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Spiritual Talk
 
 

 
「Spiritual Talk」The First Sunday of Advent – Fr. Anthony Ho

This weekend, the Church celebrates the First Sunday of Advent and the Gospel reading comes from Mark 13:33-37. Advent is the season to anticipate the coming of Christ and commemorates both His first coming on Christmas Day and His second coming at the Final Judgment. Jesus tells us today to be vigilant and awake because no one knows when He will return nor when they will die. Hence, God does not want us to calculate the time but for us to be constantly vigilant. A saint once said that those who constantly meditate on death find it easy to overcome disorderly thoughts, but those who think they will live long lives will be enslaved by worldly pleasures. For us who await Christ's coming, we ought to fulfill our responsibilities, respond to God's will, and dutifully keep the faith.
Publish date: 2020 - 11 - 28


 
「Spiritual Talk」The Feast of Christ the King – Fr. Anthony Ho

This weekend, the Church celebrates the Feast of Christ the King, the last Sunday of the liturgical year and the beginning of the four weeks of Advent. Christ is King, and He asks us to serve Him in our neighbours so that we might learn that no one is completely self-sufficient. When we love our neighbours, we simultaneously increase our love for God and outwardly express our welcome to him. Mother Teresa and the Sisters of Mercy which she founded spent time each day praying before the Lord in the Eucharist and to receive Him at Mass. Through this, they established a deep relationship with Jesus and derived the strength to recognize Him in the poor. Chrsit the King does not use violence to achieve victory but uses love, proven by works, to conquer the world. We must live likewise to expand the Kingdom of God.
Publish date: 2020 - 11 - 21


 
「Spiritual Talk」Thirty Third Sunday of Ordinary Time – Fr. Anthony Ho

This weekend, the Church celebrates the Thirty Third Sunday of Ordinary Time, and the Gospel reading comes from Matthew's Parable of the Talents. There was a master who entrusted his servants with talents before leaving--clearly, the master represents Christ, the servants represent His disciples, and the talents represent His graces. The departure of the master parallels the departure of Christ from His Ascension until His glorious return and general judgment. A saint once said that the servant who buried the talent represents those who bury their abilities in seeking only worldly things and not searching for spiritual truths. The other servants, on the other hand, worked diligently to earn more money for their master. The servant who buried the talent blamed the master for being harsh and painted himself as a victim, showing that he possibly envied the other servants for receiving more talents. But the master revealed that laziness was the real reason and although he did not lose any money, he could not bear the servant's laziness. We must also treasure the opportunities God gives to us and improve the world starting with ourselves. When Christians waste time, they might also waste their salvation. During the pandemic, we must not only watch television but should use the additional time to pray and care for our neighbours.
Publish date: 2020 - 11 - 14


 
「Spiritual Talk」Thirty Second Sunday of Ordinary Time – Fr. Anthony Ho

This weekend, the Church celebrates the Thirty Second Sunday of Ordinary Time, and begins the final three weeks before Advent. The Gospel readings all come from Matthew 25, and week's reading uses verses 1-13. It is the Parable of the Ten Virgins: the five wise ones brought oil, while the five foolish ones did not. When the bridegroom arrived, the wise virgins lit their lamps to greet him but the foolish ones could not enter the celebration. They thought that since the bridegroom was delayed, he would not come after all, or that they could borrow oil from the wise virgins. But they were rejected when they asked. The wise virgins, on the other hand, prepared enough oil, even when the bridegroom was late, so they did not have to worry when he would arrive. To the Church Fathers, the oil represented our own good works, which we cannot borrow from others before God. The foolish virgins cried out, "Lord! Lord!" but were rejected, just as Jesus in Matthew 7 described God rejecting those who called His name but lacked good works. If we possess true faith but do not live it out, it is useless. Mother Teresa is a good model of using our time wisely. Whenever she was delayed in transportation, she would often pray with her fellow nuns or talk with the people around her and explain the Good News. Maybe we are too well-off and are used to wasting our time on our phones whenever we have free time. We must remember: time is a gift from God and we must use it wisely to live out our faith.
Publish date: 2020 - 11 - 7


