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Daily Scripture reflections
by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing

Rev. Anthony Man-Son-Hing is a priest of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie. Born in Georgetown, Guyana on 23 November 1965, Anthony moved to Canada along with his family in 1974.

He attended elementary and secondary schools in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario and received a Bachelor of Arts at Wilfrid Laurier University (1988), He pursued Theology studies at Saint Augustine's Seminary in Toronto (1988-1993) and was ordained to the priesthood on May 14, 1993 for the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie. Fr. Anthony is currently serving as Pastor of Saint Bernadette parish in Elliot Lake, Ontario.

— The following content is reproduced with permission of Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing

His Word Today: Our Lady of Mount Carmel

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
16 July 2019, 7:03 am
Good morning everyone,

Do you stop every once in a while simply to recognize how blessed you are?  Do you ever simply marvel at the grace that has been shared with you?  Recognizing the goodness that has been shown us will always help us to look at life differently.

As Jesus was travelling from town to town, he spoke harshly about the ways in which those he encountered turned a blind eye, or a hard heart to the goodness that was in their very midst.  To hear him say it: Woe to you ... for if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done elsewhere, they would long ago have relented (Mt 11:21).

As we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel today, let us ask our heavenly mother to help us be particularly aware of the goodness that we have received, in the form of blessings of so many kinds ... and let us ask her also to help us to recognize and appreciate the beauty of our faith, the treasure with which we have been entrusted.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Authentic

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
15 July 2019, 7:06 am
Good morning everyone,

We can perhaps envision the scene portrayed in today's gospel passage (Mt 10:34 - 11:1) as one of the initial moments during which Jesus was getting to know his disciples, and during which they were beginning to create their first impressions about who he was and what his ideas might have been for engaging in the work of spreading the good news of God to others.

Jesus speaks of a series of characteristics which are sought in those who might be hoping to have the chance to follow him; in fact, these are parameters within which all disciples must strive to live. Each phrase begins with the words whoever loves someone or something more than me is not worthy of me (Mt 10:37-39).

In some cases, this first impression may have scared off some potential disciples, but having been put to the test, every authentic follower of Jesus will use these words as a kind of test to validate our desire to follow Him.  Try it and see:  each time you might be tempted to follow another path that threatens to draw you away from Jesus, ask yourself: do I love this person, or am I enticed by this thing ... or this possibility?  Will it bring me life and true happiness in a way that is better than what I have already been promised by knowing Jesus?

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Shrewd

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
12 July 2019, 8:00 am
Good morning everyone,

In today's gospel passage, Jesus warns his disciples that they should be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves (Mt 10:16).  Jesus knew that not everyone who hears his words will be willing to welcome them.  In fact, he knew that the disciples would be handed over to the courts and scourged in the synagogues (Mt 10:17).

On the surface, any human being would be afraid to go about spreading the good news that they had learned from Jesus, especially if the consequence was that we would meet with certain suffering, however, the good news that Jesus brings is meant to shed light, to call people out of the shadows, and many people are either not ready, or not willing to do so.

We need to be shrewd about how we share the light of the gospel.  We must be willing to think beyond the parameters of those who challenge us.  If we have to struggle in order to speak the gospel, Jesus is reassuring us that we are on the right track.  The gospel has always, and will always be meant to comfort those who have been disturbed by life's trials, and at the same time, to disturb those who have grown too complacent with their own status in life.  If this means that the one who heralds the Lord's coming by proclaiming the gospel (a word which means good news), will be persecuted then so be it.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Saint Benedict of Nursia

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
11 July 2019, 7:34 am

Good morning everyone,

From the time of the first disciples until today, the Lord continues to invite all those who seek to follow him to take no gold, silver or copper in our belts, no sack for the journey, no second tunic, no sandals ... (Mt 10:9-10) nothing except for what we truly need.

These words are just as challenging today as they were when they were first spoken.  It is never easy for us to separate us from the things that the rest of the world continually attempts to convince us are necessary for our happiness, yet it is precisely at the moment when we begin to leave all the baggage behind us that we truly begin to understand the great gift that Jesus was proposing for each and every one of us: unburdened by the things of this world, we are more easily able to journey with him, to hear his words and to put them into practice.

We have a wonderful example of this virtue of self-abandonment in the life of Saint Benedict of Nursia (480-547 AD), whose feast day we observe today.  He was the first to recognize the importance of community life as a means of support for the life of monks.  At the heart of his vocation was a call to renounce everything that would have distracted him from focusing on God.  In the end, his commitment to seeking peace through a balanced approach to prayer, work and hospitality allowed him to focus on the importance of very simple but essential realities.

What are the extra things that we have accumulated - sometimes without even realizing it?  Which of these things are not absolutely necessary for us to be happy?  If we had to leave them behind, could we? ... all so that we can focus more clearly on the Lord's call to follow him.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Authority

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
10 July 2019, 7:25 am
Good morning everyone,

Today's gospel passage begins with the words: Jesus summoned his ... disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits (Mt 10:1).  Even if they had spent quite some time with Jesus, even if they had heard his words on many occasions, even if they had come to believe them, were they ready for the day when he gave them such authority?

Jesus knew that the disciples needed to be encouraged, so even as he sent them out, he had to give them directions about what they were to do: Go ... to the lost sheep of the house of Israel ... and say to them: the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Mt 10:6-7).

Even today, Jesus sends us - his modern-day disciples - with the same instructions.  We are the ones he instructs every day to go out in search of the lost, the lonely, the ignored, the little ones ... so that we can truly understand their hunger, their thirst, and their desire to know that no one is alone.  The truth is that like the first disciples, we ourselves are loved infinitely, we ourselves once were lost but have been found, we ourselves have been invited to hear the words: the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Moved

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
9 July 2019, 9:58 am
Good morning everyone,

In today's gospel passage (Mt 9:32-38) we see Jesus at work.  Motivated by the fact that his heart was moved with pity (Mt 9:36).  Being moved with pity, he was able to open his merciful heart to restore speech to a man who had been mute (cf Mt 9:32-33), to teaching and proclaiming the gospel ... and to curing every disease and illness (cf Mt 9:35).

Jesus' merciful heart is always open to us.  He is constantly seeking out those who are lost.  If we are truly open to him, he will show us how to bring others to him, especially those who are in need of his help (cf Mt 9:32), and all we have to do is to stand in amazement at the abundance of his mercy.

He knew very well that he would need each one of us to help him with the task of demonstrating his compassion to others, especially to those whose hearts may have grown cold or been hardened by the trials of life.  Even though we may be abundantly aware of the truth of Jesus' words: the harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few (Jn 9:37), we should never tire of imploring the gift of allowing our hearts to be moved.  In this way, we will be more and more aware of the harvest that needs to be identified, reaped and enjoyed.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Determination

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
8 July 2019, 8:11 am
Good morning everyone,

In today's gospel passage (Mt 9:18-26), there is evidence of a person who for many years had stayed below the radar.  There must have been some major crowds in the place where Jesus was speaking, and yet, despite the fact that no one had probably paid any attention to this woman, she managed to make her way closer and closer to Jesus.

Matthew tells us some of the details of this woman's struggle (cf Mt 9:20-21), but it is evident that none of these details were known to Jesus.  Despite this truth, at the moment when he managed to touch the tassel on his cloak - the outer garment that he was wearing - he recognized her presence and she was healed.

Have we ourselves known the powerlessness of having our voices silenced?  Do we know what it means to struggle to get close to Jesus?  Perhaps if this is true, we are more keenly aware of the struggles that some of our brothers and sisters must face on a daily basis.  Today, let us pray for the grace of determination, so that like that un-named woman, we too can come close to Jesus, be recognized by him and rewarded for our efforts.

Have a great day.

News worth reporting

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
7 July 2019, 2:21 pm
Have you ever noticed that the secular media tends to sensationalize everything?  In the society of instant access, we are bombarded with the latest developments in all kinds of news, and yet it seems that more often than not, it is only the bad news that we hear: tragedies, earthquakes, fire, destruction, suffering ... the list goes on.  Yet there is so seldom any reference to good news, the kind of news that would make us happy, the kind of news that might make our hearts sing.

In contrast to the secular media, the gospel passages are filled with good news.  In today's first reading, the prophet Isaiah speaks of a God who is calling all people to rejoice with Jerusalem and to be glad because of her (Is 66:10).  Long before Isaiah came upon the scene, the Israelite people knew that they were a chosen people, but over time, they had begun to loose their focus.  They had started forgetting the promises made by our God, and where doubt had entered, they were becoming wayward.  Isaiah reminded them that the Lord's promises were not empty.  In fact, the Lord's promises are enduring.  Therefore, even when they heard nothing but discouraging news, God's people have always been able to turn to Him and to be reassured, for our God constantly says to us: I will spread prosperity ... like a river, and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing torrent (Is 66:12).

We need to hear these words every day, for they speak of great hopefulness, and our world is so much in need of hope.  Jesus knew that the people of his time needed hope as well.  That is why our Father in heaven sent him to live among us in the first place.  In time, he shared the gift of hope with his disciples and with the crowds who would gather to listen to his preaching.  Then, when he felt as though they were ready for the task of sharing the gift of hope with others, the Lord appointed seventy-two of them whom he sent ahead of him in pairs (Lk 10:1).  Against the overwhelming influence of the world's pessimism, these chosen ones were sent to various places in order to proclaim God's peace (cf Lk 10:5), to cure the sick and to proclaim the good news of the kingdom (cf Lk 10:9).

Ever since the time of those first apostles, which is to say, the seventy-two who were sent out in pairs, many others have also been sent out into the harvest.  Among the first to be sent out were the disciples.  In the second reading that we heard today, Saint Paul reminds the early Christians at Galacia that for him, there was no more important task than to boast ... in the cross of our Lord, Jesus Christ (Gal 6:14) for although the cross had been perceived as an instrument of torture, Christ changed all that in the Pascal mystery.

The task entrusted to the disciples has also been entrusted to us.  We who have come to believe that Jesus died on a cross, and then rose again, must never tire of sharing this good news with the world, and it is up to us to find ways of sharing this good news.  When others would rather speak of calamities, we must choose to speak of hope.  When others try to entice us to look forlornly at the world around us, we must point to the cross and remind them that it is no longer an instrument of torture, but rather a symbol of triumph.

His Word Today: Mercy

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
5 July 2019, 7:26 am
Good morning everyone,

In today's gospel passage, Jesus meets Levi - Matthew - the tax collector, and invites him: Follow me (Mt 9:9).  In fact, the gospel says that Jesus saw a man named Matthew but how are we to understand the word saw?  Jesus sees us in a much different fashion than we see others.  Jesus sees not the exterior, the realm of physical beauty, but rather he sees us in our entirety, including our souls, the innermost parts of our beings.  Jesus sees all that we are, and he knows all that we are capable of becoming, and he loves it all.

Jesus saw in Matthew a man who was doing a job but one who knew that he could do better.  How often have we known - at some level within us - that we can do better?  Sometimes it takes a bit of encouragement for us to believe in ourselves, and this is exactly what Jesus does: he believes in us.  Jesus knows us at the level of the heart: at the level that is often unknown to any other human being.  This is the reason why he came to Matthew's defence when the Pharisees tried to interrogate him (cf Mt 9:11).

The invitation Jesus issued to the Pharisees that day is also extended to us, and to all those who need to grow in our ability to see others as he does.  We all need to learn the meaning of the words: I desire mercy ... (Mt 9:13).  Today, let us ask for the grace to grow in our understanding of these words, beginning with the ways in which Jesus has spoken these words in our own lives.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Awe

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
4 July 2019, 8:22 am
Good morning everyone,

Today's gospel account describes a moment when bystanders were struck with awe.  Jesus had returned to his own town and there he encountered people of faith (cf Mt 9:2).  Perhaps Jesus was well known to them, perhaps they had watched him grow up, and yet when the encountered him as an adult they were struck with awe.

No matter how well we may think we know God, no matter how familiar we may think we are with the ways of God, our God is constantly at work, finding new and wonder-filled ways to inspire awe within us.  He did this by curing a paralytic, and even forgiving his sins (cf Mk 9:3) ... and he did this by inspiring that suffering man to walk again (Mt 9:6-7).

