Saturday, 22 February 2014

A Heart Big Enough To Love

'And if you speak only to your friends, have you done anything out of the ordinary?
Even the pagans do that!'
Matthew 5: 47
 
7th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Matthew 5: 38 - 48
 
This weekend's Gospel reading may sound ridiculous silly! Matthew writes that Jesus says:
  • do not take revenge on someone who wrongs you
  • if we get slap on the right, ask to be slap on the left too
  • if a foreign enemy commands that you carry a bag for 1 mile, Jesus says to go 2 miles.
  • Love your enemies
Many find these asking of Jesus to be way too much. But, honestly I find it to be very peaceful!
 
The entire of last year, working among students, I was totally unaware that many found me to be 'arrogant', they could not agree with the way I carry myself - in other words they feel threatened by my presence even when I meant them no harm. It was only yesterday, Friday, that someone told me all their comments.
 
As a Religious I work solely for God, and I am not here on earth to seek self glory or any following from others. Each morning I start the day by asking for the grace to have the LOVE of JESUS renewed in me, so that I can Serve and Love my students and the poor with the Love of Jesus.
 
I think why I tend to keep 'away'(very subjective here) from others, or why others think I keep away from them, is because I see education as a gift from God. I do not take teaching as an ordinary everyday job, but as a way of life. I think this is what sets me apart from the rest.
 
Though, many have tried very hard to make my life hard by creating stories/problems, I thank God that by His Grace alone, I am still teaching and loving my students. I thank God that despite so many challenges, unnecessary challenges, I am still able to LOVE everyone that I work with.
 
I have always believed in giving myself to everyone, even when others may mean me harm. Because I am very sure, when a job is done sincerely in the Presence of God, Satan (hatred) will get defeated!

At the end of the day we are all sinners, no body is perfect. Only God is perfect! Thus, I suggest that we forgive rather than hate, we be merciful rather than be judgemental. I have sinned, you have sinned, we at sometime and place in our life have commit sin. No one is ever exempted from falling into sin, only Jesus did not sinned.
 
Therefore, give LOVE- merciful love- a chance! You can make that difference in making the world a little bit more positive place to live in::))

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Where?

"Where is the new born King of the Jews?
We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage."
Matthew 2: 2
 
Gospel for the Epiphany from Matthew 2: 1-12
 
 
During Christmas, I once again did a simple floral arrangement as means to remind us about the festivity at hand. I spent around RM25 for 1/2 a dozen of pink roses (which did not bloom!!!), 4 stalks of chrysanthemum flowers and some blue flowers of a name I am not sure.
 
I was so fascinated that my creative mind was at work, and I enjoyed the beauty of what I created. I took pictures, as the one above, of my master pieces and I observed them on the computer.
 
To my astonishment, I told myself that I have not yet LOOK AT the flowers that made up my creative work. I have not given myself, not even seconds, to look at and appreciate each flower. I have not placed my eyes to observe any of the flower in the bouquets I made. I then went over to my bouquet of flowers and look intently on each flower that make up my art pieces. They were beautiful; so fresh, so vibrant in colour, so alive and so smooth!
 
The Solemnity of Epiphany is a call to observe. Have I seen the light? Have I seen the Child Jesus that was born of Mary? My days can be filled with a lot of work and problems, but do I recognise Jesus present in my midst? Am I aware of the love that is possible for me to share and to experience?
 
So often, like so many other people, I forget that nothing in my life is overwhelming. I may have the happiest day, but happiness is not enough if I have not recognise the greater one who is in my midst- if I do not recognise that Jesus, the Light, is here. I may have the saddest day, and sadness will only destroy me entirely if I do not realise that Jesus, the Prince of Peace and the Consoler, is present in my situation.
 
I have to search for this Jesus who has been revealed to me long ago.
 


Saturday, 21 December 2013

3 more days to Christmas

This week I begin without any Biblical verses, because this week itself I realized that the readings of the Gospel spoke to me about how God comes to me in the very ordinary circumstances of my life. Over the past few days, I was able to spent quiet time early in the morning to reflect on the Gospel of the Day.

It is very encouraging to know that I do not have to be EXTRA-ordinary to do great things. It is comforting to know that I do not have to be rich, powerful or have a bunch of influential friends in order for me to live a significant life.

Through experience I realized many people, who in fact on the outside look very ordinary like me, desires to show off; at gym many young men loves to perform as if they are 'COOL PEOPLE', while in school some teachers like to speak empty words so as to be able to 'CLICK' with one another.

