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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 Our Lady of Fatima and Ste-Marie parishes in Elliot Lake, Ontario as well as Pastor of Ste-Famille parish in Blind River, Ontario.

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

His Word Today: Unknown

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
16 November 2018, 7:19 am
Good morning everyone,

When some people think about the future, there is fear and trembling because the future is unknown to us, but let it not be so for those of us who are people of faith.  Jesus speaks in the gospel today about a time that will come when one will be taken and the other will be left (Lk 17:34-35).  But where will we be taken?

These words are meant to wake us up, for we can far too easily be lulled into a sense of comfort about the routine we live each day.  Instead, we need to do everything we can not to become distracted by routines, focusing rather on waiting for the coming of the Lord.  If we begin even now to train our minds and spirits to be on the lookout for him, we will develop the habit of seeking him each day, and if we seek him, we will find him, and when we are able to find evidence of his presence each day, we will have more reason to rejoice and even more reason to look for him.

And what's even more, if we develop the habit of seeking him, finding evidence of his presence and celebrating this presence every day, then when the time comes for us to be taken Home, we will have nothing to fear, for this is the day for which we long, for which we prepare every day of our mortal lives.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Behold

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
15 November 2018, 7:39 am
Good morning everyone,

While Jesus walked on this earth, he spoke on many occasions about the Kingdom of God, but despite the fact that he described many facets of this Kingdom, it was regarded by many of those who heard his words as a reality that was yet to come.  Imagine their surprise when he clarified: Behold, the Kingdom of God is among you (Lk 17:21).

Can this be true?  Have you ever witnessed this Kingdom?  The answer to both these questions is yes!  The Kingdom of God is among us, and if we have the eyes to see it, we can recognize it quite easily.  God's Kingdom exists wherever judgements are replaced by acceptance, wherever differences are outnumbered by similarities and wherever attitudes of exclusion are replaced by a willingness to go out and to encounter others.

God's Kingdom is in our midst but it is up to us to recognize it and to make it recognizable for others.  We can do this one day at a time, beginning with a willingness to see each other as brothers and sisters and to believe that we are all on a journey, together.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Awareness

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
14 November 2018, 7:57 am
Good morning everyone,

If you're like me, your life sometimes seems to be so occupied that you're barely able to keep up with the number of things that keep getting added to the to do list.  When our minds are so cluttered with the things we have to do, we often are unable to appreciate the things that are happening right in front of us. This is the lesson for today: be aware.

The gospel passage that is suggested for today speaks of an encounter that Jesus had with ten lepers (cf Lk 17:11-19). When he saw them he immediately wanted to heal them, yet there is no description of the miracle he performed.  All he said to them was: Go, show yourselves to the priests (Lk 17:14), simple words issuing a simple request.  In their haste to make their way, most of them were unaware of the fact that Jesus has already given them a gift. Only one who became aware of this gift came back to give thanks (cf Lk 17:15-16).  I wonder whether the others even realized what had happened.

It takes a lot of work to be aware of the subtle things going on around us, and not to allow ourselves to get caught up with always being concerned about the future, or about expectations and plans, or about everything that has to be done. Try today to be aware of the present moment. You might be surprised at what you discover.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
13 November 2018, 7:57 am
Good morning everyone,

Today, the Church celebrates the Memorial of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, foundress of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  Francesca Cabrini was born July 15, 1850, in Sant'Angelo Lodigiano, in the Lombard Province of Lodi, then part of the Austrian Empire, the youngest of the thirteen children of Agostino Cabrini and Stella Oldini, who were wealthy cherry tree farmers. Sadly, only four of the thirteen survived beyond adolescence. Small and weak as a child, born two months premature, she remained in delicate health throughout her life.

At thirteen Francesca attended a school run by the Daughters of the Sacred Heart. Five years later she graduated cum laude, with a teaching certificate. After the deaths of her parents in 1870, she applied for admission to the religious congregation of the Daughters of the Sacred Heart at Arluno. These sisters were her former teachers but reluctantly, they told her she was too frail for their life. She became the headmistress of the House of Providence orphanage in Codogno, where she taught, and drew a small community of women to live a religious way of life. Cabrini took religious vows in 1877 and added Xavier to her name to honour the Jesuit saint, Francis Xavier, the patron saint of missionary service.

In November 1880, she and six other women who had taken religious vows with her founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (M.S.C.). Cabrini composed the Rule and Constitutions of the religious institute, and she continued as its superior general until her death. The sisters took in orphans and foundlings, opened a day school to help pay expenses, started classes in needlework and sold their fine embroidery to earn a little more money. The institute established seven homes and a free school and nursery in its first five years. Its good works brought Cabrini to the attention of (the now Blessed) Giovanni Scalabrini, Bishop of Piacenza, and of Pope Leo XIII.

