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Category Archives: MARY

THE CANTICLE OF MARY

THE CANTICLE OF MARY

 (A biblical reflection on the Solemnity of THE ASSUMPTION OF THE VIRGIN MARY – Sunday, 14 August 2022)

Gospel Reading: Luke 1:39-56

First Reading: Revelation 11:19;12:1-6,10; Psalms: Psalm 45:10-12,16; Second Reading: 1Corinthians 15:20-26

The Scripture Text

In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has regarded the low estate of His hand maiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; for He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with His arm, He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree; He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent empty away. He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity for ever.”

And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her home. (Luke 1:39-56 RSV)

Mary’s canticle – the Magnificat – is a prayer of faith, just as Mary herself is a model of faith and prayer for all of us. Elizabeth confirmed this when she was moved by the Holy Spirit to cry out, “Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” (Luke 1:45). Mary’s trust in God was ultimately fulfilled in the event we celebrate today, when she was taken up body and soul into heaven. Her assumption is the crowning event in the life of a humble, trusting, and prayerful woman.

The Magnificat – Mary’s hymn of praise in response to Elizabeth’s greeting – shows us some principles for our own prayer. Mary’s prayer is perhaps the most humble prayer recorded in scripture. In it, Mary acknowledged the truth about who God is and who she is before Him. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that “humility is the foundation of prayer” (CCC, 2559). It certainly was the foundation of Mary’s canticle, as she confessed that God “Has regarded the low estate of His hand maiden …… for He who is mighty has done great things for me” (Luke 1:48,49).

Mary’s prayer is also one of great faith. She trusted in what God would do for her, and throughout her life remained confident of His mercy and kindness (Luke 1:50). She trusted that God would exalt the lowly of this world and that He would be faithful to all His promises (Luke 1:52-53,55). Mary’s canticle is a beautiful demonstration of the fact that we do not have to do great public deeds to please God, nor do we have to expound lengthily on deep theological issues. By following Mary’s example of loving the Lord, trusting Him, and walking humbly in His presence, we can all be pleasing to Him.

As we (you and I) come before the Lord each day in personal prayer, we must try to recall Mary’s example of humility and faith. With her, in the power of the Holy Spirit, we also will be able to declare that “God who is mighty has done great things for me; holy is His name.”

Prayer: Heavenly Father, You raised Your daughter Mary through her assumption into heaven. Help me to come before You in humility and loving trust, as she did. By the power of Your Holy Spirit, fill me with the depth of faith that Mary had. Amen.

Jakarta, 13 August 2022

A Christian Pilgrim

 
 

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OBLIGATORY MEMORIA OF THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY (Saturday after the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus)

Jakarta, 25 June 2022

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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THE BIRTH OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST (Solemnity: 24 June; this year [2022] is celebrated on 23 June)

Jakarta, 23 June 2022

A Christian Pilgrim

 
 

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JOHN 19:26-27 (Today’s Gospel Reading: John 19:25-34)

Jakarta, 6 June 2022 [MARY, MOTHER OF THE CHURCH]

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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LUKE 1:46-50 (Today’s Gospel Reading: Luke 1:39-56)

Jakarta, 31 May 2022 [FEAST OF THE VISITATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY]

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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SOLEMNITY OF THE ANNUNCIATION OF THE LORD (25 March)

GOSPEL READING: Luke 1:26-38

Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me a childlike heart. Teach me to rely on You for everything. I place all my cares and concerns into Your loving hands. Thank You for being with me as I walk through this day. I pray this in the most precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Jakarta, 25 March 2022

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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LUKE 2:34-35 (Today’s Gospel Reading: Luke 2:22-40)

Jakarta, 2 February 2022

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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THE WEDDING AT CANA

THE WEDDING AT CANA

(A biblical reflection on the 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time [Year C], 16 January 2022)

Gospel Reading: John 2:1-11 

First Reading: Isaiah 62:1-5; Psalms: Psalm 96:1-3,7-10; Second Reading: 1Corinthians 12:4-11 

The Scripture Text

On the third day there was a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; Jesus also was invited to the marriage, with His disciples. When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “O woman, what have you to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.” Now six stone jars were standing there, for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons, Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the steward of the feast.” So they took it. When the steward of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Every man serves the good wine first; and when men have drunk freely, then the poor wine; but you have kept the good wine until now.” This, the first of His signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him. (John 2:1-11 RSV)

Today’s Gospel about the marriage feast at Cana is one of the most humanly appealing stories about Jesus. To see His interest and concern for the young married couple is something we all appreciate. There is also a warm humanness about the fact that Mary, His mother, apparently refused to take “no” for an answer from Jesus. And yet there seems to be something deeper about the Gospel, something very significant underlying the charming narrative.

We have a hint that there is something more here than just a story, for St. John apparently takes it for granted that his readers know that the water became wine. He really does not emphasize the miracle at all. Everyone knew, in John’s estimation, that Jesus had worked a miracle. John’s point was that the whole episode was a sign, a sign of the Church. John’s thinking is a little complex, but it is worth going into.

It is noteworthy that the event takes place at a wedding feast. The Old Testament pictured the people of Israel as the spouse of God, and saw in a wedding feast a symbol of the Messianic age. We heard an example of this imagery in the first reading of today’s Mass, from Isaiah. “… as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you” (Isaiah 62:5 RSV). St. Paul, in accord with this same symbol, spoke of the Church, the new Israel, as the bride of Christ. And so, it appears that St. John used the wedding feast to show that he wished to say something about the Church.