I think many people forget that it is in their ordinariness that their uniqueness stands out.

I pity humanity when I see so much 'blood shed' takes place each day; 'blood' are shed each time we gossip, each time we lie just to please our colleagues, each time when we act unjustly towards other ordinary people...

Let us remember that like Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, the angel Gabriel appeared only to him inside the temple, and worst still made him dumb (cannot speak) till the day John was given birth. Do we remember that the angel Gabriel came to Mary when other people were not present, and worst still God chose a lowly maid to be his mother?!

Like me, I hope more people will discover their uniqueness. Once discovered, these people will know how to be thankful and make use of the uniqueness in the ordinary events of life.

Have a good Advent!

Friday, 13 December 2013

Never give up believing.

3rd Sunday of Advent

While John's disciples were leaving, Jesus spoke about him to the crowds: 
"When you went out to John in the dessert, what did you expect to see?? A blade of grass bending in the wind?
What did you go out to see? A man dressed up in fancy clothes? People who dress like that live in palaces!"

Matthew 11: 7-8

Gospel: Matthew 11: 2-11

The past week was one that was a rather challenging one, because what I thought about an individual turned out to be for the worst. I have known this man just for a couple of months and I thought we could build an honest relationship. I thought I could apply my understanding of honesty, dialogue (honest conversation) and trust in our dealings with each other. It was up to this time, sometime last week, that I realized that not everyone is as what I expect them to be; I always believed that there is GOOD - at least some good- in each human creature.

I think I could be wrong in my expectations that everyone is as good as a Good (with a capital G'') Christian. Perhaps, I thought that people are like me, always concern for the bigger good of other people; thinking that people is as good as me, going for a low paying job (an educator facilitator) when, according to friends (if I am career oriented), I can be earning a RM3000 to RM5000 paying job.

Don't you have such a day? Such a day when what you expect others or situations to be, just turned out the total opposite? A catastrophe! It just spoils our expectations- in my case I almost gave up believing that there is any good in others. I almost said to myself, "from today onwards I want to be a cunning person to everyone!"

Luckily that idea of "becoming a cunning people"only lasted a day, but it has affected my relationship with this other person.

Friends, the Third Sunday of Advent is very well known as Gaudete Sunday, on this day a pink candle is lit in the Advent Ring in our Churches. Gaudete, which means to rejoice in HOPE. A celebration of a people still waiting for the coming of the promised One - the One promised by the Prophets of old. This waiting was not easy, definitely not easy too for us today. If we look at the old testament, in the journey out of Egypt, the people who were led by Moses grew impatient - they lost the vision on the ultimate promise. They started worshiping a golden calf, they started complaining to Moses, tensions were building. 

Keeping our eyes, our hearts and our minds constantly fixed on the ultimate promise is never easy. As Catholic Christians we are called the People of the Covenant, is because as baptized Catholics we have accepted the promise of Salvation; salvation that through Jesus Christ we have been redeemed, we have been made right before God.

Yes, along the journey in keeping our eyes, hearts and soul fixed on the ultimate total Promise of salvation, redemption, we may lose focus due to the circumstances we face in life.

Thus, on this Third Sunday, it is fitting that Jesus ask each of us, "What do you EXPECT to see?"" Circumstances of life can affect us, but let us never give up on the whole Promise. I still believe that there is good in every one of us, because ultimately I know God made to each of us, HE MADE US IN HIS OWN IMAGE AND LIKENESS. People can take advantage of me, cheat me, talk bad things about me, but I do not give up on the fact that all of us have a good in us, we each have kindness, goodness, love in us...Because I know God is faithful in His Promises...God made each of us IN HIS own image and likeness.

This 3rd Sunday reminds us never to give up believing in God's Promises to you - circumstance around you may change for the worst. Yet, God is ever Faithful to you and to me - God never gives up on you! Keep your eyes, heart and soul fix on the total good you believe in.

Friday, 6 December 2013

7 Things I Promise

As I journey into the 2nd Sunday of Advent, I am mindful on the scarcity of time. Very often I aim at doing the most within a given day, hoping to do as many things I can so as not to regret not doing them. Perhaps, this is my foolishness. Maybe I should learn to relax and take life a little easier.

A few days ago I realized that as a Roman Catholic, I have a God who is ever generous. As a Catholic the Church reminds me that there are 7 gifts I am entitled to. Yes, God's gifts and graces go beyond there 7 gifts. But, at least I know I have a God who gives me 7 and more more more gifts!!!