In September 1877, Cabrini went to seek approval of the pope to establish missions in China. Instead, he suggested to her that she go to the United States to help the Italian immigrants who were flooding to that nation in that era, mostly in great poverty. Cabrini left for the United States, arriving in New York City on March 31, 1889, along with six other sisters. Life in the United States was not easy, but Frances obtained the permission of the archbishop to found an orphanage, which is located in West Park, New York today and is known as Saint Cabrini Home.

She organized catechism and education classes for the Italian immigrants and provided for the needs of the many orphans. She established schools and orphanages despite tremendous odds. She was as resourceful as she was prayerful, finding people who would donate what she needed in money, time, labor, and support. In New York City, she founded Columbus Hospital and Italian Hospital. In the 1980s, they were merged into Cabrini Medical Center. The facility closed in 2008.

In Chicago, the sisters opened Columbus Extension Hospital (later renamed Saint Cabrini Hospital) in the heart of the city’s Italian neighbourhood on the Near West Side. Both hospitals eventually closed near the end of the 20th century. Their foundress’ name lives on in Chicago's Cabrini Street.

She founded 67 institutions: in New York; Chicago and Des Plaines, Illinois; Seattle; New Orleans; Denver and Golden, Colorado; Los Angeles; Philadelphia; and in countries throughout South America and Europe. Long after her death, the Missionary Sisters would achieve Cabrini's goal of being missionaries to China. In only a short time, after much social and religious upheaval there, the Sisters left China and, subsequently, a Siberian placement.

Cabrini was naturalized as a United States citizen in 1909. She died of complications from dysentery at age 67 in Columbus Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, on December 22, 1917, while preparing Christmas candy for the local children. By that time, she had founded 67 missionary institutions to serve the sick and poor and train additional sisters to carry on the work.

Her body was originally interred at Saint Cabrini Home, an orphanage she founded in West Park, Ulster County, New York.  Her body was exhumed in 1931 as part of the canonization process. At that time, her head was removed and is preserved in the chapel of the congregation's international motherhouse in Rome. An arm is at the national shrine in Chicago, while most of the rest of her body is at the shrine in New York.  Mother Frances Cabrini was Beatified on 13 November 1938 and Canonized on 7 July 1946.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Saint Josaphat

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
12 November 2018, 10:11 am
Good morning everyone,

Today, the Church celebrates the Memorial of Saint Josaphat (1580-1623) a Polish-Lithuanian monk who served as Archeparch (Archbishop) in the Ruthenian Catholic Church.  Ioann Kurntsevych was born in Volodymyr, Volhynian Voivodeship, in the Lesser Poland Province of the Polish Crown (now Ukraine).  He was baptized into the Eastern Orthodox Church.  As a young man, he proved to be gifted in languages; he studied Church Slavonic and memorized most of the Horologion (the Book of the Hours).

In 1604, while in his early 20s, he entered the Monastery of the Trinity (which was home to the Order of Saint Basil the Great in Vilnius) and was given the religious name Josephat.  Five years later, in 1609, after having completed private studies, Josephat was ordained a priest.  He was subsequently appointed hegumen (prior) of several monasteries.  On 12 November 1617, he was consecrated as Bishop and later became the Archeparch of Polostok.

Throughout his time of service in Polostok, there were great temptations to sin (cf Lk 17:1). Josaphat faced the daunting task of bringing the local populace to accept union with Rome.  He faced stiff opposition from some of the monks who feared the liturgical Latinization of the Byzantine Rite, yet he continued his efforts to promote peace and unity.  On 12 November 1623 he was killed by angry mob in Vitebsk, Vitebsk Voivodeship, in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (now in Belarus). He was Beatified on 16 May 1643 and Canonized on 29 June 1867.

Through his intercession, may the strength of faith continue to grow, especially among the people he once was called to serve so that their faith - and ours - may continue to grow.

Have a great day.

Lest we forget

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
11 November 2018, 7:31 am
This weekend we celebrate Remembrance Day.  One hundred years ago today the armistice (the agreement to end the First World War) was signed.  We remember and we give thanks for the men and women who have given their lives in the pursuit of peace.

The spirit of sacrifice is the focus of our attention as we remember the gift that has been given by those who fought in the World Wars, in the Korean War, in Vietnam and in Afghanistan.  The spirit of sacrifice is also apparent in the lives of the men and women who are currently serving in our Armed Forces and in a variety of peace-keeping roles.

The spirit of sacrifice is also a central focus in all the readings that we have heard today.  In the first reading, the prophet Elijah has travelled to Zarephath, where he encounters a widow who is gathering sticks.  When he calls out to her and asks for water and something to eat, she explains: I have nothing baked, only a handful of meal in a jar and a little oil in a jug; I am now gathering ... sticks so that I may go home and prepare it ... so that we may eat, and then we will die (1 Kings 17:12).  Despite her dire situation, she sacrifices some of her meagre provisions in order to prepare bread for her visitor, and she is rewarded for her generosity (cf 1 Kings 17:15-16).

