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Category Archives: SAINTS WE LOVE

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

 

PAUL AND BARNABAS SOUGHT GUIDANCE

Today’s First Reading: Acts 15:1-6 – FIFTH WEEK OF EASTER: Wednesday, 2 May 2018

We have the early warning signs of the first great controversy which will rock the early Church. It is the issue of circumcision. It will consume a great part of many of Paul’s letters. It will be the occasion for the final showdown between the Jewish Christians and the Gentile Christians.

Some of the Jewish Christians saw the Church as simply a segment – a special, holy, saving segment – of Judaism. Christianity was the nucleus for the revival of Judaism. Accordingly, all the Jewish practices and rituals were to be binding of all new Christian. For Barnabas and Paul, seasoned now by several missionary visits among Gentiles, this was dead wrong. Christianity’s future lay as a new covenant away from the old rituals of Judaism. Christianity was a new Israel.

The Apostles decided to convene a meeting which would become known in history as the COUNCIL OF JERUSALEM. The theological issue is whether there is any saving power left in the old rituals. The political issue was the identity of the Christian movement. Out of all this, Christianity will emerge as a Gentile Church. 

Jakarta, 2 May 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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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

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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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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PAUL AND BARNABAS – TRUE APOSTLES OF CHRIST

Today’s First Reading: Acts 14:19-28 – FIFTH WEEK OF EASTER: Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Antioch seems to have been the home base from which the missionary journeys to the Gentiles were sent out. This first reading gives some partial evidence of the persecutions and Jewish posses that followed Paul and his disciples. It also exhibits the tremendous devotion Paul must have inspired among his companions.

In each community, he established some germinal structure and then returned to the home base at Antioch to report all that had happened. His trials show the difficulty that attended the spread of the Gospel. Local Jews often managed to arranged a hostile welcome party to ward Paul off. Each time a mini-persecution takes place, it has the effect of moving the Gospel forward. It served to strengthen the resolve of Paul, his companions and newly created disciples.

Paul and Barnabas felt the need for God’s help  in their missionary activities. How convinced are we that we need God’s help in our life and work? A characteristic of great people is their admission of their need of God’s help in their undertakings.

Jakarta, 1 May 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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WHOEVER HAS SEEN JESUS HAS SEEN THE FATHER

Today’s Gospel Reading: John 14:7-14 – FOURTH WEEK OF EASTER: Saturday, 28 April 2018

Philip asks to see the Father. The import of his question is to have the Lord finally show them( the Apostles) the glory, power and majesty of the Father. Jesus’ reply is simple and arresting. Those who have seen Him have seen the Father.

We cannot look at the face of God for God is Spirit. But we can see the face of Jesus as He is portrayed in the Gospels. He shows us all we need to know of God. Jesus is the living revelation.

Further, the Lord’s assertion says something about the Church as well. We hear grand descriptions of the role of the Church and its place as an agent of reconciliation. To find this exalted Church, we have only to look at the faces of people in our parish. This is the community Jesus founded and which He loves. To people such as us have been entrusted His word, His power of reconciliation and His love for mankind. It is great dignity and a great challenge.

Jakarta, 28 April 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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