Thursday, June 30, 2022
Custodiens Legem | Guard the Law
Monday, June 27, 2022
Paratus | Ready to Die
This passage is about the journey towards Jerusalem, where Paul was going to die.
Apostle Paul knew his life was going to end very soon. It was God’s plan for him after so many years serving the Lord, spreading the Good News everywhere. Prisons and hardships were so familiar to him (Acts 20:23). The believers in several places he came across were crying and kissed him goodbye as he said they wouldn’t meet him again (Acts 20:37-38). Now in Caesarea, Agabus - a prophet came and told him what the Holy Spirit said of how he would die (v.11). His close friends and the believers there were weeping and urging him to avoid Jerusalem (v.12).
Normally we will be very sad when someone tells us that we are going to die. Let alone when we have to die for the sake of someone else. Sometimes, not very often, we heard about a person who is willing to give his/ her body parts for the healing of a family member. It’s because they love the person so much that the sacrifice feels lighter to do. But to die for someone, needs more than that. The ultimate love which encompasses everything or anyone else even our own selves. Otherwise it’s impossible to reach such decision. This even applies when we have to die to sin, to self-indulgence, to money, to the world, etc.
Apostle Paul had no hesitation at all about this. Verse 13 shows how Paul replied to the people around him, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”
Dear brothers and sisters, do we have such love that Apostle Paul had towards Jesus? “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26). It is not that we have to hate others, but Jesus requires the first place in our hearts. It’s the standard he set and a very high one.
Jesus Christ left his Kingdom in Heaven to die bearing the wrath of God to save you and me. We need to look deep inside. Is Jesus the King of our hearts, whom we give our ultimate devotion and love? For Apostle Paul said, “Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ.” (Phil 3:8). He is truly wholeheartedly devoted to Jesus Christ. How about us? May God help us all.
Thursday, June 23, 2022
Consummem Cursum | Complete The Task
Wednesday, June 22, 2022
Anima Ipsius | Life Within
In today's passage we see that Paul is bidding farewell to the people of Troas as he is moving to the next place of his mission. Since it was the last night with them he decided to spend more time with the people talking to them. At that time one young man named Eutychus, who fell asleep, fell down to the ground three floors below. It is mentioned in the Bible that he was picked up dead. However, Paul came down and picked the dead body of this young man and raised him to life saying, "Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him." Then Paul continued the meeting till dawn.
Dear brothers and sisters, as long as we have life in our body we are alive. God has given all of us this gift of life. It may be long or short we do not know. Along with life he also gives us freedom. The freedom to Choose God or devil. The real way of making use of this freedom is to glorify God through our life. But many choose the other way, the easy way to glorify evil.
The young man fell asleep while Paul was preaching the truth about Jesus Christ. The young man had not placed his heart in Jesus. We read in Matthew 6:21 "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." We most often place our heart on things, pleasure, people, wealth, power, name and fame etc. These things take away our hearts from Jesus.
Wednesday, June 15, 2022
Dimisit Ecclesiam | Dismiss the Assembly
"After he had said this, he dismissed the assembly" — Acts 19:41
In this passage, there was a demonstration in the city of Ephesus. At that time in the city of Ephesus there was a temple of Artemis which was famous throughout the world and became the pride of the city. Because of Paul's preaching of the gospel, a silver idol maker, Demetrius, was disturbed and his business was threatened with bankruptcy. He was trying to provoke the people in the city of Ephesus. In his speech, Demetrius tried to persuade the builders that all this was because of Paul trying to destroy the idol of Artemis. For Paul said that "everything made by human hands is not a god" (Acts 19:26).
There is an interesting saying in verse 32: "Meanwhile, the people gathered in the building were shouting; one said this and the other said that, because the crowd was in chaos and most of them did not know what they were gathering for. " If we look at our lives today, the events in Ephesus are very trending events. People sometimes become like the Ephesians who were influenced by Demetrius' talk without seeking the truth. People often join in without knowing why, and the worst part is that some people become provocateurs for their own benefit. There are people who hate the Church and then corner the Church and invite others to join in against the church.
Alexander the Jew tried to calm the angry mob, but his efforts failed (34). Finally the City Clerk intervened to calm the crowd (35). He persuaded the people of Ephesus to calm down and stop committing acts of anarchy. He managed to calm the crowd.
The story in Ephesus teaches us that sometimes the presence of Christians becomes a problem in society because some people want to criticize and destroy the followers of Christ. This situation needs to be responded wisely. We learned a lot from the clerks in that city. At the same time we remain in control of ourselves and are not provoked by circumstances. May we continue to maintain faith in Christ while asking His wisdom to be wiser in dealing with everything. Let's also ask His Holy Spirit so that we can sort out what is good and what is right according to God's will.
Reflection on Act 19: 23-41 by Fr. Fransiskus Diaz, SVD
(Listen to the Podcast here)
Tuesday, June 14, 2022
Exhortatus | Encouragement
We speak a lot and share many words in daily conversations. We very often focus on ourselves and our needs. We are at the centre of our talks. It happens that we even do not listen to others. They say something but we do not care about it.
Paul the Apostle had a different attitude towards people. When he travelled, he met hundreds of people and talked with them. "He provided many words of encouragement" (v.2). In this way his mission was successful. For he knew what to tell his listeners. He was always focused on the truth of Jesus Christ. Even when he experienced difficulties, he did not give up. He stayed with those who accepted his words and fell in love with the Good News. Thus, more and more friends wanted to go with him because he was full of the Holy Spirit.
Today we can think about ourselves. After Pentecost are we fulfilled with the Spirit of God? Are we the followers of Jesus Christ who support others with "words of encouragement"? Does the Holy Spirit work through our words and actions?
Let us imitate the Apostle Paul. Let us concentrate on goodness and share the Gospel with the world.
Reflection on Acts 20:1-6 by Fr. Jozef Trzebuniak SVD
(Listen to the Podcast here)