 
「Spiritual Talk」All Saint’s Day – Fr. Anthony Ho

This weekend, the Church celebrates all the saints together and asks their intercession on All Saint's Day. Today's Gospel reading comes from Matthew 5:1-12, where Jesus reveals the Beatitudes, which form our sanctifying path to resist the ways of the world and follow the spirit of the Gospel. "Blessed are the poor in spirit": our daily challenges remind us that cannot simply rely on our own abilities but must humbly rely on the aid of God and our neighbours. "Blessed are the pure of heart": in the Old Testament, whenever people encountered difficulties, their hearts would be divided and worship false gods. In modern times, we often draw a clear boundary between our faith and the other parts of our life, such as our family, our work, and our political views. We must be of one heart and not be obstructed by other things, in order to do all things for God. Nowadays, the Internet and our phones can easily tempt us to impure thoughts, so thankfully purityispossible.com teaches us to build good character and resist evil thoughts.
Publish date: 2020 - 10 - 31


 
「Spiritual Talk」Thirtieth Sunday of Ordinary Time – Fr. Anthony Ho

This weekend, the Church celebrates the Thirtieth Sunday of Ordinary Time and today's Gospel reading comes from Matthew 22:34-40. A scholar of the law questioned Jesus which commandment was the most important and Jesus responded: first, to love God with all your heart, strength, and will; and secondly, to love your neighbour as yourself. At that time, Jewish scholars constantly debated the precedence of the hundreds of commandments, so Jesus had just resolved the age-old debate: love. Jesus had taken the commandment to love God from Deuteronomy 6, which all Jews had memorized and yet which the Pharisees failed to live out. In fact, we can sometimes be like the Pharisees and think that we must completely understand God through our intellect, but God wants us to love whole-heartedly even more. For lower things like eating and drinking, we should choose with our intellect. But for higher things like religion, we should choose with our will. In recent years, numerous mystics have constantly reminded us that without love, the amount of money or time we give is worth nothing. There was once a priest who passed by a tombstone that read: this person died at age 90, but only lived three years. On asking what this meant, he was told that the deceased person began loving God at age 87 and wanted others to know after their death that only their final three years could be considered as truly living.
Publish date: 2020 - 10 - 24


 
「Spiritual Talk」Twenty-ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time – Fr. Anthony Ho

This weekend, the Church celebrates the Twenty Ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time and today's Gospel reading comes from Matthew 22:15-22. The Pharisees, Herodians, and other religious leaders were trying to ensnare Jesus with questions and they asked Him whether it was lawful to pay tax to Caesar. If Jesus responded yes, the Jews would see Him as a traitor to the Romans; if He responded no, then He could be accused of sedition before the Romans. Jesus instead accused His questioners of hypocrisy for asking Him questions out of a desire to test Him instead of a desire to discover the truth - they were doing the work of the devil. He told them to bring out a Roman coin - it had the image of a pagan god or king and was seen as idolatrous by the Jews. The religious leaders immediately brought such a coin, showing how they were just as worldly as the tax collectors they so despised. Jesus asked them whose image was on the coin and they responded, "Caesar's." He then said, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and give to God what is God's." In those days, there were two taxes: a national tax to support the administration and a temple tax to support the liturgy and charitable works. Coins bearing pagan gods or kings had to be exchanged before paying the temple tax, so at the most basic level, Jesus was simply pointing out which coin could be used to pay tax. But at a deeper level, He was saying that we have a duty to the state. In the end, however, countries will end and what they can give us is limited, while we all have the image of God and belong to the everlasting Kingdom of God. History is filled with Caesars who sought to appropriate God's majesty, such as the state worship demanded by Communism. Christians ought to strongly resist such tendencies.
Publish date: 2020 - 10 - 17


 
「Spiritual Talk」Twenty-eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time – Fr. Anthony Ho

This weekend, the Church celebrates the Twenty Eighty Sunday of Ordinary Time and today's Gospel reading comes from Matthew 22:1-14. Jesus tells the Parable of the Wedding Feast: a king was holding a wedding feast for his son and sent his servants to invite his guests. But the guests not only made excuses and rejected the invitations, they also insulted and killed the servants. The king then sent his servants to invite people from the street and one of the new guests entered without a wedding garment, so the king drove him out. In this parable, the wedding feast of course represents the Heaven that God has already prepared for us and the wedding garment is sanctifying grace. In those days, wedding hosts would provide the wedding garments for his guests, so that travelling guests would not have them dirtied by the dust from the road. Thus, a guest who did not wear a wedding garment could only be insulting the host. Our souls are the life of our bodies and only with grace can we attain eternal life. Once we have received grace, we can only lose it through mortal sin, and fortunately we have the Sacraments of Baptism and Confession to restore us to grace. God has already prepared the eternal wedding banquet for us and paid the greatest price: the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, which is the source of all seven Sacraments. We ought to beseech God to open our hearts and make us worthy to enter into the eternal Heavenly banquet.
Publish date: 2020 - 10 - 10


