Wednesday, 29 February 2012

This Guy called Max

The sun shone hard on little Max as he hatched from his tiny shell one afternoon. He gave his body one good stretch and smiled contentedly at the wonderful day. He sung out joyfully, "Oh, how nice it is to be out! Look at this beautiful garden with all its trees and flowers! I am going to live in this garden all my life!" 

Little Max started out his munching, leaf by leaf, always indulging in a feast before heading to bed by sunset. He sure was contented and grateful that God had provided him with food in such abundance. There just wasn't anything Max would like to change about his life.

The day came when Max was not so little any more and he felt a strange sensation all through his body. He thought he had gotten ill and so rested under a leaf. A few hours later, Max woke up from his rest and wanted to continue his routine but he realised he was immobilized. His whole body seemed paralysed and no matter how hard he tried, he just could not move. Then, he felt his head disintegrating, his body seemed to be different from what it was previously. His entire being was falling apart! "What is happening to me?!" exclaimed Max. He struggled and wriggled, pushed and kicked, but there seemed to be an unknown covering that had engulfed him completely. He was trapped by something beyond his strength to break through. 

Max's world collapsed. His safe haven, his comfort and everything he had enjoyed in his life suddenly gave way to a dark uncertainty of what was happening to him. He cried out, "Let me out!! God, what are you doing?! Get me out!!" He saw his legs slowly disappearing, his long thick body melting down, and all he felt was excruciating pain. Max was convinced he was dying and nothing he did could stop this death.

Few days later, after he had no more energy to rebel against his difficult ordeal, the forceful layer that held him captive for what seemed like eternity broke open and Max forced himself out. He began to scold God saying, "Just what were you thinking!?! Do you know how darn painful that was?! You should have just killed me instead! And what if some bigger creature came to prey on me? I could not even run. You left me completely vulnerable!" Max was fuming mad at God and he crawled to a nearby pond and gazed into it. His eyes grew larger as he saw himself in the reflection. "Who is that?" he thought, "Is that me?" 

It was only then that Max realised he had been transformed from a sluggish caterpillar into a beautiful and majestic butterfly. He made sense of his painful experience of transformation; he saw the light of his captivity, from which he was fighting hard to break free. Max nodded his head. "Now I see it. It was all necessary. I needed to die as a caterpillar. My whole body needed to be completely broken down before God can reshape me into this far more beautiful creature. Now that I see the me I have become, it was all worthwhile."

Max had matured from a little caterpillar into a mesmerising butterfly but more so, he began to understand that although he may not know what is happening to him, God knows and everything is kept safe in His hands. His careless living evolved into a constant wonderment of his being as fashioned so carefully by God. 

Which part of Max's life cycle are you at now? 

29 Feb 2012, Wednesday

Day 26 - My Love will See You Through

1 March 2012, Thursday

Gospel: Mt 7:7-12

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For the one who asks always receives; the one who searches always finds; the one who knocks will always have the door opened to him. Is there a man among you who would hand his son a stone when he asked for bread? Or would hand him a snake when he asked for a fish? If you, then, who are evil, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

‘So always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that is the meaning of the Law and the Prophets.’


Jesus reaffirms us of the love that our Father has for us; a love that extends beyond our human understanding and capacity, and from which pours out every grace and blessing we will need to face all the trials and challenges of each day. Jesus also taught us to pray in the Lord’s Prayer, ‘Give us today our daily bread’. Jesus did not guarantee that every prayer will be answered but that our Father will give us all things good.

In life’s difficult and painful experiences, do you trust in God’s infinite love for you and rely on Him to see you through?

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Day 25 - Excuse Me

29 February 2012, Wednesday

Gospel: Lk 11:29-32

The crowds got even bigger and Jesus addressed them. ‘This is a wicked generation; it is asking for a sign. The only sign it will be given is the sign of Jonah. For just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. On Judgement day the Queen of the South will rise up with the men of this generation and condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and there is something greater than Solomon here. On Judgement day the men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation and condemn it, because when Jonah preached they repented; and there is something greater than Jonah here.’


The Son of God Himself came to point the way for the Israelites to repentance. They were not only unwilling to listen and face up to the Truth He preached but in order to keep to their sinful ways, they got rid of His voice altogether by having Him killed.

We too, continue in our sinful ways by silencing God’s Truth, preventing Him from affecting our lives, by excusing ourselves that ‘it is not practical in today’s world’, ‘God’s ways are only for the selected few who become religious and saints’, ‘God is merciful and He will understand’.

