Patricia Leung (Sept 2019)

by Patricia

Find out more about Medjugorje and what our pilgrim says about Medjugorje!

Reporter: Hello!  Why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself?

Pilgrim: I am a Catholic young adult and currently live in the Rockies region in Canada. I am a cradle Catholic. I was born into a Roman Catholic family, which made me a Catholic as well! Catholic education played a very important role in my life. It is a preparation for life which in itself is a preparation for eternal life!

Reporter: Wonderful! How did you come across to Medjugorje?

Pilgrim: Medjugorje came into my life as a “surprise”. I first learnt about Medjugorje when I was a participant of a youth prayer community. The community is founded on Medjugorje spirituality. Eucharistic adoration, rosary, confession and teachings are the focus of the prayer meetings. During these meetings, I was touched by the compassionate love of the Eucharistic Lord and wanted to deepen my relationship with Him. When I was introduced to Medjugorje at one of the events, I knew immediately that I must visit Our Lady in Medjugorje to renew my relationship with God and Mother Mary.

Reporter: Would you like to tell us a bit more about your recent pilgrimage to Medjugorje?

Pilgrim: Last September, I received a “surprise” from Jesus and Our Lady to visit Medjugorje with Medjugorje Centre of Canada. Medjugorje is a beautiful Catholic village with a strong devotion to Jesus and Our Lady through daily participation of liturgy, daily recitation of rosary, Lectio Divina, fasting and monthly confession. Our Lady called these practices the “five stones”. These five stones, which I have adopted in my spiritual life, developed my spiritual potential, nourished my soul and helped me conquer human sin. Through fasting, I created more room for God in my life by detaching from social media, instant messaging, internet surfing and TV. Monthly confessions helped me become more aware that I am loved by a compassionate and contemplative God, whose healing and reconciliation could redeem my human condition from the inside. Without the five stones, I am unable to experience the beauty and the greatness of the grace which God is offering me.

Reporter: Sounds like the five stones that were introduced by Our Lady in Medjugorje brought joy and peace in your life! What else did you experience in Medjugorje?

Pilgrim: Silence and solitude are always an important lesson for me in Medjugorje. In silence and solitude, I learn a deeper wisdom, a broader outlook in my everyday life and a brighter vision on God’s closeness and love. Mother Mary is my model as she is a woman wrapped in silence. In order to pray well, I learn that I need to pray in a quiet place so that the exterior silence matches with the interior silence in my heart. Praying is not about mechanically reciting words, while thinking of other things. It is about making time for God and resting in Him in silence. I also learnt to live in the present moment in a spirit of reflection, by listening to and internalizing what the Spirit might be speaking to me.

During my pilgrimage, I was especially touched by a spirit of gentleness in my heart. Gentleness is a reflection of God’s love which leads to gratefulness and humility. I am reminded to be gentle with myself, especially when I make the same mistakes, because Christ is gentle and this is part of His character. This helps me to be kind and gentle to others as well.

Reporter: It’s lovely to hear your inspirations from your recent pilgrimage to Medjugorje. Would you like to share any final words with our readers?

Pilgrim: I would like to conclude my sharing with my experience of hiking the Cross mountain for the first time. Before the hike began, I thought the hike was physically, mentally and spiritually challenging. However, the Spirit inspired me that God’s love is great enough to overcome any challenges. All I have to do is to surrender and have trust in God as He will provide. I did what I was told. I later discovered God is a good and compassionate Father because a few experienced pilgrims accompanied and coached me during the hike. I was very grateful of His providence, and I learnt that I must love and trust in Him in order to have courage and confidence in living out my Christian life.

2019/10/5-6 MCC Retreat: Finding Peace in the midst of Unrest 在困擾中尋平安

Theme: Finding Peace in the midst of Unrest 在困擾中尋平安
Spiritual Director: Fr. Francis Ching
Date: Oct 5-6, 2019

(audios in Cantonese)

To download audios: Click the title below, and click “Save as…”

Homilies

Talk1

Talk2

Talk3

Talk4

 

 

2019 ANNIVERSARY DAY TRIP

Thank you all for your support and encouragement for this day trip. All the seats have been taken and registration is now closed.

“This is my body”

“Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, ‘Take, eat; this is my body.’ And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’” (Mt 26:26-28, RSV)

 

Similar sayings are in Luke and Mark, but not in the Gospel according to John – where his Last Supper scene describes the washing of the Apostles’ feet. The discourse on Holy Communion in John, however, is found in Chapter Six, starting at verse 35 and intensifying from verse 48 onwards.

