Church Teachings

「Spiritual Talk」Fifth Sunday of Lent – Fr. Anthony Ho

This weekend is the Fifth Sunday of Lent; the Gospel comes from John 11:1-45 and talks about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead in Bethany. Lazarus was the brother of Martha (who busily served Jesus) and Mary (who silently listened to Jesus teach), and was also a good friend of Jesus. He was severely ill one day and when Jesus heard this, He waited two days before departing for Bethany, allowing His friend to suffer first before He raised him from the dead, revealing the mystery of the resurrection before their eyes and proving His identity as the resurrection and the life. We might be surprised to learn that God permitted His good friend to suffer, but God works good from evil, and even permitted His own Son to die so that we might be saved. In the Apostles Creed, we profess "I believe in the resurrection of the body" along with Martha to recognize Christ as the resurrection every Mass. According to St. Thomas, the resurrection strengthens our faith in four ways: (1) it relieves our grief upon the death of our loved ones, because we have hope in their resurrection; (2) it removes our fear of death, because we know a greater life exists afterward; (3) it encourages us to do good in this life, because we know there is an eternal reward after; and (4) it makes us avoid evil, because we know there is an eternal punishment after.
Publish date: 2020 - 3 - 28

「Spiritual Talk」Fourth Sunday of Lent – Fr. Anthony Ho

This weekend is the Fourth Sunday of Lent; the Gospel comes from John 9:1-41 and talks about Jesus healing a man blind from birth, which divides the witnesses present. During Pharisees' unceasing questioning of the man, he first calls Jesus a "man", then a "prophet", then "Son of Man", and finally "Lord". This miracle already led him to approach God, one step at a time, and the Pharisees' questioning increased his courage and led him to be unafraid of being expelled from the synagogue or being insulted. The Pharisees did not question him to discover the truth, but to find a reason to claim Jesus did not come from God. This division also extended to his family too, when the Pharisees questioned his parents and they adamantly told them to ask their son directly, clearly afraid of being expelled from the synagogue. Jesus later asked the healed man, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?" The man answered yes, showing that not only were his physical eyes opened, but also his spiritual eyes. On the other hand, the Pharisees' physical eyes were able to see, but they were spiritually blind and refused to recognize Jesus as the Son of God, even plotting to kill Him. So the teachings of Christ often divide society because we must make a decision to receive His light or not. We should receive the spiritual light He brings, to drive out the inner darkness from our hearts.
Publish date: 2020 - 3 - 21

「Spiritual Talk」Third Sunday of Lent – Fr. Anthony Ho

This Sunday is the Third Sunday of Lent and the Gospel reading comes from John 4:5-42, where Jesus talks to the Samaritan woman. In ancient times, the Kingdom of Israel was split in two: the remnant Kingdom of Israel to the north and the Kingdom of Judah to the south. The King of Assyria brought five foreign peoples into the Kingdom of Israel, who also brought their own gods, and slowly the inhabitants of Israel began to incorporate these foreign religions into the true faith. Thus, the southern Kingdom of Judah, which remained faithful to the Temple, began to look down on the northern Kingdom of Israel (later known as Samaria) as traitors and refused to deal with them. In this situation, Jesus told the Samaritan woman to fetch her husband. But when she responded truthfully that she had no husband, Jesus told her that she had five and the current one wasn't her husband. Jesus was alluding to the foreign gods introduced by the foreign peoples brought in by the King of Assyria and how the Kingdom of Israel had abandoned the true God. Through this woman, Jesus was searching for the Samaritan people, who had lost their faith, and was bringing them back through Baptism. When He promised her living water, He was referring to the Sacrament of Baptism, which could purify our idol worship. God's relationship with His People is like that between a husband and his wife. Jesus emphasizes this theme many times in the Gospels - He heals the son of a Gentile official and works a miracle at the wedding in Cana - to show us that the Gentiles are now adopted into the marital covenant with the Chosen People.
Publish date: 2020 - 3 - 14

【Ask Fr. Francis】For those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away

"For to those who have, more will be given; and from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.” (Mark 4:25) Fr Francis will answer why God would take away those who have nothing already.
Publish date: 2020 - 3 - 7

