Thursday, October 23, 2014

Gospel Reading for today




Gospel, Luke 12:49-53
49 'I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were blazing already!
50 There is a baptism I must still receive, and what constraint I am under until it is completed!
51 'Do you suppose that I am here to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.
52 For from now on, a household of five will be divided: three against two and two against three;
53 father opposed to son, son to father, mother to daughter, daughter to mother, mother-in-law to daughter-in-law, daughter-in-law to mother-in-law.'

Reflections

We all pray for peace and happiness but what Jesus tells us is rather shocking – I have come to bring fire to the earth……I have come not to bring peace on earth but division”. What was Jesus trying to tell us?

The division he was referring to is very real and is happening right here every day in our families, our society, country and the world. Today there is so much anger, hatred and jealousy and we are all driven by selfishness, greed and more greed. Everywhere we see bad winning over good. The good not only are losing but being persecuted, tortured and killed. 

We watch helplessly and pray for divine intervention but unfortunately God seems to be deaf to our prayers. What are we to do? Who can we reach out to? Nobody but to ourselves and our selves alone. Yes, only we can do it not anybody from outside, not even God as that is not His plan anyway.

We have to find our own ways to fight evil based on what Jesus taught us. 
 
1. Self-examination of ourselves, sincerely and passionately – examining our conscience, our thoughts, our inner desires and feelings towards one another. Invariably there will be more evil than good in us that is the cause of our failures and sufferings.
2. Repent – realise and admit our weakness and take steps to correct them. Get rid from our hearts the greed, selfishness, anger and hatred for others. Adopt the values of Jesus – love, compassion, forgiveness and humility instead
3. Change - promise to God that we will change ourselves – become the change we want to see  

Penang diocese goes on Mission



At last Sunday’s mass in all churches in the Penang diocese, the bishop went on video to urge to people to go on mission. This was in conjunction to mark the yearly theme of Mission Sunday. A 5-minute video recording of the bishop’s sermon was played in which Bishop Sebastian Francis urged the people to go out to proclaim the word of God, saying “As a father speaking to his sons and daughters I urge you, with the authority of Jesus, to go out and spread his good news to the world…”
It was a powerful and motivating message that could inspire many hardcore Catholics to on mission to evangelize. But is it want we need now in a multi-religious nation that is already badly divided by race and religion? This active call for evangelization is the least we need at this time of tense Christian-Muslim relations.

What we need now is to go on mission in our own church to ‘reconvert’ baptized Catholics who have left the church for some reason. There are so many of such Catholics, even staunch ones, who were forced directly or indirectly to leave the church. The reasons I am sure many will be familiar. It is sad that not even a single effort is being initiated by the priests and parish administrators to bring these lost sheep back into the flock.It is said that charity begins at home, doesn’t evangelization also begin at home too? 

Another important issue is the one relating to our fellow Christians leaving the faith, especially those converting to other faiths due to weakness in our own system. What are we doing to deter our own brothers and sisters leaving us?

At the Mission Sunday mass last week every Catholic in the diocese was given a crucifix, a booklet and anointed with sacred oil. These these are not free but could have cost hundreds of thousands ringgit. Couldn’t that money be spent on caring for the less fortunate and needy in our parishes?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Battle between good and evil




Life is a constant battle between right and wrong and between good and bad. The battle is for us not for God and therefore it not important for us to be on the side of God but for Him to be on our side. If we want to win the battle we must get God to be on our side by not “bribing’’ Him with elaborate rituals to glorify Him and boost His ego but by being simple, humble, compassionate and forgiving in our lives. As Jesus said, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ (Mathew 25:45)

Today almost everywhere injustice seems to rule. Wrong and bad seem to be winning everywhere - in our family, in our places of work, on the roads, in the country and even in religious institutions where the word of God is preached including in our churches and parishes. Those in power take control and deny justice to those who are disagree with them. In the offices they are denied promotions or punished, in the country they are falsely convicted and sent to jail and in the church they are "chased out" into the wilderness and denied their rights to sacraments.

Yes, life is a battle between good and evil, often with the righteous but with dissenting views being marginalized and punished for being right and good. It may be demoralizing for those fighting for right and justice but they need patience and strive harder to get God to be on their side by continuing to do the right thing despite the forces of evil arrayed against them. The final victory will be for the good and righteous as God will always be on the side of the good and righteous and never with the bad and wrong.