Tag Archives: guide in life

30 September, Friday – Repentance

30 September – Memorial for St. Jerome, Priest and Doctor

Jerome (347-419) led a misspent youth. He later converted in theory, being baptised in 365, and then had a true conversion when he studied theology. Monk. He revised the Latin text of the Bible. The result of his 30 years of work was the Vulgate translation, which is still in use. He is a Doctor of the Church and Father of the Church. Since his own time, he has been associated in the popular mind with scrolls, writing, cataloguing, translating, etc. This led to those who work in such fields taking him as their patron – a man who knew their lives and problems.

– Patron Saints Index

_____________________

Job 38:1,12-21,40:3-5

From the heart of the tempest the Lord gave Job his answer. He said:

Have you ever in your life given orders to the morning
or sent the dawn to its post,
telling it to grasp the earth by its edges
and shake the wicked out of it,
when it changes the earth to sealing clay
and dyes it as a man dyes clothes;
stealing the light from wicked men
and breaking the arm raised to strike?
Have you journeyed all the way to the sources of the sea,
or walked where the Abyss is deepest?
Have you been shown the gates of Death
or met the janitors of Shadowland?
Have you an inkling of the extent of the earth?
Tell me all about it if you have!
Which is the way to the home of the light,
and where does darkness live?
You could then show them the way to their proper places,
or put them on the path to where they live!
If you know all this, you must have been born with them,
you must be very old by now!

Job replied to the Lord:

My words have been frivolous: what can I reply?
I had better lay my finger on my lips.
I have spoken once… I will not speak again;
more than once… I will add nothing.

_____________________

Luke 10:13-16

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Alas for you, Chorazin! Alas for you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. And still, it will not go as hard with Tyre and Sidon at the Judgement as with you. And as for you, Capernaum, did you want to be exalted high as heaven? You shall be thrown down to hell.

‘Anyone who listens to you listens to me; anyone who rejects you rejects me, and those who reject me reject the one who sent me.’

_____________________

“Anyone who listens to you listens to me; anyone who rejects you rejects me, and those who reject me reject the one who sent me.”

Many times in our lives, we unknowingly play God, even in times of prayer. We pray as and when we need Him and we expect Him to answer our prayers if not He doesn’t love us.

As in the first reading, do we really know how much God loves us? Are we aware of the things He has done in our lives? Are we aware of the things He is doing?

Sometimes we ask God for a sign or to show us the right path, but it is in our stubbornness that after it all, we still want to do it OUR way. We reject the path that He is showing us because it seems to inconvenient or uncomfortable even before we walk it. The Lord shares with Job in the first reading and Job realises his imperfections and weaknesses. There’s no way we will be able to fully understand the magnitude of God’s love for us or who He truly is. But we are called to believe and trust for there definitely has been signs, people, events in our lives that He has been present. The many small miracles that happen every day, are we grateful or we simply take for granted?

We see in the Gospel where indeed there will be judgment when the time comes. Do we want to wait till it’s too late before we repent?

For the times when we have used God, for the times where we weren’t aware and failed to recognise His presence. For the times where we took Him for granted and for the times we rejected Him. Let us repent. Like Job, let us offer our lives to the Lord and believe that He didn’t create us in order that we may suffer and that it’s not the things of the world that we should be living for, to clear our distractions and focus on the one destination which is to be with God in all eternity.

As the psalmist says, “Lead me, O Lord, in the path of life eternal” Amen.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Benjamin Mao)

_______________________

Prayer: Dear Lord, we ask for your forgiveness and patience as we continuously reject you and get caught up with our society and worldly matters that we lose the sense of why we are living. Help us before it’s too late, give us the wisdom and awareness to see beyond the things we do, to see the love, joy, to seek forgiveness as well as to forgive others. Lead us Lord to you. Amen.

Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord for your never failing love. Thank you Lord for continuing to bless us with your love even when we may not see it or understand. Thank you for this reminder. Amen.

20 September, Tuesday – Crossroads…again

19 September – Memorial for St. Andrew Kim Taegon and Companions, Korean Martyrs; Memorial for Sts. Laurent Imbert, Bishop Jacques Chastan, Priest (Martyrs of College General, Penang, Malaysia)

There are 103 martyrs in this group, consisting of priests, missionaries and lay people who died in the early days of the Church in Korea. Most were murdered during waves of persecutions in 1839, 1846 and 1867.

Andrew Kim Taegon’s father was a martyr. Andrew was baptised at age 15, then travelled 1,300 miles to the nearest seminary in Macao. He was Korea’s first native priest, and the first priest to die for the faith in Korea.

Laurent Imbert was a missionary to China. He taught at the College General, Penang from 1821 to 1822. He was named Vicar Apostolic of Korea on 26 April 1836. He and St. Jacques (or Jacob) were arrested for the crime of evangelisation, and then tortured and martyred.

– Patron Saints Index

_____________________

Proverbs 21:1-6,10-13

Like flowing water is the heart of the king in the hand of the Lord,
who turns it where he pleases.

A man’s conduct may strike him as upright,
the Lord, however, weighs the heart.

To act virtuously and with justice
is more pleasing to the Lord than sacrifice.

Haughty eye, proud heart,
lamp of the wicked, nothing but sin.

The hardworking man is thoughtful, and all is gain;
too much haste, and all that comes of it is want.

To make a fortune with the help of a lying tongue,
such the idle fantasy of those who look for death.

The wicked man’s soul is intent on evil,
he looks on his neighbour with dislike.

When a mocker is punished, the ignorant man grows wiser,
when a wise man is instructed he acquires more knowledge.

The Just One watches the house of the wicked:
he hurls the wicked to destruction.

He who shuts his ear to the poor man’s cry
shall himself plead and not be heard.

_____________________

Luke 8:19-21

The mother and the brothers of Jesus came looking for him, but they could not get to him because of the crowd. He was told, ‘Your mother and brothers are standing outside and want to see you’ But he said in answer, ‘My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and put it into practice.’

_____________________

Like a stream is the king’s heart in the hand of the Lord; wherever it pleases him, he directs it.

I’ve written before about being at crossroads of my life, wondering which way to go. Almost always, my crossroads have required of me to take a leap of faith, they run in two extremes with no middle ground. As a result it takes me a long while of deliberation, accompanied by prayer to figure out what is best for me.

I am once again at these very same crossroads, albeit at a different stage of my life. Again, it is all or nothing, like going down Robert Frost’s roads in the woods: that if I travelled down one, I know I would likely not return again to try the other and see where it would lead. On the one hand, do you stay on the path which seems the most “secure”, or do you relish a little adventure and leave it to faith to see where the other path finds you? I’m not suggesting that we all become adrenaline junkies and go down the path that gives us an adventure “high”. Not at all. I speak of decisions in life which we know could make a difference, and trusting God enough to guide us where He would want us to go.

I have prayed about it and I feel that God is guiding me gently to this road that I have not taken, and while I cannot tell what lies ahead or what will happen in the next 5 or 10 years, I feel like I can trust that God will lead me safely to the shore. I do feel nervous to say the least; my heart is in my hand, but it is also in God’s hand. And I will take this leap of faith because I trust that God has my back.

Are you too about to embark on a new path in your life, maybe a new chapter or career, or move to a different country? Fearing the unknown can be a numbing feeling, paralyzing us from making any decisions. But our lives here on earth are meant to be lived, and God has given us this one life to make that difference. When Gabriel’s trump sounds, and we stand before our Maker to account for ourselves, what do we hope to say to God?

If today you feel that He is calling you to make a change, take the leap of faith. Pray for discernment and wisdom, knowing that whatever the path that God wants you to take and make, He has your back too.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Annette Soo)

_______________________

Thanksgiving: Lord, I won’t lie. I am nervous and scared of making this new journey, but only You know what that path will be for me. I pray that You will reveal it to me as we journey together, and I pray for strength and unwavering faith, even as I can’t yet see the what lies ahead.

Prayer: Thank you Lord, for always having my back. Thank you always for guiding my steps and holding on to my hand, one step at a time.

29 August, Monday – Courage in Life

29 August – The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist

To endure temporal agonies for the sake of the truth was not a heavy burden for such men as John; rather is was easily borne and even desirable, for he knew eternal joy would be his reward. Since death was ever at hand, such men considered it a blessing to embrace it and thus gain the reward of eternal life by acknowledging Christ’s name. Hence the apostle Paul rightly says: “You have been granted the privilege not only to believe in Christ but also to suffer for his sake.” He tells us why it is Christ’s gift that His chosen ones should suffer for Him: “The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us.”

– from a homily by Saint Bede the Venerable on the death of John the Baptist

_____________________

1 Corinthians 2:1-5

When I came to you, brothers, it was not with any show of oratory or philosophy, but simply to tell you what God had guaranteed. During my stay with you, the only knowledge I claimed to have was about Jesus, and only about him as the crucified Christ. Far from relying on any power of my own, I came among you in great ‘fear and trembling’ and in my speeches and the sermons that I gave, there were none of the arguments that belong to philosophy; only a demonstration of the power of the Spirit. And I did this so that your faith should not depend on human philosophy but on the power of God.

_____________________

Mark 6:17-29

Herod sent to have John arrested, and had him chained up in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife whom he had married. For John had told Herod, ‘It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife.’ As for Herodias, she was furious with him and wanted to kill him; but she was not able to, because Herod was afraid of John, knowing him to be a good and holy man, and gave him his protection. When he had heard him speak he was greatly perplexed, and yet he liked to listen to him.

An opportunity came on Herod’s birthday when he gave a banquet for the nobles of his court, for his army officers and for the leading figures in Galilee. When the daughter of this same Herodias came in and danced, she delighted Herod and his guests; so the king said to the girl, ‘Ask me anything you like and I will give it you.’ And he swore her an oath, ‘I will give you anything you ask, even half my kingdom.’ She went out and said to her mother, ‘What shall I ask for?’ She replied, ‘The head of John the Baptist’ The girl hurried straight back to the king and made her request, ‘I want you to give me John the Baptist’s head, here and now, on a dish.’ The king was deeply distressed but, thinking of the oaths he had sworn and of his guests, he was reluctant to break his word to her. So the king at once sent one of the bodyguard with orders to bring John’s head. The man went off and beheaded him in prison; then he brought the head on a dish and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother. When John’s disciples heard about this, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

_____________________

“Anyone who follows me will have the light of life”

Years ago, things were happening at work that made me really upset. This bothered me much and it kept me up at nights. When I expressed my reservations to my co-workers and to my manager, I was told to ‘not rock the boat, and to not ‘commit career suicide’.

I have been in the accounting, auditing, banking, insurance, private equity industries. The strange thing is that this particular mindset is so embedded in our human psyche that the same mindset is present. This attitude works well and good when everything is going well, but becomes challenging when things go wrong. We become fearful of the consequences of us speaking up.

St John the Baptist was a man who was unafraid to tell the truth. He insisted on telling things like it is, even to the point of losing his life. I wondered how someone could be so fearless when the realization hit me one day.

If we saw our lives as limited to our physical time on Earth, then we would be focused on self-preservation. However, if we, as Christians, remember that our lives will extend forever, and that physical death will only mean a transition to another phase of life, then our priorities will be different. Rather than looking at how to thrive during the short 50-99 years of physical life, we will instead look at what we need to do in order to thrive for the large part of our (infinite) existence.

St John the Baptist certainly understood this, and his fearlessness and behavior stemmed out of this. We must learn from him!

Another thought I had reading today’s gospel is how King Herod was conflicted when he was asked for the head of St John the Baptist. He was “deeply distressed” but was “reluctant to break his word to her”.

I wondered what I would do if I was ever caught between a promise I made, for something that does not glorify God, and choosing to break this promise just because it was wrong to do so. Which is more important… choosing to please God or choosing to please man?

While my aim is to please God, I can only pray that if I were to be caught in such a situation, I would have the strength and courage to do what is right.

What would YOU do?

