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PSALM 23:1-2

Jakarta, 23 September 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

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EXODUS 20:7 [KJV]

Jakarta, 23 September 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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A LEADER IS A SERVANT

A LEADER IS A SERVANT

(A biblical refection on THE 25th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME [YEAR B] – 23 September, 2018)

Gospel Reading: Mark 9:30-37 

First Reading: Wisdom 2:12,17-20; Psalms: Psalm 54:3-6,8; Second Reading: James 3:16-4:3 

The Scripture Text

They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And He would not have any one know it; for He was teaching His disciples, saying to them. “The Son of man will be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him; and when He is killed, after three days He will rise.” But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to ask Him.

And they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house He asked them,
What were you discussing on the way?” But they were silent; for on the way they had discussed with one another who was the greatest. And He sat down and called the twelve; and He said to them, “If any one would be first, He must be last of all and servant of all.” And He took a child, and put Him in the midst of them; and taking him in His arms, He said to them, “Whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent me.”
(Mark 9:30-37)

The Old Testament, in some instances, uses the term “Son of Man” as a title for the Messiah (Savior). We find one such example in the book of Daniel, where the author writes about four powerful but cruel rulers who attempt to conquer the world. In the Jewish mind, these rulers are so ruthless that the author pictures them as four fear-inspiring and hideous beasts (e.g. a leopard with four heads, a beast with ten horns, etc.) After the fourth beast rules, God sends the Son of Man that instills fear but rather like a human being, with justice and compassion.

The apostles also have the picture of a Messiah who will be victorious. Therefore, they do not understand what Jesus means when He tells them in today’s Gospel that the Son of Man will be handed over to His enemies and be put to death. That simply was not supposed to happen.

Believing Jesus is the Messiah, the apostles think of themselves as generals in His army who will share in His victories and be highly respected by the Jewish people. Feeling important, they begin to argue about which one of them ranks the highest. Overhearing their discussion, Jesus tells them that if they want to be great, they have to become lowly servants and must even welcome children for His sake.

Palestine was a dry and dusty land where people wore sandals on their feet. The master of the house usually welcomed his guests by washing their feet himself or by instructing a servant to do it. The more insignificant the guest, the more humiliating this task was. Washing the feet of a rabbi or prominent politician was not as degrading as washing the feet of a fisherman or a shepherd. Since children were on the bottom rung of the social ladder, welcoming a child (washing the child’s feet) was the lowliest of jobs, a very humbling task. This is the type of humility, a humility that compels a person to serve the poorest of the poor and the least significant of society, that should distinguish Jesus’ followers. 

(Adapted from Jerome J. Sabatowich, Cycling Through the Gospels – Gospel Commentaries for Cycles A, B, and C, pages 206-207.)

Prayer: Lord Jesus, by Your Holy Spirit, make me a more humble person. Make my heart like Yours. Mold it so that I might find joy in serving others, just as You take great joy in caring for me. Amen.

Jakarta, 22 September 2018 

A Christian Pilgrim

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2018 in BIBLICAL REFLECTIONS 2018

 

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THE PARABLE OF THE SEED

Today’s Gospel Reading: Luke 8:4-15 – TWENTY-FOURTH WEEK OF THE YEAR: Saturday, 22 September 2018

The parable of the seed that was sown onto all kinds of ground was a great comfort to the early Church.  We all live, at times, with an unshared vision. We see things and futures that others are unable or refuse to see. It puzzles us as to why they can be so blind. Thus it was for the early Church. The Gospel of life and love which they lived and experienced did not receive universal acceptance. Some became Christians and then dropped away. Others left during persecution. All of this puzzled the early Church.

For them, Luke recounts the Lord’s parable of the seed. Its message: All we can do is our best to sow the seed widely. Where it lands and how it grows depends upon the ground. Through this parable, the Christians were assured that failure to find unanimous acceptance of the Word was not necessarily their fault but the result of factors beyond their immediate control. Even the failures of the early Church fell within God’s design.

We can control the sowing of the seed. We cannot control the growth that takes place in that mysterious chemistry between soil and seed.

Jakarta, 22 September 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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EPHESIANS 2:8 [KJV]

Jakarta, 22 September 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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SAINT MATTHEW, Apostle and Evangelist – FEAST: 21 September

Today’s Gospel Reading: Matthew 9:9-13 – THE FEAST OF SAINT MATTHEW: 21 September 2018

Tax collectors were a despised group. They were Jewish locals wo were allowed to keep a percentage of the taxes they collected for the Romans. They were akin to collection agencies today. Jews saw them as quislings and oppressors of their own people. Jesus looked through this popular image to the person behind it. Matthew was quick to answer the call. Perhaps he saw Someone who did not treat him with the contempt to which he had become accustomed. Then Matthew held a reception and invited all his fellow outcasts. Among these “outsiders” Jesus was an insider. He was expanding the boundaries of the Kingdom.

The Gospel of Matthew is the most Jewish of the Gospels. It quotes Scripture as fulfilled some forty times. Its anti-Pharisee tone reflected the Jewish Christian community of which Matthew was a member. It is also a Gospel of what it means to be a Church. The Church of Christ is not an abstraction. It is a flesh and blood group of people. It needs apostles to keep it together, prophets to prod it forward, evangelists to make known to outsiders, pastors to guide it, teachers to deepen its understanding of its faith. Most of all, it is primarily local.

Any parish has the capacity for enormous local impact if it chooses to tackle a specific problem. The local parish is also important because our  personal faith grew out of some local faith community. For better or worse, our faith reflects in subtle ways the parish in which we were raised.

This is a theme of Matthew: faith is a shared experience. Our faith or lack of it affects others. We are able to transmit spiritual energy to one another.

Jakarta, 21 September 2018

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FRIDAY BLESSINGS: Thank You Jesus for another Friday. God bless you and your family. Have a great week-end.

Jakarta, 21 September 2018

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Posted by on September 21, 2018 in 2018-5 FRIDAY BLESSINGS

 

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