Monday, 28 September 2020

In castellum Samaritanorum (Lk. 9:52)

 


Before Jesus died and ascended heaven, he went to Jerusalem. Jerusalem was a place where he was to suffer and show the glory of God. However, from Galilea to Jerusalem, he had to pass through Samaria. For the Jews, Samaria was an enemy region (compare with John. 4:9). So, people did not allow Jesus to cross Samaria. Nevertheless, Jesus remained on his way and tried to find shelter in the Samaritan village. During his journey, he made friends with these people who were his enemies.

On the contrary, we usually avoid our enemies. Who is our enemy? Those who committed sins against us. We keep hating them and even want to take revenge. Jesus teaches us to love our enemies and to look at others with eyes of love.

Probably all of us want to achieve friendship which is a virtue. Obviously, it is hard to love enemies and make friends with those whom we hate. However, forgiveness is the best way to live a happy life. We should not let anger spoil our hearts. May love fulfill our hearts. In the name of Jesus, let us love one another.

By Fr. Aris Mada, SVD.

Sunday, 27 September 2020

Apprehendens puerum (Lk. 9:46)

 


From the time of primary school, we learn how to become successful. We were obliged to pass all the tests in order to graduate. Consequently, we start to teach our children the same and always want to be the best. Because if we are the best, we are praised by teachers, parents, and superiors. However, the teaching of the Gospel is very different. Jesus very often puts the weakest or the most sinful person in the middle as an example to all. Jesus tries to explain that it is the grace of God which makes us the strongest and the best. It is not only our own effort and intelligence that helps us achieve holiness and perfection.   

When the disciples of Jesus were not able to comprehend his teaching because of their stubbornness, he set a little child by his side. This sign helped them understand that they needed to become children of God. In addition, the apostles learnt a lesson on humbleness and simplicity of heart. They realized that Jesus Christ abides even in the weakest person. Furthermore, God is present not only in the most powerful and richest but also in the smallest and poorest ones. 

From the Good News, we also get to know something important about ourselves. Even our most painful wounds and darkest memories can be healed by Jesus. Actually, the divine Medician comes to make the sick healthy, the weak strong, the poor wealthy, etc. Moreover, our Master casts away all evil spirits and destroys every sin. In his name we who are fragile become strong and we who are sinful start a new life. 

Let us give thanks and praise the Lord in every circumstance and condition. May the Holy Spirit make us courageous disciples and witnesses of Jesus. Amen. 

By Fr. Jozef Trzebuniak, SVD.

Saturday, 26 September 2020

In magnitudine Dei (Lk. 9:43)

 


The series of events concerning Jesus made it clear that He was "the Messiah of God" (Luke 9:20). Such events as the exorcism of evil spirits, the resurrection of the dead, the feeding of the five thousand people, the glorification on the mountain, etc. The three passages we read today show the struggle of his disciples to understand their calling as followers of Jesus.

They find it difficult to understand Jesus' announcement that He must suffer (Luke 9:44). It was very difficult for them that they also have to accept the cross. Actually, they dreamt about great honor and high position. But Jesus took a young child and made him a role model in the Kingdom of God. They were taught to serve in the name of the Lord Jesus. 

The teaching of this passage is extraordinary. As Christ's disciples, we are called to various ministries. We should not choose better status and position in the community. On the contrary, we are called to accept the cross and become despicable for God's sake.  

By Sr. Yanti Purnawati SFSC.

Thursday, 24 September 2020

Christus Dei (Lk. 9:20)

 


When we are alone and pray, many thoughts come to our minds. We also realize that we are surrounded by people. Their needs and problems accompany us while we are with God.

Jesus Christ knows how to find a balance between talking with the Father and his disciples. However, for us, it is very difficult to divide time for spiritual and earthly matters. For that reason, when we are to pray, we think about our tasks and problems. And when we are going to work, we are not able to focus properly.

Jesus wants us to ask ourselves and answer some important questions. The most important – who Jesus Christ is for you. Probably, you’ve already heard many answers. Probably, you’ve already answered using your mind. But the answer should arise from your heart. You are to respond with love.

Jesus always tries to ask if you love him with your whole heart and mind. And he is waiting for your answer. Because it  is the question about your love towards the Son of God, you cannot find the answer in books or in other places.

Talking with God is something personal and consequently, it is not easy to share with others. Nonetheless, we should try to express our love with human words. We don’t need to tell everyone about our spiritual experience, but we are invited to encourage one another.

We are to love Jesus Christ who died on the cross for our salvation. Thus, we will be able to overcome all the difficulties, struggles, and problems that we encounter. O Lord Jesus, the Son of God, help us understand and love God forever and ever. Amen.   

By Fr. Józef Trzebuniak, SVD.

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Convocatis Duodecim (Lk 6:1)


The task given by Jesus to the apostles to become his messengers is preceded by giving them authority over all demons and to cure diseases. Jesus sends them to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal. And these two tasks underline the role of an apostle.

Such are the roles of an apostle or messenger of God; he must be aware of the presence of evil's power and to fight and defeat them, he must pray over people and heal diseases and he has to preach about the coming of the Kingdom of God. But for doing these roles, an apostle or messenger of God must only trust in the power and authority of God, who calls, gives authority and sends him out.

We are all disciples of Jesus and of course we are his messengers too. And because of that, Jesus sends us to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal diseases. These tasks are being fulfilled, if we believe in the power and authority of God. 

Let us keep in mind that relying on our own power and authority and preaching our own message leads us to defeat, disaster and destruction. Jesus who calls and sends us to be his messengers is with us always.

By Fr. Risco Batbual, SVD.

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Vestrum est regnum Dei (Lk. 6:20)

 


In Luke’s Gospel today, we hear that Jesus presents a list of four blessings for those who depend on God and believe in Him. Jesus classifies those who are poor, hungry, weeping, and persecuted as blessed because of the kind reward that they will receive in His kingdom. God really loves them and gives them blessings because they trust in God and depend on Him. Accordingly, if we want to be classified as blessed people in the Kingdom of God, we must truly believe in God and depend on Him.

Many people think that they will be happy if they possess a lot of money, position, good food, a beautiful girlfriend or handsome boyfriend, etc. But, all those things don’t lead them to real happiness, because they don’t come to the source of true happiness. And the source of true happiness is God Himself.

Today Jesus gives very good advice for us. If we want to be happy and blessed in the Kingdom of God, we must truly believe in God and depend on Him. Don’t think that material things and wealth will give us true happiness. Yes, it can make us joyful. However, without God, we will lose everything. We should find God first, the source of true happiness and then we can get other things. Thus, we will get the earthly wealth and achieve the heavenly treasure too. We will be happy in this life and in the life to come.

By Fr. Risco Batbual, SVD.

Nobiscum Deus (Mt. 1:23)

 


In Java Island, Indonesia, there is an interesting phrase which Christians often use to greet each other, namely “Berkah Dalem”. This is a Java language. The word “Berkah” means blessing, gift, grace. Then, the word “Dalem” means “God”. Therefore, when people say “Berkah Dalem”, people are grateful for all God’s grace, gift, and blessing. This greeting is not without a reason. They indeed realize what they have on this earth comes from God.

We can easily realize that all our belongings are not our own but come from God’s kindness. Life itself is a gift from God who created heaven and earth. We have special dignity because God gave His Only Son, Jesus Christ for us. So our life is a precious gift from God. 

Before Jesus was born, God had named Him, Emmanuel, which means “God is with us” (Mat. 1:23). Thanks to Jesus, we believe in God who always accompanies us. Our strength comes from God who gives us hope in every experience. Furthermore, God convinces us that He loves us unconditionally.

When we say, “God bless us”, we are sure God loves us and God’s love is unlimited. However, bad experiences make our faith weaker to believe in God’s love. We feel God abandons us. It was the experience of Jesus on the cross when He cried out, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mat. 27:46). However, Jesus’ life example convinces us to surrender our life to God.

Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ, also teaches us to obey God’s will. She humbly accepted and participated in God’s plan to save this world from sin. Her presence is meaningful for the world and the Church.

Let us give thank you for the blessing, grace, and gift we have received from God, especially in Jesus and His Mother, Blessed Mary. We have received these gifts freely, so let us share them freely too.

By Fr. Aris Mada, SVD.

Sunday, 6 September 2020

Factum in sabbato (Lk. 6:1)

 


The Pharisees were aware of the Sabbath rules, so they judged that Jesus did not respect the Sabbath rules when doing things that should not be done on the Sabbath. They put in the first place rules in order to find faults with Jesus and His disciples. Even though Jesus' act of healing people on the Sabbath was not against Sabbath's observances. Which is more important: the rules or helping others? Is it justified to obey the rules to the point of sacrificing the lives of others?

Jesus has authority over all regulations. When Jesus said that He was the Lord of the Sabbath, it meant that He was more authoritative than the Sabbath rules, because He is God at the center of the Sabbath. He knew more about the sense of Sabbath than others, so how could He Himself transgress it? He couldn't violate the laws that He had established for humans. He did not intend to change the Sabbath law, but He was a reformer of law. He wanted to teach the meaning of the true Sabbath, but unfortunately, the Pharisees and scribes were not open to His truth.

By Sr Yanti Purnawati, SFSC.

In domum tuam (Ps 5:8)

 


We sometimes experience that God is far away. We pray but there is no answer. We feel lonely and abandoned by God. It can happen because of two reasons. Either we committed sins and consequently, we cannot hear the divine voice in our hearts, or God wants to check our fidelity and piety.

Obviously, the proud person is not able to listen to the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit. Similarly, if we make mistakes and commit sins in our deeds, thoughts, and talks, we are not able to tune our souls with the sound from heaven.  

However, it is also possible that we live a holy life, but God’s voice can’t be heard. It was true in the life of many saints, like Saint Teresa of Calcutta. Even though she was a person who prayed a lot and helped thousands of people, she went through the night of the senses. She experienced desert in her spiritual life. Nevertheless, the Lord protected her and led her in all her ministries.

We are to learn from the example of such people who were close to God. We are also invited to pay attention to the word of God. Although we sometimes feel abandoned and cannot recognize the message of God, we should not give up. On the contrary, we are to trust in God more and more.

We always can find shelter in the Lord. As God’s beloved children, we are obliged to love him with our whole heart.

O Lord, help us be patient, especially during our prayers. Send your Holy Spirit so we could listen to you carefully. We are waiting for you. Please, enlighten our minds and souls. Cleanse us from our weaknesses and sins. We want to hear your voice. Make us yours and teach us wisdom. Do not let us get depressed but strengthen us in our endeavors and plans. Amen.

By Fr. Jozef Trzebuniak, SVD.

