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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: 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.

His Word Today: Mother

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
10 June 2019, 7:05 am
Good morning everyone,

On 3 March 2018, His Holiness, Pope Francis issued a decree establishing a new liturgical Memorial in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church.  The practice of referring to Mary as the Mother of the Church began in the fourth century A.D.  It was Saint Ambrose of Milan who first used this title, and it has continued in the tradition of the Church to the present day.

Pope John Paul II stated that overall the title indicates the Blessed Virgin Mary's maternity of Christ's faithful, as deriving from her maternity of Christ in that Mary is present in the Church as the Mother of Christ, and at the same time as that Mother whom Christ, in the mystery of the Redemption, gave to humanity in the person of the Apostle John (cf John 19:27). Thus, in her new motherhood in the Spirit, Mary embraces each and every one in the Church, and embraces each and every one through the Church.

Pope Francis has often used the image of a loving mother to refer to the entire Church.  This image is rooted in the enduring belief that the Blessed Virgin Mary is indeed the Mother of the Church and our heavenly mother.  Today, let us turn to her with grateful hearts.  We thank her for all the graces and blessings we have received, especially during the Easter season that ended yesterday, and we thank her for her continued guidance as we continue the journey of walking through this world as joyful disciples.

Have a great day.

Something new

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
9 June 2019, 1:53 pm
Fifty days have now passed since we began the celebration of the Easter season.  Today, as we celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost, this time of celebration draws to a close.  For the past six weeks, the scriptures have invited us to reflect on the experience that the disciples encountered in the days following Jesus' resurrection and while they waited for the gift of the Spirit, even though they really didn't understand what this new gift would look like.  When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place (Acts 2:1), just as they had done on many other occasions.  Human beings are creatures of habit, but God had something new in mind for them, and the same can be said for us.

Without any warning, suddenly ... there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind ... Divided tongues ... something like fire ... appeared among them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages (Acts 2:2-4).  Something unexpected, something new, something wonderful was taking place.  At first, the disciples did not understand what was unfolding, but they recognized the fact that whatever this was, it was a gift, the gift that had been promised.

Today, we have gathered in this place to begin a new chapter in the history of the Catholic faithful in the city of Elliot Lake.  As it was in the time of the disciples, we too have been waiting for this day, not understanding fully how it would all come to pass, but trusting that it would indeed happen.  We have come a long way in a relatively short period of time.  Two years ago, when I first arrived, people told me that there were great needs among the people of this city.  People told me that there were increasing struggles to find enough people to fill all the roles that are necessary for the healthy functioning of a parish.  We have known for quite some time that something needed to be done.  The process that has led to this day has not always been easy, but it has been necessary.  Today, we can begin to look forward to a brighter tomorrow.

Saint Paul reminds us that there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit (1 Cor 12:4).  We give thanks to God for all the gifts that have been so freely and generously shared at various points along the road that has led us to this moment, and together, we ask the Lord to journey with us on the path that lies ahead.  For just as the body is one and has many members ... so it is with Christ (1 Cor 12:12).  We all come to this place, at this moment in time, bringing with us our own histories, our own experiences, our own gifts - and all of us have gifts to share, and no gift is insignificant in the eyes of our God.

When Jesus appeared to the disciples in the Upper Room, he gave them a gift.  He said to each one of them: Peace be with you, but that peace was not meant for them to keep for themselves.  In the same breath, he told them: As the Father has sent me, so I send you (Jn 20:21).  Here, in this church, Jesus offers a gift to the new parish community of Saint Bernadette.  He says to each one of us: Peace be with you.  Our world is very much in need of the gift of peace, and it is up to us to go out from this place and to share the gift of God's peace with those we meet.  Together, let us ask the Lord to look lovingly upon us, to breathe the breath of his spirit upon us and to fill us with new life so that we can go out to the places where he sends us, to be his witnesses of joy, compassion and love in the world.

His Word Today: A second chance

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
7 June 2019, 6:40 am
Good morning everyone,

In today's gospel passage (Jn 21:15-19) we see a wonderful side of Jesus.  He gives Simon Peter a second chance, and he is also willing to give us a second chance.  This was great consolation for Peter's wounded heart and it is the source of great consolation also for us.

