Monthly Archives: September 2007

Saturday, September 29 – Angels: They live to deliver

29 Sep – Feast of Sts. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, archangels

St. Michael the Archangel is the leader of the army of God during the Lucifer uprising. Devotion is common to Muslims, Christians, and Jews with writings about him in all three cultures. He is considered the guardian angel of Israel.

The feast of the Apparition of St. Michael (May 8) commemorates the sixth century appearance of the archangel on Mt. Gargano near Manfredonia in southern Italy. Michael requested a church built in his honour at the site. If you find medals or holy cars with “relics” of Michael, they are probably rock chips from the cave, or pieces of cloth that have touched it.

St. Raphael, also known as Azariah, is one of the three angels mentioned by name in Scripture, and one of the seven that stand before God’s throne. He is the lead character in the deuterocanonical book of Tobit in which he travelled with (and guarded) Tobias, and cured a man’s blindness; hence his connection with travellers, young people, blindness, healing and healers. He is traditionally considered the force behind the healing power of the sheep pool mentioned in John 5:1-4.

St. Gabriel is a messenger of God who appeared to the prophet Daniel to explain the prophet’s visions relating to the Messiah (Daniel 8:16-26, 9:21). He also appeared to Zecharias in the temple to announce the coming of Zecharias’ son, John the Baptist, and to strike him mute for his disbelief (Luke 1:11-20). The angel also appeared to Mary to let her know she’d been selected to bear the Saviour (Luke 1:25-38).

“You should be aware that the word “angel” denotes a function rather than a nature. Those holy spirits of heaven have indeed always been spirits. They can only be called angels when they deliver some message. Moreover, those who deliver messages of lesser importance are called angels, and those who proclaim messages of supreme importance are called archangels.

And so it was not merely an angel but the archangel Gabriel was sent to the Virgin Mary. It was only fitting that the highest angel should come to announce the greatest of all messages… So too Gabriel, who is called God’s strength, was sent to Mary. He came to announce the One who appeared as a humble man to quell the cosmic powers. Thus God’s strength announced the coming of the Lord of the heavenly powers, mighty in battle.

– from a homily by Pope St. Gregory the Great

– Source: Patron Saint Index
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Daniel 7:9-14

Thrones were set in place
and one of great age took his seat.
His robe was white as snow,
the hair of his head as pure as wool.
His throne was a blaze of flames,
its wheels were a burning fire.
A stream of fire poured out,
issuing from his presence.
A thousand thousand waited on him,
ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.
A court was held
and the books were opened.

And I saw, coming on the clouds of heaven,
one like a son of man.
He came to the one of great age
and was led into his presence.
On him was conferred sovereignty,
glory and kingship,
and men of all peoples, nations and languages became his servants.
His sovereignty is an eternal sovereignty
which shall never pass away,
nor will his empire ever be destroyed.

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John 1:47-51

When Jesus saw Nathanael coming he said of him, ‘There is an Israelite who deserves the name, incapable of deceit’. ‘How do you know me?’ said Nathanael ‘Before Philip came to call you,’ said Jesus ‘I saw you under the fig tree.’ Nathanael answered, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God, you are the King of Israel’. Jesus replied, ‘You believe that just because I said: I saw you under the fig tree. so You will see greater things than that.’ And then he added ‘I tell you most solemnly, you will see heaven laid open and, above the Son of Man, the angels of God ascending and descending’.
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Angels serve as God’s messengers as read in the various books in the Bible, such as Apocalypse, Tobit and Luke. From here we can infer that angels are a function; they are called angels when they deliver a message. Archangels deliver messages of supreme importance.

Even the names of the archangels – Michael means “Who is like God”; Gabriel is “The Strength of God”; and Raphael is “God’s Remedy”. Each of them had an important role to play as stated in the various books. These are spirits that God sends to assist us in the crucial periods in our lives.

Our duty now is to be God’s messenger to our friends and the loved ones; we are “made in the image and likeness of God” to bring forth God’s strength and healing to a broken world. It is akin to a combo of all the roles of the angels. This is not a difficult task but our duty for if we do not embark on this role, who will bring God to the lives of others?

Whenever we feel exhausted and weary after a hard day’s work or in carrying our Christian duty, may the prayer below serve to calm our frayed nerves and bring us to an inner peace.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Nick Chia)
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Prayer:
Angel of God my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here, ever this day be at my sight, to light and guard, to rule and guide.

Give thanks for: the many people that have brought God’s love to my life.

Upcoming Readings:
Sun, 30 Sep – Amos 6:1a, 4-7; 1 Timothy 6:11-16; Luke 16:19-31; Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Disclaimer: The reflections expressed in this e-mail are the writer’s own. They may not necessarily reflect the teachings of the Catholic Church. Nonetheless we should all be able to learn something from it.

Friday, September 28 – The Glory of the New Surpasses The Old

28 Sep – Memorial for St. Wenceslaus, martyr; Memorial for St. Lawrence Ruiz and his companions, martyrs

Wenceslaus (907-929) was a duke of Bohemia, the grandson and student of St. Ludmilla. He ascended to power when his father was killed during a pagan backlash against Christianity, which he fought with prayer and patience.

He was a man of utmost faith, charitable to the poor, and he would clothe the naked, feed the hungry, and offer hospitality to travellers according to the summons of the gospel. He would not allow widows to be treated unjustly; he loved all his people; he also provided for the servants of God, and he adorned many churches.

Eventually, he was murdered by his brother Boleslaus at the door of a church. He was killed for political reasons, but is normally listed as a martyr since the politics arose from his faith, and also because miracles were reported at his tomb.

Since the year 2000, today is a public holiday in the Czech Republic, as Wenceslaus is the patron saint of the Czech people and the Czech Republic. It is celebrated as Czech Statehood Day. He is best known in the English-speaking world, outside of the Czech Republic, as the subject of the Christmas carol “Good King Wenceslaus”.

