GOD’S PROMISE: ISAIAH 41:10
Monthly Archives: August 2012
WE TOO NEED TO MAKE THE EFFORT TO “COME AND SEE”
(A biblical reflection on the Feast of St. Bartholomew – August 24, 2012)
Gospel Reading: Jn 1:45-51
First Reading: Rev 21:9-14; Psalms: Ps 145:10-13,17-18
Philip found Nathanael, and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!” Nathanael said to Him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You shall see greater things than these.” And He said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.” (Jn 1:45-51 RSV)
The list of the apostles given in the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) includes that of Bartholomew, whose feast the Church celebrates today. No other mention is made of this apostle in the Gospels. Since Bartholomew is a family name, however, not a personal one, he is thought to be the one spoken of by John as Nathanael (Jn 1:45).
According to the Gospel of John, Jesus had invited Philip to follow Him (Jn 1:43), and Philip in turn called Nathanael to see “Him of whom Moses in the law and also the Prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph” (Jn 1:45). Nathanael’s response – “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (Jn 1:46) – reflected the general attitude about this remote and insignificant village in Galilee.
Nathanael’s reaction was the product of his natural mind. Certain that nothing of merit could emerge from Nazareth, he immediately dismissed the possibility that Jesus could indeed be the Chosen One. Only Philip’s persistence – “come and see” – brought him into an encounter with Jesus that changed his life and led him to proclaim Jesus as “the Son of God” (Jn 1:49).
If our lives are to be changed so that we become faithful followers of Jesus, we too need to make the effort to “come and see.” We must be willing to put aside our preconceived ideas about God, our fears and our prejudices, our arrogance and self-sufficiency, and humbly ask Jesus to reveal Himself to us and to give us a deeper understanding of who He is as Lord and Savior.
Jesus thirsts for souls. He wants us to experience the intimacy with which He cares for us. A tax collector (Mk 2:13-17), a woman with a reputation for immorality (Lk 7:37-50), a Roman centurion (Acts 10:1-8), a thief (Lk 23:40-43), and a persecutor of Christians (Acts 9:1-6) all met Jesus. The recognized His love, knew a time of repentance and forgiveness, and their lives were changed at the moment for eternity.
Short Prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe that You want to reveal Yourself to me more deeply. Give me an awareness of my need for you so that I may acknowledge Your work in my life. Help me to commit myself to You, and to spread Your truth everywhere. Amen.
Jakarta, 21 August 2012 [Memoria of Saint Pius X, Pope]
A Christian Pilgrim
THE ONE CONSTANT
By: Fr. Murray Bodo, OFM
THE ONE CONSTANT: God is love and faithfulness. Until we realize that God really does care, we are without faith. No assent to truths or dogmas ever substitutes for a deep, personal conviction that God loves me and cares about what happens to me. If I have all knowledge, as St. Paul says, and have not charity, what difference does it make? And charity as St. John says, is this: That God first loved us and sent His Son to redeem us. St. John complements St. Paul and tempers a lot of things that the Apostle of the Gentiles says. The King James version of the Bible puts it all together when it reads, “Believe on the Lord Jesus,” Yes, only if we believe on Him, does dogma and Church and sacraments and all the rest make sense. For from Jesus comes the Church and what it teaches and what it symbolizes in outward signs. Never does faith begin with something other than God Himself. God initiates and everything else follows from that. And God did initiate the Church everything else derives. To love the Church is to love Jesus and to love Jesus is to love God, for He is the en-fleshment of God Himself.
In the end then, God’s love and faithfulness is revealed once and for all in His Son, Jesus. And the love of Jesus manifest on this earth and continued after His resurrection in His followers, is the greatest proof of all that God does love and that He is faithful now – in the past – and presumably in the future, as well. If I know that God cares now through His Son, I believe He cared in the past, too, and I hope that He will care in the future. All the evidence says He will be constant; for the past and the present, when they are consistent, are pretty much infallible, as far as we know now, in predicting the future.
Taken from: Murray Bodo, SONG OF THE SPARROW – Meditations and Poems to Pray by, Cincinnati, Ohio: St. Anthony Messenger Press, 1976, pages 62-63.
Jakarta, 23 August 2012
A Christian Pilgrim
LEARNING HOW to PRAY
By: Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM
PRAYER isn’t bending God’s arms in order to get things, or talking God into things. God is already totally given. Prayer is us learning how to receive, learning how to wait, listen, possess something. It’s not that we pray and God answers; our praying is already God answering. Your desire to pray is God in your heart. Your reaching out to enter into dialogue with the Lord is already the answer of God. It is grace that makes us desire grace.
When you don’t even have that desire to pray, to want to listen to God, then perhaps your openness to the Spirit has come to a halt. If you’re not really wanting or choosing God anymore, what can you do? All you can do is ask for it again: “Lord, give me the desire to pray. Give me the desire to be in union with you.” Pray for the desire to desire. Prayer is unmarketable. Prayer gives you no immediate payoff. You get no immediate feedback or sense of success. True prayer, in that sense, probably is the most courageous and countercultural thing an American will ever do. [from: The Price of Peoplehood]
Source: John Bookser Feister (Editor), RADICAL GRACE – DAILY MEDITATIONS BY RICHARD ROHR, 1993, page 172-173.
