25 December, Friday — Our Beginnings and Motives

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we welcome Dylan Tan to our ministry. A self-professed ‘perpetual pilgrim’ who is always seeking a place to contain his restless heart, he was blessed to have the opportunity to hike the Camino de Santiago twice — in 2016 and 2019, although the ‘way’ continues to beckon till this day. Having spent 5 years in the aviation industry and 10 more in the corporate world, he threw in the towel for a short volunteer stint in South Korea, followed by almost a year with L’arche organisation in Ireland, where he worked and lived alongside adults with intellectual disabilities. If not for COVID-19, he would probably still be in Ireland, contemplating another Camino or retracing the journey of the Orient Express. He is an avid runner and does intermittent fasting regularly and is back in Singapore for good in a different corporate ‘rat race’.

Christmas Day — Mass during the Day

Isa 52:7-10
Heb 1:1-6
Jn 1:1-18

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

Just as Jesus was the Word through which God communicated with us, so were our words which form the basis of communication with everyone around us. We could speak kindly and radiate God’s love to others through our words, or cast aspersions on everyone that we encounter. There are so many daily occurrences that we could find fault with, and they might all seem perfectly justifiable, at least in the aftermath of its happening. But at the same time, if we can all look beyond the imperfections of others and stop fretting over the insignificant, we might realise that there are in fact, more things that we could give praise for instead.

2020 has been a rather strange year fraught with the COVID-19 pandemic. At the point when I’m penning this reflection, most parishes are still limiting to a maximum of 50 persons for the mass. I have yet to register with any particular parish since my return to Singapore in August, and have been relying on online masses to satisfy my spiritual needs. From the looks of it, this Christmas will be extremely unusual indeed; probably the very first time in my memory that I won’t be physically attending a Christmas mass.   

As with today’s gospel readings, this is the season where I’d reflect on how this year began and where things stand after 12 months down the road. The beginning signifies the source and determines whether I have set out on a correct note since the start of the year. It also brings me to the subject of motives and what are the impetus for all the decisions that I’ve made this year. Having spent the bulk of 2020 overseas, staying put during the initial months of the pandemic and eventually making a decision to return prematurely, I had to rely on ‘my beginnings’, characterized by the motives for all the decisions that I have made and placed before God, which led to the path that I’m travelling on now. It is so easy to be influenced by the news surrounding the pandemic, suggestions from well-meaning friends, and negativities concerning the economic situation. However, as the year unfolds, I am reminded once again that in all the decisions that I’ve discerned and offered up to God, things rarely go drastically awry, and that had kept me grounded in many situations where I could have responded in haste with knee-jerk reactions. Although most of us are still baffled by all that has happened in 2020, let us take this opportunity to reflect on our own ‘beginnings’ and place our cares and trust in the Lord for the coming year.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Dylan Tan)

Prayer: Father God, teach us to seek you in all that we do. May we always remember that You are the center of our lives, and that all that we do should be a testimony of Your dwelling in us.     

Thanksgiving: Thank you Father, for always loving and being there for us. Send your Holy Spirit to guide us in our journey.    

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