Rich Soil Yields a Plentiful Harvest

 

Price to Pay. I feel that I am left in a stupor after working so hard that my mind just keeps going like clockwork. Sometimes, it can be challenging to put in the same amount of effort everyday as it is like a jukebox theory where people select the song and shuffles through the playlist in finding that perfect rhythm or song that will suit their taste. It is the price to pay if you want to earn a living, I guess, and more so in this challenging era. The only thing that I have left is endurance and to hold on even if it is the hardest thing to do.

The gospel opens by saying,“On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood along the shore. And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched,and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. But some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. Whoever has ears ought to hear (Matthew 13:1-9).”

This is one of my favorite gospel passages as I just like how the sower is depicted as God and his gift of free will. He does not keep the good news to Himself but chooses to scatter them freely and abundantly. It is up to us to cultivate the seed by using good and fertile soil which would yield good crops or beautiful plants.

My earliest cultivation of the word of God would be through catechism class and also how I would flip through the catechism book beforehand to look at stories that showed the word of God in action. It intrigued me to look at how God was sowing the seeds and how people were responding to it by nurturing the seed.

It is our inner desire that best represents the type of soil or spiritual state that we are in. I have been in the category of the bad soil recently as my worries and demands of the world crept into me that God has forsaken me. I know this is not true but it is a great struggle that many are facing daily, including myself.

Like a plant, hard soil does not yield growth nor does poor soil, therefore we need to take efforts to cultivate and nurture the soil by changing and loosening them. This can be achieved through quiet reflection and reconciliation on the word of God who is the sower. Are we taking the initiative to make the word of God alive and present in our lives today?

Patience and perseverance are key components in not giving up which is something that I have been repeating to myself in my subconscious to keep myself going. I pray that despite all the fears and obstacles, Jesus can lead me away from these inner pain at least temporarily so I can come back stronger and more refreshed. I hope to find some peace and not be crippled by fear that weighs me down.

Writing has been therapeutic for me as I can put my thoughts into words and though it can be challenging to find the right words – seeking the kingdom of God, there I will find whatever I am looking for which is peace,freedom and joy. One day,I know that I will meet the sower and be held in His embrace, to know that I am loved by Him. We keep each other in prayers and for those who are suffering to find comfort and consolation in God’s word and the presence of their loved ones.

For the seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.God Bless!

Music speaks to people and through this song “Fear” by Blue October, it chronicles the struggle of the songwriter and how he gets back up despite life’s challenges.

“All my life
Been running from a pain in me
A feeling I don’t understand
Holding me down

Rain on me
Underwater
All I am, getting harder
A heavy weight
I carry around.

Today
I don’t have to fall apart
I don’t have to be afraid
I don’t have to let the damage
consume me,
My shadow see through me

Fear in itself
Will reel you in and spit you out
Over and over again
Believe in yourself
And you will walk
Fear in itself
Will use you up and break you down
like you were never enough
I used to fall, now I get back up.

I’m up here
I’m looking at the way down there
I’m staring through the I don’t care
It’s staring back at me

The beauty is
I’m learning how to face my beast
Starting now to find some peace
Set myself free

Today,
I don’t have to fall apart
I don’t have to be afraid
I don’t have to let the damage
consume me,
My shadow see through me

Fear in itself
Will reel you in
And spit you out over and over again
Believe in yourself
and you will walk
Fear in itself
Will use you up and break you down
like you were never enough
I used to fall but now I get back up

I’m moving on
Oh god just move on
Today,
I don’t have to fall apart
I don’t have to be afraid….
Get back up
Get up

Fear in itself will use you up
And break you down just like you’re
never enough
I used to fall

Breathe,
Ask for more
if you’re bitter still
Ask him to help you carry on.”

Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong

 

Bible Sunday: Light & Easy

 

Overburdened. Things are ramping up in the workplace as more work starts coming in and sometimes, it leaves everyone, including myself scrambling to complete and meet all the stipulated deadlines. Tensions are running high as it is a rush to ensure that everything is running smoothly. In all of our burdens, we must not forget that Jesus is at the centre of it and He is always there for us, so that we do not get to carry all of the burdens on our own.

The gospel begins by saying, “At that time Jesus exclaimed: “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to little ones.Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.

“All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father,and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

“Come to me, all you who labour and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light”(Matthew 11:25-30).”

This is one of my favourite gospel’s passages as it highlights the struggles of humanity, where we are called to carry our crosses but are swarmed with all sorts of burdens and trials. Many by far have tried to comprehend the existence of God intellectually and scientifically. They have consulted numerous books, tried to challenge the bible and conducted research on religious artefacts pertaining to the Catholic Church.

However, their findings have proven inconclusive because just like the Trinity, some things are left a mystery which the human mind is unable to comprehend or understand. Just like children, when we surrender ourselves to faith, we will find the answers that we are looking for through the revelation in the image and presence of Jesus.

Jesus then invites us to come to Him if we are burdened, as it is with Him that we will find rest. Rest is really so precious to me and as much as I try to rest more on weekends. Sometimes, there is just too much work to do that I need to find the motivation in me to get going, before I can contemplate resting.

The promise of Jesus is that His yoke is easy and He will make our burdens light as I learn to lean on the cross for some semblance of support and comfort when the going gets tough. At times, I say a little prayer before I start a task because I cannot do it myself and I need Jesus to guide me as all glory and success comes from Him.

For me, He is the provider and He sends people to help me when my to-do-list gets challenging as many hands make light work. Time to time, I flip through the bible as I find the book of Psalms inspiring and yet comforting at the same time. The words are light and easy- a source of strength and anchor for me. The bible allows me to know God as a person, and it provides clarity when we see the connection to our lives by identifying with the characters and words in the passages which is our source of spiritual nourishment.

The only time I have experienced this surreal feeling of light and easy mood would be going on a holiday and it was after polytechnic graduation when I went on a trip to Perth, Western Australia. I was just grateful to experience pure rest when time slowed down slightly. There were no assignments nor work and I could just soak in the sights and sounds of my surroundings. I felt in control and was more focussed because it was just pure relaxation and you learn to appreciate nature up close and in different ways that you never thought possible.

I hope to be able to pause and relax someday again, even though it is hard to come by, I can picture it in my mind and it is where I can go to whenever I feel myself losing momentum. Also, learning to laugh a little, smile a little and talk to people in knowing that you are not alone in your struggles also uplifts the mood on this journey towards finding rest for ourselves.

May we make a mental note to read scripture because it speaks so much truth and the passages are highly relatable, and it may make our toughest moments a little lighter, a little more peaceful.

I close this post with a song titled,”Perth” by Bon Iver because it is reminiscent of times spent on vacation overseas and loving nature when I am most at peace. God Bless as we keep one another in prayers.

“I’m tearing up, across your face
Move dust through the light
To find your name
It’s something faint
This is not a place
Not yet awake, I’m raised to make

Still alive who you, love
Still alive who you, love
Still alive who you, love

In a matter of an month
From forests for the soft
Gotta know been lead aloft
So I’m ridding all your stories
What I know, what it is, is boring, wire it up!
You’re breaking your ground”

Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong

 

Division In Fighting For The Truth

 

The little picture. During my childhood, I remembered playing with a Disney jigsaw puzzle which had a thousand over pieces and it took time to fix it to form a beautiful completed picture that was depicted on the box. I cannot remember if I managed to fix the puzzle but the big picture will not be complete without the little pieces. Plus,it takes time and patience to fix the puzzle; with people requiring immediacy now, which is the big picture, people forget about the process to reach in order to achieve the end result.

Much emphasis always falls on looking at the big picture, but many miss out on the little picture which consists of the finer details, and these add depth to the overall big picture context. Why? By overlooking these details, the big picture will be out of proportion; different ideologies would clash and creativity would be stifled. Even in the workplace, it sometimes can be so hard to suggest a change to explore new and original ideas that people tend to stick with the tried and tested methods; it can be discouraging and exasperating at times.

The gospel reading says,Jesus said to his apostles:”Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me,and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

“Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because the little one is a disciple—amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward (Matthew 10:37-42).” 

Jesus loves us all very much and this can be seen in today’s gospel where our worth is measured by the immense love that He has for His creation. The only request that we do the same is evident in Jesus’s response by taking up our crosses to follow Him on this pilgrimage from beginning to end.