Inter te et ipsum (Mt. 18:15)

 


In the summer of 2014, I met a friend in California, USA. This friend told me his story that moves me every time I read this gospel. He and his father had serious differences of opinion and never really tried to resolve them. As a result, they avoided seeing each other. He was just trying to avoid family reunions because he had to meet his father there. And it got worse prolonging that they stopped talking to each other. Both stayed in these broken relationships until his father went to a nursing home he never visited. But then his father stopped his contacts in the nursing home as a direct point of contact. And one day one of the nurses at that nursing home called him and told him his father was sick and they do not know if he will make it next week. When he got home from work, he decided to tell his father that despite their differences, he loves him. Just making that decision seemed to lift a heavy burden from his chest, he said. The next day he flew to New York to see his father. Fortunately, his father could still speak. And when he walked into the nursing home, he paused for a while and prayed that his father would not get angry again, that they would never fight again. He just wanted to tell him that despite their differences, he loved him. Then he took a step in the door and said, “Father, I just came over to tell you I love you so much.” And his father's face began to shine as if a transformation were coming over him. His face softened, the wrinkles seemed to go away, and he started to cry. He held out his hand and smiled. One day after this visit, his father died. What if he waited many more days to express his love for his father? In answering this question, Jesus gives us advice from the gospel we just heard. Do not wait to do the things you know need to be done. Take the time to do what you need to do and do it now! And the best time to take this step is today! After all, I was wondering why my friend waited so long before making that decision. Why do we usually keep our broken relationships long before we decide to restore them? I think we often create a wall between us by choosing to keep the injuries to ourselves. And it could either be that we are ashamed or just not able to speak to anyone about it. We believe that our case is unique and therefore no one can understand our feelings. So, we hold up a facade and pretend everything is normal. In the meantime, we ponder the injury. Over time, it increases in size, so even small things can become disproportionate. Then we begin to feel sorry for ourselves and cut off the perpetrator from our networks. After a while we can no longer keep it to ourselves, we start telling others about it - friends, neighbors, and relatives. And the last person to hear about the pain is often the person who is causing it. Suddenly he finds out that everyone was talking about him behind his back. This discovery is very hurtful and can make reaching reconciliation even more difficult.

And so, the gospel of today describes a process of reconciliation between divided members of a community or household. Jesus calls his listeners to seek honesty and righteousness in all relationships, to put aside selfishness, anger, and wounded pride, and to take the first step in healing the cracks that destroy the feeling of love that family and friends, church and community unite – the love of Christ is what binds us together. And so, Jesus invites us to create and maintain households of love and forgiveness and communities of reconciliation and peace. Christ promises that when we gather in his name, he will always be with us. God can only be among us if we are reconciled and love one another. The best time to take the step of reconciliation is today, so that Jesus may be among us.

By Fr. Ouwakpare Victorin Oussoi, SVD.

Thursday, 3 September 2020

Discipuli tui (Lk. 5:33)

 


Human life is often occupied with various occupations. People are busy working to make ends meet, exercising to keep up their stamina, engaging in social, religious, and social activities. Being busy meddling in the lives and habits of others also becomes part of our lives. Sometimes we spend our time, our opportunities, and our calm to comment on and assess the lives of others. What others do when they are our enemies, it's always wrong because we've judged negatively.

The Gospel today tells us that some Pharisees were busy asking why did Jesus' disciples not as fast as John's disciples? Was it because they were curious about them, or did they have some other purpose in order to entrap and overthrow Jesus? In our daily lives, such things often happen both in religious communities, in our society, and in our workplace. We're faced with the same problem. Jealousy, curiosity, gossip, judging, and slander often happen. Jesus likened himself to a bridegroom who was always ready to give us all that he had, the privileges of joy, comfort, even sacrificing himself for our salvation. Jesus always showed open arms to those who accepted him. In Jesus, there is hope, love, and comfort. With Jesus, there is a perfection of life that no one, not even the world, can give.

As followers of Christ, we ought to be witnesses of faith, we are required to strive to become like Jesus, who can love, accept, and enter into a good, wholesome, harmonious, and sincere relationship with everyone without discrimination. We must be "a blessing" to those around us, lest we become "a burden" to others. Let us live as martyrs of Christ ready to die and defend the weak.

By Sr. Maria Venidora, SND.

Tuesday, 1 September 2020

In desertum locum (Lk. 4:42)


 

In our Gospel today, Jesus shows us how we should do as his followers amidst a busy situation and full of various jobs and services. Even though Jesus is busy because he goes around doing good deeds, by healing the sick and proclaiming the Kingdom of God, he does not forget to draw strength from God the Father through prayer. Through prayer, Jesus establishes personal communication with his Father. His ministry is reinforced and recharged by his personal communication and communion with his Father as he goes to spend time in a ‘lonely place’.

Now we are living in a busy, competitive, and noisy world. Many times we are tired and we are discouraged.  Even we experience stress because of the many tasks we have to accomplish.  We have a life burden that we cannot bear and it seems the world is pressing on us. 

Probably we don't have communication and communion with God and that's why we experience these unpleasant things. Probably, we don’t go to a ‘lonely place’ and for that reason, we don’t get strength, comfort, and courage.

Today, Jesus gives very good advice for us. We need to find the time and place for our personal communion and communication with God. We need to pray and draw strength from God, our Father. When we are in a ‘lonely place’ with God, we will experience the joy of healing, freedom, comfort, and strength.

By Fr. Risco Batbual, SVD.

Monday, 31 August 2020

Spiritum, qui ex Deo (1 Cor. 2:12)

 


Before Jesus was lifted to heaven, He promised a helper to accompany his disciples while they travel and spread the good news. Jesus’s disciples felt it when the Pentecost day come. Holy Spirit came upon them. Consequently, they could speak in various languages so that many people understood them. For the Holy Spirit was their strength.

