Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Soccer Match Reruns

Last friday night, I read one of those daily devotionals I subscribe to, and saw an interesting article. Cause it used sports to link with faith, my favourite kind ;Þ

"some people like to watch great football and basketball games over and over again. Why? ... I think it is because the games turn out the way they want them to. They know how the game ends and even though there may be some difficult moments for their team they know it all works out in the end. As they watch the game over and over every play is a celebration and they enjoy the thrill of victory over and over again."
The article in summary talks about how ESPN shows reruns of past basketball and football games. And how it is the same with our faith, know that even though we may be down now or struggle, but we know the score at the end. Jesus won it all for us.

So it was quite interesting that on Saturday morning, I was channel surfing while eating breakfast, and as usual there's nothing interesting on TV on saturday mornings, I switched to one of the sports channels and they were showing a reruns of the 2000/2001 FA Cup Final between Liverpool and Arsenal.

Now, I've watched the match before, and I knew that liverpool won. So you might think that it relates with the article that I read. Problem was that I didn't remember... or at least wasn't sure if Liverpool really won. Because as I watched the game...I saw Ljungberg score in the 71st minute, and all of a sudden, I thought...hmm..was this the year that Arsenal got the double. And then as I looked at the Liverpool players, the manager, I remembered that they were the underperfoming bunch. Shit I think they lost it. Then in the last 7th minute, Owen scores the equalizer, and 4 mins later scores the winner with a wonderful goal. Disappointment turned to joy. Yup...they won this one...classic match, thats why the showed it again.

But after I switched off the TV, the article came to mind. Yah it was a rerun, and I knew the score...hmm...can I link it to my faith... And sad to say yah I can, just not in the way the article was talking about. Because this time, although I knew how it ended, but then, I forget, I've watched too many matches to remember. And when Arsenal scored, the doubts started coming in. I wasn't sure anymore, and the players on the field didn't really inspire much confidence either. (But then this is Liverpool, haha, the team that can come back from 3 goals down to beat AC Milan and win the Champions League)

So linking this to our faith, yah I've been distracted with life's other insignificant battles, that I forgot how this final battle ended. Especially seeing the "goals" being scored against the faith. Doubts start setting in. "How to come back like that" And then look at the "players" around now? wah piang...this useless bunch. how to ever turn the score? But a comeback is possible, even if we can't remember the result, and tats wat faith is. Despite all the doubts, the perserverence, trust, hope in the joy. The game is still going on, and each of us (I esp like this analogy) are players on that field, we just have to buckle down and carry on fighting. Cos it ain't over until the whistle is blown. Oh yah I learnt a new word for the end times : Eschaton

See wonderful right how the Liverpool team can link to the faith....Especially its motto "You'll never walk alone" And just realised that it links to the passages from the previous post . We walk with Christ, and we walk with each other. Those from COSDU will remember how we used it as the theme for the year when I was session co-ordinator ;Þ

Monday, September 19, 2005

Following and Being with Christ

This post is super late, wanted to do it on sat, but then have fallen ill.
But thankfully the delay also has its merits, as I just read something today related to the theme.

It all started with the Gospels of Last Thurs and Fri.
Thursday was the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows, which Fr Ho pointed out follows the Feast of the Triumph of the Holy Cross. The Gospel was

"Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home."
And Friday's Gospel was
"Jesus journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God. Accompanying him were the Twelve and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources."
As I reflected on the two Gospels, together with the comment by Fr Ho, I realised that they had a common theme. Both at time of Jesus' ministry and suffering, His followers were with Him. It wasn't so much that He was with them, but they were with Him. Mary was by the side of Jesus from His Birth to His Death. The disciples also gave up everything to follow Him.

So should our prayers be "Lord, come and be in my life", or "Lord, help me to follow You". Much as wanting God in our lives sounds good and holy, it can lead us to a self-centered thinking that God comes into our plan of lives. This can also lead us to feel that God abandons us when things are not going too smoothly. But when we change the mindset, that we enter into His plan for us. That we try to be close to him, in times of His mission and in times of His Cross, we realise that He is always there, and we can be by His side.

Which brings me to the article I read just today. "Where I am, there shall my servant be also" (John 12:26)" by our late Holy Father John Paul II. The servant is at the side of the Master, not the Master following the servant. This also reminds me of a letter by the head of the Dominicans, Fr Timothy Radcliffe, that I've been reading. In it he uses the bus as an example, as long as the bus is going in our direction we stay on the bus. But when the bus departs from the direction of my own journey, I will get off the bus, and carry on in my direction. So is Jesus a bus, which I stay on as long as its going my way? or do I stay on the bus, whether or not its going where I want to go?

