Monday, February 27, 2023

Spiritus Sanctus | Holy Spirit

"But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin." – Mk. 3 : 29 (NRSV)

Photo by Skully MBa on

Dear friends in Christ Jesus, we all know that during Jesus' three years of public ministry he was always busy and hardly had any time for himself. There were always people around him and often he did not eat or take rest. The little free time he had he used to spend in prayer communing with his Father. Some of the scribes claimed that Jesus is possessed by an evil spirit and by the ruler of demons he casts out demons (v.22). Jesus is making them aware of the fact that evil spirits won't work against themselves, why should they destroy their own kingdom. Jesus in his life filled with the Holy Spirit was trying to build up God's kingdom. It is also a fact that Satan using evil spirits is trying to build up his own kingdom.

The question we need to ask is what spirit do we possess? Are we filled with the Holy Spirit trying to build up God's kingdom, or are we on the side of Satan? The true sign of the Holy Spirit is unity and love and the sign of evil spirit is division and chaos. 

The Holy Spirit gives us eternal life and the evil spirit leads our souls to destruction. As workers in the vineyard of God's Kingdom, let us spread love and help out our fellow brethren to receive the Holy Spirit. A person who is truly filled with the Holy Spirit can not be easily attacked by the evil spirit. 

Let us earnestly ask Jesus to fill us all with the Holy Spirit so that we can continue the mission that he has entrusted to us and that is leading all people to the Truth. In our mission encounters we may come across people who are so stubborn and hard hearted who may not be willing to listen to us or listen to their conscience even. Let us not lose our hearts in such situations but rather offer their souls to Jesus in prayer and then see the miracles. 

Holding the pierced feet of Jesus and looking at his five wounds and trusting in his precious blood and adoring his opened side and stricken heart. Let us implore that we may never sin against the Holy Spirit. Amen.


Reflection on Mk. 3: 20-35 by Fr. George Joseph SVD

(Listen to the podcast here)

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Medicus | Physician

“...Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to  call the righteous, but sinners."  — Mark 2:17 (RSV)


Photo by JC Gellidon on Unsplash

The tax collectors in Jesus’ day worked for the Roman Empire to collect taxes from the Jewish, which brought benefits to the Romans not for the Jewish, and maintained the Romans’ control over the Jewish territory to oppress them more and more. This duty was often done in unethical ways, like harassing people, taxing over and over by different tax collectors and with inflated analysis over people’s properties and income so they could get higher taxes. When people couldn’t pay the taxes, the tax collectors gave loans and charged them high interests as private debts. There’s nothing the Jewish could do, such as asking for a law enforcement, as the judges also were paid from the taxes. Many times the tax collectors were accompanied by the Roman soldiers representing the authority of the Roman Empire. No wonder they were seen as wicked people, excluded by other Jewish, excommunicated by the rabbis in the synagogues and utter disgraces to their own families. (Source: )

Can you imagine Lord Jesus develops friendship and close contact with the tax collectors even chooses one of them as part of his twelve companions on Earth (Matthew ‐ the Apostle)? Yes. That's why the Pharisees were shocked, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” (v.1). While many of us might maintain our so‐called ‘purity’ like the Pharisees did by avoiding some people and surrounding ourselves with ‘good people’ only, Jesus approaches these people and shows them the grace of God.

All were sitting and eating together: Jesus, His disciples, the tax collectors and sinners. Let’s see them in another way: Jesus Christ and (merely) human beings. Because Apostle Paul in Romans 3:23 said,”… all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  However, until we realize that we are sinners, that we are sick, we will not come to Him. We are either too proud to consider ourselves as sinners or losing our sensitivity on sinful things. On the other hand, we also could be overwhelmed with our sins that we choose to stay away from Him. We are desperate, unable to save ourselves but have nowhere to go. 

Jesus Christ understands our nature as sinners. He knows that we need Him, as He said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” People who were perceived as ‘sinners’ came and ate together with him at the house of Levi, the tax collector (v.15).  The sinners saw there was hope for them as well, when the tax collectors were welcomed to sit and eat with the Lord. The same hope is still open for us all who are tired with the old sinful habits. Let’s come to the Great Physician, who is constantly calling us, to be healed and have a new life in Him. 

