CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 20 October 2018

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My favourite T-shirt

There is something I would like to share with you. If you pay attention while walking the streets of Hong Kong, you too will notice that many people like to wear T-shirts with statements written on them.

These come from many different contexts; advertisements, protests or strikes, mottos or even literature. 

Some people want to immortalise activities by making T-shirts as reminders. Our parishes do this too. It can be a meaningful missionary tool.

Needless to say that some things I read on T-shirts grab my attention. The way they are written is meant to catch attention: capital letters, black print on white background, sharp colours and design. The product generally sells well if you have good advertising.

The same is the lame. When I saw this, it reminded me of Jimmy Vee, a children’s entertainer. In his book, Same is lame, he encourages children to read and at the same time motivates them to realise that difference is not necessarily a bad thing.

Vee wants his readers to feel good about themselves, because the world is built on our differences. This is not only true for children.

What would we become if we all think the same? When we positively accept our differences and see them as opportunities to broaden our thinking, we end up a different person, always capable of improvement.

We know fact, but change needs courage. We come across people who love same because different threatens their security. So, let us check our habits.

I love myself. A great motivation because we all are called to love and to accept ourselves without falling into the trap of comparison. Some of our failings result from a tendency to feel dissatisfied and think that others are more blessed.

However, if we dig into our lives, we will find reasons to be happy. But if the focus is always put on others, envy takes over and “envy is counting someone else’s blessings instead of your own…”

To enjoy your blessings, open your heart to see and feel them. It is a good motivation to love yourself… and others too.

I want you dead. I saw it on the train. Funny enough, the man was holding flowers while smiling at his girlfriend. He probably did not avert to the words on his shirt, as his smile was of a kind young man—he wanted alive but not dead.

But in anger he may want someone dead. It depends… But let’s be alive, because life gives the possibility of change.

Pute et fière. I speak French and my reaction is surprise. It means, “Whore and proud of it.” I was getting on a minibus when I saw this T-shirt. I was surprised, but laughed. 

Then I plucked up the courage to tell her what it meant. It takes courage to talk to strangers. She looked it up on Google and thanked me for saving her day.

This is an invitation to be careful, especially with foreign languages. I see many weird French statements on T-shirts. Laughing is the natural.

“When you doubt it, pray about it” (Romans 12:12). This is a way to look at this passage of Paul. He invited us to be faithful in prayer. Only when we doubt? I do not think so. Pray always. It keeps you strong and positive. So, let us be “joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer.” We see the same invitation in Ephesians 6: 18.

The beautiful smile, happy life. It goes without saying. A happy smile is always an expression of the inside. If we are in peace with our inside, what else should we ask? A happy life is built on what we do each day.

Because I am happy. I saw it on a friend’s T-shirt. But actually he was not happy when he first met me. But at the end of our conversation, I told him to look at his T-shirt. His T-shirt made him happy.

I wish all the best. Well, this is a season of greetings. Merry Christmas and happy New Year. I wish you all the best too.

We love T-shirts. We wear them because they are beautiful. But sometimes we do not pay attention to what is written on them, perhaps because we don’t know what the words mean or where they came from. Just have a look and you will laugh; you will be astonished. You will probably share with others as well.

What is written on your favourite T-shirt? 

Father Dominique Mukonda CICM