 Whose example do you want to follow – the Israelites or the Ninevites?

Monday, 27 February 2012

Day 24 - Jesus Teaches Us to Pray

28 February 2012, Tuesday

Gospel: Mt 6:7-15

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘In your prayers do not babble as the pagans do, for they think that by using many words they will make themselves heard. Do not be like them; your Father knows what you need before you ask him. So you should pray like this:
‘Our Father in heaven,
            may your name be held holy,
            your kingdom come,
            your will be done,
            on earth as in heaven.
            Give us today our daily bread.
            And forgive us our debts,
            as we have forgiven those who are in debt to us.
            And do not put us to the test,
            but save us from the evil one.

‘Yes, if you forgive others their failings, your heavenly Father will forgive you yours; but if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive your failings either.’

There are several dispositions we can have in prayer. Some of us approach prayer like we would a wishing well, where we offer a coin – in this case, our efforts to go to church or our time put aside to pray – then we state our heart’s desires and we are off.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus assures us that our Father knows our needs and will provide for them. Our prayer should instead be focused on our relationship with God; in seeking His Will for us, being attuned to His ways and safeguarding our hearts from the snares of the devil.

How much of your prayer aligns with how Jesus has taught us to pray?

Day 23 - The Good in Me

27 February 2012, Monday

Gospel: Mt 25:31-46

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, escorted by all the angels, then he will take his seat on his throne of glory. All the nations will be assembled before him and he will separate men one from another as the shepherd separates sheep from goats. He will place the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right hand, “Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take for your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you made me welcome; naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me.” Then the virtuous will say to him in reply, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you; or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and make you welcome; naked and clothe you; sick or in prison and go to see you?” and the King will answer, “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me”. Next he will say to those on his left hand, “Go away from me, with your curse upon you, to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you never gave me food; I was thirsty and you never gave me anything to drink; I was a stranger and you never made me welcome, naked and you never clothed me, sick and in prison and you never visited me.” Then it will be their turn to ask, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty, a stranger or naked, sick or in prison, and did not come to your help?” Then he will answer, “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you neglected to do this to one of the least of these, you neglected to do it to me.” And they will go away to eternal punishment, and the virtuous to eternal life.’


Consider a child who is saddened because a drop of water had spilt and smudged the ink on the birthday card he had lovingly made for his mother. God created us good, and loving His creation, He desires for us to remain good and do good. And when we live this way, we reciprocate His love in this Creator-creature, Father-son/daughter relationship that we share with Him. This pleases our God far more than it means to us because while our hearts are divided among many distractions, God’s heart is completely filled with love for us.

What good in you have you preserved? What good have you let loose?

Sunday, 26 February 2012


I stood at the door and peered in 
There was silence in the room; a stillness that drew my heart to it
I kept myself out like a stranger who had never been there
I did not know why I stood outside
What was holding me back? What was keeping me from going in?
I was filled with apprehension; a sense of fear and doubt, of uncertainty
It looked all warm and cosy inside
What caused the uncertainty? 

And then a voice came from within.
Come in. Why are you still standing there? 

My feet were too heavy to move
Rooted firmly to my little spot on the outside
I wanted to enter. I wanted very much to enter
But still I was held back
To enter is a journey I have to make
The door has been opened to me from within
The light shines brightly for me to see where I should go
But to make this journey, this decision, this commitment
I felt out of my depth

Still, the voice said
After much hesitation, I finally entered
I have been here before
I looked around the room and alas! 
I found the face I have grown familiar with, the voice that soothes my whole being
My eyes lit up, my heart skipped a beat, my hopes reinstated, my love renewed.
Why this nostalgia? How long ago had I left the room? 
Wherever I had left to wander to, how ever long I had remained in the wilderness,
How warm it feels once again to be back in the interior silence of my heart, 
in the loving embrace of my Jesus.

Have you entered too? 

Sunday 26 Feb 2012

Day 22 - Interconnectedness

26 February 2012, Sunday

                                                           Gospel: Mk 1:12-15

The Spirit immediately drove Jesus out into the wilderness and he remained there for forty days, and was tempted by Satan. He was with the wild beasts, and the angels looked after him.

After John had been arrested, Jesus went into Galilee. There he proclaimed the Good News from God. ‘The time has come’ he said ‘and the kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent, and believe the Good News.’


