Monday, October 26, 2020

Imitatores Dei (Eph. 5:1)


Let's become friends. It's an invitation for each of us. But nowadays you know how difficult it is to make a new friend. Although you have so many friends on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, you can be deceived that everything is all right. However, the problem is you can be mistaken. Obviously, you can share your stories and photos via the internet with your so-called friends. But it is not enough and probably you feel it very well. 

True friendship is a challenge. The reason is that there are no schools where you can study friendship. On the other hand, you need it so much to live peacefully and joyfully. As Christian, you know how to be kind and forgive one another. But you need to do more. You are to imitate God and follow Christ loving and offering himself. 

God has allowed you to build special relations with others. Similarly, the Son of God chose a few close friends from among his apostles and people around him. He spent a lot of time with them. He shared his intentions and thought with these people. In addition, he was really thankful that they loved him sincerely and wholeheartedly. He also prayed with them and for them. 

Jesus was not an outsider who spent time only with his beloved Father. On the contrary, he introduced his closest friends to the Father and fulfilled them with the Holy Spirit. Today you can ask yourself and make sure that you are included with them. Are you ready to live with Jesus and at the same time to open your heart to your special friends? Let us be friends of Christ and walk in the light, especially while taking care of your beloved ones. Be like children of light and friends of the Lord. Amen.

By Fr. Jozef Trzebuniak, SVD.

Diliges proximum (Mt. 22:39)

The gospel today reminds us to always love God and others as we love ourselves. Jesus gives us an example to learn to love God unconditionally. We must love God all the time. Although our prayers are not answered, our love should not stop.

We must also love others as ourselves. It's not easy. We as humans must have the feeling "when our friends wronged us, we must forgive 70 times seven times". It means unlimited forgiveness.

As a collective reflection, if we cannot love our fellow human beings, how will we love the invisible God?

Jesus has given us eternal teaching which is love. Let us love God unconditionally and love others as ourselves.

By Ms. Rosendi Galih, Yogyakarta.

Et hoc anno (Lk. 13:8)


"Sir, let this tree grow for another year. I will dig up the soil around it and fertilize it. Maybe next year it will bear fruit. If not, cut it! "

Jesus’ word in today's gospel teaches us about God's patience. Be patient with His people who always commit the same sins and mistakes. He is tolerant of us who often do not appreciate His creation and who are not grateful for all the received gifts. How patient and forgiving our God is. Since we were born, each of us carried out our missions. Unfortunately, not everyone is fully aware of that. Nowadays, many people live in vanity. Some youth and even adults enjoy parties, drink alcohol, and consume narcotics. These have set a trend of life in big cities. Their lives are wasted in vain while in other parts of the world, there are still many poor and homeless people who die because of hunger—what a sad reality.  

On various occasions, God still opens-up opportunities for us to come to repent and return to Him, do as many good deeds as possible so that someday we could enjoy eternal life. When someone is still alive after experiencing a deadly accident while driving a car or motorcycle and being drunk, that is God's time to show His great love and compassion. When there are heavy floods and severe earthquakes, and many people die, God rebukes, awakens, and reminds us that our life is just like leaves. Today, it is still green and fresh, but,  tomorrow it will turn yellow and withered, fall, and return to the ground. Until when do we last on the path of iniquity? It's not too late to return to God's way. Before God, we are like a shady tree without fruit. While the Gardener is still patient, let us try to stretch the roots as far as possible to find the source of water, namely God Himself.  Peace of God be with you all. 

By Sr. Yanti Purnawati, SFSC.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Dare separatiionem (Lk. 12:51)


In living each day's life, we must firmly make choices. Firmness is necessary for the sake of truth. Jesus is the truth itself. The opposition is an inner war to choose between truth and evil. This would certainly apply to anyone who lives in a family, as well as a community. Ultimate truth must be sought and obtained only in Jesus' name because the truth in Jesus is divine truth. Then why did Jesus come with the opposition?

