Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Sequere me (Lk. 9:59)


Through today’s Gospel Jesus teaches us that if we want to follow him, we must be willing to sacrifice.  It is true that sacrifice is not easy, but if we are willing to  sacrifice and follow Jesus, we will get salvation and eternal life. Sacrifice means being brave to break away from inner ties, both with the past and with family.

All of us are freely invited to follow Jesus. Following Jesus is never compulsion, but must be a free decision. And to follow Jesus freely requires sacrifice. Jesus promises nothing but the joy of salvation. If we wanted to accompany our parents until they die and then followed Jesus, maybe it would be late. Even if we just wanted to say goodbye to our family, maybe we would lose what God has provided. The teaching of Jesus is strict: follow me freely, and unconditionally.

When we give conditions and requirements in our ministry, it is a sign that we are not truly free in following Jesus. If we want to serve others and do missionary work but we keep conditions, then that is a sign that we are not sincere in serving and doing these good works. Such decisions will make us exhausted, and not bring joy and blessings. Let us be ready to sacrifice in serving God and others and then worthy to enjoy the joy of salvation.

By Fr. Risco Batbual, SVD.

Tuesday, September 29, 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.

Monday, September 28, 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, September 26, 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.

Friday, September 25, 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, September 23, 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.

Wednesday, September 9, 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.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

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.

Monday, September 7, 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.

Friday, September 4, 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.

Wednesday, September 2, 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.

Tuesday, September 1, 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.