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Category Archives: MARY

THE VISITATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY – FEAST: 31 MAY

Prayer: Heavenly Father, You inspired the Blessed Virgin Mary, when she was carrying Your Son, to visit Elizabeth. Grant that, always docile to the voice of the Spirit, we may, together with our Lady, glorify Your Name. 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, 31 May 2017

A Christian Pilgrim 

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2017 in MARY, SAINTS WE LOVE

 

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THE CRUCIFIXION OF THE REDEEMER [JOHN 19:15-30] – Good Friday

THE CRUCIFIXION OF THE REDEEMER [John 19:15-30] – Good Friday

Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar”. Then he handed Him over to them to be crucified.

So, they took Jesus, and carrying the cross Himself He went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha. There they crucified Him, and with Him two others, one on either side, with Jesus in the middle. Pilate also had inscription written and put on the cross. It read, “Jesus the Nazorean, the King of the Jews”. Now many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews’, but that he said, ‘I am the King of the Jews’.” Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took His clothes and divided them into four shares, a share for each soldier. They also took His tunic, but the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top down. So they said to one another, “Let’s not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it will be”, in order that the passage of scripture might be fulfilled [that says]: “They divided my garments among them, and for my vesture they cast lots”. This is what the soldiers did.

Standing by the cross of jesus were His mother and mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple there whom He loved, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son”. Then He said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother”. And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

After this, aware that everything was now finished, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I thirst”. There was a vessel filled with common wine. So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to His mouth. When Jesus had taken the wine, He said, “It is finished”. And bowing His head, He handed over the spirit. [John 9:15-30]

Prayer: Lord Jesus, through this bitter passion and through the outpouring of Your precious blood, I ask You to pierce my heart so that my tears of penance and love may be my bread day and night. Amen.

Jakarta, 14 April 2017 [GOOD FRIDAY]

 

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THE ANNUNCIATION OF THE LORD – SOLEMNITY: 25 MARCH

Prayer: Heavenly Father, shape us in the likeness of the divine nature of our Redeemer, whom we believe to be true God and true man, since it was Your will, Lord God, the He, Your Word, should take to Himself our human nature in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Jakarta, 25 March 2017

A Christian Pilgrim 

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2017 in MARY, SAINTS WE LOVE

 

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THE PRESENTATION OF THE LORD – FEAST: 2 FEBRUARY

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Prayer: Heavenly Father, on this day Your Only-begotten Son was presented in the temple, in flesh and blood like ours: purify us in mind and heart that we may meet You in Your glory. We make our prayer in the most holy 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, 2 February 2017

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Posted by on February 2, 2017 in MARY, MISCELLANY

 

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THE REVELATION OF GOD’S ONLY-BEGOTTEN SON

THE REVELATION OF GOD’S ONLY-BEGOTTEN SON

(A biblical reflection on THE SOLEMNITY OF THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD, Sunday, 8 January 2017)

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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)  

“… and going into the house they saw the child with Mary His mother, and they fell down and worshiped Him” (Matthew 2:11). 

Why the omission of Joseph? He is surely not dead, for he will re-appear in the next scene. No doubt Matthew here wishes to focus on the kingship of Jesus. In the Davidic messianic tradition the Queen Mother was intimately associated with the king. The “queen” in Judah was never the king’s bride but his mother. Matthew himself had evoked this role for Mary in the Isaian prophecy in Matthew 1:23. In the Roman catacombs of Priscilla, the earliest painting of Mary (second century) is of this scene.

Gold, frankincense and myrrh were common stock of magicians, but Jewish tradition also saw them as gifts suitable for a king (Psalms 45:8; 72:10, 11, 15; Isaiah 60:6) and that is probably Matthew’s understanding of them here. Because of this, later Christians, helped by reflection of Psalm 72:10, assumed the astrologers themselves were kings. The Church Fathers saw the gold as symbol of royalty, the incense that of divinity, and the myrrh that of the coming passion of Jesus.

0-0-three-magisWhat does this story say to the Church today, for whom the Jewish-Gentile tension is only of archival interest? Fr. George Montague SM (Companion God) sees the following applications:

  1. For Matthew there was on the one hand the “established group” who were challenged out of their comfort by the new, foreign element. Today there are baptized Christians who form a church of sorts but one that has little interest in sharing the faith beyond its own comfortable confines. A church or a community that is not interested in evangelization is, in Matthew’s view, no longer the church of Jesus Christ, as we shall see most dramatically in Matthew chapter 28.
  2. In the interface with persons of other religions, we must respect the ways that they seek God, aware that the intensity of their longing for God may well shame our pusillanimity and smug self-contentedness. On the other hand, to assume the attitude that “everyone will be saved anyhow”, that Christianity has no unique message, that there is no value in the disturbance (mutual disturbance!) which the interaction of religious faiths causes – is to reject the very essence of Gospel – which means Good News to be shared.
  3. Many Christians in the developed world or in Christian countries will have little opportunity to interact with those of non-Christian origin. But a “gentile” can also be, in our daily experience, any person or group we have consciously or unconsciously written off. Luke’s first adorers of the infant Savior are not astrologers from afar but poor, outcast shepherds from nearby. To be a Christian is to be called to make community with those who are not automatically attractive. It is a call to put love where there is none and in doing so to find it.
  4. Though the story is often used in support of mission to foreign countries, the scene here is not the sending scene of Matthew, chapter 28. Rather it is the coming of the gentiles on their own – or at least not by human intermediaries – to Christ. The application should rather, therefore, be to the interface of the Christian community with those who knock on its doors. How much warmth of welcome do we give those seeking the Lord in our midst? Or, how well do we welcome newcomers to our Church – or the lapsed who choose one day to “try it again”? The ministry of welcome and support to the catechumen and the seeker is a missionary ministry indeed.
  5. Finally, the seeking attitude of these foreigners, who have so little external help to guide them and yet respond with wholehearted devotion and undertake a long, persevering journey to find the Lord King, challenges all who are comfortably ensconced at some point of their own spiritual journey and have not moved for years, whether they be in or outside the Christian fold. Walter Buhlmann in The Coming of the Third Church relates how he was non-plussed when a Hindu lady in an Indian train leaned forward and asked him, “Can you tell me how to find God?” Finding God, even for Christians, is not a once-for-all event. It is a daily journey, where there are few resting places and no permanent dwellings.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, on this day, by a guiding star You revealed Your Only-begotten Son to all the peoples of the world. Lead us from the faith by which we know You now to the vision of Your glory, face to face. We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Note: Text adapted from Fr. George T. Montague SM, “Companion God – A Cross-Cultural Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew” (New York: Paulist Press, 1989, pages: 23-28. 

