Monday, 16 July 2012

Authority - Not Easy & Casual at all

One of the reasons that accounts for the sufferings in the world, and I believe it is a major reason, is the misuse and under-use of authority. And this is also the reason why the death sentence of Jesus could pass through Pilate. The people knew well how to manipulate Pilate, just like how satan always attacks at our points of weakness. 

Fear of losing a position of authority
Thus, to safeguard this position, compromises are being made. Giving in to the masses. Gaining approval rather than standing by righteousness. Afraid of making a stand, afraid to offend, fearing rejection, insecurities. 

Lack of sound and solid values needed to make difficult decisions as one in authority 
The greater the authority, the greater the responsibility. How often do we find unwise leaders. Leaders who are precisely fearful of losing their positions because their values are not sound to begin with. They are self-centred and thus, making their decisions wise to themselves but unwise to everyone else. 

Being in authority and really thinking one is lord over all
Authority blown out of proportion. Unleashing the hidden evilness of a person, the insecurity now swings to the other extreme. 

Look at our society today. Suffering is rampant - in the poor as well as in the rich, and in the average folks. Suffering known AND suffering UNknown.

The poor suffer from starvation, oppression. Made to feel lesser than a human being because of the more powerful. Governments are corrupted, reserving the best and the majority for themselves, leaving their people in a sorrowful plight. Authority given to them is misused for their own betterment rather than for the common good. Authority, like that of Pilate, given to them from above.

The poor are forced into cheap labour for their survival. By who? By the rich who refuse to share their wealth. Those in authority in huge multinational companies. Authority given to them is misused. They are the ones who can affect the poor most effectively but then, profit is key. They think they are the privileged ones, the blessed because they have more. But they do not see the curse because they have failed to be brother and sister to our Lord. They have no idea what awaits them. 

The average folks I see around me like parents have gotten their sense of authority all upside down. Authority is given to parents to bring up their children, educate them in the way of truth and goodness. But instead, many parents now live under the authority of their children. One parent emailed me, "I wanted to speak to him (her son) about your feedback this morning but he wasn't in a good mood to talk to me." A child needs to be in a good mood before he speaks with his own mother? Authority given to parents is distorted because parents cannot afford the time and energy, parents are more insecure these days, and they need to constantly "win" the approval of their children. They fear most the truth that they are not doing enough and not doing what is right for their children. Parent-child relationships have become friendships as a result, and herein lies the complete distortion of rightful authority.

Without knowing, many are suffering. The educated, the rich, the middle class, ... we too are suffering, even though the type of suffering is not as explicit as those of the poor and sick. Lest we think we are the superior lot. 

We suffer because with all these distortions of the truth, of what being in authority truly means, and underlying this, of what true love really is, we are deviating further and further away from the image and likeness of God. There canNOT be peace in our hearts, nor joy or fulfilment. Our souls are crying out for its Maker but it is too weak a cry amidst the many loud noises that surround us. We find it harder and harder to understand and believe in the love of God because we have redefined love to make God's love stupid, illogical and not applicable in today's world. 

Greed, pride, individualism. 
Being in authority spells better life for myself and family. 
But intelligent as we are, we market ourselves to be in authority by using the big magnanimous name of the common good. We actually DO know what is needed to be done for the common good. But we have chosen not to carry out these promises when we have taken our seat as chairman, as president, etc. 

In everyday lives, we too, no matter how small, are given authority. Our conscience, intellect and will have been given authority over our feelings too. Do we choose to act on impulse instead? 

We have been given authority over our wealth. What do we do with this authority? Do we share or hog? Do we need a beggar to ring our door bells, ask for bread before we take it out to share or can we already hear the cry of the poor from afar in our borderless world? What do we spend on? Necessity or vanity?

We have been given authority over our lips. What do we say? Are we life-giving? Do we give Jesus to one another in what we say? Do we speak His language of love? 

Authority over our eyes and ears. What do we choose to set our eyes on? What do we choose to listen to? Our hands and feet. Our feet can walk to church, to the casino, to the pubs. Our time. What do we do with our time? Own pleasures or to enrich ourselves and the lives of others? 

There are people who are not given such authorities. Those who are blind, those lame and deaf to name a few. We who have must learn to exercise our authority responsibly as God has taught us to.

How are you exercising your authority given to you from above?
What are you doing with your authority?

16 July 2012, Monday

Sunday, 8 July 2012


adapted from a conversation...
based on an insight in Italy


As people serving the Lord, we must be accessible to all. Not selective accessibility. Our lives must be  completely public. To those who we like and those who we don't. With no preference. Even in moments we feel most uncomfortable. 