Pope Benedict XVI wrote in Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration that “at the heart of all temptations… is the act of pushing God aside because we perceive him as secondary, if not actually superfluous and annoying, in comparison with all the apparently far more urgent matters that fill our lives. Constructing a world by our own lights without reference to God, building on our own foundations; refusing to acknowledge the reality of anything beyond the political and material, while setting God aside as an illusion…”

We may question what is so evil about these since they do not harm others. Perhaps, their consequences are too indirect to be obvious.

When God is absent, who do we benchmark our lives against? ‘Good’ becomes subjective; our choices become reactions of our feelings, whims and fancies. ‘I’ become the pivot of life; the common good for the wider community gives way to the satisfaction of worldly temptations - materialism, pride, power and glory. We have a population who is starving to death, oppressed, exploited and marginalised to safeguard the power, wealth and prestige of the very people who have precisely ‘set God aside as an illusion’.

Jesus overcame all temptations by focusing His heart persistently on His Father, His first priority. 

What are your temptations?

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Day 21 - The Circumstantial God

25 February 2012, Saturday

Gospel: Lk 5:27-32

Jesus noticed a tax collector, Levi by name, sitting by the customs house, and said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And leaving everything he got up and followed him.

In his honour Levi held a great reception in his house, and with them at table was a large gathering of tax collectors and others. The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples and said, ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?’ Jesus said to them in reply, ‘It is not those who are well who need the doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the virtuous, but sinners to repentance.’


The Pharisees and scribes believed that because they dutifully observed all the Jewish laws, they are superior over all others. It is not that they were virtuous and did not need Jesus but that they were too arrogant to perceive their sinfulness and acknowledge their need for God.

We too are caught in a similar arrogance. Most of us have far more than our basic needs and when life is comfortable and peaceful, we fall into complacency. God begins to decrease while we increase. We seem to need God less when we have more in life; we fail to recognise that all we are and have are the works of God in our lives. We need God but we forget this need until a crisis disarms our pride.

How have you taken the Lord for granted?
Where in your life have you been a virtuous Pharisee and where have you been a repentant sinner? 

Day 20 - Lenten Observances

24 February 2012, Friday

Gospel: Mt 9:14-15

John’s disciples came to Jesus and said, ‘Why is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not?’ Jesus replied, ‘Surely the bridegroom’s attendants would never think of mourning as long as the bridegroom is still with them? But the time will come for the bridegroom to be taken away from them, and then they will fast.’


Fasting teaches us patience and self-control. When we review our experience of fasting in prayer, we begin to also understand the plight of the poor, and grow to consider more frequently and compassionately the needs of others.

Fasting then takes on a deeper purpose of bringing about a transformation of our hearts to make us better imitators of Christ; it is not a religious practice for self-glorification, nor is it a thoughtless fulfilment of a duty. It must ultimately manifest in our relationship with others and in our active response to their needs as in our first reading today (Isaiah 58:1-9).

Why do you fast, give alms and do penance? Do your Lenten observances give life and meaning to another? 

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Day 19 - I am Attached

23 February 2012, Thursday

Gospel: Lk 9:22-25

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘The Son of Man 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.’

Then to all he said, ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross every day and follow me. For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake, that man will save it. What gain, then, is it for a man to have won the whole world and to have lost or ruined his very self?’


Jesus suffered and died because He did not bend the truth that He came to teach us, nor did He deviate from the way He came to show us. He remained as the bright Light for us to see the way to our eternal home, remaining completely faithful to His Father’s Will till the very end.

If we live by Christ’s values, we put our every possession – kinship, friendship, career, material goods, at risk. But without this necessary detachment from earthly things, we can never be attached to God.

In what ways have you compromised Christ’s values to safeguard your earthly attachments? 

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Day 18 - Whose Interest?

22 February 2012, Wednesday – Lent Begins

Gospel: Mt 6:1-6, 16-18
Almsgiving, Prayer and Fasting

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘Be careful not to parade your good deeds before men to attract their notice; by doing this you will lose all reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give alms, do not have it trumpeted before you; this is what the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win men’s admiration. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you give alms, your left hand must not know what your right is doing; your almsgiving must be secret, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.

And when you pray, do not imitate the hypocrites: they love to say their prayers standing up in the synagogues and at the street corners for people to see them. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you pray, go to your private room and, when you have shut the door, pray to your Father who is in that secret place, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.

When you fast do not put on a gloomy look as the hypocrites do: they pull long faces to let men know they are fasting. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that no one will know you are fasting except your Father who sees all that is done in secret; and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.’