Reflection on Mark 2:13 ‐17 by Desire Litaay 
(Listen to the Podcast here)

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Surge | Stand up

He said to the man whose hand was withered, “Stand up.”- Mark 3: 3 (WEB).

Photo by Lucas Pezeta on

Jesus entered into the synagogue that Sabbath day knowing the Pharisees were watching Him. They were setting a trap for Him. Despite this situation, He healed the man with the withered hand. For me, this points to one word: compassion. Jesus had compassion for people with problems and needs. It is quite clear that the Pharisees did not have compassion for this man. They were only focused on their own agenda and plans.

The Gospel of Mark often focus on emotions. We read about Jesus’ emotions in this chapter. In Mark 3: 5 we read: “When he had looked around at them with anger, being grieved at the hardening of their hearts, he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.”  It is not very often that we read that Jesus Christ showed anger. Anger due to the hard hearts of the Pharisees. This reminds us to make sure that our hearts are always open.

For this man to be healed, he first had to show up with an open heart. He had to go out of his house to the synagogue. If he stayed at home, things might have turned out different for him on that joyous day. Some say that people with disabilities were not permitted at the synagogue. Others say that maybe the Pharisees arranged for him to be at the synagogue. Whatever the case, this man showed up. That was the first important step.

Next, this man had to do two things: stand up and stretch out his hand. Jesus asked only these two small things from him.  He obeyed and Jesus Christ healed him.  For me, this symbolizes what we need to do daily as well: stand up and stretch our hand out to Jesus Christ.  Whatever life throws at us, we need to show up, stand up and stretch out our hand to our Saviour.

Reflection on Mark 3: 1 – 19 by Hanne Teach

(Listen to the Podcast here)

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Intra se | Within themselves

"They were thinking this way within themselves" - ‭‭Mark‬ ‭1‬:‭1‬ ‭(BSB).

You are thinking a lot within yourself. What is your future? What are you going to do?  How could you overcome your problems? Could you avoid this or that situation in your life? 

There are so many ideas that appear in your head. But sometimes you sit down with Jesus at home. You calm down your mind and soul. 

The Lent season invites us to spend more time only with Jesus while he stays at home (v. 1). You do not need to control everything - your past, presence, and future. The Son of God is close to you.  

There are many obstacles that do not allow you to meet with Jesus face to face. If you are unable to get near the Lord, you have to find a better way to approach him. If you are too weak alone, you can ask your community to pray and support you. There is always a chance to break down the wall between you and God. 

If you hear Jesus preaching in the church. If your community reads the Holy Scriptures. You are luckier than thousands of people who are far away from the Lord. You can break through your anxieties and let them down in front of Jesus. 

There, you will hear again that you are a beloved child of God (v. 5). You will get absolution from all your sins because you are faithful. Don't follow the scribes who are only sitting and doubting. They do not believe in the power of his words and actions.  

You do trust in Jesus Christ. You are to open your heart and start a new life. You can win with the Lord. For the Son of God has the authority to make miracles on earth (v. 10). So come closer to Jesus and you will be astounded. You will glorify God in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Reflection from Mark 2:1-12 by Józef Trzebuniak

(Listen to the Podcast here)

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Genu flexo | Kneeling down

"A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him, 'If you choose, you can make me clean.'" — Mark 1:40 (NRSV) 

Reflecting on the beautiful exchange between our Lord Jesus and the leper, who in his humility, came on his knees and begged the Son of God to heal him. It is lovingly portrayed by the Apostle Mark in 1:40-45. Our Lord's merciful and immediate response to this man's heartfelt pleas: 

"I do choose. Be made clean." 

Jesus' response reminded me of God's loving question to Adam, "Where are you?", after Adam and Eve had disobeyed His Commandment not to eat of the fruit of the Knowledge of Good & Evil. It never fails to amaze me that even though He is our Omniscient and Omnipotent Creator, yet His one desire is to have a personal relationship with a sinful humanity (His creation). 

It must have been a painful and lonely existence for the leper, as an outcast from the Jewish community. It certainly took great courage for Him to appear in a public space, to go on bended knees and made His desperate plea to the Son of God. It gives me a blessed assurance that I too a leper in my heart (of many sins) can have direct access to God's mercy and healing grace if I am willing to humble myself and ask for healing in Jesus' Name. Just like the leper who stepped out in bold faith as recorded in today's gospel from Mark Chapter 1. 