He also talks about how always there will be differences between those in the Dominican order, but how they are all united in the same mission. And so we too as followers of Christ in general, have so many different ideas and gifts. Are we too united by the Master, united in the mission? but yet so often we choose to look at the differences and let that divide us.

I end of this post with the song by Don Moen, which came to mind when I was typing this post. Wanted to play the song in the background of this post, but can't seem to do it.
I just want to be where You are,
dwelling daily in Your presence
I don't want to worship from afar,
draw me near to where You are

I just want to be where You are,
in Your dwelling place forever
Take me to the place where You are,
I just want to be with You

I want to be where You are,
dwelling in Your presence
Feasting at Your table,
surrounded by Your glory
In Your presence,
that's where I always want to be
I just want to be,
I just want to be with You

I just want to be where You are,
to enter boldly in Your presence
I don't want to worship from afar,
draw me near to where You are

Oh, my God,
You are my strength and my song
And when I'm in Your presence
Though I'm weak You're always strong

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Long Overdue

It's nearly 3 weeks since my last post, and like that one, the last ordination we are having this year was a really good weekend.

Basically it was our parish Sec 2 camp, from saturday to monday. I won't really talk about the camp itself, but must say that this bunch of sec 2s really surprise me. It has ignited a spark within them, a hunger to know Christ better. Quite a number of them have been coming for evening mass everyday. During the school holidays straight after the camp, the church has seen a huge number of youths coming for daily mass. Lionel came on his birthday and was shocked to see the back half rows of the church packed with youths. He jokingly asked "Today youth mass ah?" But yah that day we had the sec 2s, sec 3s, LOG, YV and some not so young MSC members.

But that was all during the school holidays, so I thought that once school starts sure dwindle...but for the past 2 weeks, everyday there are a good number of sec 2s. Gracemary and Rachel, my group members, said they will come every tues and fri, cos the other days they can't. Quite amazing.

We really need to look at ways to help these young ones, walk in their faith journey, grow in the love of Christ and of others. Cracking my head to think of something for them during the hols. Really brings alive the words from Matt 9:37-38, "The harvest is plenty, but the labourers are few." And I guess, the answer really lies in the second part. "Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers for His harvest". Praying for 2 specifically, but yah...need many more.

Live Like A Jesus FreakWas just talking to Dennis too about his Sec 1 & 2 camp. And how the youths not knowing about the Holy Spirit, and catechism being boring, teaching about the "modern church". The real question of youth ministry is how to inspire them about Jesus as a living, loving person.I saw one of the youths carrying this book "Live like a Jesus Freak". And just as I went to amazon to download the picture of the book, I found out that this book is a follow up of the first book "Jesus Freaks: DC Talk and The Voice of the Martyrs - Stories of Those Who Stood For Jesus, the Ultimate Jesus Freaks". We Were ThereThis reminds me of the talk that Jude gave on the first night of the camp. And I think for most of the youths, yah it really challenged them. Why were these people willing to die for their faith? Why did they do things that doesn't make sense? Were they crazy? Delusional? Freaks??? Then Jude showed me yesterday something he found on the web, a collection of stories that priests wrote of their experience during Sept 11 2001, some risking lives, going out of the way, beyond "human duty" to carry out their ministry. WHY???

One conclusion that I've come to is that we are in a different generation from our parents. Sociology has the terms Generation X and Generation Y to discribe the different "mentality" of the different generations. For me, in terms of the faith, our parents come from the Generation X, where the X was a BIG NO! The church says "No this", "No that", and our parents just followed. Whereas our current generation, the Generation WHY, is all about "Why not", "Why can't". This is not just about the faith, but we just question (or rebel) anything that wants to have authority over our lives.

So we do question, why should we follow? Why should we believe? And the answers of our parents sometimes do not suffice, cos some of them themselves don't know the answer. Not sure if I blog this before, but the answer is really in what our Holy Father Benedict said to the young people before he left for Germany. To discover the faith as not about the laws of the church, but of the person of Christ, just as the Magi searched for the Saviour.

Wah really long post... Must be the verbal diarrohea from not blogging so often. Wanted to post another one, but shall do that tomorrow.