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Category Archives: LENT AND EASTERTIDE

JESUS INSTRUCTS SIMON PETER

Today’s Gospel Reading: John 21:15-19 – SEVENTH WEEK OF EASTER: Friday, 18 May 2018

Peter provides a contrast with Paul. He had denied the Lord and, in today’s Gospel reading, we witness the Lord forgiving him. In this scene, Jesus drew out courage, leadership and faith from Peter that otherwise might well have been smothered in a morass of self-denial and self-recrimination.

Peter and Paul both exhibit the effect of the Holy Spirit upon us. The Holy Spirit will not turn a poet into an economist. But the Spirit enables us to center, control and clarify the gifts we have so that we can live as God intended. The effect of the Spirit on Peter and Paul was to strengthen their natural abilities. The Spirit redirected Paul’s fire. The Spirit channeled Peter’s leadership and stability. The Spirit helps us mold, shape and transform our gifts into instruments of the Lord.

The Spirit helps us to see things more clearly, to love God more dearly and to follow Christ more nearly.

Jakarta, 18 May 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

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JESUS CONTINUES TO PRAY

Today’s Gospel Reading:  John 17:20-26 – SEVENTH WEEK OF EASTER: Thursday, 17 May 2018

The Lord speaks about His gift of peace to us and to the Church. In our own day, we have experienced divisions similar to those that split Pharisees and Sadducees. Such sharp divisions are never entirely healthy. They drain energy, time and intellectual effort from more productive enterprises. It can happen that because of such divisions, a Roman Catholic will be more hospitable to a Buddhist than to a fellow Catholic.

The maintenance of unity in diversity is a difficult question. We can preserve unity in prayer by keeping our focus on the Lord. There are so many forces that pull apart families, parishes and people. Unity, cohesion and fidelity as a Church are indeed gifts of the Spirit. The Lord has not given us an idea to hold us together. He has given us the force and power of the Holy Spirit.

Unity is a gift from the Lord.

Jakarta, 17 May 2018

A Christian Pilgrim   

 

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JESUS PRAYS FOR HIS DISCIPLES

Today’s Gospel Reading: John 17:11-19 – SEVENTH WEEK OF EASTER: Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Jesus asks the Father to guard the flock from the evil one. The Lord is not simply speaking of theological error. He refers to the way of the world.

We are all Christ’s Body in the world. What people see, hear and touch of Christ is us. For better or worse, we are the Body of Christ to the people around us. It is through people that faith is strengthened or weakened. We are the carriers of the living Christ. This in one reason why Paul is so insistent about the personnel who will find their way into the Ephesian Church (first reading; Acts 20:28-38) and why the Lord prays that the evil one will be warded off.

It is those who can infect a community with suspicion and quarreling that can destroy a community’s sense of the Lord’s presence and His mission for them.

A community is weakened or strengthened not by theories but by people.

Jakarta, 16 May 2018 

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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JESUS PRAYS

Today’s Gospel Reading: John 17:1-11 – SEVENTH WEEK OF EASTER: Tuesday, 15 May 2018 

In this Gospel reading, one of the most intimate sections of John’s Gospel, we have the prayer of Jesus as He looks back over His own ministry. He also used all the opportunities the Father had given Him. Paul stated that he had not shrunk from announcing God’s design (first reading, Acts 20:17-27), The Lord says that He has made the Father’s name known.

It can happen that we miss the opportunities the Lord gives us by always living in the future. “Tomorrow, I will get down to my spiritual life.” “Tomorrow, I will start spending more time with my family.” “Tomorrow, we’ll reconcile.” Or, we can live in the past as we refight old battles and rehearse old hurts. It is in the present that the dynamics of salvation take place. God’s word is spoken to us in the now. Christ’s offer of peace and the time of salvation and of the experience  of God’s presence are now. It is in this particular parish, this neighborhood, with these people, that God is present and calling.

We can miss God’s call to us by concentrating on the future or on the past. God is with us in the now.

