Yesterday, I felt a sense of reassurance as I went about the day for morning Chinese New Year mass, visiting of family members and going for the usual Sunday Obligation mass. Aside from attending mass and experiencing the Eucharist twice, the readings assured me that God always provides and comes to the rescue of His people. Rather than just focusing solely on our worries, we should just hope in the will of God that His will be done. It is true that today has enough problems on its own and we should not even begin to worry about tomorrow, but to take it to the Lord in prayer.
During the Lunar New Year, other than just the festive food that we are filling ourselves with, we must grow in abundance spiritually and grow more in our faith as Christians. A better way to remember to put on more weight in our faith journey with Jesus would be through the acronym, F.A.T. It stands for Faithful, Available and Teachable. This is also the key to happiness as the secular world can only provide us with temporal happiness which is fleeting and sometimes bring us more harm than good. These harms can present themselves as sin and more so manifest in addictions and destruction of self.
By being faithful means to always find the time for God as our will is insufficient to cross boundaries but with God, anything is possible. Being available means to be present in spending time with God in prayer or during mass. We need to be present to seek and experience his presence in the Eucharist or through prayer.
To be teachable means learning from our mistakes and admitting them. This will allow us to learn and battle the temptations and sin that plague us.
The gospel reading begins by saying,“When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. He began to teach them, saying,”Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. Blessed are the peacemakers,for they will be called children of God. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven (Matthew 5:1-12 A).”
I have always been grateful and encouraged to read the beatitudes as it forms the basis of living out the life that God wants us to be – in his image and attitude. I was listening to the homily during mass which helped me understand the beatitudes on a deeper level.
- Blessed are the poor in spirit (This means those who are experiencing poverty and do not have the physical means to access the basic necessities such as clothing, food, water and housing) While we enjoy this festive season, may we keep the poor in our community in our prayers and extend our help to them if we know those around us who are unable to partake in the festivities.
- Blessed are they who mourn (This means those who seek justice and the choice to do the right things even when people around them do not) Many times there are injustices in situations where we are tested to make the right choice based on our virtues and morals. But, what is the choice we decide to make?
- Blessed are the meek (The word meek is not a sign of weakness or timidness, rather it is the call to holy gentleness.) Many of the saints and even holy men and women do not resort to violence and seek peace even when they are persecuted or mocked at by others. It is the most difficult virtue, I think, as it requires patience and forgiveness to step aside and not retaliate.
The rest of the beatitudes are straightforward as they are linked to each other. Living them out can be challenging at times, but we need to strive and work towards improving our own lives before we can experience true happiness and pass it on to others.
Let us pray and always remember to pick the path of righteousness and like the saints to always choose peace instead of violence or rejection towards others. May we be reminded that true happiness lies in the eternal reward of heaven and may we project heaven unto others with the right virtues and morals in our own lives. Amen.
Here is wishing everyone a blessed and happy Lunar New Year; may we be reminded to extend our kindness and generosity to those in the community and to those we meet. God Bless!
Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong