
Everything the Father has is mine;
that is why I said:
All he tells you
will be taken from what is mine.’

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I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now

I have often pondered on this. If I had the gift of precognition – how would I have led my life?

We cannot control many events in our lives – for example we don’t get to choose our parents, our siblings, our relatives. However, there are certain events that were fully up to our own choices, like the path we took after graduation, our choice of life partners, whether one chooses a life of debauchery and merrymaking, or one of responsibility.

When I reflect on my own life – 2 events stood out for me.

  1. Marriage – I got married at 25. A year later, the marriage fell apart and we divorced civilly some 5 years later. I was living abroad at the time.
  2. Business – I had a real passion for church vestments and paraments. What started out as passion and love for liturgical vestments lead to a small business, which eventually led to a fallout and breakdown of a relationship.

If I had known the outcome of these life choices, would I have gone down each path? The quick answer will have be ‘no’. Who would want to endure the hurt and pain of betrayal, and the inconvenience of the legal implications of ending relationships? However, now that quite a few years have passed and as I look back, each of these incidences have brought about some rather beautiful outcomes. Something has to die for something to live. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

There is only so much humans can learn at one time — Jesus, so merciful and loving knows this. In today’s gospel reading, Jesus gives his disciples his farewell speech, knowing that His time draws near when He has to leave them. Jesus declares that He does not have enough time to say all that He would like to his followers. Moreover, they would not have the ability to hear it. Jesus, however, promises them the Advocate, who will reveal to them all things which is to come, at the right time.

It is impossible to understand and take in, over a short period of time, all that Jesus has to teach us. As our journey through life continues, the Holy Spirit gradually unfolds God’s message so that it speaks to us at appropriate times in our lives. Our capacity to take in what God has to reveal to us is expandable — when we become more open, the Spirit of Truth will reveal more, and guide us into all the truth. Jesus wants to draw us into the life of God. He knows how anxious we can be, both to let go of the past and to trust what the future will bring. Can we speak to him about our anxieties?

(Today’s OXYGEN by Geraldine Nah)

Prayer: Jesus, you are truly magnificent. For by the gift of the Advocate, you have never left us. We pray for open hearts and minds to let the Holy Spirit lead us to the truth about God, about You, and our own lives.

Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for understanding how weak and vulnerable we are. Thank you Lord, for sending us the Holy Spirit to teach and guide us as we muddle our way through this life.

28 May, Tuesday – Judge Not

28 May 2019

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Acts 16:22-34

The crowd joined in and showed their hostility to Paul and Silas, so the magistrates had them stripped and ordered them to be flogged. They were given many lashes and then thrown into prison, and the gaoler was told to keep a close watch on them. So, following his instructions, he threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.
Late that night Paul and Silas were praying and singing God’s praises, while the other prisoners listened. Suddenly there was an earthquake that shook the prison to its foundations. All the doors flew open and the chains fell from all the prisoners.

When the gaoler woke and saw the doors wide open he drew his sword and was about to commit suicide, presuming that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted at the top of his voice, ‘Don’t do yourself any harm; we are all here.’ The gaoler called for lights, then rushed in, threw himself trembling at the feet of Paul and Silas, and escorted them out, saying, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’

They told him, ‘Become a believer in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, and your household too.’ Then they preached the word of the Lord to him and to all his family. Late as it was, he took them to wash their wounds, and was baptised then and there with all his household. Afterwards he took them home and gave them a meal, and the whole family celebrated their conversion to belief in God.

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John 16:5-11

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘Now I am going to the one who sent me.
Not one of you has asked, “Where are you going?”
Yet you are sad at heart because I have told you this.
Still, I must tell you the truth:
it is for your own good that I am going
because unless I go,
the Advocate will not come to you;
but if I do go,
I will send him to you.
And when he comes,
he will show the world how wrong it was,
about sin,
and about who was in the right,
and about judgement:
about sin: proved by their refusal to believe in me;
about who was in the right: proved by my going to the Father and your seeing me no more;
about judgement: proved by the prince of this world being already condemned.’