In today’s Gospel, Jesus said, “Do you think that I have come to establish peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division” (Lk. 12:51). Jesus made it clear that this seeming contradiction in His statement did not mean that He was divisive or a provocateur. Jesus' coming is the bringing of truth and life. The reason is clear that the world is steeped in falsehood, hypocrisy, hatred, and death. Jesus came to fight against all of it.

Let us never fear, then, that because of truth and faith in Jesus, when we contradict those we love the most because Jesus also experienced such. Surely we are challenged by the devil who has invaded the hearts and the minds and the masks of people. May our faith not crumble because of the world's hatred for the value of truth. Let us open our hearts, that we are always be purified by the fire of the Holy Ghost when remaining in whatever presence is contrary to our faith.

By Sr. Maria Venidora, SND.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Coram hominibus (Mt. 10:32)


The Bible today speaks of denial. Denial is a harrowing event, and Jesus himself had experienced how Peter denied Him three times before the rooster crowed. Many reasons make people who are close to us, commit betrayal. Maybe at that time he felt pressured like the apostle Peter and the only way is to deny. Feelings of guilt usually come later after denial. Jesus set us a good example when Peter denied Him.  Though felt so hurt, Jesus forgave him and even gave the keys of the kingdom of heaven to Peter. Are we able to follow Jesus' example?

"Everyone who acknowledges Me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angel of God." Blessed are we when we always confess Jesus with faith. God expects our confession to be sincere and full of faith and animate our deeds. Confession without action is meaningless. Show the world that we are Christ's brothers and sisters. Whenever we experience difficulties, face it with a smile and full of faith in God. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is a sin that cannot be forgiven, and the consequences are significant, no place to rest in heaven. God is very loyal to His people. Even though He is often betrayed, often hurt by various sins committed by humans, He remains faithful, still waiting for His children to come home and lie on His lap. Let us learn to be faithful to God, faithful to do good deeds, faithful to meditate on the Word of God, devoted to each vocation of life, and many other types of faithfulness. At the time He has appointed, our faith will be rewarded by eternal life. Peace to all of you. Have a blessed weekend.

By Sr. YantiPurnawati, SFSC.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Sumus factura (Eph. 2:10)


Yes, we are sinners. We have already commited many sins. Consequently, we have to regret and ask for forgiveness. Nevertheless, from time to time we fall down again and again. It happens all the time. We would like to be holy and blameless but we are not. Are we going to give up or rather come to Jesus?

Obviously, we have a lot of experience with human sinfulness. But we strongly believe in Christ. We decide not to live sensual lives. We do not want to be ruled by our own physical desires and ideas. On the contrary, we choose to trust in God who loved us with so much love. Because he is the merciful Father who always forgives his beloved children. He is ready to accept us and cleanse us from our sins.  We are not able to overcome our weaknesses on our own. Only Jesus Christ, the Son of God, can bring us back to life in holiness. 

We really need divine grace to encourage us and strengthen us. Otherwise, we are too weak to fight against sin and the evil spirit. Jesus is our Strength and Salvation. Through him, we are invited to enter the heavenly kingdom and get a place with holy angels.

Every day we experience God's mercy and goodness. Every morning we wake up to start a new life in the Holy Spirit. We are enriched by peace, love, and joy which come from the hands of our heavenly Father. So we are to answer with trust and love. Moreover, we are to recognize the image of God in ourselves. For all of us are God's work of art, created in Christ Jesus to live the good life. Let us not forget about our dignity and vocation as sons and daughters of God. Amen.   

By Fr. Jozef Trzebuniak, SVD.   

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Quod de intus (Lk. 11:40)


Saint Theresa wrote about her spiritual life experiences in her book entitled The Way of Perfection. She highlighted that inside us is a palace which God has built. The palace is so beautiful. And within it resides the reigning king, who reigned on the very throne, your heart." That is the palace of the heart, she said."