Peter was more disappointed in himself than in anyone else.  He had thought himself to be great.  After all, even Jesus had chosen him, had trusted him, had dreamed of great possibilities for him, and then Peter had denied Jesus: not once, not twice, but three times.  The shame!  And yet, after Jesus had revealed himself to his disciples, ... he said to Simon Peter: Do you love me more than these? (Jn 21:15).

Jesus is just as merciful with us.  Whenever we have thought ourselves to be worthy of great importance, only to have come up short and disappointed ourselves, Jesus finds a way to come to us and to give us a second chance.  He simply asks: Do you love me? ... and patiently waits for us to respond.

Have a great day.


His Word Today: Time

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
6 June 2019, 7:46 am
Good morning everyone,

All those who pray the Liturgy of the Hours are participating in the continual prayer of the Church.  Given the fact that there are devotees of this form of prayer in all time zones across the globe, it can sometimes be enriching to consider that at all moments of the day and night, there is someone at prayer.

In addition, since there have been people at prayer since the time that Jesus taught us how to pray, and even before that moment, it is equally stunning to consider that there has always been a voice at prayer throughout all moments of history, and presumably, as we go forward in time, this tradition will also continue.

The excerpt from John's gospel that appears in today's liturgy reminds us of these realities.  In his own prayer, Jesus was mindful not only of his own disciples, but also those who will believe in me through their word (Jn 17:20).  As we pray today, let us also be aware of the fact that through time, Jesus - and many others - have also been praying for us, and that we in turn can pray for all those who will come after us to follow in the footsteps of our divine Master.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Saint Boniface

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
5 June 2019, 8:34 am
Good morning everyone,

Today, the Church celebrates the Memorial of Saint Boniface, and eighth century hero who was born in Crediton (Devon) England and who eventually played an important role in the mission to share the gospel with people who lived in various parts of the Frankish empire (the largest post-Roman barbarian kingdom in Western Europe).

Jesus call to continue the mission has also been passed down to us.  Like Boniface and like so many others who have continued the work of spreading the gospel, we too have been entrusted with the opportunity to realize that Jesus' prayer - offered in the gospel today - is not only about him and about his disciples, but equally about us.  He protects us ... in the name of our Father ... and guards us so that none of us is lost (cf Jn 17:12).

It is a great source of comfort for us to know that as we face the daily struggle of trying to face the world - which can so often be filled with more than its fair share of struggles - we can always count on the enduring presence of Jesus who protects and guards us.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Know

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
4 June 2019, 7:50 am
Good morning everyone,

Today's gospel passage reminds us that the ultimate gift that our heavenly Father promises is eternal life.  Immersed as we are in day to day existence, we can easily become distracted by the worries that this world tries to place before us.  All the more reason why we need to stop and spend some time with our heavenly Father.

We need to hear him whisper in our ears every day: This is eternal life: that you should know your Father, the only true God, and the one who he sent - Jesus Christ (Jn 17:3).  We can only do this if we develop the habit of spending time with our Father and with Jesus as often as we can.  It is in the regular meeting of prayer that we can grow in our understanding of the love that God has for us, and strengthen the relationship we are meant to have with both God the Father and Jesus his Son.

Today, let us open the ears of our souls and let us try to be attentive to the presence of our God who is always near to us.  Together, they are constantly anticipating our divine homecoming ... so that one step at time, we can learn to celebrate the joy of knowing them.

Have a great day.

The next step

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
2 June 2019, 2:13 pm
Today, the Church celebrates the Ascension of the Lord.  After having been raised from the dead, and having appeared to his disciples in order to open their minds to understand the Scriptures ... and their predictions that the Christ was to suffer and to rise from the dead ... he also instructed them to proclaim repentance and forgiveness of sins ... in his name, beginning from Jerusalem (Lk 24:45-47).  Strengthened in their conviction of these truths, Jesus ordered them not to leave Jerusalem (Acts 1:4), but to wait until the Father had baptized them with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5).

Even after having been instructed in this way, the disciples were still uncertain about how their future would unfold.  When they had come together, they asked him, 'Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?' (Acts 1:6).  They still clung to human understandings of what the kingdom of God would be like.  In fact, they probably found it difficult to envision any other possibility.

Today, we have gathered in this church to celebrate the final Mass with parishioners of Our Lady of Fatima.  Like the disciples, we have some understanding of what the future will hold.  We know, for instance, that next weekend, a new parish will be established, a parish that will gather all Catholics in Elliot Lake.  Still, there is a part of us that remains uncertain about how our future will unfold, because very few of us have ever experienced this kind of change.

