Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Meet Our Father in The Lord's Prayer

Hello all :)
How was your weekend?
Sorry I've been missing for the past few days.
Today's readings are interesting and I managed to find scripture reflection to help us understand what the readings are about.

1st reading is from Isaiah 55: 10-11:
My word is like the snow and the rain
that come down from the sky to water the earth.
They make the crops grow and provide seed for sowing and food to eat.
So also will be the word that I speak -
it will not fail to do what I plan for it;
it will do everything I send it to do.

Psalm 34: 4-7, 16-19 :
I prayed to the Lord, and He answered me;
He freed me from all my fears.
The oppressed look to Him and are glad;
They will never be disappointed.

The helpless will call to him, and he answers;
He saves them from all their troubles.
His angel guards those who honour the Lord and rescues them from danger.

But He opposes those who do evil,
so that when they die, they are soon forgotten.
The righteous call to the Lord, and He listens;
He rescues them from all their troubles.
The Lord is near to those who are discouraged;
He saves those who have lost all hope.

Good people suffers many troubles,
but the Lord saves them from them all.

Matthew 6: 7-15 :
When you pray, do not be use a lot of meaningless words, as the pagans do, who think that their gods will hear them because their prayers are long. Do not be like them. Your Father already knows what you need before you ask Him. This, then, is how you should pray :

"Our Father in heaven:
May Your holy name be honoured;
may Your Kingdom come;
may Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today the food we need.
Forgive us the wrongs we have done,
as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us.
Do not bring us to hard testing,
but keep us safe from the Evil One"

If you forgive others the wrongs they have done to you, your Father in heaven will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive the wrongs you have done.

Scripture Reflection :

In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus is showing us how intimately our Father loves us. In today’s first reading, we see our Father reminding us that whatever he has promised to do for us (promised in his Word), he will indeed do for us. Why do we doubt this?

Doubt comes from incomplete information: We received our first images of what God the Father is like from our human fathers and other authority figures (including mothers). Since even the best of parents imitated God imperfectly and loved us insufficiently, our knowledge of God the Father's love is insufficient.

When we pray the "Our Father" prayer – if we really pay attention to the words, praying from our hearts instead of rattling off the words like babbling pagans – we open ourselves to his complete love. Each part of this prayer, which Jesus learned from his own experiences with the Father, is a prescription for an intimate relationship with our heavenly Daddy.

As a spiritual exercise for Lent, pray the "Our Father" slowly, line by line, reflecting on how each part connects you to the love of the Papa who loves you perfectly and completely and unconditionally.

At the end of this Gospel reading, Jesus offers us the key that unlocks the power of our Father's love. It's no accident that he gives additional instruction for only one part of the prayer: "If you forgive the faults of others, your heavenly Father will forgive you yours." Unforgiveness closes our hearts to love. When the door is shut, we're not open to receive love, not even our perfect Father's love.

This is why Jesus told us to pray to our Father instead of to my Father or to the Father. We're all in this together. Our Father is Jesus' Father. It's a community prayer. When we pray it by ourselves, Jesus is our prayer partner.

When we pray it in church, we're united to all of God's children. How can we love God while refusing to love someone for whom he cares deeply? The more willing we are to love others – including those who are most difficult to love – the more we open ourselves to the love of our Father.

* * * *
It's a big challenge for us when it come to "love" and "forgive" those whom we don't really like. I know most of us has issues with each other. I myself also always find it hard to really forget and forgive. The best I can do is to not pay attention to the people or person that I don't like or has hurt my feelings before.

Sometimes, when I pray, I do try to pray for them and also for myself; that I will find it in my heart to really forgive and forget. Tapi, mengikut ayat famous yang selalu diutarakan apabila hendak mengelak sesuatu... "sebagai manusia biasa"... it's hard.

One minute, I'll be okay. But when the person starts to annoy me, the hatred will come back. It means, I never did really forgive that person.

And bila pray, especially in church, when we're about to receive Him, we always say the Act of Contrition. Penyesalan dan memohon maaf untuk dosa-dosa atau kesilapan yang kita lakukan. Pernah tak terfikir, when we ask for His forgiveness atas kesalahan atau dosa-dosa yang kita buat, He will, without any reasonable doubt (ayat peguam okay), will forgive us.

Forgive. Forgotten.

When we ask for His mercy, for His forgiveness... kadang-kadang sampai menangis. We really want to have a good relationship with Him. To be in good condition with Him. To feel His love and to share love.

But why is it so hard, for us to do the same among us?

I know, easier said than done.

But if we really try and let go of the hatred, and learn to forgive more maybe one day, that feeling will go away for good. Why don't we start today.

Start by saying The Lord's prayer slowly, reflecting on each line and feel His love.
And then try to give or show that love, especially to the person you least like.

Have a blessed day :)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday Gathering and Readings For Today

Hello there !
Shalom !

CUS USM Friday Gathering started today, baru sebentar tadi at our usual place BT 150. There are few missing, maybe busy with new schedule etc. We hope to see you in our next gathering :)

Today gathering was about Lent.

What Lent is about.
What should and should not we do during Lent.
And banyak-banyak lagi.

Thanks to Vera and Alvin for the sharing :)

And for today's reading.
First reading is from Isaiah 58: 1-9a
The Lord says,"Shout as loud as you can! Tell my people Israel about their sins! They worship me every day, claiming that they are eager to know my ways and obey my laws. They say they want me to give them just laws and that they take pleasure in worshipping me.

The people ask,"Why should we fast if the Lord never notices? Why should we go without food if He pays no attention."

The Lord says to them, "The truth is that at the same time as you fast, you pursue your own interests and oppress your workers. Your fasting makes you violent, and you quarrel and fight. Do you think this kind of fasting will make me listen to your prayers? When you fast, you make yourselves suffer; you bow your heads low like a blade of grass, and spread out sackcloth and ashes to lie on. Is that what you call fasting? Do you think I will be pleased with that?

"The kind of fasting I want is this : remove the chains of oppression and the yoke of injustice, and let the oppressed go free. Share your food with the hungry and open your homes the homeless poor. Give clothes to those who have nothing to wear, and do not refuse to help your own relatives.

"Then my favour will shine on you like the morning sun, and you wounds will be quickly healed. I will always be with you to save you; my presence will protect you on every side. when you pray, I will answer you. When you call to me, I will respond...."

*It's a bit long so please read it from your bible. Or you can click the link above for online version (USCCB.ORG). I'mjust going to share the first verse here*
Be merciful to me, O God,
because of Your constant love.
Because of your great mercy wipe away my sins !
Wash away all my evil and make me clean from my sin !

Gospel is from Matthew 9: 14-15
Then the followers of John the Baptist came to Jesus, asking, "Why is thatwe and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciple doesn't fast at all?"

Jesus answered, "Do you expect the guests at a wedding party to be as sad as long as the bridegroom is with them? Of course not ! But the day will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast..."
* * * * *
Station of the cross starts today.
It's every Friday :)

Sesiapa yang ada masa terluang, tak ada kelas, can contact each other and go for the Station of The Cross :)

Till then !

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ash Wednesday and Lent

Hello everyone !
Sorry for the long hiatus >.<

Well, since most of CUS USM current and latest activities are being post up and inform via Facebook Group, blog ini pun penuh lah dengan sarang labah-labah kerana sering ditinggalkan.

Musim Lent sudah pun bermula secara rasminya. Semalam adalah Hari Rabu Abu. I'm sure most of you know this sebab ramai juga yang menghadiri mass semalam :) .

It was great to see you guys again after the semester break.

Talking about LENT, I'm sure ramai yang terus terfikirkan puasa apabila mendengar perkataan LENT. Ramai yang mula sibuk mencari apa yang perlu "dikorbankan" musim Lent ini. Apa yang perlu dijauhi untuk sementara, selama 40 hari ini. Well, to those who went to mass yesterday and listen to homily, Lent is not just about fasting.

To understand more what Lent is about, you can read these two articles :
  1. Lent In The Catholic Church by Jon Jakoblich
  2. All About Lent by James Akin
Kedua-dua artikel menerangkan tentang Lent serta perkara-perkara yang sering menjadi persoalan; terutamanya tentang puasa.

On the topic of fasting, here are some excerpt from Lent In The Catholic Church :
Many Catholics were taught as children to "give up something" for Lent. The sacrifices in Lent are really penance, in the same spirit as the Ninehvites that repented at the preaching of Jonah. Throughout our history, Christians have found prayer, fasting, and almsgiving to be an important part of repentance and renewal. Many Christians now add something during Lent rather than giving up something, either to address personal habits that need work or to add some outreach to others in need.
Excerpt from All About Lent :
Q: In addition to Ash Wednesday, are any other days during Lent days of fast or abstinence?

