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JESUS did not come into our midst demanding honor and homage. Rather, He came in humility, desiring only to reveal the love of God to everyone. Even on the night when He was to be betrayed by one of His own disciples, His greatest concern was that His disciples, His greatest concern was that His disciples be assured of His love. Confident of His care for them, they could love others and share His words with them.

Jesus’ heart is the same yesterday, today, and forever. In love, He invites us all to an intimate supper with Him, where we receive His flesh and blood in the Eucharist. As we partake of this divine food, Jesus comes to us to “wash our feet,” cleansing away the cares and stains of life in this fallen world. He comes to fill us with His love and to empower us to desire the best for our sisters and brothers in Christ.

It is humbling to allow someone to take care of our basic needs, let alone kneel before us and wash our feet. The very idea clashes with the pride we derive from doing everything ourselves, or thinking we have to earn such love. No doubt Peter experienced this as he exclaimed: “You will never wash my feet!” Imagine his surprise when Jesus responded: “If I do not wash you, you have no part in me” (John 13:8).

Jesus knows how deeply we need His love if we are to know the joy of living for Him. He kneels before us now – today – ready to wash us, love us, and fill us. Can we allow Him to do this? By “washing our feet” through the Eucharist, He restores us to the Father. He strengthens us, softens the hardness of our hearts, and heals us. And it is this very love of God that compels us to walk as Jesus did, sharing His love with others in humility and mercy.

Jakarta, 17 April 2014

A Christian Pilgrim

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Posted by on April 17, 2014 in Uncategorized





IT is amazing the detail with which these prophetic poems describe the way Jesus conducted His life – especially during His passion. This passage, for instance, paints a remarkably vivid picture of Jesus’ endurance and lonely struggle to fulfill His mission in a world that was hostile to Him and everything He stood for.

Suffering and endurance in the name of God were not unique to Jesus, however. These passages describe also the hardships endured by prophets who proclaimed the word of the Lord to Israel. For their testimony Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos, and many others suffered at the hands of their own people. Jeremiah, for example, was thrown into a muddy, abandoned cistern where it was hoped he would starve. He was eventually rescued, but later was kidnapped and taken to Egypt against His will. Elijah was under constant danger of execution by Queen Jezebel. Even Ezekiel – living with his fellow Jews as an exile in Babylon – was an outcast.

What stands out in Jesus’ sufferings in contrast to these prophets is His “willing submission” to such abuse (Isaiah 50:5-6). Inspired by love, Jesus freely chose to give His life to win our freedom. He foresaw the mistreatment, torture, and death that would be His, but He went forward. Fully human, capable of physical and emotional pain, Jesus gave Himself to His oppressors (Isaiah 50:6). The innocent died for the guilty; the faithful for the unfaithful. This was the greatest act of love the world has ever known.

Tomorrow we begin the Triduum, the great three-day celebration of our redemption. During these days, we will recall the suffering by which Jesus offered to every person ever born a way back to God from the exile of sin. In the liturgies we will relive the drama of Jesus’ last hours and the unfolding of God’s plan of salvation which Jesus freely embraced. Let us spend today pondering Jesus, the servant of God who freely offered Himself to His enemies. May praise well up in our hearts as we gaze upon our suffering Messiah-King!

Jakarta, 16 April 2014

A Christian Pilgrim


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KRISTUS RAJA - 55WHO is this Jesus who was crucified on Good Friday and rose on Easter Sunday? This is a question worth asking every day as we approach Him in prayer. Every time we seek the answer, the Holy Spirit will take us up into the mystery of Christ and reveal more and more to us. Often, however, when we read Scripture, we tend to reduce Jesus in what our minds recall about Him. The Servant Songs in the Book of Isaiah, however, can give us prophetic glimpses into Jesus and raise up our minds into mystery of the Word made flesh who suffered for us.

Who is Jesus? He is the servant of God sent to fulfill all the hopes of Israel. He is in such solidarity with the chosen people of God that He even bears their name, Israel (Isaiah 49:3). He is the one hidden in the Father’s “quiver” for just the right time (Isaiah 49:2). And when that time came, He manifested Himself to Israel and offered them a share in His Father’s glory.

Who is Jesus? He is not only the fulfillment of Israel’s long-promised restoration. He is also a “light to the nations,” destined to bring salvation to all peoples (Isaiah 49:6). So great is God’s love for His creation that He became a man in order to bring salvation to every corner of the earth. Through Jesus, every person in the world is now invited to enter into a covenant relationship with God.

This may sound theoretical, but do we (you and I) believe that God has united Himself to each of us? Do we believe that the bond of love He has with each of us is so strong that it cannot be broken except by our own choosing? There is nothing that Jesus cannot do for each and everyone of us. Do we have painful memories? He can remove their sting by leading us through steps of healing and forgiveness. Is a loved one suffering through a crisis of faith? He can draw her/him to His side as we pray, serve, and gently reach out to the person with words of encouragement and hope. This is who Jesus is. No one is beyond His saving power.

Jakarta, 15 April 2014

A Christian Pilgrim


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SENGSARA YESUSPROBABLY more than any other set of passages in the Old Testament, the “Suffering Servant” songs offer us a rare glimpse into the personality of Jesus. When these passages were first written, the “servant” was identified with Israel herself, oppressed and in exile but anticipating a victorious return. The Church, however, reads them also a prophesies of Jesus, God’s perfect servant.

In the first song, we see the Messiah committed to establishing the justice of God in the world (Isaiah 42:3-4). This can seem quite an overwhelming task, but Jesus approached His calling not with fierce anger or destructive vengeance but with patience, faithfulness, and gentleness.

When faced with people’s sin, Jesus never lashed out. He never grew “faint” or felt “crushed” (Isaiah 42:4) by opposition – not even by His disciples’ unbelief. He simply continued forgiving and healing. He never overrode human free will. He never coerced or manipulated people into accepting Him. Instead, He spent His life preaching and healing, teaching and forgiving, up to the time of His final sacrifice on the cross.

Jesus is always in control. He who was undeterred in His purpose by unbelief, anger, even the denial of His closest friends – He continues to offer us love and forgiveness. Our darkest secrets cannot surprise Him, our foulest sins will not repel Him. He will not condemn or curse. He will not break a bruised reed or quench a dimly burning wick. Just as He did two thousand years ago, even today He offers forgiveness and freedom.

As we begin Holy Week, why not resolve to get our accounts with the Lord clear? We must use this time of grace to seek the mercy of God through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We must come to Him and let Him establish His justice in our hearts.

Jakarta, 14 April 2014

A Christian Pilgrim


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(A biblical refection on PALM (PASSION) SUNDAY [YEAR A], 13 April 2014)

First Reading: Isaiah 50:4-7; Second Reading: Philippians 2:6-11; Psalms: Psalm 22:8-9,17-20,23-24; Gospel Reading: Matthew 26:14-27:66 (Matthew 27:11-54)

Travel Pictures Ltd

Oberammergau is a small village in the Bavarian Alps that is famous for its Passion Play. This drama enacts the passion of Jesus from His triumphal entry into Jerusalem to His resurrection. It consists of 18 acts; has more than 700 villagers participate in the cast, orchestra and chorus; and takes a morning and an afternoon to perform.

With only three interruptions caused by war, the Oberammergau Passion Play has been staged every ten years since 1634 in fulfillment of a vow made by the villagers for deliverance from a plague.

Although our liturgy here today is not of the same magnitude and prestige as the Passion Play at Oberammergau, and although we are not assembling because of the threat of some plague, what we are doing is a sacramental ritual that should be full of meaning and power for us.

oberammergau-passi_1953091bThe palms that we blessed and the Passion according to Matthew that we read draw us into the drama of Holy Week, not merely as spectators, but as participants. The palms we hold and take home with us are signs that we are willing to march with Jesus, not only in moments of triumph and glory, as when He entered Jerusalem with the crowd crying, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” but also in moments of suffering and agony, as when He was condemned to death with the crowd crying, “Crucify Him!”