We see another example of sacrifice in the gospel.  In this case, Jesus points out the difference between those who are putting on a show of righteousness and those who sincerely seek to give what they have received with no regard for their own gain, like the poor widow who places two small copper coins in the temple treasury.  Understanding her sacrifice, Jesus says of her: Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all the others (cf Mk 12:43).

The examples provided by our war veterans and by the two widows mentioned today in the biblical accounts should always challenge us to live more and more authentically according to the gospel.  This is never easy to do.  The temptation is always for us to seek recognition for the things we do, or for the sacrifices that we make.  We can even fool ourselves into thinking that we have gone to great lengths to help others, but in truth what we really seek is control of a given situation or to ignore legitimate authority in order to achieve what we desire.  Following such human motivation only leads us down the path of the scribes who liked to walk around in long robes ... to be greeted with respect ... and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honour at banquets (Mk 12:38-39).

Instead, an authentic spirit of sacrifice is born out of love, and it was love that was at the heart of Christ’s gift of himself.  It always boggles my mind to think that our God, who created the universe and everything that it contains humbled himself to become one of us, and even more, that he was willing to sacrifice himself not for any human measure of gain but rather to enter into heaven itself (cf Heb 9:24).  We cannot outdo God in His goodness or His level of generosity but we can strive to be like him by trying our best to live according to a spirit of sacrificial love.

His Word Today: Saint Leo the Great

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
10 November 2018, 8:23 am
Good morning everyone,

Today, the Church celebrates the Memorial of Saint Leo the Great.  Born approximately in the year 400 AD in Tuscany (Italy), he was from an aristocratic family.  By the year 431, he was a deacon and sufficiently well known outside of Rome for his wisdom and his ability to settle disputes.  In fact, it was while he was absent from Rome and settling disputes in the territory of Gaul (France) that Pope Sixtus III died (11 August 440) and on 29 September of that same year, Leo was unanimously elected to succeed Sixtus III as Bishop of Rome.

Pope Leo was deeply dedicated to serving the Church. He saw himself as privileged to sit in the Chair of Saint Peter, as the servant of the servants of God. Over time, Leo became known as one of the best administrative popes of the ancient Church. But, he was so much more.  During his reign, he tirelessly fought to preserve the unity of the Church and its faith; and to ensure the safety of his people against invasions from armies which sought to destroy the Church and the Christian influence on culture which she brought to bear.

Pope Leo I focused his pontificate on four main areas. He continuously worked to oppose and root out numerous heresies which were threatening the Western Church. Among them were Pelagianism, which involved denying Original Sin and failing to understand the necessity of God's grace for salvation.  At the foundation of the Pelagian error was the mistaken notion that we can perfect ourselves without God's grace and assistance.

The other major heresy threatening the Church was Manichaeism.  This heresy denied the goodness of the human body, creation, and even matter itself. It failed to understand the full implications of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. In fact, it denigrated the human body. In short, it viewed everything material as evil. That denies the very teaching of the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament. It also rejects the very heart of the Gospel message.

During this same period, some Eastern Christians began questioning the teaching of the Church concerning the relationship between Jesus' humanity and his divinity, and how to articulate this mystery of the Christian faith.  In response, Leo resolved the doctrinal controversy with a letter setting down the Church's official teaching on Jesus Christ as One Person with a human and a divine nature which could not be separated. This profound and theologically astute letter reconciled the disputing parties. It preserved the core teaching concerning Jesus Christ. Finally, it affirmed the fullness of what occurred in the Incarnation, as well as its implications for all men and women who are baptized into Jesus Christ.  To this day, Leo's letter is heralded and praised, not only for bringing peace, but for preserving the fullness of Christian truth and doctrine. It helped the whole Church to enter more fully into the heart of the Gospel message of who Jesus is - and who we can become in Him, as we cooperate with grace.

Along with his dynamic faith and outstanding theological wisdom, Pope Leo I was also courageous. He led Rome's defence against Attila the Hun's barbarian invasion on Italy in 452, by taking on the role of peacemaker.

Pope Saint Leo focused heavily on the pastoral care of his people. He inspired and helped to foster charitable work in areas of Rome affected heavily by famine, refugees and poverty. To him, being a Christian was not only about embracing the fullness of the Gospel theologically but living it out in a world filled with hurt, suffering and needs.

Pope Leo I was renowned for his profoundly spiritual sermons. With his words, Leo could reach the everyday needs and interests of his people. It was his reputation as an instrument of the call to holiness, well-versed in Scripture and ecclesiastical awareness that helped him become one of the greatest popes in the history of the Church.

Leo died on November 10, 461. He wished to be buried as close as possible to Saint Peter's tomb. His body was first laid in the entrance of Saint Peter's Basilica but was later moved inside the basilica in 688.

