Procrastinate At Your Peril

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?

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?

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

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?

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

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…