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When the Advocate, the Holy Spirit comes, he will show the world how wrong it was.

Recently, at my uncle’s wake, I met an acquaintance I hadn’t seen in ages. We barely know each other, safe for the fact that she is my aunt’s husband’s niece and she was once the mistress of a married man. That’s all I knew of her. She is 4 years younger than me, was a very pretty girl, always well-dressed and immaculately turned out the few times I met her. My perception of her was of this privileged princess, the only child in the family, doted on by her parents and uncle. She would have been very comfortable materially when her parents and uncle eventually passed on. Only a pity that she chose to be someone’s mistress.

Fast forward to present day and she looked nothing like I remembered of her. I was actually really shocked at how she looked. I commented to my cousin that ‘she didn’t age well.’ She is completely devoid of any make up, dressed simply in a white blouse and beige pants, hair tied up in a simple pony tail. My brother asked me, “Did you hear her story?” I was completely floored, humbled and ashamed of myself. Rita (not her real name), converted to Catholicism as recently as a year (or two) back. Surprising, coming from a family of very staunch Buddhists. In fact, her own mother also converted. She felt a calling to give of her life to our Lord. She sold all her possessions and moved into a one-room HDB flat. At present she is discerning to be a nun.

And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment. Indeed I was taught a lesson again never to judge people. Human judgement can be so off target. Ultimately, the ways of our Lord surpass our own understanding and predictions. He is able to use us and our situations to bring things to a happy outcome. Even out of the most threatening situations, good can emerge – as in today’s first reading. Despite being stripped of their clothing, beaten and jailed, Paul and Barnabas, by their courage and faith, were able to win new converts in the Philippi jail.

We need to ask God to show us His perspective. It is the Holy Spirit, the Advocate, who gives us God’s perspective — to see as God sees, to know as God knows, to be wise as God is wise. That is why we need the Holy Spirit to keep filling the hearts of the faithful.

Today, I offer up my prayers for my sister Rita. That God of wisdom and of counsel, sees in her heart a desire to please Him, to grant her the will and desire to give herself entirely to God’s holy will, in the choice of her state in life and to embrace it lovingly and humbly.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Geraldine Nah)

Prayer: Lord Jesus, today we offer our prayers for those discerning their vocations, for our priests, religious, lay consecrated and those being called by You to lay down their lives for others. We pray for the Holy Spirit to teach us to see with God’s eyes, to be wise as God is wise and to never judge others, as He is the ultimate judge and story writer of each of our lives.

Thanksgiving: Thank you Jesus, for using each seemingly unfortunately circumstance in our lives and bringing these things to a happy outcome.

27 May, Monday – Graces

May 27 – Memorial for St. Augustine of Canterbury, Bishop

Augustine (d. 605) was a monk and abbot of St. Andrew’s abbey in Rome. He was sent by Pope Gregory the Great with 40 brother monks, including St. Lawrence of Canterbury, to evangelize the British Isles in 597. Before he reached the islands, terrifying tales of the Celts sent him back to Rome in fear, but Gregory told him he had no choice, so he went. He established and spread the faith throughout England; one of his earliest converts was King AEthelberht who brought 10,000 of his people into the Church.

He was ordained a bishop in Gaul (modern France) by the Archbishop of Arles. He became Bishop of Canterbury, and was the first Archbishop of Canterbury. He helped re-establish contact between the Celtic and Latin churches, though he could not establish his desired uniformity of liturgy and practices between them. He worked with St. Justus of Canterbury. The Anglican Archbishops of Canterbury are still referred to as occupying the Chair of Augustine.

