I am late in posting because I have been caught up in communal service and with the tons of assignments and projects as the semester is slowly but surely drawing to a close. It has been an emotional and tiring week with very little rest, but I guess rest comes in due time. So many things have happened and I do not know where to begin writing.
As I make my way through life everyday, I realise that people are slowly giving into secularization and worldly temptations. I myself have been tempted and will always be tempted to give in to the secularization of society so that values, virtues and even religion is slowly forgotten and becoming eroded. A spiritual relationship with God becomes irrelevant and even human relationships get forgotten due to advancement of technology. The call is to fight secularization and to slow down the process which is to maintain the relationships with both God and people through consistent communication.
The strength to fight against secularization begins in a small way in the very lives we lead daily such as in school or work. But for us to be prepared spiritually, we need spiritual food for nourishment because just like disciples, we are all not perfect. Spiritual food comes in the form of mass, prayers, healing, affirmation, quiet time and just being in the presence of Jesus.
Last week in the miracle of the 5 loaves and 2 fish, a way we can reach out to others is through the acknowledgment of our gifts given to us by Jesus because he wants to move us and to move others through our actions and words. “So in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully” (Romans 12:5-8). Everyone has gifts and every new day is a gift from our Creator God.
I am grateful for the Catholic community that I have because it makes the fight of secularization somewhat better while keeping that openness with people and God. For me, I am thankful that I made it to where I am today because without my religion, I would have probably ended up somewhere worse. To open the hearts of people, we are called to be free, open, forgiving, trusting and loving. If I have to choose one which I find it hardest to do, it would be to forgive someone.
Forgiveness is something that the secular world does not view as important as hate, judgement, grudges and stereotypes take the place of forgiveness. It is hard for me to forgive because of the hurts and anger that I feel which is holding me back. However, since God is love, I have learned to accept and love people regardless of their past or background as everyone deserves a chance at redemption and an spiritual encounter.
I pray that Jesus continues to remind me that he is everywhere and to allow his will to be done in my life through the spiritual food that he provides; the ability to just breathe is already a gift, a simple yet unnoticed aspect. The gospel text speaks about the importance of spiritual food by stating, ” Do not work for the food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you” (John 6:24-35).
I would like to end this post with a praise and worship song “Mighty to Save” by Hillsong that reflects my gratitude to Jesus for guiding me when I am lost, broken or tired.
“Everyone needs compassion,
Love that’s never failing;
Let mercy fall on me.
Everyone needs forgiveness,
The kindness of a Saviour;
The Hope of nations.
Saviour,He can move the mountains,
My God is Mighty to save,
He is Mighty to save.
Forever, Author of salvation,
He rose and conquered the grave,
Jesus conquered the grave.
So take me as You find me,
All my fears and failures,
Fill my life again.
I give my life to follow
Everything I believe in,
Now I surrender.”
May we continue to pray for greater unity and acceptance in our Catholic communities that no one should be denied of the love and mercy of Jesus. God Bless!
Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong