Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Fr Stephen Yim Blogs His Homilies

Fr Stephen Yim has decided to enter the cyber realm.
No he hasn't joined facebook, but he has decided to post his Sunday Homilies on a blog he created recently.

Sunday Homilies
Since he already types out and prints all his homilies when he preaches, and at the many requests and positive feedback he gets from the parishioners, a simple process of copy and pasting, allows him to share his preaching in cyberspace.

For those who attend Mandarin Mass, Fr Stephen also posts up his Mandarin homilies on another blog.
I tried to put his Mandarin homily through Google translate, and got some quite hilarious results. Like "我会先救火" which means "I will first put out the fire" is translated as "I will fire you."

So far the online feedback about the blog has been rather positive, with a few who said they were glad to be able to read the homily online, either because they are out of the country, or had to attend Mass at another parish for some reason or the other.

My recent post on taking notes at Mass, mentioned that the Pope didn't need to take notes during Mass, because all the homilies he listens to can be found online. Now with Fr Stephen's blog, those attending the Mass would also be able to read and reflect on his homilies further after they go home. Although I hope it is not a reason to not pay attention when he is preaching at Mass. And it doesn't mean that we should stop writing down our reflections at Mass, as it includes our own reflections, or words from the readings that may not be in the homily.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Dancing With The Angels

I heard this song at a funeral today. Simple song with meaningful lyrics. It reminded me of this post I read on a blog, about the new version of "Footprints in the Sand", where the guy and Jesus ended up dancing.

May we too look forward to our true home where we will be dancing with Jesus, the angels, and all our loved ones.

Dancing with the Angels
by Monk & Neagle

Memories surround me
but sadness has found me
i'd do anything for more time
never before has someone meant more
and i can't get you out of my mind
there is so much that i don't understand
but i know

you're dancing with the angels
walking in new life
you're dancing with the angels
heaven fills your eyes
now that you're dancing with the angels

you had love for your family
love for all people
love for the Father, and Son
your heart will be heard
in your unspoken words
through generations to come
there is so much that i don't understand
but i know

we're only here for such a short time
so i'm gonna stand up
shout out
and sing hallelujah
one day i'll see you again

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Taking Notes During Mass

Got this story in my email recently.

A Church goer wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper and complained that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday. 'I've gone for 30 years now,' he wrote, 'and in that time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons. But for the life of me, I can't remember a single one of them. So, I think I'm wasting my time and the pastors are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all.'

This started a real controversy in the 'Letters to the Editor' column, much to the delight of the editor. It went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher:

'I've been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But, for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals. But I do know this ... They all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me these meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!'
And then Daniel does a post on his blog "Digital Donkey" about a conversation we had, where I shared with him an encounter I had with two girls who were using their mobile phones in church. (click here to read the post)

So here are my thoughts on the matter. I first started taking notes at mass after I had my spiritual conversion, and decided to take my faith more seriously. As a young boy I didn't understand the homily; As an Altar Server I was paid more attention to my sitting posture and thinking of what needs to be done on the altar; In the Army, homily time was for me to catch up on lost sleep. But it was only when I started to question and learn more about the faith and the Mass, that I realised that there was much more to the homily than I ever realised.

There are those preachers who keep you awake with the jokes and stories, but thats about all you remember of the homily. But when I started to ask myself, "what is God trying to speak to me in His Word today?", that I found many pearls of wisdom in the content that was preached.

I started out by scribbling short notes on the church bulletin margins. Then realising that I often misplaced or threw away the bulletins, I started to write them in a little notebook. And when I started to blog, and wanted to post my reflections up. I decided to write them straight into my PDA. Of course I got strange stares from the people around me, wondering why I'm playing games during mass. But luckily I was always around friends, so they knew what I was doing, and left me alone.

Here I would want to clarify on the term "Taking Notes". I did intially start by taking notes on the homily for later reflection. But then it progressed to recording down any word, phrase or even my own thoughts that struck me at the Mass, that I would like to bring back for further reflection. Thus the Mass and homily became not so much instructional as reflective and inspirational.

This is the reason why I quoted the story above. While the story counters the first man's argument that he does not remember the sermon. It kind of sounds like it's ok to forget about what the priest is preaching about. But why shouldn't I remember something from the sermon? Wouldn't it be great if we do bring home something from each Mass that will nourish our faith? Much has been said about the importance of both parts of the Mass, the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Shouldn't God's Word and the priest's homily also be as life transforming as receiving the Eucharist.

Of course there will be the argument that if it was that important a point or something that really strikes us, we will be able to remember it after the Mass. But the reality for me is that after the Homily, there are so many other things like the creed and the eucharistic prayer, that require my concentration, that I soon forget what was said in the readings and the homily. So for my own spiritual benefit, I choose to record down things for me to take home.

I wonder if the Pope writes anything down during Mass when someone else preaches. But then again, the homilies preached can all be found on the net, especially those by the Preacher of the Papal Household, Fr Canatalamessa.

On a final note, although not a very good reason. Just as in lectures, I find that when can write down things, it does help me to keep awake and pay better attention. And so while there are differing schools of thought about "taking notes" during Mass, I believe... No, I want to get the most out of each Mass I go for, and if by taking notes it is going to help me grow in my spiritual life and let the Word of God transform me, I think it is a good practice for me. Although I'll probably stick to Pen & Paper, because I don't want to be a bad example for youths and also adults to think that it is ok to be smsing during Mass.

(My phone not so hi-tech, so this post has been blogged from my computer ;)