  • Patron Saint Index

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Acts 16:11-15

Sailing from Troas we made a straight run for Samothrace; the next day for Neapolis, and from there for Philippi, a Roman colony and the principal city of that particular district of Macedonia. After a few days in this city we went along the river outside the gates as it was the sabbath and this was a customary place for prayer. We sat down and preached to the women who had come to the meeting. One of these women was called Lydia, a devout woman from the town of Thyatira who was in the purple-dye trade. She listened to us, and the Lord opened her heart to accept what Paul was saying. After she and her household had been baptised she sent us an invitation: ‘If you really think me a true believer in the Lord,’ she said ‘come and stay with us’; and she would take no refusal.

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John 15:26-16:4

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘When the Advocate comes,
whom I shall send to you from the Father,
the Spirit of truth who issues from the Father,
he will be my witness.
And you too will be witnesses,

because you have been with me from the outset.

‘I have told you all this that your faith may not be shaken.
They will expel you from the synagogues,
and indeed the hour is coming
when anyone who kills you
will think he is doing a holy duty for God.
They will do these things
because they have never known
either the Father or myself.
But I have told you all this,
so that when the time for it comes
you may remember that I told you.’

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Come and stay at my home.

I have been told that one of my charisms is hospitality, and that I am quite generous. I never think of it as anything noble. I just share what I have, nothing so extraordinary. Recently though, I feel that this ‘gift’ can be a double-edged sword – it can be fulfilling or can suck the life out of a person. When we are spiritually aligned with God’s will – things we do for others can be so life giving. However, when we are not in a great place, little things people ask can be energy sapping. Which was how I was feeling since January. Being in full swing with ministry work and using my ‘professional expertise’ to help in some projects, I became a bit sapped by the time Lent came around. Holy Week this year saw me crashing into new lows. Not because I was doing too much, but simply because I had no capacity to give any more.

I observed 3 things during this time:

  1. When we allow God to work through us, there is nothing we cannot do. But on our own strength, things can get pretty messy.
  2. God never, ever leaves us. He is strong when we are weak.
  3. He sends people to help and journey with us.

In today’s first reading, Lydia from the city of Thyatira touched me. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly. She was open to what the Lord was doing for her and it touched her immensely. God used her to bless those around her. Lydia offered kindly hospitality to Paul and his companions, having received the gift of the gospel and the grace of God. Lydia didn’t just open her heart, she also opened her home. She was not only the first European convert to Christianity, she also created the first church in her own home.

We have all been graced in various ways by the Lord. Having received from the Lord, we give from what we have received. As I look back on my own ministry, I recall the time when I was most joyful, no matter how tired and lacking in sleep, I felt much joy bursting from my heart. But what has happened to me recently? Perhaps I let ‘life’ happen, the burdens and pains of this world took over, and I had forgotten to lean on Him, to derive spiritual sustenance from God, so readily available to me. As I held onto this rope, desperately clinging on to my faith, my mind wondered if the rope was anchored to anything. Then the Lord spoke to me “It’s not you who is holding onto me. But I am holding onto to you.” Wow!!!! Indeed in weakness, He is strong.

Brothers and sisters, have you lost the joy in serving the Lord? Have you been sapped of energy? Perhaps it’s time to go back to basics. Receive the graces so readily available from the Lord. Perhaps Jesus is calling you today. Come and stay at my home.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Geraldine Nah)

Prayer: Lord, we have received so abundantly from you. Please show us concretely how we can give from what we have received. May You use us each day, to re-establish your church.

Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for your fatherly love. Thank you for giving us so abundantly and unreservedly.

26 May, Sunday – Au Revoir

26 May 2019
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Acts 15:1-2,22-29

Some men came down from Judaea and taught the brothers, ‘Unless you have yourselves circumcised in the tradition of Moses you cannot be saved.’ This led to disagreement, and after Paul and Barnabas had had a long argument with these men it was arranged that Paul and Barnabas and others of the church should go up to Jerusalem and discuss the problem with the apostles and elders.

