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Monthly Archives: March 2021

IF I THEN, YOUR LORD AND TEACHER, HAVE WASHED YOUR FEET, YOU ALSO OUGHT TO WASH ONE ANOTHER’S FEET

IF I THEN, YOUR LORD AND TEACHER, HAVE WASHED YOUR FEET, YOU ALSO OUGHT TO WASH ONE ANOTHER’S FEET

(A biblical reflection on HOLY THURSDAY – 1 April 2021)

Gospel Reading: John 13:1-15

First Reading: Exodus 12:1-8,11-14; Psalms: Psalm 116:12-13,15-18; Second Reading: 1Corinthians 11:23-26

The Scripture Text

Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. And during supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper, laid aside His garments, and girded Himself with a towel. Then He poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. He came to Simon Peter; and Peter said to Him, “Lord, do You wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not know now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part in Me.” Simon Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “He who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but he is clean all over; and you are clean, but not all of you.” For He knew who was to betray Him; that was why He said, “You are not all clean.”

When He had washed their feet, and taken His garments, and resumed His place, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. (John 13:1-15)

Today begins the great Easter Triduum, the three days when we relive by faith and liturgy the drama of our salvation. Today especially is a day filled with symbols and prophetic gestures that speak volumes about the mercy and love that flowed into our lives.  As a matter of fact, Jesus’ whole life was an act of love. His incarnation, the hidden years in Nazareth, the days of fasting and temptation in the wilderness, the tiring Galilee journeys of preaching and healing – everything He did expressed His love. As John the Evangelist set out to describe the final events of Jesus’ life, he began his account with the simple statement that Jesus “loved His own who were in the world”, and “loved them to the end” (John 13:1). Here, on the eve of His death, we were given an intimate look into Jesus’ heart of love.

Picture Jesus kneeling on the hard, dirty floor and humbly washing the grubby, calloused feet of His disciples – even those of His betrayer, Judas Iscariot. How degrading for Him! How embarrassing for the disciples! Most of us would probably back away like Peter at the mere thought of letting the Lord do such thing. But Jesus’ love did not stop there. The next day He allowed Himself to be falsely accused, ridiculed, scourged, and executed – and He loved us to the very end. Yes, in the washing of His disciples’ feet, Jesus performed a humble service to demonstrate how much He loved His friends.

In his recounting of the way Jesus washed His disciples’ feet, John gives us an image of the entire Gospel message. The Son of God, perfect, pure, and holy, not only became a man but took on the role of a slave so that He could cleanse and refresh us. He humbled Himself so that we could be lifted up. He took the lowest position – to the point of death as a common criminal – so that we could become heirs of the kingdom of heaven. What hymn of praise could contain such love? How could we ever repay such a debt?

Today and every day, Jesus wants to do the same for us: to wash our feet. Jesus is always ready to care for our needs, heal our pains, and comfort us in our disappointments. He is eager to pick us up when we fall and give us guidance and direction when we ask. Therefore, we should never be afraid to let Jesus wash our feet. Whenever we allow Him to serve us, we will find ourselves energized to serve others, to follow the example He left us to wash one another’s feet (see John 13:14-15) and give our lives for one another, as He did.

Jesus washed His disciples’ feet at the “Last Supper”, the first celebration of the (Christian) Eucharist. In that particular Eucharist celebration (and millions of such celebrations to follow), Jesus went one step further by offering His disciples (including ourselves) His own body and blood. The washing of the disciples’ feet was a gesture pointed prophetically to the sacrifice of love He would make for us, this gesture actually invites us to participate in our redemption. On the other hand, by saying, “Take and eat, take and drink”, Jesus is calling us to embrace His death and resurrection. He is asking us to turn away from sin and let His life become our life. He leaves it up to us. Will we taste His goodness, or will we remain self-sufficient and isolated from His love during our days?

Tonight as we commemorate the “Last Supper”, and every time we celebrate Mass, Jesus comes to wash our feet. Whenever we eat His body and drink His blood, He longs to serve us so that when we are sent out at the end of Mass: “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord”; we have all the energy and grace we need.

Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, how Your love humble me! Nothing was too lowly for You to do! Help me, Lord Jesus, to serve as You served and to love as You love. Lord Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make our hearts like Yours. Amen.

Jakarta, 31 March 2021 [Wednesday in the Holy Week]

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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MATTHEW 26:24 (Today’s Gospel Reading: Matthew 26:14-25)

The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born. It had, been good for that man if he had not been borne. The doom of Judas is worse than non-existence. To have consorted with Christ as he had done, and then to deliver him into the hands of his enemies, sealed the traitor s eternal destiny. Jesus notes that His death and betrayal were prophesied. Yet that does not release Judas from his sin (Ps 49; Ps 41; Ps 69). Complicated issue, couldn’t Judas argue that it was his destiny to betray Jesus? Was Judas accountable? Yes.