 
「Spiritual Talk」Twenty Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time – Fr. Anthony Ho

This weekend, the Church celebrates the Twenty Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time and today's Gospel reading comes from Matthew 21:33-46. Jesus tells two parables to accuse the religious authorities of injustice: the first tells of ungrateful vineyard tenants who refuse to give their produce to their master and kill the servants and son who are sent; and the second tells of the stone that the builders rejected that became the cornerstone. In the first parable, the master is clearly God, the vineyard is Israel, the fence is the Law, the tenants are the religious leaders, the servants are the prophets, and the son is Jesus. Jesus knew that the religious leaders planned to kill Him, so He prophesied what would happen to the vineyard once He was killed: the tenants would be evicted and the vineyard given over to new tenants. This predicted the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD by the Romans, which rendered the priestly profession obselete and left only the perfect sacrifice of Christ. The tenants did not recognize the master as their master, just as we often do not see God as our Lord, because we twist His Commandments and set ourselves as our own masters. Frequently, misfortune befalls us before we sin and we question where God was when in fact this was an opportunity given by God to repent. We ought to take full advantage of these opportunities and recognize God as our true master, offering up all the fruits of our life's work to Him.
Publish date: 2020 - 10 - 3


 
「Spiritual Talk」Twenty Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time – Fr. Anthony Ho

This weekend, the Church celebrates the Twenty Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time and today's Gospel reading comes from Matthew 21:28-32. The religious leaders question Jesus' authority, He asks them about the origin of John the Baptist's baptism: God or man. The leaders were afraid of the crowd and did not care to seek the truth. They refused to say John's baptism came from man, because they knew the crowd saw him as a prophet. They also refused to say his baptism came from God, because Jesus would ask them why they did not follow John. In the end, Jesus criticized them through a parable. Once, there was a father who told his two sons to do some work: the first agreed but ended up not doing the work, while the second refused but ended up doing it. Jesus asked which son did the will of the father and the leaders answered the second son. Jesus then said that the tax collectors and prostitutes would enter heaven before them because they refused to believe John the Baptist even after seeing him. From this, we can see that actions are greater than words and even a lay person who keeps the commandments is greater than a hypocritical consecrated person. Religious leaders must always be mindful of their station and must not praise God with their lips while doing the opposite in their actions. They are vulnerable to pride because they often delude themselves into thinking they cannot sin, whereas public sinners tend to realize their faults and repent. Perhaps we, because of lack of discipline, waste much time on the Internet and forsake our duties like the first son. We should practice discipline and serve God instead of ourselves.
Publish date: 2020 - 9 - 26


 
「Spiritual Talk」Twenty Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time – Fr. Anthony Ho

This weekend, the Church celebrates the Twenty Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time and today's Gospel reading comes from Matthew 20:1-16. Here, Jesus uses the analogy of a vineyard to describe the Kingdom of Heaven. The master of the vineyard hired workers at different times of the day and gathered them to distribute wages at dusk. The workers who had arrived earliest and latest received the same wages alike. Those who arrived earliest were indignant and thought they should receive more wages for working longer. But the master reminded them that they had all agreed to work for a denarius and if he chose to award those who worked less the same wages, that was his personal decision. He even criticized them for being jealous of his generosity. This parable reminds us that the Jews were the people first called by God and the Gentiles afterwards, so Jesus was telling the Jews not to be jealous of the Gentile newcomers. It also reminds us that God can call us at different points in life, whether we were born into a Catholic family, converted in middle age or as a student, or during old age or on our death bed. God rewards us not based on how long we have been His followers, but on how much charity we possess at the moment of our death. We must act wisely and persevere to the end. The master in the parable also met some people standing idle in the marketplace who had not found work because no one had yet called them. In the world, many people have not entered the Church, not because they intentionally chose to be atheist but because no one has yet invited them to be Catholic. The website "Catholics Come Home" works to bring lapsed Catholics back to the Church and they found that many people leave after Confirmation. They are unwilling to call themselves atheists and Christians alike, so they settle on being "without religious belief". One youth left the Church and then befriended a Catholic who invited him to help at a senior's home, go to Mass, and Confession. He agreed each time because he felt he finally had a friend to do religious activities with. Maybe we have friends who have not yet entered the Church, not because they reject Jesus, but because no one has invited them yet. September is the month many parishes start RCIA classes. Do not be afraid to invite your friends to know our Lord Jesus.
Publish date: 2020 - 9 - 19


