Daily Archives: October 21, 2007

Monday, October 22 – Work For God

22 Oct

If we do the work for God and for his glory, we may be sanctified.

– taken from “Mother Teresa In Her Own Words” by Jose Luis Gonzalez-Balado
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Romans 4:20-25

Since God had made him a promise, Abraham refused either to deny it or even to doubt it, but drew strength from faith and gave glory to God, convinced that God had power to do what he had promised. This is the faith that was “considered as justifying him”. Scripture however does not refer only to him but to us as well when it says that his faith was thus “considered”; or faith too will be “considered” if we believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, Jesus who was put to death for our sins and raised to life to justify us.
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Luke 12:13-21

A man in the crowd said to Jesus, “Master, tell my brother to give me a share of our inheritance.” “My friend,” he replied, “who appointed me your judge, or the arbitrator of your claims?” Then he said to them, “Watch, and be on your guard against avarice of any kind, for a man’s life is not made secure by what he owns, even when he has more than he needs.”

Then he told them this parable: “There was once a rich man who, having had a good harvest from his land, thought to himself, ‘What am I to do? I have not enough room to store my crops.’ Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will pull down my barns and build bigger ones, and store all my grain and my goods in them, and I will say to my soul: My soul, you have plenty of good things laid by for many years to come; take things easy, eat, drink, have a good time.’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This very night the demand will be made for your soul; and this hoard of yours, whose will it be then?’ So it is when a man stores up treasure for himself in place of making himself rich in the sight of God.”
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Last week, I spoke to a young lady who used to work as an engineer, working late nights, ending work at about midnight several times a week. One day, she attended a workshop on priorities and she was asked what she wanted her priorities in life to be like. She listed out ‘God’ as number one, followed by ‘Family’, then ‘Friends’, and lastly ‘Career’. She was next asked to list out what her priorities in her life were really like, and ‘Career’ became first, followed by ‘Friends’, then ‘Family’, and lastly ‘God’.

This was a turning point in her life, when she came to realise that her priorities in life were upside down. She made little changes to her life, including leaving her job for a less time-consuming one, and started going for daily Mass. She also began praying to Our Lady, that she might be able to put God first in her life. Not long after, she received a calling to the religious life. She discerned and prayed hard about it, and during a pilgrimage, she made her decision. That was three years ago, and today, she is a professed sister in the Franciscan of the Immaculate. And she is still putting God first in her life.

Many of us are like this young lady. We know deep down that we want to put God first in our lives, but in reality, when we look at our lives, we find that God is usually last on our list of priorities. We get so caught up with the day-to-day difficulties that we forget about God, save for that quickly uttered prayer before we sleep, and that weekly Mass. How difficult it is to be a saint!

But there is hope for us so long as we remember the big picture. We may be working from day to day to provide food for the family, to pay the bills and our loans, but when we remember the big picture, we realised that it’s all going to be worthwhile. In addition, we also remember that work in itself is a good thing. When God created the world and Man, he gave Man a particular task – to cultivate the Garden of Eden and to take care of it. That’s work, and it was good. It was good back then, and it still is good.

Many of us want an early retirement, but nowadays it seems to get further and further away from us. But ask anyone who has retired. Ask them what they do on a day to day basis, and you will find that even though they are supposed to be retired, they are busier than ever! They are working, although in a different way. And even so, it is still easy to get caught up with work and forget the big picture.

The big picture is that all of us are in this world to prepare ourselves to spend eternity with God. Working is one day in which we are preparing to spend eternity with God. When we work, we benefit from it, not just materially. We learn to work with people, and that often means learning to love and to forgive even the most troublesome people. It means learning our own weaknesses and accepting them as part of ourselves. It means learning our own limitations.

It’s not just learning to work with people, of course. Work itself can be holy because it prepares us for eternity with God. If God created Man to work, then it is highly likely that there’s going to be work in Heaven as well, since nothing good is going to go to waste. For those of us who detest work, this might seem like horrifying news. But for those of us who enjoy our work, we look forward to it. We can look at it this way – work is meant to be creative. As in, we are meant to cooperate with God’s work of creation (see? God works too!).

Let us pray today, that the work that we do today will be creative and fruitful. Let us offer up our work today to the Lord, thanking him for the gift of creativity that he has given us, and that through our work, we will be prepared to be received into Heaven. Amen.
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Upcoming Readings:
Tue, 23 Oct – Romans 5:12, 15b, 17-19, 20b-21; Luke 12:35-38; Memorial for St. John of Capistrano, priest
Wed, 24 Oct – Romans 6:12-18; Luke 12:39-48; Memorial for St. Anthony Mary Claret, bishop
Thu, 25 Oct – Romans 6:19-23; Luke 12:49-53
Fri, 26 Oct – Romans 7:18-25a; Luke 12:54-59
Sat, 27 Oct – Romans 8:1-11; Luke 13:1-9
Sun, 28 Oct – Sirach 35:12-14, 16-18; 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18; Luke 18:9-14; Thirtieth 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, October 21 – Share Your Story

21 Oct – World Mission Sunday

Isaiah 2:1-5

The vision of Isaiah son of Amoz, concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

In the days to come
the mountain of the Temple of the Lord
shall tower above the mountains
and be lifted higher than the hills.
All nations will stream to it,
peoples without number will come it it; and they will say:
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the Temple of the God of Jacob
that he may teach us his ways
so that we may walk in his paths;
since the Law will go out from Zion,
and the oracle of the Lord from Jerusalem.”

He will wield authority over the nations
and adjudicate between many peoples;
these will hammer their swords into ploughshares,
their spears into sickles.
Nation will not lift sword against nation,
there will be no more training for war.

O House of Jacob, come,
let us walk in the light of the Lord.

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Ephesians 3:2-12

You have probably heard how I have been entrusted by God with the grace he meant for you, and that it was by a revelation that I was given the knowledge of the mystery, as I have just described it very shortly. If you read my words, you will have some idea of the depts that I see in the mystery of Christ. This mystery that has now been revealed through the Spirit to his holy apostles and prophets was unknown to any men in past generations; it means that pagans now share the same inheritance, that they were parts of the same body, and that the same promise has been made to them in Christ Jesus, through the gospel. I have been made the servant of that gospel by a gift of grace from God who gave it to me by his own power. I, who am less than the least of all the saints, have been entrusted with this special grace, not only of proclaiming to the pagans the infinite treasure of Christ but also of explaining how the mystery is to be dispensed. Through all the ages, this has been kept hidden in God, the creator of everything. Why? So that the Sovereignties and Powers should learn only now, through the Church, how comprehensive God’s wisdom really is, exactly according to the plan which he had had from all eternity in Christ Jesus our Lord. This is why we are bold enough to approach God in complete confidence, through our faith in him.
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Mark 16:15-20

Jesus said to the Eleven, “Go out to the whole world, proclaim the Good News to all creation. He who believes and is baptised will saved; he who does not believe will be condemned. These are the signs that will be associated with believers; in my name they will cast out devils; they will have the gift of tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and be unharmed should they drink deadly poison; they will lay their hands on the sick, who will recover.

And so the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven; there at the right hand of God he took his place, while they, going out, preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word by the signs that accompanied it.
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Belief in someone cannot be forced. We can frighten a person into confessing that he believes, but true belief cannot be forced. Neither can true love.

In the past, the Catholic Church taught that outside the Church, there is no salvation. Christians actively went out to tell all the non-Christians they could find that unless they believed in God and were baptised, they were going to go to hell. No wonder so many people were baptised and became Christians! Who wants to go to hell? Especially the hell of fire and brimstone? But was this true belief? Did these baptised Christians have true love for God? We don’t know.

Come Vatican II (1962-1965) and the Catholic Church underwent a self-examination. Before the council, the Church was believed that it already had the full revelation of God. But through the process of the council, our bishops came to realise that the Church has been, and still is, evolving through the centuries. It is a Church in development. And we began to have “some idea of the depths” that St. Paul saw in the mystery of Christ. We came to learn that there is still so much about the person of Christ that we have not yet understood.

One of the significant documents that came from the council was that the Church is not the only way to salvation, and that God has other ways of saving souls that we don’t know of. Hence came a radical change in the way the Catholic Church spread the gospel. Where before it was, “Believe or be condemned to hell” (where’s the Good News?), now Catholics are encouraged to learn from other religions, and not go all out to convert them. What a change!

One thing, however, remains constant in the Church ever since the time of the early Christians. The thing that remains constant is the way the Good News is spread. Not by “Believe or be condemned to hell”, for that doesn’t inspire true belief, but really sharing our faith story with others. We share who Jesus is to us, what he has done for us, and what he continues to do for us. And we invite others to come to get to know this person of Jesus.

It becomes clear that unless we ourselves know who Jesus is to us, what he has done for us, and what he continues to do for us, we will not be able to share this with others. Perhaps this is the reason why we are not doing all that we can to spread the gospel – because while we may be Christians, we are still clueless about what’s so good about the Good News!

Unless Jesus is a highly important person in our lives, and is someone very real to us, we will not be able to truly share our faith with anyone. It is good to know our faith well, but not necessary for spreading the gospel. What is absolutely necessary is that Jesus is important to us and that we know how he is important to us. Otherwise, no amount of knowledge of the Catholic faith can inspire a non-Christian to come and truly believe in Jesus, and to love him.

We cannot share with others what we ourselves do not have.
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Prayer:
Dear Lord, please reveal to us today who you are in our lives, what you have done, and what you continue to do. Help us to be aware of this, and to share our story with others. Amen.

Give Thanks to the Lord for: Being a real person.

Upcoming Readings:
Mon, 22 Oct – Romans 4:20-25; Luke 12:13-21
Tue, 23 Oct – Romans 5:12, 15b, 17-19, 20b-21; Luke 12:35-38; Memorial for St. John of Capistrano, priest
Wed, 24 Oct – Romans 6:12-18; Luke 12:39-48; Memorial for St. Anthony Mary Claret, bishop
Thu, 25 Oct – Romans 6:19-23; Luke 12:49-53
Fri, 26 Oct – Romans 7:18-25a; Luke 12:54-59
Sat, 27 Oct – Romans 8:1-11; Luke 13:1-9
Sun, 28 Oct – Sirach 35:12-14, 16-18; 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18; Luke 18:9-14; Thirtieth 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.