Thursday, December 17, 2020

Liber generationis (Mt. 1:1)


The birth of Jesus was introduced by Matthew with Family Tree of Jesus. From Jesus, drawn back to David to Abraham. There are three times fourteen generations. The most important thing is not the number or the order, but Matthew wants to make sure that Jesus is really God, really human. God's promises to Abraham and David were fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

From the Family Tree that are mostly male names, there are female names, such as Tamar, Ruth, Bathsheba (Uriah’s wife), and Mary. Their background is not perfect. Tamar is a harlot. Ruth is a foreign woman, not a native Israeli. David seized Bathsheba from Uriah in a cruel way. Mary was pregnant before she married Joseph.

Jesus wants to be present in the midst of an imperfect human condition. God shows how much he loves humans. The Lord saw man's imperfection and used it to reveal His Son. Jesus was born and became a weak and fragile human being. As humans, we often have bad experiences. Let us not give up too quickly. Who knows, God uses that bad situation for a greater purpose.

By Fr. Fransiskus Diaz, SVD.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Me minui (Jn. 3:30)


John the Baptist is a very noble man. In fact Jesus once said that he was the greatest of every man ever born on earth (Luke 7: 28)– in terms of introducing and preparing Jesus’ way and ministry in the world. I believe John is the right man to perform this job, for he is blunt, bold, has very strict self-discipline yet humble and submissive to the will of God.

Before Jesus started His ministry, John had already started his. Lots of people came to him not only to be baptized but also to ask for his wisdom. “What should we do then?” the crowd asked. Even the tax collectors and soldiers lowered themselves asking for John’s hints (Luke 3: 10-14). However, despite the honored position he had got, he did not forget his mission. “He must become greater; I must become less.”(John 3: 30).

As he heard about Jesus and what the great things He had done, he sent his disciples to ask Jesus if He was The One they expected to come. He was not drunk by the fame he got and tried to maintain the high position he had in front of the public. He said he was not even worthy to carry Jesus’ sandals. (Mat 3: 11)

May we never seek our own honor in any ministries or religious responsibilities we do. Instead, we lift Jesus, our Savior, high on our mind and through our deeds. Jesus said, “Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.” (John 7:18).

By Desire Litaay.

Qui venturus (Lk. 7:19)


In today’s Gospel, Luke the Evangelist invites us to realize that Jesus is really God and he was present in the world, in the history of human life. When answering the disciples of John the Baptist, who asked about the certainty of the coming of the Messiah, Jesus was bold. He indicated that he himself was the Messiah and he himself was God who was present in history.  In answering John’s disciples, Jesus took the proclamation of the prophet Isaiah about the signs of the presence of God in the midst of his people. “The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.”This is the polite way used by Jesus to show that he is God and he came to save his people.

As disciples of Jesus, we must rely on him who is the source of our strength and our life. The presence of Jesus within us is always strengthening and giving life. When we are weak, he reinforces us.  When we fall, he raises us up. And when we are sad, he gladdens us with his good news. Let us open ourselves to the presence of Jesus and let him guide us so that we can experience salvation from God in our lives.

By Fr. Risco Batbual, SVD.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Apertus oculus (Nu. 24:3)


We need the Spirit of God to inspire us and enlighten our minds. Thanks to this spiritual gift we can see and understand everything better. We are capable of recognizing the truth in all circumstances. Consequently, we can share our thoughts with others and help them with our prayers. 

Do you believe that you have already received the charism of the Lord? Accordingly, you are able to see, hear, and speak in the name of Jesus. Yes, you as a child of God can find the divine answers not only for yourself but also for your sisters and brothers in Christ. 

The Advent season is the proper time to open the eyes of your soul. You are to see the beauty of the universe and of human beings. For all of us are planted by the Lord beside the spiritual source. It depends on us how much we will get from there. 

Let's become preachers of good tidings in the world that forgets about the Lord. Let's pray to become like prophets with far-seeing eyes and ears which hear the word of God. Yes, we are very close to the Lord, Jesus Christ. He lives in us and we live in him. We receive the divine answers through the Scriptures while meditating on the words of God. 

The Son of God and his kingdom is close at hand. So let's trust in the words of the Holy Bible. Do not focus only on the words of people but rather on the powerful word of God. Thus, we will live in peace and share peace with the needy. In this way, we will make the right decisions easier and follow Christ. 

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Exsultavit spiritus (Lk. 1:47)


Dear Friends in Christ,

Rejoice!  Does that simple word fill you with wonder and happiness?  Those feelings summarize the readings of Sunday!  Something great is about to happen!  Whatever could be greater than God becoming man?!?

John the Baptist is filled with this wonder, knowing that he is preparing the way for someone greater:  “the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.”  But how sad, yet true:  “there is one among you whom you do not recognize.”

Today, we can ask ourselves if we recognize Christ in the people we daily meet.

Isaiah, long before John the Baptist, recognized and rejoiced in the realization of what God would do at some point in history he exclaimed:  “I rejoice heartily in the Lord!”  prophesizing all that would happen when Emanuel comes.

As we are coming to the end of this beautiful Advent Season filled with gloom and suffering from the coronavirus, we need to take very seriously the words of St. Paul: “Rejoice always.  Pray without ceasing.  In all circumstances give thanks… May the God of peace make you perfectly holy and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

My prayer for each of you!

By Sr. Mary Vivette, SND

Friday, December 11, 2020

Similis pueris (Mt. 11:16)


The word “repentance” maybe is the most ignored word. For example, we would often call on people close to us to repent and change their ways for the better. Most often than not this call is ignored and they would reason out that they have nothing to repent.

The Lord Jesus was really tired of seeing apathetic people, who were not moved by the cry of repentance He preached. They did not listen to John's cry, nor did the Lord Jesus' voice. So the Lord Jesus made a metaphor. They are like children who are cranky, refusing to be invited to play by their friends. This children's game inspired the Lord Jesus to judge how the attitude of the Jews who were not moved by John's preaching and the preaching that He brought. What the Lord Jesus said is an attractive metaphor for people who do not have a sense of feeling in their life situation. True faith relies on opening its ears, eyes, and heart to grasp God's voice and understand the situation and conditions of his life.

This season of Advent is a call to repentance for us to be more worthy of welcoming of our Savior. But only a few of us give it an ear, we chose to ignore it. Let's listen to this call. We can change our ways for the better.

By Fr. Fransiskus Diaz, SVD.

Maior Ioanne (Mt. 11:11)


Presently, people pay attention only to themselves,  their physical appearance, supporting facilities, and any convenience in general as if it was the center of their lives. So is one’s assessment of another.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus offers an inverse invitation to our frequent tendency and thoughts as a human being. Jesus’ teaching tells us that the smallest one is the greatest. As Jesus said, “whoever humbles himself to the lowest position will become the greatest in the kingdom of God.” This was exemplified by Jesus that appearance, fame, and status, are not a measure of one’s great life. Jesus, though He is the king of the Universe, yet humbled himself to the lowest degree -being born as a human infant, even took on the image of a servant who was then obedient to die on the cross.

Jesus’ example of humility which is becoming the lowest of all, sets a role model for us in showing humility in our life. Just like John the Baptist became the greatest not because he had done anything great but because of the quality of humanity that he had shown. He acknowledged the greatness and the majesty of God manifested in Jesus. May we be moved to progressively resemble Jesus and John the Baptist, showing our humility in order to become great in the kingdom of God.

By Sr. Maria Venidora, SND.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Discite a me (Mt. 11:29)


The legalistic tradition with a lot of rules (law) that was instructed by the Jewish leaders especially the Pharisees had become a burden for the people of Israel. Trying to be perfect by following so many regulations would only lead to frustration and weariness. It is hopeless. Human beings have been struggling with sins since the fall of Adam.