According to the letter of Apostle Paul to Corinthians, there are two kinds of spirit, namely, the spirit of the world and the Spirit of God. They contradict each other. People with the spirit of the world cannot accept the spirit of God without conversion. For that reason, Paul invited his listeners to move from the spirit of the world towards the Spirit of God. Paul asked them to accept the Holy Spirit and believe in Jesus Christ.

Nowadays, the spirit of the world can be understood as hatred and envy which separates people. The root of the spirit of the world is egoism which makes people destroy each other and even nature. We can see around us wars in many countries, vandalism, human trafficking, and poverty. Even, the innocent earth is broken by human egoism. On the other hand, the Spirit of God can be seen in love which establishes unity, solidarity, friendship, and other universal values.

To this world, God sends the Holy Spirit to recover human’s heart from egoism and hatred. His presence makes people more compassionate and sympathetic to one another. The Spirit of God helps all people comprehend God’s wisdom. Because humans have the responsibility to keep God’s commandments and promote love in the world.

Let us ask God to pour out the Holy Spirit upon us and all people, so we can love each other and protect our nature as a common home in which we could live peacefully.

By Fr. Aris Mada, SVD.

Spiritum daemonii immundi (Lk. 4:33)

 


In today's pericope of the gospel, Jesus moved to Capernaum. He taught on the Sabbath days. The people were amazed to hear His teaching because His words were powerful. Suddenly someone was possessed by a demon. Jesus rebuked him, saying: “Be quiet! “Come out of him!”  the demon obeyed and came out of the man.

It is very surprising that there are some demons in holy places like the synagogue where people gather and pray to God. These demons are waiting for the right moment to seduce humans while they are trying to focus on God.  The demons hate us and want to destroy us. They disturb people's attention to God. Nonetheless, Jesus is victorious over the demons. He casts a demon out of the possessed person and does not let the devil harm him.

When we are getting closer to God, demons will try hard to keep us away from God. We don't need to worry because Jesus has power over all demons. We do not need to be frightened. When the demon's temptation comes, be aware, discern it, and put Jesus in the midst of that temptation. Trust in Him and He will remove the temptation. Keep strong in faith.

By Fr. Fransiskus M. Diaz, SVD.

Sunday, 30 August 2020

Quae Dei sunt (Mt. 16:23)


About a month ago I went to Sankt Augustin for my background check. There I visited a family with three children. One of the children is highly active and full of energy. He never seems to get tired of jumping around. This child managed to get on a table and wanted to jump from there to the floor. The mother who saw him ran to him quickly and got him from the table. Why did she do it? It is because she knew the boy would have injured himself if he had jumped. Yes, there is none of us who does not want to protect those we love from suffering. Parents are always on the lookout to protect children from all the human dangers that each child faces on the way to maturity. Saving a loved one from pain brings deep fulfillment and joy. St. Peter was no exception. The bond between him and Christ had grown so deep in the past few months that he was appalled when Christ spoke of his future suffering in Jerusalem. Peter would not have any of this nonsense. He assured Christ that such a conversation was out of place. However, sometimes we overprotect ourselves by causing those we love to miss out on many learning experiences. 

Hence, today's gospel brings us that awareness. We are therefore invited to always call on the Holy Spirit for guidance through prayer. When we are filled with the Spirit of God, we become enlightened and can know. Whenever Peter was filled with the Spirit of God, God could reveal the truth to him. But in this gospel, he was guided by the flesh. Therefore, without God's Spirit in our lives, we will run away from God's glorious works. Without prayer, pain and suffering will always lead us to seek the easiest way. In God's plan, Christ would suffer and die on his way to resurrection and glory, on his journey to open the door of God's eternal life for us. Christ was lonely and afraid in his torment, but he knew that no matter what happened, his father would not leave him. The path of suffering is the path of life that many people travel. It is comforting to believe that no matter what our torment is, God will never forsake us.

Jesus now turns to each of us here and makes the demands of the gospel and all that they contain. Whether someone comes after him is voluntary, but once we have made up our mind, we need to know that his path is not an easy, comfortable path. It requires constant self-denial, a no to yourself, and a yes to God. He, therefore, reminds us that "Whoever wants to save his life will lose it and whoever loses his life for Jesus' sake will find it." This implies that we must die for our false selves, for all forms of selfishness and self-promotion. Every day we are allowed to die in small ways for ourselves - for our pride, for our selfishness, for our lust for pleasure and power, etc. We are supposed to die so that the true self can be born.

To live with Jesus means to give space to the living God in my life. To live with Jesus means, with Jesus, to accept what life brings me. Joy and sorrow, success and defeat, resurrection, and cross. That means living in the Christian faith. Today the gospel makes us aware of it anew.

By Fr. Ouwakpare Victorin Oussoi, SVD.

Liber prophetae (Lk. 4:17)

 


The word of God has the power to change our lives. This powerful Word we get to know from the Scriptures. Moreover, when we gather together and share our reflections in the community of believers we are very enriched. Since when we are united during the prayer in the church, the Spirit of God is among us.  It also happens in the smaller community, namely family.

First of all, we are to invite the Holy Spirit in order to start meditating. At the same time, we need to realize that we constitute a temple of God which is anointed and consecrated. Furthermore, we read the bible not only for ourselves but for the whole community. Eventually, after our personal prayer, we are able to share the good news to the needy.

Are we ready to hear the word of God and proclaim the Lord’s message to others? Even if we feel tired or even exhausted, we are not allowed to keep the beauty of the Scriptures only for ourselves. We should not keep the secrets of our intimate relationship with God only in the depths of our soul.

