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Category Archives: READ & PRAY

SAINT MATTHIAS, Apostles – Feast: 14 May

SAINT MATTHIAS, Apostles – Feast: 14 May

The Acts of the Apostles is the only reliable source of information about Saint Matthias. From the time of the Lord’s Baptism, Matthias accompanied Him until His ascension. Shortly after the Ascension, Saint Peter spoke to the gathering of the faithful about the need of choosing a worthy person to join the ranks of the Apostles to fill the vacancy left by Judas the traitor. They should be twelve, the symbol of universality and fullness. The eleven Apostles consulted the community made up of 120 persons, and they proposed Joseph called Barsabas and Matthias. The assembly prayed to God to show whom He had chosen, and then cast lots, The lot felt on Matthias and he was numbered with the eleven Apostles (Acts 1:21-26).

The feast of Apostle Matthias is placed in one of the days that separate the Ascension and the Pentecost because his election took place between these two great events.

In the light of Acts 1:21-22, it is clear that Matthias had been one of the disciples of Jesus. Saint Clement of Alexandria, Eusebius and Saint Jerome assure us that Saint Matthias was one of the seventy-two (or seventy) disciples (Luke 10:1-12). According to the Greek source, Saint Matthias brought the Christian faith to Capadocia and was crucified at Colchis. It is said that his body was kept in Jerusalem and Saint Helen later transferred it to Rome.

Today’s feast invites us to reflect on the meaning of the apostolicity of the Church. The Lord chose the Apostles for a specific service, to continue His ministry. The conditions required to be Apostles are explained by Peter; they should be chosen from those who were in the company of Jesus during His public life that began with his baptism, and have met the Risen Lord. The Apostle should be witness of the earthly life and the Resurrection of the Lord. An added but necessary condition is the election: the Apostle must be chosen in view of the mission that Jesus entrusts him. It was therefore not enough to elect just any person, but to recognize the one whom the Lord had chosen. This the assembly did through recourse to prayer for God’s help (Acts 1:24-25).

The number twelve, on the background of the twelve tribes of Israel, signifies the new gathering of the messianic people around the Messiah, the Son of the living God.

Prayer: Lord God, You chose Saint Matthias to complete the number of the twelve apostles. By his prayer, include us among Your chosen ones, since we rejoice to see that the lot marked out for us is Your love. 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, 14 May 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

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SAINTS PHILIP AND JAMES, Apostles – Feast: 3 May

The feast of these two holy Apostles who were among the closest friends and co-operators of the Lord offers us one more opportunity to compare ourselves with them and to renew our commitment to the Lord and to the faith. The twelve apostles, as we know, are the pillars of the Church. They are our spiritual guides and models. What they did and taught has become our source of instruction and inspiration.

Saint Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Simon Peter (John 1:44). The Evangelists Matthew, Mark and Luke record the fact that Jesus chose Philip as an Apostle. Saint John, who was Philip’s fellow townsman at Bethsaida in his youth and his neighbor in Asia Minor in his old age, tells us something more about him. Philip was so happy because Jesus called him to follow him that he could not but share this happiness with others. He found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth” (John 1:45). Nathanael accompanied Philip and became a disciple of Jesus. It was Nathanael who said to the Lord, “You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel” (John 1:49). Philip, therefore, is also model of the apostolate as he brings his companion to the faith.

Before the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, Jesus asked Philip how he should feed the crowd. Philip, a businessman, calculated what it would cost and concluded that is simply could not be done (John 6:5-7).  It was to Philip that the Greeks requested for an opportunity to meet Jesus (John 12:21). Having followed Jesus and listened to His teaching that inspired him, Philip requested Jesus during the Last Supper, “Lord, show us the Father and then we shall be satisfied” (John 14:8). In reply to Philip Jesus said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).

