Tag Archives: truth

21 April, Friday – Fighting for the Truth

21 Apr – Memorial for St. Anselm, bishop & doctor

Anselm (1033-1109) was born of Italian nobility. After a childhood devoted to piety and study, he wanted to enter religious life, but his father prevented it, and Anselm became rather worldly for several years. Upon his mother’s death, Anselm argued with his father, fled to France, and became a Benedictine monk at Bec, Normandy. He studied under and succeeded Lanfranc as abbot, before later becoming Archbishop of Canterbury.

Anselm was a theological writer and counsellor to Pope Gregory VII, Pope Urban II, and William the Conqueror. He opposed slavery and obtained English legislation prohibiting the sale of men. He fought King William Rufus’ encroachment on ecclesiastical rights and the independences of the Church, and was exiled. He resolved theological doubts of the Italo-Greek bishops at the Council of Bari in 1098. He strongly supported celibate clergy. King Henry I invited him to return to England, but they disputed over investitures, and Anselm was again exiled in 1106.

He was one of the great philosophers and theologians of the Middle Ages, and was proclaimed Doctor of the Church in 1720 by Pope Clement XI.

No one will have any other desire in heaven than what God wills; and the desire of one will be the desire of all; and the desire of all and of each one will also be the desire of God.”

  • Anselm, Opera Omnis, Letter 112
  • Patron Saint Index

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Acts 4:1-12

While Peter and John were talking to the people the priests came up to them, accompanied by the captain of the Temple and the Sadducees. They were extremely annoyed at their teaching the people the doctrine of the resurrection from the dead by proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus. They arrested them, but as it was already late, they held them till the next day. But many of those who had listened to their message became believers, the total number of whom had now risen to something like five thousand.

The next day the rulers, elders and scribes had a meeting in Jerusalem with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, Jonathan, Alexander and all the members of the high-priestly families. They made the prisoners stand in the middle and began to interrogate them, ‘By what power, and by whose name have you men done this?’ Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, addressed them, ‘Rulers of the people, and elders! If you are questioning us today about an act of kindness to a cripple, and asking us how he was healed, then I am glad to tell you all, and would indeed be glad to tell the whole people of Israel, that it was by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the one you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by this name and by no other that this man is able to stand up perfectly healthy, here in your presence, today. This is the stone rejected by you the builders, but which has proved to be the keystone. For of all the names in the world given to men, this is the only one by which we can be saved.’

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John 21:1-14

Jesus stepped forward, took the bread and gave it to them, and the same with the fish

Jesus showed himself again to the disciples. It was by the Sea of Tiberias, and it happened like this: Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee and two more of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said, ‘I’m going fishing.’ They replied, ‘We’ll come with you.’ They went out and got into the boat but caught nothing that night.

It was light by now and there stood Jesus on the shore, though the disciples did not realise that it was Jesus. Jesus called out, ‘Have you caught anything, friends?’ And when they answered, ‘No’, he said, ‘Throw the net out to starboard and you’ll find something.’ So they dropped the net, and there were so many fish that they could not haul it in. The disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord.’ At these words ‘It is the Lord’, Simon Peter, who had practically nothing on, wrapped his cloak round him and jumped into the water. The other disciples came on in the boat, towing the net and the fish; they were only about a hundred yards from land.

As soon as they came ashore they saw that there was some bread there, and a charcoal fire with fish cooking on it. Jesus said, ‘Bring some of the fish you have just caught.’ Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore, full of big fish, one hundred and fifty-three of them; and in spite of there being so many the net was not broken. Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ None of the disciples was bold enough to ask, ‘Who are you?’; they knew quite well it was the Lord. Jesus then stepped forward, took the bread and gave it to them, and the same with the fish. This was the third time that Jesus showed himself to the disciples after rising from the dead.

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But many of those who heard the word came to believe

Nobel-prize winner Malala Yousafzai is a staunch advocate for education, especially for girls. What started off as a movement in her native home in the Swat district in Pakistan is now an international campaign, with supporters like Angelina Jolie and the Obamas. Malala took the brave road laden with trials and obstacles to have her voice heard — she was threatened and finally shot at in an assassination attempt by the Taliban, and all this before she was 16 years old. She lived and recovered, and her message is now heard all over the world.

Sometimes when we defend the truth, we will find opposition from naysayers. Critics attempt to question our credibility by tainting our image. People start to isolate us. Who will hear us?

Peter and John faced similar adversity when they spoke of Jesus’ resurrection. The priests and Sadducees arrested them and threw them into prison in an attempt to silence them. But this only fuelled the spread of the resurrection news, and the number of believers grew and grew.

The point is this – sometimes, it is hard to defend the truth and what we believe in. We will face challenges from all fronts — people will laugh at us, family may criticise us, friends may ostracise us. Lies and rumours about us will spread. Even people who have no association with us will claim familiarity and spread all kinds of falsehoods. It will be the loneliest place on earth to be, fighting in our corner. But that is the thing, God is truth. And while it is lonely for us on earth, if we are on the side of truth, then God is on our side, in heaven. He will have a way of making things happen; we need not understand how, but have faith that it will happen, according to His will, His way, in His time.

It is hard to fight for the truth alone. But Peter and John had full faith in God because they believed strongly in what they had witnessed, and believed that to be the truth. God promised that he would never leave us alone nor forsake us, and He did not abandon Peter and John. In fact, He turned the situation on its head and multiplied the number of believers. Eventually Peter and John were released.

I realise that such situations may not yield similar results. Sadly, not every story has a happy ending. But it is my hope that we will be encouraged by God’s promise that He will be our help, which will lead us to hold on steadfastly to what we believe in. Maybe one day we will be called to testify, I don’t know. If I were in Malala’s shoes, I don’t know if I would have half her courage. But she stood for what she believed in, and in the end, truth prevailed. There is hope yet my friends, to stand by the truth, and it is my hope that truth will prevail.

(Today’s Oxygen by Annette Soo)

Prayer: Lord, we pray for the courage to stand by the truth though the odds may be against us, firm in the belief that You will deliver us and let the truth prevail.

Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for being there with us, walking the journey though we may be alone.

19 April, Wednesday – Fire and Fear

19 April 2017

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Acts 3:1-10

Once, when Peter and John were going up to the Temple for the prayers at the ninth hour, it happened that there was a man being carried past. He was a cripple from birth; and they used to put him down every day near the Temple entrance called the Beautiful Gate so that he could beg from the people going in. When this man saw Peter and John on their way into the Temple he begged from them. Both Peter and John looked straight at him and said, ‘Look at us.’ He turned to them expectantly, hoping to get something from them, but Peter said, ‘I have neither silver nor gold, but I will give you what I have: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, walk!’ Peter then took him by the hand and helped him to stand up. Instantly his feet and ankles became firm, he jumped up, stood, and began to walk, and he went with them into the Temple, walking and jumping and praising God. Everyone could see him walking and praising God, and they recognised him as the man who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple. They were all astonished and unable to explain what had happened to him.

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They recognised him at the breaking of bread

Two of the disciples of Jesus were on their way to a village called Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking together about all that had happened. Now as they talked this over, Jesus himself came up and walked by their side; but something prevented them from recognising him. He said to them, ‘What matters are you discussing as you walk along?’ They stopped short, their faces downcast.
Then one of them, called Cleopas, answered him, ‘You must be the only person staying in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have been happening there these last few days.’ ‘What things?’ he asked. ‘All about Jesus of Nazareth’ they answered ‘who proved he was a great prophet by the things he said and did in the sight of God and of the whole people; and how our chief priests and our leaders handed him over to be sentenced to death, and had him crucified. Our own hope had been that he would be the one to set Israel free. And this is not all: two whole days have gone by since it all happened; and some women from our group have astounded us: they went to the tomb in the early morning, and when they did not find the body, they came back to tell us they had seen a vision of angels who declared he was alive. Some of our friends went to the tomb and found everything exactly as the women had reported, but of him they saw nothing.’

Then he said to them, ‘You foolish men! So slow to believe the full message of the prophets! Was it not ordained that the Christ should suffer and so enter into his glory?’ Then, starting with Moses and going through all the prophets, he explained to them the passages throughout the scriptures that were about himself.

When they drew near to the village to which they were going, he made as if to go on; but they pressed him to stay with them. ‘It is nearly evening’ they said ‘and the day is almost over.’ So he went in to stay with them. Now while he was with them at table, he took the bread and said the blessing; then he broke it and handed it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognised him; but he had vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?’

They set out that instant and returned to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven assembled together with their companions, who said to them, ‘Yes, it is true. The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.’ Then they told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised him at the breaking of bread.

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Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?

I have a little calendar that sits on my desk about God-sized dreams. It is about finding and fulfilling your purpose, the purpose that God put you on this good Earth, no matter what the odds are. I look forward to turning each page, eager to read the phrase of the day. I find that it touches a lot on determining if that dream within us is a God-sized dream — it fills your whole being with a mixture of yearning and fear; yearning to learn and lean towards God for guidance and strength, and fear of not knowing where the road leads but trusting anyway that God will take us by the hand.

When Jesus came into the world to preach, he offered nothing but the Truth. Just as Peter said to the crippled man, “I have neither silver or gold but what I have I give to you”, Jesus is saying to us “I am offering you the Truth”. As humans, our natural instinct is to question if this is ‘the real deal’. How do we know if this is indeed the Truth and not some scam? Do we even believe what Jesus has to say? We think we know everything, and we are so good at being skeptics; indeed, how would we know?

The old adage ‘the truth shall set you free’ rings true. When something is explained to us and we learn of the facts, there is a dawn of realisation that descends upon us. Suddenly, we see things in a different light and we understand; and what we were afraid of before because we didn’t understand, we are now no longer afraid of anymore. The truth releases us from our own shackles of myopia and fear. The disciples going to Emmaus were downcast over the events that had happened, until Jesus came and interpreted the Scriptures to them, showing them that the things that had occured had to occur for God’s glory to come into being.

Understanding the bigger picture and God’s plan, they were released from their sadness. The cripple in the first reading accepted the Truth of Christ and was released from his deformity. How many more examples in the Bible of people accepting Christ and were released from what was holding them back! How about when we accept Christ in our daily lives, be it accepting Him for the first time or just accepting that we should surrender our problems, ailments, sickness, fears and worries to Him wholeheartedly, because He truly wants to save us. God’s glory will come into being if we lift our lives to Him.

Secondly, once we set our lives free, our human fear no longer has control of our hearts. God does, and He fills it with a gush of life, where fear once ruled. “Were not our hearts burning within us?” asked the disciples. It consumes us and makes us want to exclaim out loud! The fire that God sets alight in our hearts not only burns out the old doubts but warms our entire being. This is an everlasting flame, it cannot be extinguished so long as we take care of it through obedience to God. Yes, there is a fear of not knowing, but it is a good fear in that I am trusting God with this purpose that He has put in me, and I am nervous because it is so much bigger than I am. It is not a fear of failure but a fear of God in us, just like Moses was filled with terror at what God wanted him to do. But if we accept this, then God will always be with us. That fire will keep on burning for as long as we love God with all our hearts. That fire is a holy fire, it will fill us like nothing we have ever experienced. It will warm us and guide us, like a flame that will extinguish the darkness in our lives.

(Today’s Oxygen by Annette Soo)

Prayer: Lord, I pray that my heart will never be shackled by my human fear, that I will learn to trust more in Your complete plan for me, even though I may not see or understand it fully.

Thanksgiving: Lord, thank you for setting our hearts on fire with your Word, and for setting us free from fear!

20 October, Thursday – Knowing the truth

20 October

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Ephesians 3:14-21

This is what I pray, kneeling before the Father, from whom every family, whether spiritual or natural, takes its name:

Out of his infinite glory, may he give you the power through his Spirit for your hidden self to grow strong, so that Christ may live in your hearts through faith, and then, planted in love and built on love, you will with all the saints have strength to grasp the breadth and the length, the height and the depth; until, knowing the love of Christ, which is beyond all knowledge, you are filled with the utter fullness of God.

Glory be to him whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine; glory be to him from generation to generation in the Church and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever. Amen.

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Luke 12:49-53

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were blazing already! There is a baptism I must still receive, and how great is my distress till it is over!

