Monday, August 31, 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.

Saturday, August 29, 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.

Friday, August 28, 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.

Thursday, August 27, 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.

Wednesday, August 26, 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.

Tuesday, August 25, 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.

Monday, August 24, 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.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

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.

Saturday, August 22, 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.

Thursday, August 20, 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.

Wednesday, August 19, 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.

Tuesday, August 18, 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.

Monday, August 17, 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.     

Sunday, August 16, 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.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Benedicta tu (Lk. 1:42)


The simplicity of Mary leads her heart and soul to God. Although she was the Mother of God, blessed among women, she did not live the life of a princess. In fact, as a poor village girl at that time, excitedly run to her cousin’s house to share her great joy.  Usually, people easily get irritated and become unhappy because of the success of others. They are jealous and cannot see their friends enjoy life. Mary is teaching us, that we should live in harmony, support each other, share common goods, and so on.

Mary’s humbleness and simplicity touched the gate of heaven so that God exalted her above all living persons. Sometimes in my life, it is hard for me to accept any kind of humiliation. I am not humble enough like Mary. With Mary, the Mother of God and our mother, let us pray to be able to follow the path of holiness, so that one day we may share in the eternal choir of heaven. 

By Sr. Yanti Purnawati, SFSC.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Sapientia carnis (Rom. 8:7)


A few days ago, Fr. Josef shared a reflection about how an introvert can easily become an egoistic person. When we have so much desire or need for something in our heart, we will focus on it and put others aside. So do I. I have a lot of things to do and I think we all experience the same thing. I mostly grumble in my heart if there are situations or people who disturb my plan or my work. I start blaming them. I know, I shouldn't do that because it is wrong. I've tried quite hard, but again I still do it.

In the last few months, I have met and interacted with some people regularly. It is supposed to be a good interaction because they are friendly and good people. Sometimes, there is a moment that I think they are annoying, but I know it is not true, it's only in my mind. If I try to find a reason why I think like that, it is because I have my own way to do something which is totally different from these people.

Rome 8:7 reminds me of this mind of flesh. Being egoistic is a flesh desire. We should oppose and deny it. Having this desire makes us far away from the presence of God. It is a hard thing to deal with, but it is possible with God. Let us pray so that the Holy Spirit give us a generous heart. So we can overcome our desires and let the Holy Spirit live and reign in our hearts.

By Yulius Telaumbanua, Indonesia.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Time Dominum (Prov. 3:7)


The fall of man into sin in the garden of Eden led to the difficulties of life that humans must face. A life that is comfortable and happy, a life that does not have difficulties, fights, and misery provided by God is not successfully maintained by Adam and Eve, so that humans and his descendants have to work very hard, compete with others in their lives, and sometimes have to do efforts in their life that can lead them to complicated, complex, and contentious problems. Even so, God still promises and provides a way of salvation for humans. God has given Jesus Christ as a path of truth and perfect life not limited to earthly life. Thus we can achieve the eternal and heavenly life, the kind of life which God had offered to Adam and Eve before the serpent came to tempt Eve in the garden. 

God comes again through Christ with His laws and statutes as the center of Christian teaching which is based on love. The opportunity to follow the laws and statutes is still open for those who want to accept Christ and fulfill His laws and statutes which means loving God and fellow humans like yourself.

Typically humans born from the sin are attracted by earthly wealth but at the same time they look for the eternal salvation. The traits are alive in every human being and often competes. When they are competing, a choice should be made. It is easy to choose from the two things: peacefulness on the earth or rather peacefulness in the eternal Kingdom which was promised by God through His Son Jesus Christ. The definite and ideal answer is the second one, which is the eternal salvation. 

God's decision is to offer the gift of salvation. He does not want to destroy humans even though they have fallen into sin. God still gives humans the freedom to enjoy life in the world. However, this life must be led in accordance with the wisdom from the Scriptures. It definitely leads people to salvation.

By Ceisy Nita Wuntu.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Soluta in caelo (Mt. 18:18)

Jesus knows the heart of every human being and life situation in a community. That is why Jesus teaches what should be done when someone has done something wrong. This teaching is called Community Discourse. A true Christian community should be characterized by this teaching.

In this teaching, Jesus points out that making mistakes is human nature and forgiveness is the nature of God. Jesus likes that sinners must be saved not to be punished. Therefore the stress is on reconciliation and healing broken relationships. Reconciliation always goes beyond solving problems and resolving conflicts. It involves welcoming and integrating a totally guilty person or the wrongdoer into the activities and the life of the community.