Today’s readings and psalm highlight one message – turn your heart and life back to God wholeheartedly. All that we do to portray a desired image of ourselves for others to see are nothing in God’s eyes; He looks at our heart’s intent. Therefore, our focus must shift from the exterior to our interior selves, where our deeds become a constant private and loving response to God, with whom we are immersed in relationship.

As the psalmist sang, ‘A pure heart create for me, O God.’
What are the things you knowingly and unknowingly do to serve your own interests?

Monday, 20 February 2012

Day 17 - First in His Heart

21 February 2012, Tuesday

Gospel: Mk 9:30-37
The Greatest in the Kingdom

Jesus and his disciples made their way through Galilee; and he did not want anyone to know, because he was instructing his disciples; he was telling them, ‘The Son of Man will be delivered into the hands of men; they will put him to death; and three days after he has been put to death he will rise again’. But they did not understand what he said and were afraid to ask him.

They came to Capernaum, and when he was in the house he asked them, ‘What were you arguing about on the road?’ They said nothing because they had been arguing which of them was the greatest. So he sat down, called the Twelve to him and said, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he must make himself last of all and servant of all’. He then took a little child, set him in front of them, put his arms round him, and said to them, ‘Anyone who welcomes one of these little children in my name, welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me’.


By reflecting more frequently and deeply on the presence of God in our lives, we will gradually become more conscious of His unexplainable love for us, which we know in all humility we do not deserve. This experience of God’s love is the grace that implants in us the desire to love Him in return by loving and serving His people, putting them before ourselves and following His values in this present world so as to be first in His heart.

Keep asking Jesus for the grace to become increasingly aware of how much He loves you.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Day 16 - Growing Faith

20 February 2012, Monday

Gospel: Mk 9:14-29
The Epileptic Demoniac

When Jesus, with Peter, James and John came down from the mountain and rejoined the disciples they saw a large crowd round them and some scribes arguing with them. The moment they saw him the whole crowd were struck with amazement and ran to greet him. ‘What are you arguing about with them?’ he asked. A man answered him from the crowd. ‘Master, I have brought my son to you; there is a spirit of dumbness in him, and when it takes hold of him it throws him to the ground, and he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and goes rigid. And I asked your disciples to cast it out and they were unable to.’ ‘You faithless generation’ he said to them in reply. ‘How much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him to me.’ They brought the boy to him, and as soon as the spirit saw Jesus it threw the boy into convulsions, and he fell to the ground and lay writhing there, foaming at the mouth. Jesus asked the father, ‘How long has this been happening to him?’ ‘From childhood,’ he replied ‘and it has often thrown him into the fire and into the water, in order to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have pity on us and help us.’ ‘If you can?’ retorted Jesus. ‘Everything is possible for anyone who has faith.’ Immediately the father of the boy cried out, ‘I do have faith. Help the little faith I have!’ And when Jesus saw how many people were pressing round him, he rebuked the unclean spirit. ‘Deaf and dumb spirit,’ he said ‘I command you: come out of him and never enter him again.’ Then throwing the boy into violent convulsions it came out shouting, and the boy lay there so like a corpse that most of them said, ‘He is dead’. But Jesus took him by the hand and helped him up, and he was able to stand. When he had gone indoors his disciples asked him privately, ‘Why were we unable to cast it out?’ ‘This is the kind’ he answered ‘that can only be drive out by prayer.’


Like the father in today’s Gospel, we do not have complete faith in Jesus because we do not have sufficient knowledge of who He is. But as Jesus grew that little faith in him through the miracle He performed, we need to pray that Jesus increases our faith too.

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta pointed out that faith is the fruit of prayer. For Jesus to increase our faith, we first need to meet Him in prayer, to know Him more and become more familiar with Him who never fails us.

Can you recognise how Jesus has not failed you even in times when things did not go your way?

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Our Meeting

Have you watched the film Back to the Future, a 1985 American production? Marty McFly, played by Michael J. Fox, travelled 30 years back in time in a time machine invented by "Doc". Needless to say, this story is a fiction and such a time machine does not exist. But what if it did... one day? And you have the opportunity to set any year to return to? Would you decide to go back in time to that very night of great anguish in the garden of Gethsemane? Where an insurmountable fear rose in one Man's heart because He was just about to give Himself into the evil hands of His persecutors? If you travelled back to that moment, what would you see there? What happened? Why did it happen the way it did? What would Jesus have said to you? 