“I am the living bread which has come down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world” (Jn 6:51, NJB).

“In all truth I tell you, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you” (Jn 6:53, NJB).

“For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink” (Jn 6:55, NJB).

The above three verses are parts of Jesus’ teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum. Below are the reactions from some of his listeners. “After hearing it, many of his followers said, ‘This is intolerable language. How could anyone accept it?’… After this, many of his disciples went away and accompanied him no more” (Jn 6:60, 66, NJB).

Various Christian communities like to interpret Jesus’ sayings literally. The disciples described above certainly did. But, unlike some of those Christian communities, it was not the reason why the disciples stayed with him. It was the reason why they left him!

 

While they were walking off, a most astounding thing happened. Jesus did not shout out after them in panic: “Wait. Stop. Please don’t go. I used the wrong words. I was only speaking in symbols. I don’t mean what you think I was saying. You don’t eat me – you eat bread and drink wine.” No! He let them go! He was speaking most literally!!! He meant every word he said. This was the sacrament of his limitless love, the food that would lead to life everlasting, and one tangible way he chose to keep his promise: “I am with you always; yes, to the end of time” (Mt 28:20, NJB).

He asserted, “Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood has eternal life, and I shall raise that person up on the last day” (Jn 6:54, NJB).

“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I live in that person” (Jn 6:56, NJB).

“As the living Father sent me and I draw life from the Father, so whoever eats me will also draw life from me” (Jn 6:57, NJB).

 

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Jesus sometimes identifies himself (or someone else like John the Baptist or St. Paul identifies him) as an entity like the lamb of God, or the good shepherd, or light, love, peace, the resurrection, etc. An example is seen in the gospel according to John where Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and the life” (Jn 14:6, NIV). This is different from saying, “I show the way, I proclaim the truth, I give life.” Jesus is telling us that to find the way we have to walk along him; to know the truth we need to know him; to have life we must live in him.

So, when he says, “I am the bread of life” (Jn 6:35, NIV), what do you think he wants you to do?

 

Acknowledgments

In this work, the initials RSV indicate that the Scripture quotations are from the REVISED STANDARD VERSION BIBLE, Second Catholic Edition, copyright © 2006, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Any passage designated NJB is an excerpt from THE NEW JERUSALEM BIBLE, copyright © 1998 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd. and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc. Reprinted by permission.

Texts followed by the letters NIV are from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

In this work, Scripture texts marked NAB are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970, by the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Be a Shepherd

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Mt 9:36–38, RSV)

 

The prayer for labourers has risen up to the Lord countless number of times over the centuries. Have you ever considered yourself an answer to the prayer?

 

Who is a shepherd?

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.” (Jn 21:15–17, NIV)

 

The person who truly loves Jesus is the one who may be called upon to feed his lambs and tend his sheep. If you love Jesus, you may be asked to shepherd for him.

The flock he gives you may not be large. It may be no more than a few relatives or friends. It may be just one member in your family or among your coworkers and acquaintances. It may even be a stranger that you meet by chance.

Knowledge and discretion

Of course, you have to be thoroughly educated in the ways of the Lord. You have to be well informed. You must study; you must become qualified. You must not make up your own theology from your limited understanding. You must learn procedures of discernment from experienced spiritual directors. You have to choose the right words at the right moment. You have to be tactful, discreet, wise and loving.

You have to keep his commandments, and pray for guidance and help from the Holy Spirit. Jesus said: “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever – the Spirit of truth.” (Jn 14:15–17, NIV)

 

What are some things you might do?

 

1. Genuine caring

When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.  (Mk 6:34, NIV)

 

As in the quotation at the beginning of this chapter, we are told that the crowds were “like sheep without a shepherd.” In the first passage, Jesus asks for more labourers. Here he reveals how a shepherd feels and acts. “He had compassion on them.” His heart went out to them. He was moved with pity. He did not despise the people or hide from them, or make excuses to be rid of them. Even though he was very tired, he “began teaching them,” and he taught them “many things.”

We, too, can spend time with people who are lost for lack of direction. By kindness and understanding we can extend the comforting hand of Jesus to them. By showing our concern, we can spread his love and his good news.

