Monday, January 30, 2023

Mihi fecistis| Did it to me

“The King will answer them, ‘Most certainly I tell you, because you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’" - Matthew 25:40 (WEB)

Photo by Diego Madrigal on

Matthew chapter 25 is quite a significant and important section. It is the final teachings of our Lord Jesus just before the Passover and Crucifixion.

Two groups of believers are pointed out here by our Lord Jesus. The sheep and the goats actually had things in common. However, the main difference was how they helped others and their final destinations. 

Maybe we can call the sheep the “surprised believers’’.  It seems as if they were very surprised when we look at their words: “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? When did we see you as a stranger and take you in, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and come to you?" (Matthew 25: 37)

Who are the sheep? It seems to be they are just ordinary, humble Christians who helped others in need throughout their daily lives. When we take care of a brother or sister in need, we are serving our Lord Jesus. It is therefore very clear how to be part of the sheep team: help others that need help with basic necessities.

What always amazes me is how ordinary people helped others to survive during extremely bad and terrible times such as the Holocaust of World War II. No selfishness, just genuine care. To me, that is a true example of serving Jesus.

We have the opportunity to serve Jesus Christ personally by helping others in need. Let us pray to God to help us not to miss these opportunities.

As the apostle Paul reminds us in Galatians 6: 9 - 10, “Let’s not be weary in doing good, for we will reap in due season if we don’t give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let’s do what is good toward all men, and especially toward those who are of the household of the faith”.


Reflection on  Matthew 25: 31 - 46 by Hanne Teach 

(Listen to the Podcast here)

Friday, January 27, 2023

Sic faciens| At work

"Blessed is that slave whom his master will find at work when he arrives. Truly I tell you, he will put that one in charge of all his possessions." -  Mt. 24: 46-47 (NRSV)

                                                       Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh at

With regard to the second coming of Christ, we read "But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."- Mt. 24:36. It is sure that Jesus is coming to Judge the world. Unlike humans, God is not limited by space and time. He can come at any hour according to his likeness.

The people who lived along with Jesus thought that He would come soon and take them to heaven. So, they were prepared to be judged. But as the days went by, the delay in the coming of Jesus made the people slowly lose their patience. They began to live their lives with less hope and less holiness. The attitude some people have is:  I have so much time, so just before my death I will repent. That won't work. In this context, the evangelist is reminding the people and encouraging them not to lose hope. So be ready at any time as long as you live on this earth.

"Blessed is that slave whom his master will find at work when he arrives. Truly I tell you, he will put that one in charge of all his possessions" - (Mt. 24: 46-47). Here it is not about physical labour but about the person who lives a life fulfilling the will of God. The person is also following the teachings of Jesus and glorifying God through his or her life.

We as Christians are called to live in hope and not in fear. When we live an authentic Christian life with full integrity, we have nothing to worry about or fear. It is also a fact that only God is holy and we as humans fall into temptation and sin. So, we ask for mercy and forgiveness from God in humility. Indeed, He forgives if we have true repentance. This is our confidence. This is our hope. The tomb is empty. We have a God who is alive and always accompanying us till we reach heaven or gain eternal life. Let us hold on to Jesus as we journey towards eternal life.

Reflection on Mt. 24:29-51 by Fr. George Joseph SVD

(Listen to the Podcast here)

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Ecce | Behold

"Behold, the bridegroom. Come out to meet him" — Mat 25:6 (NAB).

Picture by NoName_13 from Pixabay

There are so many photos that we take with our cameras. There are many views that we have already seen. There are dozens of movies that we have watched. These are natural and ordinary things. Yet, we also have our spiritual sense besides the sense of sight. And deep in our souls, we can behold the Son of God. 

Like Paul who saw Jesus Christ in the form of divine light during his journey to Damascus (Acts 9:1-22). As a result, he changed his behavior and became a true follower of him. 

Also, other writers and saints described a spiritual vision of Jesus Christ. You can read about it in their writings. Also, evangelists wrote about God using the same expressions (J 8:12). Even the Son of God says about himself that he is the light of the world. 

Like the ten virgins of the gospel, we are capable of seeing the Bridegroom. But it depends on how we accept the light. Are we prepared and eager to meet with this divine light? Because it takes courage to spend much time waiting for the Lord to come. It needs good preparation and patience. It also requires being brave and facing the darkness. 

In the image of lamps, we can recognize the holy sacraments which help us welcome the bridegroom. But do we miss him and need him in our life? 

We are going to ask him to open the door which is locked (v. 10). Most of us are sleepy and busy with other obligations but not spiritual matters. We need to meet the merchants who can sell us some knowledge and wisdom. Thus, we can understand better when the Lord is present. But it is wiser to spend time on prayer and meditation of the Scriptures. It is better to come out and stop our business for a while. Because the divine light appears and disappears. So we must be always ready to attend the wedding feast when it takes place. Perhaps tomorrow will be too late. Let's prepare ourselves for the coming of the kingdom of light. 

Reflection on Matthew 25:1-30 by Józef Trzebuniak

(Listen to the Podcast here)

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

In finem | Endure

"But the one who endures to the end will be saved." — Mat 24:13 (ESV) 

Are you a Christian? How much does Jesus Christ really mean to you? Is He holding a very special place in your heart? If our answer of these questions is “so-so”, somehow moderate, then we need to pay attention to Today’s passage.

Jesus is talking about the end of time and how he will return to Earth. Some signs will appear, but it is only a beginning. Long road to go. There will be deceivers, to mislead people with false Messiah (v.5). There will be wars and natural disasters (v.6-7). Then there will come the persecution of the believers of Jesus Christ - “You will be hated by all nations because of me.” (v.9).

Jesus said, “At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other…” (v.10). That is when a natural selection, of who the True disciple is and who’s not, takes place. Actually He has reminded us in Luke 8:13, “The seeds on the rocky soil represent those who hear the message and receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they believe for a while, then they fall away when they face temptation.”

We haven’t reached that end yet. Although I believe the beginning has started. Even so, our faith is tested daily through a lot of challenges – losing jobs, broken families, devastating health problems, unanswered struggling, etc. And with the increase of wickedness, the love of many people - in this case the faith towards Jesus Christ - will grow cold (v.12). The pressure of suffering kills the faith. Many will fall away. We have faith mostly when things are going well.

Let’s keep our love to Jesus Christ, no matter what. Don’t let it grow cold. “Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” (1 Corinthians 13:7). Because “the one who endures to the end is the one who will be saved.”  (v.13, NASB). This is the promise of Jesus Christ, the Second Person of God the Trinity. Hold on, God is bigger than what you are facing. The Lord Jesus be with you. Amen.  

Reflection on Matthew 24:1-28 by Desire Litaay
(Listen to the Podcast here)

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Quotiens | Long to gather

"Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing." — Mat 23:37 (NIV) 

Reflecting on the short passage where our LORD Jesus pronounces 4 woes on the Scribes and Pharisees, called them hypocrites, and openly called out their sins, and His lament over the city of Jerusalem. It brings me back to Genesis 3, after God's greatest creation, Adam & Eve (who were made in His image), had listened to the lies of the evil one, and ate the fruits from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and knowingly hid themselves from the LORD GOD, deeply ashamed of their own nakedness. Until the LORD GOD, called them out in the Garden, and pronounced the deadly cost of the Original Sin, which led to death. 

All of us who are descended from Adam's race, have inherited that indelible stain of sin since the Fall, and it pained the LORD GOD, that mankind had lost the intimacy with Him, our merciful and loving Creator. It reminded me also of the numerous times I had hidden from God the Father, as I tried to cover up for my own sinful heart, by putting on a mask of Christian piety. Yet He knew I needed the Holy Spirit's help to perform Divine surgery on my sinful human heart, and recognise that apart from the grace through Jesus Christ, God's only Begotten Son, I would be hopelessly lost in my sinful ways.

It's only because of grace that I could approach His Throne of grace to seek His mercy and find the grace to navigate through the storms of my life. As the writer of Hebrews wrote for us in Hebrews 4:15-16, "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." 

I will close with this beautiful hymn penned by John Newton (a former slave trader who too had encountered the Spirit of God and became a fervent slavery abolitionist). Truly God's grace is amazing beyond what our finite human minds can conceive, nor comprehend.

Amazing Grace (sung by Darlene Zschech)
Verse 1 
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. 

Verse 2 
'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
 And grace my fears relieved; 
How precious did that grace appear 
The hour I first believed!

Verse 3 
The Lord hath promised good to me, 
His word my hope secures; 
He will my shield and portion be 
As long as life endures. 

Verse 4 
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. 

Singer: Darlene Zschech

Reflection on Matthew 23:23-39 by Chris Tan 

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Unus Magister | One Teacher

"For you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers." — Mat 23:8  

"For you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers." These are the words of Jesus to the crowds and his disciples. He criticized the teachers of the law and the Pharisees, calling them hypocrites. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat. Moses was a leader of the people who mediated between God and them. "For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." - John 1:17 (NIV). Moses denotes the law of God. But the teachers of the law and the Pharisees do not practice what they preach. So Jesus said "You must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do." (v.3).

Then what were the teachers of the law and the Pharisees doing? "Everything they do is done for the people to see."(v.5). Jesus is warning us not to be called "teacher", "father" or "instructor". Because we have one Teacher, Father, and Instructor, and we are all brothers. "The greatest among you will be your servant." (v.11).

How about our democratic society? What do we see? The words of Jesus continued. "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people's faces."(v.13) How harsh his words are! But it is the flip side of his deep compassion. He "wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." (1Timothy 2:4 - NIV). It was out of love shown on the cross. The love of Jesus is upon them even though they were to crucify him.

We must not think of ourselves as different from the teachers of the law and the Pharisees. We must learn humbleness following the example of Jesus.

Reflection on Matthew 23:1-22 by Machiko Nakamura
(Listen to the Podcast here)

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Nescimus | Not know

"We do not know" — Mat 21:27.

Phoro by Robin Higgins on Pixabay

The center of communication is dialogue. So Jesus chooses this simple form to communicate with his listeners. He asks many questions to make them think more. Jesus wants them to respond in truth. He does not need only the answers but also the deeds which follow them. And here the problem arises. Because even if we know the right answers, we prefer to keep silent. Since we are not ready to change our minds and believe Jesus completely (v. 32).

The same happens in any dialogue between humans. We exactly know the truth about ourselves. But we are not able to change our attitude. We are too weak to admit that we are fragile. Jesus does not need heroes who never make mistakes. He only wants us to be humble and honest. 

The same is necessary for any relationship. The parable of the two sons shows us a person who has two children in his house. Actually, these two sons symbolize two different attitudes. It happens that the human being wants and does not want to do something at the same time. Or in other words, they can and cannot do something. It is the true nature of human beings. There is a divine part and a human part in each of us. 

We can fear the fact about our human nature. Like bad tenants we can do awful things and hurt one another. We even can kill people with painful words and actions. But God the Father never gives up on us. He sends his Son again and again because he believes in our goodness and conversion. The merciful Lord can change the stone of our hearts into a wonderful miracle in our eyes (v. 42). We are capable of producing good fruit in the kingdom of God. But we cannot be afraid of the authority of God over us. May Jesus Christ be the Lord of our weaknesses and problems. 

Reflection on Matthew 21:23-46 by Józef Trzebuniak 
(Listen to the Podcast here)

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Pauci electi | Few chosen

"For many are called, but few chosen." — Mat 22:14 

Photo by Pablo Lancaster Jones on Unsplash

Reflection on "The parable of the wedding feast" - Matthew 22:1-15. Matthew chapter 22 is a continuation of Christ's teachings in the temple. This is the third parable to the Jews in the temple. It is also the 43rd parable in the gospel of Matthew.

In this parable, we see that two invitations were sent out to those who were invited. One invite in advance, and then another when all preparations were ready for the feast. We read about similar situations where there were two invitations in the Holy Scriptures: Esther 5:8; Esther 6:14; and Luke 14: 16-17.

From this parable it is very clear, those who were invited did not want to attend the feast. In fact, they did not take it up seriously at all. Verse 5 says, "But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his merchandise."

In this parable we can see how the gospel is often disregarded and ignored. We are also reminded of the many excuses people have, not to accept the invitation. Farmers and merchants are busy people according to this parable. This is still the situation today in our modern society.  This sad situation is something I see all around me - people not taking the invitation to accept God's feast seriously. Worldly matters get priority in many people's lives. The main lesson to take here: worldly cares must not come between us and Christ.

In this parable, the King had to invite other guests now that the invites were rejected. Something unusual happens next. The servants had to gather good and bad people from the highways for this wonderful feast. People were invited regardless of their social position. The Kingdom of Heaven is open to everyone who accepts Jesus Christ as their Saviour.  This is the message we must carry out to the world around us.

"But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man who didn't have on wedding clothing." (v.11). The king scrutinized the hall and saw a man who came to the feast, and yet refused to follow the rules which related to that feast.  There are many opinions on what the wedding clothing represents. According to Charles Spurgeon, the wedding clothing/garment represents anything which the heart is not willing to accept what the King asks of us. Hence, self-will and not obedience.

It is of vital importance that we must make sure we are wearing the correct clothing for the wedding feast and be obedient to what the King asks of us.  Because ''many are called, but few chosen."


I cannot come:



Dake's Annotated Reference Bible

Pulpit Commentary

Reflection on Matthew 22:1-15 by Hanne Teach 
(Listen to the Podcast here)

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Servus | A Servant

"...whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave." — Mat 20:26-27 (NIV) 

Photo by Kyle Head on Unsplash

My daughter’s class has just finished their theatrical work performing “The Little Match Girl” at school. She was busy since last month but not as the ones who would perform on the stage. Her duty was to make the show properties, like the matches, the meal, the costumes and so on, to be used in the show. She went home, and the properties had broken here and there, as after the show her friends played with those beautiful match boxes and even the teacher took pictures with the delicious food she made from recycled materials. She said people liked their class performance as it was entertaining and funny although they didn't win the best play. But I was very proud of her that the properties made the show alive.

