Friday, April 30, 2021

Omne genu flectat | Every knee should bow

“...that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” – Philippians 2:10-11

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

Having been the youngest and only male child in a family with 3 older sisters, I consider myself as a rather spoilt young brat who always wanted my way to be done, and often threw tantrums when things didn't go my way. I would sulk if I lost in games like Monopoly and even in the game of Chinese chess. In fact, I wanted so much to win all my P6 classmates in Chinese chess that I sought my (late) father's help to coach me some useful killer moves that would help me win every chess game played with my classmates.

I grew up as a very self-centered young boy, whose love became very conditional, for example, my father often paid me a small tip to help him buy cigarettes from a shop downstairs and kept it a secret from my mom who hated his smoking habits. I hated the smell of cigarette smoke and vowed to never ever pick up such a nasty habit. Ironically, I turned into a chain-smoker in my 20s and became the very person I hated.

Ironically too as a young boy, I hated my (late) father's frequent use of vulgarity at home, especially when they were directed at my mom, but became a foul-mouthed young adult myself. Even my computer login passwords then were acronyms for a particularly rude Hokkien swear phrase. I had even used those swear words on the very people close to my heart.

In short, I had become an angry and a very bitter young man who desperately tried to cover up for an insecure core with hard work, and outwardly fun-loving personality. It was a mask that I put on out of habit to mask my insecurities and self-hatred. To my colleagues then, I was a successful young Sales Manager who worked hard and played equally hard. However, as God had intended, He knew I couldn't keep up this false front nor live at such a frantic pace without crashing headlong into burnout…

In October 2005, at the age of 33, my right brain experienced a Circuit Breaker. When I suffered an acute stroke on a Saturday morning, by God's Grace, my ex-wife was at home, and had quickly called for an ambulance. I was rescued from a certain brain death by skilled paramedics who administered life-giving oxygen to my dying right-brain cells and was whisked to the nearest hospital in Changi in an unconscious state.

By His Grace, the stroke had rendered me paralyzed in my left torso, but with the help of a skillful neurosurgeon and physio doctor as well as his team of well-trained nurses in the acute stroke ward, I was able to relearn how to button my shirts, type on a keyboard, and able to use a walking stick safely to walk from one point to another. I was discharged from the ward after a month-long hospital stay and 2-months post-hospitalization leave from work. In short, although I didn't take a single day's Medical Certificate (MC) in my 2-years stint with the company, I maxed out their insurance claims for hospitalization leave and my MC entitlement in this one acute medical issue in my life.

I thank God that 2 months after my stroke that I have a new identity in Christ; and a Father in Heaven. I thank God for His patience, and sometimes painful pruning of my proud character. I thank God that I was finally able to break free from the chain-smoking habit and foul-mouthed habits too. Thanks to God, I learned to stop seeking worldly success to affirm my identity because I know in Christ, I am a new creation and deeply loved, and through Christ, I have a Father in Heaven who loves me for who I am and not for what I can do for Him nor because of how good I am. I can rest secure in my identity as His beloved child. As Scripture says, He has A Name that is above every other name, and one day, every knee, including mine, shall bow, at the sound of His Name.

I am deeply grateful to God, that in 2015, I was experiencing what is called "The Dark Night of the Soul", or a spiritual crisis - a very dark time where God seemed deaf to my desperate pleas and tear-soaked cries - as I laid on my bed tormented by morbid thoughts of wanting to end my misery on earth, feeling extremely exhausted and yet unable to sleep. I managed to check myself into the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) where I was warded 2 weeks for clinical depression and general anxiety disorder. Thankfully, my mental state calmed down significantly in the 2 weeks I was there. I thank God for 2 Catholic brothers who prayed the Rosary with me, from the moment we woke, to the free time before our meals and finally as a closing prayer every night.

I remember the warmth of our Hope fellowship, within the 4 walls of the guarded ward, even though we had little physical freedom inside, our minds were set free by the fervent prayers that led us through the life of Jesus, from His miraculous Conception and even to His Death and Resurrection. As a new convert to Catholicism, I am deeply grateful to His Grace, in using such a simple prayer exercise to renew my mind. The doctor reviewed my mental state and deemed me to be fit for discharge.

It was God's Grace that led me to a friend who showed me a pathway out of a dark dreadful abyss into which I was falling hopelessly, and was instrumental in leading to PSALT Care's Depression & Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) Peer Support meetings where she volunteered as Peer Support Facilitator since 2015. Through regular attendance of these meetings, I discovered a community of like-minded young adults, who were battling with various forms of mental health challenges while grappling with stressors in life. We shared our joys and even sorrows of living with mental health issues, and encouraged each other with useful tips on how to cope with our challenges while being hopeful that recovery is truly possible. Through PSALT Care, I've also found a supportive band of brothers and sisters-in-Christ who are struggling with mental health issues while trying to understand how a good God could allow such intense mental anguish in His children. After regularly attending the meetings for 2 years, I decided to pay it forward as a volunteer facilitator in both the DBSA and Christian Peers Support Groups since 2016.

Today, I want to thank Jesus, for preserving my life and allowing me to love and serve Him through the people He has allowed in my life.  Amen.

I will close with this favorite hymn of mine "What a Friend We Have in Jesus":


What a friend we have in Jesus

All our sins and grieves to bear

What a privilege to carry

Everything to God in prayer


Oh, what peace we often forfeit

Oh, what needless pain we bear

All because we do not carry

Everything to God in prayer


Have we trials and temptations?

Is there trouble anywhere?

We should never be discouraged

Take it to the Lord in prayer


Can we find a friend so faithful

Who will all our sorrows share?

Jesus knows our every weakness

Take it to the Lord in prayer


Reflection on Philippians 2:1-11 by Chris Tan.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Vivere Christus | Life is Christ

"In your life in union with Christ Jesus" - Philippians 1:26.

So many things happen in our life. We have our duties, dreams, worries, joys, etc. As Christians, we keep proclaiming Christ as our Lord in our deeds and words. But we also see other people who behave in their own way. They choose their own style. We can be angry with them or we also can accept this fact and pray more for them. 

Apostle Paul is a great example for us. I do admire him as a mature man who followed Christ. Obviously, he had his own problems and challenges, but he decided that his life will be "in union with Christ Jesus" (Phil 1:26). Although he entered prison, he was confident in the Lord and never lost his faith. He was fearless in front of enemies and bad people who were to kill him. He prayed a lot and spent much time for contemplation and reflection. 

The Gospel, the Word of God, made him strong in his endeavors. Accordingly, he was always sincere and happy. He was fulfilled with the Holy Spirit. Paul looked at the people with the eyes of Jesus full of compassion and love. The Spirit of Jesus lived in him and the prayers of believers supported him. So even in chains, he was a free man who overcame all the difficulties. 

No doubt that he experienced his weaknesses and fragility. Nonetheless, "he was full of courage and brought honor to Christ" (1:20). His deepest secret was an inner communion with Jesus. For Paul, Jesus was everything. Thus, he did not care about earthly life too much. On the contrary, "he wanted very much to leave this life and be with Christ" (1:23). His main teacher was God's Word and his holy will. So Paul was ready to follow his ordinances and commandments. Until his death, he remained faithful to Jesus Christ as his most diligent disciple.

Reflection on Philippians 1:12-26 By Fr. Józef Trzebuniak, SVD.     

(Listen to the Podcast here)

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Scientia et Sensus | Knowledge and Understanding

“I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.” – Philippians 1:9


They said that love is blind and it happens often in the romantic world. Christianity also talks about love. 1 John 4:8 says, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love”. We are encouraged to love our enemies and forgive people who wrong us (Matt 5:44, Matt 18:22). Often we encounter people who profess Christianity but leave us wondering whether they really are, because we hardly can feel their love.

Nevertheless, Apostle Paul reminds us not only to love others but to keep on growing in knowledge and understanding “to understand what really matters…” (Phil 1:10). The same passage of 1 John 4 which talks about love also talks about testing each spirit whether someone comes from God or not. We are even told not to welcome any people who are called Christians but actually are deceivers who bring destructive doctrine denying the relationship of Father and Son – possessing an antichrist spirit (2 John: 7-11).

