Yesterday’s mass was celebrated by Fr Philip Lai who is a Redemptorist priest as he helps in Holy Spirit’s Parish mission. Today’s gospel reading is bleak as it speaks about Jesus’s Second Coming and the separation of the good and evil people. Jesus gives an analogy by saying, “all the nations will be assembled before him and he will separate one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. ” (Matthew 25:31-46).
Despite the foretelling of judgement day, there is a lesson to be learned; which is that our present actions are far more important to help prepare us to be ready for Christ’s Second Coming. Jesus tells us to be more aware of the plight of others in our midst that might be the least, the last or the lost in life. He speaks to us on a more personal level by telling us, “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.” Jesus gives us the choice of either being the sheep or the goat.
Previously, I used to not like to help people as I felt that it required a great effort and time to find solutions to their problems, when I am unable to solve my own. This created a mental barrier so that I turned away when others needed my help. However, as I grow older, I have begun to be more aware to help others; a simple act of kindness out of compassion can go a long way, even though the people may often be strangers. I have understood that Jesus is present in these people and he calls us to be there for those that are the least, such as the poor and lonely in society.
The last in society are our enemies and people that we dislike for whatever reason. It is difficult for me to love my enemies as their actions do not deserve love, but I should know better. After all, we all are sinners, so who am I to say otherwise? Despite our inadequacies, we are called to be tolerant and be cordial to those we cannot get along with as Jesus treats everyone the same and he is most patient with us. Like a shepherd, he will go all his way out just to find the one lost sheep.
The last in society could mean those that are weaker than us and those who fall behind. I have been in that position before and I know how difficult it is to keep up when everyone is at the front. It is a dark and dangerous place to be, but I always know that there will be a glimmer of hope. Next would be the people who are lost that have turned away from the church. I know of people who do not have a Christ-centered life and they often ask me, “Why do you go to church?” or “Why do you join CS?” I feel sad for these people as they are lacking a direction in their life and they do not even try. Their remarks hurt me but I am not swayed as Jesus had paid the ultimate price through his death on the cross and I pray that Jesus will make himself known to them.
Fr Philip also spoke about “Terminal Syndrome” which are the onset of feelings of regret and sadness when we fail to do the right things through our actions and intentions. It is true that we realise why we could not have done better in life when the real problem is that we over-think and neglect our present actions. Therefore, we are called to repent and be closer to Jesus through prayer.
Last night, I accompanied my parents to the neighbourhood Catholic group meeting to say the rosary and during fellowship, a question was raised, ” Why are priests celibate?, Why do they not have the option to marry like Christian pastors?” The concept of celibacy is the act of love of God, other than love of self. It is the ultimate surrender to Jesus to place our whole life in his hands. It also guards against temptation of the flesh and helps them to block out all other influences. Though it looks difficult, celibacy puts the focus onto God as a vow of chastity and obedience and away from self or anything else.
I thank Jesus that he has helped me out with the last week of school in ensuring that everything goes smoothly and to also find time to be with him and provide a listening ear to my friends who needed some advice. These small acts, though they are small, are great in Jesus’s eyes. May we be generous in helping others and those who need our help the most. It is amazing that the Church of the Holy Spirit has a youth retreat from 5 to 7 December, and it is called SEEK for youths 15-25, but I will not be going as it takes place during my exam period.
As we conclude the liturgical year and move on to Advent next week, may we serve Jesus through others and keep the faith and make it to the end of the year and beyond. Hopefully we move to greener pastures with the Lord as our Shepherd guiding us. God Bless!
Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong