This year is the year of the pig. Although it is the last animal in the zodiac calendar, the Chinese generally see pigs (those born in the year of the pig) as hardworking, trustful, peace loving, generous and intelligent. In an article that was recently published in The Straits Times, titled “Look back at years of the boar (3 Feb)”, the years of the pigs namely, 1983, 1995 and 2007 were years where the stock markets did a sudden unexpected turnabout, both either a positive rise or a negative decline in stock values. This year, according to the writer, will not be an exception.
Every one of us has a conscience. And every one of us from time to time, will tell ourselves that we will do better or change our lifestyles or certain attitudes towards people and issues when there is an opportunity. For most of us, we will wait for an “auspicious time” to change. This happens when we have news things or events: new job, new relationships or a new year. Many I believe will use this Lunar New Year as a time to look forward to a new and better year in their life, career and relationships. It is good that we take stock of our life at the beginning of a new year. A new year brings hope for the many disappointments and losses that we had in the previous year. We look forward to a healthier and well-balanced life, career successes and of course loving and contented relationships with family and friends.
What about our lives as Baptised Catholics and our relationship with Jesus? In this new Lunar New Year, are we too hoping to grow in our relationship with Jesus and to live our lives as Christians – missionary, Catholic and as a church?
Firstly, by the virtue of our baptism, we are marked with a permanent seal by the Holy Spirit that we are children of God the Father and disciples of Jesus Christ. How often as God the Father’s children, do we seek to be His beloved child? Do we spend time every day to talk to Him? Do we show our gratitude for all that He has given us? Do we seek forgiveness for all the wrongs that we have done to Him and others? Many of our images of God the Father are distorted. We often view Him as a punisher, an angry judge, a disciplinarian, or a distant Father. But is He? Jesus portrayed the Father as the forgiving and loving Father (The parable of the Prodigal Son). Mary proclaimed that God the Father does great things for His children, feeds the hungry and kept His promises made with Abraham and His descendants (Luke 1:49-55).
Secondly, in this time of the year, how would you describe your relationship with Jesus your saviour, redeemer and Lord, God? Is He someone you know personally? Are you familiar with His teachings and commandments? Are you proud and joyful that you are His disciples?
How much do you know Jesus? The best way to know Him better is to read the gospels regularly. It is not difficult. Start with the shortest Gospel; the Gospel of Mark. And then slowly progress to Gospels of Luke, Matthew and lastly John (my recommendation). For those who want to know more about His commandments and teachings, I will suggest taking up formal lessons with your local parish or at the Catholic Theological Institute of Singapore (CTIS). You may also download the Formed App (an internet resource of catholic books, movies and faith teaching materials). Many parishes in Singapore are already paid subscribers of Formed and you are free to access them through their subscription. Go and ask your parish for the subscription details.
Thirdly, as you get to know Jesus through these ways, do not keep Jesus in your hearts and minds selfishly. Share His life, His teachings and even the impacts He has done to your life with your family, friends and colleagues. In Singapore, we often joke to each other “Good things must share”. I like this philosophy when it is applied to Jesus. Often, we Catholics believe that faith is uniquely ours, but we forgot that to be catholic means our faith is to be shared universally [catholic = universal].
Who should we share these to? Share to these three groups of people:
- Fellow Catholics (family, friends and colleagues)
- Fellow Christian Brothers (many would love to listen when you talk about Jesus)
- Non-Catholic and Christians people (those who loved you will spend time listening to you especially when you speak about the person you love, Jesus)
Perhaps after reading this article, you might feel it’s too radical and daunting and probably say to yourself that this is not you. But hey it is the year of the pig! Gorge yourself with Jesus this year and grow fat like a pig in faith. Be like the zodiac Pig, who is intelligent (with knowledge of Jesus), hardworking (in knowing Jesus), and generous (in your time to spend time building your relationship with Jesus).
Trust me, I was born in the year of the Pig and I find my joy and peace getting to know this Man named Jesus who has constantly been with me throughout my journey here on earth. May the year of the pig be a year where you radically encountered Christ. May the Lord Jesus bless you in this year of abundance with his graces and love. May Jesus be a living person in each family and in your life.