Jesus Christ gives us an example of how to preach the Good News to the people. He knows that the world is in need of divine words. For there is enough bad news around us. We are to proclaim the optimistic and great mysteries of God towards the poor too. However, we should know that some people will accept us with great joy but others will reject us. Nonetheless, don’t be discouraged or disappointed. You are to share and become the apostle of the Good News despite consequences.  

By Fr. Jozef Trzebuniak, SVD.

Friday, 28 August 2020

Non licet tibi (Mk 6:18).

 

Humans are very good at keeping secrets, even small or big alike. As long as it’s kept safe, everything will go to waste. However, when such secrets become known to others, it becomes no longer a secret but a big disaster. Today’s readings, especially the Gospel of Marc, seem so familiar to us. Every time we celebrate the Memorial of the Passion of Saint John the Baptist. Herodias, out of envy, wanted to kill John the Baptist because John had rebuked Herod for marrying Herodias the wife of his brother, Philip. And finally, the opportunity comes. Herodias was able to get revenge for killing John the Baptist.

Envy, spite, and anger often makes people lose their ways. People are always encouraged by those feelings to be unable to see goodness and truth in others. They'll only see one side. That when others seek to revive them, to bring them to their senses, people will think they're meddling in their personal affairs. It often makes a person lose sight of direction and purpose in life. The yearning for unity and salvation offered by God is diminished. Their hearts were closed to see the truth.

Speaking the truth always is a risk. People who do good and right are endeared to many. But when one stands up for truth and declares it honestly and courageously, not everyone likes it. This was the case with John the Baptist. In the realities of life, the truth of which we are faced with two choices: To defend or deny it, even if we know that the truth brings suffering. We need to realize that truth sets free because the pinnacle of truth is happiness.

In the reality of life, there may be many who lack the courage to speak the truth. To prevent others from getting hurt, people will choose to remain silent. Being followers of Christ meaning; we must not fear ostracism, slighted, rejected in our families, religious communities, or workplaces. That's the risk of telling the truth. Never be frightened of telling the truth. And Saint Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians, says, "God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong".

By Sr. Maria Venidora, SND.

Thursday, 27 August 2020

Vigilate (Mt. 25:13)

There is a short illustration. Once, a priest asked some parishioners to become communion minister. Such a person shares holy communion in the church or at home for the sick and needy. They answered, “Father, we are still working. If we retire and then we will be active in the church. Later we will have plenty of time to serve people in the church and the elderly. We will pay attention to the weak and the sick. For now, we cannot.” They refused the request which was given by the priest. Then he said, "Are you sure you will still live until retirement to serve God and others?" They fell silent. In their hearts, they hoped that they would live a long life? No one answered with certainty because they knew that long life was in the hands of God. After this, there were some who received an offer from the priest.

Form this story above, we can learn not to wait in order to serve God and others. We shouldn't wait to do good for the needy. The reason is that we don't know how long we will live in this world. We should do good deeds at any time. 

After our death, we will not be asked how many things we have gathered while still alive. God will ask if we helped him when he was naked, thirsty, prisoner, sick, or weak. In Matthew 25:13, Jesus said, “…so stay awake, because you do not know either the day of the hour.”

We don't need to wait in order to do good. Look at the people around us, husbands, wives, children, parents, in-laws, grandchildren, confreres, those who live with us, those who are given by God to become our family members. May God strengthen us do good deeds wherever and whenever we are.

By Fr. Aris Mada, SVD.

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Da nobis hodie (Mt. 6:11)

 


Life is usually understood as kinds of various conditions experienced by human beings on earth: happiness, peace, wealth, health, wisdom, certainty, uncertainty, fairness, unfairness, suffering, and many other conditions. In seeking happiness,  pleasure, or satisfaction, many times one hurts others, using others, and many other things that can not be tolerated, and even crime. 

God teaches us to work hard in order to live a happy life. God doesn't forbid us to be happy, to be joyful, to experience pleasure, and satisfaction. For God promised human beings a comfortable and happy life in the Garden of Eden. Our Lord, Jesus Christ leads us towards eternal life with perfect and holy happiness. We also can experience happiness during our journey to the real home in heavens. Jesus shows us the way... He teaches us to have food enough for today... He doesn't teach us to have many excessive things... 

Accordingly, we should be grateful for every blessing. We should not hurt or cheat others... God wants us to be grateful... God doesn't force us to cross an ocean or climb a high mountain every day.

If only we can have enough food, that's enough... The Lord teaches us about sufficiency and simplicity. In any circumstances, we still can enjoy the perfect and holy happiness and joyfulness in our life. It happens if we live side by side with our God according to Jesus Christ's teaching.

By Ceisu Nita Wuntu.

Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Intus vero (Mt. 23:27)

 

Today's Gospel reading shows us how Jesus addresses the hypocrisy of the Scribes and Pharisees. For them, the appearance counted more than the substance. Jesus knows their hearts, that is why Jesus highlights that inner reality is more important than an external image.

Indeed, it is not easy to accept the strong criticism of Jesus;  but, the hardness of their hearts for not evaluating themselves is beyond the limits. Maybe their hearts are made of stone, and their minds are so egocentric that they don't really care about other people. The most important thing is themselves.

God doesn't want us to be selfish, or to be self-centered. We were born to live together and share what we have with our neighbors. Let's be aware that we are God’s blessing for others. Let's live with sincerity and without pretense so that we will truly become blessings from God to our brothers and sisters.