Then the apostles and elders decided to choose delegates to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; the whole church concurred with this. They chose Judas known as Barsabbas and Silas, both leading men in the brotherhood, and gave them this letter to take with them:

‘The apostles and elders, your brothers, send greetings to the brothers of pagan birth in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia. We hear that some of our members have disturbed you with their demands and have unsettled your minds. They acted without any authority from us; and so we have decided unanimously to elect delegates and to send them to you with Barnabas and Paul, men we highly respect who have dedicated their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accordingly we are sending you Judas and Silas, who will confirm by word of mouth what we have written in this letter. It has been decided by the Holy Spirit and by ourselves not to saddle you with any burden beyond these essentials: you are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols; from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from fornication. Avoid these, and you will do what is right. Farewell.’

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Apocalypse 21:10-14,22-23

In the spirit, the angel took me to the top of an enormous high mountain and showed me Jerusalem, the holy city, coming down from God out of heaven. It had all the radiant glory of God and glittered like some precious jewel of crystal-clear diamond. The walls of it were of a great height, and had twelve gates; at each of the twelve gates there was an angel, and over the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel; on the east there were three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. The city walls stood on twelve foundation stones, each one of which bore the name of one of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

I saw that there was no temple in the city since the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb were themselves the temple, and the city did not need the sun or the moon for light, since it was lit by the radiant glory of God and the Lamb was a lighted torch for it.

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John 14:23-29

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘If anyone loves me he will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we shall come to him and make our home with him.
Those who do not love me do not keep my words.
And my word is not my own:
it is the word of the one who sent me.
I have said these things to you while still with you;
but the Advocate, the Holy Spirit,
whom the Father will send in my name,
will teach you everything
and remind you of all I have said to you.
Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you,
a peace the world cannot give,
this is my gift to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.
You heard me say: I am going away, and shall return.
If you loved me you would have been glad to know that I am going to the Father,
for the Father is greater than I.
I have told you this now before it happens,
so that when it does happen you may believe.’

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I am going away

Goodbyes are complicated. The English language doesn’t do justice to this word. There are several kinds of goodbyes – those everyday types, when you know you will see the person soon. Or the more final separations when you know you are unlikely to see the person again. French and Italian are more precise. For everyday brief separations, Italians say ‘ciao’, ‘buongiorno/buonasera’, ‘Alla prossima’. The French say ‘Au revoir’. For more final departures, Italians say ‘Addio’ and the French say ‘Adieu’.

I hate goodbyes. In recent years, I’ve had to say goodbye to several situations and people – from dysfunctional family relationships, to friendships, to a business I built and also to people who mean a lot to me.  These were not simply ‘au revoirs’ but ‘adieus’. They take a lot out of a person and sometimes I wonder if we ever heal from them. When we invest time and energy in relationships, goodbyes are ever more difficult; it is as if a piece of you died with them.

Jesus, in his ministry, prepared his disciples and friends for his eventual departure from them. While they didn’t know what it meant at the time, when the time came, the disciples were completely lost, discouraged and of course very sad. The text in today’s gospel reading are our Lord’s words at the ‘Last Supper’, uttered in view of His imminent departure. He knew His time had come and he wanted to spend that last evening with his most intimate friends. It was a meal filled with emotions. It would be a meal to remember, not only because this event forms the basis of the Lord’s Supper, but also because Jesus predicts a betrayal, defines true leadership, promises authority to the Eleven, predicts Peter’s failure and warns of coming rejection. Even as he faces death, Jesus serves by preparing others for their tasks. We can only imagine how he felt knowing what was ahead of Him. This time together is clearly bittersweet for Jesus. His destiny requires separation from those he loves. However, Jesus has promised not to leave his disciples orphaned. He has promised to send another Advocate, the Spirit of Truth, to be with them and continue the work that he has begun.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. These words have been such a source of comfort for me when my world comes crashing down; When I don’t understand what’s going on in my life. People may come into your life and leave — God brought them to us for a reason, for a season. We may be attached to some things in our lives, only to lose them later. Know that God has something better planned for us, but not as the world sees it. We may be stripped of everything that defines us, but Jesus has never ever left us. Because Jesus is present with us through the Holy Spirit, we need not be anxious.  ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ When the kingdom comes, we shall resume celebration.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Geraldine Nah)

Prayer: Lord, so many times we do not understand your ways or see how certain events can be any good in our lives. Help us to persevere in faith, and in prayer. And with the help of the Holy Spirit, may we begin to see how You might be working for good, even in the midst of terrible and confusing events.

