Saturday, December 31, 2011

Novena - What's your Good News

Someone sent me an email with a story a few days ago, just as I was preparing what to share at today’s novena. And I found it very apt, and would like to share it with you.

On New Year’s Eve, a man and his wife were having dinner and reflecting on all that has happened in the past year. The husband started to complain of how bad the year was. His father got cancer, he had to take a pay cut, the dog died, and the list went on.

The wife was listening patiently, when all of a sudden, she said, “Don’t you think our Christmas Tree is very beautiful?” The husband was shocked at the sudden change of subject, but nodded to agree.

The wife continued, “but if you look carefully, there are a few of the bulbs that have blown. But why focus on those few bulbs, when the rest are shining brightly illuminating the tree and the room?” The husband got the message, and they started to share the many blessings they had in the year.

My brothers and sisters, it is so natural for us to focus on the negatives in our lives, the times when things don’t go the way we want them to. Just look at our newspapers everyday, bad news and scandals greatly outnumber the good news. MRT breaks down and it is the biggest news in Singapore. Orchard Road floods, and as made fun of on the Noose, we call police.

The problem with us, is that we only notice when something goes wrong, not when something goes right. MRT, floods, traffic jam, economy downturn. But you don’t see the news reporting that today the MRT and Buses ran without problem, or that it rained but there were no floods. If we look at the letters that we write in for Novena, only 80 out of 437 are thanksgiving letters (<20%). Isn’t that like the looking at the Christmas tree and seeing the bulbs that are blown?

Actually the News is not only Bad News, it also highlights when amazing things or miracles happen. But it is so easy to overlook the things that normal. Parents will always complain that their children take all that they do for them for granted. Why? Because for the children that is what parents should do normally. Similarly we take God for granted, when we only turn to him at the times when things go wrong, or we give thanks to him when he answers our prayers and makes miracles happen.

My brothers and sisters, we are people of the Good News. That God loved us so much, he sent Jesus, His Son, to remind us of the love of God, and the many blessings that we receive from Him.

So what is the Good News in your life?

Today is the last day of the year, we usually look forward to the New Year and make Resolutions to be a better person. But let us not forget to look back at the year, and count the blessings that God has done for us this whole year. I tell you honestly, if you start now and really think of the blessings, you will not be finished by the time this year is over.

So I would like to give you this challenge. Go home today, think of your blessings, and in this one week, write a thanksgiving letter, to God for his many blessings, and for our Mother who always intercedes for us. Put it in an envelope and write "Thanksgiving for Novena" and drop it in our parish office. So next week, we can really give thanks to God for his many blessings on us

I am sure that we have more to give thanks to God for His blessings than asking him for what we need. Amen.