Because people need the Lord and we want to be that bridge to make God accessible to them too. I believe that is why we are set apart, not because we are special but because we have been chosen to play that role. Our own baggages and (what I call) our quirkiness must not stand in the way between God and us, God and others. Being accessible requires me to "be love", requires me to "be rooted in the image and likeness of God", requires my constant dying.

When I think of the Church in this aspect of accessibility... 
Theology, 'chim' as it has been put, must be made available also to the uneducated. God came for all. Many shun away from Theology because reading those words strung together so profoundly makes no sense to the ordinary folks. The history, the Church's traditions, the significances of many things we do, need to be made accessible and communicated to people, brought to their attention. The Church at times might be too organisational where information is held at the top levels. In a family, everyone is in the know of what is happening. Our Catholic family is not made up of people who are always enthusiastic and proactive in finding out more. But this does not mean that when told, they will turn a deaf ear. In fact, telling people more about our Catholic family might actually stir up an increasing interest towards the family and might even help them feel more belonged and involved. Who knows?

These are personal sentiments
I do not speak for the Church or for anyone else


Love is not giving.
Love is BEING.
Love is being rooted in the image and likeness of God.
Love is sowing joy in the garden of my brother and sister.
Love is becoming.

This is what Fr. Iyassu told me today. 
I need God's grace to take my understanding of these to a deeper level.

08 July 2012, Sunday

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Broken Glass

A vase is broken. The easiest thing to do is to throw it away and buy another to replace it. But if this vase is one of a kind, special and has sentimental value to us, no other similar vase can replace it. We can painstakingly use glue to rejoin all the broken pieces but it can never look beautiful again with all its crack lines. If we are skilled, we can meltdown the glass and remake the vase. Although it may not be exactly the same as before, it contains in it the same substance as before. And being of the same substance, we can still relate to it sentimentally as we did previously. But how many of us know about glass making? 


Today's homily was about being rejected and hurt. What do we do? This topic is relevant to every human person who has ever lived alongside another person. We are all sinful and capable of inflicting hurt on one another. We are insecure and vulnerable creatures, subjected to the hurts of others too. So what do we do with our wounded hearts? How do we find joy and peace again? How do we restore the wholeness of our broken hearts? 

Like the broken vase, the easiest solution is the first - quick, indifference, move on. Plainly ignores the natural occurrence of our emotions. Escapism. Can a heart be so swiftly replaced? Only if we were never quite connected with it anyway. 

Or like the second solution, we could force the broken pieces to hold still in its place by plastering them into place. The glue may cover the lines but because the glue is visible, it becomes the most visible scars that will never go away. Time will heal. That's what people say. We force it over time to 'heal' by 'covering up', by suppression. What a heavy burden. A walking time bomb waiting to explode at the first instant of stress. 

The third. Passing on our hearts to the skilled Craftsman since we are not one ourselves. He who knows our broken hearts because His heart is broken too. Rejection, insult, hurt, betrayal, abandonment, accusations... He has experienced them all. Why will He not know what it feels like? Why will He not know how we feel? In all these, we are never alone. Even if the entire human kind does not understand us, He does. And He will know how best to mend the brokenness. Isn't that the greatest comfort? The one and only Craftsman... Surely, we can entrust our brokenness to Him. 

07 July 2012, Saturday

Friday, 6 July 2012

Prayer - Pulsating with You

My Jesus,
Help me to know Your heart.
I do not ask to know Your mind nor Your plans
But only Your heart.
To know what pleases You,
what brings You joy,
what makes You upset,
what lies there in Your Sacred Heart.
And with this intimate knowing,
let my heart beat as one with Yours.
To know Your desires
and make them my own.
To know Your mission
and make it my own.
To understand Your thirst for souls
so that I may not condemn
but extend out my hand on Your behalf
just as You extended Yours to me.
Help me to love You more each day
till that one day when at last,
my heart may fully pulsate with Yours
in perfect union and harmony.

06 July 2012, Friday

Monday, 2 July 2012

I am Somebody

My life is worth living even though it still includes many mundane routines, even though there are still meaningless and useless activities I engage in.

My life has a purpose even though I still do not know where I am to be in relation to the world I live in, 
even though I do not see the fruits of my labour.

My life has a direction even though I am clueless about what lies ahead, even though I feel lost most of the time.

My life is reason for my rejoicing even though there are moments of pain and sadness, 
even though I do not feel that gratitude and joy all the time. 

I love my life
When I place my consciousness in the realisation 
of God's labour in my life
of the miracles He has done for me
of God's love in the blueprint of my life

And then
I am assured that I am not forgotten
That I am not without help
I am convinced that I must surely be somebody and not a nobody
For Someone to love me this much

And at last
In wonderment and gratitude
I thank God for this life He's given to me
And I will exchange nothing of it for anything in this world.

Can you see God in your life too? 

2 July 2012 Monday