In the Gospel today, Jesus invites us to take good care of the palace of our hearts. As followers of Christ, we need to pay attention not only to external cleanness but also primarily to the cleanness of the heart. The heart as the palace of God should be kept clean, kept away from plunder and wickedness. Quality of life is determined by the harmony of birth and inner, inside and outside, between the heart and life's behavior (I don’t get the meaning). Jesus requires of each of us as his disciples a balance of life that reflects sincerity and honesty. That's the real heart palace.

Let us learn from the life of St Teresa of Jesus, who truly made her heart the abode of God. "If you do something wrong, do not blame yourself and another change." That is, if you have done something wrong, do not blame yourself and judge others. Believe me, the Lord will help us overcome our weaknesses and shape our lives according to His plan.

By Sr. Maria Venidora SND.

Attendite (Lk. 12:1)


Interestingly, in today's gospel, it is told that Jesus delivered special teaching for His disciples. Jesus taught them in a crowd of people, even as they were temporarily jostling. This is certainly not a coincidence. Because that was the method of Jesus’s teaching to the disciples. Jesus knew very well the situation of the disciples at that time. They are temporarily "in pride". They were praised by many people even by Jesus himself after returning from his mission. Walking closest to Jesus and being witnessed by many people was a great pride!

Beware! Beware is an alarm that reminds and even wakes up the disciples to stay awake with their situation. Jesus wanted the disciples to realize that they were being tempted to think, feel, and act like the Pharisees and the scribes. Disciples need to get out of such temptations quickly. Jesus wants none of His disciples to be carried away by the current of the environment but to remain strong in their mission and ministry with humility and sincerity.

Being praised by many for doing something good is a temptation to be proud. The Lord Jesus' warning was addressed to the disciples, is also a warning to us all. Jesus also doesn't want us to be tempted to be like the Pharisees. We may also be infected with the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, who are concerned with appearance and prestige alone. Let us repent and stay away from all things that make us hypocrites. Realize that hypocrisy will one day be exposed. What is covered by man, will be opened by God who looks into the heart.

By Fr. Fransiskus M. Diaz, SVD.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Vae pharisaeis (Lk. 11:43)

Hypocrisy happens when we demand people to do something but we don't do it ourselves. This mentality will make someone consider himself as important and better than others.

The Lord Jesus condemned the hypocrisy of the Pharisees who were the religious leaders at that time. Their position in religious life made them socially respected as well. The same thing happened to the Scribes, those who knew well about the law. They liked to emphasize the religious law but Jesus knew that they didn't do it themselves; they didn’t follow that law.

A leader must lead his or her people not only by words but especially by example of life like Jesus did. And the Jewish religious leaders at that time did not have this good attitude. That’s why Jesus condemned such an attitude because it was hypocrisy.

All of us are disciples of Jesus. He sends us to serve, not to be served. Therefore we must be examples of faith and love in action for others.

By Fr. Risco Batbual, SVD.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Laudate nomen Domini (Ps 113:1)


Every day is a good day to praise the Lord and worship his holy name. Actually, it is the best prayer with which each of us can start a new day. Although, there are many problems and anxiety in the world, let us praise the Lord. Although, you feel weak and depressed, let us praise the name of the Lord. Because everything could be grace if only we trust God wholeheartedly. Even decease and suffering is useful to grow in spiritual life. 

Consequently, from the rising of the sun, praised be the name of the Lord. Of course, we do not want to forget about the troubles and important issues nowadays. On the contrary, we like to put the Lord in the center of our attention. Yes, he is alive and he is working in the world. We are not left alone. The Lord is above and much stronger than all the most difficult things. We praise him because above the heavens is his glory. 

In addition, we are grateful for the gift of a new day. Even if we do not understand the circumstances. Even if there are wars in the world. Even if so many people are losing hope. We do not give up but praise the Lord. For we believe that he is powerful and mighty. He is able to change everything and heal everybody. That is why we start a new day with a song of praise. 