Our reading today is preceded by the part in which Jesus explains about himself. He is the Son of God in the Trinity context. He said only God the Father knows him and vice versa. He wants to show that he is the only way to God the Father, and no one or nothing else. John 4:6 said “Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” This is important because most people still didn’t understand that he was the incarnation of God on Earth. That means his authority exceeds anything in the world.

The Lord Jesus comes to free all mankind from the useless exhausting struggle to reach perfectness before God. He gives us rest. He doesn’t neglect the law, in fact, he comes to fulfill it (Mt. 5:17). By coming to him, we have the sanctification we long for. This is also a call for discipleship. We submit ourselves to him to learn through the Holy Spirit who works inside us. The goal is a life transformation to reach a Christlike life. As we come to him being a learner and apply his teachings in the world, he provides us with his love, strength, and guidance. He is gentle. He understands that we are weak and that we need him every second. Our yoke becomes bearable because he bears it and thus enables us to do it. He is God but he humbles himself so we are able to reach him and have peace in our soul. It certainly requires an intimate relationship with him. It is not some dead obedience, but willingness to give our hearts to him.

Be careful of legalism. Good work doesn’t save us as it promotes only ourselves and not God. It is Christ alone who saves us. Let no one steal his greatness. To him be the glory forever and ever!

By Desire Litaay.

Venite ad me (Mt. 11:28)


With his words "come to me!"  Jesus actually invites us to come to him, so that we can rest in him and find peace. Jesus doesn't just invite us once, but he is always inviting us to come to him. Every time we need to come to him, he is always ready for us. Jesus also invites us with these words, "come to me, "to tell us that he always has time for us. He will be attentive to those who call him anytime, anywhere.

The love that Jesus gives us is the model of universal love. This is clearly seen in the words “all of you.”He loves all of us without exception, even his enemies. With great hospitality, Jesus receives us all and gives us rest after we work to spread the Good News, do good deeds, deliver the message of salvation in the midst of challenges and suffering. Do not worry and do not be afraid because the unconditional love of Jesus will call us, and in his readiness, he will support us to live as true children of God and his disciples. So, brothers and sisters, from Jesus, we learn the way of true discipleship, and in him, we will find peaceful rest.

By Father Risco Batbual, SVD

Fiat (Lk. 1:38)


Have you been given responsibility in your life? If you have, what do you feel and think before accepting it? Are you afraid and do you reject it? When we are given a task, often these feelings appear. We are afraid that we may fail in doing it. Indeed, every responsibility contains a risk. But, those who believe in God’s providence will carry it without fear. Those who trust in God will see everything that happens in this world happens because of God’s will.

Mary, mother of Jesus is an example for us to say our “Yes” to God’s will. In seeing God’s will she said “Yes” to the responsibility. In the history of Mary’s life, she was the chosen one of God to bear Jesus in her womb. She was surprised when the angel of God came to her and announced the coming of God to the world through her. Mary did not believe it because she was an unmarried woman. It was not easy for Mary to accept it. But she realized that it was God’s will. She opened her heart to accept this message and said,” let it happen to me as you have said.” Mary shows us the power of humility in her “Yes” to the coming of Jesus and being ready to accept the heavy responsibility. Mary believed that if what she was doing was from God, thus, God would be with her.

God invites us to be like Mary to offer ourselves to Him and trust fully in Him since those who believe in God will get eternal life. Besides, God is eternal love and He is working in us always to spread His love. We are the people who God chooses to become His love ambassadors. This means that every time we love others, we fulfill our responsibility as God’s people. Let us ask God to open our hearts and minds to understand His will as He manifests it to us.

By Fr. Aris Mada, SVD.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Operarii pauci (Mt. 9:37)


God keeps on calling. Every moment, every time, God calls everyone to be His workers. God calls and needs workers to help His work of salvation as is told in the gospel today. Are we called and sent by Jesus? I do believe that when we’re baptized as Catholics, we’ve been carrying out the mission of Jesus. However, our mission is not only for Catholics but for everyone who wants to accept the Gospel of Christ!

