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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: Look

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
14 November 2019, 7:38 am
Good morning everyone,

As a toddler, and even as a child, each one of us had to learn how to get along in the world.  We had to learn how to recognize signs of welcome, signs of danger, how to react to anxious situations and how to know when we could relax and just have fun.  For most of us, by the time we get to adulthood, these learned behaviours are second nature.  We act and react without any thought being expended.

When Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come (cf Lk 17:20), he took the opportunity to teach them how to read the signs.  It was as though he was teaching them to look beyond the visible world and to learn a new way of inter-relating: The kingdom of God is already among you (Lk 17:21).

Today, let us ask the Lord to teach us how to look at life through the eyes of faith so that we can learn to see in a different way, so that we can begin to look for the signs of God's presence all around us.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Transformed

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
13 November 2019, 9:05 am
Good morning everyone,

The episode that is recounted in today's gospel passage reminds us of the transforming experience that always awaits when we encounter Jesus.  While travelling through Samaria and Galilee on his way to Jerusalem, ten lepers met him on the outskirts of one of the villages (cf Lk 17:11-12).  Did these lepers know that Jesus was going to pass by?  Saint Luke makes it seem as though this encounter was unplanned.  Like them, we also encounter Jesus at moments and in circumstances that we cannot predict or plan.

When they met him, the lepers called out for help: Jesus!  Master!  Have pity on us! (Lk 17:13).  The lepers were not afraid to call out for help, and they were specific about their request.  At the time, not only was leprosy a disease that would physically destroy the human body, it also meant that the one who had been diagnosed would be ostracized.  Do we bring our troubles and worries to the Lord in such a plain and vulnerable way?  Do we trust that he is capable of helping us?

One of the lepers, realizing that he had been healed, returned glorifying God with a loud voice (Lk 17:15-16).  It is only natural that we would be overjoyed if we were in the place of the leper.  Are we aware of the gift of God's joy in our own lives?  Are we ready to share this joy with others and to trust that God will always welcome our attempts at promoting joy and mutual respect?

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Saint Josaphat

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
12 November 2019, 7:36 am
Good morning everyone,

Today, the Church celebrates the liturgical Memorial of Saint Josaphat Kuntsevych, OSBM (1580-1623), a Polish-Lithuanian monk who served as an Archeparch (Archbishop) of the Ruthenian Catholic Church.  On 12 November 1623, he was killed by an angry mob in Vitebsk, located in modern-day Belarus.

At a time when there were many conflicts in the Church, Saint Josaphat was enacting the prayer that Jesus offered in the gospel for today's liturgy.  Speaking in prayer, Jesus asked: Holy Father, I pray not only for these, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us (Jn 17:20-21).

Unity between people is a precious but very fragile gift.  It should always be protected, and strengthened by the assurance of prayer so that it can be divinely inspired.  We can be assured of Jesus' continual prayer for all of us: that we too may be united and learn to appreciate and value the gifts that each of our brothers and sisters has to offer.

Have a great day.


His Word Today: Saint Martin of Tours

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

Today, the Church celebrates the liturgical Memorial of Saint Martin of Tours, the third Bishop of Tours (France).  Martin was born in Panonnia (current day western Hungary, eastern Austria, northern Croatia, northwestern Serbia, northern Slovenia and northern Bosnia and Herzegovina).  As a young man, he served for a time in the Roman cavalry but left military service in 361 and converted to Christianity.  Martin lived a monastic life and is credited as the founder of the Benedictine monastery of Ligugé (France).  In 371, he was consecrated Bishop of Caesarodunum (Tours).

Saint Martin's shrine in Tours has long been a celebrated stopping point for pilgrims who travel the road to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.  As such, his presence continues to inspire modern-day disciples to heed the words of Jesus, for strangers who have passed by are always welcomed, the hungry are fed, the thirsty find drink and the ill are cared for (cf Mt 25:35-36).