Lorenzo Ruiz (1600-1637) was born from Christian parents. His father was Chinese; his mother Filipino. He learnt Chinese and Tagalog from them, and Spanish from the Dominicans who he served as altar boy and sacristan. He was a professioanl calligrapher and documents transcriptionist, and a member of the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary. He was a married layman, and the father of two sons and a daughter.

For unknown reasons, Lorenzo was accused of murder. He sought asylum on board ship with three Dominican priests, St. Antonio Gonzalez, St. Guillermo Courtet, and St. Mugeul de Aozaraza, a Japapnese priests, St. Vincent Showozuka de la Cruz, and a layman named St. Lazaro of Kyoto, a leper. Only when they were at sea did he learn that they were going to Japan during a time of intense Christian persecution.

Lorenzo could have gone to Formosa (modern Taiwan), but feared the Spaniards there would hang him, so he stayed with the missionaries as they landed at Okinawa. The group was soon exposed as Christians, arrested, and taken to Nagasaki. They were tortured in several ways for days. Lawrence and the Japanese priest broke at one point, and were ready to renounce their faith in exchange for release, but after their moment of crisis, they reclaimed their faith and defied their tormentors.

Lorenzo was then crushed over a period of three days while hanging upside down. His body was burned and his ashes thrown into the Pacific Ocean. He was the first Filipino saint to be canonized. In addition, his canonization in 1987 by Pope John Paul II during a trip to Manila was the first to take place outside the Vatican.

– Sources: Patron Saint Index, Wikipedia
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Haggai 1:15 – 2:9

In the second year of King Darius, on the twenty-first day of the seventh month, the word of the Lord was addressed through the prophet Haggai, as follows, “You are to speak to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, the high commissioner of Judah, to Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to all the remnant of the people. Say this, ‘Who is there left among you that saw this Temple in its former glory? And how does it look to you now? Does it seem nothing to you? But take courage now, Zerubbabel – it is the Lord who speaks. Courage, High Priest Joshua son of Jehozadak! Courage, all you people of the country! – it is the Lord who speaks. To work! I am with you – it is the Lord of hosts who speaks – and my spirit remains among you. Do not be afraid! For the Lord of hosts says this: A little while now, and I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all the nations and the treasures of all the nations shall flow in, and I will fill this Temple with glory, says the Lord of hosts. Mine is the silver, mine the gold! – it is the Lord of hosts who speaks. The new glory of the Temple is going to surpass the old, says the Lord of hosts, and in this place I will give peace – it is the Lord of hosts who speaks.
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Luke 9:18-22

One day when Jesus was praying alone in the presence of his disciples he put this question to them, “Who do the crowds say I am?” And they answered, “John the Baptist; others Elijah; and others say one of the ancient prophets come back to life.” “But you,” he said, “who do you say I am?” It was Peter who spoke up. “The Christ of God,” he said. But he gave them strict orders not to tell anyone anything about this.

“The Son of Man,” he said, “is destined to suffer grievously, to be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes and to be put to death, and to be raised up on the third day.”
____________________

As I reflect on today’s readings, I am reminded of something very similar. In the first reading, Haggai is asking the Israelites which of them remembers the old Temple. Those that do remember the glory of the old Temple see the new Temple and are disappointed by it, because it is so much poorer compared to the old rich Temple. This reminds me of people who remember how the Old Mass was celebrated, and comparing it to the New Mass, the New Mass looks so much poorer compared to the Old Mass.

In the first reading, the Lord tells the Israelites “Courage! The Lord will not only restore the Temple, He will make it even more glorious than before.” And we know from our Christian faith that the Lord gave us all a new Temple. It is not a dead Temple made of bricks and gold and metal. It is not an inanimate Temple, but a living Temple. Our bodies are the new Temple of the Lord. The Lord resides in our hearts and in our bodies. Indeed, our bodies are the new Temple of the Lord and what is richer than life itself?

The new Temple of the Lord is the human body, and the incarnate Christ came to show us that the human body is the Temple. How? In the old Temple, we know that it is the Temple because God lived in it. Since Christ is God Incarnate, since God is now living in a human body, it shows us that the human body is the new Temple of God. This new Temple of God is richer than the old Temple because this new Temple is alive!

How does this apply to the Old and New Mass? In the Old Mass, God is present in the rich liturgy, and that is what some Catholics miss most in the New Mass. They say that God is not so present anymore. In the New Mass, where is God most present? He is present in the worshipping community. The worshipping community is made up of many little Temples of God coming together to worship God and form one big and glorious Temple. It is in this big and glorious Temple that God is most present in.

Indeed God is most present in the worshipping community. This is why the New Mass is actually richer than the Old Mass. The Temple of God in the Old Mass is the liturgy, which is dead. The Temple of God in the New Mass is the worshipping community, which is alive!
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Prayer:
Dear Lord, help us to appreciate our own bodies, which are your Temple. Help us to appreciate the Mass, and to play our part in participating fully in the Mass, for it is when we participate fully in it, that you are most present in the Mass. Amen.

Give Thanks to the Lord for: Revealing your new Temple.

Upcoming Readings:
Sat, 29 Sep – Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14 or Revelation 12:7-12a; John 1:47-51; Feast of Sts. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, archangels
Sun, 30 Sep – Amos 6:1a, 4-7; 1 Timothy 6:11-16; Luke 16:19-31; Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Disclaimer: The reflections expressed in this e-mail are the writer’s own. They may not necessarily reflect the teachings of the Catholic Church. Nonetheless we should all be able to learn something from it.

Thursday, September 27 – Building The Church

27 Sep – Memorial for St. Vincent de Paul, priest

St. Vincent de Paul is probably one of the first saints that we hear of, if we are cradle Catholics. Brought up to go for Mass every Sunday, I always saw the members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul do a second collection every month. I remember it clearly because my mother used to give me $2 to give to the normal collection, but $10 to give to the St. Vincent de Paul collection. Let’s find out more about this saint today.

St. Vincent de Paul (1581-1660) was born to a peasant family. A highly intelligent youth, he spent four years with the Franciscan friars at Acqs, France, getting an education. For a while, he was a tutor to a gentleman in Acqs before beginning divinity studies in 1596 at the University of Toulouse, and was ordained at the age of 20.