Philip’s request represents one of the deepest yearnings of the human race: to see God. In the Gospel of John, to see, know and to believe are practically synonyms. We obtain the vision of God through knowledge, and we arrive at the most perfect knowledge of Him through Jesus Christ. He is the most obedient Son of the Father. He fulfills in His life the program entrusted to Him by the Father. Therefore His mission reflects and communicates God’s plan of love and life for the human race, Consequently, our knowledge of God will increase as our knowledge of Jesus increases. The better we know Jesus, the better we know the Father, the clearer we see Jesus, the clearer we see the Father, the closer we are to Jesus, the closer we are to the Father. He is not, however, the same Philip who was a deacon in the early Church (Acts 6:5; 8:6).

We know even less about James, the son of Alphaeus. He is even called “the younger” or “lesser” to distinguish him from the other James, who was John’s brother (sons of Zebedee). some traditions consider him to be the same James who led the early Jerusalem community (Act 15; Galatians 1:19; 2:9), but his identity still remains obscure.

It shouldn’t surprise us that even though little is known about these two men, they are still considered Apostles and Saints. After all, Jesus did not choose them because of their leadership abilities or theological prowess. He called regular people with jobs, homes, and families. And when they responded, He turned their lives upside down. They had met the Son of God, and from that point on, their lives could never be the same. Why? Because the Holy Spirit had begun to conform them into the image of the One they served.

As baptized believers, we too share in the Apostles’ calling. The Greek word apostolos means “one who is sent forth”. In Christ, we are all commissioned to bring the light of the Gospel into the world. When we encounter the risen Christ in our lives, we are then sent as witnesses, like Philip and James, to testify to the transforming power of God’s love.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, You give us the joy every year of celebrating the feastday of the Apostles Philip and James. Make us partners, by their prayers, in the passion and resurrection of Your only-begotten Son, so that we may come to the eternal vision of Your glory. 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, 3 May 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

 

SAINT ATHANASIUS, Bishop and Doctor of the Church – Memoria: 2 May

Saint Athanasius was born in Alexandria in the year 295, He accompanied his bishop, Alexander, to the Council of Nicaea and later he himself succeeded as bishop. He fought ceaselessly against the Arian heresy and as a result he had to endure much tribulation and he was several times sent into exile. He wrote outstandingly to illustrate and defend true doctrine. He died in the year 373.

Prayer: Almighty, ever-living God and Father, You raised up Saint Athanasius as the great champion of Your Son’s divinity. Through the doctrine and patronage of Your saint, in which we rejoice, let our knowledge and love of You grow ever deeper and stronger. 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, 2 May 2018

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SAINT JOSEPH THE WORKER – Memorial: 1 May

During the earthly life of Jesus, people in general considered Him the son of a workman, a carpenter. We hear people asking, “Is not this the carpenter’s son” (Matthew 13:55)? As a woodworker, Joseph earned the daily bread for Blessed Mary, for Child Jesus and for himself. On this account he is the model of workers and the patron of all workers. He stands out as the ideal of workers, of earnest work and respectable livelihood. He also taught Jesus the art of carpentry, and the Lord, as a young man, used to help him in his workshop.

Today is May Day, and all over the world laborers are observing Labor Day. We have a duty to pray for all those who work for us – sweeping, washing, cleaning, cooking and doing all useful services at home. Today we gratefully remember in prayer all those who work in the various public services and in administration, looking after our needs, convenience and comfort. We appreciate their services and pray that God may bless and prosper them and their families.

Today’s memorial, instituted by Pope Pius XII in 1955, substitutes the previously existing feast of Saint Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, which used to be celebrated by the Carmelites in the eighteenth century and was extended to the Roman Rite by Pope Pius IX.

As inauguration of the month of May, specially dedicated to our Blessed Mother, this feast of Saint Joseph the worker invites the faithful to Christianize the feast of work, and gives to the workers a patron in Saint Joseph, the “father” of Jesus who was known as the carpenter’s son (Matthew 13:55). In Saint Joseph we have a marvellous example of work in the faithful exercise of artisanship. Like him, we too must fulfill faithfully the responsibilities God has entrusted to us.

