Thursday, September 21, 2017

Please Sponsor Me to Walk for Fountain of Love and Life!

Over the last 20 years, many things about me have changed: age, outlook, work, way of living, you name it. But one thing that remains unchanged is my passion to spread the Good News of Christ - a passion driven by joy, enlightened by His Word, and empowered by the Holy Spirit. While some of my programs have been invaluable in enabling me to carry out my lay apostolate of evangelization, their effectiveness in reaching out to a larger and wider audience certainly would have been quite limited without the powerful media platforms of Fountain of Love and Life.

On Sunday, October 22, 2017, I will join the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Challenge to fund raise for Fountain of Love and Life. Many of you share my passion to spread the Gospel and are strong supporters of my programs. I know I will be able to count on your generous support for this very meaningful fundraising initiative. Please click on the following link to my personal fundraising page to make a donation:

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Walkathon - Edmond Lo's Personal Fundraising Page

Thus I do not run aimlessly...No, I drive my body and train it, for fear that, after having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified (1 Corinthians 9:26-27). I know I will not run(walk) aimlessly with your generous support either in money or in prayer or both! God bless you for your generosity!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Justification Is Never a Legalistic Endeavor

Ezekiel’s teaching in today’s first reading remains somewhat theoretical until it is understood in the context of Jesus’ parable of the two sons (Mt 21:28-32).

Ezekiel’s “wicked man” who “has turned away from all the sins which he committed” (Ez 18:27-28) is the first son in Jesus’ parable, whose disobedience turned into an act of love (working in the vineyard for his father and family members) after he “changed his mind” (Mt 21:30). He is compared to tax collectors and prostitutes – considered sinners in Jesus’ time – whose repentance, as shown in their willingness to follow John the Baptist, brings them the grace of “entering the kingdom of God before [the chief priests and elders]” (Mt. 21:31).

The virtuous man who “turns away from virtue to commit iniquity” in Ezekiel’s exhortation (Ez 18:26), on the other hand, is the second son in Jesus’ parable, who is originally obedient to the father but eventually chooses not to do good work (Mt. 21:30). He represents the chief priests and elders, who heard John the Baptist’s call for repentance but “did not later change [their] minds and believe him” (Mt. 21:32). The punishment for such hardness of heart is severe: death according to Ezekiel (Ez. 18:26) and deemed worse than the tax collectors and prostitutes in Jesus’ parable (Mt. 21:31).

It’s hard to miss the common thread connecting Ezekiel’s message and Jesus’ parable - repentance. What is needed is a change of heart – a “turning from the wickedness” in Ezekiel’s word (Ez 18:27), or the first son’s change of mind to rescind his previous decision to disobey his father in Jesus’ parable (Mt 21:29). It’s a complete backtracking just as one is about to fall off the cliff; the result of a beautiful conversion, made possible not by human efforts but by God’s mercies, achieved not because one works hard but because his heart is touched and transformed by the Holy Spirit.

“Remember your mercies, O Lord.” Together we chant in the Responsorial Psalm to drive home this very important message.

The beauty of the Christian faith is that justification is never a legalistic endeavor: it’s not about relying on our own effort to “right a wrong”, even if it’s important to do so; it’s not about “an eye for an eye”, even though it seems fair. The flip side of this legalistic mindset is a misguided self-sufficiency, or arrogance, even narcissism: I fix my own mistake; I do good work and I deserve the recognition; I…I…I... Justification is not from the internal “I”, it’s from the external “He”; justification is not about ability, it’s about humility; justification is not a human pursuit, it’s divine mercy.

Remember your mercies, O Lord. Good and upright is the LORD; thus he shows sinners the way. He guides the humble to justice, and teaches the humble his way (Psalm 25:6, 8-9).