A: Yes. All Fridays during Lent are days of abstinence. Also, Good Friday, the day on which Christ was crucified, is another day of both fast and abstinence.

Q: Why are Fridays during Lent days of abstinence.

A: This is because Jesus died for our sins on Friday, making it an especially appropriate day of mourning our sins (just as Sunday, the day on which he rose for our salvation is an especially appropriate day to rejoice) by denying ourselves something we enjoy. During the rest of the year Catholics in this country are permitted to use a different act of penance on Friday in place of abstinence, though all Fridays are days of penance on which we are required to do something expressing sorrow for our sins, just as Sundays are holy days on which we are required to worship and celebrate God's great gift of salvation.

Q: What are appropriate activities for ordinary days during Lent?

A: Giving up something we enjoy for Lent, doing of physical or spiritual acts of mercy for others, prayer, fasting, abstinence, going to confession, and other acts expressing repentance in general.

By denying ourselves something we enjoy, we discipline our will so that we are not slaves to our pleasures.
There is something yang I'm not sure about. It's about yesterday, Ash Wednesday. I noticed that there are few people that I know post status about Ash Wednesday (which is good sebab it helps us to remind each other). But, ada sesetengah status tersebut make me think.

Happy Ash Wednesday - is what they wrote.

I read this one article in Catholic.org, FAQs about Lent tentang Lent, and ada penerangan tentang Ash Wednesday in the facts as well. Here's something in the article that explain why we put ash on our forehead :
Ashes are applied to our forehead in the sign of the cross as the words, "Remember, you are dust and to dust you shall return" are spoken to us. The other formula which is used, "Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel" emphasizes our call to continual conversion and holiness of life. This act symbolizes our mortality as well as our need for ongoing repentance. It is a reminder that this life is short and merely a foreshadowing of what we shall become through the redemption of Jesus Christ on the cross. The work of our redemption will not be complete until we are raised from the dead, in resurrected bodies like His own and called to the eternal communion of heaven.
Is it a day to be happy/a happy day? A celebration? Or a day for us to seriously think about ourself : our sins, our life, our relationship with God ... etc.

You guys can read more about this meaningful season from the articles :)

I myself honestly juga masih banyak tidak tahu. I hope this sharing can benefit us all :)

* * * *

I want to share readings untuk hari ini juga.

The first one is from Deuteronomy 30: 15-20
Today I am giving you a choice between good and evil, between life and death. If you obey the commands of the Lord your God, which I give you today, if you love Him, obey Him, and keep all His laws, then you will prosper and become a nation of many people. The Lord you God will bless you in the land that you are about to occupy. But if you disobey and refuse to listen, and led away to worship other gods, you will be destroyed - I warn you here and now.

You will not live long in that land across the Jordan that you are about to occupy. I am now giving you the choice of life and death, between God's blessing and God's curse, and I call heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Choose life. Love the Lord your God, obey him and be faithful to Him, and then you and your descendants will live long in the land that He promised to give your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Psalm 1 :
True Happiness

Happy are those who reject the advice of evil people,
Who do not follow the example of sinners or join those who have no use for God.
Instead, they find joy in obeying the Law of the Lord, and they study it day and night.
They are like trees that grow beside a stream, that bear fruit at the right time, and whose leaves do not dry up.
They succeed in everything they do.

But evil people are not like this at all;
they are like straw that the wind blows away.
Sinners will be condemn by God and kept apart from God's own people.
The righteous are guided and protected by the Lord,
but the evil are on the way their doom.

Luke 9: 22 - 26 :
He also said to them," The Son of Man must suffer such and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the Law. He will be put to death, but three days later he will be raised to life."

And he said to them all,"Anyone who wants to come with me must forget yourself, take up their cross every day, and follow me. For whoever wants to save their own life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for my sake will save it. Will people gain anything if they win the whole world but are themselves lost or defeated? Of course not !

If people are ashamed of me and my teaching, then the Son of man will be ashamed of them when He comes in His glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels..."

I hope we all can spend a little time to read and reflect on today's readings.

Have a blessed day ! :)