 

By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”

But he answered, “You give them something to eat.”  (Mk 6:35–37, NIV)

Don’t send the people away. Do something for them yourself. Without sinning or falling into temptation, do whatever you can, however little. In the above incident, when the disciples came forward with two fish and five loaves, Jesus built on their initiative and fed over five thousand people. You begin; Jesus will finish.

Youth prayer groups have been formed in many parishes throughout the world. The first steps towards organizing these were often taken by parents who saw the need for such spiritual gatherings for their sons and daughters. They did this voluntarily and without being ordered to do so. Now their young ones have a chance to know the joy of walking with the Lord. Now they have a trustworthy companion in Jesus. Now they do not spend their Saturday nights in undesirable places or with disreputable friends. These parents are examples of concerned shepherds.

Here is another illustration of shepherding. Many men and women, boys and girls, pray the Rosary, and fast on bread and water, for the conversion of unbelievers and sinners. These are noble and unselfish ways of helping to save countless numbers of human beings from unnecessary and prolonged darkness and pain. This is caring. This is love. This is compassion.

The Good Shepherd

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hireling and not a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hireling and cares nothing for the sheep.”  (Jn 10:11–13, RSV)

 

Be like Jesus. Do not run from the problem. Stay and help. Lay down your life for God’s people. The Holy Spirit is in you by virtue of the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. Use his power and the courage which he has placed in you.

 

2. Speaking out

Picture the scene at the first Christmas.

 

In the countryside close by there were shepherds out in the fields keeping guard over their sheep during the watches of the night. An angel of the Lord stood over them and the glory of the Lord shone round them. They were terrified, but the angel said, “Do not be afraid. Look, I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”  (Lk 2:8–11, NJB)

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they saw it they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this child; and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. (Lk 2:15–18, RSV)

 

As for Mary, she treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart. (Lk 2:19, NJB)

 

The shepherds were simple peasants. Why would anyone believe that they saw angels in the middle of the night? Why would anybody believe that they carried “good news” from these “angels”? Why would even one person take them seriously about the baby in the manger being the Christ for whom all of Israel was waiting? Yet, courageously, they spoke out. “They made known” the message. It made the Mother of God ponder in her heart. She “treasured” their words.

To bear witness for Jesus, you simply speak out. The angel’s announcement to the shepherds was, “Do not be afraid. Look, I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people.” Do not fear. What you say about Jesus is joyful news. It is good news. It should be shared by all.

The Gospel

Moreover, do not just speak about Jesus. Tell them to carry out what he taught. He said,

 

“… and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you.”                                       (Mt 28:20, NJB)

 

Not everyone will agree with what Jesus says. Not everyone will do all that he asks. But his words may make them wonder and think. Some may be influenced without your being aware of it.

Foul language

In Medjugorje, many homes used to display a poster which said, “U ovoj kući se ne psuje.” It means, “In this house do not swear.” This demonstrates a silent way of speaking out.

The elimination of foul language helps to control bad temper and anger, and diminishes one’s false sense of self-importance; it can promote gentleness and peace among fellow-workers and family members. It can help bring a Christian atmosphere to places where people come together.

In the Western world, it is not fashionable to place such signs in homes and offices. But if you will begin by not using vulgar expletives yourself, it might cause others to follow your example. Let peace begin with you. To live a certain way is to speak out for that way.

Don’t be shy

Never feel embarrassed by your loyalty to Jesus.

 

“For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of man also be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

(Mk 8:38, RSV)

 

Make decisions in accordance with his teaching. Go off to pray even if others should ridicule you for it. Some days attend noon Mass instead of having lunch with your colleagues; take some friends with you. Acknowledge Jesus by hanging his portrait and crucifix in your home.

 

“He who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens; the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them.”           (Jn 10:2–4, RSV)

By Baptism and Confirmation, by your love of Jesus and obedience to his commands, by your grounding in, and fidelity to, the teaching of the Church, you have entered through the gate that shepherds go through. You have the potential to be one of them. Develop that potential. A shepherd “leads them out” and “goes before them.” He is a guide, one who shows the way, one who walks in front. He starts things going where there is a need.

 

Acknowledgments

In this work, the initials RSV indicate that the Scripture quotations are from the REVISED STANDARD VERSION BIBLE, Second Catholic Edition, copyright © 2006, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Any passage designated NJB is an excerpt from THE NEW JERUSALEM BIBLE, copyright © 1998 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd. and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc. Reprinted by permission.

Texts followed by the letters NIV are from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

In this work, Scripture texts marked NAB are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970, by the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.