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Monthly Archives: December 2017

LIKE MARY, WE CAN WALK CONFIDENTLY IN THE BLESSING AND PEACE OF THE LORD

LIKE MARY, WE CAN WALK CONFIDENTLY IN THE BLESSING AND PEACE OF THE LORD

(A biblical refection on THE SOLEMNITY OF MARY, MOTHER OF GOD – Monday, 1 January 2018)

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE 

First Reading: Numbers 6:22-27 

Psalms: Psalm 67:2-3,5-6,8; Second Reading: Galatians 4:4-7; Gospel Reading: Luke 2:16-21 

The Scripture Text

The LORD said to Moses, “Say to Aaron and his sons, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,

The LORD bless you and keep you;

The LORD make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;

The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace. 

So shall they put My name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.” (Numbers 6:22-27 RSV)

As we stand at the threshold of a new year, the church reaffirms God’s promise to bless us and keep us (Numbers 6:24). In celebrating the feast of Mary the Mother of God, we proclaim the glorious truth that in Mary’s womb the Second Person of the Trinity united Himself completely with our humanity. “Taking a body like our own, because all our bodies were liable to … death, He surrendered His body to death in place of all. … Through this union of the immortal Son of God with our human nature, all were clothed with incorruption” (Saint Athanasius, On the Incarnation, 8,9).

In Mary, we see the portrait of one who knew God’s face shining upon her, filling her with grace (Numbers 6:25). Looking upon her with love and showering her with divine grace, God prepared her to say “yes” to His plan that she bear His Son in this world. As Mary consented in faith, the Father gave her His peace (Numbers 6:26), continually encouraging her to trust Him as she saw His plan unfold. How deeply she must have needed this peace, as she faced dangerous and frightening circumstances (Luke 2:4-7; Matthew 2:13-15)! In each situation, Mary learned to trust more fully that God would bless her and keep her (Number 6:24).

Because the Son of God took flesh in Mary’s womb, we too can share in these wonderful blessings. We have been baptized into Christ, we have a share in His divinity, and in His humanity. We are heirs of the blessings that God gave to Israel and in a particular way to Mary, the beloved Daughter of Zion.

Like Mary, we can walk confidently in the blessing and peace of the Lord. The Son of God, who left His throne to become one like us, has conquered sin and death for all of us. Each day, we can freely receive the life of Jesus into our hearts simply by responding “yes” to the Lord’s call, just as Mary did. By Jesus’ sanctifying blood, we hve been made vessels of the Holy Spirit, enabling us to cry out “Abba! Father!” as true daughters and sons of God (Galatians 4:6-7). The Lord is not far off, but very near; indeed, He dwells within us through His Holy Spirit. Let us turn to Him and allow His blessing, grace, and mercy to shine upon us.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we pray for peace. As we celebrate the first day of the new year, may the King of heaven and earth, who was born through Mary, The Mother of God and Queen of Peace, reign in our hearts and make us instruments of peace. We pray this in the most precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Jakarta, 30 December 2017 

A Christian Pilgrim 

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Posted by on December 31, 2017 in BIBLICAL REFLECTIONS 2018

 

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SUNDAY WITHIN THE OCTAVE OF CHRISTMAS: FEAST OF THE HOLY FAMILY

Prayer: Heavenly Father, in the Holy Family of Nazareth You have given us the true model of a Christian home. Grant that by following Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in their love for each other and in the example of their family life we may come to Your home of peace and joy. We pray this in the most precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amin.

Jakarta, 31 December 2017

A Christian Pilgrim

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2017 in READ & PRAY, SAINTS WE LOVE

 

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FILLED WITH WISDOM: THE HOLY FAMILY OF JESUS, MARY AND JOSEPH – Luke 2:22-40

Jakarta, 31 December 2017

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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THE HOLY FAMILY OF NAZARETH: JESUS, MARY AND JOSEPH

THE HOLY FAMILY OF NAZARETH: JESUS, MARY AND JOSEPH

(A biblical reflection on the Feast of THE HOLY FAMILY – Sunday, 31 December 2017)

 

Gospel Reading: Luke 2:22,39-40 (shorter version) 

First Reading: Sirach 3:2-6,12-14; Psalms: Psalm 128:1-5; Second Reading: Colossians 3:12-21; Gospel Reading: Luke 2:22-40 (longer version) 

The Scripture Text

And when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord. 

And when they had performed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. And the Child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon Him. (Luke 2:22,39-40 RSV)

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph’s first recorded family outing had a religious purpose. Today’s Gospel talks about two important Jewish religious practices – the purification of a woman after childbirth and the presentation of a male baby in the Temple. Because these two Jewish rituals play an important role in today’s Gospel, we must take a closer look at each of them.

The Purification: The ancient Jewish people believed God was the source of life, using blood as a vehicle to communicate that life to human beings. Therefore, a person who came in contact with blood came in contact with God’s creative power. Since this experience of God set the person apart from the ordinary world, this individual had to undergo a purification before returning to everyday life. This purification, usually a ritual bath, restored the person to “normalcy” before offering sacrifices to God or taking part in religious services.

Jewish women, therefore, underwent a ritual bath after each monthly period. After childbirth, the woman also offered a year old lamb and a pair of pigeons or turtledoves at her purification. However, if the woman was poor, she offered only the birds. This explain Mary’s offering in today’s Gospel.

The Presentation: When the Jews were slaves in Egypt, God appeared to Moses and told him to lead His people to freedom. When the pharaoh refused to let the Jews go, God punished the Egyptian people with ten plagues, the last being the death of the first born Egyptian male in each family. Because God spared the Jews from this catastrophe, they believed their firstborn sons belonged to God (Exodus 13:11-16) and “ransomed” these sons back with an offering of five shekels (coins). In today’s Gospel, Joseph and Mary fulfill this Jewish laws when they visit the Temple for Mary’s purification.

Today’s Gospel concludes with Joseph and Mary returning with Jesus to Nazareth in Galilee. Galilee, a region within the land of Palestine where most of Jesus’ ministry took place, was a relatively small area, only about forty-five miles long from north to south.

Source: Jerome J. Sabatowich, Cycling Through the Gospels – Gospel Commentaries for Cycles A, B, and C, pages 130-131.)

Prayer: Heavenly Father, to me the Holy Family is a model of religious observance, in prayerfulness and fidelity to God through light and darkness, joy, and sorrow, breaking and growing. Let Your Holy Spirit keep guiding me to become a good disciple of Christ, and to spread His Good News to others I meet. Amen.

Jakarta, 29 December 2017 

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. ……” (Calvin Coolidge)

Jakarta, 30 December 2017

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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“Christmas is joy, religious joy, God’s joy, an inner joy of light and peace.” (Pope Francis)

Jakarta, 29 December 2017

A Christian Pilgrim

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2017 in QUOTABLE QUOTES 2017

 

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“If someone tries to steal your Christmas away this year, let them. Because the spirit of Christmas is far greater than …”

Jakarta, 29 December 2017

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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