Daily Archives: October 1, 2007

Monday, October 1 – The Little Way

01 Oct – Memorial for St. Therese of the Child Jesus, virgin, doctor

St. Therese of Lisieux (1873-1897) was born to a middle-class French family. Her father, Louis, was a watchmaker, her mother, who died of cancer when Therese was four, was a lace-maker, and both have been declared Venerable by the Church. Therese was cured from an illness at age eight when a statue of the Blessed Virgin smiled at her. She became a Carmelite nun at the age of 15.

She defined her path to God and holiness as “The Little Way”, which consisted of love and trust in God. At the direction of her spiritual director, and against her wishes, she dictated her famed autobiography “Story of a Soul”. Many miracles have been attributed to her. She was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1997 by Pope John Paul II.

“You know well enough that our Lord does not look so much at the greatness of our actions, nor even at their difficulty, but at the love with which we do them.” – St. Therese of Lisieux

– Patron Saint Index
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Zechariah 8:1-8

The word of the Lord of hosts was addressed to me as follows:

“The Lord of hosts says this.
I am burning with jealousy for Zion,
with great anger for her sake.

“The Lord of hosts says this:
I am coming back to Zion
and shall dwell in the middle of Jerusalem.
Jerusalem will be called Faithful City
and the mountain of the Lord of hosts, the Holy Mountain.

“The Lord of hosts says this.
Old men and old women will again sit down
in the squares of Jerusalem;
every one of them staff in hand
because of their great age.
And the squares of the city will be full
of boys and girls
playing in the squares.

“The Lord of hosts says this.
If this seems like a miracle
to the remnant of this people (in those days),
will it seem one to me?
It is the Lord of hosts who speaks.
The Lord of hosts says this.
Now I am going to save my people
from the countries of the East
and from the countries of the West.
I will bring them back
to live inside Jerusalem.
They shall be my people
and I will be their God
in faithfulness and integrity.”

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Luke 9:46-50

An argument started between the disciples about which of them was the greatest. Jesus knew what thoughts were going through their minds, and he took a little child and set him by his side and then said to them, “Anyone who welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For the least among you all, that is the one who is great.”

John spoke up. “Master,” he said, “we saw a man casting out devils in your name, and because he is not with us we tried to stop him.” But Jesus said to him, “You must not stop him; anyone who is not against you is for you.”
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Someone passed to me a book called “Mental Illness or Demonisation? Similarities and Differences” to read. It is written by a Christian psychiatrist and endorsed by a number of pastors in Singapore. I was originally skeptical about reading a non-Catholic book about the topic, but after reading a few chapters, I thought it was quite good. Today’s readings affirmed that even though it is not a Catholic book, it is not something that is bad, because these pastors are also casting out demons in Jesus’ name.

Anyway, that’s not really the theme for today’s reflection. That’s just something that’s been happening in my life. Today’s theme of reflection focuses on the little ones. Today, we celebrate the memorial for St. Therese of Lisieux. Do you know that our Singapore Church of St. Teresa is named after this saint? Many people think that the church is named after St. Teresa of Avila, which is not so.

The parish was named after St. Therese of Lisieux because it was founded by the MEP priests who are foreign missionaries. Since St. Therese of Lisieux was canonized and made patron saint of missions in 1925, so the MEP priests on mission in Singapore decided to name the new parish after her in 1929. What’s significant today is that this parish is next to a very important community of religious. This community is quite possibly the most important religious community in Singapore today. Do you know what it is?

It is the community of Carmelite nuns who live and pray in their cloistered monastery on Bukit Teresa. Every day, they are praying for the church in Singapore, and it is because of their prayers that we all can continue doing the good work that we are doing today.

Today we remember all the people who have devoted much time and effort to praying for us, and our efforts. We remember these people that we often overlook and forget about. How many well-intentioned groups have started and crumbled quickly because despite of the good work and intentions they have, they have forgotten to pray?

In order for any group to survive long in the church, each member of the group needs to become a prayerful person. Each member of the group must welcome, in their own lives and as part of the group, all children and those young in the faith. These people have much to offer us, and probably more than we have to offer them.
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Prayer:
Dear Lord, help us to become like little children after St. Therese of Lisieux. Help us to remember that for those of us who are not able to do great deeds of love, we can prove our love by doing little things with love. Amen.

Give Thanks to the Lord for: The little way.

Upcoming Readings:
Tue, 2 Oct – Exodus 23:20-23; Matthew 18:1-5, 10; Memorial for the Guardian Angels
Wed, 3 Oct – Nehemiah 2:1-8; Luke 9:57-62
Thu, 4 Oct – Nehemiah 8:1-4a, 5-6, 7b-12; Luke 10:1-12; Memorial for St. Francis of Assisi, religious
Fri, 5 Oct – Baruch 1:15-22; Luke 10:13-16
Sat, 6 Oct – Baruch 4:5-12, 27-29; Luke 10:17-24; Memorial for St. Bruno, priest, hermit, religious founder
Sun, 7 Oct – Hebrews 1:2-3, 2:2-4; 2 Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14; Luke 17:5-10; Twenty-Seventh 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 30 – Why do you hide among the nameless and forgotten?