‘Do you suppose that I am here to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on a household of five will be divided: three against two and two against three; the father divided against the son, son against father, mother against daughter, daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law, daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.’

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I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were blazing already!’

I have to admit that today’s gospel was quite a challenge to read and reflect on. How could Jesus, the Prince of Peace, and whom the prophets spoke of His coming, bring division? These are such contradictory statements. So I had to read up commentaries and reflections by priests and eventually found: The Truth!

Indeed, Jesus came to bring division. But this division, as I have read, stems from the truth. Families are divided because of the truth. And yes, the truth hurts. Jesus is the way, the TRUTH and the life, as He said it Himself. Hence, following the truth, following Him will bring division.

In Luke 14:26, Jesus said: “If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple!” And more than anything, we as Christians are called to be followers of Jesus above all else. In other words, if we know the truth, we will have to follow Him, Jesus.

Often, I am selective about the truth. If it benefits and sits well with me, it is the truth. If it doesn’t, then I try to justify my actions. That in itself causes a division within myself. If I am to follow Jesus, I have to follow Him wholeheartedly and not selectively. Yet, as St Paul prays in today’s first reading, may God give us the power through His Spirit for our hidden selves to grow strong, so that Christ may live in our hearts.

My brothers and sisters, God will give us the strength to grow strong and walk in His love. And as St Paul says, God can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Nicholas Lee)

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Prayer: Father, help me to know Your truth and to stand by it. Knowing that You are the way, the truth and the life. Grace me to live my life according to Your truth.

Thanksgiving: Lord, thank You for giving me the grace to differentiate right from wrong, truth from falsehood. Thank You for guiding and leading me in Your righteousness daily.

14 August, Sunday – Keeping The Peace Or Copping Out?

14 August – 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time (& Vigil Mass for Solemnity of the Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary)

Dear Readers,

Today we post two sets of Sunday readings and reflections. The second set is for the Vigil Mass on the evening before the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (on Monday), where in some regions of the world, it is celebrated on the Sunday.

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20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jeremiah 38:4-6,8-10

The king’s leading men spoke to the king. ‘Let Jeremiah be put to death: he is unquestionably disheartening the remaining soldiers in the city, and all the people too, by talking like this. The fellow does not have the welfare of this people at heart so much as its ruin.’ ‘He is in your hands as you know,’ King Zedekiah answered ‘for the king is powerless against you.’ So they took Jeremiah and threw him into the well of Prince Malchiah in the Court of the Guard, letting him down with ropes. There was no water in the well, only mud, and into the mud Jeremiah sank.

Ebed-melech came out from the palace and spoke to the king. ‘My lord king,’ he said ‘these men have done a wicked thing by treating the prophet Jeremiah like this: they have thrown him into the well, where he will die.’ At this the king gave Ebed-melech the Cushite the following order: ‘Take three men with you from here and pull the prophet Jeremiah out of the well before he dies.’

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Hebrews 12:1-4

With so many witnesses in a great cloud on every side of us, we too, then, should throw off everything that hinders us, especially the sin that clings so easily, and keep running steadily in the race we have started. Let us not lose sight of Jesus, who leads us in our faith and brings it to perfection: for the sake of the joy which was still in the future, he endured the cross, disregarding the shamefulness of it, and from now on has taken his place at the right of God’s throne. Think of the way he stood such opposition from sinners and then you will not give up for want of courage. In the fight against sin, you have not yet had to keep fighting to the point of death.

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Luke 12:49-53

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were blazing already! There is a baptism I must still receive, and how great is my distress till it is over!

‘Do you suppose that I am here to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on a household of five will be divided: three against two and two against three; the father divided against the son, son against father, mother against daughter, daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law, daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.’

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Do you think I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.

In every family, there will come a time when one has to decide whether to hold one’s tongue or speak up to correct an injustice, and risk being ostracized. It’s all well and good to be supportive and try to keep the peace. After all, we’re encouraged to band together to protect one another and preserve our way of life. But what if that way of life is flawed? Do we still hold our silence, because family comes before fairness? There’s an old saying, that it takes a village to raise a child. It also takes a village to abuse one. That’s the case with any form of abuse though, isn’t it? Child, spousal, parental, even animal. Darkness prevails because good people are silent. What happens when we see something but do nothing about it? Doesn’t that make us complicit then, an accessory to wrong-doing?