The vocation and mission of Jesus are not only aimed at people living in monasteries or imposed only on priests, sisters, brothers, and seminarians, in short, those who are called to religious life. Not only them, but it applies to everyone! The call of Jesus is universal, applies to all people, regardless of their particular social status.   

We as disciples of Jesus are called and sent into the world to save it. In the midst of situations that deify worldly things and overshadowed by lots of conflicts let alone the coronavirus pandemic nowadays, God continues to call and send people who truly want to work for the world. In fact, Jesus’ words are still relevant for us “The harvest is many, but the laborers are few.” God needs people who are willing to work to save the world, save others, work for the people, not only for our own self. When God calls and sends us, God will accompany us every step of the mission. We should realize that our current vocation, whatever our status of life is, whatever positions we have, we are called and sent to be partners with God who saves the world, save others. See that he never sends us wrongly! We have received our salvation freely, so we are also obliged to share it freely. We will get grace when we really want to serve God and others.

By Frt. Sandre Loreng, SVD.

Friday, December 4, 2020

Clamantes (Mt. 9:27)


The gospel today tells us about Jesus who heals two blind men. The two blind men know with whom they meet although they were blind. They were able to see Jesus through the eyes of faith. They asked Jesus to restore their sight. The prayer of these two blind men was very short and simple, “have mercy on us, O Son of David.” The prayer expresses the depth of their faith. They know who they are dealing with.

In front of Jesus, the blind men do not ask for anything, they do not speak many words. They humbly placed themselves as people to be pitied. In our prayers, we often make supplications to God because we feel we deserve it because of our goodness or merits. Sometimes we are proud of our abilities somehow we are nothing before God. We only need to surrender. Let us surrender ourselves to God in our prayer.

By Fr. Fransiskus Diaz, SVD.

Miserere nostri (Mt. 9:27).


As human beings, we are strong and weak at the same time. Sometimes we are happy, sometimes sad, and depressed. Therefore, the crucial thing is to understand ourselves and take care of our thoughts and emotions. What is my strength and what is my weakness? When I need to give thanks to the Lord and when I should ask for help.

It was the thing about two blind men who followed Jesus (see Mt. 9:27-31). They knew exactly what is their disease. On their own, they were unable to recover. Consequently, they were following Jesus and even shouting: "Take pity on us!" 

Their voice can become ours while we pray privately and as a community of believers. We also can ask him for healing. Because all of us are in need of the healing power of Jesus. There are issues and problems which we cover intentionally and unintentionally. 

We are to invite Jesus to our inner house and let him touch us with his grace. Even if we do not have a deep personal relationship with Jesus, we can improve it during the Advent season. Since the very important part in the process of healing is to trust in Jesus. 

We want to ask Jesus to return our sight and also our inner strength, peace, and happiness. Friendship with Jesus is an intimate matter. So we are not obliged to share it with all our brothers and sisters. However, Jesus gives us freedom and never forces us to follow his ordinances. It is our own choice to fulfill his suggestions.

By Fr. Jozef Trzebuniak, SVD.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

In mundum universum (Mk. 16:15)


Today, the universal church celebrates Saint Francis Xavier (1506-1552). He was an accomplished journalist. He left his homeland to proclaim glad tidings to others. He truly lived the Gospel, as the evangelist Mark reaffirmed today, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). The word “go” is a command to go not only understood as a command to go forth or walk-in preaching the Gospel to the whole world. But it also means that the Gospel is not only to be preached but also to be "living according to the Gospel" that we have received from Lord Jesus. The Gospel is not only reported or heralded, but it must also be lived.

 A person in Christ believes that the Lord Jesus is not only a Gospel heir but also a living proclamation. It means that we too must walk while revealing our lives that are filled with the Gospel of Christ. How can people hear and believe the Gospel message we send forth if others cannot see an example of our lives? Jesus came into the world on one side to show that the promise of his salvation that had been proclaiming by the prophets was not nonsense or a silly promise but did occur. The greatness of God’s love for us humans is not only words but Jesus proved it by dying on the cross.