Today, we also commemorate Remembrance Day.  Remembering all those who have suffered and died in various wars and conflicts in the past century, let us ask Saint Martin to intercede for us so that we too may seek out those who are in need.  May we always have the courage to respond in faith and to share the good news of the gospel with those we meet.

Have a great day.

The bigger picture

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
10 November 2019, 8:12 am
The gospel passage places us today with Jesus at a moment when he was talking with some Sadducees, a group of people who did not believe in the resurrection from the dead (cf Lk 20:27).  We profess our faith in the resurrection of the dead every time we gather for Mass on the Lord's Day (cf Apostles' Creed), but we don't often take the time to ponder what it will be like to live in eternity.

Jesus gives a glimpse into what life in heaven will be like, but he escapes the boundaries of anything the Sadducees had ever heard before.  In fact, the language he uses also leaves us wondering because the concepts he describes are far beyond the scope of anything we have ever experienced.  He describes the resurrection as a call to a bigger life, a wider scope of existence.  To live in God is more than a mortal existence: it is an active participation in God's work of salvation.  Resurrection, understood as life in God, is a renewed relationship to God, a new way of living in relationship with others and a fresh way of understanding our relationships with ourselves.

Our hope in God is not like other human experiences of hope: in something that may or may not come to pass, nor is it an experience of looking forward to something based on a previous experience.  Christian hope is based in a relationship that continues to transform us every day.

This weekend, Canadians are approaching the commemorations that we refer to as Remembrance Day.  On Monday morning, many of us will gather to remember the sacrifices of all those who have fought in the World Wars, in the Korean War and in other conflicts.  We will also remember all those who have played various peace keeping rolls in various parts of the world.  Peace is a gift that we receive from our God, yet it cannot exist when there is conflict: in our lives, in our own hearts or in our world.

Let us remember and give thanks for all those heroes who have laid down their lives.  Perhaps without even realizing it, they have done so out of love for us.  May they be rewarded for their bravery and for their selfless desire to help establish peace so that we can enjoy the freedoms we now have ... and let us ask the Lord to grant us the grace to see the bigger picture today.  When we are tempted to get caught up in our own petty worries, let us ask for the courage to broaden our horizons so that we can see others not as enemies but as brothers and sisters.  We are all on a journey.  This journey will ultimately lead us to heaven, a place where none of us who is present here today has ever been, but a place where we will live with God forever, a place where we will get a much broader understanding of all we are meant to be.

His Word Today: Honesty

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
8 November 2019, 6:44 am
Good morning everyone,

Beginning on the day of our Baptism, when we become part of God's family, our loving God invites us to grow ever closer to Him, day by day.  This invitation presumes honesty on our part and promises enduring faithfulness on God's part.

God invites us to aim for enduring faithfulness in our own lives, but He is also aware of the fact that because of our own humanity, we will fall short in our ability to fulfill the desire to be faithful to Him at all times.  Luckily for us, our God has an infinite capacity for love, and is always willing to give us another chance.

Jesus teaches this lesson about faithfulness and honesty in today's gospel.  As was his custom, he always used stories in order to explain his lessons.  In this case, he told the story of a steward who was reported for squandering his master's property (cf Lk 16:1).  As expected, the master threatened to terminate the steward's employment, but the point of the story was the steward's change of heart.  Faced with the dire possibility of losing his position, he chose honesty instead of continuing what was most probably a life of cheating others out of their money so that he himself could grow more affluent (cf Lk 16:3-8).

As we grow closer to the Lord, and seek to follow in His footsteps, he will always call us to be honest with ourselves and with Him ... and in response to our honesty, He will reward us with his enduring faithfulness.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Find

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
7 November 2019, 7:02 am
Good morning everyone,

The parables told in today's gospel passage show us the lengths to which our God is willing to go in order to seek us out and to bring us back whenever we get lost.  Even if we have experienced the joy of being present with Jesus, even if we might resolve to always remain close to Him, it seems that we are constantly battling the temptation to distance ourselves from the grace of love itself.