Jakarta 22 August 2012
THE WORLD is so full of people who are making an effort to fit God into their own ideas of what God should be, that “God-making” is an all too common practice. “What I would like God to be?” is the starting point of this folly; the end of it is the statement that “God is what I would like Him to be.” Not many begin their thinking about God with the inescapable fact that HE is absolute truth, absolute justice, absolute authority, perfect and intelligent love.
All heresies, therefore, stem from man’s wanting to make God over in the image and likeness of man, rather than accepting himself as the image and likeness of God. If I want to be free from hard doctrines, difficult moral precepts, or specific obligations of worship, it is so easy to say that God is a vague reality (no hard doctrine there) or that God is unconcerned about laws (because I want to be unconcerned about laws) or that God is best worshipped in nature (because I do not want to worship God in church).
Religion is essentially submission to God; nothing else deserves the name.
Note: Taken from “A THOUGHT A DAY – LITTLE THOUGHTS FOR LITTLE PEOPLE TO HELP THEM BECOME GOD’S GREAT SAINTS” (Assembled by A Father of the Society of St. Paul).
Jakarta, 21 August 2012
A Christian Pilgrim
GOD’S BUILDING BLOCK
By: Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM
GOD’S BASIC BUILDING BLOCK for His self-communication is not the “saved” individual or the richly informed believer – or even personal careers in ministry. It is the journey and bonding process that God initiates in marriages, families, tribes, nations, peoples and Churches who are seeking to involve themselves in His love.
The body of Christ, the spiritual family, is God’s strategy. It is both medium and message. It is both beginning and end: “May they all be one … so that the world may believe it was You who sent Me … that they may be one as We are one, with Me in them and You in Me” (John 17:21-22, JB).
Until Christ is someone happening between people, the Gospel remains largely an abstraction. Until He is passed on personally through faithfulness and forgiveness, through bonds of union, I doubt whether He is passed on at all.
Source: John Bookser Feister (Editor), RADICAL GRACE – DAILY MEDITATIONS BY RICHARD ROHR, 1993, page 171.
Jakarta 20 August 2012
A Christian Pilgrim
THE GOOD LIFE
(A biblical refection on THE 20TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – August 19, 2012)
First Reading: Prov 9:1-6; Psalms: Ps 34:2-3,10-15 ; Second Reading: Eph 5:15-20; Gospel Reading: Jn 6:51-58
The world of advertising often appeals to our basic human needs for food and drink. Television commercials like Wendy’s “Where’s the beef?” cater to our hunger for food. Magazine ads with slogans like Coca-Cola’s “It’s the real thing” claim that their drink will satisfy our thirst.
The whole express purpose of advertisers is to sell us the good life by promising that their products will satisfy our every desire. We might say that today’s readings make their own sales pitch for the good life, except that they speak about life in a higher sense.
In the first reading from Proverbs, Wisdom invites us to come to her table where we can eat her food and drink her wine. She calls us to forsake foolishness that we may live and advance in the way of understanding.
In the Gospel, Jesus says that He Himself gives life to the world. His flesh is real food and His blood is real drink. Anyone who eats His flesh and drinks His blood will live forever.
In his Pelican commentary on this text, John Marsh underlines the meaning of the adjective real in the phrases real food and real drink:
These are what satisfy those hungers and thirst from which men suffer in distinction from all other earthly creatures. Man’s genuine nourishment lies in them; without them the really “human” person dies, even though he continues to live in the flesh, but with them he lives the life that is really life both here in the course of history and in that which lies beyond history in the world to come.
We can better appreciate Marsh’s insight if we compare some of the extravagant claims of advertisers to satisfy our needs for this life with the claims of Christ to give us life in a higher sense.
Since we have a need for the pleasures of oral gratification, many of us want to have our “Winstons taste good like a cigarette should.” But there are also spiritual delights which today’s Psalm 34 addresses when it says: “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.”
Yet when we are weary, only the Lord can really refresh us in the fullest sense: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are overburdened, and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28).
We naturally seek security and protection for ourselves and our families. So insurance companies like Prudential propose to give us a “Piece of the Rock” of security.
Nonetheless, only Jesus can promise and guarantee us eternal life: “The man who feeds on this bread shall live forever.”
It seems that no matter what our basic needs are, advertisers claim they have the product or service to provide for them. Yet, contrary to their claims, what they offer is not the real thing at all, but only an illusion, a fantasy, a substitute. To verify this, for example, a male customer need only compare his car on a cold winter morning with the television model accompanied by a warm female.
Advertisers shout about the essentials of life, but offer things that are merely superficial. It is only Christ who can show us how to really live and to live more abundantly.
What Jesus gives in the Eucharist is not an illusion. It is real food and real drink. What Jesus gives is not something superficial. It is His own body and His own blood. What Jesus gives is not a temporary gratification. It is a life that will last forever.
Note: Taken from Albert Cylwicki CSB, His Word Resounds, Makati, Philippines: St. Paul Publications, 1991, pages 174-176.
Jakarta, 19 August 2012
A Christian Pilgrim