So Jesus’ command to go forth proclaiming the Gospel was not limited to the form of a spoken heir, but just by seeing ourselves, others would be able to get the news about Jesus. Let us proclaim the Gospel to all creatures as exemplified by Saint Francis Xavier. If we are already living in the Gospel of Christ, then it must be inherent in us. It must have power over us so that it comes alive.

By Sr. Maria Venidora, SND.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Misereor turbae (Mt. 15:32)


It is so common to hear that Jesus came to save the sinners who believe in him so that they would not perish but obtain eternal life. Our spiritual condition is mostly considered here. Nonetheless, during his life on the Earth Jesus was also concerned much with the humans’ physical condition.

The scriptures today are taken from Matthew 15: 29 – 37. The great crowd came to him, bringing sick people of all kinds. He healed them all. The text said these people had followed him for three days. They must be amazed not only by the miracles he did but also by his powerful teaching. They might carry some supplies with them but then on the third day nothing was left or not enough to support them. Still, they remained with Jesus. It would be fine for him to dismiss the crowd, because he had healed their infirmities and given them spiritual food before. However, he didn’t think of the excellent service he had performed. He urged to serve more, in spite of his disciples’ irritation because of the huge crowd they had never invited in the first place but had to deal with.

In this advent season, weare expecting Christ to come and be with us. Through this reading today, we could see, if he were here, he would ask us to pay more attention to someone, or some people, destitute communities who are in despair. Christmas is about celebrating Christ on Earth. It’s not merely to think about what we might lack in our house or family or to adorn ourselves but to take notice of people in need just like what Jesus did.

Since the first time he came to the world, he had emptied himself– being born in a poor condition until he sacrificed himself on the cross for the undeserved ones like us. It’s because he loves us too much. May we are also able to empty ourselves and feed others with our spiritual gifts and of course the tangible ones such as food, money or even ourselves in many ways. Have we got a plan on our mind?Let people welcome Jesus through us.  

By Desire Litaay.

Septem panes (Mt. 15:36)


Compassion comes as a result of someone’s identification of the needs of others. Jesus is identical to the sick and suffering as his compassion prompted him to do good for them. In the miracle of multiplying the bread, it was compassion that caused Jesus to provide food for them, to think of ways to satisfy their hunger, and to show God's intervention for their benefit.

But the opposite response came from the disciples of Jesus. They were also in the same situation as Jesus. While Jesus felt compassionate, they thought only of themselves and the discomfort they would experience. They did not like taking unnecessary risks.

As the disciples of Jesus, at this time, we must follow the example that Jesus had shown us. We must help the poor and the needy. Do not be afraid of taking any risks. Because, in fact, the risks that God expects us are not beyond our strength and ability. We are expected to give what we have and even ourselves to help and serve others. When we do that, God acts through us and miracles happen. Where there are compassion and mercy, miracles always happen there. 

By Fr. Risco Batbual, SVD.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Confiteor tibi (Lk. 10:21)


Did you give thanks today? What kind of thankfulness that you offer toward God? The person who always is grateful gets peace in daily life though he or she deals with so many challenges.

Every day is a blessing. From waking up until sleeping at night, we experience many things. Through experience, God is working in us. His grace is often not visible. Nevertheless, we can feel. Only those who are grateful can recognize it.

As a Christian, God asks us to be grateful all the time. Jesus can be an example for us. Saint Luke shows us that Jesus is a person who knows how to be thankful. He prayed, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth...". By this prayer, Jesus realized that His life had come from God. Only God was a source of His strength. Jesus knew to whom He addressed His gratitude.

By being a grateful person, we do not lack anything, on the contrary, we become rich. Richness is not about we have a luxurious house, car, much money, but faith, hope, and love. And there is no one who can rob these things if we have Jesus in our heart. Let us pray to God, may we always become a grateful person and become rich in the name of Jesus.

By Fr. Aris Mada, SVD.