Carrying the crosses everyday is a challenge because these crosses might change over periods of time. Then there are the push and pull concepts of the teachings of the Catholic Church that clash with the teachings of the world. Who do we follow? It can cast us into a dilemma which is not easy to resolve or come to a mutual consensus – because there is none.

Even in divided concepts, we need to seek out the truth through conversations because the reward outweighs the setbacks. It is through these conversations that conversion of hearts can take place, but it is an outgoing process. Therefore, we need to choose God over any other earthly relationships because our reward will be great in heaven where Jesus has prepared a place for us.

When we feel rejected or betrayed by our choice in choosing God over our closest relations, we should not feel discouraged because we are carrying out the mission that Jesus has given to us, which is to endure and to keep the faith. Though the journey is long and fraught with complications, we will lose our old life and find new life in Jesus.

At times,we need to see the little picture and stand firm with the Church’s teachings because after all, it is through the promise of salvation and everlasting joy at the end which gives us meaning, and to allow us to grow in faith and uphold the moral values of the Church which is in accordance with God’s will.

I only pray for the determination and perseverance needed to choose God’s will over that of this earthly life which consists of heavy expectations and responsibilities. A mental note which I have told myself is to always take a step back when things gets too complicated or overwhelming. Sometimes, we all need to go away, take a breather and go back into the fray again. It is a never ending battle, but only Jesus can give us true and lasting joy and peace- so there is hope when the chapter comes to a close.

May we be ready, start now and trust that no matter what happens, we still belong to Jesus, and not let the world define our worth or value because ultimately we chart our own course, just like the captain of a ship, out in the open sea.

God Bless as we pray for one another and ask for forgiveness when mistakes are made, and for the greater capacity to love even when we are divided in the truth.

Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong

 

Worth-More or Worthless?

 

The Great Divide. As I turn the pages of the daily papers, I noticed that there is a new divide brewing within the context of society. Countries, figures of authority and people remain divided over issues, and some choose to co-operate, while others choose to divide people based on their own agenda or beliefs. I begin to wonder in the midst of this all, what is the worth of our humanity? Is simple conscience and the ability to differentiate between right and wrong gone?

The gospel begins by saying, “Jesus said to the Twelve:”Fear no one. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed,nor secret that will not be known. What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna. Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin?

“Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. Even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father (Matthew 10:26-33).” 

In this time and age where societal thinking and norms start to blur between the lines, it is important to continue to stay true to the teachings of the Church, for we must not be led astray, but to move towards the light, for it is where we hear God’s voice.

Be grateful for things that turn out well, and God can certainly surprise us, yet the father knows our needs and wants; he also knows our shortcomings and feelings of hopelessness. He challenges us to proclaim all that is positive and good to the people around us, to speak in the light and shout the many blessings received from the highest rooftops.

Though we might falter, Jesus tells us not to be afraid for though we are laden with sin, we are still worth more and so much more. However, society tells us otherwise. For me, people tell me otherwise and that leaves everything worthless, and it seems all the achievements are unable to match up to people’s expectations. It is  like a cycle and it gets repeated from time to time.

As I approach graduation ceremony, I have begun evaluating what is left of my remaining days as an undergraduate before I officially become a graduate. Did I do enough in my time as a student? Did I make full use of all the opportunities? Probably I did and I tried even if I might not be always successful all the time.

Then, there is the big question,”Will my parents be happy and proud?”, “Could I have done better?” Well, the truth is I do not know. People have many definitions of success, and some would require the best academic results to quantify having made it in terms of the hallmark of a graduate. I fear, and I also fear not because of not what I have done, but if what I had done is enough? It can be difficult to live up to people’s expectations. My expectation is simple, and I just do my best and leave the rest to God’s will. It seems easy but when you look around, and see others who are of a certain standard, it makes me wonder, am I worth less than them?

It can be so tiring and draining that it is like running a never-ending race.  I always have to keep looking over my shoulder, afraid that if I do not take up this opportunity, others will catch up with me. It is that competitive, and sadly, that is the way of the world now for the young. My heart sinks whenever I get compared with  such remarks as “Oh my results are that high;  how about yours?” I try to push these thoughts away, and try to pick myself up.

