Friday, April 28, 2023

Parvulus| A child

Anyone who does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will never enter - (Mark 10: 15)

Photo by Samer Daboul on Pexels.com

My favourite quote from these verses is: "Let the little ones come to me, don't hold them back! For such are the kingdom of God. Anyone who does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will never enter."

It made me reflect that we should always be as innocent as children. We often think about things from the perspective of adults, but ignore the fact that God wants us to simply believe in him, look up to him, and rely on him like children. 

I hope we can all rely on God in prayer. Pure as a dove. Amen.

Reflection on Mark 10: 1-16 by WenchenLiao 

(Listen to the Podcast here)

Friday, April 21, 2023

Si potes| If you can

“ If you can?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” -  Mark 9:23 (NIV)

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In this portion of the Scriptures, we learn about a healing miracle where our Lord Jesus Christ with all authority rebuked and instructed an impure spirit out from a boy's body. This deaf and mute spirit robbed the boy's speech and was strong enough to control and beat his body in very painful and overwhelming ways. By its influence, the boy would get harmed by suddenly been thrown to the ground in violent convulsions and other manifested effects, a repetitive destructive and consuming pattern he experienced frequently since childhood. The spirit tried to destroy and kill the boy on several occasions, either by throwing him to the water or to the fire. Can you imagine how painful it is to watch your own son being hurt this way and not being able to help or relieve him from this suffering in any humanly or medical way possible? But this boy had a specific purpose on this earth, so that the glory of God could be manifested through his life as the recipient of the grace, compassion,  kindness and love of Christ in a form of a miracle. A miracle so impressive that we still read and talk about it in our present time.

We see this desperate father who probably heard about Jesus of Nazareth and the miracles and wonders he performed among the people during his visits to the cities. He probably thought about seeking help from the disciples first, but they couldn't drive the spirit out. He probably thought to himself in faith "I would ask the Teacher, he might be able to do something for my child". Once he got the opportunity to approach to Jesus, he cried out in desperation and asked wholeheartedly to have compassion and do something for the boy, anything! He believed that Christ was powerful enough to relieve his son from this miserable life. He might had no idea of what the outcome would look like, but he had faith that Jesus was going to do something with his sick child. His desperate and troubled heart brought him before Jesus to ask for a miracle.

Jesus saw beyond the boy's father words, he saw the doubts and hesitancy in his heart and said "You unbelieving generation"  and then as if he was reading the boy's father thoughts, gently and with loving words he spoke to his troubled soul saying “Everything is possible for one who believes.”

The boy's father immediately exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” That seed of faith that was in his heart moved Jesus' compassion into action by commanding the bad spirit to leave the boy and not come back again, bringing him back from death to life. Jesus took his hand and raised him into a reborn, free and renewed person. 

God can do miracles with our faith. It doesn't matter how big or small we think it might be. He knows our inner true self and he can perform marvelous works in our lives 'if we can only believe'. 

May our daily prayer include a portion of ''help me overcome my unbelief!'' I'm positive that our God will start responding and work in amazing ways in your life. He is powerful enough and a good Father to demonstrate that He listens and acts in favor of his beloved children, because He can do all things work for our good, to those who look for His perfect will. Amen.

Reflection on Mark 9: 14-29 by Nydia Flores

(Listen to the Podcast here)

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Filius Hominis| Son of Man

"Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels." – Mark. 8:38

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Dear friends in Christ, I was just imagining that if Jesus had called the generation of his time as 'adulterous and sinful', what could he have named the present generation? We come across many people who are ashamed to call themselves Christians or people who are ashamed of the word of God. 

We know the next coming of Jesus to this world with all his glory is not to show mercy but to judge the world according to his righteousness. Now, Jesus is willing to show us mercy if we ask him pardon for our sins and try to live a holy life following his word and his teachings. 

We read in Matthew 10:33 – "But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father." It is not that God is not merciful, he is indeed full of mercy and compassion. The love that God has for us is revealed in the person of Jesus. How much are we grateful to God for this love? What is blocking us to accept the person of Jesus as our personal and only Saviour and obey his word? 

We all know the richness of the word of God. In my life experience, it is only the word of God which speaks directly to the soul. We read in Psalms 119:11 – "I have laid up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you." A person who loves the word of God and who loves Jesus can easily attain eternal life and he is not afraid of the next coming of Jesus rather he is eagerly waiting for his coming to judge the world. 

Let us all be ready to welcome Jesus for his next coming. Amen.

 

Reflection on Mark 8: 27-38 by Fr. George Joseph SVD

(Listen to the Podcast here)

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Gratias agens | Give thanks

"...Then he took the seven loaves, thanked God for them..." — Mark 8:6 (NLT) 



The needs in our daily lives can be overwhelming sometimes that we are skeptical or having doubts of our future. Especially with the raising of prices following economic depression that our income seems so low to help us make ends meet.

Again today, we read about a large crowd gathered around Jesus. He noticed that they had been following Him for three days, and running out of their supplies ‐ nothing to eat. He was afraid they would collapse if He sent them home, hungry (v.1‐3). Let’s stop here. Oftentimes we are afraid of our future, even our daily lives. We do not realize that our Lord Jesus notices everything. He doesn’t only care about our spiritual needs but also physical necessities.

With the seven loaves available, Jesus gave thanks to God over them and broke them into pieces. He did the same over a few small fish available; blessed them and then fed at least four thousand men. Let’s stop again here. Sometimes we think we need to earn a lot to be able to sustain everything, especially when we have a family to take care of. And when we only have a little, we are worried or unsatisfied. Jesus teaches us to give thanks over anything we have including a little income, a few supplies at home, a little insurance, a little talent, a humble job, etc., because we do not depend on the resources but on Jesus Himself. What He did exceeded the need, seven full baskets of the blessed food left, while every one was full. 

