Wednesday, October 20, 2021

In Spe | In Hope

"... and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God." — Romans 5:2 (ESV) 


Photo by Jozef Trzebuniak


Our reflection for today is taken from Romans 5:1-2 "We rejoice in our misery".

For people who do not know God or for believers who have no hope, tribulation is the greatest cross in life. Tribulation is sometimes seen as a curse for sins committed in the past. Today Saint Paul in his letter to the Romans, reminds us that as believers we may stand in grace and may even boast in our affliction because Jesus who is the Source of our hope always gives us the grace to persevere in hope.

As Christians, we should be proud that we have not lost faith in Him, God who never discriminates His people. He is not choosy upon hearing all the complaints and groans of His people. At the appointed time, our prayers will always be answered as long as we are patient in hope and wait for His time because God's time is not ours. In difficult moments when we are almost desperate, God the Holy Spirit who always inspires, reminds us not to lose hope, but to surrender completely to God's will.

Brothers and sisters, let us always submit our will to God, asking that our daily plans and activities and life services may be pleasing and in accordance with God's will. Thus, our lives will always be blessed. God bless us all.



Reflection on Romans 5:1-2 by Sr. Yanti Purnawati SFSC

(Listen to the Podcast here)

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Contra Spem | Hope against Hope

“In hope against hope he believed…” — Romans 4:18 (NASB) 


 


Life is unexpected, challenging and could be devastating. Relying on our own power to survive is proven fallacious. The pandemic has taught the world of how weak we are, just when we thought we could manage everything. Even without the pandemic we have to be ready when difficulties come. Abraham, known as Father of the faithful, set a great example for us in Today’s reading.

It was when God promised to make him a father of many nations from his own offspring, of his old barren wife, Sara – while  he himself was about a hundred years of age, as good as dead (v.19). In hope against hope he believed (v.18). Verse 20 says, “…yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God”. Believing in God is not only in hope for a better situation regarding our well-being, but moreover a challenge whether or not we give glory to God in any circumstances.

Are we dealing with impossibilities? Does darkness ahead scare you? Has fear started to weaken us? Let’s hope against hope as Abraham did. It’s like the Lord Jesus ignored all the doubts for the synagogue ruler’s faith on Jesus - regarding the death of his daughter. Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid. Just believe.” (Mark 5:36). Abraham's faith is based on “…God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that do not exist” (v.17). Our God is the Lord over any hopelessness. Just believe. To God be all the glory! Amen!

 


Reflection on Romans 4:13-25 by Desire Litaay 

(Listen to the Podcast here)

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Secundum Gratiam | According to Grace

"However, to the one who does not work but trust God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness." — Romans 4:5





 
Today’s reading was a bit confusing and baffling for me, and I needed to read it a few more times. In the end, it spoke to me of two messages: (1) God is Lord to everyone, and (2) that everything is grace.

Today’s verses remind of this truth – God is for everyone. He has said it thousands of years ago – that Jesus actually came for us sinners! He is not just the Lord of the righteous, but moreso of sinners like me who need Him more. He has that much Love in Him that can contain us all in His Kingdom should we be willing to do so. He never imposes, as this is what it means to have free will, but His invitation is extended to all of us. He is loving, generous and understanding. God is inclusive – and what a comfort that brings to a sinner like me. May this encourage me more to try to sin less every day. This is what Romans chapter 4 verse 12 tells me: “And He is also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.“

The second message to me is this – that everything is grace. Even my faith is grace. Everything is grace, and that grace is open for everyone, should we choose to accept it. How humbling it is to be loved and adored so much by God who has dominion over everything but loves me for all that I am. It reminded me of a line in a book I previously read – we all know that we have a God-shaped void in our hearts that only God can fill, but do you know that in God’s heart, there is also space meant only for you and you alone? And that God will forever hold that space in His heart until we are ready to go home to Him. And for me, this will always be both humbling and amazing.

May we go through life knowing that God loves us and loves us individually, and that everything is grace available for us, should we only choose to receive it. May God bless you today.


