Monday, November 29, 2021

Hostia Vivens | A Living Sacrifice

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship." — Rom 12: 1 

Reflecting on the beautiful written appeal in Verse 1 above by St. Paul to the newly converted believers in Rome, reminded me of the verses from Romans 12:2, 9-18 - carefully selected and read by James, younger brother of Kate Middleton on her wedding to Prince William, the second in line to the British throne:
"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds."
And included: 
"Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord."

As the Hebrew writer had written in his appeal to all believers in Hebrews 10:23 to hold unswervingly to the faithful promise of God. Or the appeal of Moses to the nation of Israel in Deuteronomy 10:20 to fear God, serve Him, hold fast and take their oaths in His name.

In his appeal to New Testament believers in Corinth, St. Paul urged all believers to put on the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:10-16:

"The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person's thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for, 'Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?'
But we have the mind of Christ."

Therefore, we are urged to put on Christ in our daily words, actions, and deeds, and to die to our old sinful selves with the help of the Holy Spirit. This is why personally, I love this quote by Oscar Wilder from his paperback novel - A Woman of No Significance, which gives me hope as a sinner struggling with my sinful nature. "The only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past and every sinner has a future."

I will close with this classic hymn penned by a former slave trader who gave up his sinful slave trade and laid down his life to serve the LORD.

Amazing grace! how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch; like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!

The Lord hath promised good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.

When we've been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we first begun.

Reflection on Romans 12:1-2 by Chris Tan

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Secundum Electionem | Chosen by Grace

“So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace”  — Romans 11:5 (ESV) 


Photo by Daan Stevens from Pexels

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.



Reflection on Romans 11:1-10 by Desire Litaay 
(Listen to the Podcast here)

Monday, November 22, 2021

Verbum Christi | The Word of Christ

"Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ." - Romans 10: 17 (NIV)


Photo by Ben White on Unsplash


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

Qui Credit | Whoever Believes

“...and whoever believes in Him will not be put to shame” - Romans 9:33 (ESV) 

Photo by Derek Thomson on Unsplash

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.

Reflection on Romans 9:30-33 by Sr. Yanti Purnawati SFSC

(Listen to the Podcast here)

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Filii Dei | Offspring

"The children of the promise are counted as offspring" — Romans 9:8. 

So many promises we made in our life. Also, others promised us many things. We made small and big promises. Actually, every day we promise something to our brothers and sisters. Besides, we make important decisions. Yet, we know very well that we are weak and fragile. The human word can be strong but often it does not last long. On the other hand, the promise of God is everlasting and powerful. If the Lord promises us something, we can be sure that we will receive it. One of such promises tells us that we are children of God. We are heirs and adoptive children to whom "belong the glory, the worship and the promises" (v. 4).  We often forget about our dignity as children of God. Because of our bad experiences in our life, we doubt also God's promises. But it should be our strength to keep the word of God in our hearts and mind. God's promise never fails.


Have you received the word of prophecy for your present and future life? Do you still believe that God has a wonderful plan for you? You need to be patient and wait for God's promise to come true. But it will happen for sure. It will become true not because of your good works. You don't need to do anything. Your duty is only to trust in God and be ready when it comes into life. You are to discover the right place and proper time of God the loving Father. He will show you how the Good News fulfills in your life. For every promise of God comes from his eternal love towards you. Respond to him with your loving heart.


Reflection on Romans 9:1-13 by Józef Trzebuniak 

(Listen to the Podcast here)

Friday, November 12, 2021

Superamus | More than Conquerors

" all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." — Romans 8:37 (NIV) 

Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay

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.


Reflection on Romans 8:31-39 by Desire Litaay 
(Listen to the Podcast here)

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Per Patientiam Expectamus | Hope with Patience

"But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience." — Romans 8: 25 (ESV).
Image by zhugher from Pixabay