In 1754, Pope Benedict XIV proclaimed Leo I a Doctor of the Church. Pope Leo I faithfully and unequivocally held to the belief that everything he did and said as pope represented Jesus Christ, and Saint Peter. He discharged his office, and vocation, with dynamic faith, great pastoral care and excellence.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Rome's Cathedral

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
9 November 2018, 7:19 am
Good morning everyone,

Today, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Dedication of the Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran in Rome.  The Lateran Basilica is the oldest and highest-ranking of the four major Basilicae in Rome (Saint John Lateran, Saint Peter's, Saint Mary Major and Saint Paul Outside the Walls).

The Basilica of Saint John Lateran is the cathedral of the diocese of Rome, the official ecclesiastical seat of the Holy Father, the Bishop of Rome, not Saint Peter's Basilica as so many mistakenly believe. The Basilica is also called the Church of Holy Saviour or the Church of Saint John the Baptist. In ancient Rome this was the church where everyone was baptized. It is the oldest church in the West, built in the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine and consecrated by Pope Sylvester in 324 AD. This feast became a universal celebration in honour of the Archbasilica, the ecclesiastical mother church, called the mother and mistress of all churches of Rome and the world (omnium urbis et orbis ecclesiarum mater et caput), as a sign of love for and union with the See of Peter.

The gospel passage for today's liturgy presents Jesus in the temple in Jerusalem where he overturns tables and chases money changers and merchants out of his Father's house (cf Jn 2:16).  As we celebrate this important day in the history of our Church, we can ask ourselves if there have been times when we have not given a place of honour to our relationship with Jesus.  If so, we can ask Him to help us make room in our hearts for prayer.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Rejoice

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
8 November 2018, 7:57 am
Good morning everyone,

Was there ever a time when you absolutely rejoiced at the arrival of a houseguest?  Think about it ... was there a time when you remember being so excited to see someone that you just couldn't wait?  This is the way that our God reacts when we come home, and this is the image that Jesus was trying to explain to the Pharisees and scribes in today's gospel passage.

He used the images of a lost sheep (Lk 15:3-7) and a lost coin (Lk 15:8-10) to give us an idea of how much we are loved and cared for by our God ... to the point where he is willing to leave everything else behind in order to come looking for us.  Can you even imagine someone loving another person so much that he or she would be willing to stop everything else in order to care for the one who is loved?  That's just a glimpse at the love that God has for us.

Today, we rejoice because our God loves us so deeply that He is willing to leave everything in order to find us and to bring us back to the community of believers we are meant to live with.  Our God loves us so deeply that He is willing to stop everything else in order to light a lamp and sweep the house, searching carefully until He finds us (cf Lk 15:8).  We are so loved that today - and every day - can be a joyful adventure.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Alternatives

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
7 November 2018, 7:23 am
Good morning everyone,

There is a tried and true process to making wise decisions.  Whenever there is a choice to be made, and especially when those choices will have long-lasting repercussions, we should always take time to consider alternative solutions - all the alternatives - before resolving such questions.

We see evidence of this principle in the gospel account today ((Lk 14:25-33).  Jesus is travelling with a great crowd of people and on the way, he is trying to encourage them to make wise decisions about whether they should continue to follow him or not.  He encourages them to consider the alternatives: If anyone comes to me without being willing to carry his cross ... cannot be my disciple (Lk 14:26-27).

Being a disciple of Jesus sometimes means that we must be physically separated from those we love - and this is indeed very counter-cultural, but discipleship does not mean that we must be entirely cut off from those we love.  In fact, in most cases, we come to love those who God chooses to share the journey with us.

Perhaps today we can consider a few questions: What cross (or crosses) has the Lord asked me to carry in order to be his disciple?  Can I ... do I joyfully accept the challenges entrusted to me and see them as opportunities to grow closer to Jesus, to experience his love for me and to share the joy of discipleship with others?

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Invited

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
6 November 2018, 7:35 am
Good morning everyone,

The gospel passage proposed for today's meditation demonstrates the abundant generosity of our God.  Attempting to explain what it is like to be invited to sit at the table in heaven, Jesus describes a scene where invitations are issued for guests to attend a banquet, but when the time for the dinner came, those who were invited declined the invitation, choosing instead to concentrate their efforts on other matters (cf Lk 14:15-24).

The wonderful news that is placed before us today is the fact that each of us has received an invitation to the Lord's banquet.  We do not know exactly when we will be ushered into the hall, but we know that the time is coming.  The question that we must constantly be aware of is whether or not we will be ready and waiting to enter when the meal is ready, or whether we ourselves will be preoccupied with some other matter.

Perhaps we should take stock of our own situation today: knowing that I have been invited to attend the Lord's banquet, is there something else that is preoccupying my thoughts and actions?  When the word goes out that the doors to the banquet hall have been thrown open, will I be tied down by some other commitment because I have been focused on things not of God?  What concerns preoccupy me?  Which ones are focused on God, and can I free myself from any that do not concern Him?

