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.