Another crucial thing is, to improve our knowledge and understanding by reading the Bible and any literature in the truth. Philosophy, Theology, History of errors in church, cases and testimonies, anything under the light of Holy Spirit. Hebrews 5:14 tells us about solid food for mature Christians “who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil”.

Our power of discernment or ability to really understand cases must be trained. It is unwise to think that we have understood everything without deepening our discernment. Why? Because good and evil are real and we cannot be totally naïve about people or teachings and such on behalf of love. Even our Lord Jesus, our Good Shepherd, was very strict confronting the Pharisees and all religious people who claimed to love God but refusing him. He called them sons of the devil (John 8:44).

Apostle Paul was a scholar and a faithful servant. He liked to study and it complemented his sincere heart towards God and people. That’s why his teaching and explanations were deep and complex - often hard to understand. Apostle Peter mentioned his appreciation on Paul’s teachings when he warned people about scoffers who would come and distract God’s people from godly life (2 Pet 3:16).

So in Christianity, love is not blind in connection with the truth. Instead we are told to love in the truth. Love without truth is dangerous. While truth without love is useless. All who know the truth do love, while those who are not from God love for their own benefit. May God help us to overflow with love while keep growing in knowledge and understanding. Amen.


Reflection on Philippians 1:1-11 by Desire Litaay

(Listen to the Podcast here)

Monday, April 26, 2021

Circa Me | Around Me

Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. I am sending him to you for the express purpose…” – Colossians 4:7-8




Even though Paul was a great and well-known apostle, he also realized that in his ministry, the role of a fellow minister was very meaningful. In the end part of Colossians, we meet the "actors behind the scenes" who are people whose names we rarely remember or mention, but contributed greatly to Paul's ministry.

At the end of his letter, the Apostle Paul mentioned the names of some fellow ministers who helped him (Verses 7-11), sent greetings from people who knew the Colossians (Verses 12-14), and Paul's greetings for brothers and sisters in the faith known to the congregation (Verses 15-18). Paul reminded his fellow servants by addressing them by each name and mentioned their character. He knows each of his fellow ministers very well. He also strengthened and prayed for them from prison.

The community and ministry team will be stronger if we remember each other, strengthen each other and pray for each other. How beautiful the fellowship of Christians is where there is mutual encouragement, strengthening, helping, and growing together through joy and sorrow. We must not underestimate the support of our friends. The people who have comforted us play a big part in our ministry because without them, we might have run out of energy to serve in this world.

In a community, Christians should see one another as a meaningful person and not only as a part of a socio-economic function. Let us learn to remember, pray for and strengthen our fellow ministers in our Christian life.

“I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you” (Col 4:18).


Reflection on Colossians 4:7-18 by Fr. Fransiskus Diaz, SVD

(Listen to the Podcast here)

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Unicuique | Everyone

"Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity." - Colossians 4:5 (NIV)


In everyday life we cannot be separated from relationships. We meet people everywhere. We meet our husbands, wives, children at home. We meet people on the bus. We meet other people at work, in supermarkets or virtually by internet. We often make small talks or show our concern for people we don't know.

Our reading today also wants to go deeper into explaining that our interactions with other people are something very valuable. Paul says in Verse 5,"... take advantage of the available time" or make the most of every opportunity. We show our faith in our interactions. It is God's time. We consider God's time as not just a meaningless interaction.

How can we show in our daily lives that we are faithful followers of Christ? That knowledge of God is not only a recognition of some dogma but also a practice in reality of life? Paul advises us that in our daily lives we are fair and honest; pray and give thanks; pray for others; live full of wisdom and have words filled with love. Let us use the available time to be salt and light to others.