I will close with this beautiful hymn by Twila Paris, as a reminder that Jesus is not only the Son of God, but He's also God's Perfect Redemptive Sacrifice for all sinful humanity.

Lamb of God – Twila Paris 
Verse 1 
Your only Son no sin to hide
 But You have sent Him from Your side 
To walk upon this guilty sod 
And to become the Lamb of God 

Sweet lamb of God 
I love the Holy Lamb of God 
Oh wash me in His precious Blood 
My Jesus Christ the Lamb of God 

Verse 2 
Your gift of love they crucified 
They laughed and scorned Him as he died 
The humble King they named a fraud 
And sacrificed the Lamb of God 

Oh Lamb of God, Sweet lamb of God 
I love the Holy Lamb of God 
Oh wash me in His precious Blood 
My Jesus Christ the Lamb of God 

Verse 3 
I was so lost I should have died 
But You have brought me to Your side 
To be led by Your staff and rod
 And to be called a lamb of God 

Oh Lamb of God, Sweet lamb of God 
I love the Holy Lamb of God 
Oh wash me in His precious Blood 
My Jesus Christ the Lamb of God

Songwriters: Twila Paris
Licenses: UMG (on behalf of Sparrow (SPR)); Adorando Publishing, LatinAutor - UMPG, Warner Chappell, Adorando Brazil, Capitol CMG Publishing, LatinAutorPerf, ASCAP, and 8 Music Rights Societies

Reflection on Mark 1:40-45 by Chris Tan

Friday, February 17, 2023

Evangelium | Good news

"The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God"‭‭Mark‬ ‭1‬:‭1‬ ‭(NIV‬‬)

Photo by Daniel Akashi on

Mark writes the beginning of this gospel in a condensed way. In the first 20 verses, he wrote about the prophecy by Isaiah, John the Baptist, the baptism of Jesus, the temptation in the wilderness, and the calling of the disciples.

What caught my attention the most is the 12th verse: “At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness”. Just before that, we read: “And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’” - ‭‭Mark‬ ‭1‬:‭11‬ (‭NIV).

It is hard for me to understand why the Holy Spirit sent Jesus to the wilderness to be tempted. That was just after a voice from heaven said that Jesus was the beloved child whom God the Father would be pleased with.  This Bible verse may have the answer: “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?” - ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12‬:‭7‬ ‭(NIV‬‬).

Indeed we have hardships too. However, we are also the children of God.  The Bible provides us with this verse from Hebrews: “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” - ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12‬:‭11‬ (‭NIV)‬‬.

This verse reassures us: “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” - ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭10‬:‭13‬ ‭(NIV)‬‬.

Oh, my Father in heaven. Great is your faithfulness! 

Hymn: Great is They Faithfulness by Women of Faith:

Reflection on Mark 1:1-20 by Machiko Nakamura

(Listen to the Podcast here)

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Dubitationes | Doubts

"When  they  saw  him, they  worshipped   him;   but   some   doubted." —  Mat 28:17 (NIV) 

Shortly after the good news was spread that Jesus had risen from the dead, to his disciples, the chief priests were quick to bring up an explanation as to why the tomb was open, and why Jesus wasn't there. They were quick to dismiss the possibility of a resurrection. Just as such, they quickly bribed the soldiers a large sum of money, and to tell the others and the governor, that the disciples came during the night, and took Jesus while they were asleep. And just like that, a lie became the truth to many. For it became circulated widely among the Jews to this very day.

But in truth, the disciples went to Galilee, just where Jesus had told them where to go. And when they saw him, some had doubts. Jesus reassured them, and gave them a mission. "To make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age," Jesus said.

This chapter resonates in a way to me because we can clearly perceive how people, even when we have proof right in front of us or have it happened just in front of our eyes, can still have doubts, or be in denial. Even after Jesus had resurrected from the dead, and the soldiers truly saw him arise and greeted the women who saw him, they were quick to deny him for coin. Just to keep playing the Chief Priests and the Elders' ploy. And in the case of the disciples themselves, even after seeing all that had happened in their own eyes, they still had doubts. But even then, Jesus still accepted us, and told his disciples to share the good news to the world.

Aquinas once said,  "To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible." I believe, it truly applies to this chapter.