 
「Spiritual Talk」Twenty Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time – Fr. Anthony Ho

This weekend, the Church celebrates the Twenty Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time and today's Gospel reading comes from Matthew 18:21-35. Previously, the chapter discussed how to deal with sinners in the Church. Now, Peter asks Jesus how many times to forgive and receives this reply, "Not seven times, but seventy seven times." Jesus spoke a parable of a servant who owed his master 60 million days of wages and was told to sell his family to repay his debt. The servant begged his master who was moved enough to forgive his entire debt. But the servant then saw another servant who owed him a hundred days of wages and proceeded to demand it repaid. The second servant begged him for forgiveness, but the first servant would not forgive him and threw him into prison until he could repay his debt. The other servants were angry and told the master who imprisoned the first servant. When we sin, our debt against God is enormous, because we have offended the infinite God, and only the Precious Blood of Jesus can eliminate the debt of sin. Our neighbours are like the second servant: if even God has already forgiven our massive debts, how can we refuse to forgive those who owe us much less? When we do not forgive others, the angels and saints in Heaven will accuse us before God. In the Lord's Prayer, we pray "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us." This clearly reminds us that those who are unwilling to forgive others have closed themselves to the possibility of receiving forgiveness from God. Sometimes we are gravely hurt by others, but forgiveness consists not in feelings but in the will. If we are willing to wish the good of the sinner and pray for their repentance and conversion, then that is already the first step to forgiveness.
Publish date: 2020 - 9 - 12


 
「Spiritual Talk」Twenty Third Sunday of Ordinary Time – Fr. Anthony Ho

This weekend, the Church celebrates the Twenty Third Sunday of Ordinary Time and today's Gospel reading comes from Matthew 18:15-20. This passage concerns how to deal with disciples who have sinned: first, they are to be reprimanded in private, then with one or two witnesses present, and then by the Church, and if they will not listen even to the Church they are to be treated like Gentiles. We cannot let our brothers and sisters continue to sin and by pointing out the areas they should fix under the authority of the Church, the sinner gets the opportunity to repent. When Jesus called Peter His "Rock", the Church He mentioned was the universal Church, but the Church He mentions here is the local Church. Sometimes, the local church must excommunicate its members to prevent the poison of sin from infecting its other members. It also gives the excommunicated member a chance to repent and begin anew. Jesus gave the power to forgive sins to His Apostles, who in turn passed this power to their successors: the bishops and the priests they ordain. During Confession, the priest must decide whether the believer is truly contrite and intends to not sin again and avoid occasions of sin. Jesus once said that where two or three people are gathered to pray, He is among them. The teachers in His time said that God was present among two people who discuss the Law together, so Jesus was revealing His divine nature here. Jesus is not only present in the person of the priest, but even more in the liturgical prayers of the Church, such as at Mass, during Baptism, in Confession, and in the communal prayers. The liturgy makes our prayers more efficacious.
Publish date: 2020 - 9 - 5


 
「Spiritual Talk」Twenty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time – Fr. Anthony Ho

This weekend, the Church celebrates the Twenty Second Sunday of Ordinary Time and today's Gospel reading comes from Matthew 16:21-27. After Peter recognizes Jesus as the Messiah, Jesus tells His Apostles that He must journey to Jerusalem, where He will be killed by the religious leaders and rise on the third day. The Apostles expected a conquering Messiah, not a suffering Messiah, so they refused to listen. Peter said he would not let such a thing happen, so Jesus immediately said, "Get behind me, Satan!" Peter wanted to prevent Christ's suffering not out of his spiritual discernment, but out of his human fear of suffering. Satan was using him to tempt Jesus to walk the road to worldly success and bypass the road to Calvary. Peter, who was just previously called the "Rock" for proclaiming the truth under the inspiration of the Father, was now called a "stumbling block" for using his human thinking to obstruct Jesus. When we do not listen to God's voice by His grace, we naturally listen to our own voices. Perhaps our human natures do not like God's will, but it will always be best for us. The cross was an instrument of execution used by the Romans, so it was not easy to accept as a symbol by Christians. Christ had only one reason to use it: to teach that His followers had to be willing to accept persecution and suffering for the love of God. Those who wish to find themselves must first give of themselves.
Publish date: 2020 - 8 - 29


