Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Vir Salvus | The Saved One

"Don't you wives realize that your husbands might be saved because of you? And don't you husbands realize that your wives might be saved because of you?" - 1 Cor 7:16 (NLT)




Greetings in the name of the Lord Jesus.

In this text Paul was urging the congregation in the church of Corinth, to keep their family life in order. The church consisted of the believers who were saved from their life of sin, all the while their spouses were still unbelievers. Apostle Paul was stressing the importance of the life of testimony to bring others to Christ, especially in front of the life of their own spouse.

It has been said that you are the only Bible some people will read. People who may never step foot inside the church or crack open their Bible will get a glimpse of Scripture through our life before their eyes. As a matter of fact, this is a hard thing to do. Living your life as if today is your last day on this earth. Having the urge to please our Savior in everything we say and do. 

Paul said in closing, who knows maybe one can win them to the Lord. May the Lord help us to live our life as an open Holy Scripture for others to read. Amen.

Reflection on 1 Corinthians 7:8-16 by Pst. Devy Nanlohy 

Fugite Fornicationem | Sexual Immorality

“Flee from sexual immorality…” - 1 Cor 6:18.





Each of us has our own favorite activities. It could be watching movies, or shopping, or exercising, or even eating – being a food lover. Apostle Paul said that even though we are allowed to do something, it doesn’t mean it is good for us; that we must not become a slave to anything, even though we are allowed to do it (Verse 12).  It is true that food was made for the stomach, and the stomach for food – but someday God will destroy both (Verse 13). They are not eternal and will vanish. 

This passage then talks more and deeper concerning sexual immorality i.e. prostitution. We know that humans’ bodies are created with sexual parts for certain purposes as needed. But Apostle Paul said, that our bodies were made for the Lord, He cares about our bodies (Verse 13) and these bodies are actually parts of Christ (Verse 15). 

It is important to notice how Paul explains the oneness we will become with the person we commit a prostitution. It is not merely to fulfil a sexual need. A Christian is a temple of the Holy Spirit – God is in us. To whom we are united sexually will result in joining the Lord’s Spirit and Christ parts to that person (Verse 16-17, 19). Whereas joining someone’s body intimately to a prostitute definitely is a sin not only to God but to our own body (Verse 18). I think it applies also in any intimate unions, not only with a prostitute, which do not honor God inside us.
 
It’s different with a marriage which is made to glorify God in a godly union. It has a noble purpose. However, Apostle Paul says in different occasion, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” We need to look at any unions in a profound way. Especially for an intimate union, it involves light and darkness. Darkness will take us away from God. 

Just because we have sexual organs as parts of our own body, it doesn’t mean we have the right to use it in our own selfish way. Our bodies are not for sexual immorality (Verse 13). We must honor God with our bodies because these bodies do not belong to us anymore – as God bought us with a high price (Verse 20). Let’s not become a slave of our own will, moreover let’s run and stay away from sexual sin (Verse 18). May God help us all. Amen.

Reflection on 1 Cor 6:12-20 by Desire Litaay 

Monday, June 21, 2021

Vetus Fermentum | The Old Yeast

“Clear out the old yeast, so that you may become a fresh batch of dough, in as much as you are unleavened. For our Paschal lamb, Christ has been sacrificed.” - 1 Cor 5:7.





Yeast, which induces fermentation, is a natural symbol for a source of corruption that becomes all-pervasive. Yeast is often found in our daily lives and is mostly used to make a variety of dough, especially when making bread. The yeast that people use should also be a good one. If the yeast has been kept for too long, it would affect the dough instead of expanding. 

We know that in the Jewish calendar, Passover was followed immediately by the Festival of Unleavened Bread. In preparation for this feast, all traces of old bread was removed from the house, and during the festival, only unleavened bread was eaten. The sequence of these two feasts provides Paul with an image of Christian existence; Christ’s death ( the true Passover celebration) is followed by the life of the Christian community - marked by newness, purity, and integrity ( a perpetual feast on unleavened bread).

Saint Paul wants to remain us that in order to  become a fresh batch of dough, we have to clear out the old yeast within us. To become a true person of God means willing to die from our anxieties, egos, anger, self-centeredness, and lust. We are willing to give up everything that we have, sacrifice, and give away what we love or even those very dear to us for the sake of others and the kingdom of God. Every time, Jesus Christ the true Passover invites us to celebrate the feast, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth ( Verse 8). Sometimes it is not easy to give up ideas, things that become our defense. But we believe that with Christ, we can overcome everything.


Reflection on 1 Corinthians 5:1-13 by Sr. Maria Venidora SND 
(Listen to the Podcast here)

Friday, June 18, 2021

Sanctificati | Made Holy

"The power of God's Spirit have washed you and made you holy and acceptable to God" — 1 Cor 6:11.




When we meet and talk with our friends and members of our families, we get to know so many issues. Everyone wants to share their difficulties and disappointments. For we very often do not know how to solve our problems on our own. So we try to share when we feel that other people listen to us. In the neighbourhood and in the families there are so many disagreements. Even small things can become enormous problems. 
It is interesting that we prefer to talk with others for hours than to pray in the church. Yesterday when I visited my family in Poland, I experienced the same situation. My relatives shared a lot of their stories. They expressed their cases and made me listen to them. At the same time, when I was traveling home, I entered two churches. It was so calm inside. There was no one in a chapel and in the sanctuary, in Rychwałd there were only a few people. In both of these places, there was Jesus Christ waiting for people to share their stories. The Son of God was there to help all the believers. However, we Christians do not come to visit him. We sometimes choose to take our complaints to the court than to Jesus Christ. We forget that we could discuss all the matters with Jesus in the church. With him, we are able to judge everyday matters.
We should be ashamed if as Christian we rarely share our issues with our Lord. As good people we do have a share in the blessings of God's kingdom (v. 9). We should not forget about our dignity as followers of Christ. We should not fool ourselves. The Son of God, Jesus Christ, is the Truth and he teaches us everything. Through the Scriptures, he explains to us how to behave in every case. Let us believe that we have been washed and made holy and acceptable to God. We really are capable of making the right decisions with Jesus.  
  
Reflection on 1 Cor 6:1-11 by fr Józef Trzebuniak SVD.

Listen to the Podcast here.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Purgamenta Mundi | The scum of the world

"When we are slandered, we reply as friends; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now" — 1 Cor 6:13 (NASB) 





Our reflection for today, is taken from 1 Corinthians 4:6-13 - An invitation to be humble. "Do not go beyond what is written, lest any of you boast by giving priority to one over the other." (1 Cor 6:6). It invites us to always be humble because there is nothing that we should be proud of that comes from ourselves. 

We should be grateful for all that we receive. The breath of life that we breathe every day - if God wants to take it away then our lives will end. How often do we give thanks for being able to breathe? If we still don't realize it, our relationship with God is still quite far away. We need to return to see God's love and mercy in the midst of our daily works. 

In Verse 13, Saint Paul sharpens his humility in the words "we have become like the dregs of the world, like the filth of all things until now". Only with humility we can grasp the grace we need from God. Pride closes all doors of goodness. Pride distances us from others and also distances our hearts from God. With pride, we create strong walls and fortress to guard ourselves against the friendliness and kindness of others. 

Are we able to go on living alone and not need other people in our daily lives? If we are not, so humble ourselves and draw closer to the source of mercy so that we are always be blessed with abundant love from the source that God has provided. Amen

 

Reflection on 1 Corinthians 4:6-13 by Sr. Yanti Purnawati SFSC 
(Listen to the Podcast here)

Monday, June 14, 2021

Nolite Ludicare | Don't Make Judgments

"So don't make judgments about anyone ahead of time - before the Lord returns..." — 1 Cor 4:5 (NLT)





My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, St. Paul in the scripture passage for today wants to remind us also, not only the people of Corinth, about the insignificance of judging others as Christians (1 Cor 4:4) and the benefit of  being faithful to God as a way of becoming true disciples of Him (1 Cor 4:2).

Dear people of God, Judgment prevents us from seeing the good that lies beyond appearance. Each one of us has something good to offer his or her generation. We all have strengths and opportunities at our disposal for the benefit of ourselves and others. But most often we tend to look out for what others are doing and criticize. By so doing we kill their spirit and prevent them from growing and becoming all that God wants them to be. 

However, today's scripture passage encourages us not to judge people because that is not what we have been called to do. It's rather to be faithful in doing that which God has entrusted into our hands, be it talents, proficiency at workplace or eloquence in preaching his message of salvation.

Remember, God will judge all that we are doing one day so let us spend the rest of our lives helping one another become the best version of him or herself. We are to focus on the strengths and opportunities of others and less attention on their weaknesses and threats knowing that we too are weak in one way or the other. We should always remember that true judgment only comes from God. God bless you all. Amen.

 

Reflection on 1 Corinthians 4:1-5 by Fr. Godfred Koranteng, SVD.

(Listen to the Podcast here)

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Templum Dei | Temple of God

"Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in your midst?" — 1 Cor 3:16

 

Photo by Julia Volk from Pexels

 

My brothers and sisters, every Sunday, we praise God in a church. A church is a place for us to meet God where we as Christians pray and praise Him to establish our relationship with Him. Besides, in the church, we listen to God's word and meditate on it to give strength and salvation as God's word is spiritual food for our life. Thus, a church is a sacred place since God dwells in it.

A church is not only a kind of building but also a community of God's people. People collect together, pray together, and share. Moreover, this fellowship consists of each person who contributes himself or herself to the church. Thus, ourselves is a church itself which Jesus Christ is the foundation.

In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul the apostles delivered his message that they were God's temple and God dwelled in them. This statement was not only addressed to the Corinthians but also toward us. To build ourselves as God's temple, we need Jesus Christ's spirit, a spirit of sacrificing, solidarity, loving, patience, and humility.

Those virtues above are the quality of Christian life offered to the world when materialism becomes the value of the world. We can see that people are valued by how many goods they have or how many benefits they have. However, for Christians, everyone is valuable and dignified because God lives in him or her.

Let us keep maintaining ourselves as God's temple by establishing our relationship with God and others. We are the temple of God since God dwells in us.

 

 

Reflection on 1 Corinthians 3:11-23 by Fr. Aris Mada, SVD


Sit Ignis Probabit | Revealed with Fire

"...It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person's work." — 1 Cor 3:13




Reflecting on my personal journey from an idol worshipper into a worshipper of the Lord of Heaven and earth, I've come to appreciate the power of the Holy Spirit's Refining Fire that burned away sinfulness and dross that reigned in my heart until the day I invited Jesus into my heart with His Glorious Light. As St. Peter wrote in his first letter about the secret to experiencing joy in the midst of fiery trials in this life. "In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith - of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire - may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed" (1 Pet 1:6-7).

Indeed, there was a war over my soul and my heart, as strongholds of dark and shameful addictions had imprisoned my heart and mind in chains even as a child of God. I could not discern God's Voice because of a loud condemning voice that constantly barked in my mind, "How can you say God loves you? You have a dirty and perverted mind".

However, thanks be to God, that the Holy Spirit lives in me even as I was walking through the dark valleys of earthly sorrows after losing my marriage and sanity. Through time God's Light started to penetrate the dark spaces in my heart and mind and dispel the lingering dark thoughts and memories. I was finally able to discern my Abba Father's still small Voice who whispered in the quiet space of my soul, "My child, I love you more than you can ever know nor imagine, I love you so much that I gave My only Son to die for you."

Thus, I was able to tune into the still small Voice of my Abba Father Who constantly whispered, "I love you, my child." And to finally experience the peace which surpasses human understanding as described by St. Paul in his letter to the young church in Philippi (Phil 4:6-9), even as he was a prisoner in chains for Christ:

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent of praiseworthy - think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."

Amen.

 


 

Reflection on 1 Corinthians 3:11-23 by Chris Tan

Friday, June 11, 2021

Vocatio Vestra | Your Calling

"Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called..." — 1 Cor 1:26 (NIV) 

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 


Dear Brother and sisters, please think what we were when we were called. In the first letter to Corinthians, Paul reminded them to consider their call (v.26). What did Paul mean by the word “calling”? The Church in Corinth was called to be his holy people (v.2) and into the fellowship with Christ (v.9). 

It was proven in the church of Corinth that most Christians in early church were marginal people. Many documents of the 1st century wrote that Christianity was able to convince only the foolish, the dishonourable and the stupid ones of slaves, women, and children only. But Paul wrote that these foolish and weak things of the world shame the wise and the strong, because of God (v.27-28).

Dear Brothers and Sisters, please think what we were when we were called. Some of us were on the peak of our lives - when God called us, but most of us were not. Mostly we were in a deep trouble or suffering when we responded the call and experienced God. If we let Christ into us, God will start to process us to fulfil his purpose on us. He will break our pride in the first place. Since pride is the root of all evil (Gen 3:5). Meanwhile, God is holy and we are called to be holy. Deny ourselves and follow Christ. Finally, we will do many foolish things in the eyes of the world wisdom.

God lets troubles happen, breaks our pride and helps us through it, so that no one may boast before him (v.29). My pride is my logical thinking and me, myself. I put it before God. So God put me in the situations where things happened beyond logic (1 Corinthians 2:9). What can I boast off if I know I am nothing? It is all because of God. “He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption.” – I Corinthians 1:30 (ESV)

Dear brothers and sisters, what is our pride that we put before God? Is it our children, our spouse, our job, our status, our belongings, or ourselves? Or God is our pride - He who so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).

Let us boast in the Lord (v.31). Amen



Reflection on 1 Corinthians 1: 26 -31 by Veralin Uneputty 

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Verbum Crucis | Message of the Cross

"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." — 1 Cor 1:18 (NIV) 


Photo by Cdoncel on Unsplash



My dear brothers and sisters, for those who believe in God, the cross is salvation; but to this world, the cross is foolishness. In the church at Corinth, there was a conflict between the Jews and the Greeks about the cross.  For the Jews, the cross was a stumbling block and for the Greeks, the cross was foolish. But Paul had a very beautiful explanation in answering the question of the Greeks and Jews about the meaning of the cross.  These two groups of people had a big influence.  

The Greeks sought wisdom.  They were famous for their philosophers and already had a very advanced intellect in their time by developing reasons and logical thoughts.  Why was the cross for the Greeks foolish?  The cross in their view was a curse or the end of the journey for a person who had severe punishment.  So it didn't make sense to them that the cross was the way of Salvation from God. 

Likewise, for the Jews, the cross of Jesus was considered a scandal.  This term appears by the verdict against Jesus before Pilate. Jesus had to die because he called himself the Son of God.  Jesus was considered to have committed blasphemy so that among the Jews, he was hated by the priests, scribes, and Jewish religious figures.

From Paul's explanation of the cross, it was clear that the thinking of the Greeks and Jews was shallow and wrong.  The declaration of the cross of Christ was the wisdom of God and the power of God in saving mankind.  Even for Paul himself the wisdom of the world had made man ignorant of God.  The foolishness of God is greater than the wisdom of man, or the weak of God is stronger than man.

The way of the cross is the way God used to save the mankind.  Man is a sinner and deserves the death penalty for sin. But Christ justified man through His sacrifice on the cross, so that man was justified as a gift of God in Christ. Sinners are slaves to sin, so Christ redeemed us from slavery to sin and we belong to Christ.  Furthermore, the cross of Christ declares that the God we know and worship is not only a distant (transcendent) God but also a near (immanent) God, who came down to earth to redeem us.

Brothers and sisters, the cross of Christ is the power and wisdom of God. Therefore, we should not reject Christ and his cross, but we should make him and his cross a source of wisdom and strength in our lives. Amen.




Reflection on 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 by Fr. Risco Batbual, SVD
(Listen to the Podcast here)

In Eodem Sensu | Be United

"I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought." - 1 Cor 1:10






Why was it necessary for Apostle Paul to remind the Corinthians about the importance of unity? Since division had developed among his followers, the relationship between the members of Christ’s body was no longer compatible. They formed some classes: the Apollos', the Cephas' and the Christ's. The question is, did each class have a different Christ? Of course not, that was they themselves who had formed forts between them. So Apostle Paul asked, “Is Christ divided?” (1 Corinthians 1:13). 

Today there are many Christians who unwittingly have attached-hearts to the Lord’s servant rather than to the Word spoken. They began to decide and idolize priests or preachers - no longer Christ. They would rather flatter or worship a man who is seen through the invisible God. They would not want to come to their prayers if they knew that their sermons had less appealing and unpopular preachers. This is what eventually became a division among the congregation in one church. They forget that as powerful as the servants of God may be, they are merely tools, where the spirit of God works.

Then, in Verse 17 Paul explains one thing that is more important than simply increasing the number of church members or the number of followers by saying, “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel; and even then not with the wisdom of speech, lest the cross of Christ be made void.” Paul’s main task was to preach the gospel, and he did not preach the gospel by his own wisdom, ability or intelligence, but with the wisdom of God. Paul said that he preached the gospel with the wisdom of God and not with the wisdom of men, so that people would not depend on him but depend on God. 

Paul said this so that the church would not rely on Paul but on God, so that the preaching of the gospel would not be in vain. If the preaching of the gospel that we do makes people depend on us, then the preaching of the gospel is in vain. We preach the gospel, so that everyone who hears the gospel, depends on God.



Reflection on 1 Cor 1: 10-17 by Paulus Renggo

(Listen to the Podcast here)

Monday, June 7, 2021

Ecclesiae Dei | Church of God

"To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours " - 1 Cor 1:2 (NIV)

 

Photo by Josh Applegate on Unsplash

 

The Apostle Paul's letter to the Corinthians addresses one important issue: unity. The Corinthian church was fractured, and the main reason was pride. This pride manifests itself in a distorted understanding of the gospel, which leads to sinful attitudes about things like speech and knowledge, and the misuse of their spiritual gifts.

In the opening part of this letter, Paul remained realistic in his assessment of the spiritual life and practice of the Corinthian church, but he did not play the role of a grumpy father. In fact, his tone was confident and hopeful, for his hopes for the Corinthian church were firmly rooted in God's unwavering faithfulness. Despite all their troubles, Paul knew that in the end, they would be declared blameless on the day when Jesus returned. In this opening sentence, he firmly believed that God had given the Corinthian church a definite calling and hope. God would enrich their mouths and minds, and spiritual gifts for every need and opportunity.

Paul's greeting inspires us that a corrupted place or situation is a working place for God's grace. This grace of God never fails. God never gives up on us, in situations or circumstances that seem cannot be repaired. God will make us saints in fellowship with His Son. If God doesn't give up on us, will we give up on others? On a situation or circumstance that seems cannot be repaired?

 

Reflection on 1 Corinthians 1:1-9 by Fr. Fransiskus Diaz, SVD

(Listen to the Podcast here)


In Cruce Domini | Boast In The Cross

“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” - Galatians 6:14 (NIV)


Photo by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash


Prioritizing outward symbols makes our spiritual life appear godly on the outside, but porous on the inside. Porous faith makes it easy for people to deny God, just as easily as they hide the necklace of the cross from the eyes of others. Therefore, a life that bears the fruit of goodness as a form of faith is more meaningful than just an outward sign. What kind of faith are we living?

However, not a few people emphasize the excessive use of symbols. The Jewish Christians forced the Galatians to be circumcised, as if salvation in Christ was not complete. They considered the increase in circumcision as an achievement in itself. Circumcision is also used to avoid persecution. They chose to adhere to erroneous doctrines rather than be persecuted for following Christ.

Paul had some outward signs: circumcised on the eighth day, from the nation of Israel, from the tribe of Benjamin, a native Hebrew, a Pharisee, blameless in keeping the Torah (cf. Phil 3:5-6). However, he did not boast about any of it. He gloated in the knowledge of Christ and chose to suffer for serving.

Boasting in the cross includes admiring God that through this way He can redeem us, justify us, bear the curse of sin in our place, and release the power of the Holy Spirit into our lives. Boasting in the cross involves our whole heart because there is indescribable love inside. Of course, just like money, some degree of respect is required: it is difficult to do much if we are hated by everyone. Paul himself wanted to be respected by the church in Galatia, so that his gospel would also be appreciated. However, if he ever showed his status as a Roman citizen, for example, it was not because of his status but to strengthen the position of the church there.

