(A biblical reflection on the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time [Year C], 30 January 2022)

Gospel Reading: Luke 4:21-30 

First Reading: Jeremiah 1:4-5,17-19; Psalms: Psalm 71:1-6,15-17; Second Reading: 1Corinthians 12:31-13:13 

The Scripture Text

And He began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” And all spoke well of Him, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth; and they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” And He said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to Me this proverb, ‘Physician, heal yourself; what we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here also in you own country.’” And He said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his own country. But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when there came a great famine over all the land; and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian. When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. And they rose up and put Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down headlong. But passing through the midst of them He went away. (Luke 4:21-30 RSV)

When you think of a biblical prophet, do you imagine a rather thin, ascetic-looking man who speaks angrily against the sins and evils of his day? In fact, three of the prophets mentioned in today’s readings – Jeremiah, Elijah, and Elisha – might well have fit that description. But what about Jesus?

In this today’s Gospel, Jesus identified Himself as a prophet. However, the image that Jesus gave throughout His ministry would probably be better summed up by today’s second reading, which is all about Christian love. In all His words to the people of Israel, Jesus consistently spoke with the kind of love Paul described in this passage: a love that is patient, kind, and selfless (see 1Corinthians 13:4). So even when He chastised His fellow Nazarenes for not accepting Him, He did it out of a loving concern and even anguish over their hardness of heart.

Think of how Jesus could have responded to His townsfolk’s hostility. He could have lashed out in anger. He could have denounced them as hypocrites. He even could have singled out one or two people He knew well and exposed all their faults and sins just to silence them. But He did not. Instead, He simply walked away and continued His preaching, hoping that some of them might finally accept Him.

Jesus wants to teach us how to become prophets after His example. He wants to show us how to deal with people in the compassion and humility of godly love. It is one thing to learn how to be bold – and Jesus certainly was that. But it is another thing to be able to join that boldness with both shrewdness and gentleness. And the only way that can happen is if we spend time with Jesus. In prayer, let His love melt your heart, even as His words prick your conscience. As you do, you will find yourself becoming just as prophetic as He was.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I am awed at the depth of Your love, especially when I look at the shallowness of My love. Fill me, Lord Jesus, and teach me to bring Your word to everyone I meet. Amen.

Jakarta, 29 January 2022

A Christian Pilgrim


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ISAIAH 55:10-11

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ISAIAH 41:10 [NIV]


Jakarta, 29 September 2019

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ISAIAH 40:11

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Jakarta, 26 July 2019

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Today’s First Reading: Isaiah 50:4-9 – HOLY WEEK: Wednesday, 17 April 2019

During these days leading up to Easter, the Holy Spirit wants to reveal to us more and more about Jesus. He wants to help us open our hearts so that we can shed any wrong ideas we might have about God and receive new and fresh insight through His word.

In the third “suffering servant song”, scripture gives us a prophetic view of Jesus’ obedience to God. So great was His love for us that He was willing to save us at any cost. In His humanity, He faced all the temptations we face. He knew He would die a terrible death, and it disturbed Him greatly (Mark 14:33-36). Yet, He never turned His back on God’s plan of salvation. The strength to obey came because Jesus remained open to His Father’s wisdom and providence (Isaiah 50:5).

Just as Jesus did not turn His back on God, neither did He turn away from those who sought to destroy Him. Instead, He gave Himself up to their taunts and cruelty. He allowed them to slap His face, spit on Him and pluck His beard (Isaiah 50:6). Think of His humility and love: The Lord of the universe stooped to our humanity and allowed us to beat Him and mock Him. He willingly accepted our abuse so that He could save us from death and hell. Let’s take some time in prayer today to let this reality sink into our minds. God’s love is truly overwhelming.

Jesus was steadfast in His determination to fulfill His Father’s plan to save us. He “set his face like flint” (Isaiah 50:7; see Luke 9:51). Nothing would keep Him from going to the cross. He was sure that His Father would give Him the ultimate victory (Isaiah 50:8-9). The promise of the Gospel is that we too can be made resolute in our determination to serve the Lord. As we open our ears to God every day in scripture, He will strengthen us to serve Him.

Jakarta, 17 April 2019

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Today’s First Reading: Isaiah 49:1-6 – HOLY WEEK: Tuesday, 16 April 2019

The more we learn about Jesus, the more we can learn about who we are as well. From all eternity, God knew what each of us would freely choose to do. He knew that our sin would require a “polished arrow”, hidden away for our salvation (Isaiah 49:2). So, from all eternity and out of love for us, God called upon is only begotten Son to redeem us that we might have life to the full here and now, and everlasting life with Him in heaven.

Jesus, the Son of God, laid down His life for us. He spent His days on earth preaching repentance, forgiveness of sins, and the good news of God’s love. He healed the sick, delivered the oppressed, and – above all – He showed the world that He was completely obedient to the Father, even unto death on a cross. This “polished arrow” that God brought out at just the right time was destined to become a light to the entire world (Isaiah 49:6).

We have all been called to share in the fruits ad the mission of Jesus’ redemption. We can be confident that we are loved by God, that we are lovable, and that, in us, God can be glorified (Isaiah 49:3). As we grow strong in our faith through daily practice, we too can preach the Gospel with the same simplicity and clarity that Jesus did. We can pray for and serve the sick and oppressed, starting right in our own homes. Through Jesus, we can become lights “to the nations, that … salvation may reach to the end of the earth” (Isaiah 49:6). us for our perseverance as His shining instruments of faith and light here on earth.

Jakarta, 16 April 2019

A Christian Pilgrim

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Posted by on April 16, 2019 in TODAY'S THOUGHT 2019


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Today’s First Reading: Isaiah 42:1-7 – HOLY WEEK: Monday, 15 April 2019

Near the end of the Babylonian exile, between 550 and 538 B.C., a student of Isaiah’s prophecies preached a series of messages that now make up the “book of consolation” in the book of Isaiah (chapters 40-55). We know so little about this prophet that we can only call him “Second Isaiah”, so deeply is he shrouded behind Isaiah, who lived two centuries earlier. Woven into these chapters are four astounding passages that speak of a servant of the Lord who would suffer great opposition yet would be called to bring a new glory to the people of Israel (Isaiah 42:1-7; 49:1-6; 50:4-9; 52:13-53:12).

Inspired by the Holy Spirit, each of these suffering servant songs speaks to us today about Jesus, the true suffering servant, whose death brought justice to all the world. During this Holy Week, God invites us to fix our eyes on Jesus, so that we might come to experience the immense love He has for us.

Jesus is the servant of God, His trusted envoy who was sent to put an end to all oppression and establish justice (Isaiah 42:1,4). How unlike our conception of justice is God’s! It came about, not through laws or military force, but as one man suffered unjustly the punishment we all deserved. Chosen by God to mend every broken heart, Jesus is ever gentle with the weak and sinful (Isaiah 42:3). He is slow to anger and quick to forgive. He is also the promised covenant of God for all people (Isaiah 42:6). In Christ, all the promises of the Father are fulfilled. A light to the nations, He takes away our blindness. Jesus sets us free from the imprisonment of sin, fear, and darkness.

This week, as we read the suffering servant songs. let us set aside our interpretations of who Jesus is or how He looks upon us. Jesus can reveal His tender heart to us so that our hearts might be mended. He can reveal to us His covenant love so that we might find justice.

Jakarta, 15 April 2019

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