We pray and hope that our community and every Christian community should manifest the teaching of Jesus. And may our hearts be a place where the forgiveness, peace, and love of God reign and have the power there. Therefore, we can proclaim the true love, serve each other, and maintain our unity as one family and members of Christ’s Body. Brothers and sisters, a Christian community that has forgiveness and reconciliation will experience God's liberation and presence.

By Fr. Risco Batbual, SVD.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

In corde perfecto (Is. 38:3)


Our life is in God’s hand. We do not know how long we can live in this world and when we meet God face to face after leaving this world. However, we are grateful for being born in this world and experiencing a lot in our life. Every day, when we wake up and take a new breath, feel the sun shines on our skin, and when we meet lovely people around us, we are blessed. However, have we ever imagined that we can know the time of our death? How if we know that tomorrow is our time to pass away? What can we do?

The story of King Hezekiah can help us reflect our life in this world and understand who we are before God and who God is for us. Hezekiah became a King of Judah when he was 25 years old.   He ruled Judah from 729 BC to 687 BC and for about 29 years reigned in Jerusalem. As a king, of course, he had everything. But, it didn't save his life. Hezekiah was sick and almost died. In that difficult situation, he came to God in prayer and asked God to give him a longer life. God saw Hezekiah's sincerity and gave Hezekiah 15 more years to live. Hezekiah's salvation comes from God who has power over life and death.

Before God, we are only dust. We are a tiny thing in the large universe. And we can disappear from the face of the earth easily. Nowadays the human thinks that he is a ruler of everything in the world and owns all things. The human can do everything. Not like the other creatures. Nevertheless, when people face death, they cannot overcome it. It is still a mystery.

What we own now cannot save us. Only God can make us safe. We may ask ourselves: Do we really rely on God? When King Hezekiah realized that he would die, he prayed a beautiful prayer: "Ah, Yahweh, remember, I beg you, that I have behaved faithfully and with sincerity of heart in your presence and done what you regard as right." Hezekiah had a heart like a little child. He was honest before God. God viewed his honesty and humility and gave him a long life. Matthew writes in the Gospel: "The one who makes himself as little as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven" (Mt. 18:4).

We are grateful that every day we are given the breath of life and still can live. Moreover, we give thanks that we have a special gift from God which is Jesus Christ who wanted to be born as a child and dwelt among us. This is a great miracle that God wanted to be a man like we are. The gift of life is also a responsibility. We are born with a purpose, namely for the glory of God and the happiness of others.

Someone advised me to live as if I could die tomorrow. If you will die tomorrow, what should you do today? In other words, do a favor every day.

By Fr. Aris Mada, SVD.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Gratiam abundare facere (2 Cor. 9:8)


Egoism is very dangerous for a soul. Even if we know it, we often focus on ourselves. Today in the morning I was surprised how many times I started a new sentence with the word “I”. And once more I was ashamed.

Why do we choose to talk about ourselves? Is it easier? We do not ask the other person about his or her life but we just want to share something about our life.

Do you have a similar experience? Maybe not. It means you are not an egoistic person. Be careful if you are an introvert because probably introverts become egoists more easily.

The Word of God is clear. We need to give with a cheerful heart. We are to give ourselves to others. Our vocation is to share love with brothers and sisters.

Obviously, we do a lot of good things for others. But are we capable of forgetting ourselves while helping them? Only if we know how to open our hearts, God can bless us so we always have all we need in every possible circumstance.

O Lord, help us to offer ourselves with a generous heart. We would like to forget about ourselves and also our own needs and desires. As you, Jesus Christ, we are eager to hear the cry of our brothers and sisters. Please, make us focus on the needy. Only you can cleanse our souls from egoism. You can heal us and change our attitude towards other people.

Being an altruist is the best option and the easiest way to become happy. For that reason, we long for the gift of the Holy Spirit to live in our hearts. Because there are many egoists in the world, we want to follow your example and to love others as you did until the end of our life.

