Monday, November 29, 2021
Wednesday, November 24, 2021
“So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace” — Romans 11:5 (ESV)
Romans 11 comes after Romans 10 which describes the Israelites’ stubbornness to receive Christ as their way to Salvation. Although they had a zeal for God, they sought to establish their own way and did not submit themselves to the righteousness of God which Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” (Rom 10:2-4). They still held on to Moses’ teaching about the righteousness by law, that whoever does the law will live by it (Rom 10:5).
The Israelites were so hard to accept the grace of God in Christ. God said, ‘I have spread out My hands all day long to a disobedient and obstinate people.” (Rom 10:21). We meet people who have heard about Jesus’ love and sacrifice to save those who believe in Him but they just do not want to. They trust their own knowledge of how salvation should be obtained. They abandon the amazing Grace.
In Today’s passage, Paul shows us that although the Israelites were rebellious – killed God’s prophets, turned down His altars, and chased to kill Elijah, God still had the elect ones for Himself, the faithful ones whom he chose separately. These people did not bow down to worship Baal (v.3-4).
The same happens today, there is a remnant, chosen by grace (v.5). He spares a group of people who are loyal to Him. However, it’s interesting that these people are not chosen because of their work but simply because of God’s grace – His undeserved kindness (v.5, NLT). Israel was seeking the favor of God in their own way but they did not obtain it. God even hardened them so it would be difficult for them to see the Truth (v.7-8), until they realize and claim it for themselves (Rom 11:11).
Are you part of the chosen ones? Please be very careful with this privilege. It’s not because of us – do not boast, but also it gives an indescribable relief that He knows our weaknesses, still, He chooses us. Let’s truly honor and exalt Jesus Christ who is the Only Way to Heaven. He’s the righteousness that God the Father means. Indeed, because of the Son, we are saved. To God be all the glory. Amen.
Monday, November 22, 2021
"Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ." - Romans 10: 17 (NIV)
The ear is an organ that we often use in our daily life. We hear what people talk to us, voices from radios, televisions. We hear the sound of rain and wind. We can hear both good and bad news. During the pandemic, we hear so much sad news. Many people have lost their family and friends because of this deadly disease. It affects our inner mood. The words of other people can also affect our point of view.
"Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ" (Rom 10:17). Which material we listen more often, will dominate our minds and hearts and ultimately bear fruit through what we do. The world is scattered with many things to hear to, from the positive to the negative. It is we who determine which things we should listen to and which is good for us. This letter from Paul encourages us not to "mishear". We don't have to hear all the material. But what is most useful for our salvation, namely the word of God, that is what we must listen to first. "Whoever has ears, let them hear" (Math 13:9, NIV).
We are not only asked to listen, but also to pass this Word of God to those around us (see Rom 10:14). So that more people will hear the word of God and more people will be saved. There won't be anything to hear unless somebody speaks. Salvation requires more than just going to the church where the gospel is preached nor just by simply listening to the word of God. It is not only about always accepting and accepting Him...but we have to share the Word with everyone. May God bless you always!
Reflection on Romans 10:14-21 by Fr. Fransiskus Diaz, SVD.
(Listen to the Podcast here)
Friday, November 19, 2021
“...and whoever believes in Him will not be put to shame” - Romans 9:33 (ESV)
God's grace is great for us. He just wants us to trust Him wholeheartedly without hesitation. Throughout the journey of life, we have gone through many stories and there have been many difficult events that we are able to go through because of God's love - when we believe, when we have faith. Like a child in an adult's arms, they never feel worried. They just believe that the person who is holding them is a good person even though they are not the closest ones such are their parents and siblings. They believe that even if the adults swing them here and there, they will not be harmed.
The Israelites who pursued the law because of the truth as described in verse 31, they would not come to the law because they stumbled on a stumbling stone. Jesus who was the stumbling stone of the Israelites is also our stumbling stone. Whatever we pursue in this world, if we don’t believe in God's mercy and providence, then everything will be in vain. We are children of hope. We should hang on to our God, our Provider, trust Him fully just like children in the arms of their parents. So in His time we will gain what we believe. God bless us all.
Tuesday, November 16, 2021
Friday, November 12, 2021
What is on our minds when hardship comes? The cause could be our own carelessness and sins. However, there are other sufferings which are caused by our decision to follow Jesus Christ.
Verse 36 says, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” As we know, to become a true follower of Jesus Christ, there must be a cross to bear, and a world to leave. When we try to save ourselves from the consequences of this decision we will never find peace, but Jesus promised a wonderful recovery for those who faithfully follow Him to the very end of their lives (Matthew 16:24-25).
The Apostle Paul himself was a great example for us of how someone changes significantly after truly receiving Jesus as his Lord and Savior. He no longer considered Earth a precious place as he rather chose to depart from the world and be with Christ. Nevertheless, he knew he still had to work for the sake of many people who needed the Good News no matter how hard the task was (Phil 1:23-25). The truth today highlights on what sustains Paul through all the severe trials. It is love. The love of Christ enabled him to face tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword (v.35).
Sometimes we read or watch an epic love story. Maybe we experience it ourselves - where the man willingly sacrifices his comfort and even fight against anything for the sake of his lover’s happiness. Fascinated by her partner’s sacrifice and sincerity, the lady decides to follow him where ever he goes, come what may. Nothing can change her mind. It’s an analogy, of our relationship with our Heavenly Groom. We love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). He proved it by being all out entering the dark world to save us, His bride, from the eternal condemnation. Paul had no doubt about Jesus’ love as He chose him even when he was the most unworthy sinner (1 Cor 15:9).