These are very interesting times for our community.  While one chapter is coming to an end, there is another that is about to begin, and - at least at this point in time - it's ok for us not to understand all the details.  We can look back over the past six decades and we can recall many occasions when we gathered in this place, when we celebrated significant moments in our lives, and there is a part of us that still may be reluctant to believe that any of this should change.

When he was about to leave his disciples, Jesus assured them that they would never be alone.  You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).  At this precise moment in history, Jesus is also assuring us that we are not alone.  Like the disciples, we too can rely on the power of the Holy Spirit; something new is about to take place, and we too are being called by the Lord to be witnesses of his presence, witnesses of his forgiveness, witnesses of his joy ... in Elliot Lake, in Northern Ontario ... and beyond.

The disciples could not grasp the concept of the Holy Sprit, but at some level, they trusted that what Jesus had told them was true.  They agreed to stay in Jerusalem until they had been clothed with power from on high (Lk 24:49).  Like those disciples, we too must remain faithful.  Not knowing completely what the future holds for us, we must also trust that we are not alone, but that we will have the guidance that we need.  What we are doing today is an act of faith.  Let us entrust ourselves to the intercession of Our Lady, under whose patronage we have gathered until today, and let us ask Saint Bernadette to intercede for us too, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give us a spirit of wisdom (Eph 1:17) so that together, we can continue to walk in faith and trust, hand in hand with him.

His Word Today: Visitation

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
31 May 2019, 7:05 am
Good morning everyone,

We can learn a lot about discipleship from the example that is highlighted by today's Feast.  It's called the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and it is rooted in the visit that Mary paid to her kinswoman (possibly a cousin).  Having been told about Elizabeth's miraculous pregnancy at the same time that she learned about her own, Mary set out and travelled to the hill country in haste ... and greeted Elizabeth (Lk 1:39-40).

Both these women had a secret, and because they had this in common, they were able to share in each other's joy.  I wonder what the conversations were like as they spent time together.  The scriptures tell us that Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months before she returned home (cf Lk 1:56).  This was a first pregnancy for both of them, yet Elizabeth was much older than Mary.  Perhaps Elizabeth was more worried about the physical demands that would be put upon her by her pregnancy, yet at the same time, perhaps Mary looked to her cousin for counsel in other ways.  In any event, the truth was that they shared a common bond because they had been invited to share in the mission - each with her own gift to give, but both playing an intricate part in the revelation of God's plan.

Have we ever experienced such a bond?  Is there someone with whom you share a special connection?  Perhaps there are a few people who have shared a common experience.  Maybe the common denominator is our faith in God, in Jesus and our growing understanding of the relationship we are meant to have with our heavenly Father.  As we discover this relationship, and as it continues to be strengthened, let us pray for the grace to experience the joy that Mary and Elizabeth knew.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Something new

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

Whenever Jesus spoke of his future, his disciples heard words that had never been spoken before.  It is quite understandable that they would have had difficulty grasping the truth of his words: A little while longer and you will no longer see me, and again a little while and you will see me (Jn 16:16-17), and I am going to the Father.

The problem was that they were still trying to understand his words according to human logic.  Even today, we encounter the same difficulty if we insist on understanding Jesus' words, his vision, according to the logic of this earth on which we live.  It is not always easy to stay focused on the words that Jesus offers, but if we manage to open our hearts and to listen with ears of faith, it is possible for us to believe that there is a reality beyond the one that we can see, feel, hear and touch with our human limitations.

Those who live in that place - which is beyond the scope of human vision - have discovered the reality of living in the presence of the Father.  Someday, we too will arrive at that same destination - when Jesus allows us to see him once again - and when we do, our loving Father will welcome us home.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: More

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
29 May 2019, 7:39 am
Good morning everyone,

It is interesting to note that even as he spoke with his disciples about the fact that his time with them was growing short, Jesus still remains optimistic: I have much more to tell you ... (Jn 16:12), yet he was always sensitive to the readiness of his disciples to receive the words that he wanted to share: You cannot bear it now, but when the Spirit comes .. he will guide you to all truth (Jn 16:13).

How wonderful it is to know that our God knows us so well that Jesus was - and is always - aware of our capacity to hear his words, to appreciate them and to accept them, and how wonderful it is for us to know that our God will not tell us anything that we are incapable of hearing or understanding!