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Daring

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
5 November 2018, 7:37 am
Good morning everyone,

Many if not all of us have been invited - at some time or another - to luncheon and dinner parties at the homes of others.  In fact, we ourselves have most probably reciprocated and invited friends and relatives to dine at our tables.  What wonderful memories are created around such tables, yet Jesus invites us to consider issuing a different sort of invitation: one that challenges us to go beyond the confines of our own comfort and to dare to experience something new.

While he himself was sharing a meal as an invited guest, Jesus dared to challenge his host: When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your brothers or your sisters, or your relatives or your wealthy neighbours ... rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind (Lk 14:12-13).  This invitation is issued to us today, but in order for us to accept it, we must also be prepared to make ourselves vulnerable, to set out on a journey that necessitates stretching ourselves beyond the limits of our usual comforts, yet to do this also holds the promise of growth and maturity.

Embracing a life of faith will often take us to places that we would not normally visit, and open for us adventures from which we might normally shy away, but these adventures also help us to appreciate the gifts that we have.  Give thanks today for any opportunity to invite unexpected guests to sit at your table, and be prepared for something new.

Have a great day. 

The greatest Commandment

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
4 November 2018, 8:15 am
Many years ago, while I was not yet a Seminarian but during the time when I was considering the possibility of being a priest, three of my school friends and I were given an opportunity to visit on a weekly basis with four children who were living at a place called Saint Agatha’s Village – located outside Waterloo, Ontario.  Once a week, we would spend a few hours with these boys.  We knew that each of them was a ward of the state, but we did not realize how deeply their emotional scars had been implanted.  One of the boys was a pyromaniac, another had been adopted – along with his sister, only to be returned to the orphanage because the adopting parents preferred to keep the girl rather than the boy.  Each of them had their own stories to tell, and our task was to listen.

I have thought about this experience from time to time across the many years that have come and gone since that time.  I have continued to pray for those boys, often wondering where they are now and what adventures they have experienced.  I wonder if they were ever able to trust another human being.  People with such deep emotional scars often find it difficult to trust because trust can only be built up when we are at least reasonably confident that the other person truly has our interests at heart.  It takes a long time for some people to trust others, especially those who have been hurt, those who have been rejected and those who have been wounded.

I still wonder – even after so many years – what image those boys have of God.  What horrendous things they must have seen and experienced.  Despite the constant efforts of many others who were undoubtedly part of their lives – such as the staff who cared for them, the psychotherapists who may have worked with them, and even visitors and mentors such as those four young men who came to visit each week, those boys most certainly had a different concept of who God is.

I wonder, if we were ever able to ask them the question that was asked of Jesus in today’s gospel, how would they respond?  Which commandment is the first of all? (Mk 12:28)  I cannot imagine what they may have thought of a word such as commandment, and if someone were to ask them about their image of Jesus, I doubt whether they would have said that He is a loving God.  They themselves had encountered so little love!

From the beginning of time, God has always wanted to live in peace with us, and God has always wanted us to live in harmony with each other.   In today’s first reading, we hear Moses calling out to the people: May you and your children, and your children’s children fear the Lord – perhaps it would be better understood if we were to substitute the word respect for the word fear - ... and keep all his decrees (Deut 6:2).  These words were meant to be a blessing, not a curse.

How much love have we encountered in our lives?  The presence of love – or the lack of it – will affect the way we hear the words that Jesus spoke to the scribe that day: You shall love the Lord your God ... and you shall love your neighbour as yourself (Mk 12:30-31).

His Word Today: Saint Martin de Porres

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
3 November 2018, 6:41 am
Good morning everyone,

Today, the Church remembers and prays with Juan Martín de Porres Velázquez, a Peruvian-born man who is revered as the patron saint of mixed-race people, barbers, inkeepers, public health workers and all those who seek harmony between people of different racial backgrounds.

Saint Martin de Porres was born in Lima (Peru) on December 9, 1579.  His father was a Spanish nobleman and his mother was a slave, though these two were never married.  After the birth of Martin's sister, his father abandoned the family and left his mother to raise her two children on her own.  She did this by taking in people's laundry, but despite her best efforts, Martin and his sister grew up in poverty.  In fact, after having living in residence at a primary school for two years, he was entrusted to the care of a barber/surgeon so that he could learn the medical arts.  Through all of this, he spent hours each night in prayer.

At the age of fifteen years, Martin asked for admission to the Dominican Convent of the Rosary in Lima, where he served first as a servant boy and later was promoted to almoner (a chaplain who is in charge of distributing money to the poor).  In addition to his barbering and the medical arts, he also took on kitchen work, laundry and cleaning.  After eight years living and working among the Dominicans, they finally allowed him to take Religious Vows as a Dominican lay brother, although he was never ordained a priest.

Martin was devoted to working with the poor.  He established an orphanage and a children's hospital, all the while maintaining an austere lifestyle which included fasting and abstaining from meat.  Many miracles have been attributed to him including the ability to levitate and to bilocate.  He had what appeared to be miraculous knowledge and was known to perform instantaneous cures.

Martin died on 3 November 1639 and many people called for his beatification and canonization, however it was not until two centuries later that he was invited to move up to a higher position (Lk 14:10) On 29 October 1837, he was Beatified by Pope Gregory XVI and it was Pope John XXIII who canonized him on 6 May 1962.

Today, we ask Saint Martin de Porres to intercede for all of us and to help us see others as Jesus sees them, as brothers and sisters, as sons and daughters of a loving Father.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: All Souls

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
2 November 2018, 7:35 am
Good morning everyone,

Today, the Church celebrates the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed, otherwise referred to as All Souls day.  Immediately after having spent All Saints' day rejoicing with those of our predecessors in faith who we believe are now among the Saints, today we remember and pray for all those who have endeavoured to live virtuous lives here on earth (cf Wis 3:1) but who have not officially been recognized among the saints.

It is customary for Christians to visit graveyards on this day if we can, or at lest to pray for the repose of the souls of our loved ones and to offer our prayers, asking the Lord to welcome our loved ones into heaven.  Naming our loved ones in prayer places them before the throne of God and our prayers for them will help them to complete their journey home.

We remember our loved ones today and give thanks to God for the holy lives that they led.  We pray for them and we pray also for those who have no one to remember them in prayer before the Lord.  May He who has created us, and who longs for the day when we will be reunited for all eternity in our heavenly home turn his merciful gaze toward us and toward all those who still long to see his face.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: All Saints Day

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
1 November 2018, 7:58 am
Good morning everyone,

Today the church celebrates the Solemnity of All the Saints, otherwise known as All Saints' Day.  The  Christian celebration of All Saints' Day focusses on the commemoration of all those who have attained the beatific vision in heaven.  During the five years of his pontificate thus far, Pope Francis was canonized a total of 42 new Saints.  The most recent of these where canonized on October 14 of this year - during the celebration of the XV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.

 It might be helpful to look back today and to remember at least some of those who have been canonized over the last five years, including: Saint Marie of the Incarnation (28 October 1599-30 April 1672), a missionary Ursuline Nun who founded the Ursuline Order in Canada; Saint François- Xavier de Montmerency-Laval (30 April 1623-6 May 1708), the first Bishop of Quebec City (Canada); Saint John XXIII (25 November 1881-3 June 1963) who served as the Bishop of Rome from 28 October 1958 until his death; Saint John Paul II (18 May 1920-2 April 2005) who served as Bishop of Rome from 16 October 1978 until his death; Saint Louis and Saint Marie-Azélie Martin, parents of Saint Thérèse de Lisieux; Saint Teresa of Calcutta (26 August 1910-5 September 1997); Saint Francisco Marto (11 June 1908-4 April 1919) and his sister Saint Jacinta Marto (5 March 1910-20 February 1020) who witnessed the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima; Saint Paul VI (26 September 1897-6 August 1978) who served as Bishop of Rome from 21 June 1963 until his death; and Saint Oscar Romero (15 August 1917-24 March 1980) the Archbishop of San Salvador (El Salvador) who was martyred because he spoke out in favour of the poor.

These holy men and women are part of a great cloud of witnesses (Heb 12:1) who are constantly interceding for us in heaven.  How lucky we all are to have such celestial heroes on our side!

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Do

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
31 October 2018, 8:17 am
Good morning everyone,

Etienne de Grellet, a Quaker missionary (1773-1855) is credited with having first uttered the words: I shall pass this way but once; any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being, let me do it now.  Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.

Many centuries before, Jesus urged his followers: Strive to enter by the narrow gate (Lk 13:24).   The image of gates used to enter the pens of sheep and other livestock would have been well known to those who heard these words. They would easily have been able to identify with such an image, but even in our times, people still have difficulty understanding this advice as it appears in the sacred writings, and how it should be applied.

Perhaps it might help to think of Jesus' advice in terms of the Quaker wisdom that was shared many centuries later. Striving to enter by the narrow gate simply means trying our best each day to do good for others.  Be on the lookout today for opportunities to do good things for others, to bring them some measure of happiness. Don't delay if you don't have to; remember that we shall not pass this way again.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Mystery

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
30 October 2018, 7:37 am
Good morning everyone,

When we were children, some of us relished the thought of reading mystery novels.  Modern-day children spend countless hours entertaining themselves with video games that are based on the unknown.  Who among us has not been caught up in such an adventure, yet do we realize that there is yet another mystery unfolding right before our eyes?