Jakarta, 31 March 2021

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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JOHN 13:37-38 (John 13:21-33, 36-38)

Jakarta, 30 March 2021

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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JOHN 12:10-11 (Today’s Gospel Reading: John 12:1-11)

Jakarta, 29 March 2021 [Monday of the Holy Week]

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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MARK 15:38 (Today’s Gospel Reading: Mark 14:1 – 15:47)

Jakarta, 28 March 2021 [PALM SUNDAY]

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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THE ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM

THE ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM

(A biblical reflection on PASSION SUNDAY [PALM SUNDAY] – 28 March 2021)

Gospel Reading: Mark 11:1-10 [Year B]

Alternative Gospel Reading: John 12:12-16

The Scripture Text

And when they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, He sent two of His disciples, and said to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately as you ener it you will find a colt tied, on which no none has ever sat; untie it and bring it. If any one says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately.’” And they went away, and found a colt tied at the door out in the open street; and they untied it. And those who stood there said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” and they told them what Jesus had said; and they let them go. And they brought the colt to Jesus, and threw their garments on it; and He sat upon the road, and others spread leafy branches which they had cut from the fields. And those who went before and those who followed cried out, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is coming! Hosanna in the highest!” (Mark 11:1-10)

Jesus draws near to Jerusalem at Betphage and Bethany to enter the city from the Mount of Olives to the east, since He has come from Jericho near the Jordan river. He is about to begin in Jerusalem what in Mark’s Gospel is a brief ministry (see Mark 11:1-13:37).

The Prophecy of Zechariah (Zehariah 9:9) may be in Mark’s thoughts as he describes the preparations for the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, not on a horse but humbly on a young donkey (colt). Jesus tells His disciples to bring a young donkey from a village.

It may have been a previous arrangement with the owner, or the meaning may be that it is God who wants the donkey for His Messiah and shall bring it back with His Messiah sitting upon it.

Some of the disciples spontaneously place their garments on the donkey. Others spread them on the roadway before Him, which again reminds us of the ‘way’ along which Jesus leads His disciples. Others cut leafy branches from the fields on the Mount of Olives.

Some disciples go before Him and some follow, but without the great crowds which we find in the Gospel of Matthew. They joyfully sing “Hosanna”, which literally means “Please save” and commonly used as a joyful cry of praise to God. They shout and sing together that Jesus is the one blessed by God who is coming to Jerusalem in His name.

He comes as a humble servant ready to give even His life, to ransom the people into the freedom of God’s kingdom. His humble entry reveals He is the Messiah to those who have faith in God, but conceals it from those who seek a different kind of Messiah.

Prayer: Hosanna to the Son of David who comes to save us with selfless love. Amen.

Jakarta, 27 March 2021

A Christian Pilgrim

 
 

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JOHN 11:45 (Today’s Gospel Reading: John 11:45-56)

Jakarta, 27 March 2021

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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JOHN 10:41 (Today’s Gospel Reading: John 10:31-42)

Jakarta, 26 March 2021

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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LUKE 1:38 (Today’s Gospel Reading: Luke 1:26-38)

Jakarta, 25 March 2021 [SOLEMNITY OF THE ANNUNCIATION OF THE LORD]

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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MARY: THE HANDMAID OF THE LORD

MARY: THE HANDMAID OF THE LORD

(A biblical reflection on The Solemnity of THE ANNUNCIATION OF THE LORD, Thursday, 25 March 2021)

Gospel Reading: Luke 1:26-38

First Reading: Isaiah 7:10-14; Psalms: Psalm 40:7-11; Second Reading: Hebrews 10:4-10

The Scripture Text

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus.

He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His Kingdom there will be no end.”

And Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no husband?” And the angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.

And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:26-38 RSV)

“Here I am, Lord; I come to do Your will” (Responsorial Psalm)

This refrain echoes in the hearts of all those across time who have desired to be faithful to God. In particular, it echoes Mary’s “yes” to God and her consent to become the mother of God’s divine Son, and Jesus’ “yes” that He would take on human flesh from her. Their consent to the Father is a sign to us of the marvelous work that can be achieved even in us when our hearts echo these words.

Mary’s consent to God flows from her openness to His grace. She was a member of the people God chose to be His own and was a faithful daughter of Zion. In a most generous way, she heeded God’s word spoken through the prophets and embraced the law He gave to guide His people. She had an “open ear” (Psalm 40:6), a desire to hear God and do His will. She lived what the psalmist proclaimed: “I delight to do Thy will, O my God; Thy law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8). Because this was Mary’s desire, she could say “yes” to God regardless of the unforeseen consequences.

Mary’s consent also reflects the life she received as a member of God’s chosen people. She saw herself as part of that people and did not conceal God’s justice, love or faithfulness in her own heart but through her faithful submission to God’s plan announced it in “the great congregation” (Psalm 40:9-10). She knew that her fortunes rose and fell with those of the people God called to Himself, and so every word God spoke to them she claimed as a word for herself. She received life from and through this people, and thus nourished, she could give her consent to God.

On this day when the Church celebrates Mary’s “yes” to God, we rejoice, for her consent brought forth God’s Son who has saved the world. God’s works was accomplished with her cooperation because she listened to and embraced His word and lived as part of the people He called to Himself. Let us rejoice in Mary’s “yes” and unite ourselves with her and all those throughout history who have desired to do God’s will. And may these words echo in our hearts: “Here I am, Lord; I come to do Your will.”

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to hear Your call to love and service. Help me say “yes” to You. And send Your Holy Spirit to me, so that Jesus may be born in my heart. Amen.

Jakarta, 24 March 2021

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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