Jesus worked wonders in his own town and he continues to work such wonders in our midst as well.  The great things he did in Nazareth filled everyone with awe, so why should they not do the same for us.  If we have not forgotten or misplaced the ability to stand in awe and wonder before the greatness of God, perhaps we can also ask Him to reveal himself to us; then we too can be struck with awe.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Inquiring

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
3 July 2019, 7:18 am
Good morning everyone,

There is a level at which we might all feel threatened by those who dare to ask questions.  When we have been entrusted with a position of responsibility, one that calls for decision making, we might feel threatened - for instance - by those who dare to question the authenticity of the decisions we make.

Questioning authenticity was the issue at hand for Thomas, one of the twelve who was otherwise occupied on the evening when the risen Jesus appeared to the rest of his friends.  Rather than having the reassurance of encountering the risen Lord, Thomas was left in his grief, and his response to the proclamation made by the other disciples demonstrates this to be true: Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger into the nail marks, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe (Jn 20:25).

If we have found ourselves walking in Thomas' shoes, perhaps we understand what it was like to feel excluded from the experience that the other disciples had when the risen Jesus appeared to them.  If we have experienced others who question our decisions, perhaps we can understand the fragility in which the disciples found themselves during those initial days following the resurrection, but if we have heard the Lord speaking to us as he spoke to Thomas: doubt no more, but believe (Jn 20:27), then we can rejoice, for we have a certain understanding of the way Jesus calls us to grow in our faith.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Calm

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
2 July 2019, 7:56 am
Good morning everyone,

Have you ever had the great fortune to watch someone else who is sleeping?  If you have, perhaps you know how peaceful such a sight can be.  In that very moment, it seems as though that slumbering person has not a care in the world, and we might even venture to say that he or she seems to be at peace.

The thought of serenity was probably far from the minds of the disciples on that day when, together in the boat, they experienced a violent storm ... up on the sea (Mt 8:24), but in the midst of their panic, Jesus was asleep.  Was he sleeping peacefully?  I'm sure that the disciples were anything but calm when they woke him, saying: Lord, save us! (Mt 8:25), yet we can imagine that Jesus was very relaxed, even sure of himself when he asked: Why are you terrified ... oh you of little faith (Mt 8:26).

Do we ever experience such moments of fear?  Do we come looking for Jesus at such moments?  Do we call out to him ... and how does he respond to our calls?  Does he meet our frantic cries with his own words, calm, measured and reassuring?  Does he speak with an authority that can only come from one who is indeed in control, or one who knows what it means to trust implicitly?  Let us ask him who is capable of rebuking the seas to help us to trust more implicitly in him.  Let us ask him to teach us to trust, so that we too can know the deep abiding calm that comes from such implicit trust.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Mission

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
1 July 2019, 7:14 am
Good morning everyone, and Happy Canada Day.

Today, Canadians are celebrating Canada Day and giving thanks for the gift of our country.  At times such as these, some of us look back at the years that have passed and the accomplishments that have been achieved.  Others choose to celebrate the present and still others look forward with vision to the future that is yet to be realized.

Jesus gives us reason to look forward in hope and to consider the mission that we are all called to fulfill.  Every Christian has been given the great gift of experiencing a personal relationship with Jesus.  Based on our experience of encountering Him, we are then invited to set out upon the mission of sharing our experience of encounter with those we meet, and of encouraging them to encounter Jesus as well.

Some of us may be eager to set out upon this mission.  The gospel passage for today says that at least one of those Jesus met along the way responded to his invitation with enthusiasm: ... I will follow you wherever you go (Mt 8:19) but Jesus does not promise that this mission will involve personal comforts.  Rather, there is an urgent need to set out.  We cannot afford to delay our engagement, even if it might mean that we are to fulfill a noble task like burying our own family members (cf Mt 8:20).  Instead, we must set out on the mission and welcome the Lord's invitation to share the good news we have experienced with all those we meet.

Have a great day.

Making choices

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
30 June 2019, 8:06 am
Today, the scriptures present a variety of choices.  In each case, someone was asked to make a decision.  In the first reading (cf 1 Kings 19:16-21), the holy man Elijah invited Elisha to follow him, but Elisha was free to choose whether he would accept Elisha's invitation, or whether he would remain in the fields (cf 1 Kings 19:19).  As enticing as it might have been for Elisha to accept the invitation to follow Elijah, he managed to present an excuse, a reason why he could not immediately turn away from his former life (cf 1 Kings 19:20).  How often does the Lord invite us to follow him, to set out on a new adventure?  And how often do we respond to God's invitations with excuses?