By Fr. Jozef Trzebuniak, SVD.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Domine, salvum me fac! (Mt. 14:30)


In summer 2013, I did my clinical pastoral education (CPE) in Reading in Pennsylvania. There, I was blessed and privileged to encounter many sick people in the hospital who gladly opened their sacred garden of life for me to enter. They shared their intimate and personal life stories. They were all experiencing depths of despair and challenging storms. All these stories that I listened to were stories of simple people who were walking on water. Some were still in their boats calling on God to their aid while the storms continue to hit it hard. As I became part of their stories, I realized in many of them how their faith was helping them to walk through. Meanwhile, in times when things seemed to be all right, they were not able not to realize how little faith they have. They never realized how difficult it could be to find the meaning of life when they are having hardship. Indeed, when we enter the darkness in which we are helpless and alone, we measure how strong is our faith in Jesus. When storms come in which we have nothing of our own to rely on, and nothing in our nature to support us, we realize how well do we distinguish the encouraging voice of God and that of the evil. Hence, as a human being, storms have always sown confusion and fear in our lives. It sometimes takes away or weakens our faith to the extent that we begin to doubt the presence and closeness of God to us. And once fear takes control over us, we are then deprived of our peace. At such moments we know we cannot save ourselves. Only God can save us and restore calm to our troubled lives. That is why today’s readings come handy by encouraging us to never give up. And so, through today’s readings, the Church is reminding us that Jesus Christ is always close to us no matter how heavy the storms of our lives are. He is in our hearts to calm the storms of our life. He is going to lift us from the depths of despair and restore our peace.

As Christ said to Peter, so he also says to us today: “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” So, all we need to do is to trust Him and keep walking without the fear of sinking. Like Peter, we must step out with faith and courage against the storms of our life. But then we should be careful not to confuse Jesus with a ghost who comes and seeks our death. So, we need to build a strong relationship with Jesus Christ so that we can recognize his voice when he calls us out. The stronger is our relationship with Christ the easier it is to recognize him even from the distance of our life experience. And when the difficult moments come, we can listen to the voice of Christ as he tells us to leave the boat and start walking towards him. But what if we begin to sink? It is then that, like Peter, we cry out to him for help. He is not a ghost-like figure from the past. He is the Son of God who lives in our hearts and among us. Therefore, let us hold on firmly to Jesus, who calms our storms and restores our peace.

Let us pray for those whose personal boats are being crushed by waves. Maybe it is an illness, maybe it is a fractured relationship, maybe it is economic uncertainty. Sometimes, the storms are visible to others and sometimes they are hidden, but the storms are very real. But today’s Gospel passage reminds us that God and Jesus are with us in life’s toughest moments when waves threaten to drown us.

By Fr. Ouwakpare Victorin Oussoi, SVD.

Habete fiduciam (Mt. 14:27)


We all want to walk on solid ground and be safe wherever we go. But, to grow we have to take risks, trust and learn from our failures.

When Jesus was walking on the Sea of Galilee, His disciples thought that He was a ghost so they were afraid. Peter recognized Jesus and asked him if he could also walk on the water and Jesus responded immediately by granting his request.

Peter left the rocking boat and began to walk on the waves. But the wind was so strong he became frightened and began to sink. He had taken his eyes off Jesus and was looking at the waves. He was afraid of drowning, and his fear was stronger than his trust in Jesus.

Maybe Peter’s desire to walk on the water like Jesus was impulsive; maybe he just wanted to show the other disciples that he was the greatest among them. I think Jesus wanted to test Peter’s faith to see how great it was and Peter did not pass the test, he failed. But in spite of this, Jesus reached out to him and rescued him.

Peter was very human just like we are. He shows us how he wanted to be like Jesus; but his faith faltered, and he doubted in his ability to be like Him.

Jesus was trying to teach his disciples that, no matter what adversities, challenges and struggles life brought them, the Father’s love would always be with them, but they must put their total trust in him.

We sometimes feel like we are being tossed around in our boats in the storms of our lives. Our worries and problems generate fear and disturbance in our hearts. It is at times like this that Jesus reaches out to us and rescues us.

As we continue our lives in these strange times, we are living with fear and worries, as we experience Covid 19.

Even if we are struggling with doubt, know that God’s plan for our future and the future of those around us is greater than us.

Lord, teach us to put our trust in you. Protect us when we think we are sinking. Give us the courage to go forth and offer ourselves to you in a new way every day. Amen.