By Fr. Risco Batbual, SVD.

Monday, 24 August 2020

In medio filiorum (Ez. 43:7)

 

Our hearts are the temple for God to dwell. God came to Ezekiel in His Glory and said that He should live among the sons of Israel forever. This statement is God’s promise for Israel that God always is with them. Israel would never walk alone during their journey to the promised land. God would protect them from their enemies and guide them to enter eternal peace.

What Jesus promises to Israel is a promise for us as a new Israel. God lives among those people who believe in Him and we are the people who believe in the same God, namely God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Therefore, let God live in our hearts forever and guide us in every situation that we face. May God keep our hearts clean from sin in our words and deeds. Let Lord’s grace enter our life and strengthen the relationship with God, with others and with nature.

People who accept God in their hearts are the people who receive and bring God’s glory in their lives. Similarly, we are invited not only to keep the faith for ourselves but also to radiate the glory of God by our faith. How can we radiate the glory of God? The answer is God is love. We should love one another. Our faith is showed by what we say and what we do.

In the gospel, Jesus is warning us not to be like Pharisees because their preaching is not the same as their actions. They talked about the law and love but they oppressed and marginalized the poor and the widow. What they say was not the same as what they did.

We often ignore God who dwells in our hearts. We do not realize that God abides in our hearts. Consequently, we do not glorify God but ourselves. We talk about love but we do not love enough. Let us pray God to strengthen our faith so we could more love Jesus and each other.

By Fr. Aris Mada, SVD.

Vae hypocritae (Mt. 23:25)

 

During the coronavirus pandemic, we always wear masks everywhere. Masks cover not only our faces but also our expressions. We can't see other people's smiles anymore. People can hide their smiles, anger, and resentment under a mask. But now there are also many people wearing masks that designed with smiling lips on it. With that mask, People become look cheerful even though they are sad. People look friendly even though they are not friendly.

Jesus speaks against the religious leaders of His time. They were hypocrites in whose lives there was no coherence between word and attitude, between exterior and interior. Jesus' metaphor of the cup and plate shows the state of our hearts, minds, and spirits. The outside of the cup could be described as our mask. Jesus usually looks at our hearts and tells us that we cannot live in a state of sin.

Jesus is in opposition to those who clean things only on the surface even though there is still a dirt inside. Today we are invited to show our authenticity in order to behave fairly and honestly. We realize that living an honest and simple life is more valuable than using empty words. Our love for others should flow from our faithfulness. There should be no conflict between our words and deeds. Let's ask God for this special grace.

 By Fr. Fransiskus M. Diaz, SVD.

Sunday, 23 August 2020

Veni et vide (Jn. 1:46)

 

Friendship is needed to enter into a deeper relationship with the Lord. Apostle John teaches us that Philip helped Nathanael to meet Jesus. Finding a friend and choosing the right person is not necessarily easy. Usually, it takes much time and effort to get to know each other. It is a big challenge to trust a new friend and to become a trustworthy friend. Only a mature person is able to overcome the differences and start a long-term relationship. 

Nevertheless, it is possible and highly recommended to find a close friend and build a dynamic unity. Jesus encourages his disciples to start such a relationship. Since it should not be a problem that we are different people with colorful characteristics. It is not an issue that we have experienced ups and downs in the relations. 

The good friendship never destroys but supports. In friendship, we learn to express our feelings, experiences, and thoughts. How can we love God and trust him with the whole heart if we had not tried to love a real person? 

Jesus Christ was a real man. Obviously, he trusted people and chose special friends for himself. They came to him and saw his actions. Thus, they fell in love with Jesus from Nazareth. 

Are you ready for such a friendship with Jesus? Are you able to become a special friend to him? Do you like to be a friend to him? If yes, please, start to trust others. Look and see the trustful people around you. Do not be lonely in your community, family, or convent. 

Today it is the hight time to decide if you also want to follow Jesus. Today it is the right time to open your heart and to trust yourself. Yes, you can keep a good relationship. Not only with the Lord, but with the ordinary people who are fragile and sinful as well. Do not worry! Jesus knows that you deserve a good friend and you want to become one too.

By Fr. Jozef Trzebuniak, SVD.

Tu es Petrus (Mt. 16:18)

 

Today’s Gospel is set in the region of Caesarea Philippi. That is in the north of Palestine in the largely pagan territory near the sources of the River Jordan in the area of what is now the Golan Heights. So Christ is away from his usual environment and he is focusing on the formation of his disciples. He questions them. ‘Who do people say that the Son of man is?’ Jesus asks. And after the disciples’ answer, more pointedly, he asks, ‘Who do you say that I am?’ And Peter replies: ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’

It was pure grace from God that Simon Peter knew of the true identity of Jesus. Among the many disciples, why was Peter was chosen as the disciple to found the Church? Maybe because Peter was always close to Jesus, he had that hunger to be always in his company.

Jesus founded the Church, saying, ‘you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church’ (Matthew 16:18). This is still the same Catholic Church where we belong right now. Peter was our first Pope; Pope Francis is our present pope – the 266th successor of Peter.

Jesus did not ask Peter to be a star, but rock; not brilliant, but solid; not popular, but the unwavering voice of Christ to his people. Previously Peter was known as Simon the new name of Peter meaning ‘rock’.

He said to Simon Peter: ‘You are a rock’. Jesus is saying something similar to you and to me today in this Mass, in his words that we have just heard in sacred scripture. Listen to what Jesus is saying to us, listen to who Jesus is asking you to be. Then face each day of this coming week in the midst of our very troubled world, trying to remember just who it is Jesus says we are and who he means us to be.