Reflection on Romans 4:1-12 by Blessie Sto Tomas

(Listen to the Podcast here)

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Fides Lesu | Faith in Christ

"This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." — Rom 3:22-23 




Reflecting on the beautiful theological statement which the blessed St. Paul had written in verses 22-23 above. It's simply unimaginable that the Son of God set aside His Royal Robes, stepped onto the earth in lowly human form, to save me, an angry and sinful man from the consequences of my poor choices in life.

In another part of the Bible, St Paul also wrote,"God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Cor 5:21). It's mind-blowing. Someone who was sinless all His life on earth would bear the sins of the world when He gave up His Spirit on the cross.

Knowing that I am loved so deeply by my Saviour gives me confidence that no sin of mine could separate me from my Saviour and no good works of mine could earn my way into His favour and grace, but what is needed of me is to simply trust and acknowledge Him as my God, and loving Saviour. I will close this short sharing with a beautiful song by Maranatha Singers, as an invitation for Jesus to enfold us all in His loving arms and satisfy the desires of our hungry hearts and soul. That the Spirit of God will infill us and make us whole. Amen.

Spirit Song – Maranatha Singers
Oh, let the Son of God enfold you
with his Spirit and his love;
Let him fill your heart and satisfy your soul.
Oh, let him have the things that hold you,
and his Spirit, like a dove,
Will descend upon your life and make you whole.

Jesus, O Jesus, come and fill your lambs.
Jesus, O Jesus, come and fill your lambs.

Oh, come and sing the song with gladness
as your hearts are filled with joy.
Lift your hands in sweet surrender to his name.
Oh, give him all your tears and sadness,
give him all your years of pain,
And you'll enter into life in Jesus' name.

Jesus, O Jesus, come and fill your lambs.
Jesus, O Jesus, come and fill your lambs.

Oh, let the Son of God enfold you
with his Spirit and his love;
Let him fill your heart and satisfy your soul.
Oh, let him have the things that hold you,
and his Spirit, like a dove,

Will descend upon your life and make you whole.
Will descend upon your life and make you whole. 



Reflection on Romans 3:21-31 by Chris Tan

Monday, October 11, 2021

Ex Operibus Legis | Works of The Law

"Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God's sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin." - Rom 3:20 (NIV)

 

 


Paul says that both Jews and Gentiles are all under the power of sin (10) so that no one is better than the other (9). No one can be 'safe'  from the dominion of sin. Challenges and trials are present all around us as well as within us. Our thoughts, words, actions are polluted by our nature as sinners.

So if God reveals himself to us, will we automatically become holy and become His faithful followers? No. It is not automatically. The more we know the Scriptures the more we know about sin. Similarly, when a child does not know that stealing is evil, he will continue to steal and steal. But when he knows the law that stealing is evil, then he will know that it is not worth doing. That's what Paul said, that the Torah opened the way for people to know sin (20).

But even though stealing is a sin, why do so many people steal? Rules cannot prevent humans from sinning. It was what actually happened with the Jews. Torah, which was the guideline, was not able to prevent humans' desire to sin. Moreover, the law of Torah is numerous. There are 613 laws in Torah. It's even impossible for humans to do all the laws. No man can save himself by the virtue of deeds. However, thanks to God, that it is God Himself who has carried out (fulfilled) the Torah perfectly through His Son, so Torah is not a condition of salvation. Salvation is completely a gift, and the only way to receive it is through faith.

So there is no other way for humans to be saved than to hope in God's grace. The Bible often tells that God has a concern for humans.  Not because humans are perfect, but because we are fragile, weak, sinful and need the grace of God.

The main thing Paul is trying to say is that salvation is a gift from God and it is not the result of human efforts. We should not do good in order to get salvation from God, but we should do good because God loves us.