It is written that he was taken captive by Turkish pirates, and sold into slavery. He was freed in 1607 when he converted one of his owners to Christianity.

Returning to France, he served as parish priest near Paris where he started organizations to help the poor, nursed the sick, found jobs for the unemployed, etc. He was also a chaplain at the court of Henry IV of France. With St. Louise de Marillac, he founded the Congregation of the Daughters of Charity. He also instituted the Congregation of Priests of the Mission (Lazarists).

Vincent de Paul adopted Father (later Cardinal) Pierre de Berulle and Father Andre Duval (a professor at Sorbonne) as his spiritual mentors. These two men were “spearheading” the spiritual and ecclesiastical reform in Paris. Duval introduced Vincent to the Rule of Perfection, written by the English Capuchin Benet of Canfield. From this work, Vincent came to a fuller understanding of doing the will of God and the importance of waiting for God to leave.

He always worked for the poor, the enslaved, the abandoned, the ignored, and the outcasts. He is the patron saint of charitable societies; charitable workers; hospitals and their workers; Societies of St. Vincent de Paul, and volunteers.

Prayer:
Dear Saint, the mere mention of your name suggests a litany of your virtues: humility, zeal, mercy, self-sacrifice. It also recalls your many foundations: Works of Mercy, Congregations, Societies. And the Church gratefully remembers your promotion of the priesthood. Inspire all charitable workers, especially those who minister to the poor – both the spiritually and materially poor. Amen.

– Sources: Patron Saint Index, Wikipedia
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Haggai 1:1-8

In the second year of King Darius, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the Lord was addressed through the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, high commissioner of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, as follows, ‘The Lord of hosts says this, “This people says: The time has not yet come to rebuild the Temple of the Lord. (And the word of the Lord was addressed through the prophet Haggai, as follows:) Is this a time for you to live in your paneled houses, when this House lies in ruins? So now, the Lord of hosts says this: Reflect carefully how things have gone for you. You have sown much and harvested little; you eat but never have enough, drink but never have your fill, put on clothes but do not feel warm. The wage earner gets his wages only to put them in a purse riddled with holes. Reflect carefully how things have gone for you. So go to the hill country, fetch wood, and rebuild the House: I shall then take pleasure in it, and be glorified there, says the Lord.”‘
___________________

Going to church can provide us with a much needed respite from what we experience daily. Our Father’s House is a place that we can return to come what may and find someone who’ll not turn away from us. Today’s first reading challenges us to consider how we look at this same institution. Our parish communities may not lie in ruins but this no less diminishes our need to contribute to them so that as the Lord says, He may take pleasure in it and be glorified there.

Today is the memorial of Saint Vincent de Paul. He is the founder of many charitable organizations and patron saint of many more, including the one that bears his name and which makes frequent appearances during Eucharistic celebrations. We all know what purpose the SVDP serves. My church bulletin publishes the monthly collections by our branch of the SVDP and the number of families the amount will go out to. The average amount raises eyebrows and not because it is hugely generous.

Not sure where or how to start building up our parish communities? There are groups like the SVDP to which we can contribute or offer our time and help. A small gesture it may begin as but one which matters as much as the donations received by those families which need them.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Aloysius Ting)
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Prayer:
Lord, help us be generous with our time and efforts to those who need them.

Give thanks to the Lord for: Those who work for the good of his kingdom.

Upcoming Readings:
Fri, 28 Sep – Haggai 1:15b – 2:9; Luke 9:18-22; Memorial for St. Wenceslaus, martyr; Memorial for St. Lawrence Ruiz and his companions, martyrs
Sat, 29 Sep – Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14 or Revelation 12:7-12a; John 1:47-51; Feast of Sts. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, archangels
Sun, 30 Sep – Amos 6:1a, 4-7; 1 Timothy 6:11-16; Luke 16:19-31; Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Disclaimer: The reflections expressed in this e-mail are the writer’s own. They may not necessarily reflect the teachings of the Catholic Church. Nonetheless we should all be able to learn something from it.

Wednesday, September 26 – Feeling Scared?

26 Sep – Memorial for Sts. Cosmas and Damian, martyrs

Damian and Cosmas were Arabs and twin brothers. Both were physicians who accepted no payment, which brought many to Christ. The two were martyred for their faith in 303. Both suffered no injury during tortures. Many fables grew up about them, connected in part with their relics.

– Patron Saint Index
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Ezra 9:5-9

At the evening sacrifice I came out of my stupor and, falling on my knees in my torn clothes and cloak, stretched out my hands to Yahweh my God, and said:

‘My God, I am ashamed, I blush to lift my face to you, my God. For our iniquities have increased, until they are higher than our heads, and our guilt has risen as high as heaven. From the days of our ancestors until now we have been deeply guilty and, because of our iniquities, we, our kings and our priests, have been handed over to the kings of other countries, to the sword, to captivity, to pillage, to shame, as is the case today. And now, for a brief moment, the favour of Yahweh our God has allowed a remnant of us to escape and given us a stable home in his holy place, so that our God can raise our spirits and revive us a little in our slavery. For we are slaves; but God has not forgotten us in our slavery; he has extended his faithful love to us even under the kings of Persia and restore its ruins and provide us with a refuge in Judah and in Jerusalem.’
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Luke 9:1-6

He called the Twelve together and gave them power and authority over all devils and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. He said to them, ‘Take nothing for the journey: neither staff, nor haversack, nor bread, no money; and do not have a spare tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there; and when you leave let your departure be from there. As for those who do not welcome you, when you leave their town shake the dust from your feet as evidence against them.’ So they set out and went from village to village proclaiming the good news and healing everywhere.
___________________

No matter how weak, how guilty, we think we are, God loves us, and has even made us to be His instruments. In Him we find our true value as His children.

However, being sent out as God’s servants can be quite scary. We fear the unknown. What will happen? How come I don’t seem to be ready to do this if God has sent me to do it? I have a great fear of doing what I have not done before.