 
「Spiritual Talk」Twenty First Sunday in Ordinary Time – Fr. Anthony Ho

This weekend, the Church celebrates the Twenty First Sunday of Ordinary Time and today's Gospel reading comes from Matthew 16:13-20. Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said that the early Church had three models of governance to choose from: (1) a democracy where decisions are made through voting, (2) an aristocracy where decisions are made by an exclusive group of individuals, or (3) a theocracy where decisions are made by God. In the Gospel reading, Jesus asked the crowds their opinion, "Who do you say that I am?" They respond that He is one of the Old Testament prophets, showing how often human opinions can contradict one another and still miss Jesus' true identity. The Church cannot be built on the shaky foundation of democracy. Jesus chose twelve Apostles and some think He favoured an aristocracy but when He asked them, "Who do you say that I am?", they stayed silent, perhaps still thinking He would be a worldly conqueror Messiah. Only Peter stepped out and gave the correct answer, "You are the Christ, the son of the living God." Jesus revealed that no man could arrive at such a divine truth on his own abilities and it was God Himself who had revealed this to Peter. He named Peter, or "Rock", and established His Church on this Rock. God continues to protect His Church through Peter's successors, especially during times of faithlessness and moral problems, when the Pope can pronounce infallible teachings. Thus, the Church is governed through theocracy and God Himself guides His people to the Truth and the Life through the Pope and the Church.
Publish date: 2020 - 8 - 22


 
「Spiritual Talk」Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Fr. Anthony Ho

This weekend, the Church celebrates the Twentieth Sunday of Ordinary Time and today's Gospel reading comes from Matthew 15:21-28, which describes the exorcism of the Canaanite woman's daughter. The woman begged Jesus to heal her daughter and at first, Jesus was silent and said He was sent to save the Jews, but after the woman persisted, He agreed and freed her daughter from demonic control. The Canaanite woman is a model of prayer, not doubting whether Jesus was able to help her daughter but remained faithful, three times calling Jesus Lord, and persisting until she had reached her goal. She was also humble and not afraid to be called a dog, replying that even dogs eat of the scraps that fall from the master's table. The PATH of prayer has four important elements: (P)ersistence, which enables us to deepen our relationship with God daily like eating and exercising; (A)ttention, which makes us focus on what we are saying to whom; (T)rust, which opens our hearts to accept the graces of God even when we do not obtain what we would like; and (H)umility, which teaches us how much we helpless humans rely on the aid of almighty God.
Publish date: 2020 - 8 - 15


 
「Spiritual Talk」Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Fr. Anthony Ho

This weekend, the Church celebrates the Nineteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time and today's Gospel reading comes from Matthew 14:22-33, which describes the Miracle of Walking on Water. Jesus had dismissed the crowds and ascended a mountain to pray to His Father when the disciples encountered a storm. Their ship could make no progress and they were stuck in the middle of the sea. Suddenly, they saw Jesus walking on the water. At first thinking He was a ghost, they were afraid but Jesus said, "Do not be afraid, it is I!", reminding us of the words God used to reveal Himself to Moses: "I am who am." Peter asked Jesus to make him walk on the water too and at first all was well while he looked at Jesus, but once he saw the wind and waves around him, he became scared and began to sink. He cried out and Jesus reached out to grab him, criticizing his little faith in order to strengthen him. Afterwards, the wind and waves subsided, showing how Jesus was the Son of God who controlled even the natural realm. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus is recognized as the Son of God three times: (1) after Jesus walks on water, (2) before Peter is chosen to be His "rock", and (3) after the centurion sees Jesus die. Controlling the wind and waves is the work of God in the Old Testament, so this shows that Jesus is not only the Son of God, but has a divine nature as well. In our lives, we will encounter storms just like St. Peter and begin to doubt, but we only need to keep our gaze on Jesus and ask for His help to obtain it.
Publish date: 2020 - 8 - 8