How reassuring it is to know that our loving God is willing to leave every other treasure behind - like the shepherd in the parable who leaves the ninety-nine other sheep (Lk 15:4-7) - in order to come in search of us whenever we are lost.

Even if we ourselves may find it difficult to understand or to believe that our God loves us so deeply, He will never stop searching until He finds us, like the woman who searches her house untiringly until she finds her lost coin (cf Lk 15:8-10).

Today, let our prayer be simply the experience of resting in the presence of the One who loves us so deeply.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Commitment

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

Today, Jesus uses a very strange turn of phrase to explain the need for us to be committed to the task of being his disciples.  Speaking to the crowds, he says: If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple (Lk 14:26).

In other words, Jesus is saying that even if we should want to be his disciples, we can be distracted by attachments to other earthly realities, but Jesus wants us to be committed to the journey of following him.  Being a disciple, learning from him and modeling our lives after his life, we need to focus on him every day.  We need to listen for his voice every day.  We need to rely on him to help us not to be distracted in our commitment.

Let us pray today for the grace to say yes to Jesus.  He can help us to remain focused on our resolve to model our lives on his life, and to always stay close to him.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Excuses

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

The gospel passage for today's Mass gives us a glimpse into the generous heart of our God.  Jesus was sitting at table with others and enjoying a meal.  During that meal, one of them said to Jesus: Blessed is the one who will dine in the Kingdom of God (Lk 14:15).  I can imagine that this man was impressed with the meal he was sharing, and since Jesus was perhaps speaking about the Kingdom of God, the man who heard such words, impressed those he was, was trying to picture what this Kingdom could be.

Jesus went on to explain - through the use of a parable - that many are invited to enter the Kingdom, like the many who might be invited to sit at a banquet table, but that many of them tend to come up with all kinds of excuses (cf Lk 14:18-20).

Like the invitees in Jesus' story, we too are invited to the banquet table of the Lord.  There, we have the privilege of partaking in the gifts and blessings that the Lord offers, yet many times we too find excuses to distance ourselves from the relationship that the Lord invites us to enjoy.  Thankfully, our loving God never stops looking for us, seeking us out and inviting us to come to the banquet.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Saint Charles Borromeo

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

Today, the Church celebrates the liturgical Memorial of Saint Charles Borromeo (2 October 1538 - 3 November 1584).  The third son of a family of six, his father was a Count and his mother was part of the Medici family.  Charles served as Archbishop of Milan from 1564 until 1584 and a Cardinal from 1560 until his death. He was a leading figure of the Counter-Reformation against the Protestant Reformation together with Saint Ignatius of Loyola and Saint Philip Neri. In that role he was responsible for significant reforms in the Catholic Church, including the founding of seminaries for the education of priests.

Perhaps Charles drew inspiration for his courageous efforts from the example of Jesus' life.  The gospel for today's liturgy places him at table in the home of a leading Pharisee.  We do not know with certainty how comfortable Jesus was in the presence of those who held authority and power, but courage was certainly part of his makeup.  Without knowing any of the prior conversation, we are told that Jesus offered an opinion that called his host to the possibility of conversion: When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or sisters or your relatives or your wealthy neighbours, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment (Lk 14:12).

It takes great courage to invite change.  If we should find ourselves in situations of living or managing change, let us invite Saint Charles Borromeo to pray with us today.

Have a great day.

To save what was lost

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
3 November 2019, 7:46 am
We have come together today to spend some time with each other.  We have come here to spend some time with Jesus.  Each of us may have a different image of who God is, but the gospel passage we have heard today gives us an idea of the image God has of us.

Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through it (Lk 19:1).  Saint Luke wants us to believe that the encounter between Zacchaeus and Jesus was a chance happening, but there is no such thing as chance in the mind of God.  Zacchaeus was a man of some importance: he was a chief tax collector and a wealthy man.  This meant that he could have had anything he wanted, but it didn't necessarily mean that he was loved by everyone.  Yet, he was trying to see who Jesus was (Lk 19:2-3): what he truly wanted was to encounter Jesus.  Some of us might also be people of some importance ... or we were influential at some point in our lives, according to the measure of the world, but regardless of our degree influence, we are all seeking to see Jesus.  That's the reason why we gather in places like this.  That's the reason why we pray.