We can be assured that the Father has provided us with what we need for the journey ahead of us. The disciples were told not to take material possessions even though they would be traveling. It may not be visible to us now, but if we proceed with faith despite our fear, we will be doing the good work that He has set us out to do.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Regina Xie)
____________________

Prayer:
Lord, You are near. Help us accomplish the mission You have given to us. Let us not be discouraged in our weakness but instead grant us Your wisdom and strength.

Give thanks to the Lord for: His great love for us.

Upcoming Readings:
Thu, 27 Sep – Haggai 1:1-8; Luke 9:7-9; Memorial for St. Vincent de Paul, priest
Fri, 28 Sep – Haggai 1:15b – 2:9; Luke 9:18-22; Memorial for St. Wenceslaus, martyr; Memorial for St. Lawrence Ruiz and his companions, martyrs
Sat, 29 Sep – Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14 or Revelation 12:7-12a; John 1:47-51; Feast of Sts. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, archangels
Sun, 30 Sep – Amos 6:1a, 4-7; 1 Timothy 6:11-16; Luke 16:19-31; Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Disclaimer: The reflections expressed in this e-mail are the writer’s own. They may not necessarily reflect the teachings of the Catholic Church. Nonetheless we should all be able to learn something from it.

Tuesday, September 25 – Feigning Ignorance

25 Sep

Guilty!

A street preacher set up his soapbox on the corner of a busy section in town. He was holding forth bravely about God and our need for God, but the only response from passers-by was total indifference.

All of a sudden he switched tactics. As the office workers from a nearby building came out for their lunch, the preacher would fix an eye on one, point a long, bony finger, and shout “Guilty!” Then he would remain silent for a few seconds, select another ‘victim’, try to catch his eye, raise his right arm, point that accusing finger, and shout “Guilty!”

The response was fascinating. In his earlier preaching, the response was a snigger, a laugh, or just nothing. Now, however, the response was a total disquieting unease – and every one of the office workers actually began to look guilty! It seems, the preacher was hitting home, as if they thought he knew something about them!

– We’re as guilty as our secrets.

– Guilt is not from God; Satan is “the accuser of the brethren; he accuses them day and night” (Rev 12:10)

– “I didn’t come to condemn the world…”

– “Neither do I condemn you..” (Jn 8:11)

– taken from “150 More Stories for Preachers and Teachers” by Jack McArdle
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Ezra 6:7-8, 12, 14-20

King Darius wrote to the satrap of Transeuphrates and his colleagues: “Leave the high commissioner of Judah and the elders of the Jews to work on this Temple of God; they are to rebuild this Temple of God on its ancient site. This, I decree, is how you must assist the elders of the Jews in the reconstruction of this Temple of God: the expenses of these people are to be paid, promptly and without fail, from the royal revenue – that is, from the tribute of Transeuphrates. I, Darius, have issued this decree. Let it be obeyed to the letter!”

The elders of the Jews, for their part, prospered with their building, inspired by Haggai the prophet and Zechariah son of Iddo. They finished the building in accordance with the order of the God of Israel and the order of Cyrus and of Darius. This temple was finished on the twenty-third day of the month of Adar; it was the sixth year of the reign of King Darius. The Israelites – the priests, the Levites and the remainder of the exiles – joyfully dedicated this Temple of God; for the dedication of this Temple of God they offered one hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs and, as a sacrifice for sin for the whole of Israel, twelve he-goats, corresponding to the number of the tribes of Israel. Then they installed the priests according to their orders in the service of the Temple of God in Jerusalem, as is written in the Book of Moses.

The exiles celebrated the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month. The Levites, as one man, had purified themselves; all were pure, so they sacrificed the passover for all the exiles, for their borhters the priests and for themselves.
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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.”
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There are some people in our Catholic communities that are not very well-liked, because they have very rigid standards. They would insist that God’s commandments cannot be compromised. They not only insist it of other Catholics, they also insist it of themselves. Other Catholics don’t like them because these people, by way of example, show that it IS possible to lead a life in strict conformity with the commandments. We don’t like them because these people make us aware of our own sinfulness. That’s not a nice thing, hence we think of ways to make the lives of these people more difficult.

Jesus makes it very clear in today’s readings – his family members comprise people who hear the word of God and put it into practice. Like it or not, these Catholics with strict standards are the ones who put the word of God into practice.

I was looking for something in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) earlier today, when I came across something about what the Catholic Church teaches us about mortal sin. It reads:

“Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God’s law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of sin.”

Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart is something that many of us tend to have, especially when we know that what we are doing is wrong. We either look away, or come up with a whole host of excuses to justify our actions, despite knowing that what we are doing is wrong.

One of the excuses that I commonly make for myself is that “The nth commandment does not apply to our modern situation.” But there is an entire chapter dedicated to the Ten Commandments in the CCC, (paragraphs 2052-2557) that tells us how the commandments are applied to our modern society. Choosing not to read this, now that you know about it, is another way of feigning ignorance. Doing this actually increases the severity of our sin!

Most, if not all, of the time, we do not need another person to point out our sins to us. We know instinctively when we are doing something sinful. What is our response then? Do we feign ignorance? Do we continue to be stubborn and not repent?
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Prayer:
Dear Lord, help our hardness of heart. Help us to change our sinful ways and look towards the examples of holy men and women around us for inspiration, rather than find fault with them. Amen.

Give Thanks to the Lord for: Holy men and women who listen to the word of God and put it into practice.

Upcoming Readings:
Wed, 26 Sep – Ezra 9:5-9; Luke 9:1-6; Memorial for Sts. Cosmas and Damian, martyrs
Thu, 27 Sep – Haggai 1:1-8; Luke 9:7-9; Memorial for St. Vincent de Paul, priest
Fri, 28 Sep – Haggai 1:15b – 2:9; Luke 9:18-22; Memorial for St. Wenceslaus, martyr; Memorial for St. Lawrence Ruiz and his companions, martyrs
Sat, 29 Sep – Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14 or Revelation 12:7-12a; John 1:47-51; Feast of Sts. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, archangels
Sun, 30 Sep – Amos 6:1a, 4-7; 1 Timothy 6:11-16; Luke 16:19-31; Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Monday, September 24 – Just Do It!

24 Sep

Read all about it

A gifted young student graduated from an agricultural college. Full of enthusiasm he said to an elderly farmer, “I have a book that will tell you how to farm ten times better than you are doing now.” After a pause, the farmer said, “But I already know how to farm ten times better than I do now.”

– Quite often we know what to do, but by continuing to read books about it, it puts off the ‘evil day’ of deciding to do something.

– In most cases, Jesus prefers decisions to discussions.

– One of the ways of never getting around to doing anything, is to keep reading about it.

– taken from “150 More Stories for Preachers and Teachers” by Jack McArdle
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Ezra 1:1-6

In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, to fulfil the word of the Lord that was spoken through Jeremiah, the Lord roused the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia to issue a proclamation and to have it publicly displayed throughout the kingdom: “Thus speaks Cyrus king of Persia, ‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth; he has ordered me to build him a Temple in Jerusalem, in Judah. Whoever there is among you of all his people, may his God be with him! Let him go up to Jerusalem in Judah to build the Temple of the Lord, the God of Israel – he is the God who is in Jerusalem. And let each survivor, wherever he lives, be helped by the people of that place with silver and gold, with goods and cattle, as well as voluntary offerings for the Temple of God which is in Jerusalem.'”

Then the heads of families of Judah and of Benjamin, the priests and the Levites, in fact all whose spirit had been roused by God, prepared to go and rebuild the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem; and all their neighbours gave them every assistance with silver, gold, goods, cattle, quantities of costly gifts and with voluntary offerings of every kind.
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Luke 8:16-18

Jesus said to his disciples: “No one lights a lamp to cover it with a bowl or to put it under a bed. No, he puts it on a lamp-stand so that people may see the light when they come in. For nothing is hidden but it will be made clear, nothing secret but it will be known and brought to light. So take care how you hear; for anyone who has will be given more; from anyone who has not, even what he thinks he has will be taken away.
____________________

God often calls us to do things that can seem quite intimidating. Even if we have the necessary gifts to begin carrying out what he asks us to do, it boggles the mind sometimes to think of the sheer magnitude of the task.

Often, what is holding us back from doing what the Lord asks is not so much the external factors, but the fear of what comes next. When we think back to the point of time when Jesus asks Peter to walk on water, Peter doesn’t even stop to consider what comes next. He just wrapped his cloak around himself and jumped onto the water. It was only when he started thinking of what comes next that he became paralysed with fear, and started to sink.

When God asks us to do something, He will provide the means for us to do it. Most of us say we believe this, but few of us act on it. It often involves acting on faith, not knowing what comes next, but refusing to allow ourselves to be paralysed with fear. It involves us doing it fearlessly and openly. With major projects that we are asked to do, we often find that once other people see what we are doing in faith, they will be attracted to us and lend their support in whatever way they can.

Despite this, we can still sometimes be intimidated with how things are going and become paralysed with fear halfway through it. The important thing is to continue to have faith in God and to just do it in faith.
____________________

Prayer:
Dear Lord, grant us the faith to do the things you ask of us, especially in times that we are intimidated and fearful of what comes next. Help us to trust that whenever you ask us to do something, you will provide the means for us to do it. Amen.

Give Thanks to the Lord for: The gift of faith, and the courage to act on it.

Upcoming Readings:
Tue, 25 Sep – Ezra 6:7-8, 12b, 14-20; Luke 8:19-21
Wed, 26 Sep – Ezra 9:5-9; Luke 9:1-6; Memorial for Sts. Cosmas and Damian, martyrs
Thu, 27 Sep – Haggai 1:1-8; Luke 9:7-9; Memorial for St. Vincent de Paul, priest
Fri, 28 Sep – Haggai 1:15b – 2:9; Luke 9:18-22; Memorial for St. Wenceslaus, martyr; Memorial for St. Lawrence Ruiz and his companions, martyrs
Sat, 29 Sep – Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14 or Revelation 12:7-12a; John 1:47-51; Feast of Sts. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, archangels
Sun, 30 Sep – Amos 6:1a, 4-7; 1 Timothy 6:11-16; Luke 16:19-31; Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Disclaimer: The reflections expressed in this e-mail are the writer’s own. They may not necessarily reflect the teachings of the Catholic Church. Nonetheless we should all be able to learn something from it.

Sunday, September 23 – Means to an End

23 Sep – Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lord of the Oppressed

Christ is the defender of all who are sacrificed to the god of money, who are manipulated for economic gain. He sacrificed himself as a ransom to them all.

– The Sunday Missal
____________________

Amos 8:4-7

Listen to this, you who trample on the needy
and try to suppress the poor people of the country,
you who say, “When will New Moon be over
so that we can sell our corn,
and sabbath, so that we can market our wheat?
Then by lowering the bushel, raising the shekel,
by swindling and tampering with the scales,
we can buy up the poor for money,
and the needy for a pair of sandals,
and get a price even for the sweepings of the wheat.”
The Lord swears it by the pride of Jacob,
“Never will I forget a single thing you have done.”

_____________________

1 Timothy 2:1-8

My advice is that, first of all, there should be prayers offered for everyone – petitions, intercessions and thanksgiving – and able to live religious and reverent lives in peace and quiet. To do this is right, and will please God our saviour: he wants everyone to be saved and reach full knowledge of the truth. For there is only one God, and there is only one mediator between God and mankind, himself a man, Christ Jesus, who sacrificed himself as a ransom for them all. He is the evidence of this, sent at the appointed time, and I have been named a herald and apostle of it and – I am telling the truth and no lie – a teacher of the faith and the truth to the pagans.

In every place, then, I want the men to lift their hands up reverently in prayer, with no anger or argument.
_____________________

Luke 16:1-13

Jesus said to his disciples, “There was a rich man and he had a steward who was denounced to him for being wasteful with his property. He called for the man and said, ‘What is this I hear about you? Draw me up an account of your stewardship because you are not to be my steward any longer.’ Then the steward said to himself, ‘Now that my master is taking the stewardship from me, what am I to do? Dig? I am not strong enough. Go begging? I should be too ashamed. Ah, I know what I will do to make sure that when I am dismissed from office there will be some to welcome me into their homes.’

“Then he called his master’s debtors one by one. To the first he said, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ ‘One hundred measures of oil’ was the reply. The steward said, ‘Here, take your bond; sit down straight away and write fifty.’ To another he said, ‘And you, sir, how much do you owe?’ ‘One hundred measures of wheat’ was the reply. The steward said, ‘Here, take your bond and write eighty.’

“The master praised the dishonest steward for his astuteness. For the children of this world are more astute in dealing with their own kind than are the children of light.

“And so I tell you this: use money, tainted as it is, to win you friends, and thus make sure that when it fails you, they will welcome you into the tents of eternity. The man who can be trusted in little things can be trusted in great; the man who is dishonest in little things will be dishonest in great. If then you cannot be trusted with money, that tainted thing, who will trust you with genuine riches? And if you cannot be trusted with what is not yours, who will give you what is your very own?

“No servant can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or treat the first with respect and the second with scorn. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money.”
_____________________

Imagine you are a kid in a candy store. You have in your pockets one dollar. With that one dollar, you can buy any type of candy in the store. But in order to have that candy, you must spend that one dollar. If you are a person who values money above everything else, you will not be able to spend that one dollar to get any candy at all, because in order to get candy, you must use that one dollar. That is, after all, the purpose of money – to be spent.

Consider our society which tends to value economic gain above everything else. In other words, we use anything and everything in order to acquire more money. But what will be do with that money? We cannot spend it, because to spend it means losing that money, which we hold in highest value over everything else. Money is meant to be used, not stored, therefore money cannot be the absolute in any society. It cannot be the ends.

If money is not the absolute in any society, then what is? I would say that the human person is the ends. Tragically however, our society tends to use the human person as a means, rather than see it as the ends. Since we value economic gain over human persons, we tend to use (or exploit) human persons in order to acquire economic gain.

As a result, humans are sacrificed to the god of money. How?

We find salvation in the person of Christ, who offers himself as a ransom for our lives. Through his death and resurrection, Christ has effectively freed us from the slavery to money. He has taught us that money is the means to the ends, which is the human person.

So often, we get it upside down. So often we use human persons to acquire money, rather than using money for the good of human persons. One very clear cut example is when we choose not to have more children because they are a financial burden. In such cases, we are sacrificing potential children to the god of money. As Christians, we are called to use our money for the good of our children, the highest good being life. We are to use our money to bring our children to life.

In nations which price economic gain over the good of the human person, what can we do? St. Paul offers us the solution – pray for our leaders. Pray that they will see the futility of placing more value on economic gain than on the good of the human person, and that they may instead come to use money for the good of the human person under their charge.
____________________

Prayer:
Lord, we offer to you our government, our leaders, and our ministers, that they may be effective leaders in looking out for the good of all Singaporeans under their care, using money wisely rather than hoarding it. Amen.

Give Thanks to the Lord for: Good stewardship.

Upcoming Readings:
Mon, 24 Sep – Ezra 1:1-6; Luke 8:16-18
Tue, 25 Sep – Ezra 6:7-8, 12b, 14-20; Luke 8:19-21
Wed, 26 Sep – Ezra 9:5-9; Luke 9:1-6; Memorial for Sts. Cosmas and Damian, martyrs
Thu, 27 Sep – Haggai 1:1-8; Luke 9:7-9; Memorial for St. Vincent de Paul, priest
Fri, 28 Sep – Haggai 1:15b – 2:9; Luke 9:18-22; Memorial for St. Wenceslaus, martyr; Memorial for St. Lawrence Ruiz and his companions, martyrs
Sat, 29 Sep – Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14 or Revelation 12:7-12a; John 1:47-51; Feast of Sts. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, archangels
Sun, 30 Sep – Amos 6:1a, 4-7; 1 Timothy 6:11-16; Luke 16:19-31; Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Disclaimer: The reflections expressed in this e-mail are the writer’s own. They may not necessarily reflect the teachings of the Catholic Church. Nonetheless we should all be able to learn something from it.

Saturday, September 22 – Perseverance

22 Sep

Do not be discouraged

A ten-year-old boy was working in a factory in Naples, before present laws on child labour were put in place. His mother was convinced that he had a good singing voice, and by working in the factory he could earn money to pay for music lessons.

His first music teacher, however, told him he did not have what it takes and it would be a waste of time and money to pursue the idea any further. The boy’s mother, a poor peasant woman was not so easily put off. She encouraged her son, she told him that she believed he had talent, and she even went bare-footed, rather than buy shoes, so as to save money for his music lessons.

Her efforts bore fruit, and her son, Enrico Caruso, became one of the world’s greatest tenors.

– Keep showing up (in prayer) – and don’t leave before the miracle!

– The miracle happens for those who show God that they’re serious about what they seek.

– taken from “150 More Stories for Preachers and Teachers” by Jack McArdle
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1 Timothy 6:13-16

Now, before God the source of all life and before Christ, who spoke up as a witness for the truth in front of Pontius Pilate, I put to you the duty of doing all that you have been told, with no faults or failures, until the Appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who at the due time will be revealed by God, the blessed and only Ruler of all, the King of kings and the Lord of lords, who alone is immortal, whose home is in inaccessible light, whom no man has seen and no man is able to see: to him be honour and everlasting power. Amen.
__________________

Luke 8:4-15

With a large crowd gathering and people from every town finding their way to him, Jesus used this parable:

‘A sower went out to sow his seed. As he sowed, some fell on the edge of the path and was trampled on; and the birds of the air ate it up. Some seed fell on rock, and when it came up it withered away, having no moisture. Some seed fell amongst thorns and the thorns grew with it and choked it. And some seed fell into rich soil and grew and produced its crop a hundredfold.’ Saying this he cried, ‘Listen, anyone who has ears to hear!’

His disciples asked him what this parable might mean, and he said, ‘The mysteries of the kingdom of God are revealed to you; for the rest there are only parables, so that they may see but not perceive, listen but not understand.

‘This, then, is what the parable means: the seed is the word of God. Those on the edge of the path are people who have heard it, and then the devil comes and carries away the word from their hearts in case they should believe and be saved. Those on the rock are people who, when they first hear it, welcome the word with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of trial they give up. As for the part that fell into thorns, this is people who have heard, but as they go on their way they are choked by the worries and riches and pleasures of life and do not reach maturity. As for the part in the rich soil, this is people with a noble and generous heart who have heard the word and take it to themselves and yield a harvest through their perseverance.
___________________

Sometimes in our prayer life we often get no answer from God. We speak to several people from all walks of lives, read many books, attend many lectures and spend several hours in the Adoration Room but the same response hits us; nothing.

This is a frustrating feeling and one that puts us off and test our patience. Along the way, we might face numerous obstacles in life and feel despondent. Yet in today’s first reading and Gospel, we are told to continue do the things mentioned in the first paragraph and more. It is through our perseverance that we can seek God. It is easy to give up in the face of challenges but those who survive tend to become resilient in life’s challenges.

Will you accept your cross and come follow Christ?

(Today’s OXYGEN by Nick Chia)
____________________

Prayer:
Lord, we pray for all who are going through a tough time in their life. Allow them to persevere in their faith amidst their struggles. Amen.

Give thanks to the Lord for: Our dependable Guardian Angel.

Upcoming Readings:
Sun, 23 Sep – Amos 8:4-7; 1 Timothy 2:1-8; Luke 16:1-13; Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Disclaimer: The reflections expressed in this e-mail are the writer’s own. They may not necessarily reflect the teachings of the Catholic Church. Nonetheless we should all be able to learn something from it.

Friday, September 21 – For The Glory of God

21 Sep – Feast of St. Matthew, apostle, evangelist

Matthew (name meaning ‘gift of God’) was the son of Alphaeus. He lived at Capernaum on Lake Genesareth. He was a Roman tax collector, a position equated with collaboration with the enemy by those from whom he collected taxes. Jesus’ contemporaries were surprised to see the Christ with a traitor, but Jesus explained that he had come “not to call the just, but sinners”.

Matthew’s gospel is given pride of place in the canon of the New Testament, and was written to convince Jewish readers that their anticipated Messiah had come in the person of Jesus. He preached among the Jews for 15 years; his audiences may have included the Jewish enclave in Ethiopia, and places in the East.

– Patron Saint Index
___________________

Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-13

I, the prisoner in the Lord, implore you to lead a life worthy of your vocation. Bear with one another charitably, in complete selflessness, gentleness and patience. Do all you can to preserve the unity of the Spirit by the peace that binds you together. There is one Body, one Spirit, just as you were all called into one and the same hope when you were called. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God who is Father of all, over all, through all and within all.

Each one of us, however, has been given his own share of grace, given as Christ allotted it. And to some, his gift was that they should be apostles; to some, prophets; to some, evangelists; to some, pastors and teachers; so that the saints together make a unity in the work of service, building up the body of Christ. In this way we are all to come to unity in our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God, until we become the perfect Man, fully mature with the fullness of Christ himself.
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Matthew 9:9-13

As Jesus was walking on he saw a man named Matthew sitting by the customs house, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him.

While he was at dinner in the house it happened that a number of tax collectors and sinners came to sit at the table with Jesus and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your master eat with tax collectors and sinners?” When he heard this he replied, “It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick. Go and learn the meaning of the words: What I want is mercy, not sacrifice. And indeed I did not come to call the virtuous, but sinners.”
____________________

Yesterday, a friend told me about her first experience with Catholics using the gift of tongues, and she asked me if I had the gift. I replied that I did, but I don’t use it. But I’ve heard some people’s gift of tongues and theirs is really beautiful, really good. And of course, mine doesn’t sound anything like that. That got me wondering, not for the first time, whether I really had the gift, and whether a lot of other people who speak in tongues really have the gift of are they deceiving themselves.

During that conversation, I realised that the gift of tongues is just like any other gift. What I mean is that all gifts are like raw material. They need to be moulded, honed into something much finer, developed into something beautiful. This comes through frequent usage, and through the learning of skills and techniques. If we do not use these gifts, they don’t go away, but then they don’t develop either.

The purpose of developing these gifts is not to show off to others, but as it used to save souls. They are used for healing sinners, and God knows that we are big sinners as well. Using our gifts is good for others, and it is good for us. It is good for us because we become more developed people; we become more complete.

Now we know how Jesus chose his disciples. He saw some gift in them and took them under his wing. During the three years he spent with them, he brought out each disciple’s gift and encouraged them to use those gifts for the glory of God. As St. Ireneaus said, “The glory of God is man fully alive.” No wonder then, when we use our gifts for the glory of God, we become fully alive.

Let us remember that when we use these gifts, it is the Spirit of God that works within us, and we are only his instruments through which God reveals himself.
___________________

Prayer:
Lord, we pray that we may use our gifts for your greater glory, which is none other than us becoming fully alive. Amen.

Give Thanks to the Lord for: St. Matthew, for his gift of writing which gave us the Gospel according to Matthew.

Upcoming Readings:
Sat, 22 Sep – 1 Timothy 6:13-16; Luke 8:4-15
Sun, 23 Sep – Amos 8:4-7; 1 Timothy 2:1-8; Luke 16:1-13; Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Thursday, September 20 – Take heart, you who are young

20 Sep – Memorial for St. Andrew Kim Taegon, priest and St. Paul Chong Hasang, and their companions, Korean martyrs

Andrew Kim Taegon (d. 1846) was of Korean nobility. His parents were converts and his father was eventually martyred. Andrew was baptized at 15, then travelled 1,300 miles to the nearest seminary in Macao. He became Korea’s first native priest, and the first priest to die for the faith in Korea. He was the leader of the Martyrs of Korea, a group of 103 priests, missionaries, and lay people who died in the early days of the Church in Korea. Most were murdered during waves of persecution in 1839, 1846, and 1867.