We can marvel today in the fact that our God is so patient with us that we will never be forced to hear any of the words He chooses to share if we are incapable of truly hearing them.  With infinite patience, our God waits for us to be ready to experience His goodness.  There is always more for us to discover, to celebrate and to appreciate, but only when we are ready.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Grief

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
28 May 2019, 7:51 am
Good morning everyone,

When they knew that the time was near, Jesus' disciples were filled with grief.  In fact, it seems that their grief overshadowed everything else, even to the point of paralyzing them and blinding them to everything else that was going on.  We see a glimpse of this reality in the words that Jesus speaks:  I am going ... and not one of you asks me, 'Where are you going?' (Jn 16:5).

When we grieve, we too can be blinded to the needs of others, we too can be unaware of anything else, almost as though we are stuck in time, yet even in the midst of their grief, Jesus was ready to offer help to the disciples.  If I go, he said, I will send the Advocate to you, which is to say the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit stands beside us to strengthen us and to help us to look beyond our grief.  With the help of the Holy Spirit, we are able to overcome the paralysis of grief and to recognize the dawn of a new day, a new reality that offers us hope.

Today, let us pray for the grace to be aware of our own grief.  Let us pray for the grace to be aware of the grief that enfolds others, and let us ask for the grace to be aware of the Holy Spirit's presence, standing beside us, ready to take our hands and to help us be aware of the hope that is before our very eyes.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Saint Augustine of Canterbury

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

In today's gospel, Jesus urges the disciples to testify, because you have been with me from the beginning (Jn 15:27).  If we should wonder how it is that we should go about testifying, we need only look to the example that has been set out for us by some of those who have gone before us.

Today, the Church celebrates the Memorial of Saint Augustine of Canterbury, a Benedictine monk who lived in the latter part of the sixth century and died on 26 May 604.  He was the Prior at a monastery in Rome when, in 597, Pope Gregory the Great named him Bishop of Canterbury and sent him on a mission to Christianize King Aethelberht and his Kingdom of Kent (in present-day England).  His efforts were successful.  Not only did the King convert to Christianity, he also gave permission for a Benedictine monastery to be set up outside the walls of the city.

Because of his conviction and courage - gifts of the Holy Spirit that are given to all those who believe in Jesus - Augustine was able to share the good news of his faith and even to invite the king and many of his subjects to join him in his commitment to the Lord.  Many others continued the work of sharing the good news of their faith and beliefs, and even today, we can also do the same.  Pray today for the gifts of conviction and faith so that we can all share the good news of our faith with others.

Have a great day.

Continuing education

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
26 May 2019, 12:56 pm
In the next few weeks, students in our elementary and secondary schools will be completing the current academic year.  As they look forward to the year ahead, many of them may grow anxious at this time of the year.  In addition to examinations and tests, many of them will be changing classrooms, encountering new teachers and perhaps even moving from one school to another.  Any such change in the routine that has been established is bound to bring with it a certain sense of anxiety.

Jesus knew that as the hour approached when he would have to be separated from his disciples, they too would grow anxious.  In order to encourage them, he assured them that they would not have to face the future alone: ... the Advocate, the Holy Spirit ... will teach you ... and remind you of all that I have said to you (Jn 14:26).  A number of days after the Resurrection, this promise was fulfilled when the Holy Spirit was sent to strengthen the disciples.  Renewed in their conviction, they then set out with renewed courage to carry out the mission of teaching others about Jesus, about the words he had spoken and about the lessons he had taught.

We have been reading about the adventures of the disciples throughout the Easter season.  They travelled widely, reaching places that they had never visited before.  From this distance in time, I have often thought that they were constantly enthusiastic and eager to tell others about Jesus, but their enthusiasm was not necessarily received well in all cases.  There were also others who joined in the effort to spread the good news, but sometimes, even despite their good will, there were problems, and these challenges needed to be addressed.  We have heard the details of one such instance in today's first reading:  Certain individuals came ... from Judea and were teaching, 'Unless you ... follow the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved' (Acts 15:1).  When the appointed leaders heard about these teachings, they knew that they needed help in order to clarify the matter, so Paul and Barnabas, ... were appointed to go to Jerusalem to discuss the question with the Apostles ... (Acts 15:2).