 
「Spiritual Talk」Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Fr. Anthony Ho

This weekend, the Church celebrates the Eighteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time and in the Gospel reading, it is dusk and Jesus has finished teaching the crowds, so the disciples tell them to leave and buy food to eat. But even though the disciples have only five loaves and two fish, Jesus says it is enough to feed the crowds, so He tells them all to sit and like the host of a feast, blesses the bread, breaks it, and gives it to His disciples to feed the crowds. Shockingly, the bread and fish do not run out. God throughout history uses various ways to care for His people, such as the manna in the desert, the miraculous food that the Prophet Elijah fed the widow, and the twelve loaves with which the Prophet Elisha fed one hundred people. Jesus worked this miracle to not only show that He was greater than all the Old Testament prophets, but also to foreshadow the coming Holy Eucharist. Just as Jesus fed the crowds at dusk, He also fed His disciples during the Last Supper at dusk. And after all were fed, twelve baskets were left, symbolizing how Jesus would use His twelve Apostles to save the twelve Tribes of Israel. Only when the Apostles gave what little food they had to Jesus did He work the miracle to feed the crowds. We must also accommodate God's saving grace and whole-heartedly give all our prayers, works, and sacrifices to God in order to help many souls.
Publish date: 2020 - 8 - 1


 
「Spiritual Talk」Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Fr. Anthony Ho

This weekend, the Church celebrates the Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time and the Gospel reading from Matthew chapter 13 contains the Parable of the Hidden Treasure and the Parable of the Pearl. A man accidentally finds a treasure sells all he has to obtain it. The Church must likewise give up everything in order to catch all humanity under her nets, regardless of whether the men she catches are good or evil. Many people are called by God to enter His Church but only the good will be chosen to enter Heaven. The Apostles understood Jesus' parable and that they were to link the Law of the Old Testament with His teaching in the New Testament. They were to be God's fishermen and not judges, for judgment belongs to God alone. Each soul has the potential to be saved by God so the Apostles were not to waste time judging them, but laboured at proclaiming the Gospel to all peoples. St. Teresa of Calcutta once said, "If you judge people, you have no time to love them." In our everyday lives, we might have many conflicts with people but at the end of the day, we must remember that God wishes for them all to be saved and will only separate the good from the evil on the last day.
Publish date: 2020 - 7 - 25


 
「Spiritual Talk」Sixteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time – Fr. Anthony Ho

This weekend, the Church celebrates the Sixteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time and the Gospel reading contains the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares, in which evil men sow bad seeds among the good. St. Isidore once said that God permits the good and the evil to live amongst each other until the Last Day so that the evil would have time to repent, just as Saints Matthew and Peter received second chances from Jesus after repenting of their sins. Good and evil are intricately linked in this world and uprooting evil will often uproot good as well. Good things are also linked to suffering and pain. Just as parents will bring their children to the dentist, so God permits us to suffer in order to obtain the greater good of spiritual healing. If we give up because we fear suffering, then love will die in us. Pope Benedict XVI once said that the temptation for many people is to expect speedy progress in the spiritual life and they then become disappointed once their progress is slower than expected. Our spiritual journey is often more like the slow and steady growth of a seed and cannot be hastened. Those of us with a mission to evangelize for God must remember to offer up the speed of their missions' growth to God and let them develop under His guidance.
Publish date: 2020 - 7 - 18