And so I met Him again in that garden
It has been close to a year since I last visited
Since He first looked at me and smiled and said,
"For you, it is all worthwhile."
And they took Him away
Before my eyes

What would He say to me this time? 

I met His gaze anew
This time, I saw Him stare through me
As if He peered right into the core of my being
Into my soul
I felt defenceless
He saw through the disfigured exterior of me
Into a mysterious being that seems to live hidden within me
Somehow, He seemed to love what He saw
I felt awkward
Why does He seem to love this me within so much?
By this gaze, He taught me to gaze through others
To see too in them the hidden beauty
And to love this beauty that disappears as the interior diffuses out to the exterior

I met His gaze yet again
He seems to like me to visit at this place and time
His gaze spoke an instant message
His gaze that pierced into my soul 
Was full of hope and satisfaction
As He beheld the beauty of the person I can become
A beauty that I do not see, know of or believe
And for this reason
For MY own sake, 
For me to become this beautiful creature in His eyes
He chose to show me first how it is done, how it is possible
How to become the beautiful creature He knows I can be
He wanted to show me the way, the only true way
To bring out to the exterior the hidden me that only He sees
And so He surrendered to the way of the Cross
Leaving me with His living example

As I stood there in the garden
I watched His smile again as He was taken away
There was no more fear in Him
But a conviction that He was doing the right thing
A certainty that I will take after Him and walk in the way He has shown to me
An absolute sureness that I will ultimately arrive at the beauty He foretells of me
He is so full of hope in me

Why does He take an interest in me? 
Why does He make it His business whether or not I am who I can be?
The hope He has for me is one entity with His love for the person He sees in me
I do not know what He sees but I know He loves what He sees
And He loves it with the most tender love
As He was taken away
I stood rooted, in tears
Who am I?
Who am I, personally, to this man, Jesus?

18 February 2012, Saturday

Day 15 - Obstacles

19 February 2012, Sunday

Gospel: Mk 2:1-12
The Healing of a Paralytic

When Jesus returned to Capernaum some time later, word went round that he was back; and so many people collected that there was no room left, even in front of the door. He was preaching the word to them when some people came bringing him a paralytic carried by four men, but as the crowd made it impossible to get the man to him, they stripped the roof over the place where Jesus was; and when they had made an opening, they lowered the stretcher on which the paralytic lay. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, ‘My child, your sins are forgiven’. Now some scribes were sitting there, and they thought to themselves, ‘How can this man talk like that? He is blaspheming. Who can forgive sins but God?’ Jesus, inwardly aware that this was what they were thinking, said to them, ‘Why do you have these thoughts in your hearts? Which of these is easier: to say to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven” or to say, “Get up, pick up your stretcher and walk”? But to prove to you that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,’ – he said to the paralytic – ‘I order you: get up, pick up your stretcher, and go off home.’ And the man got up, picked up his stretcher at once and walked out in front of everyone, so that they were all astounded and praised God saying, ‘We have never seen anything like this’.


Many of us would have had a God-experience at some point in our lives; a moment of feeling the love of God particularly close to our hearts or of feeling a nudge to pray daily or to be more Christ-like towards others. In the spur of the moment, we may feel inspired and promise God and ourselves that we will start reading the bible, pray and try to take God more seriously. More often than not, even though we might have begun working on these, it does not take long for us to slacken and get caught up with the many alternative time-fillers that seem more exciting and attractive. After all, when the God-experience fades away, we no longer feel God and speaking to Him seems like a monologue that gives no certainty of His presence with us.

Today’s Gospel models a determination and faith that eventually makes possible what was originally deemed as impossible. The four men could have easily surrendered to their discouragement at the sight of the great crowd in their way. But to get to Jesus at all cost, they removed the very obstacle of the roof, damaging someone’s property and perhaps, having to compensate for it thereafter. Jesus must have been stunned at their extreme measures but was nonetheless moved by their faith.

What stands between you and Jesus? How would you remove these obstacles? 

Friday, 17 February 2012

Day 14 - Road Signs for the Traveller

18 February 2012, Saturday

Gospel: Mk 9:2-13
The Transfiguration

Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John and led them up a high mountain where they could be alone by themselves. There in their presence he was transfigured: his clothes became dazzlingly white, whiter than any earthly bleacher could make them. Elijah appeared to them with Moses; and they were talking with Jesus. Then Peter spoke to Jesus: ‘Rabbi,’ he said ‘it is wonderful for us to be here; so let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah’. He did not know what to say; they were so frightened. And a cloud came, covering them in shadow; and there came a voice from the cloud, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved. Listen to him.’ Then suddenly, when they looked round, they saw no one with them any more but only Jesus.