 Reflection on Colossians 4:1-6 by Fr. Fransiskus Diaz SVD

(Listen to the Podcast here)

Friday, April 23, 2021

Deponite Iram | Get Rid of Anger

“But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language.” – Colossians 3: 8 (NLT)


Image by RENE RAUSCHENBERGER from Pixabay

My dear brothers and sisters, when people came to ask advice on how to deal with anger, I said to them that it was not easy. The most important thing is how to control ourselves.  I also advised them to pray privately, asking God so they can have patience.  Often, according to what they shared, after they had tried to control themselves and prayed, then they were confronted with the person who had upset them. There, reconciliation and mutual forgiveness occurred.  Slowly but surely, they could become more patient and know how to control themselves, especially when anger arises in their hearts.

The Apostle Paul in his advice to the Colossians put patience in line with forgiveness.  We can be more patient if we are willing to forgive.  When looking at people who are annoying and hurtful, we need to see them from God's perspective.  God has forgiven us who often offend him.  Then why don't we forgive our neighbors?  We must understand that we who believe in Christ have risen with him and we have His power.  Therefore, we must think in terms of heavenly things.  Worldly matters, including anger, crime, slander, and foul language should be a thing of the past.

Brothers and sisters, there are many ways that people teach to control anger.  However, followers of Christ have already got the direction to be patient.  We are new people in Christ, and Christ himself can help us to control our anger.  What is required of us is not responding to earthly urges.  Instead, we strive to be renewed in our new life.  With the love of Christ, we are strengthened to go ahead in apologizing and forgiving. Amen, –


Reflection on Colossians 3: 1 – 17 by Father Risco Batbual, SVD

(Listen to the Podcast here)


Thursday, April 22, 2021

Corpus Christi | Found in Christ

“Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.” – Philippians 2:6-7




“Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ” (Colossians 2:16-17).

Everybody wants to succeed, to survive, to settle down, to look good for others by his hard work. Some want to look glamorous in their clothes. Not wrong, certainly is very understandable because those who work hard will reap the rewards. But the question is, does all that a person do, really make him or her happy? Was it done with good intentions or was it just made up for any deficiency?

In this reading, Saint Paul reminds us that the first thing we must do is to seek and find the kingdom of God and everything will be added to us.  Everything in this world is transient and merely a vessel of God. The Lord gave us all that we might use to glorify Him through our fellowmen; by helping those in need, sharing what we have with the hungry and the poor around us. It might not be about the number we spend but our sincerity in giving. One thing we always have to remember is that when we get back to God’s side, there's nothing in this world we would take with us.

Therefore, being a follower of Christ or as a Christian, we have to live after the manner of Christ whose life was always offered to others. It is not required to do spectacular things but through small things that bring pleasure to the hearts of others. That will ease their lives.


Reflection on Colossians 2: 16-17 by Sr. Maria Venidora SND

(Listen to the Podcast here)

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Convivere cum Christo | Alive with Christ

“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ…” – Colossians 2: 13

Having been raised in a Buddhist/Taoist family, I used to have a deep dread of death and beyond. I remember walking through the 7th month festivities and seeing all the gory torture scenes of people who were being punished in Hell for their various sins in life. I always trembled in fear when I looked at those graphic banners, and feared for my own punishments for the wrongs I’ve done.

Later in my young adult life, I thought I found the answer in Buddhist philosophy, and sought peace by reading dharma books in Buddhist temples as I was recovering from an acute right-brain stroke at the age of 33. The stroke rendered me half-paralysed in my left torso and my heart was in a turmoil over my perceived bleak future. Although, I felt peaceful in the temple, the feeling of peace fled my heart just as quickly the moment I stepped out of the temple. 

I struggled with this tempest in me for many months until one morning. I was doing my regular morning exercise in the small garden within the HDB estate where I lived, as I was walking alone, my mobile phone rang with a familiar contact number. She was a uni friend and we had lost contact for a good 10 years since we graduated and pursued our own separate lives and career.

Over the phone call, she was shocked to find out that I had suffered a serious stroke at such a young age and that my marriage was on the rocks. She quickly asked to meet me in the garden and lead me to say the sinner’s prayer and I dedicated my life to Jesus in Dec 2005, 2 months after my stroke. Through our conversation, I also found out that she did not live in my estate but was staying over the weekend with her sister who lived there. Just as she was drinking her coffee and staring out the window, she noticed a familiar figure, i.e. me, walking in the garden. The Holy Spirit prompted her to call me and she tried to resist but the Holy Spirit’s prompting was really relentless to the point that she knew God had a mission for her that day.