【Spiritual Talk】The Second Sunday of Lent – Fr. Anthony Ho

This weekend is the Second Sunday of Lent, which focuses on the Transfiguration of Our Lord. One of the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary, Jesus prepares for His Passion, Death, and Resurrection with the Transfiguration. He brings Peter, James, and John to the top of a mountain when His face shines like the Sun, his clothes become dazzlingly white, and two Old Testament figures appear - Moses and Elijah. Peter is shocked and suggests to build three tents for them but before he can finish, a voice announces, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him." A cloud appears and covers them, reminding us of how God's Presence on Earth was indicated by a cloud in the Old Testament. When the Chosen People were in the desert, God's pillar of cloud guided them from the Tabernacle. Furthermore, the setting of the Transfiguration on top of a mountain reminds us of Moses' face shining after he meets God on Mount Sinai. Jesus' Transfiguration shows us that He succeeds the old law represented by Moses and the old prophets represented by Elijah. Jesus showed His glory to the Apostles before His Passion to teach them that suffering is temporary, but those who suffer for God will be rewarded with glory, and that glory will never end.
Publish date: 2020 - 3 - 7

Radio broadcast – Full episode (March 7, 2020)

【Ask Fr. Francis】For those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away 【Spiritual Talk】The Second Sunday of Lent 【Edwin’s blog】March 7, 2020
Publish date: 2020 - 3 - 7

Experiencing Transcendence

The Gospel today is centered on a mountain experience, and Pope Benedict says that, “The mountain is the place of ascent—not only outward, but also inward ascent; it is a liberation from the burden of everyday life, a breathing in of the pure air of creation; it offers a view of the broad expanse of creation and its beauty; it gives one an inner peak to stand on and an intuitive sense of the Creator” (Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth, Vol. 1, 309).
Publish date: 2020 - 3 - 8

【Spiritual Talk】The Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time

This weekend is the Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time; the Gospel Reading is Matthew 5:38-48. The ancient peoples thought it normal to love one's friends and hate one's enemies. But Jesus challenged that thought and taught people to love their enemies, even Gentiles, and pray for them. To the Jews of His day, this would have been very difficult to accept, since the Romans were persecuting Israel and imposing heavy taxes. But just as the sun shines on both the good and the evil, Jesus wanted us to be like God and bless both the good and the evil. Earlier, He demanded that His disciples' righteousness exceed that of the Pharisees, whose virtue often consisted of separating themselves from unclean things and people, such as corpses, lepers, and unclean foods. Jesus wanted our virtue to come from within and us to love all people, and not let our passions or anger polute our vows. We even need to hope that our enemies receive the very best and the most important way is through prayer, through which we rely on God's grace and listen to Him.
Publish date: 2020 - 2 - 22

【Spiritual Talk】The Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time

This Sunday's Gospel reading comes from the Gospel of Matthew chapter 5, which is about Jesus fulfilling the Law. The Temple of Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD; afterwards, the laws pertaining to it were made obselete and the Church did not mandate that non-Jewish Christians keep certain laws such as circumcision but still mandated that they keep the moral laws such as the Ten Commandments given to Moses. Jesus told His disciples to have greater righteousness than the scribes and Pharisees, so that they would be not only righteous in outward actions, but also in the heart. It like a husband and wife who have never hit each other, stoles from each other, or done other evil deeds to each other, but lack communication and love. Who would consider this a good married life? So as Christians, we ought not to merely avoid doing evil, but even more to vigorously pursue virtue and love, and do good to others.
Publish date: 2020 - 2 - 15

Choosing a Better Way

Choosing a Better Way

Nick Vujicic was born without arms and legs. He was teased and bullied as a child, and first thought about killing himself when he was eight. He didn’t know if he would get married, be independent, or if he had a purpose, so, at age ten, he tried to drown himself but stopped for his parents’ sake.
Publish date: 2020 - 2 - 16

