Monday, 19 February 2007

Happy Chinese New Year

Wishing all of you a very happy and prosperous Chinese New Year as we celebrate the year of the Pig.

Today, we the Singapore-Malaysia priests and religious gathered at the Canossian Convent for the celebration of the Chinese New Year. It was indeed great for me, since I have not really celebrated in such a way for the past 5 years. We celebrated the Eucharist, in thanksgiving for the blessings we have received and for a New Year. Interestingly, our main celebrant is an Indian, but this reflects the harmonious society of Singapore and Malaysia where we are mult-cultural. After the Mass, the canossian sisters prepared a sumptous lunch, with "lou hei".

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

Signs of Love

In today's Gospel reading, the pharisees asked Jesus for a sign, despite all that Jesus had done before them. How often we too, consciously or unconsciously ask Jesus to give us a sign. Yet, the greatest sign God has given us is His love, made present in the Eucharist. If only we can have the eyes of faith to see.

When we are in profound comunion with the Lord, the sign of signs becomes his presence, or better, the faith in his presence. There are many signs that are important in our life. Some signs indicate friendship, harmony, while others can be exactly opposite. The signs can create sympathy or antipathy, they can ignite harmony or disharmony. For instance, when someone gives a gift, it is a sign of profound sentiment, non measured by the value of the object given. A sign has the value for establishing a relationship and bond.
(cf. Messa Meditazione)

Sunday, 11 February 2007

God Will Provide the Friends We Need

I heard much about Henri Nouwen and used to think his writing are hard to reach. It was only recent year that I began to appreciate his writings as I found out how he wrote so simply and humanly about his personal experiences that I can relate well. I found lots of consolations and encouragements through them. Recently I came upon two books that compiled his writings from different books that I like very much. Since they are collections from his different books, I do not read from page 1, but rather pick the topic that appeals to me, or sometimes I will just turn the pages at random. Interestingly, usually the pages I turned to speak to me just exactly what I needed to hear. I believe it is God's way of speaking to me.

Here's one page I would like to share:

To whom do we go for advice? With whom do we spend our free evenings? With whom are we going on vacation? Sometimes we speak or act as if we have little choice in the matter. Sometimes we act as though we will be lucky if there is anyone who wants to be our friend. But that is a very passive and even fatalistic attitude. If we truly believe that God loves us with an unlimited, unconditional love, then we can trust that there are women and men in this world who are eager to show us that love. But we cannot wait passively until someone shows up to offer us friendship. As people who trust in God's love, we must have the courage and the confidence to say to someone through whom God's love becomes visible to us: "I would like to get to know you. I would like to spend time with you. I would like to develop a friendship with you. What about you?"

There will be no's, there will be the pain of rejection. But when we determine to avoid all no's and all rejections, we will never create the milieu where we can grow stronger and deepen in love. God became human for us to make divine love tangible. That is what incarnation is all about. That incarnation not only happened long ago, but it continues to happen for those who trust that God will give us the friends we need. But the choice is ours!
(Here and Now)

Saturday, 3 February 2007


A little incident happened yesterday while travelling on the Metro that kept me thinking. A young 'gypsy' with her little sister (I supposed) walked from the beginning of the train, with the little girl hanging a toy keyboard round her neck (with music) and holding a broken paper cup asking for money. Obviously the people have been so used to this kind of scene that hardly anybody took notice of them or even offer them anything. Just a while ago, an old lady came up the metro, sounding a bit "off" her mind as she was talking to herself loudly that the people either were trying to turn away or laughing at her. Just as when she saw the two 'travellers', she called out "Hey, piccola, vieni!', literally means: little girl, come. The little girl was hesitant and looked a bit afraid, but the woman continued to call out. So, they went to her and she started looking into her plastic bag, mumbling: let's see what we have got here, wait. Then, there she goes, taking out a pack of waffle biscuit and gave to the little girl. She even asked the older one if she wants another. The 2 sisters continued they 'business' and she just seemed nothing happened.

Just as we, who call ourselves 'normal', look indifferent to the people in need (probably because it is just such a common scene that we take for granted) and there, people whom we judge as 'abnormal' are the ones extending help to them. Are we normal then? Maybe we no longer trust that these people are in real needs. Maybe it never cross our mind that there are other ways to help these people besides giving money. To what extend can we help or reach out to these people?