He was canonized by Pope John Paul II on May 6, 1984. At his canonization, the pope said, “The Korean Church is unique because it was founded entirely by lay people. This fledgling Church, so young and yet so strong in faith, withstood wave after wave of fierce persecution. Thus, in less than a century, it could boast of 10,000 martyrs. The death of these many martyrs became the leaven of the Church and led to today’s splendid flowering of the Church in Korea. Even today their undying spirit sustains the Christians of the Church of Silence in the north of this tragically divided land.”

Paul Chong Hasang (1795-1839) was also canonized on the same day. He was the son of Yak Jong Church who was martyred in 1801 in the persecution of Shin-Yu, an attack on the faith that killed all the clergy in the country. He was also the son of St. Yu Cecilia, and brother of St. Jung Hye.

Paul, though he was a layman, reunited the scattered Christians, and encouraged them to keep their faith and live their faith. He wrote the Sang-Je-Sang-Su which explained to the Korean government why the Church was no threat to them. He crossed into China nine times, working as a servant to the Korean diplomatic corps. Once there, he worked to get the bishop of Beijing to send more priests to Korea. He pleaded directly to Rome for help, and on Sep 9, 1831, Pope Gregory X proclaimed the validity of the Korean Catholic diocese.

When the clergy began to return, Paul entered the seminary. However, he died in the Gi Hye persecution of 1839 before he could be ordained. He was one of the great founders of the Catholic Church in Korea.

Prayer:
O God, you have created all nations and you are their salvation. In the land of Korea, your call to Catholic faith formed a people of adoption, whose growth you nurtured by the blood of Andrew, Paul, and their companions. Through their martyrdom and their intercession, grant us strength that we too may remain faithful to your commandments even until death. Amen.

– Patron Saint Index
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1 Timothy 4:12-16

Do not let people disregard you because you are young, but be an example to all the believers in the way you speak and behave, and in your love, your faith and purity. Make use of the time until I arrive by reading to the people, preaching and teaching. You have in you a spiritual gift which was given to you when the prophets spoke and the body of elders laid their hands on you; do not let it lie unused. Think hard about all this, and put it into practice, and everyone will be able to see how you are advancing. Take great care about what you do and what you teach; always do this, and in this way you will save both yourself and those who listen to you.
___________________

Luke 7:36-50

One of the Pharisees invited Jesus to a meal. When he arrived at the Pharisee’s house and took his place at table, a woman came in, who had a bad name in the town. She had heard he was dining with the Pharisee and had brought with her an alabaster jar of ointment. She waited behind him at his feet, weeping, and her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them away with her hair; then she covered his feet with kisses and anointed them with the ointment.

When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet, he would know who this woman is that is touching him and what a bad name she has.’ Then Jesus took him up and said, ‘Simon, I have something to say to you.’ ‘Speak, Master’ was the reply. ‘There was once once a creditor who had two men in his debt; one owed him five hundred denarii, the other fifty. They were unable to pay, so he pardoned them both. Which of them will love him more?’ ‘The one who pardoned more, I suppose’ answered Simon. Jesus said, ‘You are right.’

Then he turned to the woman. ‘Simon,’ he said ‘you see this woman? I came into your house, and your poured no water over my feet, but she has poured out her tears over my feet and wiped them away with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but she has been covering my feet with kisses ever since I came in. You did not anoint my heard with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. For this reason I tell you that her sins, her many sins, must have been forgiven her, or she would not have sown such great love. It is the man who is forgiven little who shows little love.’ Then he said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven’ Those who were with him at table began to say to themselves, ‘Who is this man, that he even forgives sins?’ But he said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace.’
____________________

Last Friday being the feast of the Triumph of the Cross, I decided to go for evening Mass. Since I would have been late for the celebration at Holy Cross, I attended Mass on campus at NUS. After Mass, the new CSS president delivered her commissioning speech which was delayed from the Friday before due to technical problems. The CSS mission statement was presented as “Christ in our Community; Love in every heart”. This mission statement has endured for the past five years. Seeing it in the Powerpoint presentation took me back in time for that same length. I was in the Executive Committee that first promulgated it.

What was amazing about this mission statement was not just how it succinctly addressed the ideal that the community should strive towards but also its origin. The person that gave word to the various threads of our discussion and strung it all together was not a seasoned veteran of the society but a first year student. The rest of us at least second year students. Everyone was struck by how perfectly her suggestion fit and the decision to accept it was unanimous. And behold, year after year, it was returned, showing that it was truly inspired by the Spirit and continues to be relevant.

Who would have thought that someone who was a new member, without any experience into the nuances and workings of the society could be the voice of the community. I must admit that the thought had never crossed my mind until that moment. I am glad that I was shown to be short-sighted with regards to this.

Truly, enlightenment can come from sources we least expect. Today’s readings show that even so, such wisdom is no less true and worthy and is in some cases, better than the wisdom of ages. The woman who showed humble deference to Christ was a closer follower of God than those who for generations served him in rites and rituals.

The readings speak to us twofold, sisters and brothers. To those among us who are young in age, new members of the faith or who are just starting to learn more, it is as Paul says. Do not let others disregard you because you are young. This youth is a blessing which can benefit those around you. To those among us who are older, long members or have learned much about the faith, let you not disregard others because they are young. Their gifts are as much as of value as yours. Nurture them with your wisdom and learn from theirs.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Aloysius Ting)
___________________

Prayer: That we may keenly learn more about Christ through each of us who serves Him.

Give thanks to the Lord for: The pool of disciples who amongst us all, know everything there is to know.

Upcoming Readings:
Fri, 21 Sep – Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-13; Matthew 9:9-13; Feast of St. Matthew, apostle, evangelist
Sat, 22 Sep – 1 Timothy 6:13-16; Luke 8:4-15
Sun, 23 Sep – Amos 8:4-7; 1 Timothy 2:1-8; Luke 16:1-13; Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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