Jeremiah didn’t shy away from conflict, not even when it landed him, quite literally, in a pile of sh*t. He embraced being ostracized. Wanting to be well-liked welds us to the collective and is its own form of captivity. We are silenced by our need to belong. Jesus was even more controversial, going so far as to say, “I have come to set the earth on fire…”. He wasn’t worried about fitting in. He didn’t care who he upset. What about us? Do we take our ‘peace keeping’ so seriously that we are ready to compromise our values and morals?

“In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood” (Heb 12:4). Our Christ showed us the way, enduring the cross for our sakes. When he died, he died alone, true to his message and his mission. He shed blood, sweat and tears for us. So what then, are we willing to shed for him? What are we willing to sacrifice to fulfil his mission for us?

(Today’s OXYGEN by Sharon Soo)

Prayer: We pray for the strength to take the high road, even when that road is a hard and lonely one.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks for the Holy Spirit, that inspires us and informs our conscience, that informs our moral compass and grants us the ability to discern right from wrong.

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Solemnity of Assumption of BVM: Vigil Mass

1 Chronicles 15:3-4,15-16,16:1-2

David gathered all Israel together to bring the ark of God up to the place he had prepared for it. David called together the sons of Aaron and the sons of Levi. And the Levites carried the ark of God with the shafts on their shoulders, as Moses had ordered in accordance with the word of the Lord.

David then told the heads of the Levites to assign duties for their kinsmen as cantors, with their various instruments of music, harps and lyres and cymbals, to play joyful tunes.

They brought the ark of God in and put it inside the tent that David had pitched for it; and they offered holocausts before God, and communion sacrifices. And when David had finished offering holocausts and communion sacrifices, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord.

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1 Corinthians 15:54-57

When this perishable nature has put on imperishability, and when this mortal nature has put on immortality, then the words of scripture will come true: Death is swallowed up in victory. Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting? Now the sting of death is sin, and sin gets its power from the Law. So let us thank God for giving us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

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Luke 11:27-28

As Jesus was speaking, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said, ‘Happy the womb that bore you and the breasts you sucked!’ But he replied, ‘Still happier those who hear the word of God and keep it!’

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Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it

Ever since Dad passed away in January, I’ve become obsessed with death, grief and the passing of things. What actually happens when we die? No one has ever come back to inform the living, not directly at least, and not in our lifetimes. Is my father in heaven? Is he in purgatory? Is he at peace or in pain? Does purgatory hurt? My mother, a huge champion of the faith, tells me that I ought to be more diligent with offering up masses for him because it will speed up his purification. She is convinced that it works. And I, knowing no better, can’t rebut her on it. Does it work? Is he really at peace? People tell me Dad’s in a better place. How would they know, if they’ve never been there themselves?

“Blessed are those who hear the word of God, and observe it” (Lk 11:28). Our Blessed Virgin Mary did that – “she treasured all these messages and continually pondered over them.” (Lk 2:19). She didn’t know better, but she didn’t feel the need to either. She just believed. Her faith informed her and it was enough. She took in faith that what was proclaimed by the angel would come true. It was enough to accept the path her son would have to walk, she didn’t need all the details upfront. True observance of The Word requires that we believe and accept because that’s the definition of faith – “…faith is the assurance of what we hope for, the certainty of what we cannot see” (Heb 11:1). Our risen Christ said to Thomas, “You believe because you see me, don’t you? Happy are those who have not seen and believe” (Jn 20:29). And so we are told to take in faith that with death, the faithful are ushered into a new arising.

I’m trying to make peace with it. In searching for answers, I’ve turned to Scripture and the analogies that Christ left for us about the transforming power of death – “…unless the grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much fruit” (Jn 12: 24). I don’t completely understand the full weight of the verse, but in my heart, there is some comfort that perhaps death is but a new beginning, a new arising? Maybe Dad really is happier and in a better place. I just have to take it in faith.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Sharon Soo)

Prayer: We pray for those who have left the land of the living, that they have found peace with God and are free from pain and suffering.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks for the mercy, healing and redeeming power of Christ, who saves us from our self doubts.