Thanksgiving: Thank you Jesus, for the gift of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. May we be guided by the Advocate as we navigate through this earthly life.

6 April, Saturday – A moment of grace, not disgrace

6 April 2019

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Jeremiah 11:18-20

The Lord revealed it to me; I was warned. O Lord, that was when you opened my eyes to their scheming. I for my part was like a trustful lamb being led to the slaughter-house, not knowing the schemes they were plotting against me, ‘Let us destroy the tree in its strength, let us cut him off from the land of the living, so that his name may be quickly forgotten!’

But you, the Lord of Hosts, who pronounce a just sentence,
who probe the loins and heart,
let me see the vengeance you will take on them,
for I have committed my cause to you.

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John 7:40-52

Several people who had been listening to Jesus said, ‘Surely he must be the prophet’, and some said, ‘He is the Christ’, but others said, ‘Would the Christ be from Galilee? Does not scripture say that the Christ must be descended from David and come from the town of Bethlehem?’ So the people could not agree about him. Some would have liked to arrest him, but no one actually laid hands on him.

The police went back to the chief priests and Pharisees who said to them, ‘Why haven’t you brought him?’ The police replied, ‘There has never been anybody who has spoken like him.’ ‘So’ the Pharisees answered ‘you have been led astray as well? Have any of the authorities believed in him? Any of the Pharisees? This rabble knows nothing about the Law – they are damned.’ One of them, Nicodemus – the same man who had come to Jesus earlier – said to them, ‘But surely the Law does not allow us to pass judgement on a man without giving him a hearing and discovering what he is about?’ To this they answered, ‘Are you a Galilean too? Go into the matter, and see for yourself: prophets do not come out of Galilee.’

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Pass judgement on a man without giving him a hearing

I write today’s reflection with heaviness and sadness in my heart. Recently, it was in the press that a former administrative director of our community had been jailed for embezzlement. This matter was brought to light some 4 years ago. At the time, many were shocked, hurt, angry, betrayed and sad. All sorts of emotions must have surged through those who knew him better or even worked with him. It pained those who had to take the decision to make an official report. He is one of our brothers and he has fallen. Yes he was trusted by all and yet he fell. I wonder if I were to be put in his position, given the opportunity, would I too fall into temptation.

The months that ensued must have been so painful to all involved. I imagine the numbers of trips to be made to the relevant authorities, the questions asked, the probing. The agony of waiting for the trial and verdict. I am not sure why the case took so long before it went to court and sentencing. Maybe other cases more pressing and more serious in nature came before. I didn’t know him too well but the question keeps coming to my mind – why did he do it? Why would he risk his reputation, his family, his life for such a small sum of money? Was he in need or in debt?

Days after the sentencing, my heart was so heavy and sad. It was a huge mistake on his part, maybe a moment of folly and there was a price to pay. Was it worth it? I’m sure we all say a resounding ‘No.’ I imagine the pain he must be experiencing, the pain his family felt, the shame it brought to his family. But you know what was so beautiful, so loving and forgiving? Our Spiritual Director had asked us all to pray a novena for him, and his family. I could see that he was also in pain, our dear Father. That we should pray for the presiding judge to have compassion and a soft heart. “This is nothing to rejoice about, to feel alarmed or to gossip about. Our brother has fallen and we must be compassionate.”

