Monday, September 27, 2021

| The Spiritual Gift

"For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine." - Rom 1:11-12

Photo by Neil Thomas on Unsplash

Dear Brothers and Sisters, 

Have you ever heard a famous saying, “A good Roman can go anywhere”? The intention of the statement is that the solid understanding of the book of Romans helps Christians to understand all the other books of the Bible - the Old Testament and the New Testament. Studying Paul’s epistle to the Romans, we can learn the content of the Christian faith like nowhere else in the New Testament.

Paul opened his letter with greetings and his longing to visit the Christians in Rome, and meet them in person. So that he might use his gift to strengthen the Christian Romans'  spiritual life. (v.11), after that, he hoped that they might be mutually encouraged by each other's faith (v.12).

What are the spiritual gifts? Some of us think they are prophesy, healing, miracles, teaching, preaching, wisdom, etc. Actually, it is more than those just listed. According to its original language (v.11), it is the gift of faith, knowledge, holiness, virtue. Such as, when someone needs to vent, we are there to listen without any judgment and interruptions. When someone is in a challenging situation, we are there to encourage. When someone is lonely, we are there to care. When someone is weak, we are there to support. So a spiritual gift is an ability given by the Holy Spirit to express our faith effectively (in word or deed) for the strengthening of someone else’s faith.  It is not important to label the deeds as a specific spiritual gift, but it is important to have much desire to strengthen people’s faith.

Dear Brothers and Sisters, for our own reflections:
- Have I asked God to give me a pure heart to be led by the Holy Spirit?
- Have I asked God to let me cross the  path of someone at the end of this day so that I can share my spiritual gift to strengthen him/ her in God's promises and be more joyful in His grace? 

Amen. God bless you.

Reflection on Romans 1:8-15 by Veralin Uneputty

Thursday, September 23, 2021

In Gentibus | Among Gentiles

“And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ” - Romans 1:6

Dear brothers and sisters,

One day, I was asked to celebrate a Eucharist in an orphanage community in Jogjakarta, Indonesia. This was a special moment for me as I could serve those who are marginalized. Most of them do not know who their parents are because since they were babies they were brought to this place and fostered by some religious sisters. Not only that, some of them are disabled children. After celebrating a mass, we had a wonderful moment together when we danced and sang together. I could see how happy they were in their personal circumstances. I realized how important a community that grows and brings love to one another is. Besides, to convince these members that they belong to one community and they are not alone. To make sure that these children are accepted because feeling accepted has a massive impact to grow their self-esteem as this world promotes a “throw-away culture”.

If we reflect on what Paul the apostle said in his letter in Romans 1:6, he emphasizes the community life. It means that we cannot live alone in this world, we cannot rely on ourselves for our power. We need others to complement ourselves as human beings. From others, we can learn a lot of things such as being gritty, perseverance, resilience, and commitment. Moreover, our community life must be centered on Jesus Christ. By this, we can release and let go our egoism, arrogance and self-importance to establish peace and equality then serve Jesus who is present in those who are suffering and marginalized.

Indeed, we are called to belong to Jesus. Sometimes, we feel unaccepted by our surroundings. We are removed from our family, community, or society but remember that Jesus is always with us. He never lets us walk alone. Once we belong to Jesus, he will live forever in our hearts.

Reflection on Romans 1:1-7 by Fr. Aris Mada, SVD

(Listen to the Podcast here)

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Cognoscere | Examine Yourselves

"Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?... " - 2 Cor 13:5 (ESV)

For today's verses, I want to focus more on the call for self-examination.

It is a call Paul makes on the last chapter of this book, and it is a relevant call then as much as it is now. We are given this golden opportunity for a pause – in a pandemic nonetheless. It has personally given me so much time to reflect. The world slowed down and most of us found ourselves separated from our usual routines and distractions. It is such a blessed time to self-examine, to go deep into ourselves, and hopefully find Jesus living in the depths of our hearts.

The verses today remind us that even if Jesus was crucified, He lives by God's power – the unimaginable blessing of allowing our weakness to turn for God's purpose and glory. I will always be in awe as to how God never conforms to the ways of this world and has always set the path for the truth. He sees the glory in what may the world see as weakness, and he sees life that can come from the death of Christ. His love sees us through, and I will always be in awe.

And finally, I have always sought the blessings of others upon me. There is such anointing in saying "God bless you". There is power in God's Word, and I find it strengthens further when it is said upon you – "May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all."

I wish this upon you, brothers and sisters. Rest assured you shall be in my prayers today, and I ask the same of you – that may God be glorified as we pray for each other.

Reflection on 2 Corinthians 13:1-14 by Blessie Sto Tomas

(Listen to the Podcast here)