The gospel passages are filled with such stories.  They often begin with the details of an encounter between Jesus and what seem to be ordinary folk.  In today's gospel passage for instance, Jesus set out for Jerusalem (cf Lk 9:51).  Jesus is constantly setting out, travelling with us as we make our way from day to day, from one adventure to another.  Each day, he sends us ahead of him (Lk 9:52).  We enter into people's lives so that we can invite others to prepare their hearts to welcome Jesus, but each person, including us, is free to welcome him or not (Lk 9:53).  How many of our own family and friends have we invited to welcome Jesus?  When others appear to refuse our invitations, we can often react like the disciples.  When ... James and John saw it, they said: 'Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?' (Lk 9:54), but it is not up to us to judge.  Our task is to create the circumstances so that others can become aware of the Lord's invitation.  It's up to each person individually, including us, to make the choice to respond.

Human hearts can be slow to respond to the Lord's invitation, but sometimes we can also be overly zealous.  As they were going along the road, someone said to Jesus, 'I will follow you wherever you go (Lk 9:57), but when the enthusiasm is not the fruit of God's invitation, we can also get ourselves into trouble.  This is why we must always take time to discern, to open our ears and our hearts in prayer and to do our very best to listen so that we can be sure that God is calling.  If the call is not from God, then the invitation is not authentic, and following down a misguided road will lead us into an adventure that will tire us out rather than give us life.

Along the way to Jerusalem, Jesus called a number of others to follow him.  In some cases, they truly wanted to but they found themselves tied down to other responsibilities (cf Lk 9:59-62).  It does happen at times that when Jesus calls, we feel as though we must leave everything and everyone behind, but most often, when Jesus calls, the adventure he has prepared for us is meant not only for our good but also as a source of inspiration and an invitation for others to come along with us.  If the call to follow Jesus is authentic, there will never be a need to say farewell to those at home (Lk 9:61); rather, we should invite them to join us on the journey.

As Saint Paul explained to the early Christian community at Galacia, we have been called to freedom, but we should never use this freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but rather through love to become slaves to one another (Gal 5:13). Jesus is inviting us to be living witnesses of his presence today, in this community or wherever we may travel, and each of us must make a choice.  Choose to accept the invitation to follow Jesus.  If we do, he will teach us how to love as he loves us, so that we in turn can love one another.

Fed and refreshed

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
23 June 2019, 7:57 am
The first reading for today's liturgy describes a homecoming celebration.  After Abram's return, King Melchizedek of Salem brought out bread and wine ... and furthermore, he blessed Abram (Gn 14:18-19).  We are not living in the time of Melchizedek and Abram, but each time we gather around the Lord's table, we are invited to partake in the wonderful celebration that is known as the Eucharist.

Today, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ.  We focus our attention on these two precious gifts which have been given to us by our Lord.  The details concerning the origin of these gifts are explained in Saint Paul's first letter to the Corinthians.  He says: the Lord Jesus, on the night when he was betrayed, took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, 'This is my Body that is for you.  Do this in remembrance of me'.  In the same way, he took the cup ... after supper, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my Blood.  Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me' (1 Cor 11:23-25).  Each time we gather, each time we repeat these words, the Eucharistic celebration is a homecoming for us, a chance to touch the body of Christ, to receive this special food that keeps us united to Jesus, food that nourishes our faith.

Even in the beginning weeks of this new parish of ours, we need to understand the importance of nourishing ourselves with the body and blood of Christ.  This heavenly food will help us to go out into the community week after week and to spread the light that Jesus instills in our hearts with others by sharing the joy of this moment with those we encounter.

We can do this because Jesus has already shown us how to go about it.  At the end of a day of speaking with the crowds about the kingdom of God, and healing those who needed to be cured (cf Lk 9:11), the disciples wanted to send the people away, but Jesus had a different plan.  Jesus often has another plan for us, and we must always try to be attentive to his plan because his plan is always for our good and for the good of those around us.

