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Tag Archives: SERMON ON THE MOUNT

MATTHEW 5:9

Jakarta, 13 March 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

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I CAME TO FULFILL THE LAW

Today’s Gospel Reading: Matthew 5:17-19 – THIRD WEEK OF LENT: Wednesday, 7 March 2018

The Lord states emphatically in today’s Gospel reading that He did not come to abolish the Law but to fulfill it. He came to draw out its real meaning. In the section immediately following today’s reading, we have the Lord’s repetition like a litany, “the Law says, but I say ……” The commandments remain God’s word and are holy. But the spiritual perfection and depth the Lord brings requires that we go further than the Law. If we measure ourselves against the standard of the Law, it is easy to become self-righteous. Most of us do not steal, commit adultery or murder. If we place ourselves against the standard of of Jesus Christ and the Law He announces in the Sermon on the Mount , our own life is thrown into stark relief. This sermon throws a floodlight on every part of our life as we realize how far short we fall of the mark. The Lord calls us to more than legal compliance. He invites us to spiritual perfection.

Obedience to the Commandments is not the end product but the starting point of the Christian life.

Jakarta, 7 March 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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JESUS TEACHES ABOUT LOVE

Today’s Gospel Reading: Matthew 5:43-48 – FIRST WEEK OF LENT: Saturday, 24 February 2018

The Lord tells us to love our enemies. Love of neighbor carries its own burden of difficulty. That difficulty is cubed when we try to show love to the very people who have tried to do us in. The Lord is not asking us to carry a warm glow of affection for those who are trying to carry a warm glow of affection for those who are trying to destroy us. He is referring to the obverse of retaliation.

At some point, we have all experienced the twinge for revenge. Usually, after we have had an opportunity to regain perspective, that feeling may have departed. It was the instinct to strike back. The Lord is telling us to do the very opposite. Whenever we respond to those hostile to us, we should do so in terms that will help that person dissolve her or his hostility. A wan smile will not achieve that.  In fact, if an individual rages at us with fury and we respond with a calm and modulated voice, that can be a subtle and cunning kind of retaliation.

The Lord indicates that our response to the conflicts that bubble up in our lives should be geared to the good of the other individual. He tells us to pray for those who are against us. As Christians, we must always be conscious that we are followers of Christ even in our conflicts. We are expected to do more than react instinctively in conflict situations. We are called to bring perspectives to human affairs and to respond as representatives of the Lord.

Through dealing with conflict, we will slowly be perfected to become like our Father in heaven and our Lord on earth.

Jakarta, 24 February 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2018 in TODAY'S THOUGHT 2018

 

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RECONCILIATION WITH ONE ANOTHER

Today’s Gospel Reading: Matthew 5:20-26 – FIRST WEEK OF LENT: Friday, 23 February 2018

The Lord speaks about reconciliation with one another. Reconciling with enemies is not an easy thing to do. Yet, the Lord’s words remain for us. If we bring a gift to the altar and recall a distance between ourselves and others, leave the gift and proceed to horizontal reconciliation first. Our worship should reflect the life we live.

Such a single act of reconciliation can be the most difficult thing we do during Lent. That one effort can be more demanding than any amount of fasting and spiritual exercise. In fact, many of us would prefer penitential rituals than approaching another to say, “Look, we cannot go on like this!” It is far easier to seek reconciliation with God than with other human beings. But when two people do put down their weapons, both of them are changed. Such reconciliation can be a moment of grace and growth. If we are changed by injury, then we are transformed by forgiveness as well.

Jakarta, 23 February 2018

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Posted by on February 23, 2018 in TODAY'S THOUGHT 2018

 

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MATTHEW 6:21

Jakarta, 21 February 2018

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JESUS TEACHES ABOUT PRAYER

Today’s Gospel Reading: Matthew 6:7-15 – FIRST WEEK OF LENT: Tuesday, 20 February 2018

The Lord gives the disciples an example of how they are to pray: with economy, trust and intimacy with God. Like making love, prayer is one of the things we all have to do on our own. Nobody can do it for us. Speaking with God is an intensely personal event. Lent is usually our annual attempt to improve our prayer life in some way.

There are two extremes that make prayer difficult. The first confuses prayer with our daily routine. Prayerful living is not identical with prayer. If getting through the day is the extent of our prayer life, prayer loses its distinctive character. The opposite extreme identifies prayer exclusively with surges of mysticism. A rapid pulse and wild transports of spiritual passion are not attractive to many people. There has to be a middle ground between the two. This is what the Lord describes.

We should have a set time for personal prayer. In addition to our regular prayers, we should find a time when we are most at ease to simply communicate with the Lord and not be interrupted by anything else. Some people even set aside a place of prayer in their homes. Secondly, our prayer should be authentic. There is no need for us to posture before God or recite prayers written by a great saint which we think God will like to hear. Thirdly, we should await the Lord’s response. After a while, we will not be greeted by silence. We will slowly tune in to the Holy Spirit.

An important meaning of the Lord’s Prayer is that we can contact the God of the universe. Reading a great deal about prayer is not initially helpful. Like teaching, litigating, preaching, driving or swimming we have to start a some point and will improve slowly. After several months of experience, books will be more helpful.

Through prayer, we locate the still point inside ourselves. When we locate that point, there we will find the Spirit of Christ.

Jakarta, 20 February 2018

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Posted by on February 20, 2018 in TODAY'S THOUGHT 2018

 

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MATTHEW 5:16

Jakarta, 12 January 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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