The key to understanding this encounter is the fact that Jesus sees Zachaeus not as a man of great influence or importance but rather as one who is aware of his own insignificance.  No matter how influential we are in this world, in the eyes of God, the whole world .. is like a speck that tips the scales (Wis 11:22).  In fact, it is only when we are aware of our own insignificance that we are able to truly appreciate the way that God sees us.  As he approached the place where Zachaeus was, Jesus looked up and said to him: 'Zachaeus, come down ... for I must stay at your house today (Lk 19:5).  Jesus was less concerned about Zachaeus' wealth than he was about Zachaeus' heart.  This is the way our God looks at each one of us.  He constantly seeks us out and calls to us ... I must stay at your house.  In other words, I want to be part of your life, and I want you to be part of my life.  Zacchaeus climbed out out of the tree quickly and received Jesus joyfully (cf Lk 19:6).  When we open our hearts to Jesus, when we welcome him in our lives, we too are filled with joy.

The reaction of the crowd also provides us with a valuable lesson.  When they saw that Jesus wanted to go to Zaccaeus' house, the others began to grumble (Lk 19:7).  Reactions based on judgement and jealousy are usually signs of a heart that is not content.  In this case, the words spoken by the crowds tell us that they are more in need of conversion than they may be willing to admit.  What about us?  Do we rejoice when we witness joy on the faces and in the hearts of our neighbours and friends, or do we more often react out of jealousy?

Jesus is here among us today.  He has come to meet us and he is calling each of us, telling us that he wants to spend time with us.  When he realized the great gift that was being offered to him, Zacchaeus' heart was truly thankful.  Knowing how small he truly was in the eyes of God, Zacchaeus wanted to make up for his wrongdoings.  Tax collectors were famous for cheating tax payers, so it is significant that he demonstrates a change of heart: half of my possessions ... I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much (Lk 19:8).

Let us pray for the grace of knowing the joy of encountering Jesus, so that we may never look to others out of jealousy or judgement, but rather with thankful hearts, hopeful that God may make us all worthy of his call and ... fulfill by his power every good resolve and work of faith (2 Thes 1:11).

His Word Today: All the Saints

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
1 November 2019, 7:08 am
Good morning everyone,

The Catholic Church remembers and prays with certain Saints, normally on the day when they completed their earthly pilgrimage and entered into eternal life, but today we celebrate the Solemnity of the All the Saints: those that are known, and those who are unknown.

On 13 May 609 or 610, Pope Boniface IV consecrated the Pantheon in Rome to the Blessed Virgin and all the martyrs, ordering an anniversary; the feast of the dedication Sanctae Mariae ad Martyres has been celebrated at Rome ever since. There is evidence that from the 5th to the 7th centuries there existed in certain places and at sporadic intervals a feast date on 13 May to celebrate the holy martyrs. The origin of All Saints' Day cannot be traced with certainty, however some believe that it traces its origins to the pagan observation of the Feast of Lemeures in which the malevolent and restless spirits of the dead were exorcised from people's homes.

The feast of All Saints, on its current date, is traced to the foundation by Pope Gregory III (731–741) of an oratory in Saint Peter's for the relics of the holy apostles and of all saints, martyrs and confessors, of all the just made perfect who are at rest throughout the world, with the date moved to 1 November and 13 May feast suppressed.

All Saints Day thus commemorates all those who have attained the beatific vision in heaven: the ones who are referred to by Jesus as blessed because they have fulfilled the corporal works of mercy (cf Mt 5:1-12).  Let us pray today with all those who have preceded us in faith.  At the beginning of this month, during which we remember and pray for the repose of the souls of all those who have completed their earthly pilgrimages, we ask them to pray with us too, that we may be able to live according to the will of our heavenly Father and look forward to the day when we too will reach our eternal reward.

