A Constant Pursuit

In the morning, he greets me with a cheery message. It brightens up my day (quite literally) and sets the tone for the rest of it. I return with a quick word of thanks and would tell him what I had on for the day ahead. I share with him my excitement, my dread and complain a little but somehow bearing a lot of hope because in the end, I know he would understand.

The morning gets a little rushed sometimes and I talk to him while I walk (faster than I jog) to work. It is a beautiful moment to feel the world rushing by but his love steadying my being. Other days, the mornings are silent and I just… work, those days I never remember.

At work, I hear from him but it is a rather surface level conversation we have. I think about him when I read some catholic stuff on the internet or on wednesdays I meet him at lunchtime mass. It is almost like a formality but there are little bits of emotion that leave me genuinely happy. There used to be these regular dates when I met him at 6.30pm just for some time together, I miss those days.

More often than not, we go out with another friend and it is funny how he does not talk much but his presence just makes me come alive, especially when he is standing in the center.  At 11, we end up in ado and have an intimate chat there. Like how yesterday I was really burdened but the mere act of honestly talking to him lifted all that and I went back as happy as can be. No big gifts that impress, just his love that makes the troubles of this world seem so small.

❤ Jes


So we’ve come to the end of one full run of Scripture Reflections. And we’re about to begin a new initiative this week – a 300-word faith story. 

Here’s how it goes: Share one aspect of your faith in EXACTLY 300 words. No more, no less. And no cheating on grammar.

You can share about anything at all. Maybe you want to share about sin, sacraments or spirituality. Or you can share about the Trinity, transubstantiation or the Transfiguration. You can even share about C.S. Lewis, LOTR or love.

As long as it is exactly 300 words.

Because the tyranny of form unlocks the freedom of substance. Within the confines of a standardized format, a writer is liberated to go anywhere with his content.  In fixing our gaze on the arbitrary, we free ourselves to pursue what really matters.

Thus flows creativity – that wonderfully inspiring quality that is our inherent birthright as the children of our Creator.

For glory and honor (to God)!

TONIGHT (or a bit later in the future), WE DINE IN HELLAVEN.

Mk10:35-45 [29th Sunday in Ordinary Time]

21st October, 2012 Readings: 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

I. The sons of Zebedee make their request

When James and John asked Jesus to allow them to sit beside him, Jesus rebuked them as not knowing what they were asking for. Jesus saw through it that they were concerned with their status in the eyes of others. What they were mistaken was that no one should ask for recognition of status, but to earn it.

We see this humanly trait manifested often. Simple things like claiming credit for leading a group. Leading a group per se doesn’t grant recognition as of right. If we don’t deserve it, it is not our place to ask for it. One of the ways to earn it is by serving, in which we now turn to.

II. Leadership with service

Jesus tells us that anyone who wants to become great among people must be their servant. The son of man did not come to be served, but to serve. We should not impose our authority and ascendancy onto others.

The main thrust of the gospel has been drilled into us time and time again in schools –  ‘Servant Leadership’ whatchamacallit. Leadership should be an unenviable position. Only those who do it for the right reasons deserve such recognition.

III. Reflection

So, if you are called to serve next time, observe your first reaction to that call: are you willing to serve, or do you despise the idea of serving as a slave and not being recognized in the manner you expect?

However, does the Gospel preclude credit altogether? No. I would distinguish what is duly earned from what is underserved. One may still be deserving of credit or remuneration arising therefrom if one duly earns it. It becomes undeserved if it is not commensurate with or in excess of the service put in.

– Paul Yap

Mk10:17-30 [28th Sunday in Ordinary Time]

14th October, 2012 Readings: 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

This week’s Gospel is telling us so much, so I had to split the reading into a few parts and slowly milk those words.

“Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

What must I do to inherit eternal life? This is the question we ask God constantly. At least I do. At the end of the day, we all desire to return to God, and be complete in His love. There is so much reward in Heaven, yet God says it simply: Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me. The exchange sounds pretty good right? Your life and temporary worldly possessions (like money) in exchange for eternal life, love and heavenly treasures?

Of course it is not that simple! We always struggle to fully follow Jesus. There are so many pull factors in the secular world, like the desire for academic success, success in the working world, temptations, material possessions and even peer influence (the list goes on). We also often find ourselves getting too comfortable in our daily routines until we end up basking in our stagnancy and stasis (This may even apply to our spirituality). We just can’t let go, or are afraid to let go, of what we think is security.

God challenges us this week to make a daring leap, to stop trying to control everything in our lives, to simply let go and trust. Let’s use an analogy, remember those times where you had to do the “trust fall” activity in camps? We always fear the possibility of our friends not being strong enough to catch the fall. With God, it is 100% guarantee, he is like a comfy bouncy mattress waiting to embrace your fall. So, let go.

“Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”
“You are lacking in one thing”

The man has observed all the commandments, yet he is lacking in one thing. Oh no, there’s more? Observing rites and rituals is insufficient, we cannot blindly follow them and expect to inherit eternal life. God invites us to be serious about our faith, to live as he did. God also reminds us that we cannot be greedy and desire both God and our worldly possessions at the same time. We can’t say that we have two equally important priorities. So, we have to make a choice, and God hopes we choose him. In the same way when people tell us to give our very best in chasing our dreams, God tells us not be half-hearted in following him. If you really want it, you need to put in your 100%.

“Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

Oh hahaha! God is a funny bunny. The image of a camel passing through the eye of a needle is a little hilarious. On a serious note, God acknowledges it is definitely a HUGE struggle to let go of our worldly comforts. Faith is not a stroll in the park. Entering the kingdom of God is not as easy as only believing and accepting that God is God. Instead, we are asked not only to be a practitioner of the faith but to be followers. And what does it mean to be a follower? Be a camel, let go of all the baggage and unnecessary possessions you are carrying so that you may fit through the door of the Kingdom of God – naked, vulnerable and ready to be embraced by God your saviour.

And this reading ends off really nicely,

“For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.”

So, this week, aim to let go of something that you have been holding on tightly to. For me, it is being self-centered, and always expecting others to tend to my needs. What about you?

Mk10:2-16 [27th Sunday in Ordinary Time]

7th October, 2012 Readings: 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

I was actually looking for a lovely picture that showed the bond between 2 people and found a picture of 2 people holding hands and then it struck me that it looked like the hands of a person saying a prayer. 2 become 1 (: [jes]

 In this Sunday’s gospel, Jesus addresses the issue of divorce, describing how God created Adam and Eve with an unbreakable union and how all married couples should strive to achieve this ideal. Obviously, in my personal journey in life, I’m not yet in a position to comment adequately on or give useful advice about marriage, so this would definitely not be the focus of my sharing. However, since I’m currently in a relationship with someone, that should probably provide a basis for some input (:

Before I go any further though, let me first state my belief that everything in my life thus far is a gift from God. However, not everyone will share this same conviction, since this depends on: the family conditions in which you were brought up in, the circumstances dictating your life and the balance between the good and bad occurrences you’ve had to deal with. I’m lucky enough to have had a good life, a good family, and of course, a good girlfriend. And, since God has been so generous to me, it is only right that I repay his generosity by giving him the best I could offer: my life.

Intimidating and ridiculous as it may sound for some, the call of a true Christian is to consecrate your life to God, whether you are attached or single. From the offset of my current relationship, the basic rule that both of us have been following is: God before the other. As much as we can, we try to make every moment of our relationship a celebration of God’s goodness in our lives. It is only in this way that I believe God can reveal properly the plans he has for each of us.

However, the journey is not always smooth sailing. As I’m living in the UK, far away from all my loved ones, evil and temptation lurk in the corner, waiting to pounce the moment I let my guard down. Therefore, in my current experience, I’ve found that it is even more important to cling on to the foundations I’ve set, to remember that even as I’m far away from my girlfriend, I can still make a conscious choice to glorify God through this relationship. As long as I continue to immerse myself in prayer, and in the presence of God, I’m confident that I can, at least, struggle till the end!

To end, I would just like to extend a reminder to whoever is reading this: You are loved by God! Whether things are going well in your life or not, it is essential to remind yourself that no matter the circumstances, you are worthy of God’s love, today, and tomorrow, and tomorrow….In God’s eyes, we are all his children, and He will never reject us, just like how Jesus did not reject the young ones (:

Pray for me that I come back in one piece!