When they arrived in Jerusalem, Paul and Barnabas discussed the situation with the apostles.  They shared their own words of advice and they prayed for guidance, relying as always on the presence of the Holy Spirit for guidance, and the result was that the disciples sent Paul and Barnabas back, along with Judas and Silas in order to help the believers of Gentile origin in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia (Acts 15:23) to grow in their faith.

Since that time ... and even to the present day ... the leaders of our Church continue to send priests to various communities of believers, including this one, so that the work of spreading the gospel can continue.  Day after day, we must keep before us the vision described in today's second reading (Rev 21:10-23) and we must find ways to strengthen the faith of those we meet.  When all is said and done, it is the Holy Spirit - the Advocate - who continues to inspire us and to remind us of all that Jesus has taught us.

His Word Today: Chosen

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
24 May 2019, 7:05 am
Good morning everyone,

In many ways, the world around us is constantly trying to convince us that we have to work in order to gain any reward.  This is true in some circumstances, but when it comes to relationships, especially close and loving relationships, we often find that we receive much more than we invest.

The same is true of our relationship with God.  In today's gospel, we are reminded of the words Jesus spoke to his disciples: It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you (Jn 15:16).  Before we had even an inkling of who God is, God has already known and loved each one of us at the very core of our being.  Whether or not we are aware of His presence, God has already chosen us to be his beloved children.

How absolutely privileged we are to have such an exalted position.  Consider today the fact that you (and I) have been chosen, surrounded with goodness, light and love from the moment of our conception, and that we will always be bearers of this blessing, even as we pass through the gates of heaven and enter into life eternal.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Love

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
23 May 2019, 7:53 am
Good morning everyone,

Someone once asked: Have you ever fallen in love?  If we have known the bliss of truly falling in love with someone else, perhaps we can appreciate the motivation to always want the best for that other person, for no other reason than the desire for that person's happiness.

If we have indeed experienced this bliss, perhaps we have a glimpse at understanding what Jesus was communicating in today's gospel passage: As the Father loves me, so I also love you (Jn 15:9).  Our heavenly Father loves us with divine love which far exceeds the limits of human love.

As we contemplate this truth, let us ask the Lord to share with us the great depth of His love for us: to help us fall in love again.  His is a love that surpasses our deepest desire and fills up every one of our hopes.  It is enough for us to ask and our God will warm our hearts and shower us with this gift.  What a wonderful blessing it is to be loved so deeply!

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Vines

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

There are two grape vines in my parents' back yard.  They have been there for many years now.  The neighbours on either side of my parents' home planted these vines in their own yards but with time the vines have grown through the fences, and in recent years there have been copious harvests of grapes.  In the early years, the vines did not bear much fruit, but each year, as Autumn arrives, the vines are pruned - right back to the original plants, and each spring, the vines spring forth with new shoots which intertwine their way along the fences.  With the heat of the summer sun, these vines eventually bear fruit, and what luscious fruit it is.

I thought immediately of these grape vines when I read today's gospel passage.  Jesus taught his disciples: I am the true vine and my father is the vine grower (Jn 15:1).  He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and any one that does, he prunes so that it bears more fruit (Jn 15:2).

Like the grape vines in my parents' yard, we need to remain connected to Jesus.  We need to keep contact with him, because it is he who is at work within us, reaching out through our hands to touch the world with his compassion and looking upon the world through our eyes in order to share the gift of his compassion with those who are in need.  All we need to do is to realize that it is Jesus who is at work in us.  He will take care of the pruning, the fertilizing and everything involved in caring for the vine, and he will put us in places where we can reach out in his name to touch the world with kindness, love and joy.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Peace

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
21 May 2019, 7:29 am
Good morning everyone,

In today's gospel passage (Jn 14:27-31), we hear Jesus offering the gift of peace.  He says to the disciples: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you (Jn 14:27).  Then he goes on to say: Not as the world gives do I give it to you.  In this way, Jesus wishes to distinguish his gift of peace from the practice of so many in our world who make promises but never fulfill their words.

Jesus' word is always true.  It is always sincere and we can always count on him.  If Jesus promises to share with us the gift of peace, then we can be assured that we will have his gift, a peace that is everlasting, a peace that exists between those who know and trust one another implicitly, a trust that fills us with confidence because we know that we are never alone.