 

 

Reflection on Roman 3:9-20 by Fr. Fransiskus Diaz, SVD

(Listen to the Podcast here)

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Lustitia Dei | The Righteousness of God

"But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say?" — Romans 3:5 (NASB) 


Photo by Garon Piceli from Pexels


One day, a kid broke a plate when she tried to wash the dishes after lunch. This kid did not tell her dad because she was scared he would be angry. At night, she was silent. She felt worried and regretted it. She could not dare to look at her dad and make him suspicious - what happened to this child? Is she sick? Then, her dad asked, “Do you have something to tell?” There was no answer. The kid was so afraid if he knew it. And then stammering, she said to her father, “I am sorry, today I broke a plate”.  After saying this, she looked at her dad. Tears were flowing down her cheek. Hearing and seeing that, the father smiled at the daughter and said, “It is okay. You can learn from your mistake.” So the kid felt free and released from her depression.

Just like that story, a human being always makes mistakes toward God and others. Even though the person regrets but as long as there is no confession, one will be bound by depressed feeling. The effect is discomfort with oneself and others. There is no peace in heart. Thus, confession is a way to get peace as it is an openness to admit failure and mistakes honestly

From God perspective, before a person admits his sin, it is already known and forgiven. And if someone comes before Him to confess, He will stretch His hand and accept the person since God is merciful. We are so grateful to have such God. Having a forgiving and loyal God is a blessing for a Christian. Sin makes human beings unfree but coming to God liberates one from worry and fear. 

A question to examine our heart is, what makes us sin today? And what makes us afraid to come before God?


Reflection on Romans 3:1-8 by Fr. Aris Mada, SVD 
(Listen to the Podcast here)

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Forma Veritatis | The Truth

"No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by the Spirit..." — Romans 2:29  (NLT) 


Photo by Blake Cheek on Unsplash



Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. In this passage, Paul was admonishing the believers to live according to what they believe. For a study comparison, Paul used the Jewish people as an example. Although they are the heirs of the promise of God to Abraham, but what happened instead they became and acted like unbelievers. They, having seen the fruition of God's promise of Messiah lived among them, didn't believe Him instead they killed Him. They have become apostates toward the things of God. In other words, they have been blinded by the light of the Gospel, that actually should have saved them. It was not because of the Gospel , but because of the hardness of their heart. 

This example of Jewish people gave us a warning, that it is possible to know the Truth but didn't have the Truth. To know everything about Jesus, but does not have him as the Lord of your life. This warning also was given by Jesus in Luke 6:46, "And why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say." 

In closing, one way to know and to measure if you are the child of God or not, is the desire to do everything to please Him (may not be perfect, but striving to be). That desire was put there in your heart by the Holy Spirit, who was sealed in the heart of believer at the moment of salvation. Please examine your heart. Amen.



 Reflection on Romans 2:17-29 by Pst. Devy Nanlohy 
(Listen to the Podcast here)

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Occulta hominum | Secrets of men

“God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus“ – Romans 2:16.

Photo by Kamaji Ogino from Pexels


Do you have any secrets? For sure you have. Because each of us has some stories hidden deep inside. It is not wrong to have such secrets. Yet, it is important to allow God to judge your stories. He is not a judge without mercy. But, he is a merciful one who wants to help you face your stories. 

God the Father sends his beloved Son to be with you in all your circumstances. Especially in those moments of your life which are the most painful. It could happen that you keep your wounds far from the divine Medician. You don't need to share them with anyone. But Apostle Paul invites you to let the Son of God touch your scars. 

Don't be afraid. He knows how to cure you. You need to make such a step if you desire to live a peaceful and joyful life. Otherwise, you will always feel sad and depression will be waiting at your door.  

It is not a problem that you committed awful sins. Trust in the Divine Mercy. It is not a big issue that you have bad experiences. Almost everyone has to go through painful situations. Go to Jesus Christ. Embrace his cross and tell him everything. God the Father wrote the divine law in your heart. It is the law of love. So do not be a prisoner of hatred but witness of God's love. Yes, you are a beloved child of the heavenly Father. 


Reflection on Romans 2:12-16 by Fr. J√≥zef Trzebuniak SVD. 

(Listen to the Podcast here)