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Category Archives: PARABLES OF JESUS

JESUS TALKS ABOUT A STRAY SHEEP

Today’s Gospel Reading: Matthew 18:12-14 – SECOND WEEK OF ADVENT: Tuesday, 11 December 2018 

Jesus particularizes Isaiah’s vision (First Reading: Isaiah 40:1-11) for us. The great exodus takes shape in the life, death and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Not only does the Lord’s Spirit guide history and the Church but our individual lives as well.

The Lord actively seeks us out, like a shepherd, to provide a way home. We should not forget that in our own lives, we live out the great events of salvation history. We experience call, exile, exodus, promise, covenant, passion, death and resurrection. The great cycle of salvation repeats itself in every life.

We are not traveling blind. The Lord guides us if we are willing to follow Him.

Jakarta, 11 December 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

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PARABLE OF THE GOLD COINS

Today’s Gospel Reading: Luke 19:11-18 – THIRTY-THIRD WEEK OF THE YEAR: 21 November 2018 

The parable of the gold coins presents a test for the Church as well as for individuals. We have been given specific spiritual gifts, the Holy Spirit, our intelligence – and the issue is what we have accomplished with them.

Does the Church hide its gifts, suppress its talents, remain frozen, place itself on the defensive – or does it expand and develop its grace to release its power?

We can perform the same kind of self-examination in regard to our personal spiritual gifts. We can ask whether our spiritual life is any better tan it was ten years ago. Have we used all the talents the Lord has given us only to improve our lives financially and socially? Have we used our gifts to come to better know the Lord?

Just as the Pharisees who preserved but did not expand their heritage, so the Church and ourselves will be called to account for what we have been given.

If we have been given gifts, they are for a reason.

Jakarta, 21 November 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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PARABLES OF THE LOST SHEEP AND THE LOST COIN

Today’s Gospel Reading: Luke 15:1-10 -THIRTY-FIRST WEEK OF THE YEAR: Thursday, 8 November 2018

Jesus delivers two brief parables of the lost  sheep and the lost coin to show the Father’s joy in a single sinner’s repentance. People who repent, turn and convert are not second-class citizens brought back home to a recriminatory chorus of “I told you so”. That is not the Christian style of reconciliation. Instead, they are welcomed back and placed at the head of the table.

As exemplified in Paul’s life, the search and reach of the Lord to those who have fallen or who are on the outside is wide indeed. He gives hundreds of opportunities to every individual to trigger conversion.

Many refuse to respond. We all have friends and relatives who seem indifferent to the faith.

Planted within that individual is the seed of change and the power of heroic faith waiting to be released. Those who do respond to the Lord’s call are the stuff of great conversion stories. Precisely because the capacity for faith is within them, however dormant, we should not abandon any person but recall them in our prayers. We never know what prayer or word of ours will unlock the power within them.

We never know what event or word will release the great spiritual potential locked within every individual.

Jakarta, 8 November 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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PARABLE OF THE GREAT FEAST

Today’s Gospel Reading: Luke 14:15-24 -THIRTY-FIRST WEEK OF THE YEAR: Tuesday, 6 November 2018 

Self-righteousness prevented the Jewish leaders from accepting Jesus’ offer of entry into the Kingdom experience of God. They were convinced that they had a lock on God.

The Lord tells a parable addressed to this very attitude. The invitees refused to come for a variety of lame excuses. The invitation did not seem important to them. The host of this pro-Gentile parable turned to the outcasts who recognized their hunger and need.

The Gospel follows a similar history. The saving word of Jesus can be delayed or discarded by those who feel spiritually satisfied. They have nothing further to learn from the familiar Gospel words. Their spiritual growth has ceased and decline has set in without their being aware of it. It is only those who recognize their shortcomings, their pockets of sin and failure in their lives and their further need of the Lord whom the Gospel invitation reaches and touches. Both groups hear the same words, but one is willing to follow the Lord beyond the ordinary.

Inward attitudes give spiritual shape to our outward behavior.

Jakarta, 6 November 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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MUSTARD SEED AND YEAST

Today’s Gospel Reading: Luke 13:18-21 – THIRTIETH WEEK OF THE YEAR:  Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Jesus did not come just to establish a Church. He came to bring all people into the Kingdom. He formed a community as a vehicle for that primary goal.

In today’s Gospel reading, the Lord speaks about the mustard seed that starts very small in size. Luke emphasizes its eventual global embrace. Just as yeast “influences” dough, so the Kingdom will eventually permeate the world.

This does not mean that the entire world will become Roman Catholic – at least not in the sense in which we presently know it. It does mean that all people will be influenced by the presence of the Kingdom. The pain of the world is condensed in us as we give birth to the new creation.

Jakarta, 30 October 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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JESUS TALKS ABOUT REPENTANCE

Today’s Gospel Reading: Luke 13:1-9 – TWENTY-NINTH WEEK OF THE YEAR: Saturday, 27 October 2018

Jesus refers in this important passage to the apparently accidental death of eighteen people beneath a fallen tower. He states that such a horrible death did not imply that they were greater sinners than anyone else. We cannot correlate material success or failure with grace or sin so easily.

The Lord states that those who do not repent will experience a more terrible spiritual death. Spiritual collapse is more death-dealing than physical death because its implications are eternal.

The Lord then gives us a comforting image of a fruitless tree. There is always time to change until the final harvest. At that time, we are stuck with what we have done and left undone. Until that point, however, there is always time to find a fresh direction for our life.

We can allow our lives to follow their inertial tendency toward sin or we can consciously direct them toward God. In either case, we are responsible for hat we will have become.

Jakarta, 27 October 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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PARABLE OF THE RICH FOOL

Today’s Gospel Reading: Luke 12:13-2 – TWENTY-NINTH WEEK OF THE YEAR: Monday, 22 October 2018

Growing rich for oneself as opposed to growing rich in the sight of God is a theme at the heart of all Christian spirituality. The issue is often posed as an opposition between professional success and spiritual success. To grow rich in the sight of God is not empty one’s bank account. It is the development of those inner resources and that spiritual strength which enable us to appreciate God’s love for us and the presence of His care throughout our lives.

That  inner strength becomes a rock on which lives can be built. On that foundation, we can proceed to live our social and professional lives. To amass wealth for oneself is, as seen in today’s Gospel parable, to accumulate a hoard of possessions and contacts without any central moral or spiritual base upon which they can be rested. We become slaves of our possessions. Should they disappear, we have nothing else to rely upon. Wealth for oneself is essentially a kind of spiritual bankruptcy.

Trust in God orients our attitude toward our world. It determines whether we see the world as an essentially hostile place or basically a home.

Jakarta, 22 October 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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