As they came down from the mountain he warned them to tell no one what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. They observed the warning faithfully, though among themselves they discussed what ‘rising from the dead’ could mean. And they put this question to him, ‘Why do the Scribes say that Elijah has to come first?’ ‘True,’ he said ‘Elijah is to come first and to see that everything is as it should be; yet how is it that the scriptures say about the Son of Man that he is to suffer grievously and be treated with contempt? However, I tell you that Elijah has come and they have treated him as they pleased, just as the scriptures say about him.’


Road signs are particularly useful to drivers who are trying to find their direction in an unfamiliar place for the first time. They tell us where to turn before we arrive at the junction. Here in this Gospel, God is directing our attention to Jesus, instructing us to “listen to him” who is our Road Sign. Insofar as we follow this Sign, we will not get lost in the unfamiliar place called life, and so return safely back to our Heavenly Father.

Before making decisions in your life, do you first refer back to Jesus?

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Day 13 - Distance = Speed x Time

17 February 2012, Friday

Gospel: Mk 8:34-9:1
The Condition of Following Christ

Jesus called the people and his disciples to him and said, ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me. For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. What gain, then, is it for a man to win the whole world and ruin his life? And indeed what can a man offer in exchange for his life? For if anyone in this adulterous and sinful generation is ashamed of me and of my words, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.’ And he said to them, ‘I tell you solemnly, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power’.


Just as Jesus called His first disciples, He calls out to us today to follow Him too; to abide by His teachings, to obey completely our Father’s Will, to love as He has, forgive as He has, offering ourselves on the same altar of sacrifice upon which we behold the Holy Lamb of God.

All these sound incredibly demanding and beyond us. But if we return to our first Gospel reflection and take Jesus for real, that we too can obtain every grace we need when we sincerely ask God for them in prayer, then we will discover that what we thought as impossible is made possible by God’s Providence.

How far will you go to honour your discipleship? 


Who am I?  
Can I live outside of God's love? 
Can I really live outside of God's love? 
Is it even possible? 

With every choice to keep the distance, am I not still in His love?
With every choice to ignore Him, am I not still in His love?
With every rebellion to pull myself away from Him and live independently, am I not still relying on His love? 

Can I fight to exit this love without fighting the very nature of who I am? 
Is not my existence His love? 
Am I not love itself? 
How can I be without God's love when my very being is in itself His absolute love?
To burn myself into ashes, still, my soul remains beyond my ability to destroy.
To taint my soul and disfigure the image of God in it, still, I can never in all eternity change the reality that it was He who made this soul.
Even in the inescapable depths of Sheol, where God is entirely absent, my soul will always be the creature He created, though one who is cast out.
God's love lives in me, in you. Every second, every moment.
There is nowhere, no way, no possibility, not now or ever, I can detach myself from this love.
Since my conception in the mind of my Father, there begins an association I cannot ever disassociate from.
I am embedded in a relationship that is eternal, with or without my consent, my will, my acknowledgement and my reciprocation. 
Is this the captivity of His love?
To rejoice or resist, still, I cannot ever erase the imprint of God in me. 

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Day 12 - Beauty in His Will

16 February 2012, Thursday

Gospel: Mk 8:27-33
Peter’s Profession of Faith

Jesus and his disciples left for the villages round Caesarea Philippi. On the way he put this question to his disciples, ‘Who do people say I am?’ And they told him. ‘John the Baptist,’ they said ‘others Elijah; others again, one of the prophets.’ ‘But you,’ he asked ‘who do you say I am?’ Peter spoke up and said to him, ‘You are the Christ’. And he gave them strict orders not to tell anyone about him.

And he began to teach them that the Son of Man was destined to suffer grievously, to be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and to be put to death, and after three days to rise again; and he said all this quite openly. Then, taking him aside, Peter started to remonstrate with him. But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said to him, ‘Get behind me, Satan! Because the way you think is not God’s way but man’s.’


Peter loved Jesus and he disliked the thought of Him suffering and dying, which threatened the consolation and security of having Jesus always by his side. But if Peter had prevented Jesus from fulfilling the Father’s Will, there would not have been His resurrection and our redemption. There is always beauty in God’s Will, no matter how heavy the cross it requires us to first bear.

God’s Will is often difficult to accept because it usually calls us to deny our own desires. 

Will you trust in God’s infinite love for you so as to trust in His perfect plan for you?