Listening to the gospel, I really liked the phrase,”So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” It is so reassuring, and it shows how much Jesus treasures us. He provides for the sparrows for I can see them in the gardens where they fly among the trees, and they are provided for. I know I have been blessed for the opportunities that come my way, but I am still afraid, still cautious too as I guess I am afraid of being a letdown to the people around me.

Dear Jesus, you know each of our fears and worries, comfort us in our time of uncertainty and diverse societal norms, for things are more complex now, as with the rising standards in education and social class, it can be difficult to know that we are worth so much more to You, than to society, our family,friends and the people around us. Help me always find You in these times and when I doubt You, reassure me that everything will be all right in the end. I pray that You will grant me a happy and peaceful graduation ceremony next month. I am doing so much to secure a better future and please give me the courage to be happy and not be overly overwhelmed, but for me to stop always looking over my shoulder.

I was listening to the radio while eating my lunch and the song that was playing was by Alanis Morissette which was titled,”Hand in my pocket” I really like this 90s song which I grew up listening to, and it brings to light the simplicity of life to stay happy despite all the pressures of the world. God Bless and I am grateful for the extra day this weekend!

“I’m broke but I’m happy
I’m poor but I’m kind
I’m short but I’m healthy, yeah
I’m high but I’m grounded
I’m sane but I’m overwhelmed
I’m lost but I’m hopeful baby
What it all comes down to
Is that everything’s gonna be fine fine fine
’cause I’ve got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is giving a high five
I feel drunk but I’m sober
I’m young and I’m underpaid
I’m tired but I’m working, yeah
I care but I’m restless
I’m here but I’m really gone
I’m wrong and I’m sorry baby

What it all comes down to
Is that everything’s gonna be quite alright
’cause I’ve got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is flicking a cigarette
And what it all comes down to
Is that I haven’t got it all figured out just yet
’cause I’ve got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is giving the peace sign
I’m free but I’m focused
I’m green but I’m wise
I’m hard but I’m friendly baby
I’m sad but I’m laughing
I’m brave but I’m chickenshit
I’m sick but I’m pretty baby

And what it all boils down to
Is that no one’s really got it figured out just yet
’cause I’ve got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is playing the piano
And what it all comes down to my friends
Is that everything’s just fine fine fine
’cause I’ve got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is hailing a taxi cab”

Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong

 

Corpus Christi Sunday: The Bread of Life

 

New Challenges. The transition from university to work life is not an easy one, as I often meet with challenges and obstacles. These have left me finding new ways in working round these challenges, but the amount of time and expectations needed to be fulfilled often left me truly tired at the end of the week. Rather, I just need to endure till the contract is up before deciding on more future plans, maybe even vacation plans.

The gospel begins by saying,Jesus said to the Jewish crowds: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”

The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. 

For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me
and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever (John 6:51-58).”

When I was younger and still in catechism class, I had a difficult time comprehending the meaning of the Holy Eucharist. Growing up, I begin to look at it containing the visage of Jesus where we are constantly reminded that in all our triumphs and tribulations, He is the only one Who can give us true salvation, the promise of eternal life.

So this begins my earnestness to find life everyday in Jesus, to trust Him in times of uncertainty and worries, and to count on Him so as not to falter in times of great stress. Jesus promises us the gift of eternal life by staying faithful and holding onto the cross. We will reap our rewards on the last day.

To describe the true joy and experience of the Holy Eucharist, there is a story about Blessed Imelda Lambertini of Bologna. God called her to the religious life at the age of nine years old and she entered the Dominican convent at such a young age.

That spring, on the Vigil of the Ascension, Imelda once again pleaded for the Eucharist, but the officiating priest refused her. Imelda would not take “no” for an answer this time, so she fervently asked Jesus for the grace to receive him.

After Mass, when nearly everyone had left the chapel, Imelda continued to pray. The sacristan noticed a growing bright light above Imelda’s head, and within the glow, a eucharistic host appeared.

The chaplain ran forward with a paten, and Imelda finally received the body of Christ. With a rapturous smile on her face and her hands upraised, Imelda instantly died on her knees. Those who tell the story say her heart broke from the greatness of Jesus’ love.

Her body never decomposed, and visitors can pray before the little patroness of First Communion at the Church of San Sigismondo in Bologna.”