Next, we must notice the prominence of Mary in the story. The Second Vatican Council has reemphasized an old, favorite idea of the early writers that Mary is a sign of the people in the Church. In a sense, she sums up in her person the whole human race as called to follow Christ. This is why Jesus addressed her with a term that strikes us as strange for a son to use, “Woman”.

The word “Woman” is rich in biblical connotation. It recalls the first woman, Eve, whose name means “mother of all the living”. Mary as the new Eve is the new mother of all the living, and so represents all of mankind. At Cana, Jesus stated that His hour has not yet come. Mary in effect told Him that we wanted His hour to come. The word “hour” meant His death and resurrection, the great mystery whereby He would gain our salvation. When Jesus worked His first miracle at the implicit request of Mary, He was beginning that whole series of events that would inevitably lead to His death and resurrection.

By His death and resurrection, Jesus was to form the new people of God, the Church. As Jesus changed the water into a fuller and richer liquid, that of wine, so He was going to change the old Jewish religion into the fuller and richer religion of Christianity. The choice wine kept until later in the history of the human race is Christianity, and we are the ones who enjoy it.

Yes, we are the ones who benefit by the Church, but the Church is not something we simply enjoy. It is not merely a source of goodness for us, as we sit back and drink its pleasant wine. Notice in the Gospel story that, though Jesus worked the miracle by His power alone, He did so in cooperation with others: with Mary, the headwaiter, and his assistants. And so in the Church, each one of us has his job to do in cooperation with Christ.

St. Paul, in the second reading of today’s Mass, is also talking about the Church. He tells us that in the Church there are many and varied functions which different people perform. The Church is not just the Pope and the bishops. All of us together make up the Church, and each one of us must do his share for the good of the whole Church.

Some time after their wedding day, a young couple comes to realize that marriage is more than something we enjoy. It is something that both husband and wife have to work at, because marriage is what they make it. And so with the Church. The Church today will largely be what we make it. Christ is doing His part. Are we doing ours?

Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ,thank You. Today, You remind us that we certainly have the right to criticize the Church. You also remind us that by criticizing the Church, we are criticizing ourselves, for we are the Church. I realize that it is not honest or valid to step back and look at the Church as something apart from ourselves, any more than we can step back from and complain about an infected finger as if it were not part of us. Yes Lord, we are the Church. What the Church is today largely depends on what kind of people we are. Amen.

Jakarta, 15 January 2022

A Christian Pilgrim

 
 

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THE MANIFESTATION TO THE NON-JEWS

THE MANIFESTATION TO THE NON-JEWS

(A biblical reflection on THE SOLEMNITY OF THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD, Sunday – 2 January 2022)

Gospel Reading: Matthew 2:1-12

First Reading: Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalms: Psalm 72:1-2,7-8,10-13; Second Reading: Ephesians 3:2-3,5-6

The Scripture Text

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east, and have come to worship Him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: ‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will govern My people Israel.’”

Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star appeared, and he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found Him bring me word, that I too may come and worship Him.” When they had heard the king they went their way; and lo, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy; and going into the house they saw the child with Mary His mother, and they fell down and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered Him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh (Matthew 2:1-12 RSV).

Today’s feast, also known as “the Manifestation to the Gentiles,” celebrates the call of Gentiles, or non-Israelites, to salvation. Many first century Jews were eagerly awaiting a Messiah who would deliver them from foreign oppression and reestablish Israel as God’s dwelling place. But Jesus did not come to deliver His people from political bondage. He came to “save His people from their sins” (Matthew 2:21). In Jesus, the Father set out to create one universal Church encompassing women and men of every nation.

This is where the magi come in, the first Gentiles to whom Jesus was made manifest. They came seeking the “King of the Jews,” but found the King of the universe instead! And who were these magi? They probably were not kings, but astronomers and astrologers combined together. They were experts in “stars” as well very good zodiac readers. These “wise men” were wise in that they were searching for truth and undertook a long and arduous journey just to find it.  An when they found Jesus, who is truth incarnate, they bowed down in worship – the surest sign of wisdom.

Just as Jesus at His birth drew wise men from afar, so today He draws people of all backgrounds to Himself. People all over the world, whether consciously or unconsciously, are searching for the truth and life found in the person of Jesus. There is not one person, no matter how far from the truth they seem, to whom Jesus does not want to manifest His presence and love.

So, let us commit ourselves to praying that people of every religious and cultural background come to know salvation and experience the fullness of life that God offers them through Jesus. Let us pray for those who are sincerely seeking the truth, especially those who seem to be looking in the wrong places. Let us ask God for the wisdom to recognize those people with whom He wants us to share His light and love. As Pope Saint John Paul II once encouraged, let us be like that star that guides others to the light of Christ, “so that individuals and peoples in search of truth, justice, and peace may come to Jesus, the one Savior of the world.”

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for revealing that Your plan of salvation is meant for everyone, including myself. Help all those who are searching for You to find the light of truth in Your Son, Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

Jakarta, 1 January 2022 [Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God]

A Christian Pilgrim

 
 

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LUKE 2:21 (Today’s Gospel Reading: Luke 2:16-21)

Jakarta, 1 January 2021 [Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God]

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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