Well, 2016 has finally ended and I am back from my short vacation, with many thoughts swirling in my mind. As I look back at the ending moments of 2016, there have been numerous sad passing of celebrity icons such as the late George Michael, Carrie Fisher and her mother, Debbie Reynolds. Now, as I was reflecting on the gospel reading, I realised that maternal figures do play a significant role in our lives.
The gospel reading begins by saying,“The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told to them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them. When eight days were completed for his circumcision, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb (Luke 2:16-21).”
The late Carrie Fisher was a maternal figure to many people as she had a special column which showed how willing she was to give advice to people, based on circumstances that she did not know them. Even though they were strangers, she still answered their questions to the best to her ability and still encouraged them. She wanted more so to build relationships and were always there for people. Truly one of a kind, as she was still up and about doing a book tour before her unfortunate ailment. “Tell me your story, I’ll tell you mine. We’ll meet at the pub and get back into the swing. What have you got to lose? Time mostly (which is a human construct), but you’ll have an anecdote and advice in exchange – who could ask for anything more?”
Another role model would be Mother Mary because she is our mother and did not once try to run away from the immense responsibility in bringing Jesus into the world. She prayed and kept the word of God alive in her heart in building a relationship with God, centered on trust and patience.
Before the New Year begun, I had the opportunity to visit The Church of St Thomas More in Subang Jaya, Malaysia. A small and vibrant parish tucked away in the corner of an industrial estate. My family wanted to visit the church because of this news report that was circulating but more so because we were in that area. As we drove to the area, it was raining heavily and we found the premises to be locked. But the guard opened the gate for us and so began our afternoon spent with Mother Mary.
The moment we stepped into the compound of the church, it started to rain more heavily and we spent some time taking photographs. After that, we went to pray at the grotto of Mother Mary and also in the main church. It was amazing that given all the rush, we still managed to find time and devotion to God and Mother Mary by spending half of the afternoon with her.
At the entrance of the door to the church is the phrase,”I die the King’s loyal servant but God’s first”, and this is what St Thomas More believed in. He is the patron saint of lawyers, civil servants and politicians. May we continue to grow in our faith and turn to our Mother Mary and the saints for their intercession and guidance through the New Year of 2017.
I pray, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, that I, with you, St. Thomas More, may be trustworthy with confidences, keen in study, accurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, able in argument, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, ever attentive to conscience. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients’ tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul.
Pray for me, and with me, that my family may find in me what Your family found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain—their good servant, but God’s first. Amen.
I would like to end this post with the scripture reading,“May the Lord bless you and keep you! The Lord let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace! (Numbers 6:22-27).” Happy New Year and God Bless!
Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong