DECEMBER 04, 2011, Vol 61, No 24

My fellow People of God,

When our first parents departed from the paradise of Eden (Genesis 3), the human race came to know sin, suffering, and death. But God did not leave the human race to that fate.

Through the gift that is Christ Jesus, fully divine and fully human, God saves the human condition so that through humanity the whole of Creation may be restored to the Creator.

Advent is the time to glorify God for wanting to share togetherness with the human family – and for coming into our history by the birth of our Lord Jesus. This is what God does out of love for us! (John 3:16)

During this time, I ask you to join me in reflecting on the mystery of God Incarnate, the mystery of a God that goes to His people. How do we imitate this God and go to others in the love of Christ?

People may be happy driving their old cars on the streets but advertising tries to convince them they need newer, more fashionable models. CNS file photo

UNDERSTANDING popular culture requires mastery of one fact: There is advertising almost anywhere you look.

Those ads are cleverly designed to make you want things you do not have, to make you unhappy with what you do have, and to make you imagine that, if you bought some new shiny thing, your life would be much happier.

Sadly, the more we settle into this ad-driven consumerist worldview, the more we stay locked in immature selfishness.

For example, I own a perfectly good nine-year-old car. It runs well, is comfortable and completely paid off. Unfortunately, it is not “cool”.

Each day, I see car ads on TV, on the Internet and in the papers. Everywhere I look, it seems, I see the image of some car I would rather have than the one I am driving.

Those are cool cars, the sort of cars other people would desire. They are cars that shout that their drivers are strong, elegant, sporty, tasteful, and yes, rich.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The subject of a deceased loved one’s remains is a very sensitive one, and as Catholics in Singapore, we value the attention shown by our Church columbaria in ensuring that these remains receive the utmost care and respect.

It is in this context of ensuring the continued care and consideration for a deceased person’s remains, that I would like to explain some upcoming changes that will be adopted to the policies and procedures of our Catholic columbaria and the actions that existing niche-holders will need to take.

After a thorough study of the operations of the 17 existing columbaria in Singapore parishes, the Archdiocese has recognized the need for a more consistent system of policies and practices governing all parish columbaria. The scarcity of land also calls for the introduction of certain provisions into new contracts, which will include time limitations on the use of a niche.

With the active cooperation of the respective parishes and expert legal advice, a set of Terms and Conditions Governing the Use of All Parish Columbaria in the Archdiocese of Singapore was elaborated and formally approved and promulgated by me for all to observe.

This month marks the 30th anniversary of John Paul II's apostolic exhortation Familiaris Consortio, on the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World. Nick Chui and Grace Tan suggest how this document can serve as a blueprint for the renewal of Singapore society.

Many Singaporeans would have watched Jack Neo's hit movie "I Not Stupid 2". I will always remember the scene where Xiang Yun's character confessed that she always thought that by providing her son with material comforts, by scolding him and telling him that he is not good enough, she and her husband were loving him and spurring him on to do better. She realised that this had the opposite effect of driving her son to resentment and hurt. The turning point in convincing their son that they truly loved him was the boy's father's willingness to go to jail on his behalf. Having found out that his son had just returned a gold necklace to an old lady whom he had earlier robbed, and with the police fast approaching, the father (played by Jack Neo) pleaded with the old lady on his knees to tell the police that he was the robber so that his son would be spared. This was in contrast to his previous attempt at "bailing" his son out of public caning in school by offering to donate money to his son's school.