Tuesday, June 22, 2021
Monday, June 21, 2021
Friday, June 18, 2021
Tuesday, June 15, 2021
Monday, June 14, 2021
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
"Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in your midst?" — 1 Cor 3:16
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
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."
Reflection on 1 Corinthians 3:11-23 by Chris Tan
Friday, June 11, 2021
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
Wednesday, June 9, 2021
Monday, June 7, 2021
"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)
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)
“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)
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
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
“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
"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)