Reflection on Matthew 28:11-20 by Cristobal Alvarez 
(Listen to the Podcast here)

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Surrexit| Raised

"He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay." – Matthew 28: 6 (NRSV)

Photo by Ivan Samkov on

All Christians believe in life after death. The life that God is promising to us is eternal. We read in the book of wisdom of Solomon 2: 23 – "For God created man to be immortal, and made him to be an image of his own eternity".  

Our life doesn't end with our death. By death our soul is separated from the body and this soul continues to live. This hope that we have is actualized through the resurrection of Jesus himself. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul reminds us: "And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith" - 1 Corinthians 15:14.

Jesus himself says in John 5:24 – "truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life". When we look into the life of Jesus he was very certain about the kind of death that he was going to undertake and he was also certain about the fact that after three days he will be raised. We read in the gospel of Mark 9: 30-32 – "The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise."

After the death of Jesus, the disciples were terrified and sad. They had almost lost hope. Even though Jesus had told them that he will be raised on the third day, they had not understood it. It is at this time that the Angel appears to Mary Magdalene and her companions and tells them, "He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay." - Mt. 28: 6. This good news of Jesus being raised is announced by these women to the disciples and it gives them hope. 

This is also one of the foundations of our faith: the real good news that Jesus lives. We are also asked by Jesus to spread this good news. As the tomb is empty and by his death Jesus has destroyed death, sin and all evil.  We have the best hope possible in the world. Let us also do just like Mary Magdalene and her companions did: "and they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him" - Matthew 28: 9.


Reflection on Matthew 28:1-10 by Fr. George Joseph SVD

(Listen to the podcast here)


Friday, February 10, 2023

Derelictus| Forsaken

About the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” That is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? - Matt 27: 46 (WEB)

Photo by Pixabay on

This well-known verse brings a lot of sadness and emotion to the reader. It is the very last words of Jesus Christ before He died.

These final words of Jesus Christ are a reference from the Messianic Psalm 22. This Psalm is also classified as a Psalm of lament. Laments describes pain and sorrow, but also declare trust in God.

Jesus Christ knew that God will not forsake Him. In John 8:28 we read: “He who sent me is with me. The Father hasn’t left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.” However, Jesus Christ's last words still shows us the very deep sorrowful emotions that Jesus Christ experienced on the Cross.

It is human nature to feel forsaken by God during traumatic experiences.  People ask “Why did God let this happen to me?” or “Where was God in my hour of need?”  Such questions were also asked by David in Psalm 22.  But like David and Jesus Christ, by crying out to God, we are also showing our dependence on Him.

So many passages in the Holy Scriptures confirm that we are never forsaken. As David declares in Psalm 23: 4:  "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me."

Let us pray to God and ask Him to help us to put our trust in Him, in every situation. To help us see that He is always in control, no matter what the situation.  

Take a moment now to acknowledge the suffering and sacrifice of our Saviour who gave His life as ransom for many. 

Reflection on Matthew 27: 31-66 by Hanne Teach

(Listen to the Podcast Here)

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Tumultus | The crowd

“When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd…”   Mat 27:24 (NIV)


Sometimes, to fight for the truth, it will cause you to stand-alone, apart from the crowd, and be at risk. This is what I reflect from the passage today.   

Unfortunately, that was not the case with Pilate the governor. He knew Jesus was innocent. He couldn’t find any crime Jesus committed (v.23). Let alone anything to deserve a death. He had power to free or to crucify Him (John 19:10), but he did not do the right thing. The crowd steered his decision.

Finally he saved himself. He washed his hands in front of the crowd to tell that he had nothing to do with Jesus’ death sentence (v.24). But at the same time he let crime, wickedness and evildoing won. He even had Jesus flogged (tortured) before handed Him over to be crucified (v.26).

Have you got any experience where you stood alone, stood up for the truth? Or are you facing it now? You might change the history with your action. There might be people who depend on your decision. Choose wisely to bring goodness for others and, moreover, glory to God. Choose the truth over the crowd. Even though you will be at risk. May God bless you and help you. 