Today is also a day to rededicate our labor to the Lord so that the work we do is done in Him, with Him and as He wills. We all certainly work, but let us not forget for whom and for what we work. We should appreciate the meaning and value of work and not take it as mere toil and drudgery. Saint Paul advises us, “Whatever your work is, put your heart into it as if it were for the Lord and not for men, knowing that the Lord will repay you by making you his heirs” (Colossians 3:23-24). “Therefore whether you eat or drink, or whatever else you do, do all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Prayer: Lord God and Creator of the universe, You imposed on mankind the law of work. Give us grace, by Saint Joseph’s example and at his intercession, to finish the works you give us to do, and to come to the reward You promise. 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, 1 May 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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THE CHAIR OF ST. PETER THE APOSTLE – FEAST: 22 FEBRUARY

First Reading:  1 Peter 5:1-4; Responsorial Psalm: Psalm  23:1-6; Gospel Reading: Matthew 16:13-19

The feast has been celebrated in Rome from the fourth century onwards as an expression of the unity of the Church. The Chair of Peter means the office of Peter and his successiors. This, therefore, is the feast of the Holy See. On account of the rich liturgical readings, this feast offers us a catechesis on the role of the Apostle Peter. In these times of ecumenical debate, the role of Peter and his successors in the unity of the Church becomes a crucial issue. Celebrating the Eucharist, the sacrament of unity and peace, we relate ourselves to Peter’s ministry of unity in the Church, for he is the visible guarantor of this unity.

The Lord founded the Church on the solid rock of Peter with his profession of faith, and therefore the Church should go on unshaken by the disturbances of the world. Peter stands as a rock against the attack of the forces of evil (gates of hell – Matthew 16:18). It is by the power that comes from God and not by his own attitude that he is made the sure reference point of our apostolic faith. Did the Lord not say to Peter, “I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail, and you in your turn must strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:32)?

The pastoral heart of Apostle Peter is clearly seen in his advice to the elders. I am an elder myself, and a witness to the sufferings of Christ, and with you I have a share in the glory that is to e revealed. Be the shepherds of the flock of God that is entrusted to you; watch over it, not simply as a duty but gladly, because God wants it, not for sordid money, but because you are eager to do it. Never be a dictator over any group that is put in your charge, bu be an example that the whole flock can follow. When the Chief Shepherd appears, you will be given the crown of unfading glory” (1 Peter 5:1-4).

Among the Apostles, it is Peter who received from Christ the primacy of jurisdiction in the Church. The Lord appointed him  the Chief Shepherd (cf. John 21:15-17). It was to him the Lord Jesus entrusted the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Peter has the power to open and to close the gates of heaven. He went to Rome, established his See there, and made the bishop of Rome his successor in the primacy. From the earliest times, the Churches in other places have regarded the Church of Rome as the center of unity. They have acknowledged that supreme authority over the entire Church belongs to the bishop of Rome as successor of Peter.

The other Apostles accept Peter as their spokesman. He speaks for the twelve (Matthew 16:13-19). The successors of the Apostles inherit the mission given to the Apostles, and the successor of Peter remains the head of their college. Hence the Pope is the head of the universal Church. He is the visible principle and foundation of unity of both the bishops and the faithful.

Together with the Pope, the bishops are responsible for the whole Church. Responsibility collegiality of the bishops promotes and expresses the unity of the universal Church. The primacy of the Pope subjects the bishops to him, and collegiality unites the to him. As Vatican Council II says, “The successors of the Apostles, together with the successor of Peter, the Vicar of Christ, the visible head of the whole Church, govern the house of the living God” (Lumen Gentium 18). We do well today to ask ourselves how lovingly we listen to the voice of the Pope and how faithfully we follow his teachings and obey his instructions. He is the Vicar of Christ. To listen to him is to listen to Christ. Fidelity to him is fidelity to Christ.

It is our duty to thank God for the institution of the Petrine ministry and for establishing the permanent Apostolic See to teach, govern and sanctify the faithful of Christ. Our present Holy Father, successor of Peter, has the care of all the Churches and carries the heavy burden of his office and deserves our love, obedience, respect and support. He spends his time and energy  working for us, and we must strengthen him through our prayers.

Prayer: Almighty God, as You built Your Church on the rock of Peter’s faith, grant that with such a firm foundation, we may hold fast in every storm. 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, 22 February 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2018 in READ & PRAY, SAINTS WE LOVE

 

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THE PRESENTATION OF THE LORD – Feast: 2 February

The most chaste Virgin Mother of God bore in her arms the true light and came to the help of those who were lying in darkness. In the same way we must hurry out to meet Him who is truly light, enlightened by the beams of his brightness and bearing in our hands the light which shines for all men.

Indeed this is the mystery which we celebrate, that the light has come into the world and has given it light when it was shrouded in darkness, and that the day-spring has visited us from on high and given light to those who were sitting in darkness. That is why we go in procession with lamps in our hands and hasten bearing lights showing both that the light has shone upon us, and signifying the glory which is to come to us through Him Therefore let us all run together to meet God.

That true light which enlightens every man coming into this world, has come. Brethren, let us all be enlightened, let us all be filled with light.

Let none of us remain a stranger to this brightness, let no one who is filled with it continue in the darkness, but let us all go forth shining with light, let us all go together bright with that light to welcome with old Simeon that everlasting shining light. Rejoicing with him in our souls, let us sing a hymn of thanks to the Begetter and Father of the light, who has sent the true light and driven away the darkness and made us all to shine with light.

For we too have seen through Him the salvation of God which He has prepared before the face of all peoples, and has shown forth for the glory of us who are the new Israel; and we have been freed at once from that mysterious and ancient sin just as Simeon was released from the bonds of this present life when he had seen Christ.

We have embraced Christ in faith as He came to us from Bethlehem, and have been made the people of God instead of Gentiles, for He is the salvation given us by our God and Father. We have seen God made flesh with our very eyes and we are called the New Israel now that we have seen the visible presence of God and have cradled Him in our minds. That presence we celebrate with a yearly festival; we shall never forget it.

(A reading from a sermon by Saint Sophronius [+ 639])

Prayer: Almighty, ever-living God, 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 pray this in the most precious name of Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Jakarta, 2 February 2018

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Posted by on February 2, 2018 in READ & PRAY, SAINTS WE LOVE

 

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SAINT TIMOTHY AND SAINT TITUS, Bishops – Memoria: 26 January

Timothy and Titus were both beloved disciples and close associates of St. Paul in his apostolic activities and care for the Churches. Paul considers each of them his true son in the faith (1 Timothy 1:2; Titus 1:4). St. Paul wrote three pastoral letters, two to Timothy and one to Titus, giving them his support, encouragement and wise counsel for their personal lives and for supervising the Christian communities.

Timothy and Titus are models of apostolic virtues. They bore witness to Christ in difficult circumstances and followed the advice of Paul to preach the message whether the time was ripe or not (2 Timothy 4:2). A deep faith in the Word of God an firm commitment to proclaiming it are virtues indispensable to anyone who carries out any pastoral ministry. Writing to Titus, St. Paul urges him, “In all things you yourself must be an example of good behavior” (Titus 2:7). This is an excellent advice which every Christian does well to take seriously. It is all the more necessary for any person who is engaged in teaching and guiding the faithful. Timothy and Titus were docile to the guidance given by St. Paul.

Example is a very concrete and practical lesson, much more effective than explanation. As it is rightly said, action speak louder than words. Therefore, through our life more than through our words, we must proclaim the wonders of the Lord among all the nations as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ. The example of Saints Timothy and Titus who lived a just and pious life and became masters of communicating the Good News of salvation certainly encourages us to do that.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, You endowed Saint Timothy and Saint Titus with power to preach Your Word; grant that, living a life of integrity and holiness in this world, we may, through their prayers, come to our true home in heave. We pray this in the most precious name our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Jakarta, 26 January 2018

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Posted by on January 26, 2018 in READ & PRAY, SAINTS WE LOVE

 

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