Preparing our hearts for Easter

posted Feb 16, 2018, 7:29 PM by Church of the Risen Christ   [ updated Feb 16, 2018, 7:30 PM ]

18 February 2018 ( 1ST SUNDAY OF LENT )
Preparing our hearts for Easter
This week we enter into the Holy Season of Lent. Lent means "spring", and springtime is associated with hope and fresh growth. But before experiencing growth we must, like Jesus, first go through the "desert experience" and encounter the "wild animals". What is this desert experience? It is the experience of dryness and deprivation. We need to experience the dark before we can fully appreciate the light. In the same way, it is when we go through the Lenten observation of fasting and penance that we can fully experience the joys of Easter. And like Jesus we, too, need to contend with the "wild animals" in our lives. "Wild animals" could mean different things for different people. To some of us it could be our passions and things that we find hard to control. To others it could be the bad habits and the things we find hard to give up. In fighting our selfish impulses, we strengthen our will. And through the grace of God we will overcome our wieldy passions and experience the joys of Easter, which is Christ's victory over sin and death.

Rules can help - or hinder

posted Feb 9, 2018, 7:55 AM by Church of the Risen Christ   [ updated Feb 12, 2018, 3:31 PM ]

11 February 2018 ( 6TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME )
Rules can respect - or hinder
We are all bound by rules of some form or other. There are school rules and traffic rules. And when we join a club or download a computer application, there are more rules to follow. What should our attitude be towards rules? This week's readings show two contrasting situations. First, in St Paul's letter to the Corinthians we have a situation where mature Christians may consume food offered to idols. This is be cause they know that there is only one God, and therefore the idols are non-gods. But in order not to cause a scandal among new Christians, Paul says that mature Christians should willingly refrain from eating it. In contrast the gospel passage tells of a leper who broke the law by leaving the leper's colony to approach Jesus for a cure. And Jesus, instead of condemning the man for breaking the confinement law, cured him of his disease. Rules are generally made to uphold public order and safety, and to protect the rights and interests of various parties. But certain laws need to be reconsidered if they go against the law of charity towards our neighbor.

How is our relationship with God

posted Feb 2, 2018, 8:04 AM by Church of the Risen Christ   [ updated Feb 2, 2018, 8:04 AM ]

4 February 2018 ( 5th Sunday In Ordinary Time )
This week's readings make us reflect on our personal relationship with God. It was a long day for Jesus as he went about healing people with all kinds of illness and those possessed by evil spirits. He healed them on the streets and in the synagogues. And when he learned that Simon's mother-in-law was ill, Jesus went all the way to her house and healed her as well. And the passage says she immediately waited on them. Many people were healed and they must have reacted in many different ways -- joy, surprise, relief. These are the normal ways people react, but what is lacking sometimes is gratitude. People want the gifts but don't think twice about the giver. We need to ask ourselves: How is our own relationship with God? Do we treat God like a dispensing machine, expecting God to give us blessings and healing when we need them? Then forget Him once we get what we want? Or are we more like Simon's mother-in-law, who used her gift of healing to serve others? We, too, should use the gifts of our time, talents or healing, in service to others.

Prophetic Witnessing to Christ’s Authority

posted Jan 26, 2018, 7:05 AM by Church of the Risen Christ   [ updated Jan 26, 2018, 7:07 AM ]

28 January 2018 ( 4TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME )

It was the wish of the Israelites that God should raise up a prophet from among their own kinsmen as foretold by Moses in today’s First Reading from the book of Deuteronomy. Throughout the course of salvation history, the oracles of the prophets foretold of a new lawgiver who preached about the law of love on the Mount in the New Testament, he too is the one who leads his people on a new exodus into the Kingdom of God liberating them from the clutches of sin and death. Jesus taught with authority because he is the living Word of God. We are all witnesses to this living Word. We have no authority of our own; we simply proclaim his Word. Each member of the Church, by virtue has a prophetic role by virtue of their baptism and confirmation. The prophets of old were strident opponents of the status quo and spoke out against many injustices. May our words, gestures and lives give prophetic witness to Christ’s authority today.

God changes everything

posted Jan 19, 2018, 7:40 AM by Church of the Risen Christ   [ updated Jan 19, 2018, 7:41 AM ]

21 January 2018 ( 3RD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME )
God changes everything
At the heart of every vocation is answering the call from God. The call today is not that much different from the call that Jonah, or Simon, or Andrew heard. It is a call to “come follow me.” As with any commitment, we usually think we know what it will entail, but time often proves us wrong. The call is made manifest a day at a time; sometimes we impose our wills on God that God would give us a map of clear guidelines and a definite budget along with our “Yes” to Him not wanting to be led to the fullness of life in accordance to His will. Sometimes it’s not about the task but the process of our own transformation. Jesus announces in today’s Gospel that the Kingdom of God is near. God would most certainly bring His plan for us to fruition. Whatever our vocation may be, with humble trust and faith in God he will change everything.

Called and never the same

posted Jan 12, 2018, 6:40 AM by Church of the Risen Christ   [ updated Jan 12, 2018, 6:41 AM ]

14 January 2018 ( 2ND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME )

Called and never the same
Samuel’s story today exemplified the dynamics of God’s call. Eli’s wisdom and friendship were necessary in helping Samuel discern his call and hear the voice of the Lord. When we come before the Lord to listen to His Word, the cry of our hearts should be that of Samuel: “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.” But that isn’t always the case for us. In the Gospel, we see Jesus taking the initiative through a deep theological question to which Andrew and Simon Peter responded to his invitation to believe, discovered what his life was like, and they “stayed on” living in him and he in them. Being called doesn’t require any qualifications or merit like Samuel and the first disciples Jesus called. What matters the most is the total response we give to God in the dynamics of His proposal to us, we will never be the same because he has called us, loved us, changed us and made us into his image.

Offering the Little We Have

posted Jan 5, 2018, 2:57 PM by Church of the Risen Christ   [ updated Jan 5, 2018, 2:57 PM ]

7 January 2018 ( The Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord )

The encounter of the Magi with King Herod in today’s Gospel presents us with three different reactions to the birth of Jesus. The first is that of hatred. Herod hated Jesus because he was a potential threat to his kingship. To the scribes and the Pharisees, Jesus was the radical law reformer who lashed out at their scrupulosity of the Law. Many people today oppose Christ and His Church because of their selfishness and unjust lives. The second reaction was that of indifference, the scribes, Pharisees and chief priests knew of the prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures that foretold His birth but their own selfishness superseded their quest for the truth impeding them from visiting the Christ child. The third was that of adoration. The Magi and the shepherds offered the only gifts they had in adoration of the Christ child, their love, tears of joy and that of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Let us offer what little gifts we have today to Him who was born. Come let us adore Him!

Walking in Faith

posted Dec 29, 2017, 9:18 AM by Church of the Risen Christ   [ updated Dec 31, 2017, 9:04 AM ]

31 December 2017 ( Feast of the Holy family )
Walking in Faith
The presentation of Jesus was one of the first outings Jesus, Mary and Joseph took as a family. Mary and Joseph were still adjusting to their new roles as mother and father, and they were still wondering about this baby they were holding in their hands. They were still puzzled by what the Angel Gabriel had told them: that their child would be great and will be called Son of the Most High; and he will occupy the throne of David and his reign will have no end. Now at the temple, they received a few more clues to the destiny of their child. Simeon told Mary that her child was destined for the rise and fall of many in Israel, and will face much opposition; and a sword will pierce her soul so that the secret thoughts of many may be laid bare. And the prophetess Anna further predicted that their child was the long awaited one who would deliver Jerusalem. We see that even the Holy Family were not given supernatural powers to see ahead, but had to feel their way and walk in faith.

Following the example of Mary

posted Dec 22, 2017, 8:42 AM by Church of the Risen Christ   [ updated Dec 22, 2017, 8:43 AM ]

24 December 2017 ( 4TH SUNDAY OF ADVENT )
Following the example of Mary
Some of us have big plans for God. We plan a project to the last detail and get the best people to run it. But when things don't turn out the way we expect it, we are disappointed. We always feel stressed out and frustrated when we insist on doing things our way. In contrast, Mary had no big plans for God. She simply availed herself to Him. In fact, she thought some of the things the angel Gabriel told her to do were not realistic and beyond her capabilities. But she trusted God completely and said yes to Him anyway. That was the greatness of Mary. It was not that she, herself, did great things for God. But that she allowed God to do great things through her. If we emulate the example of Mary in our ministry work, God will pave the way for things to turn out right -- but according to His plan, not ours! Yes, we will still face hurdles and objections, but we will be able to maintain our equanimity and walk with a calm assurance that God is in control of our destiny.

Being more fervent and effective witnesses

posted Dec 15, 2017, 7:21 AM by Church of the Risen Christ   [ updated Dec 15, 2017, 7:22 AM ]

17 December 2017 ( 3RD SUNDAY OF ADVENT )
Being more fervent and effective witnesses
This week's gospel passage puts the spotlight on John the Baptist and his role as herald, or messenger, of the good news of Jesus Christ. We remember how he leapt for joy while in the womb of his mother Elizabeth when she received Mary, who was herself pregnant with Jesus. Now we see John pointing the way to Jesus. "I baptize you with water, but among you stands one whom you do not know; although he comes after me, I am not worthy to untie the straps of his sandals". As Christians we, too, have a role to play as witnesses for Christ. And what better role model can we have than John the Baptist? John was a straight shooter. There's no deceit in him and no hint of an inflated ego. He did not call attention to himself but gave testimony to the light, which is Christ. His leaping in his mother's womb gives the impression of someone who is joyful or passionate. May God grant us the spirit and passion of John the Baptist for us to be more fervent and effective witnesses of Christ in our lives.

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