We have the great privilege to be part of the daily unfolding of God's plan.  It has already taken root in our lives on the day of our baptism, but like a tiny mustard seed (cf Lk 13:19), like a single grain of yeast (cf Lk 13:21), this mystery remains dormant and undetected until it is fed and watered.  It only takes the most minute amount of either of these (food or water) for us to already begin seeing signs of God's work in our lives.  Even if all we can offer is a desire to know Him, he will begin to reveal himself to us.

Today, let us give thanks for God's gifts: he has planted the first seeds of faith in our hearts.  These seeds have been watered by the example of faith that we have witnessed in our parents and in other people who have played a part in teaching and forming us into the people we are today.  Let us also care for these seeds of faith by watering them regularly with the Word of God and by feeding them with the gift of the Eucharist.  God will do the rest.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Learnings

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
29 October 2018, 7:55 am
Good morning everyone,

The 15th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops concluded this past weekend. During the final session which was held on Saturday, the Holy Father addressed some unscripted words to those who were gathered in the Synod Hall at the Vatican.  During these concluding remarks, Pope Francis reminded the participants - and all of us as well - that although the final document has been prepared, the ultimate result of a Synod is not a document, but rather the Spirit who gives the Church the document so that it can work in our hearts (Unscripted remarks of His Holiness offered at the conclusion of the Synod, Saturday, 27 October 2018).

In the homily he preached at the closing mass yesterday, Pope Francis reminded the young people and all of those who were gathered that there are three important attitudes that must be adopted by those who want to be close to young people and to all of God's people. First, we must listen to one another (and to the Spirit that is living and active in our midst), then we must be neighbours to our brothers and sisters, taking care of one another. The third necessity is that we must be witnesses of the love that Jesus has shown us, witnesses of his mercy and his willingness to be close to all his beloved children (Homily, 28 October 2018).

These are challenges which are echoed in today's gospel passage. When Jesus encountered a woman who had been bent over in pain and suffering, he chose to heal her from her infirmities rather than simply watching her go by (Lk 17:10-13).  Are we able to identify the struggles that our brothers and sisters must live with? Are we willing to do something about them? Are we willing to be close to our brothers and sisters in the midst of their suffering? Only then will we be able to proclaim to them the good news that Jesus wants to heal us all and  remind us that we are  all his beloved children.

Have a great day.

A place for everyone

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
28 October 2018, 7:34 am
This past week, municipal elections were held throughout Ontario.  In some cases, the people that will sit in council chambers did not change, but there are some who will no longer be there, and there are some new faces that will now take their places.  As with every such change, there will be a period of adjustment but the work of creating and sustaining communities must go on.

Communities can be defined in various ways: some people belong to the same families, some attend the same schools, some are employed by the same company and some pray according to the same faith tradition.  In each of these cases  ... and many more, individuals seek the experience of community.  This is not something new.  The creation accounts in the Book of Genesis speak of a community being formed when God created Adam and Eve.  The prophet Jeremiah tells us that God brought his people from the land of the north ... from the furthest parts of the earth ... Led by the Lord they walked by brooks of water, in a straight path in which they did not stumble (Jer 31:8-9).

Even in the time of Jesus, we see evidence of God’s work as he led His people to encounter one another and taught them how to walk together along the paths of life.  The gospel passage we have heard today speaks of the encounter that Jesus had with Bartimaeus, a blind beggar who was sitting by the roadside (cf Mk 10:46).  It’s interesting to note that at the beginning of the story, Bartimaeus is all alone.  The other people who are there try to stop him from calling out to Jesus, as though he is a bother, but he is persistent, and Jesus chooses him to provide the example by which we all should live.  Imagine their surprise when Jesus instructed them to bring this blind beggar to him.  Perhaps he had supporters in the crowd, or maybe there was a sudden change of heart among those who had previously tried to silence him.  In any case, voices of encouragement began to be heard: Take heart, get up, he is calling you (Mk 10:49).

In our time too, each of us tries day by day to make our way through life.  We sometimes encounter many turns in the road, but we do not make this journey alone.  At times, it might seem as though we are on our own, especially when people try to exclude us with words and gestures of judgment, but like Bartimaeus, we must be persistent in our prayer, knowing that Jesus always hears the cries of those who need his help.

When they had brought him to Jesus, Bartimaeus was finally able to make his plea: My teacher, let me see again (Mk 10:51).  How many in our world are still crying out to Jesus, pleading for his help?  Among them, we can count those who are suffering from physical ailments, but there are also others like refugees who have been displaced.  Closer to home, there are many of our brothers and sisters who are newcomers even in this land, and there are those – like our indigenous neighbours – who live right next door to us and yet seem so distant from us.

Bartimaeus provides us all with an example of faith and perseverance that longs to hear the words of Jesus in response: Go, your faith has made you well (Mk 10:52).  With these words, Jesus assured a blind beggar that there was a place for him in his heart.  Jesus knows that each of us also has a similar cry, a need to be part of the community.  Oh, how we long to hear such words of consolation spoken to us as well.