29 July, Friday – Stealing Another’s ‘Peace’

29 July – Memorial for St. Martha

Jesus liked to stay at the house of Martha, Mary and Lazarus, his friends at Bethany, when he was in Judaea. One of these visits has ever remained dear to Christian memory. On that occasion Martha, busily serving the Master, asked Him to persuade Mary to help her. Jesus explained to her that certain souls, called by God, should choose a better part still — the primary duty of listening to Him and contemplating Him.

After His Ascension, she was seized by the Jews, together with many other Christians. They were put on board a ship without sails or oars, and left helpless on the open sea. But God guided the ship, and they all arrived safely at Marseilles. Martha, after having won the love and admiration of the Marseilles people by the sanctity of her life and her wonderful charity, withdrew with several virtuous women to a spot remote from men, where she lived for a long time, greatly renowned for her piety and prudence.

http://www.catholicculture.org/liturgicalyear/calendar/day.cfm?date=2006-07-29

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Jeremiah 26:1-9

At the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word was addressed to Jeremiah by the Lord, ‘The Lord says this: Stand in the court of the Temple of the Lord. To all the people of the towns of Judah who come to worship in the Temple of the Lord you must speak all the words I have commanded you to tell them; do not omit one syllable. Perhaps they will listen and each turn from his evil way: if so, I shall relent and not bring the disaster on them which I intended for their misdeeds. Say to them, “The Lord says this: If you will not listen to me by following my Law which I put before you, by paying attention to the words of my servants the prophets whom I send so persistently to you, without your ever listening to them, I will treat this Temple as I treated Shiloh, and make this city a curse for all the nations of the earth.”’

The priests and prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah say these words in the Temple of the Lord. When Jeremiah had finished saying everything that the Lord had ordered him to say to all the people, the priests and prophets seized hold of him and said, ‘You shall die! Why have you made this prophecy in the name of the Lord, “This Temple will be like Shiloh, and this city will be desolate, and uninhabited”?’ And the people were all crowding round Jeremiah in the Temple of the Lord.

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John 11:19-27

Many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to sympathise with them over their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus had come she went to meet him. Mary remained sitting in the house. Martha said to Jesus, ‘If you had been here, my brother would not have died, but I know that, even now, whatever you ask of God, he will grant you.’ ‘Your brother’ said Jesus to her ‘will rise again.’ Martha said, ‘I know he will rise again at the resurrection on the last day.’ Jesus said:

‘I am the resurrection and the life.
If anyone believes in me, even though he dies he will live,
and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?’

‘Yes, Lord,’ she said ‘I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who was to come into this world.’

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How can I restore what I have never stolen?

I am deeply saddened that I cannot share my faith about many sensitive issues now without being labeled a bigot. The world seems to have evolved into a place where to disagree with a lifestyle means to disagree with the person. And by speaking up against the lifestyle, you become a thief who has stolen someone’s peace of mind by trumpeting the truth. How can you restore their peace if you were not the one who stole it in the first place?

For prophesying as God commanded, Jeremiah was nearly killed. During the legalization of LGBT marriages, I put up a comment on Facebook that while I respect the rights to life of LGBT community, I cannot agree with same-sex unions for a variety of reasons. In return, I got hate comments on my wall. It still bothers me that rainbow profiles abounded that time, yet I did not have the courage to continue professing the truth – I felt like a thief.

As I write this reflection, I was hoping to end with a phrase that triumphs over this tribulation but I will not be doing that. The first reading ended with the crowd rounding Jeremiah. I would like to invite you, my brothers and sisters, to look at this ending as a challenge to us. Standing up for the truth might cause us despair, we will be accused of being thiefs, non-conformists, and backward. Our safety might even be compromised but we need to continue to struggle to become messengers of God – no matter how much the world is against us.

Let us continue asking God for help, and let us continue prophesying. Let us prophesy always, sometimes, let’s not hesitate to use kind words.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Stephanie Villa)

Prayer: Lord, it is you and me against the world. Give us to courage to persevere through what we have been baptized for – to be prophets for you.

Thanksgiving: Thank you, Lord, for allowing us to see and accept the truth of life.