The disciples were tired, the people were tired, Jesus too must have been tired, but he wanted to show the disciples that even when we are tempted to give in to human limitations, God's possibilities are always limitless.  When we are involved in doing God's work, there is always enough energy to accomplish what is needed.  Jesus knew that it was possible for the disciples to provide what was needed.  You give them something to eat, he said (Lk 9:13), and when they looked at him with questioning eyes, he astonished them with a miracle.

Jesus needed the disciples to help him that day.  He asked them: Make the people sit down in groups ... (Lk 9:14).  Jesus always knows what we are capable of, and he invites us to do what we can to prepare the way so that he can perform miracles in our midst.  Because they cooperated with him that day, he was able to feed the multitudes.  Today, he invites us to do what we can, and then to be attentive to the miracles that take place all around us.  Our God is always ready and willing to respond to our needs.  When we are hungry, he wants to feed us with special food and with encouraging words so that we can be refreshed and made ready for the journey that lies ahead: a journey of encountering those who are hungry, always ready to share with them the gift that we ourselves have received.

His Word Today: Saint Aloysius Gonzaga

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
21 June 2019, 7:14 am
Good morning everyone,

Today, the Church celebrates the liturgical Memorial of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga (9 March 1568 to 21 June 1591), an Italian aristocrat who joined the Society of Jesus (Jesuits).  While still a student at the Roman College, he died as a result of caring for victims of a serious epidemic.

The self-giving love demonstrated by Saint Aloysius is a concrete example of Jesus advice, given in today's gospel passage: Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth ... but store up treasures in heaven (Mt 6:19-20).

Today, let us ask Saint Aloysius to intercede on our behalf so that we may continue to possess the conviction of our faith.  Enlightened by this faith, may he teach us how to store up heavenly treasures by seeking not to amass tangible wealth but rather the wealth that comes from knowing and loving our brothers and sisters as Jesus loves us.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: With purpose

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
20 June 2019, 7:35 am
Good morning everyone,

How often have you paused long enough to consider the importance of the words you speak?  Words have great power: to praise and to demean, to build up and to tear down.  The same is also true of God.  The relationship we are invited to cultivate with our God can be strengthened by the words we choose to use or weakened by those same words.

In today's gospel passage (Mt 6:7-15), Jesus warns his disciples not to use words frivolously when they are praying.  Instead, he encourages them to use words constructively, in order to strengthen the relationship they have with our loving Father.  He says: This is how you are to pray ... Our Father ... (Mt 6:9).  The words of the Lord's Prayer - as we have come to know it - are very intentional.  Each phrase is meant to strengthen our relationship with our God, with others or with ourselves.  If we based our ideal for living on this prayer, we would be well on the path to being fruitful disciples.

Today, let us attempt to put the words of the Lord's Prayer into action.  People who experience us praising God, trying to do the Lord's will in our daily lives, contenting ourselves with that which is provided for our daily nourishment and forgiving those who have wronged us ... will surely see in these words and actions, the presence of our living and loving God.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Serene

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
19 June 2019, 7:25 am
Good morning everyone,

Consider for a moment the people in your life who appear to be the most serene.  There is a calmness about such people that can sometimes be mysterious and can at times draw us to ponder what it is that drives them.  In most cases, those who are serene are well aware of who they are, what they do and why they do these things.

Jesus invites us to discover such serenity through the practice of some simple practices: When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet (Mt 6:2) ... when you pray, do not stand in public places so that others may see you (Mt 6:5) ... when you fast, do not put on gloomy looks (Mt 6:16).  In other words, when you observe the practices that are meant to train you in becoming a follower of Jesus, do not make a show of it.  Instead, let your actions be motivated by sincere desire to put your faith into action.

Who are the people in your life who provide such examples?  Give thanks today for each of them and be aware of your own honesty in wanting to follow in the footsteps of our greatest Teacher.  Before you know it, others will recognize your serenity ... and perhaps they too will want to be more faithful disciples.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Love and pray

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
18 June 2019, 7:28 am
Good morning everyone,

Have you ever noticed how easy it is for us to love those who say good things about us, or to want to spend time with those who we get along with?  I wonder if the human tendency to stay away from those who we don't get along with is born out of a desire to protect ourselves or whether there is some other motivation for this.

