Tag Archives: offering

31 July, Wednesday – In our nothingness, God becomes everything

Jul 31 – Memorial for St. Ignatius of Loyola, Priest

St. Ignatius (1491-1556) was wounded in the leg by a cannonball at the siege of Pampeluna on 20 May 1521, an injury that left him partially crippled for life. During his recuperation, the only books he had access to were The Golden Legend, a collection of lives of the saints, and the Life of Christ by Ludolph the Carthusian. These books, and the time spent in contemplation, changed him.

On his recovery, he took a vow of chastity, hung his sword before the altar of the Virgin of Montserrat, and donned a pilgrim’s robes. He lived in a cave for a year, contemplating the way to live a Christian life. His meditations, prayers, visions and insights led to forming the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus.

  • Patron Saint Index

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Exodus 34:29-35
When Moses came down from the mountain of Sinai – as he came down from the mountain, Moses had the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands – he did not know that the skin on his face was radiant after speaking with the Lord. And when Aaron and all the sons of Israel saw Moses, the skin on his face shone so much that they would not venture near him. But Moses called to them, and Aaron with all the leaders of the community came back to him; and he spoke to them. Then all the sons of Israel came closer, and he passed on to them all the orders that the Lord had given him on the mountain of Sinai. And when Moses had finished speaking to them, he put a veil over his face. Whenever he went into the Lord’s presence to speak with him, Moses would remove the veil until he came out again. And when he came out, he would tell the sons of Israel what he had been ordered to pass on to them, and the sons of Israel would see the face of Moses radiant. Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he returned to speak with the Lord.

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Matthew 13:44-46

Jesus said to the crowds, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field which someone has found; he hides it again, goes off happy, sells everything he owns and buys the field.

‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls; when he finds one of great value he goes and sells everything he owns and buys it.’

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treasure hidden in a field

Some of you may be familiar with this much-loved tune, ‘Colors of the Wind’, from Pocahontas – a classic, Disney-animated movie. In that song, there is a phrase I especially adore which goes like this; “ … how high can a sycamore grow? If you cut it down, then you’ll never know! ”.

In more recent times, I have grown to truly appreciate this movie for the poignancy of the message it brings – that our world today has long forgotten what it means to value people and things for what they are and not for what value they can bring and create. The ‘value’ can be in terms of both economic as well as what it can bring to our prestige, our pleasure, our power. It speaks to me, of an ear when man has become separated from his Creator and from what he is created to BE and not what he can be used for. It tells of the powerful truth that man has forgotten who God really is. That, very often in our own lives, we have forgotten who God really is. We have often heard the phrase that we cannot contain the immensity of God within the puny confines of our human intellect or emotions. I say, we have reduced God to even just a mere fraction of that. He has become really miniscule in the reality of the world we live and operate in — powerless, distant, indifferent, there for the mere purpose of serving our needs. Nothing more, nothing less.

And yet, our God seems to take particular pleasure when He gets to remind humanity just exactly who He is. His best work is done when He is busy turning this world upside down. Just when we think we finally have Him subjugated to our wills, He reminds us exactly who He is. And in salvation history, He has sent us so many reminders about exactly how His ways are, as far from us as East is to the West. He reminds us, in no uncertain terms, just who God is. And that He is very much alive and kicking, and calling the shots.

Consider these  …

  • The mustard seed of faith that is capable of moving the Himalayan Mountains;
  • The tiniest seed that grows into the tallest, strongest Sycamore tree;
  • The yeast that causes the flat dough of our lives to grow to become bread that sustains life;
  • The widow’s 2 coins that become the priceless offering in heaven’s treasury of graces;
  • The rejected stone that becomes the cornerstone upon which the foundations of our faith become unshakeable;
  • The David that brings Goliath to his knees with one, tiny little pebble;
  • The one lost sheep for which the Shepherd is prepared to pay the ultimate sacrifice of His own life to find;
  • The great feast you make possible for your needy and hungry children from just 2 fishes and 5 loaves

Conventional wisdom looks down upon these. But yes, God has this habit of taking the weakest, smallest, poorest, most rejected, most unworthy, most unintelligent, most helpless and turning the world upside down with the values of the kingdom and the results of what these can become when left in the hands of the Creator. True wisdom, God’s wisdom, prevails. As it always does.

And why does He do this? To remind us that He is God. Not us. Him. That He rules sovereign over all created things of heaven and of earth. And that by His grace, and that alone, the smallest, weakest, poorest, broken and least worthy becomes almighty. Because when nothingness encounters God, then there is only God left. That He is the God of the impossible. And that He is Almighty.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Justus Teo)

Prayer: Father, help us to grasp the truth of the infinite love of God for us and to abandon our self to Your will, with the confidence of a child in his loving Father who looks after His own with the utmost care. Set us free from the worries and concerns of what the future may bring so as to be able to fully experience the joy of returning God’s love.

Thanksgiving: Father, thank you for lifting us beyond the limitations of our human frailty, for believing in us so much more than we do in ourselves, and allowing us to become all that you have created us to be.

23 June, Sunday – God, Our Provider

23 June 2019 – The Body and Blood of Christ

The Priesthood of Melchizedek

Like Melchizedek of old we bring bread and wine to the altar and Christ transforms it into his own body and blood for the life of the multitude of the redeemed.

  • Sunday Missal

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Genesis 14:18-20

Melchizedek king of Salem brought bread and wine; he was a priest of God Most High. He pronounced this blessing:

‘Blessed be Abram by God Most High, creator of heaven and earth,
and blessed be God Most High for handing over your enemies to you.’
And Abram gave him a tithe of everything.

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1 Corinthians 11:23-26

This is what I received from the Lord, and in turn passed on to you: that on the same night that he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread, and thanked God for it and broke it, and he said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this as a memorial of me.’ In the same way he took the cup after supper, and said, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Whenever you drink it, do this as a memorial of me.’ Until the Lord comes, therefore, every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are proclaiming his death.

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Luke 9:11-17

Jesus made the crowds welcome and talked to them about the kingdom of God; and he cured those who were in need of healing.

It was late afternoon when the Twelve came to him and said, ‘Send the people away, and they can go to the villages and farms round about to find lodging and food; for we are in a lonely place here.’ He replied, ‘Give them something to eat yourselves.’ But they said, ‘We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless we are to go ourselves and buy food for all these people.’ For there were about five thousand men. But he said to his disciples, ‘Get them to sit down in parties of about fifty.’ They did so and made them all sit down. Then he took the five loaves and the two fish, raised his eyes to heaven, and said the blessing over them; then he broke them and handed them to his disciples to distribute among the crowd. They all ate as much as they wanted, and when the scraps remaining were collected they filled twelve baskets.
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They all ate as much as they wanted

Growing up in Queenstown with my grandaunt, who was my guardian, she often stressed over what food to buy, and how we could afford it. She constantly looked at our finances, at when her daughter was going to pass her the monthly allowance. I remember our conversations about what to buy during her trips to the wet market, and how she could go about feeding us, at as low a cost as possible.

One of the earliest lessons I learnt in psychology class was about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The most basic of these needs are the Physiological Needs — including the need for food, clothing, air and shelter. These are the first needs that all humans will strive towards before they can even think of anything else.

With that perspective and the experience in my own life, I have always been intrigued by the feeding of the five thousand. I imagine being there in the crowd; hungry, thirsty and tired. Then I imagine being passed food that I can eat to my fill; without having to toil for it. God indeed does provide for me!

In the second reading of today, Jesus offers His life for us, in the form of bread and wine. Once again, God caters to our most basic of needs, and through this, our Lord Jesus Himself becomes a part of us. Over time, we literally become more and more like Him.

Brothers and sisters, let us always hunger for the food that our Heavenly Father provides — food that nourishes and feeds our souls so that we grow strong in faith. Let us all learn to be contented with what we are given by God. Only then can we avoid being greedy for all things material and keep us focused on the real prize – eternal life in paradise.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Paul Wee)

Prayer: Father, we pray that we remember that You are always there for us. We pray that no matter what happens, You are there for us.

Thanksgiving: We thank You Father, for sending Your only Son to bear the burdens of our sin. We thank You Jesus for being there to feed us.