Such is the family of God. I believe that over the years, the emotions may have faded but as we neared the sentencing date, old wounds may have been brought up again. But it was heartening to see everyone pray as a community for our dear brother. Temper justice with mercy. Justice should always be tempered by compassion. We see this incident as a moment of grace and not disgrace. These were the words that were released to the press. And I know that these words are real and come from the hearts of our priest and community.

When sentence was passed. He apparently looked resigned. But he did take a moment despite his impending incarceration, the years he will spend paying for his mistake to send a message to say “I’m sorry.”

Today’s entrance antiphon: The waves of death rose about me; the pain of the netherworld surround me. In my anguish I called to the Lord, and from his holy temple he heard my voice.

God has forgiven him. Who are we to judge? Today I say a prayer for him. For God’s grace, kindness and love to envelope him.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Geraldine Nah)

Prayer: Lord, today we offer up our prayers to those who have wronged us, hurt us and betray us. Fill us with compassion and love. May your mercy direct our hearts.

Thanksgiving: Thank you for your grace Lord. For your kind mercy and compassion. With your help, may we not sin again.

5 April, Friday – Who am I?

5 Apr – Memorial for St. Vincent Ferrer, priest

Vincent (1350–1419) was the fourth child of the Anglo-Scottish nobleman William Stewart Ferrer and his Spanish wife, Constantia Miguel. His father is reported to have had a dream in which he was told that Vincent would be a world-famous Dominican friar.

The boy joined the Dominicans in 1367. He received his doctorate of theology from the University of Lleida. He was a priest and a missionary. He taught theology, and was adviser to the King of Aragon. During a severe fever in 1398, Vincent had a vision of Christ, St. Dominic de Guzman, and St. Francis of Assisi. It was a life-changing experience.

Vincent received supernatural gifts and believed that he was a messenger of penance, an “angel of the apocalypse” sent to prepare humankind for the Judgement of Christ.

He was a great preacher who converted thousands in Spain, France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, England, Scotland, and Ireland. He was invited to preach in Muslim Granada. He was counsellor to Pope Benedict XIII. He travelled through Spain, France, Switzerland, and Italy, working to end the Western Schism.

He slept on the floor, had the gift of tongues (he spoke only Spanish, but all listeners understood him), lived an endless fast, celebrated Mass daily, and was known as a miracle worker. He was reported to have brought a murdered man back to life to prove the power of Christianity to the onlookers, and he would heal people throughout a hospital just by praying in front of it.

He worked so hard to build up the Church that he became the patron of people in building trades.

– Patron Saint Index

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Wisdom 2:1,12-22

The godless say to themselves, with their misguided reasoning:

‘Our life is short and dreary,
nor is there any relief when man’s end comes,
nor is anyone known who can give release from Hades.
Let us lie in wait for the virtuous man, since he annoys us
and opposes our way of life,
reproaches us for our breaches of the law
and accuses us of playing false to our upbringing.
He claims to have knowledge of God,
and calls himself a son of the Lord.
Before us he stands, a reproof to our way of thinking,
the very sight of him weighs our spirits down;
his way of life is not like other men’s,
the paths he treads are unfamiliar.
In his opinion we are counterfeit;
he holds aloof from our doings as though from filth;
he proclaims the final end of the virtuous as happy
and boasts of having God for his father.
Let us see if what he says is true,
let us observe what kind of end he himself will have.
If the virtuous man is God’s son, God will take his part
and rescue him from the clutches of his enemies.
Let us test him with cruelty and with torture,
and thus explore this gentleness of his
and put his endurance to the proof.
Let us condemn him to a shameful death
since he will be looked after – we have his word for it.’

This is the way they reason, but they are misled,
their malice makes them blind.
They do not know the hidden things of God,
they have no hope that holiness will be rewarded,
they can see no reward for blameless souls.

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John 7:1-2,10,25-30

Jesus stayed in Galilee; he could not stay in Judaea, because the Jews were out to kill him.