Today I learn more about being a servant. The disciples of Jesus wanted to have the best places next to Jesus in His future kingdom. They might think that the kingdom that Jesus would establish was just like the ones existed around them. Even their mother came and pleaded for this favor. Other disciples were angry and indignant to their two friends’ request. It was not fair as they all were equally important. They still had a worldly perspective that a great person is the one who has a high position, who is served better than others.

But not so in the eyes of God. Jesus said, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave - just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (v.26-28). God gives a high respect and an appreciation to the ones who work hard in serving others.

That’s why it is not easy to gain the high places in the heavenly kingdom. It will be given to those who are not just serving but also willing to be slaves for God’s sake. Jesus sets an ultimate example. He did not only serve people with His power and compassion, but even died as a ransom for many.

How about us. Are we grumpy serving others? If life was a show, would we feel left behind as everybody shows up in the front rows among the audience and others perform as the main characters, while we were at the back stage preparing and ensuring things to go smoothly? This is for those who are frequently being forgotten for your tiresome service for others, outside the spotlight. You have the Lord watching over your work. Thank you and God bless you.  

Reflection on Matthew 20:20-28 by Desire Litaay 
(Listen to the Podcast here)

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

In oratione | In prayer

"Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive." — Mat 21:22 

Dear friends in Christ Jesus, this is a promise that Jesus is making to his disciples when they wonder at the actions or miracles performed by their master and Lord. God is always generous in giving to his children from his abundance. There is nothing that is impossible with God and there is nothing that he can't give. But along with this promise of giving he puts a condition that we should ask him in prayer with faith. It sounds like a very small and simple condition to follow but it is not so. We have asked many things to God in our lives and we have received certain things or graces and a few may not be.

In my life the experience I have is that God is so merciful and he grants me the graces even without asking. I try to live a life pleasing to God by loving him. When you love someone you will surely do the things that person asks you. So I also try to do the same by trying to live a holy life by following the Word of God. Of course it is not easy. By myself it is not possible but by  God on my side it is possible. I am sure that God will give me the graces to fulfill his will. 

When I live this life in this way I gain confidence that Jesus loves me. I always experience it. This confidence that I gain through my life experiences always comes along with a price, which means the kind of sacrifices I make in my life to please Jesus. I forgo many of my desires and wishes which are earthly to gain the heavenly kingdom.

In my prayer with Jesus I try not to ask for material gifts. Rather I ask him to increase my faith, give the grace to understand the depth of scriptures, reveal to me the mysteries of his life, give the grace to fulfill his will in my life, give wisdom and strengthen me with the Holy Spirit. Jesus does grant me many of my requests. It is also a fact that along with these spiritual gifts he also grants me material gifts even though I don't ask for it. Just like Solomon, who asked for wisdom but God gave him from his abundance not just wisdom but everything. Jesus, we ask you only one thing and that is, please increase our faith.


Reflection on Matthew 21: 1-22 by Fr. George Joseph SVD

(Listen to the Podcast here)

Saturday, January 7, 2023

Denarius | A denarius

"But he answered one of them, 'I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn't you agree to work for a denarius?'" — Mat 20:13 (NIV) 

Photo  from Wikipedia

Reflecting on the parable of the workers in the Vineyard, once again Jesus paints a beautiful picture of God's boundless grace and mercy, and His just scale in dispensing His gifts to each of us. "'Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?' "So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen." (v13-16).

One of the most dangerous lies of the evil one is to trick our minds into thinking that God is holding something good from us, and being envious of the spiritual giftings of others. Paul wrote in 1 Cor 12 that it is the Holy Spirit who distributes these gifts to each of us. There are different gifts and workings for the kingdom of God, but it is the same God at work in our lives for His Glory.

As I reflected on this passage, I'm reminded of times in the past when my heart was gripped by discontent over my life situation, and that bitter root of discontent had tinted my lens and blinded me to the countless blessings God has poured out into my life, including a miraculous recovery from an acute right-brain stroke, my salvation, and many other blessings. It was only through the Holy Spirit's help and a conscious effort to give thanks that God was able to slowly uproot this evil root of discontent in my heart.

As St Paul reminded us in 1 Thessalonians 5:18:

"Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."

I will close with this beautiful hymn of thanksgiving.

Give Thanks

Give thanks with a grateful heart

Give thanks to the Holy One

Give thanks because He's given Jesus Christ, His Son

Give thanks with a grateful heart

Give thanks to the Holy One

Give thanks because He's given Jesus Christ, His Son

And now let the weak say, "I am strong"

Let the poor say, "I am rich

Because of what the Lord has done for us"

And now let the weak say, "I am strong"

Let the poor say, "I am rich

Because of what the Lord has done for us"

Give thanks

We give thanks to You oh Lord

We give thanks

YouTube Link:

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Henry Smith

Give Thanks lyrics © Integrity's Hosanna! Music

Reflection on Matthew 20:1-19 by Chris Tan