Overall, we do trust in the Lord, our God, who lives on high and takes care of the earth. As the patient Father, he looks from the heights and lifts his lowly servants. Yes, we are poor and sinful children. Nonetheless, from the beginning of the new day, we praise his holy name with courage. The very foundation of our prayer is his everlasting love for each of us. So we are glad praising and worshiping the Lord.  

By Fr. Jozef Trzebuniak, SVD.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Fecit nuptias (Mt. 22:2)


Today's gospel will never make sense to my people who live in rural areas. People do not need an invitation to any festive occasion. As soon as they hear there is a party going on and there is a portion of food and drink, they will just show up. Then who would be crazy enough to turn down an invitation to a royal wedding? But then, when I think about the gospel and think about my own life and my relationship with God, I find that I was often stupid to turn down God’s invitation. And I believe that each of us knows the moments when we not only reject what is good but also cannot recognize it. God continually calls us as individuals and as members of the Body of Christ, as members of this community gathered around this table of the Lord, to a deeper and better life. His call is always gentle, very persistent, and very real. We all hear it from time to time and mostly come from our depths. However, there are many ways to decline this invitation. God invites me to pray all the time, but I often decline the invitation because I am too tired right now. Jesus Christ invites us to meet him here more often in this church, but at the last moment there is always something in the way and I choose not to come. God invites me to love my neighbor, but the neighborhood is dangerous. I cannot stop here and help anyone. The Spirit of God invites honesty, but I often refuse by apologizing for my dishonest actions and telling myself that everyone does the same thing. God invites me to spend more time with my family, children, and church, but I need this overtime pay for my next vacation expenses. I could go on and on. Each of us, if we got involved, could make a pretty long list of things that we know we should or shouldn’t do in our hearts that we don’t want to look at. And we have no shortage of excuses, many of which are extremely plausible. They jump up in our defense like over-excited guards. Defense, excuses, evasive maneuvers! How well do we know them? But this is a dangerous road. Hence, it is important to note that the people who turned down the wedding invitation did so not for bad reasons, but perfectly good and reasonable reasons. All perfectly good jobs for themselves. But that is exactly what makes them so dangerous and stumbles over our good relationships with God and others. And as a Christian, I believe that the greatest danger to us is not that we leave God and turn to evil, but that we ignore his invitation. If we prefer to devote all our energies to good causes of choice, we are ignoring God's invitation to something infinitely deeper and better. That is why Jesus articulates the Father's vision for us today: a “banquet” at which everyone is respected and honored for who they are and what kindness they bring to the king's table, be it the “table” of the classroom, the clinic, the playground, the house or the community. If we are to remain true to God's vision, God's compassion must change the perspective of our hearts and allow us to see beyond our reasonable excuses. Hence, in the first reading, Isaiah proclaims the goodness of God preparing a banquet for all his people on the holy mountain. And the banquet symbolizes God's closeness to us and the celebration of the ultimate victory over sin, suffering, and death. This festival is not only for the Israelites but for all people. God wants to invite everyone into his kingdom without excluding anyone. The Lord comes to bring comfort to those who mourn and to give new vision to those who are blinded by the calamities that afflict them. The call of the Christian is the call to hope in the Lord who cares for all that concerns us and will lead us to the new joy that comes from being with the Lord. That is, if we ignore God's invitation, it means that we are indifferent. To benefit from the feast, one must wear the wedding dress of conversion. But how do you go about converting those who are indifferent or those who, like the religious leaders of Christ's time, believe that they need no conversion? How do I convert myself to changing my indifference? How do I avoid turning down God's invitation in my daily life?

By Fr. Ouwakpare Victorin Oussoi, SVD.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Immundus spiritus (Lk. 11:24)


Sometimes, we realize that we have been struggling with a certain sin in our life.  This sin has been committed over and over again.  Eventually, we resolve to confess it and overcome it.  After confessing it we feel overjoyed, but then we see that the next day we are at the same point as before. 