  1. One of the most significant moments of my life is to have come to experience the Person of God; I am lucky, very blessed, to have experienced a divine conversion. Having experienced God, I requested to be Baptized and I received the Sacrament of Baptism in 1997- In Baptism God comes to me and make me new!
  2. Each day I am aware that God is present, and in the Sacrament of the Eucharist I live out this need for God in my life. In my effort to come and receive the Eucharistic Bread, I grow in my firmness that I want God in my life, I want God to animate my life, to navigate my life.
  3. Just last night, I was so mindful that in the Sacrament of Penance (Confession) I celebrate God's mercy! How often, for some years now, I took Confession as merely an obligation where all that I am required to do is to come up with a list of my sins. Last night, at Confession for Christmas, I reflected and dived into God's mystery. And I experienced His Mercy! Like so many of us, I too carry hurts and I have also hurt others. In Confession, I celebrate my need for God's Mercy and my obligation to be merciful to others.
  4. As a Catholic there are various manner to live out once vocation/calling. For me I have chosen the life as a Consecrated Man of God, I celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Orders. In this sacrament I rejoice God's Calling and my ability to respond generously to His Love; To date I have made solemn private Vows to be of constant service to the Youths and the Poor, in total union with Mary, Mother of God.
  5. Married couple manifest the union of God with his church in the mysterious and sacred Sacrament of Marriage. Here I rejoice that there are men and women who are willing to deeply commit to each other, for the building up of God's Kingdom through their children. To look at couples who are deeply in love, is truly a blessing because it reminds me that God too is deeply in love with me.
  6. In the Sacrament of the Sick, I get to rejoice that God promises me healing. When I am ill and not well, I have a God who is there to comfort me, to seek me out and to touch my life. God may not necessarily heal me physically, but at least deep in me I am confident of His Love to live each day with dignity.
  7. Knowing how blessed I am, I can only desire to remain with God through His Catholic Church. Thus I agreed to respond to God through the Sacrament of Confirmation- to remain as a Catholic in union with Jesus.
In all these promises I am free...God does not make me sign a contract to bind myself to Him each day. Yes, in saying this, in fact as a Catholic I must be one with Jesus every moment of every day. What I am saying is, God allows me the free will to choose; to remain or to move away.

God's promises is one that is mark by free will; I am free to decide. The ultimate reality is, whether I remain or move away from God, God's Love is constant!!!

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Promise

1st Sunday of Advent: 
 It will be good for us to start Advent, the preparation for Christmas, to reflect on this question: 

"DID GOD EVER BROKE HIS PROMISE TO ABRAHAM, VIRGIN MARY OR ANY PROMINENT FIGURES IN THE BIBLE?"

Do you know that in the past, it was said people trust one another. There were no such thing as signing contracts as it happens when you are offered a job, buying a property, getting a car or purchasing a new electronic equipment. It is said in the past a VERBAL agreement was sufficient.


Today, though I still believe in verbal promises, many do not honor a verbal promise. Yes, as such I have been hurt, disappointed and manipulated as a result of my trust in the verbal promises made by others.


As for this mid-week of 1st Advent, there is still time for us to reflect on what is a Promise/Agreement? What is my concept of God's Promise, my understanding of a Divine Promise?


A promise we give or get from someone contains, always contains, a list of either gifts or hidden lies. What is the nature of your promise? What is the nature of God's Promise?

As Advent progresses I will share with you on God's Promise.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Advent to A Meaningful Christmas

'Thus wonderfully interwoven, faith, hope and charity are the driving force of the Christian life as it advances towards full communion with God.
But what is it like?
What is the origin of this powerful light which brightens the journey of a successful and fruitful life?'
[Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis]
 
This Advent Season, I am very sure, will see each of us seeing the meaning of the coming Christmas in newness of thought. A thought, our human intellect, that has been touched, shaped, reignited by our efforts during the Year of Faith (which will end by the Feast of Christ the King).
 
Pope Francis cleverly asked each of us, "WHAT is this Faith?"
 
A young student of form 5 asked me just a few months ago, "Brother life is hard!" Touching his shoulder, with love and concern, I responded, "Yes, life is hard. But, with grace we can move on."
 