By Fr. Rajesh Minz, UK.

Friday, 21 August 2020

Magister vester unus (Mt. 23:10)

 

Today’s gospel challenges us all, especially for those who have special professions in society. I am sure some of us have witnessed that there are people who take advantage of their position to get some profit.  They are privileged in some cases. In the midst of that kind of mentality, many people get shocked when someone with an important position appears very modest, doesn’t want to be controlled, and wants to be treated particularly.

Well, in fact, our profession is our mission. Each one of us was chosen to be “someone” to serve others.  This is the type of leadership that Christ intended.  As a leader, someone must come down and listen to the complaints of those entrusted to him/her. This kind of mentality is taught by Christ to become a Leader with a servant attitude. 

Question for us to reflect on: Do I fulfill my profession with full responsibility and in accordance with the values of the Scripture?  God wants our profession to be our mission. Let us carry out and practice our vocation with the responsibility according to God's will and plan. 

Mary, Mother of God, the Queen of heaven always gives us a good example of her relationship with God and other people.  We pray and ask God to guide us so that we become a good example for others.  We ask Mary to pray for us. Peace and goodwill.

By Sr. Yanti Purnawati, SFSC.

Wednesday, 19 August 2020

Spiritus novus (Ez. 36:26)

 

Two years ago, I had a new hobby; to feed fish in the pond. I indulged with this hobby when I was staying in one community and this community had a fish pond and a friend of mine gave a bunch of food fish for me.

Every day I took the time to feed the fish in the pond. Day by day, I was interested and glad every time seeing fishes swam to the surface of the water to eat the food that I gave. Through this activity, a new awareness arose inside me. Feeding fish means to feed ourselves. There is no economic advantage of feeding fish in a pond, but it does provide spiritual benefit. My soul is enriched, grows, and develops in establishing a relationship with other creatures.

Thomas Berry, an author of the Book of Christian Cosmology, said that all earthly beings were created from a single creature and therefore all are cousins. Long before that, the same thing experienced by St. Francis of Assisi who saw other living beings as brothers and sisters. Life is not only about building relationships with God and human beings, but also with the earth and all other living creatures that need to survive on the earth.

God put a new heart and a new spirit in ourselves. Consequently, every day we can admire nature and meet with Christ in everything that we see, hear, touch, and feel. Let us pray so that all people love nature and nurture it. Since we want to live peacefully on the earth.

By Fr. Aris Mada, SVD.

Tuesday, 18 August 2020

In vineam (Mt. 20:4)

 

Many people think that they have done many evil deeds or they have many sins, and because of that God can’t forgive them. But they are wrong because God’s mercy has no limits. He always forgives sinners and accepts them back as His beloved children.

The parable in today’s Gospel invites us to understand God's mercy more clearly. A landowner employs several people to work in his vineyard at different times.  Even though they worked at different times, the landowner pays the same wages for all of them.  Those who work in the morning until those who work in the evening are the same. All of them get one denarius. We also hear that there is a complaint about the payments received by those who worked early because it seems that what they have done is not appreciated. But with this complaint, Jesus explains the value of the generosity of God, who is generous to everyone without exception.

When we get forgiveness from God, all our sins are washed away. We become completely clean. Whether they are big or small sins, God can forgive all of them. And remember that no need to complain to God because God also forgives our neighbors or others whom we think are more sinful and wicked than us. What we need to do is thanking God because He always forgives us. And when we thank God, we will be more worthy to receive God’s mercy. Let us learn from God’s mercy and His generosity; try to live and practice it out in our daily lives. If we love others, God also will love us.

By Fr. Risco Batbual, SVD.

Monday, 17 August 2020

Frater tuus (Mt. 18:15)

 


The Lord Jesus through the Gospel of Matthew 18: 15-20 tells us about how we advise someone. What does Jesus say? If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone (Mat 18:15 ESV). Remember, there are always sinful people around us. We can just ignore them and take no action for their mistakes. We can scold them because we are sometimes upset, we hate them or we are disappointed by their actions. We can admonish them because of our willingness to correct them from their mistakes.

When someone does not rebuke, it doesn’t always mean that they perform love. A person who admonishes others doesn't always do that because of love. Sometimes, people rebuke because they hate that one. Sometimes someone rebukes his friend because he feels hurt. Sometimes, people are silent, because they are ignorant of everything that happens. And often in the household, the same thing happens like parents scold their children, not because they want to educate, but because they don’t like seeing their behaviors and the way they act. If you admonish or rebuke others with hatred, you will never lead them to repentance from their sins.

Confessing sins is not something that is easy to do. Therefore, we need people to reminds us. When a person is rebuked privately, there is an opportunity for him to speak from his heart. There is an opportunity for the admonitor to listen and judge better. The conversation with him is not meant to judge but it means to lead our brothers to a brotherly unity based on love. Now ask yourself: what is your reaction when someone sins against you? Do you ignore them? Do you take some time to decide how you want to respond? How have you advised others during this time? Have you done it the way like Jesus does?

P. Fransiskus Mayrezky Diaz, SVD.

Sunday, 16 August 2020

Sequere me (Mt. 19:21)

 

Was it your choice to become Christian? Or rather you were born to the Christian family and were baptized at a young age? Actually, it happened in my case. Since all my family members were Christian, I did not have any other choice. They just introduced me to the Catholic Church. 