Through the saving grace of God, I stopped having recurring nightmares of me and parents dying without any purpose nor assurance of where our souls would go after death. I also got to know after my father’s death in 2003, that he had also received the gift of salvation, just 2 weeks prior to his death from cancer.

I know that we are separated right now in life but one day, we shall be reunited in Heaven with our new bodies. God’s Grace is more than enough for me in this life and the life after. Amen.


Reflection on Colossians 2:9-15 by Chris Tan

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Per Philosophiam Inanem | Empty Philosophies

”Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.” – Colossians 2:8

Saint Paul experienced a lot of difficult situations as his preaching about Jesus had to face false teachings in Colossian area. Of course, this thing raised ambiguities for the Colossians. Against the false teachings, Saint Paul taught the riches of assured understanding and knowledge which existed in God only. He also gave a warning to the Colossians about plausible arguments of false teachings, because they could deceive God’s people. In that case, Saint Paul asked the Colossians for faithfulness to God’s teaching. They had to fight against various kinds and forms of false teachings that came into their live. This effort was an attempt to maintain their faith and care for the joy in Christ.

Nowadays, many kinds of teaching in the world have been affected by the false teachings. It shows in our instant lifestyle where human efforts are not fully shown wholeheartedly. It also shows in our reluctance to show our true selves but hiding behind a mask.

Perhaps we are being influenced by some false teaching, even may have already lived it. Certainly our faith has faced it. If we are weak, it can drag us into a spiritual death, entice us with a great power - tempting our faith to God. Of course, the world spirits want to take us far away and wide apart from our relation to God. Therefore, God wants us to stay on and possess endurance in our faith.

My beloved brothers and sisters, in our life, we need clear water. If the water is dirty, we will use a water filter to keep the water clean. We can say the dirty water is the false teaching which can blot our pure relation with God. Of course, that is difficult as we really must examine the consistency of our faith and relation to God in facing the teaching.

Nevertheless, we have a strength, a power who will never leave us alone, that is Jesus Christ. As Jesus Christ is a love sign of the Father for us, we also should live in God’s love because it is the highest among all knowledge of human being. If we increasingly instill and practice God’s love in ourselves, it will be our faith power in life. Actually, life with thanksgiving can raise our faith and love to God, especially to keep our faith despite a lot of obstacles.

Finally, Saint Paul invites us to keep firm in our faith and love in facing any false teachings in our life. Also, he invites us to live in God’s righteousness and always preach the truth in our life. Come to Jesus with all yourself as it is and strive to be the right disciple of Jesus Christ. Amen


Reflection on Colossians 2:1-8 by Fr. Victory D. Lianain

(Listen to the Podcast here)

Monday, April 19, 2021

Plenus Gratia | Full of Grace

"Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed amazing miracles and signs among the people." - Act 6:8 (NLT)


Because Stephen's relationship with God was so close through prayers and personal offerings, Stephen was always filled with the Holy Spirit so he always faced any difficulties calmly. Stephen did not give up easily every time he found hardships and difficulties  because Jesus whom he believed had given him strength and courage. 

With cruelty Stephen was slandered and brought before the religious court where false witnesses gave false testimonies. At last Stephen was martyred for Christ, whom he believed and loved. In his loving surrender to God, his face changed as angel's.

What about us, do we spent time to seek God in our daily lives which are so busy with worldly cares? I believe even if it is just one minute with God, if we pray and talk to him with faith, I am sure from that fountain we will draw strength, courage and abundant love for ourselves and for all those in need. 

Reflection on Act 6:8-15 by Sr. Yanti Purnawati SFSC 
(Listen to the Podcast here)

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Orantes | Praying

“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you…” – Colossians 1: 9

My brothers and sisters, Billy Graham, a prominent evangelical Christian figure states, "Prayer is simply a two-way conversation between you and God". It means that prayer is not repeating words but a personal communication with God. There are many intentions in prayer, for example, we can say thanks to God, propose our request, and pray for others.