Jesus did not only die for us but even is interceding for us right now at the right side of the Father (v.34). The question is, what kind of sufferings have we faced related to our faith in Jesus? To what extent have we lost our lives for His sake? Do we really understand His heart and love Him the way Paul did? If Jesus doesn’t occupy our hearts, then we will not be able to withstand any possible tribulations. Whether it is a little mock, a lonely path to choose, a severe illness, a devastating loss, let alone the ultimate one - the martyrdom.
“And God will provide rest for you who are being persecuted and also for us when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven. He will come with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, bringing judgment on those who don’t know God and on those who refuse to obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus.” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-8 – NLT). Let’s stay firm in our faith, for we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us (v.37). Amen.
Thursday, November 11, 2021
Tuesday, November 9, 2021
In this reflection, I reflect on the character of a child who is innocent, cheerful, doesn't worry about anything and gives all trust and everything to their parents who love them very much. Small children, especially babies cannot tell the difference between bad and good people, they don't feel worried, they see the world from their own perspective, they seem to believe that the whole world loves them so they don't worry if there might be someone who will do something bad to them. The nature and character of a child like this, is what God wants from each of us. If we think that our parents are Lord God the Father in heaven, why should we worry?
Have we ever tried to get through a day without worries? Honestly as human, worries will always be there no matter how hard we try. Without realizing it, the worries we have will only add new diseases to our lives; namely a disease due to the psychological pressure or in the world of psychology it is called psycho somatic. God our Father in heaven certainly doesn't want His children to be in trouble. He reminds us to have a complete trust in His providence. From now on, it would be better if we try little by little to learn to trust God who loves us very much. Surrendering all our worries to God is what He really expects from us. Are we able to fulfill God's expectations? It depends on our faith and our closeness to God.
Sunday, November 7, 2021
"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death." — Romans 8:1-2 (NIV)
If you are in Jesus Christ, God will never condemn you. Condemnation came to human, through the sin of Adam, but God's free gift of justification came to us through Jesus Christ. We were under condemnation in Adam, but now we are in Christ, justified by His grace.
Jesus is God's beloved Son. God loves his Son, so he will never condemn his Son. Salvation is for those who place their faith in Christ. When we put our faith in Christ, God identifies us with His Son. So whoever lives in Christ, loved by God The Father. We were sinners, but we become a righteous person through the suffering and death of Jesus, His Son. As Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:21: "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."
This passage brings me to my childhood. It.reminds me about my relation to my dad. Whenever I made mistakes, my daddy always forgave me. Once he condemned me, but after that he hugged me. I never felt guilty before him.. Not like a criminal before the judge. He always considered me as his beloved son.
The problem is how we can be always live "in Jesus"? We can live in Christ if "we walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit" (Rom 8:4). Everyday, we struggle to do what God expects us. God speaks to us every time through His Words, through the Bible, through every single experience, through our neighbors, through our hearts, through our ups and downs. We should try to listen to His voice. When we fault, when we sin, there is always a way back to God. Everyday, even when we sin, we could stand before God as His child, not as a guilty criminal. Now we should bring our great relief every day.
If God is judging based on Jesus' righteousness, and if we live in Jesus, how could we ever be condemned?
Reflection on Romans 8:1-4 by Fr. Fransiskus Diaz, SVD
(Listen to the Podcast here)
Thursday, November 4, 2021
Tuesday, November 2, 2021
"So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous, and good" - Romans 7:12 (ESV).
Reading this passage, three words have come into my focus: sin, law, and love.
In the beginning, when God created the Earth, he put the man and the woman in Eden, where there was the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God is the One, who knows best what is good and what is bad for us.
We should always remember, that He loves us, He wants our happiness, He wants what is good for us.
Sometimes we don't know, that something is bad or harmful for us, something may seem good and nice, but in fact, it leads to evil.
Therefore, God gives us the law. To help us and protect us from evil, from harm and destruction. Within the frameworks of the law, we can feel safe, and we can love freely, with pure and sincere love.
The important is to trust in God, to keep in mind His endless love towards us. To be thankful for the law, that He gave us from His love to help us on the way to holiness. Amen.
Reflection on Romans 7:7-13 by Sr. Veronika Gaál SSS.
(Listen to the Podcast here)
Monday, November 1, 2021
As Christians, we know the law of God because the Son of God explained it to us. Jesus teaches us: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength" (Mark 12:29-31). And he added: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself". We do understand that there is no commandment greater than these. But although we know this law very well, we commit sins. We love ourselves more than others. We focus on our worries, weaknesses, problems, etc. So, we are discouraged and disappointed. We even commit sins not because we want to but because we are fragile human beings.
Apostle Paul was one of us. He experienced the same. He was one of the greatest sinners. But he met Jesus on his road of sin and he changed his attitude completely. He acknowledges that "once he was alive apart from the law of love and thus sin came alive and he died" (v. 9). He regretted his behavior and Jesus Christ forgets everything that was wrong in his life.
Paul accepted divine mercy and performed awesome miracles in the life of many people. Paul knew very well that he was mistaken and dead by his desires. Nonetheless, he could start a new life with Christ and fulfill God's commandment of love. We learn from his example that it is never too late to forgive one another and start a new life in Christ.
Reflection on Romans 7:7-13 by Józef Trzebuniak.
Reflection on Romans 7:7-13 by Józef Trzebuniak.
(Listen to the Podcast here)