Today is also Fathers’ Day, and we honour and remember our fathers and father figures, and for the sacrifices that they have made. Being a parent or a father figure is difficult as there are so many responsibilities that need shouldering. I think we do not thank our fathers and father figures enough.

This brings to mind the Lee family dispute; it is important to honour the father’s last wishes and this dispute can be settled amicably and peacefully as a house is but a physical structure. A house can be mended if exposed to wear and tear, but broken hearts might not be so easy to mend. There are many other ways to remember the past contributions of Singapore’s leaders and surely fighting over a house is not one of them.

Say a short prayer if your family is going through difficult times, as family ties are more important at the end of the day.

May we continue to pray for each other, that we may experience the love of Jesus and treasure our family by being grateful for them. Let us continue loving one another as Jesus has commanded us.

Father Day’s Prayer 

Dear Lord,
So much attention has been given to mothers that often fathers are forgotten. We are not able to cry as mothers do when things become difficult. Yet we often cry quietly within, worrying about so many things. We have to keep the family safe, provide for the family, save enough for our children’s education and worry that they will grow up wrong.

Yet we face the dilemma of being too hard that we may hurt our children or too soft that we may spoil them. All too often we face a conflicted guilt of spending too much time in our work to provide for the family and then feel bad that we have so little time for our wives and children. We have wanted many times to say sorry for this, but do not even know where to begin.

But through it all, we fathers thank You, for the many joys that come with being fathers. The joys of realizing how we can love our children unconditionally, seeing them growing up at every stage of their lives, and most of all, whenever they turn out right.

Please Lord, help us fathers to be always wise and fair in our dealings, to have patience and unconditional love. In all that we do and be, help us to build a family that empowers our wives to be happy, our children to turn out right and to be God-fearing. Finally, help us fathers to remember that we are called fathers after You, who is Father of us all. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Credits to Fr Joachim (Church of the Transfiguration)

Happy Father’s Day and God Bless!

Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong

 

Holy Trinity Sunday: Branded by the Trinity

 

The sign of the cross. Many Catholics do this gesture with reverence, while others make the sign due to habitual instinct. However, do we really know the meaning behind the sign of the cross? Comprehending the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) is a mystery- 3 entities, 1 body and the simple illustration would be if one says that he is a husband or a parent, then he must have children, or a spouse. Therefore, this illustrates the profound meaningfulness of the Trinity that every aspect of it fits together seamlessly.

But the Trinity symbolizes something easily overlooked or taken for granted due to its perceived simplicity. This symbol is love, and we are called to be in the communion of love with Jesus and the people around us. This communion of love can be described as “The love between the Father, and the Son, and the breath that they share between them is that Holy Spirit.” The quote is by a friar during his sermon and it so aptly describes the call to love and to serve with love.

The gospel begins by saying, “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God (John 3:16-18).”

So much truth is being said in the gospel, because sometimes, I feel that the world has so much of the bad, that I wonder where the good had gone to? For good men will not perish and Jesus has come to save the world, and not condemn it. It is through sinful actions and temptations that corrupts or stalls God’s plan in saving humanity.

Through our baptism and confirmation, we have been branded by the Trinity and through the sign of the cross, we convey this love of God to others and glorify His name. This action serves as a reminder to live life that is deeply rooted in God’s love and we can complete the work of God in our lives that he has sent us out to do.

I was going about my usual day when I saw the news report that the father  otter of a family of otters at Singapore had passed on and poisoning was suspected. I was saddened by its passing, and decided that since we are called to love society and more so creation.

The otters living in Singapore only re-emerged after a few years of absence due to the government’s and nature groups’ efforts in cleaning the waterways. However, the reason why I asked if there is still love in society is because there have been reports of unidentified individuals who have been covering the otters’ homes deliberately. It is through such acts of cruelty that has jeopardized the existence of these beautiful creatures.

Many times, I have pondered, when these people carry out these actions, do they have a conscience or is their whole devoid of the slightest compassion? Illegal fishing is also another issue that have been putting these otters at risk. Hooks from these activities get caught in these creatures which cause injuries and could even lead to death. If only people spare a thought, the world would indeed be a better place.