His Word Today: Feeding

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
27 October 2018, 8:47 am
Good morning everyone,

At the time of Jesus, it was not easy for people to choose to follow him.  The consequences for anyone who chose to walk a different path from that which was expected by society were often very high - even to the point of losing lives (cf Lk 13:1) - but Jesus came to reassure us that losing a mortal life is nowhere near as dangerous as endangering our immortal souls.

As he usually did, Jesus explained this truth using parables.  In this case, he told the story of a fig tree that was young, and therefore not ready yet to bear fruit (cf Lk 13:6), but thanks to the pleading of the gardener who was caring for the fig tree, the master was convinced of the need to be patient (cf Lk 13:8).  As with all other parables that Jesus used, this story is meant to help us understand and appreciate the infinite mercy and love of God.

There are many circumstances competing for our attention.  Some of them can lead us to recognize God at work in our lives and others often attempt to distract us from focusing on the relationship of love that we are meant to enjoy with our heavenly Father.  The good thing is that our God is infinitely patient, waiting for us to turn our attention to him, and he's willing to help us to do this, if only we would ask him to remind us of his presence in our lives.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Signs

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
26 October 2018, 7:22 am
Good morning everyone,

Before a first-time driver can navigate the streets, there is a certain protocol that needs to be followed. This protocol includes learning how to read the street signs which most often do not have words but rather pictures. It's only when a prospective driver can prove that he or she is able to read the signs and properly interpret their meaning that they are allowed to move onto the next stage of the driving process.

In today's gospel passage, Jesus says that we need to judge for ourselves what is right (Lk 12:57), learn how to read the signs of our times. We need to properly interpret what we see, which includes trends and practises of our days. However we need to interpret these things in a particular way: we need to see them in the light of faith.

This necessity then leads us to look seriously at our own relationships with Jesus. We must ask ourselves: Have I encountered Jesus? Has my relationship with him changed the way that I am in relationship with others? Do I believe that a relationship with him can make a difference in my life?  Honest answers to these questions will help us to recognize the signs that keep pointing us in the right direction.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Enthusiasm

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
25 October 2018, 7:46 am
Good morning everyone,

From time to time, we all meet new people.  There are many levels at which we can know someone, but perhaps among the most significant measures of knowing someone else is what we call knowing what makes that person tick.  By this, we mean that we have gotten to know someone well enough to be aware of his or her likes and dislikes, favorite things and even that person's friends.

Jesus' disciples had a unique opportunity to learn what made him tick.  Perhaps if we had the chance to ask them the same key question: What makes Jesus tick?, they might respond by describing the source of his enthusiasm in the following words: I have come to set the earth on fire (Lk 12:49).  Perhaps we too can identify with these words which Jesus spoke.  He came to set the world on fire, which is to say that he came to share the good news of the Father's love with us, and to invite us to open our hearts so that God can share this love with us as well.

Today, we can ask ourselves: what makes me tick?  Is my faith strong, enough so that I would also say that I have come to set the world on fire with the love, mercy, forgiveness and joy of Jesus?  Do I want this depth of trust to be an integral part of my relationship with Him?

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Everyone

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
24 October 2018, 7:30 am
Good morning everyone,

It is sometimes easier for us to see weakness in other people, even while we cannot (or will not) admit that we ourselves are in need of help.  When Jesus warned the crowds that the Son of Man will come at an hour you do not expect (Lk 12:40), the disciples thought that somehow they could be exempted from such judgement, but Jesus meant these words for everyone - including the disciples.

How often have we found ourselves easily being able to proclaim judgements on others because they appear not to be doing what Jesus calls us all to do?  At such moments, we have a choice: either we can look to others with judgement or we can see them as in need of our prayers and our help.

Much will be expected of those who have been entrusted with much (Lk 12:48).  Perhaps today we can pray for the grace to be aware of all that we have been given.  As a result of our God's generosity, we have received many blessings, but these gifts have been given so that they can be shared, especially with those who are powerless, those who are hungry and those who are in need (cf Lk 12:42).

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Anticipate

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
23 October 2018, 8:19 am
Good morning everyone,

I remember meeting a young man once who had an amazing talent for being present to everyone he met.  Even as he spoke with people, he was always anticipating their needs.  On many occasions, I witnessed his eagerness to make others comfortable: offering them a drink of water, a snack, a place to sit ... no gesture of welcome was ever refused.

Today's gospel passage encourages us to see that the actions of this young man are an example for every one of us to be like servants who await their master's return (Lk 12:36).  This is the ideal toward which we are all called.  Every day presents us with another opportunity to anticipate the arrival of the Lord - who is present to us in the faces around us.

Be on the lookout today for Jesus who is calling out to you, asking for your help.  Be anxious to see his face, to anticipate his needs and to respond to them in the best way possible.

Have a great day.

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