Jakarta, 7 January 2017 

A Christian Pilgrim 

 

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MARY, MOTHER OF GOD

MARY, MOTHER OF GOD

(A biblical refection on THE SOLEMNITY OF MARY, MOTHER OF GOD – Octave Day of Christmas – Sunday, 1 January 2017) 

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Gospel Reading: Luke 2:16-21 

First Reading: Numbers 6:22-27; Psalms: Psalm 67:2-3,5-6,8; Second Reading: Galatians 4:4-7 

The Scripture Text

And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they saw it they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this Child; and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

And at the end of eight days when He was circumcised, He was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb. (Luke 2:16-21 RSV) 

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). To nobody is all this more readily applicable than to the one who was the first to believe in Christ, our mother in faith, as well as Christ’s earthly mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. There are many of us who, in our approach to Mary, place her on a lasting pedestal, and look on her after the manner of the three apostles gazing on the transfigured Christ. All too often we imagine her as the Madonna of the Christmas card, serene, immobile, seated forever in the immaculately clean stable of golden straw and glistening snow outside, with adoring angels hovering overhead. Such a figure is simply not real. For the plain fact is that Mary, on earth, knew neither triumph nor heavenly spectacle. No one has ever lived, suffered, died in such simplicity, in such deep unawareness of her own supernatural dignity.

What evidence do we have for this, you may ask? And the answer is there in the few short sayings attributed to her in the Gospels. For, in her own eyes, Mary was the handmaid, the servant of the Lord, depending entirely on God’s will, and sustained by God’s goodness. The fathers of the Vatican II Council acknowledged this when they stated that Mary stands out among the poor and the humble of the Lord, who confidently await and receive salvation from God (Lumen Gentium 55). Indeed, in the first four centuries of the Church, Christian writers placed greater emphasis on the simple faith of Mary at the Annunciation, than on her divine motherhood. The Virgin believed, and in her faith conceived, or as St. Augustine strikingly wrote, “She first conceived Jesus in her heart, before conceiving Him in her womb.”

Mary, who we venerate as the Mother of God (Greek: Theotokos, God’s bearer) wants above all to be our guide and counselor in this area of faith. She wants to beget faith in us, to be “our mother in faith”. That is why, in the Gospel of Saint John, she is present at the beginning and the end of Christ’s public life. She was there at the wedding feast at Cana (John 2:1-11), fully believing before Jesus had worked a single miracle. It was only after the changing of water into wine that Jesus’ disciples began to believe in Him (see John 2:11). In fact it was Mary herself who brought about this very sign by her request to Jesus to intervene, “Do whatever He tells you” (John 2:5), she told the attendants, words which only one who believed totally in the power of Jesus could utter. Cana was the first of the signs recorded by Saint John, in order to bring us, as it did His first disciples, to believe in Jesus. But as to the Mother of Jesus, she is represented as already believing before it.

Significantly, John’s Gospel also is the only one to record the presence of Mary at Calvary (John 19:25-17). When all the signs and wonders of the public mission of Christ seemed, in the estimation of many, to have been a delusion, and all but one of His carefully chosen apostles had deserted Him, His mother was still there witnessing Him draw His last breath, and still believing. For Mary’s faith in her Son had never been founded on the evidence of astounding miracles or visions, but rather on a complete, absolute, childlike trust in the mysterious ways of God our Father. Nor did her role as Mother on earth cease when her Son departed this world. For in His dying moments, Jesus has ensured its continuation when He said to John, “Behold, your mother” (John 19:27). Here Jesus reveals that His own natural mother will henceforth be the mother of the disciple also, the disciple who was a figure of all of Jesus’ true disciples, you and I included. At that moment Mary assumed a new role in God’s plan of salvation for the human race, that of “spiritual mother” to us all.

Prayer: Holy Spirit, come into my life deeply and powerfully this year. Fill me with Jesus and His words as You filled Mary. Help me to live and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Jakarta, 31 December 2016 

A Christian Pilgrim 

 

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“EMMANUEL – GOD IS WITH US”: 4th SUNDAY OF ADVENT [YEAR A] – MATTHEW 1:18-24

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Jakarta, 18 December 2016

A Christian Pilgrim  

 

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