Christianity recognizes many outward symbols. Cross-shaped jewelry; wall decoration with verse quotes; Christmas ornaments. The church administers the sacrament of Baptism and Holy Communion, using candles, palm fronds, and so on. All of that can support us in interpreting Christ's work of redemption.

Boasting is actually the same as praising ourselves. According to Paul, a believer who has received a lot of God's goodness and mercy but then still praises himself or boasts, makes a mistake. It is arrogance! That means we should not boast. But if we want to boast, boast in and through the name of Jesus.

Success or progress achieved in this life often makes us proud and boastful. This is something natural and human. But Paul reminds us that all that we experience because of God. All because of His power, love and goodness for all of us.

 

Reflection on Galatians 6:11-18 by Sandre Loreng, SVD

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Aliquid Esse | Pride

"Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else" - Galatians 6:4 (NIV)






In our devotion for today from Galatians 6:1-10, Apostle Paul was admonishing the believers in the church about pride. Pride is the main reason why the Angel of Light "Lucifer" was cast from heaven. 

The thin line in this passage is the pride of Christians that was blanketed with spirituality. The things that we did in the service of God was actually just a façade to let people know that we are more spiritual than they are. There is always a hidden motivation behind the good works that we do. Paul wants us to consider ourselves and our motivation lest we fall. 

In the same train of thoughts, Paul also showed that when a brother falls in sin, the objective is to restore him back to fellowship by bringing him into the admonition of the Word of God. And the spirit that one must have while doing this is the spirit of compassion, not the spirit of judgement. But for sure, we cannot let out brother fall and stay in sin. In the world that says, "You cant judge me, only God can judge me", we are ordered to bring the fallen one into God's truth to be judged so they can be restored. This is a hard saying, but we as a believer have to do it.

God bless you and keep you!!


Reflection on Galatians 6:1-10 by Pst. Devy Nanlohy

Spiritu Vivimus | Live by the Spirit

"Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit." —Galatians 5:25 (NIV)

 

Image by jplenio from Pixabay


Today's passage is a gentle reminder on how living our lives in the Spirit sets us free. We were never made to be slaves to our desires, and we were never made to be slaves to sin. We are born of the spirit, and it is by living in the spirit shall we stay true to our nature – victorious over mankind's sinful tendencies.

The great commandment that is to love our neighbors as ourselves is also reiterate in today's readings, and shows how much we are ultimately asked to live in love. And the greatest of all these love can only come from the Spirit of God.

The passage also says that in living in the spirit, we shall be given the grace to help us fight against our sinful nature, it will help us live a life with the fruits of the Holy Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. We need to live our lives in the spirit and with its fruits that we may be able to fulfill the great commandment – to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

My favorite priest once said, to love others is to put ourselves in order for the good of the other. If we are able to invite the Holy Spirit into our hearts and into our lives, we will be able to enjoy its fruits, and it will help us see the world differently. The fruits of the Spirit will equip us in loving others the way we love ourselves. The fruits of the Spirit will keep our lives in order that we may love others better.

Let us strive, every day and in every way to invite the Spirit into our hearts that it may be reflected in the way we live our lives.

 

 

Reflection on Galatians 5:13-26 by Blessie Sto Tomas


Thursday, June 3, 2021

Modicum Fermentum | A Little Yeast

“This false teaching is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough!” – Galatians 5:9 (NLT)

 


 

What motivates us when we perform good deeds? Do we still think that our good work saves us from the wrath of God? Do we feel relieved that we are better than other people? Are we satisfied and somehow safe for the heavenly future because of our religious life? In addition to believing in salvation in Christ, do we also think about some rules or regulations we need to fulfill in order to secure a place in heaven?

Our reading today expresses the troubled-heart Apostle Paul had when he found out that some believers were still counting on the circumcision along with accepting Christ Jesus as their Savior. Some people spread false doctrine that in order to make themselves right with God, people need to follow the law, for example by being circumcised. Paul gave a vigorous statement considering the liberty or freedom we have in Christ. He even wished those trouble makers who insisted on circumcision to mutilate themselves! (Verse 12). He protected the purity of Christ doctrine so much that he warned those people for the judgment of God because they brought confusion (Verse 10) and held people back from following the truth (Verse 7). Paul compared this teaching with a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough (Verse 9). Only a little yeast is needed to influence the whole lump. Only a little falsity is needed to infiltrate the truth, instill doubt and destroy the foundation of faith we have on the perfect work of Christ on the cross.