【Spiritual Talk】The Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time

This Sunday is the Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time. The Gospel reading is from Matthew 5:13-16; Jesus tells His apostles to be the salt of the earth, light of the world. Salt is useful for preserving food, so Jesus says that whoever lives out the Beatitudes will preserve the goodness of the world, or else they will be like salt that has lost its taste and is useless. In the Jewish tradition, Israel is to be the light of the nations. When Jesus tells His apostles to live out the Beatitudes, He is telling them to make Israel glorify God. Whenever Christians intentionally give witness to Christ, the whole world benefits. St. John Chrysostom once said that if all men acted as Christians ought, then even if they did not become saints, then the world would still be changed for the better. There would be morality, happiness, and peace. Christians not only have a duty to sanctify themselves, but to help others become holy and bring out their goodness and grow closer to God. In the Mass, we not only pray for ourselves and our families, but also for the world. We should lift up our colleagues, classmates, and friends to God with our prayers. We are called to care for the needs of others, not only their bodily needs, but also spiritual needs.
Publish date: 2020 - 2 - 8

【Ask Fr. Francis】Can our prayers change the plan of God?

Fr. Francis will be answering two questions. One of them is about how to pray, and another question about whether prayer can change the plan of God.
Publish date: 2020 - 2 - 1

【Spiritual Talk】The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord – Fr. Anthony Ho

This Sunday is the fortieth day after Christmas, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. In the past, Jewish women were considered by the Law to be unclean after giving birth and forty days later had to be cleansed and present their child to God. Mary conceived by the Holy Spirit, so she was ritually pure and in fact needed no cleansing. Jesus was the Son of God, so He needed not to be presented to God either. But both mother and son humbly submitted to the Law, reminding us to have a spirit of humble obedience. Mary offered the offering of a poor person: two doves or pigeons, instead of the usual lamb, reminding us that Jesus became a humble man. At that time, a man named Simeon was at the Temple awaiting the Messiah's arrival. When he saw the baby Jesus, he predicted that He would be a light to the nations and a sign to be contradicted. Jesus bore the sins of humanity: are our hearts illuminated with light and ready to accept Him, or are they filled with darkness and closed off to Him? On this Sunday, it is traditional to have candlelight processions to remind us that Jesus is the true light of the world. May we ask God to open our hearts and welcome Him in.
Publish date: 2020 - 2 - 1

Radio broadcast – Full episode (Feb 1, 2020)

【Ask Fr. Francis】Can our prayers change the plan of God? 【Spiritual Talk】The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord - Fr. Anthony Ho 【Edwin’s blog】February 1, 2020
Publish date: 2020 - 2 - 1

Why Euthanasia is Wrong

The 2016 film Arrival asks the question if we would accept life knowing that it will involve suffering. Here’s the one-and-a-half-minute opening scene which shows the birth of Louise’s daughter time-lapsed to her early death. The great Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson asks why women would bring children into the world knowing they’re going to suffer (12 Rules for Life, 167. See also this video). Other questions of life include: “Why do you have so many children when you’re short on money?” “Why not choose a dignified death (euthanasia), rather than let someone suffer?”
Publish date: 2020 - 2 - 2

【Spiritual Talk】Third Sunday in Ordinary Time – Fr. Anthony Ho

This Sunday is the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time; the Gospel reading is Matthew 4:12-23 and Jesus is announcing the arrival of the Kingdom of God and preaching repentance to be delivered from sin and return to the ways of God. Matthew uses the word "Kingdom of Heaven", unlike Mark and Luke who use "Kingdom of God". In verse 18, Jesus calls four fishermen to become his disciples: Simon, Andrew, James, and John. Unlike other rabbis of the time, Jesus searches for disciples instead of having disciples search for Him. Also, He not only requires that they learn His teaching, but that they hunt for more disciples too. Once James and John hear Jesus, they not only leave behind their fishing equipment but also their father, showing us they loved Jesus more than material thing or family. We also should worship God above all else.
Publish date: 2020 - 1 - 25

【Spiritual Talk】Second Sunday in Ordinary Time – Fr. Anthony Ho

The liturgical colour for this Sunday's Mass is green. Now that the Christmas season has ended and Lent has yet to come, it is Ordinary Time and green represents growth and hope. The Gospel reading is John 1:29-34 - after baptizing Jesus, John the Baptist calls Him the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. The Baptist came from a priestly family, so his words have a priestly tone. During the Passover, the lamb commemorated the rescuing of the Jewish people from slavery; Jesus was the lamb of the new Passover who would rescue humanity from slavery to sin. The Old Testament lamb was slaughtered every morning and evening in the Temple to enable the repentance and forgiveness of the people. But Jesus alone is able to forgive sins through His Precious Blood and the Prophet Isaiah describes the suffering servant as a lamb offered to death. During Mass, we also call Jesus the Lamb of God before Communion, reminding us of His Presence in the Eucharist.
Publish date: 2020 - 1 - 18