Have a great feast day.

His Word Today: Courage

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
31 October 2019, 8:02 am
Good morning everyone,

The scripture passage that is proposed for our meditation today, a part of the gospel according to Saint Luke, demonstrates the great courage with which Jesus went about proclaiming the Word of God.  Some Pharisees came to Jesus (Lk 13:31) to warn him: Go away, leave this area because Herod wants to kill you.  Herod's reputation preceded him, and it was terrifying.  He did not suffer fools, and he always got his way.

It is interesting to see that in this passage, the Pharisees - those who often questioned Jesus' teachings - were actually looking out for him.  Despite the fact that Jesus challenged the Pharisees, they respected him and wanted to do what they could to protect him.  However, Jesus reacted not with fear but rather with great reassurance and courage.

The root of this courage is security in the knowledge that Jesus was - and is - constantly and deeply loved.  Because he was sure of this love, he had no worry about having to curtail his proclamation of the Gospel.  Like him, we too can take comfort in the security of God's love for us.  We too can rely on the constancy of His truth: a truth that is more powerful than any other voice that might seek to weaken it.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Last and first

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

Today, we encounter Jesus as he is making his way to Jerusalem.  Someone asks him: 'Lord will only a few people be saved?' (Lk 13:23)  These are words that demonstrate a certain level of discouragement because it would seem that the road that Jesus is walking is very difficult.  Yet Jesus offers a word of encouragement: Strive to enter by the narrow gate (Lk 13:24).

There is always a way to remain faithful.  Jesus will always point us in the right direction.  The path that we are called to walk will not always be easy: it may at times require us to make difficult decisions - to enter by the narrow gate - but there will always be a way, and Jesus will always be willing to help us to find our way.

When life seems to be difficult, when it looks like all things are dark, we need only ask for the light of faith.  Faith is our response to the free gift of love that we receive from our God.  Today, let us ask for this gift, and let us also ask that God's presence in our lives may help us to find the narrow gate, the path that we must travel today.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Not ours

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
29 October 2019, 12:46 pm
Good morning everyone,

We human beings can become very focused on the efforts we expend and the results that those efforts bring about, but when it comes to the work of God, we are powerless.  Although we cooperate in the work of God by offering our talents and gifts to be used, in the end, all we can do is sit back and marvel at the way that God is at work in and around us.

Jesus hints at this in today's gospel when he compares the kingdom of God to a mustard seed and to yeast (cf Lk 13:19, 21).  In each case, grains of mustard and of yeast appear to be extremely small, even inconsequential, yet if a mustard seed is planted, if yeast is bloomed, they have the potential to grow into beautiful creations.

Our own efforts may seem overwhelming for us at times, and still appear to be inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, but if we ask, God can and will use our efforts, even the most meagre of offerings, to do great things.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Saints Simon and Jude

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
28 October 2019, 6:50 am
Good morning everyone,

Today, the Church celebrates and prays with two saints - Simon (also referred to as the Zealot) and Jude.  Both are mentioned in the scriptures at the naming of the twelve (cf Lk 6:12-16).  Actually, there were two of the disciples who had the name Simon and there were two who had the name Judas.

One of the Simon's was the one who was re-named Peter, but that is not the one who is celebrated today.  Today, we focus on Simon the Zealot. The Zealots were a Jewish sect that represented an extreme of Jewish nationalism. For them, the messianic promise of the Old Testament meant that the Jews were to be a free and independent nation. God alone was their king, and any payment of taxes to the Romans—the very domination of the Romans—was a blasphemy against God.  Simon is not mentioned in the scriptures except as part of the complete list of the apostles.

Like the Simons, there were also two of the disciples named Judas.  The first and more well-known was the one who ultimately handed Jesus over to the authorities, but the second one is the one who is celebrated today.  Perhaps out of shame over the outcome of Judas Iscariot, this second Judas is more well-known by the name Jude.

