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Tag Archives: JESUS CHRIST

JESUS TALKS ABOUT MARRIAGE

Today’s Gospel Reading: Mark 10:1-12 – SEVENTH WEEK OF THE YEAR: Friday, 25 May 2018

As Jesus continues His ministry, the subject of marriage arises. To the Jewish practice of prevalent and easy male divorce of women, Jesus refers to the Book of Genesis as evidence of God’s original intention for marriage. Man and woman are to be united in an indestructible bond of love for life.

In our century, this is an unusually difficult Gospel pronouncement. Marriage has never been easy but in a climate of socially acceptable and facile divorce, a text like this demands heroic effort. It fits especially well into the controlling theme of Marks’s Gospel: suffering as a mark of true discipleship. To make a marriage relationship work requires a great deal of effort and pain. It demands a recurrent process of reconciliation.

A vibrant and effective spiritual life is not automatic. It is the result of effort, planning and sacrifice.

Jakarta, 25 May 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

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JESUS TALKS ABOUT SIN

Today’s Gospel Reading: Mark 9:41-50 – SEVENTH WEEK OF THE YEAR: Thursday, 24 May 2018 

Today’s Gospel reading is about a balance sheet of sorts. Jesus asks us to compare the eternal destiny we choose with the short-run comforts we experience in this life. The pursuit of pleasure, power or money at any price can destroy our capacity for love and faith. It affects the kind of people we become.

The kind of existence we will have after death is defined by our life here. If we have suffocated our hearts by greed and hate, the Lord will say to us at the final judgment, “Very well. That is what you will be forever!” We call this hell. If we have spent our lives in efforts of love and hope, the Lord will say, “That is what you shall be forever!” This we call heaven. In each case, the choice is ours to make in this life.

Material accumulation cannot satisfy the built-in desire of every human being for the goods of the Spirit: love, faith and hope.

Jakarta, 24 May 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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JESUS TALKS ABOUT DISCIPLESHIP

Today’s Gospel Reading: Mark 9:38-40 – SEVENTH WEEK OF THE YEAR: Wednesday, 23 May 2018 

Life is wasted by nurturing old wounds. We should give them a chance to heal. The Kingdom is at our fingertips. To feed animosities is to drive the Kingdom of God further beyond our grasp. Rather than drawing tight lines between people according to income level, nationality and ideology, we should look to the larger enterprise in which we are all engaged.

Jesus tells us to unite ourselves with people of good will wherever they are. Many people who do not carry the name of Catholic or Christian have devoted their lives toward goals related to our own. We should not blind ourselves to these deeper tie that bind huge sectors of the human race.

Differences are easy to create. Hundreds of them are generated every day in schoolyards, homes and offices across the nation. It is more difficult to find the lines of unity among people.

Jakarta, 23 May 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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JESUS TALKS ABOUT DISCIPLESHIP (AND CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP)

Today’s Gospel Reading: Mark 9:30-37 – SEVENTH WEEK OF THE YEAR: Tuesday, 22 May 2018

This is Jesus’ second prediction of His coming, suffering, death and Resurrection. He continues to explain to the disciples not the specifics of the Resurrection glory but the necessity of the pain and suffering preceding it. This is the question that plagues every Christian heart and mind.  Some disciples continue to avoid the point as they argue about position and power.

Jesus places a child in their midst to insist that position and power are not guarantees of genuine discipleship. In those days, a child had few rights. Children were seen as little more than parental property. What the Lord is emphasizing is that care for the insignificant for the Gospel’s sake is the touchstone of true discipleship. It is not title but service that distinguishes the follower of Christ.

Jakarta, 22 May 2018

A Christian Pilgrim 

 

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JESUS TALKS ABOUT FAITH

Today’s Gospel Reading: Mark 9:14-29 – SEVENTH WEEK OF THE YEAR: Monday, 21 May 2018

After the Transfiguration, Jesus continues His ministry by expelling an evil spirit from a boy. Inexplicably, the disciples had been unable to do so.

Several points emerge from this incident. First, God’s Son used His power to assist human beings. The same should be true for our gifts and abilities: they should be used to draw people together. Secondly, the expulsion of demons was never an easy process. Demons take many forms and cannot be expelled with formulas alone.

To exorcise selfishness and hatred (rather than spectral infestation) from a community requires more than a magic word or technique. It calls for prayer and self-transformation. Finally, there are degrees of sin and of faith. The more faith-filled we are, the more power we have to change and assist those around us.

Our gifts and graces are not private possessions.

Jakarta, 21 May 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

 
 

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JESUS’ PROMISE TO SEND THE HOLY SPIRIT WAS FULFILLED AT PENTECOST

Fifty days after Jesus’ Resurrection, the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles who were gathered in the Upper Room along with Mary, Jesus’ mother, and other women who were his disciples. The Spirit came to rest upon each of them as tongues of fire.

Prayer:  Come, Holy Spirit, reign within our hearts! Purify us and refine us! Empower us and use us! Live within us as You prepare us for our heavenly groom. Amen.

Jakarta, 20 May 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2018 in MISCELLANY

 

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THE LANGUAGE OF THE SPIRIT

THE LANGUAGE OF THE SPIRIT

(A biblical refection on the PENTECOST SUNDAY, 20 May 2018)

First Reading: Acts 2:1-11 

Psalms: Psalm 104:1,24,29-34; Second Reading: Galatians 5:16-25; Gospel Reading: John 15:26-27; 16:12-15 

The Scripture Text

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. And they were amazed and wondered, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians, we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” (Acts 2:1-11 RSV)

A group of dispirited followers of Jesus had gathered and locked themselves in an upper room, probably the same room where the last supper was held. There was more perspiration than inspiration in the room. There was fear and suspicion. The room was occupied by a group of followers who were afraid that they would suffer the same fate as their Master. So they listened to every step on the stair; they waited for the knock of the executioner; they prayed that no one would discover their hiding-place and that the world leave them safe in their sacred enclosure.

In contrast there is the powerful image of the Holy Spirit as one who is not shy of the boundaries and the barriers that people erect. He is not halted by locked doors or locked hearts; He doesn’t exclude Himself from the restrictive areas people settle in. When the Spirit comes, it is not like a spring breeze that whispers unnoticed through a room; it is more like a hurricane that lays flat all the precious protections against its force. And the Spirit takes this group of dispirited followers and fires them with a new energy and a new enthusiasm and a new authority.

The presence of the Spirit makes the disciples open their lives to others: they don’t just decorate their sacred enclosure, they leave it and pass over into the lives of other people with the gifts of Gospel and peace and forgiveness.

The disciples go outdoors. They go to the market-place where people gather and there they proclaim to all how they have been changed by the power of the Spirit. They tell a Magnificat and proclaim how God has worked wonders in them. At first the crowds think that the apostles are drunk – no doubt because they’re sure it takes some kind of spirit to transform these men. Whatever it is, everyone acknowledges that something happened to dramatically change the outlook and behaviour of the followers of Jesus. The name of that experience is Spirit.

The crowd’s second reaction is a joyous one when they realize that the apostles are speaking their language. Perhaps we’ve all heard people say to us in a mixture of relief and enthusiasm: “Now you’re speaking my language!”  When that happens there is communion, where before there had only been misunderstanding and division. The apostles got through to people, they spoke the deep language that is in all of us and which rarely gets spoken. It is the language in search of understanding; it is music in search of a melody. Saint Paul spoke of it as inarticulate groaning, the cry of the spirit within us. The apostles reach people in this profound language. It is the language of the Spirit.

Source: Denis McBride, CSsR, SEASONS OF THE WORD, Britain: Redemptorist Publications, 1991 (third printing September 1993), pages 162-163.

Prayer: Father of light, from whom every good gift comes, send Your Holy Spirit into our lives with the power of a mighty wind, and by the flame of Your wisdom open the horizons of our minds. Loosen our tongues to sing Your praise in words beyond the power of speech, for without Your Holy Spirit man could never raise His voice in words of peace or announce the truth that Jesus is Lord, who lives and reign with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Jakarta, 19 May 2018 

A Christian Pilgrim 

 

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