These verses from the book of Romans speak of the future glory, and what beautiful promises they hold.
These verses give me so much of hope in the midst of this pandemic. At this time when everything is uncertain and we don’t really know what will happen next, isn’t it comforting how we can rest on God’s promises? In verse 18, it is said, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” It speaks of so much hope to me, of so much life – first that this struggle will soon have its end. God promises it in His Word. That the fear, uncertainty and restrictions of this pandemic will have its end, eventually. And on top of that, God promises that our present difficulties does not compare to the glory we are heading to. Wow, hope, rest and peace.
As for hope, the next few verses elaborate on it further. In verse 24 and 25 – “For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently." I realized – yes, this is exactly what makes hope powerful. When all seems lost and nothing is going our way, it is hope we hold on to, to get us going. Hope that things will turn around and that things will change for the better. For us followers of Christ, our hope is anchored on God – and he assures us repeatedly through the Bible – He is our hope we can depend on. He has said it, and He has never gone against His word. Things will get better, if only we be patient in waiting for His promises. It is difficult, but we can always ask for the grace to help us cling onto the hope God brings.
In verse 28 – “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Again, a promise we can hold on to. So long as we love God, we know things will work out for our good in the end, even as it doesn’t seem so at the moment.
As always, we find so much hope in God’s word. So let’s push on, dear friends. God has given His Word, and He has never failed on His promises in the past, He will never do so in the future. Hope on.

Reflection on Romans 8:18-30 by Blessie Sto Tomas
(Listen to the Podcast here)

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Coheredes | Co-heirs

"And if we are children, then we are also heirs - heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ ..." — Romans 8:17 

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.

Reflection on Romans 8:5-17 by Sr. Yanti Purnawati, SFSC
(Listen to the Podcast here)

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Nihil Damnationis | No Condemnation

"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)

Photo by willsantt from Pexels

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

Gratia Dei | Thank You God

"So I find this law at work: although I want to do good, evil is right there with me...Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our LORD!" - Romans 7:21,25.

Photo by Thirdman from Pexels

St Paul in Romans 7: 21-25 says, "So I find this law at work: although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our LORD!

Reflecting on the beautiful and honestly painful confession of St Paul. He acknowledges the conflicting pull of the sinful nature at war with the spiritual nature that is imparted into all believers at the point of conversion when the Spirit of God had chosen to indwell in unclean vessels, i.e. our human bodies and transform each of us into a Holy Temple of a Holy God. This Divine Act of imputed righteousness is given through faith in the One Time Perfect Sacrifice of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to all who believe. Yet despite the indwelling Spirit of God, the old sinful nature doesn't die off immediately, and we are given free will daily to either walk by faith in step with the Spirit or succumb to the old sinful natures.

For many years, after receiving Christ as Lord and personal Saviour in 2005, I found my mind entwined and trapped in bondage with deep dark sinful habits, and desperately tried on many occasions to breaks those chains by my own power. I had experienced brief periods of respite when I was able to stop those habitual patterns by my own willpower only to fall into despair when a single thought or image in my broken sinful mind led me back into the deep dark pit of the sinful habits.

Until one day, like the young man who had squandered his youth and father's inheritance on wanton living, I came to the end of my human ropes, battling daily with despairing thoughts of wanting to end my own miserable life. I had no other choice but to cry out to ABBA Father, "Father, I have sinned against You, I'm sorry, help me please." And just like the young man I found a Heavenly Father who had been staring into the distance, hitched up His long royal robes and ran towards me and embraced me with the strongest and most loving Fatherly hug. He restored me and welcomed me back into His beautiful royal household. So that today, just like St Paul, I can say, "Thanks be to God who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord." I will conclude my sharing with these verses from St Paul, in 1 Corinthians 1:27-30:

"But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption."

And a beautiful worship song invoking the Power of the Holy Spirit to fall upon all of us through this pandemic, to spark a fresh outpouring of His anointing and set the earth ablaze like He did over 2000 years ago with the first Pentecost, that the Message of the gospel shall be preached to the ends of the earth. Amen. Wishing all a blessed month of November ahead.

YouTube link to the song:

Come Holy Spirit (Fall on Me Now)
Come Holy Spirit, fall on me now
I need your anointing, come in Your power
I love You Holy Spirit
You captivated my soul`
and everyday I grow to love You more.

I'm reaching for Your heart
You hold my life in Your hand
Drawing me closer to You
I feel Your power renewed
Nothing compares to this place

Where I can see You face to face
I worship You in spirit and in truth.

Reflection on Romans 7:14-25 by Chris Tan

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Lex Sancta | The Law is Holy

"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

Lex Sancta | The Law is Holy

“The law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good” – Romans 7:12 (ESV).

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.

(Listen to the Podcast here)