【Spiritual Talk】Baptism of the Lord – Fr. Anthony Ho

This Sunday, the Church celebrates the Baptism of the Lord, which commemorates Jesus' revelation to the Jews, as opposed to His revelation to the Gentile Magi at the Epiphany and to His apostles at the Marriage at Cana. Jesus' baptism appears in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, but only Matthew records the dialogue between John the Baptist and Jesus before the baptism. Originally, John was not willing to baptize Jesus and said Jesus ought to baptize him since he knew his lowliness before Jesus. But Jesus permitted it anyways to fulfill all things. Matthew's Gospel mentions the word "fulfill" many times, meaning to fulfill the Old Testament. He describes angels, magi, John, even God the Father testifying to Jesus' identity and mission. The Holy Spirit descends as a dove on Jesus' head, while God the Father says, "This is my son in whom I am well pleased." The descent of the Holy Spirit reminds us of the Spirit of God moving above the waters in Genesis and of the dove sent above the floods by Noah - both times representing the new beginning of the world. Jesus' baptism is a new beginning and the end of the Christmas season. Our baptism is also a new beginning and gives us a new birth.
Publish date: 2020 - 1 - 11

Pope Francis: Christ can bring good out of any circumstance – even an apparent failure

(CNA) Love for God is always fruitful, Pope Francis said Wednesday, stressing that Christ can bring good out of any circumstance -- even an apparent failure.
Publish date: 2020 - 1 - 9

Prep for Christmas: Encountering Mary in Ephesus

The Church designates January 1 as the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. "Prep for Christmas" takes you to Ephesus, Turkey to reflect on the role the Blessed Virgin Mary plays in the Christian faith.
Publish date: 2020 - 1 - 4

【 Ask Fr. Francis】How to love God?

Fr. Francis will be answering two questions. One of them is about how to love God more, and another question about destiny.
Publish date: 2020 - 1 - 4

【Spiritual Talk】Feast of the Epiphany – Fr. Anthony Ho

This Sunday, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Epiphany, which commemorates the coming of three wise men from the East who followed a star to worship Jesus and give Him gifts, as recorded in the reading from the Gospel of Matthew 2:1-12. Normally, this feast is celebrated on January 6th, but in some countries such as Canada, this day is not a public holiday, so it is celebrated on the nearest Sunday instead. Some people have attempted to explain the star's appearance with natural means, but the star stopped above Jesus, so this is very difficult. More people use the Jewish tradition to explain the star as an angel, just as an angel lead the Jewish people to the Promised Land. When the three wise men arrived at the house of the baby and His mother, they did not merely kneel but also prostrated themselves, a sign of worship. In Jerusalem, the chief priests and the scribes did not worship Jesus, but only foreigners did. They brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, which were the first fruits of the Gentiles and showed Jesus as true God and true man. The early Church fathers admired the wise men's faith: although their physical eyes saw a baby, their eyes of faith saw God, and that is why they prostrated themselves and offered gifts. As faithful Catholics, our physical eyes see the Blessed Sacrament as bread, but our eyes of faith see God, hence why we kneel and offer up spiritual gifts.
Publish date: 2020 - 1 - 4

Radio broadcast – Full episode (Jan 4, 2020)

【 Ask Fr. Francis】How to love God? 【Spiritual Talk】Feast of the Epiphany - Fr. Anthony Ho 【Edwin’s blog】January 4, 2020
Publish date: 2020 - 1 - 4

Prep for Christmas: A Crash Course on Agape

Christmas is a season of love. One of the most well-known passages from the Bible is the hymn of love written by St. Paul. Prep for Christmas takes you to Corinth, Greece for a closer look of what is love.
Publish date: 2019 - 12 - 28