This same gift of peace is offered to us today.  Let us pray for the grace to recognize it, to celebrate it and to share the good news of having known this great gift from the Lord with others we may encounter today.  And furthermore, if we should encounter someone who is in need of peace, let us not be hesitant to reassure them that Christ's gift of unfailing peace is also offered to them.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Saint Bernardine of Siena

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
20 May 2019, 7:32 am
Good morning everyone,

Yesterday in Saint Peter's Square, the Holy Father greeted pilgrims and visitors as he normally does every Sunday.  In his remarks, he reflected on the scriptures for the day, and spoke about the new commandment that Jesus gave to his disciples: ... As I have loved you, so you should love one another (Jn 13:34).  His Holiness went on to explain that although the Mosaic Law had already commanded us to love God (cf Lv 19:18), and although Jesus had already pointed out the importance of loving our neighbour as ourselves (cf Mt 22:38-39), the commandment to love was made new by the addition of the requirement to love as I have loved you.

In the light of this new commandment, we can read today's gospel passage afresh.  Jesus explains to his disciples: whoever loves me will keep my word and my Father will love him him and we will come to him (Jn 14:23).  This is consoling news for us.  We already know that our Father is infinitely more capable of loving than any human being could ever hope to love, but Jesus commands us to love as he has loved us - with infinite love, and he assures us that if we strive to love him in this way, we will have divine assistance to help us accomplish the task of fulfilling this love.

Today, as we observe the liturgical memorial of Saint Bernardine of Siena, let us ask this holy man to intercede for us.  While he was still on earth, he already knew that the last degree of love that Jesus showed his disciples occurred when he gave himself to us to be our Food because he gave himself to us to be united with us in every way. If we have been loved so deeply, we too should strive to love one another as Jesus has loved us.

Have a great day.

How do we glorify God?

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
19 May 2019, 8:20 am
The gospel passage we have just heard occurs immediately after the moment when Judas has left the Upper Room, on his way to speak with the chief priests in order to betray Jesus (cf Mt 26:14-16).  Speaking to the other disciples, Jesus said: Now the Son of Man has been glorified (Jn 13:31).  It might seem strange to think that Jesus - the Son of Man - was glorified in the act of betrayal.  The usual image portrayed by the word glorify is about placing our focus on someone, making a big deal out of them, usually in a good and loving way, and yet Jesus says that he has been glorified in the act of betrayal.

In order to understand the truth of this statement, we need to realize that if Judas had not betrayed Jesus, he would not have been arrested, he would not have suffered, he would not have been crucified, he would not have died - not at that particular moment - and he would not have risen at that moment either.  However, this was the reason for which God had sent him: in order to show us the extent of our God's love for us.  We need to be reminded of this truth, over and over again: it was in his surrender, in his acceptance of human suffering and in his passage through the doorway of physical death that Jesus glorified God.  In this ultimate act of humility, Jesus accomplished the mission for which he was sent.

You and I have also been entrusted with the mission of glorifying God.  We do this every day when we do what Jesus asked us to do.  In those final hours, while he was awaiting Judas' arrival, Jesus told the other disciples: I give you a new commandment, that you love one another (Jn 13:34).  This same commandment has also been entrusted to us.  Like Jesus, we are all called to glorify the Lord, and we do this by loving one other.

The Acts of the Apostles tell the story of how the disciples did their very best to live out this commandment.  In today's first reading, we hear a part of the adventure that Paul and Barnabas travelled to many different places, strengthening the souls of the disciples and encouraging them to continue in the faith (Acts 14:22).  These two followers of the Way had been convinced of God's love for them, and it was this sense of being loved that energized them and drove them to share the joy that they had come to know with others they met along the way.

Even today, the love of God continues to be offered to us because Jesus' gift of self-sacrifice was given once for all time.  Because Jesus glorified God in this way, we too can glorify God by loving one another.  How beautiful it is to see a community of people who joyfully give of themselves out of love for others, with no thought at all for any measure of reward or recognition!

Loving one another is not always easy.  We are far too often made aware of faults and failings, but the more that we strive to look beyond the limits of others, the more we strive every day to love others unconditionally, the more we will contribute to bringing about the realization of the new heaven and the new earth that is described in the book of Revelation (Rev 21:1).  The holy city, the new Jerusalem (Rev 1:2), does not only exist in a vision; it is meant to exist right here, in our midst, and each of us can contribute to the building up of this reality if we try every day to love one another and to glorify God.

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