Friends, yes, we cannot change the entire world. But, the little witness we give each day- by doing our given tasks in full humility, honesty, in being aware of the Holy Presence of God. This is what gives LIFE to the temporal activities we do; day in and day out. Many are suffering emotionally, mentally- many do find that life is hard. We can do our very least not only in giving these suffering people comments/suggestions, but we can give them genuine love by showing in example what we preach to others.
 
Like you, I do come to an agreement that what we do so often seems like nothing. I labour tirelessly for my students, doing so much extra things for them; setting my own lessons, giving questions, counselling students, joining them in fun/games. Yet, sometimes I see that what I do is not appreciated not only by my students, but also by those in authority over me.
 
Despite these, at insignificant moments of the year, surprisingly a student will come up to talk to me. In this conversation I feel deep in each of our hearts a deep sense of respect for each other, a deep love; I can sense that I have touched the students' life.
 
Friends, never see the work you consciously do for God and in the service of humanity as something useless. Never allow yourself to belittled! Never let the temptations of the world turn you to look at the work of Mercy as a stupid and brainless work. Always remember the seeds you sow will definitely germinate at its appropriate time; seeds can remain dormant for years, but once water is present the dormant seeds will germinate.
 
This Advent let us prepare for a Christmas that is enlightened by Faith; let us share this faith with others around us- beginning with our family members. Remember the manner you live out your Christian way of living, has an effect of others. NEVER see your existence in your community as something little- your presence, your unique gifts given by God and your conviction of the things of Heaven has an effect to those around you.
 
I leave you with some words of Wisdom from Pope Francis: "We "believe in" in Jesus when we personally welcome him into our lives and journey towards him, clinging to him in love and following in his footsteps along the way".
 
Have a fruitful Advent, A Happy Birth of Christ Jesus and A Good Year 2014! Let us remember that to give thanks is our duty and our salvation (as said in the Eucharistic prayer); let us be people of Thankfulness...That ultimately leads us to become people of JOY!
 
In Christ, St Francis and St Clare,
Kenneth Mary Gan of Our Mother of Perpetual Help
"Young people need good teachers, like visible angels" - John Baptist de La Salle

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Better than the other?

The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself,
'O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity --
greedy, dishonest, adulterous -- or even like this tax collector.
I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’


Luke 18: 11-12

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time: LUKE 18: 9-14

I used to be very obliging - when people praised me I will just gently smile, and when people criticized me I will just listen and smile. I think this was because I always felt content and joyful, I was one filled with joy, humility and, just a feeling that all I have comes from God.

As I grew, I started to realise that many adults enjoy speaking highly about themselves. Many adults, and even one of my friend, love to self praise. I am sure that when we listen to such self praises much of what these people have to say are much of them lies. I tend to get so sick when I hear people praising themselves, and I will just mentally shut myself up.

Honestly, today I have also fallen prey to the culture of self praising myself. Thank God, I do not easily self praise myself, and in fact, I do not even praise myself among teachers or students.

Personally, I suggest the reason why people, especially adults, enjoy praising themselves is because they desire that other people will look highly of them. Another reason is perhaps, humanity is always wanting to win and not to lose; in each human there exist the warrior spirit/energy, we want to win in whatever we do.

On a human level, it is fine that each of us compete with each other. But, let us never forget that when we ourselves get hurt in this competition, it was caused by our lack of humility, happiness and faith. Jesus in the Gospel is reminding us, that despite sharing the same human desire to compete and win the competition, at the end of the day each of us are similar in one expect- WE ARE MERELY SINNERS, or as the saying goes, WE ARE ONLY HUMAN.

In each of us there are 2 persons; one is the fighter- always wanting to win and never to submit to defeat, and the other is the humble site of us. In me I realise, so often, I too do not want to be looked at as useless, unworthy and mere lazy. Like so many, I too want to be looked as worthy to be praised and imitated. So very often, when things around me do not seem to be moving as I want it to, I will make up a story so that I am looked as the 'victor' and not the 'loser'. I realise the humble site in me, the personality where I can really be honest about my thoughts and myself, only arises when the listener respects me, is honest (will not gossip about what I honestly say) and sincerely advices me.

We may compete with each other in the name of religion, in the name of economy, in the name of pride, in the name of politics, in the name of culture...When we remove all these, we are merely humans who are wanting to live as to the desire of our hearts, a desire that must be directed by a higher call. No matter how different our status in life, how different our ideas and thoughts, at the end we are the same- we are humans who were created in the likeness of a Loving God.

Let us find space in our minds and hearts to praise others more! Let us be a good listener!