Simon and Jude are considered among the minor apostles, yet today we ask them to pray with us.  May they who witnessed the love of Jesus first-hand intercede for us so that Christ's love may be made known in our lives and in our hearts.

Have a great day.

The Christian's Mission

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
26 October 2019, 11:11 am
Throughout the month of October, we have been reflecting on the mission that all Christians are called to fulfill.  Week after week, we gather to celebrate the Eucharist.  Jesus, who is the host at this gathering, welcomes us, instructs us and feeds us with the special food that is only available at this table.  Then he sends us out into the world so that we can share the good news of the love we have encountered here with others.  Day after day, we share with our brothers and sisters the good news of God's mercy that we have discovered in our own lives, and God continues to work in the hearts of others who have heard our words, encouraging them to discover the joy of knowing Him.

In the early centuries of Christianity, many who witnessed the joy that was part of the everyday life of those who followed Jesus would wonder what it was that caused them to be so convinced.  One writer said it this way: Christians are indistinguishable from other people, either by nationality, language or customs.  They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life ... They live in their own countries as through they were only passing through ... but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country (Letter to Diognetus).

We hear an echo of this conviction in the words of the tax collector who is mentioned in today's gospel.  Knowing that he was in the presence of God, all he could bring himself to say was: O God, be merciful to me a sinner (Lk 18:13) and as he wrote to Timothy, Saint Paul was very aware of the fact that his time on earth was drawing to a close, yet he was convinced that there was another destiny to which he was heading.  I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure is at hand ... from now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, which the Lord, the just judge will award to me on that day (2 Tim 4:6-8).

This past week, we celebrated the liturgical Memorial of Saint John Paul II.  On the day when he began his pontificate, crowds of people filled Saint Peter's Square in Rome, all of them eagerly wanting to hear the words he would speak.  The words of that first homily still ring out across the years that have come and gone: Brothers and sisters, do not be afraid to welcome Christ and to accept his power (Homily for the Mass of Inauguration, 22 October 1978).  Throughout the following 27 years, the Polish Pope travelled the world, greeted people young and old, rich and poor, and all the while, he continued to encourage us with the same words: Do not be afraid!

The mission of the Church is still the same today as it always has been.  The Lord always hears the cry of the oppressed.  The Lord is not deaf to the wail of the orphan, nor to the widow when she pours out her complaint (Sir 35:12-14).  We must never be afraid to cry out to God in our time of need, or to cry out to God when we recognize the needs of others ... and we should never be afraid to welcome Christ, to accept his power and to joyfully share with others the goodness that our God has made known to us.

His Word Today: Willingness

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

One of the things that mentors look for in the ones they are invited to accompany is a degree of initiative.  If someone is motivated, it is usually a good sign in terms of his or her ability to fit into the family of co-workers, but have you ever considered the fact that sometimes people need mentors to encourage them, especially when they themselves find it difficult to believe in themselves?

Even as Jesus spoke to the crowds who gathered around him, he could already see their potential ... even though they themselves may have been blinded.  In today's gospel, he urged them to grow in their self confidence: You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and sky; why do you not know how to interpret the present time? (Lk 12:56).

Jesus knows each of us even better than we know ourselves.  Jesus knows what each of us is capable of.  Jesus knows that we were not made to sit idly in places where we are comfortable, but ultimately that each of us needs to constantly go out toward others.  It is in going out toward others that we will ultimately discover the gift of personal fulfillment as we share the gift of our faith and the joy of the gospel with others.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Get moving

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
24 October 2019, 7:45 am
Good morning everyone,

At times when we are facing challenges, some of us look forward to the possibility of prosperity, but when things are too tranquil, do we not yearn for something new?  Human hearts never seem to be completely satisfied.  Perhaps Saint Augustine had it right when he wrote: My heart is restless O God until it rests in you (Augustine, Confessions).

In the time of Jesus, there was much upheaval in the lives of the Jewish people.  Many of them looked to him as a sign of hope for the re-establishment of calm, yet he himself told them: I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! (Lk 12:49).  Whereas his hearers were seeking rest, Jesus was challenging them to greater enthusiasm about their faith.

How often do I find myself tossed by the many demands that life seems to place in front of me?  Do I long for what I perceive to be more peaceful times?  Perhaps we should learn to look at the world like Jesus does: where there seems to be overwhelming evidence of restlessness, ask whether that restlessness is the result of aimlessness.  If on the other hand we are afire with enthusiasm enflamed by faith, we will have all the energy we need to rise up from our fatigue and to go out with joy.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Who, me?

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

Today we see an example of the way that Jesus taught his disciples to lead: his definition of leadership was - and is - very different from the definition that everyone else before him would have defined it.  Whereas leaders were often seen as those who exercised authority over the ones they were privileged to lead, the gospels show us a different image.

Teaching his disciples, Jesus said to them: Be sure of this ... if the master of the house had known the hour when the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into (Lk 12:39).  At first, these words appear to be painting an image of power in the traditionally understood way, but Jesus went on to explain: Blessed is the servant who his master finds ... distributing the food allowance at the proper time (Lk 12:42-43).  In this way, Jesus explained that his idea of leadership is based not in power but rather in service.

This image of servant leadership inspires us today to seek out opportunities to serve our brothers and sisters.  Let us pray today for the grace to be inspired to serve others out of love: knowing that we ourselves are deeply loved, may we in turn love those who the Lord invites to walk our journey with us.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Saint John Paul II

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

Today, the Church celebrates the liturgical Memorial of Saint John Paul II.  Karol Wojtyła was born in Wadowice, Poland on 18 May 1920 and died in Rome on 2 April 2005.  He served as Successor of Peter from 16 October 1978 until his death.

In many ways, John Paul II embodied the teachings that Jesus speaks of in the gospel passage proposed for today's Mass (Lk 12:35-38).  Speaking to his disciples, Jesus said: Gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master's return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks (Lk 12:35-36).

One of the most striking images during the pontificate of John Paul II was the moment when he opened the Holy Door in Saint Peter's Basilica to mark the beginning of the Jubilee Year 2000.  Spanning the end of one millenium and the beginning of the next, his example of joyful service, commitment and prayer inspired millions to turn to Christ.

May the prayers of this holy man, who willingly spoke of his wish to one day be a Saint, help us to respond with joyful faith and trust when the Lord calls out to us.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Greed

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
21 October 2019, 7:34 am
Good morning everyone,

Today, the scripture passage reminds us of a very important aspect that we should always be aware of: there is a temptation in the human heart to always be on the lookout for our own good, but taken to the extreme, such an outlook leads to an overpowering presence of greed.

Speaking to the crowds, Jesus said: Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich,
one's life does not consist of possessions (Lk 12:15).  Greed can be defined as the desire to accumulate physical things, but this tendency can ultimately leave us still wanting because no matter how many physical possessions we may have, the true hunger that is hidden in our hearts is for acceptance and for love, and these are intangible and freely given.

If we are aware of the presence of greed in our lives, or in the lives of others, perhaps it would do us well to pray today for the gift of a grateful heart.  The greater our ability to be thankful for what we have, the less will be our temptation to desire more.

Have a great day.

The Church of Christ on Mission

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
20 October 2019, 8:26 am
Each year, in the month of October, the Church celebrates World Mission Sunday as an occasion to renew our commitment to fulfilling Christ's mandate for us to constantly be actively taking part in the mission of sharing the good news of the gospel with those who we meet.  The theme that has been chosen for this year is Baptized and Sent: the Church of Christ on Mission in the World.

Through the Sacrament of Baptism, each of us has been made an adopted child of God and part of the community of the Church.  In a practical sense, it is our parents who chose to bring us to the Church, but we also believe that it is God who is always at work, prompting us to say yes to his invitation to cooperate in the work he invites us to accomplish in his name.  We have not received Baptism as a prize, but rather as a mandate to go out toward others and to share with them the joy of our faith.  This is the constant mission of all the Church.

The gospel passage that has just been proclaimed shows us what can happen if we choose to keep our faith to ourselves.  Taken to its extreme, we become self-reliant and neither fear God nor have respect for any human being (Lk 18:2).  It is indeed a very sad sight when we encounter people who are in such a situation because more often than not, even though they may not admit it, deep down, they are very lonely.  On the other hand, Jesus presents the image of the widow who kept coming to the judge and saying, 'Grant me justice against my opponent (Lk 18:3).  These words portray a very different situation.  The widow's heart is much more open.  She has a living and active prayer life, and is probably much more aware of other people who are around her, as well as their needs.  In fact, she is most likely the kind of person who would give you the shirt off her back, even though she has very little to call her own.

If we want to see examples of the missionary activity of the Church in action, we don't have to look very far.  Alfred Bessette was born in Mont-Saint-Grégoire, just outside Montreal.  At the age of 12, he was sent to the Congregation of the Holy Cross in Montreal along with a note that read: I am sending you a saint.  Even at that tender age, he was already devout and generous toward others.  He was frail in health, but despite this obstacle, he was eventually accepted by the Order and given the religious name of Brother André.  By worldly standards, he had nothing to give, but even today, he is known all over Canada, and now throughout the world as Saint André of Montreal.  Even today, there are some who can tell stories of their own visits to Montreal, occasions when they met him, spoke with him, asked him to pray for them.

The mission of Jesus' disciples has always been a matter of seeking out the lost and helping them to understand that we are all profoundly loved.  Each one of us is a precious child of God, and we are all invited to proclaim this message to those we meet (cf 2 Tim 4:2).  We can do this as part of the Saint-Vincent-de-Paul Society, or volunteering our time at the Food Bank, or wherever we encounter other people.  We have all been baptized and sent.  It is up to us to continue the mission that Christ has entrusted to us ... to share the good news with everyone we meet, so that his love for us may be known and experienced by everyone.

His Word Today: Saint Luke, Evangelist

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

Today, the Church celebrates the liturgical Memorial of Saint Luke, one of the four gospel writers (otherwise known as Evangelists).  The early Church Fathers ascribed to him both the authorship of the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles.

Like the disciples mentioned in today's gospel, Luke was also sent (cf Lk 10:1), in his case, as a disciple of Saint Paul.  The New Testament mentions Luke briefly a few times, and the Pauline Epistle to the Colossians refers to him as a physician (from the Greek for one who heals); thus he is thought to have been both a physician and a disciple.  Saint Luke is venerated as the patron saint of artists, physicians, bachelors, surgeons, students and butchers.

Luke was probably young when he set out and traveled with Paul.  We can ask him today to pray with us so that we will always maintain the freshness and newness of youth, especially in our approach to faith.  This fervent disciple can also help us to be eager in our desire to tell others about the relationship we ourselves have discovered with Jesus.  In this way, we can continue to proclaim the gospel - to evangelize - in our day too.

Have a great day.

His Word Today: Saint Ignatius of Antioch

by Fr. Anthony Man-Son-Hing
17 October 2019, 7:55 am
Good morning everyone,

Today, the Church celebrates the Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Antioch (circa 35-140 AD).  He was one of the first writers in the early Church and served as Bishop of Antioch, and ancient Greek city on the eastern side of the Orontes River, near the modern-day city of Antakya, Turkey.

While in route to Rome, where he met his martyrdom, Ignatius wrote a series of letters. This correspondence now forms a central part of the later collection known as the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, of which he is considered one. His letters also serve as an example of early Christian theology. Important topics they address include ecclesiology (the study of Church doctrine), the sacraments, and the role of bishops.

The zeal that we find in the life of Ignatius of Antioch provides a living witness of the words Jesus spoke to his disciples: unless a grain of wheat falls on the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much grain (Jn 12:24).  Let us give thanks to God today for the gift that Saint Ignatius of Antioch has given us.  Watered by the zeal of his commitment, may we find inspiration to live our faith today.

Have a great day.

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