At the end of this passage, the Pharisees came and tested Jesus, asking for a sign from heaven. Jesus sighed, didn’t give any sign and left (v.11‐13). It is our option to believe in Jesus or not because, despite how many miracles He had performed, there were always doubts over His power, His deity. Even His disciples questioned the possibility of feeding the thousands of people (v.4).

Give thanks over the only little things we have.  Trust Jesus, He is more than able to take care of us. Thank you Lord.



Reflection on Mark 8:1‐13 by Desire Litaay 
(Listen to the Podcast here)

Monday, April 10, 2023

Coinquinat | Defile

"And he said, 'It is what comes out of a person that defiles...'" - Mark 7: 20.

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Reflecting on Jesus' words in Mark 7, the Lord is very clear that God had spoken to the prophet Samuel when he was commissioned to anoint the new king of Israel, from among the sons of Jesse. "Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7). The Lord directed the prophet to anoint the ruddy young shepherd boy David, who was out tending sheep, to become God's appointed shepherd king over Israel, His chosen people.

The Pharisees and the Jews had been focused on the many traditions that Moses had entrusted to Israel. They forgot the spirit of the Law, which was God's relentless Love for His people. He gave the Laws, so that they would not sin in their hearts and stray from Him to follow the pagan gods.  In this gospel account, Jesus is clear that it is what lies within the heart of a man that defiles. 

A beautiful reminder of St Paul's principle to godly joy in Philippians 4:8: "Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." If I am to keep my heart pure and dedicated to God, it is of utmost importance that I keep my mind focused on things that are true, honorable, just and pure. 


Let me close with this beautiful worship song by Brian Doerksen, Purify My Heart.

Purify my heart
Let me be as gold and precious silver
Purify my heart
Let me be as gold, pure gold

Refiner's fire,
My heart's one desire
Is to be holy
Set apart for You, Lord
I choose to be holy
Set apart for You, my Master
Ready to do Your will

Purify my heart
Cleanse me from within
And make me holy
Purify my heart
Cleanse me from my sin, deep within

Refiner's fire
My heart's one desire
Is to be holy
Set apart for You, Lord
I choose to be holy
Set apart for You, my Master
Ready to do Your will

Refiner's fire
My heart's one desire
Is to be holy
Set apart for You, Lord
I choose to be holy
Set apart for You, my Master
Ready to do Your will

Songwriters: Brian Robert Doerksen
Purify My Heart lyrics © Mercy Vineyard Publishing, Vineyard Songs (canada)



Reflection on Mark 7:1-23 by Chris Tan

Saturday, April 8, 2023

Effetha | Be Opened!

"Ephphatha! Be opened" - Mark 7: 34.


Photo b13923790 from Pixabay


Openness and sincerity is not an easy thing. We prefer to be closed, hidden, and private. Yet, sometimes we cannot live like that anymore. We want to shout out, throw away our worries, and be free again like butterflies. But somehow we are paralyzed. We are afraid because we were hurt so many times when we tried to be honest. 
 
The example of a woman from Syrophoenicia can help us reopen ourselves. She was a brave and loving person. She does not want to live with an unclean spirit at home. She makes her daughter live as a daughter of God for her whole life. She knew her own story very well. She remembered her own mistakes and sins. She didn't want her child to repeat the same mistakes. So she came to Jesus to heal her beloved daughter.  

The story of a deaf and dumb man is similar. He also was closed because of his sickness. So Jesus had to take him off by himself away from the crowd (v. 33). The sick man needed special time with the Lord to be cured completely. It can happen that our ears and tongue are sick as well. For we hear and speak too many bad words. In this way, we destroy our inner sense of hearing the Good News. We forget to proclaim the Word of God. 

We need Jesus to heal us and show us the right direction. We can follow him and look up to heaven and pray (v. 34). We don't have to speak with everyone about the miracles which Jesus does in our life. We only should be grateful for the grace of God. 

Let us allow the Son of God to come and touch our souls and bodies. Let us express all our worries in his presence. For sure he can make us hear and speak about everything which happened in our lives.  



Reflection on Mark 7:24-37 by J√≥zef Trzebuniak
(Listen to the Podcast here)

Sunday, April 2, 2023

Confidite | Take courage!

"...Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." — Mark 6:50 (NIV) 




In today’s reading, we learn more on the subject of belief. Faith. Faith is always a strong topic in our lives, in so many different situations. Very often, we will find ourselves in situations where our path in life seems impossible.
 
While very often we say that we would let God take the wheel, sometimes we still remain to our earthly senses. Just like the disciples, when they saw Jesus walking on water. We’re very often afraid to let God take command, and leave matters to Him, and Him alone. Jesus said to his apostles: ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid’. Then he climbed to the boat with them, and the wind died down. Back then, the disciples were truly afraid, because they thought Jesus was a ghost, but after his words, they were truly amazed.

There are many moments in our lives that with prayers, and patience alone, we can find many answers amidst the storm that is in our lives. I could speak mostly on one account in my life, where I had been doubting God’s plan, but in reality, He had something better prepared for me. All I needed is to have more faith, and to believe more. There was a time in my life where I tried to get pass the exams in the Netherlands to get into a prestigious university there. And although I was very well instructed, it never seemed that I’d get the score to pass. I was unable to do the exercises, even if when at home, later on I’d be able to do them. 

Truth to be told, my life had a big twist, because in the end, I ended up in Poland, learning what I wanted to study. God truly had a plan for me, but He didn’t want me to be in that city I was before. Still, I am thankful to Him for what He has given to me. Deo Gratias.



Reflection on Mark 6:47-56 by Cristobal Alvarez  
(Listen to the Podcast here)