Reflection on Matthew 27:1-30 by Desire Litaay
(Listen to the Podcast here)

Friday, February 3, 2023

In memoriam | In memory of her

"When   she   poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. Truly  I  tell  you, wherever  this gospel  is preached  throughout the world, what she has done will  also be told, in memory of her."  —  Mat 26:12-13 (NIV) 

Reflecting on the beautiful words of affirmation by our Lord in verse 12-13, "By pouring this ointment on my body she has prepared me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her." While our Lord Jesus had high praises for this woman who had clearly been led by the Holy Spirit to anoint Jesus with really expensive perfume, costing about 300 denarii (worth about USD54,509 today), the disciples were shocked by the lavish gift of this woman. She was also described as a sinner in Luke's gospel account (Luke 7:37).

As I reflected on my own heart and how much was I willing to lay down and sacrifice to our Lord Jesus, I realise that my attitude wasn't too far off from the disciples. I've been calculative in my giving to the Lord, and the Holy Spirit began to convict my heart that the Lord isn't measuring my giving quantitatively, but qualitatively instead. For example, where are the areas of life that I need to surrender to Jesus' Lordship?

The famed missionary and founder of the China Inland Mission, Hudson Taylor, a man of God well-acquainted with grief and personal losses, including the untimely deaths of his numerous children, has been quoted saying, "Christ is either Lord of all, or is not Lord at all". Also the solemn warning from our Lord Jesus Himself in Matthew 7:21, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven."

I will close my sharing with this beautiful worship song about surrender and living for Jesus:

Lord I Offer My Life

Verse 1

All that I am, all that I have

I lay them down before You, oh Lord

All my regrets, all my acclaims

The joy and the pain, I'm making them Yours



Lord, I offer my life to You

Everything I've been through

Use it for Your glory

Lord I offer my days to You

Lifting my praise to You

As a pleasing sacrifice

Lord I offer You my life


Verse 2

Things in the past, things yet unseen

Wishes and dreams that are yet to come true

All of my heart, all of my praise

My heart and my hands are lifted to You


Lord, I offer my life to You

Everything I've been through

Use it for Your glory

Lord I offer my days to You

Lifting my praise to You

As a pleasing sacrifice

Lord I offer You my life


What can we give

That you have not given?

And what do we have

That is not already Yours?

All we possess

Are these lives we're living

That's what we give to You, Lord


Lord, I offer my life to You

Everything I've been through

Use it for Your glory

Lord I offer my days to You

Lifting my praise to You

As a pleasing sacrifice

Lord I offer You my life


Lord, I offer my life to You

Everything I've been through

Use it for Your glory

Lord I offer my days to You

Lifting my praise to You

As a pleasing sacrifice

Lord I offer You my life


Songwriters: Claire D. Cloninger & Don Moen

Originally Performed & Popularized by Don Moen

Cover by Amanda Gayle Ardanas & Jessell Dawn Mahinay

Reflection on Matthew 26:1-35 by Chris Tan 

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Vigilate mecum | Watch with me

"Remain here and keep watch with me" — Mat 26:38 (NAB).

Picture by Leolo212 from Pixabay

In this world, we can feel lonely. Although we know that we are children of God, we live on earth where we don't see our heavenly Father. It's our human experience even if we are believers and have many friends. The Son of God also went through similar experiences. As a human being, he needed a community and close friends to keep going. Especially when his soul was sorrowful and about to die. 

It's sad if we are not understood by our sisters and brothers. But it happens that they are busy with their own duties or tired of their own problems. Jesus knows human nature very well. He always tries to justify those who make mistakes and even hurt him. He is not angry with them at all. When he feels abandoned, he talks with his heavenly Father. In this way, he gets the new spirit and strength to overcome difficulties. 

Only God is the one whom we can trust 100 percent. As we learn from the example of Judas and Peter (v. 47.69), even our closest friends can betray us. It hurts the most and causes deep wounds in our hearts. But Jesus teaches us to treat our enemies as our brothers and friends. Moreover, he is ready to cure his enemies and touch them with his holy hands. This is a good lesson about how we can win against our oppressors and aggressors. 

If we experience difficulties, it means that our Father allows them to happen. God can send his holy angels and make us destroy evil. But sometimes he lets us become losers. Every day is a new lesson for us. We can become true followers and disciples of Jesus in the holy temple. We can read and meditate on the Scriptures where we find the truth. But we also can leave the Word of God and flee into our own troubles and problems. Yet, it's much wiser to suffer and watch with the Lord even in the darkness than to live without him even in the sunshine. 

Reflection on Matthew 26:36-75 by Józef Trzebuniak

(Listen to the Podcast here)