Jakarta, 15 May 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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SO THAT THEY MAY BE ONE: 7th Sunday of Easter [Year B] – John 17:11b-19

Jakarta, 13 May 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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AS THOU DIDST SEND ME INTO THE WORLD, SO I HAVE SENT THEM INTO THE WORLD

AS THOU DIDST SEND ME INTO THE WORLD, SO I HAVE SENT THEM INTO THE WORLD

(A biblical reflection on THE SEVENTH SUNDAY OF EASTER [Year B] – May 13, 2018)

Gospel Reading: John 17:11-19 

First Reading: Act 1:15-17,20-26; Psalms: Psalm 103:1-2,11-12,19-20; Second Reading: 1John 4:11-16 

The Scripture Text

And now I am no more in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to Thee. Holy Father, keep them in Thy name, which Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, even as we are one. While I was with them, I kept them in Thy name, which Thou hast given Me, I have guarded them, and none of them is lost but the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to Thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them Thy word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not pray that Thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldst keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth. As Thou didst send Me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate Myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth. (John 17:11-19 RSV) 

The Church divides its calendar of Sunday readings into three parts called cycles, with a new cycle beginning on the first Sunday of Advent. The Church takes the cycle A Sunday Gospel readings from the Gospel according to Matthew, the cycle B Gospel readings from the Gospel according to Mark, and the cycle C Gospel readings from the Gospel according to Luke. John’s Gospel is part of all three cycles, usually appearing on special occasions such as Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Sundays during the Easter season. Most of the Sunday Gospel readings so far this year have been from the Gospel according to Mark because we are in the middle of the B cycle of readings.

One unusual feature in the Gospel according to John is that it uses the term “disciples” rather than “apostles”. Sometimes priests and ministers use these two words interchangeably as if they mean the same thing. In reality, they have very different definitions.

Jesus’ followers often addressed Him as “Rabbi”, a word that means “teacher”. The word “disciple” comes from a Greek word that means “student”. Some rabbis taught Jewish boys how to read and write in the synagogue schools, but other rabbis taught men how to be rabbis. In either case, the rabbi’s students were disciples. Therefore, John is correct when he uses this word to describe the twelve men whom Jesus chose to be His close companions because they were His students, training to become rabbis.

The word “apostle” comes from a Greek word that means “one who is sent”, and it refers to someone who is sent out to deliver a message. Matthew, Mark, and Luke call the twelve men whom Jesus chose to be His close companions “apostles” because Jesus sent them out to proclaim the Gospel message after He taught them privately. In other words, they were disciples or students first and were apostles after they successfully completed their period of instruction.

It is interesting that we do not find the word “apostle” in the Gospel according to John. The closest John comes to using this word is in today’s reading when Jesus, in His prayer to His heavenly Father, says He “sent” the Twelve out into the world. For John, the true follower of Jesus never stops being a disciple but is always willing to learn more about Jesus and His message.

What kind of disciples are you? How much time do you spend reading and studying Scripture so Jesus can use you as his apostle in the world today?

Source: Jerome J. Sabatowich, Cycling Through the Gospels – Gospel Commentaries for Cycles A, B, and C, pages 158-159.)

Prayer: Heavenly Father, send forth Your Spirit to make us loyal disciples of Your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, so that He can send us out to preach the Good News to the people we meet. Amen. 

Jakarta, 11 May 2018 

A Christian Pilgrim  

 

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JESUS GIVES HIS FINAL INSTRUCTIONS

Today’s Gospel Reading: John 16:23-28 – SIXTH WEEK OF EASTER: Saturday, 12 May 2018 

The Lord speaks about a time when He will no longer use veiled language in speaking of the Father. Then, our joy will be full. Jesus refers to the Pentecost event for the Apostolic college and to baptism for our individual selves.

When we receive the Holy Spirit, we are no longer dependent on words, images or phrases of a teacher to  instruct us about something of which we know little. We are able to experience the presence of God for ourselves.

It is similar to the experience of love. One can hear lectures and read books about love. It is only when an individual has the experience of love that she or he can realize the full depth of its power as something much more that words can convey. The same is true of our experience of God. Once we experience the presence of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, then we realize the partiality of all language and theologies of the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit enables us to experience what we have heard being taught and preached.

Jakarta, 12 May 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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