Apostle Paul keeps reminding us all about how sufficient Christ Jesus is. The salvation through the cross of Christ is enough to save the sinners who believe in Him. If someone is still adding the law to make himself right with God then Christ has no value for that person (Gal 5:2). Being legalistic is false. It separates us from the grace of God in Christ (Gal 5:4).

This message is a relief for those who struggle with sins and really want to be faithful followers of Jesus Christ. As we accept Christ as our beloved Savior, the Holy Spirit works inside us.  "For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love" (Gal 5:6). Our faith makes us appreciate God. We love Him and thus love others. We progress over time into a mature Christian.

When we put our hope in the law we perform, that means we depend on our own selves to be justified before God – which is a useless attempt. Sin has been in our life since the fall of Adam. Isaiah 64:6 says, “We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags…”

No one could save us but Jesus Christ - the Son of God, who came, died and resurrected to redeem us from the eternal condemnation. He suffered tremendously to take over the wrath of God from us and accomplished it successfully. Let no one or other teaching replace this truth. Praise be to God and our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.  

 

Reflections on Galatians 5:7-12 by Desire Litaay

(Listen to the Podcast here)

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

In Christo Lesu | Freedom in Christ

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free ..." - Galatians 5:1





We are free people. We can choose freely. We go to the shopping center and buy anything we want. But it is not the freedom which Paul writes about. True freedom is freedom from sins. We are free when we make decisions and choices according to the will of God. This kind of freedom is not an easy thing. We are to learn how to be free. We are to learn from the wise and religious people. We can also learn how to live in freedom from the Scriptures.

But first of all, we are to follow Jesus and imitate him. Only with Jesus, and thanks to him we can be really free people. There are so many people, organizations, even governments and companies which want to take power and decide for us. In mass-media, TV internet, radio, there are evil powers which make us their slaves. We are free to choose the moral teaching of Jesus or their evil teaching. We are sometimes confused what and which path to choose. It is actually very easy to become slaves of electronics, food, cars, perfumes, etc. 

However, we as Christians want to be close to Christ and his wonderful kindness (5:4). We would like to keep faith in Christ and let the Holy Spirit lead us. We decide to be followers of Christ Jesus (5:6). 

With Jesus, we are able to love our brothers and sisters wholeheartedly. Yes, we are cautious and careful. We say sorry if we make wrong decisions. Even if we get into slavery, we come back to the Son of God. We confess our sins and start again. Thus, we are no longer slaves of sins but free children of the loving Father in Christ Jesus through the Holy Spirit. 



Reflection on Galatians 5:1-6 by  Fr. Józef Trzebuniak, SVD.

(Listen to the Podcast here)

Hierusalem | Jerusalem

"But the Jerusalem above is freeborn, and she is our mother." - Galatians 4:26

 



As we come to encounter this passage especially these verses, we could read and understand that St. Paul supports his appeal for Gospel by a further argument from the scripture. It involves the relationship of Abraham to his wife Sarah, that St. Paul recalled her as the freeborn woman, and to Hagar, the slave woman and the contrast between the sons born to each – Isaac, child of promise, and Ishmael, son of Hagar.

Furthermore, he wants to remind us that we belong to the sons and daughters that were born from the freeborn woman, and Jerusalem above is our destiny. Jerusalem is the place where there are only peacefulness, love, justice, freedom and integrity found. And everybody is invited to come and experience all these things and to have an intimate relationship with the Lord. 

If we then belong to the freeborn woman, then that can only love, mercy, forgiveness, goodness we have to share. Do not burden others with what belongs to the child of the flesh. Anger, selfishness, anxiety, because all of these will not help us to discover Jerusalem that God have promised and prepared for us.

 

Reflections on Galatians 4:21-31 by Sr. Maria Venidora SND

(Listen to the Podcast here)