30 Sep – Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Behold The Man!

It is out purple and fine linen, our life of ease and our love of wealth, that is mocked today by Christ, the centre of our celebration, who in the presence of Christ, the centre of our celebration, who in the presence of Pilate stood like a Lazarus covered with sores and wounds and spoke up as a witness for the truth.

– the Sunday Missal
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Amos 6:1, 4-7

The almighty Lord says this:

Woe to those ensconced so snugly in Zion
and to those who feel so safe on the mountain of Samaria.
Lying on ivory beds
and sprawling on their divans,
they dine on lambs from the flock,
and stall-fattened veal;
they bawl to the sound of the harp,
they invent new instruments of music like David,
they drink wine by the bowlful,
and use the finest oil for anointing themselves,
but about the ruin of Joseph they do not care at all.
That is why they will be the first to be exiled;
the sprawlers’ revelry is over.

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1 Timothy 6:11-16

As a man dedicated to God, you must aim to be saintly and religious, filled with faith and love, patient and gentle. Fight the good fight of the faith and win for yourself the eternal life to which you were called when you made your profession and spoke up for the truth in front of many witnesses. Now, before God the source of all life and before Jesus 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.

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Luke 16:19-31

Jesus said to the Pharisees: “There was a rich man who used to dress in purple and fine linen and feast magnificently every day. And at his gate there lay a poor man called Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to fill himself with the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even came and licked his sores. Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried.

“In his torment in Hades he looked up and saw Abraham a long way off with Lazarus in his bosom. So he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, pity me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in agony in these flames.’ ‘My son,’ Abraham replied, ‘remember that during your life good things came your way, just as bad things came the way of Lazarus. Now he is being comforted here while you are in agony. But that is not all: between us and you a great gulf has been fixed, to stop anyone, if he wanted to, crossing from our side to yours, and to stop any crossing from your side to ours.’

“The rich man replied, ‘Father, I beg you then to send Lazarus to my father’s house, since I have five brothers, to give them warning so that they do not come to this place of torment too.’ ‘They have Moses and the prophets,’ said Abraham, ‘let them listen to them.’ ‘Ah no, father Abraham,’ said the rich man, ‘but if someone comes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ Then Abraham said to him, ‘If they will not listen either to Moses or to the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone should rise from the dead.'”
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Today’s readings seem to be a message of impending doom for the rich. The readings seem to say that all rich people are going to suffer in hell. But yet, we know that the Church has canonized saints who were rich in their earthly lives. How do we reconcile this fact with today’s readings?

In the first reading, we see that Amos is not condemning all rich people, but only those who are secure in their wealth. Those who wallow in their wealth and are only concerned with pleasing their senses are the ones who are in danger. The point is made especially clear in the gospel reading. The fact that the rich man, after his death, recognised Lazarus shows that the rich man has seen Lazarus while alive as well. So the rich man was not so blinded by his wealth that he did not even notice the poor.

But seeing the poor around us is not enough; have we done anything to help the poor? And even if we do help the poor, why do we do it? Is it purely charity? In the second reading, St. Paul writes to Timothy, asking him to “aim to be saintly and religious, filled with faith and love, patient and gentle” for the sake of speaking up as a witness for Christ.

The first aim is therefore, not to help the poor, but to be a witness for Christ. Christ becomes the reason why we help others, because it is in the poor that we see Christ who is most present in our lives. There is no point in going to church everyday, if we lack the compassion to see Christ in a person who needs our help, and to help him as a witnessing of our faith.

Lastly, we remember to pray for those of us who are so blinded by our wealth that we fail to recognise Christ who is risen from the dead. Christ gone down to Hades to free the souls trapped there, and take them up to heaven with him. And now Christ appears to us in our lives. Can we see him or are we blinded and secure in our wealth? If you do see him, and you do witness for Christ by helping the poor, give thanks to the Lord for having the grace to do so. If not, ask today, right now, for the grace to see Christ’s face in the poor.
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Upcoming Readings:
Mon, 1 Oct – Zechariah 8:1-8; Luke 9:46-50; or Isaiah 66:10-14c; Matthew 18:1-5; Feast of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, virgin, doctor
Tue, 2 Oct – Exodus 23:20-23; Matthew 18:1-5, 10; Memorial for the Guardian Angels
Wed, 3 Oct – Nehemiah 2:1-8; Luke 9:57-62
Thu, 4 Oct – Nehemiah 8:1-4a, 5-6, 7b-12; Luke 10:1-12; Memorial for St. Francis of Assisi, religious
Fri, 5 Oct – Baruch 1:15-22; Luke 10:13-16
Sat, 6 Oct – Baruch 4:5-12, 27-29; Luke 10:17-24; Memorial for St. Bruno, priest, hermit, religious founder
Sun, 7 Oct – Hebrews 1:2-3, 2:2-4; 2 Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14; Luke 17:5-10; Twenty-Seventh 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.