On the one hand, it is easy to praise God when we are enjoying success, are feeling healthy, and are surrounded by a loving family and a circle of friends. Nonetheless, even in these favourable circumstances, blessing God is important to make us realize that He is the source of these gifts and that we should use them for His glory.

On the other hand, it is difficult to believe in God when we are discouraged by repeated failure, suffer from sickness and pain, or feel abandoned by everyone. But is precisely in such moments that we really participate in the passion of Christ. We then know from personal experience why Jesus prayed in the garden, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass me by,” or why on the cross He cried out, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?”

Moreover, it is also in such moments that we experience the power of Christ’s passion – to say “Yes” to the Father’s will when our world seems to be collapsing, and to expect that soon we will see the glory of God reveal itself in some way.

Oberammergau- CrucifixionToday’s reading of the Passion ended on the dismal note of death – Jesus died and His tomb was sealed with a stone. Sometimes that’s the way our day ends: on a dismal note, for we still suffer our pain, hurt from our losses, or feel terribly lonely.

However, Passion Sunday is not the last word of the Jesus story. Rather, it is only the first word of a Holy Week that will reach its climax next Easter Sunday. The final word will not be the death of Jesus, but His rising from dead.

So too, no matter how many of our days seem to end in a depressing way, they are not the last word of our story. Rather, they are only a prelude to triumphs we have yet to experience in this life, and they point to that ultimate victory which will be ours in the next life.

There we will again process with palm branches, not to mark Christ’s triumphal entry into the earthly city of Jerusalem, but our own victorious entrance into the heavenly city of Jerusalem.

Source: Fr. Albert Cylwicki CSB, HIS WORD RESOUNDS, Makati, Philippines: St. Paul Publications, 1991, pages 26-28.

Jakarta, 13 April 2014

A Christian Pilgrim


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(A biblical refection on PALM (PASSION) SUNDAY [YEAR A], 13 April 2014)

Second Reading: Philippians 2:6-11

First Reading: Isaiah 50:4-7; Psalms: Psalm 22:8-9,17-20,23-24; Gospel Reading: Matthew 26:14-27:66 (Matthew 27:11-54)

Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:6-11 RSV)

SENGSARA YESUS - 1Today, and all week, as we recall the events of Jesus’ Passion and death, God is inviting us to do more than simply remember past events. He invites us to join Jesus on the road to Calvary and peer into His heart at each step along the way. As we do this, let us allow Paul’s hymn about the humility of Christ to guide us.

Though He was in the form of God, (Jesus) … emptied Himself (Philippians 2:6-7). What could be a greater self-emptying than for the perfect Son of God to submit to the judgment of sinful men and women? What greater humility could there be than allowing your own creation to put you to death? Imagine Jesus standing before the Sanhedrin and before Pilate, humbly submitting to their judgment and their mockery. He formed each of them and gave them precious gifts they were to use to glorify His Father. And here, these gifts are used instead to beat Him, ridicule Him, and put Him to death.

275px-Geertgen_Man_van_smartenHe was obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:8). Imagine the pain of the cross – not just the physical pain, but the emotional and spiritual pain. Jesus was abandoned by everyone. Even heaven seemed closed off. No matter where He looked, there was no comfort to be found, no assurance that the torment of His body was doing anyone any good. Yet He was convinced that God had led Him to the cross, and so He submitted to it, trusting in His Father with every labored breath He took.

Therefore God highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name (Philippians 2:9). Jesus is glorified because He emptied Himself and accepted death. As you imagine all of heaven bowing before Him, picture the awe on the faces of the angels. They are looking at His now glorified wounds and wondering over the love that moved Him to accept death for our sake. Now fully God and fully man, bearing the marks of the cross, Jesus allowed Himself to be forever changed …… simply because He loves us.

Prayer: Jesus, I am in awe over Your love for me. This week, as I walk with You may I encounter You as never before. By Your Holy Spirit, let me fall in love with You all over again. Amen.

Jakarta, 11 April 2014

A Christian Pilgrim


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