As the Jewish feast of Tabernacles drew near, after his brothers had left for the festival, he went up as well, but quite privately, without drawing attention to himself. Meanwhile some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, ‘Isn’t this the man they want to kill? And here he is, speaking freely, and they have nothing to say to him! Can it be true the authorities have made up their minds that he is the Christ? Yet we all know where he comes from, but when the Christ appears no one will know where he comes from.’

Then, as Jesus taught in the Temple, he cried out:

‘Yes, you know me
and you know where I came from.
Yet I have not come of myself:
no, there is one who sent me
and I really come from him,
and you do not know him,
but I know him because I have come from him
and it was he who sent me.’

They would have arrested him then, but because his time had not yet come no one laid a hand on him.

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The very sight of him weighs our spirit down; his way of life is not like other men’s

Today’s first reading profiles who is good and who is wicked. I suppose it also stems from which side you are on. There are always two sides to a story, from different viewpoints.

Our life is short and full of sorrow, and when its end comes, there is no escape. No one has ever been known to come back from the world of the dead. ….. Come on, then, let’s enjoy the good things of life, and live in this world the way we did when we were young and free of care!

How many times have our friends good naturedly told us whenever we lament about something or what someone did or did not do for us. “Life is short, don’t take things to heart and just enjoy yourself.” Isn’t that exactly what the verses in Wisdom are depicting? Are our friends wrong then? Well, everything needs to be taken into context. If we continue to read the entire chapter in Wisdom 2, we see that the ‘wicked person’ simply throws caution to the wind, enjoys life in debauchery and torments those who are not in line with their views (the just ones).

I had to read today’s first reading a couple of times before I really understood it. At first, I saw myself as the ‘just one, the good person because I am a child of God. As I read the verses again, I see traces of the wicked one in myself. I think about the many times I feel uncomfortable or irritated with a person because she is simply weird, attention-seeking or someone who seemingly is doing ‘good’ but really feeding their own agendas.

Recently, a member of our community decided to step away and pursue a different journey. This person had some grievances with our community – how the ministry is being run, how certain people within the community conducted themselves, and some other issues which were very subjective (in my opinion). Whatever the reasons, God had a new plan for my fellow sister. My last interaction with her was somewhat confrontational. I am not sure to this day what the cause was. I have searched my mind over this but cannot find an answer. I decided to just let it go. When she sent a message to all to say her goodbyes to our community, I replied with a private message to wish her well and asked for her forgiveness if I had hurt her in any way. She never responded.

So perhaps to her, the very sight of me or the mention of my name may weigh her down; irritates her. Today’s first reading might be the very words she uses to describe me. From my perspective she is the ‘godless one’. However, if I am being authentic for a moment, my first reaction to her non response and the way she has reacted to me the last few times we met – I felt that she was simply a very angry and hurt person. I also felt that her stepping away from community was a result of her anger and discontentment – from the community and God who gave her a new life. I decided to let it go and not let this rob me of my peace. But today on reading the first reading again, I realised that I too am the wicked one. Who am I to say that the way she chooses to lead her life now is not what God wants of her. They do not know the hidden things of God. God uses our pain and suffering and turns it into something good. This journey in life is what it is — a journey. Some paths come to an end and we make a turn and start on a new path. So while my fellow (or now ex) community member’s gifts and talents are clearly in music , she has chosen to heed the Lord’s prompting to exercise other gifts, and to use her to minister to others in a new way.

May the Lord always hold this sister in His love.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Geraldine Nah)

Prayer: Lord, I pray you stay close to us who are broken-hearted. Help us in our weakness. Free us from the chains of anger, unforgiveness, and sadness from disappointments. Help us see others with your eyes of love. Help us to love you more.

Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for suffering for us. How painful it is for you to be condemned to such a death for us – especially for those of us who choose to stay away from you and not believe in you. Thank you for such unconditional love.