Jesus always challenges his disciples to live differently, compared with the majority of those we encounter.  In today's gospel, he asks us: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Mt 5:44).  This might seem like a tall order, but remember that nothing is impossible for God, and what seems to be impossible for us can also be made possible because God is always at our side, ready to help us to do what he has asked us to do.

Believe that these words can come true.  Pray with conviction today and ask the Lord to help you to love those who you may perceive as not loving you in return.  Pray for those who have been persecuted, that they may not be silenced but rather that they may be strengthened in their faith.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Generous

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
17 June 2019, 7:27 am
Good morning everyone,

The advice that Jesus gave to his disciples is just as relevant today - two millenia later - than it was at the time when he first offered it.  We have a prime example in today's gospel passage.  Jesus knew very well that the society they were living in was very self-centred.  In some ways it had to be, especially when it came to those who had been oppressed, but he challenged his disciples to adopt a different attitude: one of surprising generosity.

You have heard it said, 'an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.  But I say to you ... if anyone wants to go to court with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well (Mt 5:38, 40).  Someone who thinks that he or she is taking advantage of another will think twice if the response to oppression is surprising generosity, but this is the way that our God acts with us: when we think according to human standards, there is always a tendency to remain focused on self-preservation, but God thinks far beyond the confines of our reasoning.

Today, dare to ask for the grace to think like God thinks.  Dare to stretch your horizons if you can so that you can begin to look beyond the limits that you may be used to.  Consider the possibility that responding to life with surprising generosity is possible because our God always responds to us with such limitless generosity.

Have a great day.

Something old and something new

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
16 June 2019, 8:36 am
Last weekend, we inaugurated the new parish of Saint Bernadette.  When we walked through the doors, we entered into sacred space, for in this place, we encounter our God.  Here, we give thanks for the many blessings we have received; here, we receive the special food of the Eucharist that helps us to grow in our faith.  This parish is new, but God, who we meet here is anything but new.

Today, we celebrate the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity and we contemplate the mystery of our God who is One in a communion of three persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  This is an occasion for celebrating with ever-renewed awe, our God who is love, who freely offers us his life and asks us to defend his life in the world (Regina Coeli, 27 May 2018).

The first reading for today's Mass, taken from the Book of Proverbs, tells us that God's Wisdom was created at the beginning of his work ... before the mountains had been shaped ... when he had not yet made the earth and fields (Prov 8:22, 25-26).  Our God is anything but new but we are eternally renewed in his presence.

This is the power of love, the power of the gift that our God offers to us whenever we meet in this place, whenever we open our hearts in prayer and invite an encounter with the One who has created us.  Here in this holy place, we gather week after week.  Each of us brings with us the stories of our own lives: some of us are happy when we come through the doors, others are perplexed, some may be hurting and others may be searching.  Wherever we are, whatever we bring, our God meets us where we are and teaches us how to follow in his footsteps.

In this place, we hear the words of scripture proclaimed: stories about Jesus, the Son of God; stories about his disciples and others who listened - like us - to his inspiring words.  How strange it must have been for the disciples to hear Jesus say to them that day: I still have many things to say to you, but ... when the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you ... (Jn 16:12-13).  Jesus had already shared so much with them.  It was quite natural that they should expect him to continue teaching them more and more lessons.  Is this not what we still do when we encounter someone we have come to know and love?  Do we not expect that person to be around forever, to inspire us, to teach us?

Thankfully, Jesus' teachings did not end when his earthly life came to a close.  Last weekend, we celebrated the Solemnity of Pentecost: the day on which the Holy Spirit, the gift of God, descended upon the apostles.  The Holy Spirit continues to live among God's people, enlivening us and making it possible for us to constantly have the love of God poured into our hearts (Rom 5:5).

Today let us give thanks to God for the gift that He has given.  May our God, who is One in a communion of three persons, continue to pour his love into our hearts so that we can go out from this place, renewed in our faith and ready to be witnesses of love for others.