 
「Spiritual Talk」Fifteeth Sunday of Ordinary Time – Fr. Anthony Ho

This weekend, the Church celebrates the Fifteeth Sunday of Ordinary Time and the Gospel reading from Matthew 13 contains the Parable of the Sower. After being baptized, our hearts become soil for God's grace but once we encounter difficulties, our hearts harden and are unable to receive God's Word, prevent it from taking root, or suffocate the seedlings. We ought to both listen and obey the Gospel; Jesus knew that no parable, no matter how good, could open the hardened hearts of men, but only God's grace could open them to receive His Word. Sin hardens our hearts so God gives us sufferings in this life as a medicine for our spiritual illnesses. If we want to prepare our hearts to receive His Word, we must first set aside time to pray, keep the commandments, do good, and avoid evil. As every good farmer knows, a bountiful harvest needs not only good seeds, but also good soil. We take care of our physical hearts through exercise and healthy eating, so why should we not prepare our spiritual hearts through mentally preparing ourselves before prayer to listen and obey? Kimberley Hahn, the wife of Biblical scholar Scott Hahn, knew that God wanted her to become a Catholic but her heart was resistant. One day, her father asked her whether she had prayed the prayer he asked her to pray: "O Lord, I will go where you want me to go, do what you want me to do, say what you want me to say, let go of whatever you want me to let go." Kimberley was afraid to pray this prayer because she was afraid that God was calling her to become a Catholic, but her father told her that the prayer was not an opportunity for her to tell God what she wanted, but to change heart to accept God's plan for her, until she could shout out every word sincerely. Kimberley asked the Holy Spirit for the strength to pray it, and three to four days later she was finally able to pray it. She was still afraid but had the freedom and joy of being able to fully explore the faith, and she understood that God's plan was indeed the best for her. Eventually, she converted to the Catholic faith. When we have internal struggles in our heart, we must ask for God's grace to prepare the spiritual soil of our hearts to accept His Word.
Publish date: 2020 - 7 - 11


 
「Spiritual Talk」Fourteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time – Fr. Anthony Ho

This weekend, the Church celebrates the Fourteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time. In the time of Christ, the Jews believed that careful study of the Law was the best way to obtain wisdom and understand God. But this way of thinking made ordinary people believe that wisdom was far above them and an inaccessible academic field - unless they learned the original language and dedicated the time to studying the Scriptures. But in today's Gospel, Jesus clarifies that we need not become scholars in order to know God: it is more important to become like children. So when Jesus walked on this earth, He drew in those on the margins of society: the poor, the sick, and the sinners. Because they were humble, they were able to listen to Jesus, whereas the educated only saw how different Jesus' message was from their complicated understanding of the Law and thus rejected Him. The yoke that Jesus gives us is light and easy because it gives us solace to face life's difficulties and allows us to experience the love of the Father. Jesus has always known the Father and by grace, we may be adopted as His sons and daughters and thus know the Father. Jesus wants us to learn His mercy and goodness and for this reason, He uses the analogy of the yoke. We cannot be lazy, just as farmers must still exert themselves while using a good yoke, but at least we need not waste ourselves to exhaustion.
Publish date: 2020 - 7 - 4


 
「Spiritual Talk」Thirteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time – Fr. Anthony Ho

This weekend, the Church celebrates the Thirteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time. In the Gospel, Jesus teaches His disciples to prioritize different kinds of love by placing God in the first place, above family members and their own lives. Love and sacrifice are inseparable and Jesus' disciples tasted what true love means from the Cross. They saw how the world treated Jesus with suffering and insults and they themselves were treated in the same way, having to bear their own crosses. The Cross reminds us to patiently bear with the inconveniences of daily life and to not be afraid of sacrifice or suffering. In order to find true happiness, we must first find true life, and this comes from accepting Jesus. People often look down on missionaries, but this betrays a rebellious heart towards God, a heart that is far from sincerely accepting God's instruction. Being a disciple is not easy, but it is certainly possible, because God has given His grace to help us.
Publish date: 2020 - 6 - 27


 
「Spiritual Talk」Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Fr. Anthony Ho

This weekend, the Gospel reading is from Matthew 10, where Jesus is teaching His disciples to bravely spread the Gospel. When we suffer persecution because of spreading the Gospel, there is a temptation to stop or water down the message. But Jesus gave the duty to evangelize to His disciples, and we cannot hear the message of God unless it is through their work. Jesus taught openly and was nailed to the Cross as a result. When we spread the Gospel like He did, we will also be martyred. The world can only harm our mortal bodies and not our souls. We ought to be afraid, therefore, only of the God who can send our souls into Hell. God will acknowledge those who acknowledged Him before other humans, but those who denied God in order to save their earthly lives will also be denied by God at the Judgment. St. Matthew's writings are not meant only for Jesus' disciples, but for all believers, so that we might learn to not compromise to the world and reject Christ. Jesus' evangelizing had two approaches: firstly, to openly proclaim the Gospel; and secondly, to move on in the face of rejection. The Church also first spreads the light of the Gospel throughout the world in order to see who will accept the Gospel and who will reject it; then, having seen their reactions, she decides on further action.
Publish date: 2020 - 6 - 20