In this scripture reading from Colossians 1:9-14, Paul, one of the prominent apostles, prayed for the Colossians who had believed in Jesus Christ. There are four elements of Paul's prayer to them. First, Paul asked for knowledge and wisdom. Second, for them to walk in God's willing. Third, for steadfastness and patience. Fourth, for a thankful heart. Paul expected the Colossians to have these aspects when believing in Jesus Christ. As we know, it was not easy to become a Christian. This prayer reinforced the Colossians so they wouldn't turn back to their old beliefs if they got any obstacles.

Paul's prayer also addressed us as Christians. We pray to God, may He give us knowledge and wisdom to understand His mystery as He sent His Only Son to the world and the church has become the facilitation of God's grace and love. We pray to God, may we are enlightened by the Holy Spirit to guide our walk in this life so that our life becomes precious before God. Then, we pray to God, may He give us steadfastness and patience to face our challenges, failures and sickness. We also pray may God give us a grateful heart.



Reflection on Colossians 1:9-14 by Fr. Aris Mada, SVD

(Listen to the Podcast here)

Friday, April 16, 2021

Spes in Caelis | Hope in Heaven

“The faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel” – Colossians 1:5


Today's gospel is from the letter of St. Paul to the Colossians, specifically on Chapter 1, Verses 1 to 8. It's a reading about thanksgiving and prayer, and for me it is a gentle reminder to have a heart that is always grateful, and praises the Lord in prayer for all that He does.

There are a lot of things happening around us now, and even all over the world that can easily scare us and make us anxious - the ongoing pandemic, poor leadership in government, natural calamities, our own failures and disappointments about ourselves, our family and our friends. Today's Word is a gentle reminder for me that a heart that is thankful does not have a space for worry and anxiousness.

I also love this particular line on Verse 5 - "the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel that has come to you." It speaks of the truth in the Word that heaven is our goal, and so while the world may go into chaos, I can still pray and praise the Lord in gratitude.


Reflection on Colossians 1:1-8 by Blessie Sto Tomas

(Listen to the Podcast here)

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Labor et Fatigatio | Laboring and Toiling

“…On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you.”– 2Thessalonians 3: 8


“You don’t work – You don’t eat”. I am sure you have heard this saying before and usually it is directed to lazy people. Apparently, it was the same idea in Paul’s day. Apostle Paul, the man who wrote 13 books in the Bible, who received a direct revelation from God himself, who was a leading missionary to Asia Minor, was encouraging believers in the church to work hard. Paul could have his salary paid by the church. The church could provide all his needs, but it wasn't his way. Instead, he worked and he told them to do the same, to work an honest job, to toil and drop sweat and to earn a living.

In the context, we can tell that there were some busybodies in the church who loved to gossip and to cause a raucous within the church. Paul warned the church members about these people and to stay away from them. In fact, he told them to “keep away” from these. Why is it? It is simple, when you are just laying around doing nothing, there are millions of possibilities that the devil may use these moments to creep into your live. There’s an old saying “An idle hand is the tool work of the devil”. There’s a lot of truth in this saying. If you go to the area where the unemployment number is high, then most likely, you will find the high rate of crime in that area.

I was just thinking of Paul as one of the great apostles of Christ who had to work in order to support his own ministry. How about us? I thought Paul set a great example for us as a believer to follow. In a world, where there are a lot of schemes to get rich quickly, the Word of God calls us to work an honest work for our living. Especially as a believer, it is okay to “have a sweat upon your brows”, to get tired after long hours at work. It is a part of living in this cursed world.

So brothers and sisters, let us roll our sleeves and get them done. Whether it is at home or at work, let us be a productive person that gives glory and honor to God through our work. I close with this verse, “So whether you eat or drink, do it all for the glory of God” (I Corinthians 10:31). God bless us. Amen.