(Today’s OXYGEN by Paul Wee)

Prayer: Help us Father, to correct our brothers and sisters with love. May we not be tempted to take a position of power and superiority and to let You guide our attitudes and actions.

Thanksgiving: Thank You Father, for loving us and for showing us the way to build our community here on earth. We are grateful that we have the Holy Spirit as our guide!

12 July, Tuesday – Standing Tall Beside Him

12 July

_____________________

Isaiah 7:1-9

The Lord says this:

In the reign of Ahaz son of Jotham, son of Uzziah, king of Judah, Razon the king of Aram went up against Jerusalem with Pekah son of Remaliah, king of Israel, to lay siege to it; but he was unable to capture it.

The news was brought to the House of David. ‘Aram’ they said ‘has reached Ephraim.’ Then the heart of the king and the hearts of the people shuddered as the trees of the forest shudder in front of the wind. The Lord said to Isaiah, ‘Go with your son Shear-jashub, and meet Ahaz at the end of the conduit of the upper pool on the Fuller’s Field road, and say to him:

‘“Pay attention, keep calm, have no fear,
do not let your heart sink
because of these two smouldering stumps of firebrands,
or because Aram, Ephraim and the son of Remaliah
have plotted to ruin you, and have said:
Let us invade Judah and terrorise it
and seize it for ourselves,
and set up a king there,
the son of Tabeel.
The Lord says this:
It shall not come true; it shall not be.
The capital of Aram is Damascus,
the head of Damascus, Razon;
the capital of Ephraim, Samaria,
the head of Samaria, the son of Remaliah.
Six or five years more
and a shattered Ephraim shall no longer be a people.
But if you do not stand by me,
you will not stand at all.”’

_____________________

Matthew 11:20-24

Jesus began to reproach the towns in which most of his miracles had been worked, because they refused to repent.


‘Alas for you, Chorazin! Alas for you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. And still, I tell you that it will not go as hard on Judgement day with Tyre and Sidon as with you. And as for you, Capernaum, did you want to be exalted as high as heaven? You shall be thrown down to hell. For if the miracles done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have been standing yet. And still, I tell you that it will not go as hard with the land of Sodom on Judgement day as with you.’

_____________________

If you do not stand by me.

I was watching quite a few commencement speeches over the Internet which were delivered by established individuals who had been invited by various colleges. I would say most were delivered with much encouragement and they spoke from experience, which makes the speech a very inspired one. Most talked about having a goal in life, loving the people around you, embracing every experience wherever we worked, to pick ourselves up from failures, to have persistence and resilience. Then I took a step back and realised that these little values in life had been surrounding me ever since I was a child, ever since I knew God and began opening my ears to listen to the Word.

I was not exactly very active in church when I was a kid, but I became more involved in church work from my twenties up until now. However, as we grow older, we experience the death of a friend, failures, disappointments, anger, hatred, we feel love, joy, excitement over a successful project, pride over a job promotion and many other life experiences. By going to Sunday masses, whether we like it or not, there is always a message and a feeling to take home and perhaps to reflect upon for the week. God never fails to stand by us at every stage of our lives since birth, and it is truly a privilege to be baptised and to accept Him. We do not need successful business people or presidents to tell us how to move forward on graduation day. Living the right values is already right in front of us the moment we decide to embrace the Christian faith. The resources and experiences are abundant among our church groups and our fellow brothers and sisters whom we get involved with. God has provided these people to stand by us, and it is in good faith that we stand by our Father, promoting the faith and his love to others.

In the eyes of our Father God, the only way our two feet will stand, keeping our heads held high and for us to be able to live a fuller life, is to have Him by our side guiding us through everything. Therefore, open our hearts and ears to the Word of God, continue to pray and communicate with God, stand by Him and repent to acknowledge the works He has done for us.

 (Today’s OXYGEN by Austin Leong)

Prayer: Forgive us Father, for the wrongs that we have caused to our loved ones and to the downtrodden. Lift up our spirits so that we carry on our lives with happiness and pride as a Christian.

Thanksgiving: When we are down, nothing beats the affirmation that You, Lord Jesus stands by us and carry us through. Thank you.