There is so much to learn from animals such as the otters on love. Even though the father otter was sick and unwell, he still watched over the mother otters and the pups, never once leaving their side. So you see, love is truly being there for each other till the end. Now, I pray for the safety of the mother otter and the pups as she will need to care for her family on her own. Sometimes the absence of a father puts great stress on the mother and her family and this is like the parallel of human relationships. Now there are only the Marina Bay Sands and Bishan Park otter families, but they do move around.

I appeal to society if you have the slightest conscience and humanity to spare a thought for these animals. If you do not like them for whatever reason- just leave them alone. Your selfish actions does not do anyone good. Before you do anything, do think of the consequences and have more compassion because it will do the world alot more good. Right now, the world needs more good than anything else, and this is true always.

It makes me sad and sometimes angry that even such basic values have to be spoken time and time again especially towards the care for creation. Truly, society has so much to learn about love and co-existence, that even if it is just me speaking up, I will continue to do so. It takes more to create goodness and to make people understand the message that I am trying to bring across. The reality is that society seems to not be able to treasure the good things that are given to them.

Just think of the recent bicycle sharing incidents.

May society come to experience God’s love and also always remember to carry out actions with love and reminding people around them to do the same. Forgiveness and compassion will continue to be instilled in society so that more good can come out in tailoring effective policy and mindset shifts and changes.

God Bless! and remember to always choose love and when we are tempted to do otherwise, always look to the Trinity for direction and guidance!

Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong

 

Pentecost Sunday

 

Birth. Today marks the birth of the Church where the disciples were touched by the Holy Spirit. Birthdays are a time of great joy and celebration, and we too are called to embrace the gifts of the Spirit and to be in touch with  living. This allows us to be led, filled and anointed  by the Spirit in many ways that only we are aware of.

The gospel begins by saying, “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained (John 20:19-23).”

The Upper Room was where it all began and where the disciples were renewed with the Spirit and affirmed of their faith. The disciples were led by Jesus and they remained faithful, though at times, they still had their own fears and doubts. Jesus knew that the disciples were not perfect, but their intentions and heart were in the right place of goodness and good works.

In their most uncertain hour, Jesus came to them to put their restless hearts at peace and to give them the mission of the Church which is to be of service to the rest of the world. Before the disciples set out, Jesus gave them the Holy Spirit, a part of the Trinity , the Third Person, through our baptism and confirmation.

The Holy Spirit does come from God, and all goodness does flow through him, therefore when we discern whether the promptings are from the Spirit, we would know if our intentions and work do not contravene the teachings of the Church. Also, acts of the Holy Spirit will bear us fruits that will last, meaning that the goodness of the Spirit continues and multiplies. It is not a one-off action.

The Holy Spirit has always played a huge role in my life, but at times, it can be difficult to discern between the Spirit’s promptings and those of our own will. In most cases, it is the Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. This is where prayer and continuous discernment come into action, where we are called to look and re-look if the Spirit is really calling us into action.

In essence, akin to that of a relationship, we too need to acknowledge the presence of the Spirit and pray to receive His gifts  which are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, piety and fear of the Lord. Then, we can use these gifts to direct others unto the path of righteousness and courage to fight for what is right for the common benefit towards society.

Next week, I begin a new chapter after university life which is working life filled with new challenges, tasks and expectations. I have to be prepared to face all of them to the best of my ability and trust that Jesus will provide as I surrender everything (pain, imperfections and tiredness) to his will.

May the Spirit continue to guide each of us to continue the discipleship of great service and compassion to mankind in times of uncertainty and trials. We pray that our actions will bear lasting fruits and create greater impacts within the fabric of society. Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love! God Bless!

Veni, Sancte Spiritus

Come, Holy Spirit, come!
And from your celestial home
Shed a ray of light divine!
Come, Father of the poor!
Come, source of all our store!
Come, within our bosoms shine.
You, of comforters the best;
You, the soul’s most welcome guest;
Sweet refreshment here below;
In our labor, rest most sweet;
Grateful coolness in the heat;
Solace in the midst of woe.

O most blessed Light divine,
Shine within these hearts of yours,
And our inmost being fill!
Where you are not, we have naught,
Nothing good in deed or thought,
Nothing free from taint of ill.
Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour your dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away:
Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.
On the faithful, who adore
And confess you, evermore

In your sevenfold gift descend;
Give them virtue’s sure reward;
Give them your salvation, Lord;
Give them joys that never end. Amen.
Alleluia.