Reflection on 2Thessalonians 3: 6-18 by Pst. Devy Nanlohy

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Non Alligatum | Not in Chains

“The word of God is not in chains.” - 2 Tim 2: 9

God the Father chose us to be his adopted sons and daughters in Jesus Christ. It is a great gift and proof of God's love. We know how fragile and weak human nature is. We experience our weaknesses, sins, and falls, etc. Obviously, we'd like to be strong children, prudent, wise, even perfect.

Apostle Paul encourages us to become like soldiers of Christ. It's very interesting as we realize that he was a sinful and weak person too. But after his conversion, Paul was sure that his strength comes from Jesus. He was ready to suffer and accept all the difficulties. His only wish was to be united with Jesus Christ. He was always on "active service" (v.4), "obeyed the rules" (v.5), and "worked hard" (v.6) for the sake of his Master. 

Surely, I am also to follow the example of Apostle Paul. Consequently, I need to be more open and ask the Lord to enable me with grace. I do remember that Jesus was raised from death and now lives in me. He chose me not because I was an extraordinary man or superman. He saw me as a weak and sinful creature who is in need of salvation. Thus, he helped me to overcome my weaknesses. And now I am ready to preach the Good News even so I know how poor I am. 

Thanks to his divine power, through my words and actions, the word of God can be proclaimed all over the world. My only purpose is so many people "may obtain the salvation that comes through Christ Jesus and brings eternal glory" (v.12). Amen.



Reflection on 2 Timothy 2: 1-12 by Fr. Józef Trzebuniak SVD.

(Listen to the Podcast here)

Vocatio | Calling

“To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfil every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” - 2Thessalonians 1: 11-12

The persecution of Christians has occurred since the 1st century. In the first passage of 2Thessalonians, Paul encouraged Thessalonians to endure the persecution and sufferings. We know, every human being – since Adam and Eve, the Thessalonians in the 1st century or we in 21st century – undergoes pain, distress and hardship. The Bible tells us that suffering makes people’s faith grow more and more.

Paul taught us to endure the suffering by focusing on the goal. What is a Christian’s goal? It is to walk worthy of the calling of God (verse 11). How do we be worthy of his calling? By the grace of God and Lord Jesus Christ, it gives us the power to resolve for good and act by the faith (verse 11).

Paul said that if we trust in the power of God, we could not simply let the life flows. We have to make a decision firmly of what we want. It is like a blind man Bartimaeus from Jericho (Mark 10). Long story short, when Jesus met him he asked, “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus knew exactly what Bartimaeus wanted, didn’t he? But he asked him anyway. He wanted him to decide and utter it. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” He made a decision.

Brother and sister, to decide something is one story, to act accordingly is another story. For the act of faith, we should learn from the action of the bleeding woman in the Bible. At any cost, she touched Jesus’ cloak and was healed (Mark 5).

Reflect on Paul’s letter, Bartimaeus and the bleeding woman’s story, our part to do is to resolve our resolution in faith and take the act of faith in God’s power that given freely by the grace of God and Lord Jesus Christ.

What is the result of this way of life or thinking? It is that God and Jesus be glorified in us, and we be glorified in Him (verse 12). This work is done by God actually, not us. Grace of God and Lord Jesus Christ give the power to our faith and work together with our decisions and willingness. Then it will lead to God and Jesus be glorified in us and we in him.

Dear brothers and sisters, some questions for our reflection today: Do we know what God’s calling for us? Do we need to resolve something to walk worthy in his calling? What acts of faith do we need to do? Even if tomorrow looks dark and there is no light at the end of the tunnel, what acts of faith do we need to do?

Brothers and sisters, let the grace and power of God and Lord Jesus Christ lead us to fulfil his calling. To God be the glory. God bless us.



Reflection on 2Thessalonians 1: 1-12 by Veralin Uneputty

(Listen to the Podcast here)

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Filii Lucis | Children of the Light

“For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night.” – 1 Thessalonians 5: 5 (NLT)


This passage talks about the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. It is said that He will come like a thief. Unexpected and will cause a sudden disaster for those who live in the darkness. It also gives an analogy as when a pregnant woman labor pains start. Even when the doctor has predicted the labor time, we would never know the exact time. We could only do some preparations but the pain comes surprisingly, inevitably, and it surely increases to the max. Briefly, that day must be something terrifying.