Although we repented, the demon does not stop tempting us. The more pious we are, the more he comes and attacks with even greater force again and again. The demon is at war against our soul. The devil invites his fellows to fight against our souls. Consequently one day we fall into the same sin again. We give up and prefer not to resist the devil's temptations.

The reading of the gospel encourages us to conquer sin. The tighter we cling to sin, the greater strength we need. Overcoming sin can be quite painful and difficult.  Overcoming sin requires deep spiritual purification and complete submission of our mind and will to God. Without spiritual purification and submission of the will to God, the temptations of the devil will be impossible to overcome.

By Fr. Fransiskus M. Diaz, SVD.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Dicite: Pater (Lk. 11:4)


Today we hear again, Jesus teaches his disciples how to pray. In this prayer, Jesus invites us to call God “our Father”. So, Jesus would like to tell us that the first step in every prayer is the awareness that God is our Father who always listens to us because we are all his beloved children.

A good example of Jesus is his relationship with the Father in prayer. He always prays to draw strength so that his work can be successful. And Jesus does not teach us only how to pray but invites us to join him in prayer.

When Jesus prays he brings to God our needs and our problems and waits for his guidance, light, and strength. It means that we have to open ourselves to God and let him work in our lives. We need to surrender ourselves to God and let his will be done in our lives. 

The Lord’s prayer teaches us to bring our needs to God, not as demands but requests. In this way, God can harmonize our prayers with his own purpose. Let's keep in mind that the repetition of the Lord’s prayer, helps us to understand that God is our Father who always listens and helps his beloved children.

By Fr. Risco Batbual, SVD.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Martha nomine (Lk. 10:38)


During this COVID-19 pandemic, we still isolate ourselves at home to follow the health protocol of the government. We do not go outside but work from home. Rather than blaming and cursing this situation, we should light the candle and use the opportunity to make our life grow.

Today’s gospel talks about two figures, Martha and Mary, as a comparison of two kinds of human behavior. Each of them shows two values completing each other. Martha is a symbol of a person who likes working while Mary is a symbol of a person who prefers to pray.

Work and prayer must walk together in our daily life. Working without praying or praying without labor is fruitless. Therefore, Jesus asks us to get these two values and use them in our life. The grace of our Lord can help us if we accept it.

During this pandemic, let us welcome Jesus at home and in our hearts like Martha, then listen to Him like Mary. May God always dwell in our hearts and help to balance our work and prayer.

By Fr. Aris Mada, SVD

Monday, October 5, 2020

Magna opera Domini (Ps 111:2)


Every year we celebrate our birthday. It is the best time to give thanks, especially to God the Father, and to our parents. Thanksgiving comes from our hearts and it is a sign of gratitude. Actually, we have experienced so many graces and blessings. There were so many people who have influenced us with their presence. That is a reason to pray for them all and praise the Lord. 

We usually are focused on bad news but the birthday is a special occasion to ponder all the good works of the Lord. If there were no love between our parents, we couldn't have appeared in the world. Moreover, each of us is a beloved child of the heavenly Father. We are so loved and wanted. We are expected and blessed. It is just and true that we didn't come to the world by a chance. It was an everlasting plan and the divine Providence that made us exist and love. In addition, we were created to live forever and ever in the presence of all saints and angels. 

Jesus Christ preached the Good News in order to ensure and encourage us in uprightness and truth. Obviously, there were many good and bad experiences in our life. However, in the power of the Holy Spirit, we could overcome everything. The real purpose of our existence is only love of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit. So let us praise the Lord and rejoice with our brothers and sisters. We have received a beautiful gift to share with one another. May our life become a blessing for those in need. Overall, we are to get a reward in the heavenly kingdom where our loving Father is waiting for us to return home. 

By Fr. Jozef Trzebuniak SVD.