However, in secondary school I had to decide whether I wanted to follow Jesus totally. I asked Jesus what good deed must I do to possess eternal life. And the Lord answered and called me to work as his minister. As an ordinary young man, I kept commandments but from time to time I made mistakes too. I felt that I needed to do something more for the Church and especially for the needy.

Consequently, I left my beloved ones and joined the Society of Divine Word in order to be a missionary. At that time the Apostle Paul was my hero who wrote very awe-inspiring letters. Following his advice, I chose the name of Paul while receiving the sacrament of confirmation. Later I said goodbye to my parents and followed Jesus. 

Was it an easy decision? Obviously not, it wasn't. I had to break the bonds with my family and friends. Was it a good choice? For sure, it was. Eventually, I was ordained as a priest and was sent to Asia as a lecturer. From the perspective of time, I can share that all of us need to choose Jesus every day. Even if we decided to be his disciples, we are to confirm our decision all the time. Our whole life gives proof of whether we are true followers of Jesus or not really. Only if we follow him with the whole heart, we live a joyful and peaceful life.

By Fr. Jozef Trzebuniak, SVD.     

Saturday, 15 August 2020

Mittere catellis (Mt. 15:26)

 

Today’s gospel is echoing the stories of many undocumented immigrants in the US. In fact, a friend shared with me his story that explains how he got his American citizenship. He crossed the border many times illegally and was deported three times. But now he owns his company in the States and has many employees. In his work, he found another call that is to help the homeless and poor, which he does monthly. All that he is and does for other people now come from his persistence and endurance. His story therefore can be identified with that of the woman whose story we have heard in the gospel. The woman kept begging until Jesus talked to her. Likewise, three times, my friend was denied the right to benefit and eat from the food as the average American does have. With faith, he has finally made the US his home. Feeling unwelcomed, he persisted till he made this hostile place, something he can now call home. This story is not only applied to my friend and all undocumented immigrants, but it is also to every one of us. At a certain point in life, we begged for relationships. At a time, we begged for help from people who are not our family members.

 In the gospel, Jesus does not say a word to the woman at first; he even refuses to send her away. And this refusal to send her leads to say that he was expecting her to persist and express her deep faith. Only after her persistence does he converse with her. Jesus’ response to her second cry for help includes a reiteration of his mission to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. He even likens her status as a Gentile to the status of dogs who long to be fed from the table. The woman, however, is not deterred from her goal. She claims a place in the household, but it is not a position of privilege or even the position of an insider. She accepts the status of a family’s dog by claiming that even the dog enjoys crumbs from the table. But then, if I were this woman, I would probably have given up. I would have even gotten angry. She asked a favor, and yet she was insulted. Hence, her statement is striking and is also an outstanding witness of faith. Her faith in Jesus allowed her to put her hope in what many of us could have discarded. Her faith helped her to appreciate how much grace Jesus Christ had, which was sufficient for the house of Israel and the whole world. She recognizes that even a small crumb that falls from the table is powerful enough to defeat the demon that has possessed her daughter. Indeed, what comes out of this woman’s heart is faith, which gave her certainty that Jesus has power enough for Israel and powerful enough to save everybody: Israelites and all gentiles without exception.

This teaches us how to persistently endure in all ups and downs through our faith and prayer. Just like the woman in the story, Jesus will always recognize our persistence, which comes from our faith and trust through prayer. Also, we need to have a clear knowledge of what we are searching for and focus on it so that nothing can deter us from seeking it. When Jesus spoke to the woman in language that demeaned her and her people, she did not lose faith nor got angry nor gave up. Rather, she kept her eyes on the goal of her mission, which was to show that even non-Jews are entitled to God’s blessings in Christ. Above all, it is the courage that the woman had that opened the dialogue. If she were not courageous enough, she would have been afraid to approach Jesus and ask him for the healing grace. Being a foreigner and as a woman in those days, it might have required from her to display great courage and boldness to approach Jesus and the cohort of his male companions.

So, courage, faith, persistent prayer, and focus on her goal were things that helped the woman obtain what she was looking for. And I believe that these were also things that helped my friend to become an American citizen. It is therefore an invitation for us to cultivate these virtues in us so that Jesus can recognize our deep faith and humility with which we come to him. And then he will say to us, “Great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.”

By Fr. Ouwakpare Victorin Oussoi, SVD.

Magnificat anima (Lk. 1:46)

 

On the Solemnity of the Assumption, I want to reflect with you on the role that Mary played in Salvation History, and the role she continues to play in our lives. The Gospel of St. Luke contains the Magnificat – Mary’s own words when she met her pregnant cousin Elizabeth shortly after the Annunciation. It is a hymn of praise and speaks of the wonderful things which God did for her.

As the Church celebrates the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on this Marian feast, our hearts, are filled with gratitude for Mary’s unique role in God’s plan of salvation. The catechism teaches us that Mary, as the Mother of the Word, was preserved from the stain of original sin. And when her earthly life was over, God took Mary to himself: Body and Soul.

But why did God exalt Mary as Queen of Heaven? Again the catechism tells us that it is so that Mary will continue to watch, protect, and guide us – her spiritual children. Mary’s assumption is a sign that points to our final resting place, in God. So we have much to celebrate on this Marian Feast Day.

Mary always, always, points us to her son Jesus. That was, and is, the purpose of her life. From her immaculate conception to the glorious assumption, to the present, as our Mother, in the order of grace, Mary is never outdone, in generosity.

Let us draw near to the Mother of God, who is and wants to be our spiritual Mother, and leads us ever closer, to her Son, Jesus.

By Fr. Rajesh Minz, UK.