His Word Today: Radical

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
14 June 2019, 7:21 am
Good morning everyone,

In today's gospel passage (Mt 5:27-32), Jesus challenges his disciples to be radical about their choice to follow after him.  He knows the human heart very well.  He knows that there is always a part of us that will say yes to him and another part of us that will constantly be tempted to live a hidden life where we are not quite willing to give ourselves completely to the commitment that we have spoken.

Jesus uses one of the teachings that his disciples have heard before to make his point: You have heard it said, 'You shall not commit adultery, but I say to you ... (Mt 5:27-28).  What Jesus was asking his disciples, and what he asks us today, is to be radical about our choice to follow him.  If we want to be his disciples, we must be completely honest about our commitment.

Today, let us ask Jesus to give us the resolve to be radical about our choice to be like him.  Let us ask him to help us not hide part of ourselves from him, but to bring everything about us into the light.  Our God constantly wants to strengthen the relationship He has with us.  He is always inviting us to open our hearts and to share our hopes, our dreams, our fears and our disappointments with him.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Saint Anthony of Padua

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
13 June 2019, 7:26 am
Good morning everyone,

Today, the Church celebrates the liturgical Memorial of Saint Anthony of Padua.  Born in Lisbon, Portugal on 15 August 1195, Fernando Martins eventually joined the Friars Minor and went with them to Italy.  There he gained a reputation for being a particularly gifted preacher.  He was particularly gifted at helping people to understand the Word of God and at helping them to apply it to their own lives.

Jesus too was a gifted preacher.  In today's gospel passage, he reminds his disciples: ... unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven (Mt 5:20).  Only someone with a keen ability to explain such truths can challenge his hearers to aim high.  In this case, it was a matter of not falling into the trap of false righteousness, but rather setting their sights higher, believing that they had enough integrity to remain faithful to the teachings they had learned.

We too must constantly strive to live up to a higher expectation: the expectation that we will do our very best to believe that we can do better than second best, that it is possible for us to follow Jesus even if he should ask us to believe in ourselves and not to settle for anything less than the dream of eternity in heaven.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Law

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
12 June 2019, 7:24 am
Good morning everyone,

In today's gospel passage, we encounter one of the most prophetic of Jesus' words.  In order to understand the reason for these words, we must first comprehend the fact that the disciples - like all other Jews - were expecting the arrival of the Messiah: the anointed one, the promised one of God.  Given the fact that at the time, the Jews were being oppressed by the Roman empire, the commonly held hope was that the Messiah would free the Jewish people from their oppression.

In contrast to this way of thinking, Jesus explained to his disciples: Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets (Mt 5:17), as though he might have been in a position to overthrow the law makers and the prescriptions that they were enforcing.  Instead, he explained: I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.  Jesus came to live among us in order to bring to fruition the Law of God (which was first given to us in the Ten Commandments) and the predictions put forth by the Prophets.

In seeking to fulfill the Law, Jesus sought to demonstrate the enduring love of our God, because the truth of the matter is that our God has always loved us, and every word that he has spoken is aimed at demonstrating the truth of his love for us.  Today, ask the Lord to reveal the gift of his love, to fulfill the Law that has been planted in our hearts so that we in turn can demonstrate divine love in his name for the sake of others.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Saint Barnabas

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
11 June 2019, 7:18 am
Good morning everyone,

The holy man who is honoured in the liturgy today started out in life with one name and ended up with another.  Like Simon Peter, Joseph of Cyprus was one of the prominent Christian disciples living in Jerusalem.  He was among the earliest followers of the Way and eventually travelled with Saint Paul on some of his missionary journeys.

Saint Barnabas provides us with a reliable witness of what it means to be salt for the earth (Mt 5:13) and light for the world (Mt 5:14).  It took great courage to undertake the journey of a missionary, and it was because of his commitment that others were able to hear about Jesus.  We too need to be missionaries today.  We too need to have the courage to share the gospel with others.  We too need to tell others about Jesus, about who he is, about our own experience of knowing him and about our own witness of lives that have been changed because we have chosen to follow in his footsteps.

Today, let us as Saint Barnabas to pray with us, to strengthen our resolve to set out along the journey that the Lord needs us to travel so that we can be modern-day missionary disciples, ready to set out, ready to face the challenges that all missionaries have known but also ready to commit our lives to Jesus so that others may come to know him.

Have a great day.

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