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Procrastinate At Your Peril

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Father... please... hurry... come quickly... my mom/dad/whoever is in critical condition... doctors are saying she/he may not make it... she/he needs anointing... please help...
Such a scenario happens every once in a while and when asked when did the person begin having such a serious condition and/or is bedridden, or was warded in a hospital, the answer is sometimes: "Oh... about 2 weeks ago," or "warded last week," or "quite some time back."
Then when asked, "why did you not ask for the priest to come earlier, so that the person could have his/her confession heard, and then receive the sacrament of anointing and where possible, the Eucharist, some become emotional and blame the priest for being insensitive, or for not being caring or concerned. Some even think that the priest is to be called only when the last rites are to be performed, and calling the priest early would seem like taboo, or "pantang larang" (Malay word for "taboo"…

Art Thou Rumour Mongering?

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One day, I was on my way to the sacristy to vest for Mass. An old lady came running to me with a concerned look on her face. I was quite taken aback to see such an elderly lady running in this way, and I motioned her to slow down, lest she hurt herself or even trip and fall. She looked like she was in her late 70's and even then could sprint pretty fast.

The lady took a few deep breaths and said in an excited and exasperated tone: "Father aaa... I heard you are going to be transferred to another parish. Really ah?" I looked at the lady with amusement, saying: "Really? How come I didn't know about it?" The lady exclaimed with much consternation: "But I heard the news from so and so, and so and so heard from so and so, and so and so claims to have heard it from a reliable source. Is it true? Are you going away?" I responded: "Did so and so get the news from the Archbishop?" "I don't know wor..." came the reply. So …

A Complainer or a Contributor Art Thou?

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I sometimes wonder whether some of us are complainers or contributors. It seems easy and convenient to complain and demand many things from the church, especially where one’s convenience or comfort is at stake, and some even seem to have a sense of entitlement to various services and assistance that the church, in their mind, is expected to offer. But how many of us are contributing a fair and just share for the growth and mission of the church?


For example, every once in a while, I hear of complains that the church toilet is dirty or some part is damaged, but how many are willing to help maintain proper cleanliness; or contribute to the cost of ensuring that the toilets are clean or even to the cost for repairs to be made? Some also complain that the weather is so hot, and that the church should be air-conditioned, but when such persons are asked whether they would be willing to contribute to the purchasing, maintenance, repairs and other expenses such as electricity for such air-con…

Watch What Thou Sayest

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We sometimes assume that certain folks do not understand what we say, especially when we use a foreign language in their presence. For example, few would expect an Englishman these days, who has been residing in London for most of his life, to be able to speak Bahasa Malaysia or Malay language. But sometimes, what we assume may not necessarily be true, and we may end up embarrassed or red-faced.

One day, two students from Malaysia, studying at a University in London, were riding on a bus from their apartment to a supermarket to purchase some supplies. When the bus arrived at a certain stop, an Englishman boarded the bus. The two Malaysians were seated near the centre of the bus, and as the Englishman walked past them to take a seat at the back of the bus, one student remarked to the other: “tengok itu babi lalu?” (Translated as “look at that pig passing by” and it was a derogatory statement towards the Englishman). The Englishman did not say anything as he walked past, took a seat nea…

Art Thou Reckless?

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Nowadays, I see more and more people driving at high speeds, especially on the highway (North-South highway, LEKAS highway (some of the many highways in Malaysia), doesn't matter. You get Formula-1 wannabes). The speed limit is 90 Km/h or 110 Km/h, depending on which highway one is using, but these people seem to be going much faster than the speed limit. Sometimes, you get drivers who cut across from the left lane, right to the centre lane and to the right lane - almost in one motion, as if they are doing "sapu jalan tepi ke tepi" (driving the car as if sweeping the road sideways, in case you do not know the Malay language).

Why do people need to do such dangerous things on the road? Perhaps they are in a hurry; perhaps they want to show how canggih or sporty their vehicle is; perhaps they are suffering from acute diarrhoea and they need to get to the toilet quickly before they explode in their pants;  or perhaps some people have become more impatient, possibly due to th…

Oops! A Boo Boo in What Was Said

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One day after celebrating the morning Mass, a couple approached me and asked me to pray over them because it was their wedding anniversary. The wife requested me to pray especially for her because they were already married for 5 years, and despite many attempts, they had not been able to conceive. I prayed over them as requested, and wished them all the best.

Then one day, after about five months, I was invited to a party. I was having a chat with some people, when a woman approached me, with a noticeable bump in the "oven". The woman was the one I had prayed over, and she excitedly said to me: “Father, thank you so much. You know, because of you I am pregnant already!” Straight away, the people near me were shocked, some of their jaws even dropped, some with eyes bulging, there were even some gasps audible, when they heard such startling news. I looked at the woman in disbelief and bewilderment, and fortunately for me, the woman, horrified upon realising her care…

什么是圣人?

当我们还是学童时,所接触到的圣人故事,几乎都把圣人摆在一个超乎常人的层次。他们都有异常优良的品行,有的甚至从小就具备了。也有少数的大半辈子就如我们常人一般。然而,就在一个特殊的时刻(通常是很戏剧性的一个,牵涉到一个预像,甚至有可能是被天主摔下马),他们的品行就从此变得超好。

神迹的发生、英雄事迹和探险故事,不时都显得有趣,但有一点可以确定的是:圣人们都和我们常人不一样。

在第二次梵蒂冈大公会议后,强调了讲道必须以圣言为基础,通常占据一个中心点的圣人们退出了讲道活动。同时,减少了使用教会日历,使得一些天主教徒相信,圣人们都不再重要了。他们已不再是新式天主教教义的核心。

当然,圣人一直以来都是天主教教义的核心(对东正教而言也是如此)。要了解他们的地位,我们应看看他们是如何在教会里占有一席之地,而更加重要的是他们对于我们现今生活有何意义。


ALL BAPTIZED TO BE SAINTS 凡受洗的皆可成圣

凡加入基督徒团体的人,以及尝试活出耶稣生活、死亡及复活之成果的人,圣保禄皆称他们为圣。保禄写信给不同教会的“圣人们”,就是他所谓的任何受洗于耶稣的生活及死亡的人。在保禄的看法中,圣人就是那些被圣化的人。

保禄和其他早期的基督徒不断的写信、思考,及利用大部分的时间祈祷有关基督来临的意义,因为在当时他们全心期待耶稣将会很快地再次降临。

这就是为什么保禄宗徒选择了独身主义,同时也是为何他不鼓励奴隶寻求自由。为何要如此劳神呢?就在任何时刻,天主永恒的王国将在基督光荣来临时成立。如果世界将如此继续下去,为何要结婚生子呢?当奴隶及主人都将面对凯旋归来的基督,而祂将转化所有的关系成为充满爱和宇宙化的生活,为何还要在乎自己奴隶的身份呢?


MARTYRS 殉道圣人

早期的教会后来才开始明了基督的归来,并不会如他们所想的那样快就会发生。同期的罗马帝国视基督徒为社会安定的威胁。一些有关基督徒的传闻是真的:他们的确有说奴隶和主人是同等的,女人和小孩不是男人的附属品。而另一些传言却不是真的:基督徒被指责施行人类祭献、乱伦和食用人肉。

随着很多的基督徒被囚禁起来,不少正直的男人及女人因此殉道,自我觉悟的基督徒教会进入了新的阶段。那些有关耶稣的生活与勇气,以及对祂复活所带来的希望,同时启示了基督徒及非基督徒。虽然不足以说他们见证了这个信仰(但他们的确做到了)。他们显示了他们如耶…