But verse 4 and 5 say that it would not be a surprise for Children of light and day, but on the contrary for those who belong to the darkness and night. Who are these children of light who are not afraid of the Lord ’s day – when Jesus comes? We might think that they have to be people who have a perfect life, not much struggle against sin and considered good in general.  John Gill’s commentary on this explains that they are “enlightened persons, whose understandings were enlightened by the spirit of God, to see their lost state by nature, the exceeding sinfulness of sin, the insufficiency of their righteousness to justify them before God, the fullness, suitableness, and excellency of Christ's righteousness, the way of salvation by Christ, and that it is all of grace from first to last”.

God loves the humble ones. People who love God, try hard to please him, but soon understand that it is so easy for them to fall into sin and break the heart of God. They grieve, mourn and weep over their hopeless state. They consider themselves unworthy. These are the people who will be exalted by God (James 4: 6-10). 

So Apostle Paul said that we must be on guard, not asleep, stay alert and be clearheaded. We are protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing the confidence of our salvation as our helmet (verses 6-8). That means, we do our job – to have faith in God and have love to share as we have received from him; while God does his. He holds us up with his salvation which is forever and never fails for those who believe in Jesus Christ.

Be careful when we think that we are good enough - when we are self-sufficient and feel that we are not like other people who are sinful and weak. We could easily be deceived with our self-righteousness. We block the light of God to enter and shine over our true self. Come under his light as we don’t want to be considered as the children of darkness and night.

Let’s encourage and build one another up, as we are already doing. For God saves us through the Lord Jesus Christ not to pour his anger on us, but so that we can live with him forever (verses 9-11). Rejoice my brothers and sisters! May God help us all. Amen.


Reflection on 1Thessalonians 5: 1-11 by Desire Litaay


Friday, April 9, 2021

Sanctificatio | Be Sanctified

“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality.” – 1Thessalonians 4: 3

Do we fulfill every promise of love for ourselves, others, and God? No love relationship is always smooth and sincere. There are always challenges and obstacles that would cause us experiencing or causing conflicts. We often come to a point where our loyalty and love are tested: do we remain faithful amidst challenges and trials that come and go? Do we accept challenges in love stories as a commonplace in a relationship or do we choose to turn away and end the relationship? It all depends on us, how to reflect and see all the possibilities and aspects of all events that come our way. Paul in his counsel to the Thessalonians emphasized the sanctification of the body in an honorable way by avoiding sexual immorality.

Now days, it is very difficult to keep true to a marriage vow or an eternal promise. There are too many temptations and trials that test our faith. Everyone has their own meaning in responding to every challenge that comes. Whether the test is a disaster that destroys our relationship or one that ripens our relationship with the people we love. Is it a test that destroys our relationship or a test that completes our pledge of allegiance to our vocation of religious life? 

It is not easy to survive when challenges come our way. Sometimes we realize that as weak human beings, we are fragile, weak, and like to give up easily. In my personal reflection, I find that I give up when I don't put my hopes in God, or when I demand the answers to my prayers to be quick. Sometimes we leave God because we feel that being faithful is too difficult; also because our prayers have not been answered. We waited too long.

Indeed, loyalty to guard every choice we make and defend it is not an easy matter. Everything is a process and a test for all of us whether we keep our marriage vows or eternal promises to live happily. We must always reflect that there is no choice without challenges! All choices always have consequences. In the end, every choice to keep a sacred promise is a very noble thing! When we become stronger in maintaining our relationships with other people and especially with God, we will always smile at the end of every struggle in our life.

At the end of my reflection, I ask for prayers from all of us for all victims of natural disasters in East Nusa Tenggara. Even though material help is difficult to distribute because we are far apart, let us help with our prayers. May God grant strength and health to those who are still alive, those who involve in this disaster and an eternal rest for those who have died. This is an act of our love and loyalty to our fellow humans and the glory of God's name.

Reflection on 1Thessalonians 4:1-11 by Sandre Loreng, SVD

(Listen to the podcast here)