By Fr. Rajesh Minz, UK.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Propter modicam fidem (Mt. 17:20)


Do you believe in the resurrection of the body? Do you believe in eternal life? I am sure that we can say certainly “ Yes, we do believe” because each time we celebrate the Holy Eucharist, we renew our faith and trust. And every time we say I believe in God, we renew our faith in the resurrection of the body and eternal life. Let's meditate once again on the resurrection of the body and eternal life so that we can be more sure about what we say and what we believe.

Firstly, every human being is equal in attaining eternal life. We all are children of God; we all are God’s family. God invites and gathers all people for His banquet. Every person is sitting and eating at the same table. However, in this world, we often face unequal relationships and injustice. Therefore, as we are God’s children and one family, God invites us to respect each other, help each other, and be solidary.

Secondly, our God is a faithful God. He guided Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who were living in other time and situation and finally gave Jesus, His only Son, so that all who believe in the name of Jesus, could have an abundant life. We believe that God has never abandoned us in our journey of faith. His love is eternal and unconditional.

Thirdly, we believe in ever-living God; for Him everyone is alive. God has power over life and death. All who believe in His name will enter eternal life. Jesus, the Son of God, is the first One who rose from death. This is our faith. If Jesus didn’t rise from death, our faith was in vain.

Once more let us think about where we come from and where our aim is. We have come from God and we are aiming to God. We are children of heaven and children of God. The union with Him is the aim of our spiritual journey.

By Fr. Aris Mada, SVD.

Friday, August 7, 2020

Turbae multae (Lk. 5:15)

When we read about the journey of Jesus who served a lot of people, healed the blind and the lame, and made great miracles to people, it should make people feel amazed by these actions. Unfortunately, admiration from these people is a temporary admiration. The admiration that can only happen when they are involved.

This was what Jesus Christ felt that time. When there was a lot of people healed, a lot of people followed Him. So many people followed Him to seek grace and miracle for their life. But after they got healed, they went away from Him.

This story gives us a picture that these people who see Jesus Christ only want His grace and miracles and they don’t desire for Him. After they got what they want, they went away and left. They were not faithful to follow Jesus. We already know that Jesus can make a miracle everywhere and anytime to anyone. What Jesus wants us to do is not to seek His miracles only, but to seek Him to love Him, be faithful to Him, obey Him and enjoy Him forevermore.

Jesus is God who came to the earth to live with humans that He will save them by His death on the cross. But humans just love what He can do than love Jesus Himself.

Now, when we are facing our God, in prayer. What is in our hearts and mind? Do we come to Him just to ask something? Or do we wait for a miracle happen to our life? Or do we love Him? Asking or hoping something from God is not wrong or a mistake. Just don’t leave Him when we can’t see a miracle happening to our lives and walk away from Him. Let us love and desire Him personally not because we have something to Him.

By Yulius Telaumbanua, Indonesia.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

In montem excelsum (Mt. 17:1)

Prayer is a special time to talk with God as well as reflect our journey of life. We realize that when we are praying, we are getting into ourselves, examine our hearts, deeds, and words whether they are appropriate before God and others or not. 

Jesus is known as a man who cannot live without prayer. Prayer is a way for Jesus to talk with God. In the Gospel, we often find some events in which Jesus takes time to talk with God. I assume, one of the good examples is when Jesus climbs a high mountain together with His disciples, Peter, James, and his brother John. In this place, the narrator tells us that these three disciples saw Moses and Elijah who were talking with Jesus and they heard God’s voice: 'This is my Son, the Beloved; He enjoys my favor. Listen to him.”

Jesus is God’s beloved Son because Jesus follows God’s will. Jesus' prayer helps him to know God’s will. As we know, while they were on the mountain, He told them about His suffering for the first time. He said: “I must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and I must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” Jesus must be sure that what He does is what God wants Him to do. Jesus has to overcome His doubts and to ask what God wants Him to do. Is it right to go to Jerusalem, suffer, and die? Is it the way to reach the glory of heaven?

Jesus is praying to know God’s will. Jesus always asks, “What does God want me to do?” On the contrary, our prayers often start with, “What do I wish to do?” We force God to fulfill our requests without knowing God’s will. Perhaps, our prayers are not answered because they are not in accordance with God’s will. Maybe God is waiting for us to change our prayer pattern.

When Jesus has problems, He does not try to solve it by His self-power but spend time alone and pray to God. He hands over his problems to God and He gets a peaceful heart. Let us ask Jesus to help us to know God’s will for ourselves.

By Fr. Aris Mada, SVD.