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Tag Archives: THE GOSPEL OF LUKE

LUKE 1:50 (Today’s Gospel Reading: Luke 1:39-56)

Jakarta, 14 August 2022 [Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary]

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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THE CANTICLE OF MARY

THE CANTICLE OF MARY

 (A biblical reflection on the Solemnity of THE ASSUMPTION OF THE VIRGIN MARY – Sunday, 14 August 2022)

Gospel Reading: Luke 1:39-56

First Reading: Revelation 11:19;12:1-6,10; Psalms: Psalm 45:10-12,16; Second Reading: 1Corinthians 15:20-26

The Scripture Text

In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has regarded the low estate of His hand maiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; for He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with His arm, He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree; He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent empty away. He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity for ever.”

And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her home. (Luke 1:39-56 RSV)

Mary’s canticle – the Magnificat – is a prayer of faith, just as Mary herself is a model of faith and prayer for all of us. Elizabeth confirmed this when she was moved by the Holy Spirit to cry out, “Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” (Luke 1:45). Mary’s trust in God was ultimately fulfilled in the event we celebrate today, when she was taken up body and soul into heaven. Her assumption is the crowning event in the life of a humble, trusting, and prayerful woman.

The Magnificat – Mary’s hymn of praise in response to Elizabeth’s greeting – shows us some principles for our own prayer. Mary’s prayer is perhaps the most humble prayer recorded in scripture. In it, Mary acknowledged the truth about who God is and who she is before Him. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that “humility is the foundation of prayer” (CCC, 2559). It certainly was the foundation of Mary’s canticle, as she confessed that God “Has regarded the low estate of His hand maiden …… for He who is mighty has done great things for me” (Luke 1:48,49).

Mary’s prayer is also one of great faith. She trusted in what God would do for her, and throughout her life remained confident of His mercy and kindness (Luke 1:50). She trusted that God would exalt the lowly of this world and that He would be faithful to all His promises (Luke 1:52-53,55). Mary’s canticle is a beautiful demonstration of the fact that we do not have to do great public deeds to please God, nor do we have to expound lengthily on deep theological issues. By following Mary’s example of loving the Lord, trusting Him, and walking humbly in His presence, we can all be pleasing to Him.

As we (you and I) come before the Lord each day in personal prayer, we must try to recall Mary’s example of humility and faith. With her, in the power of the Holy Spirit, we also will be able to declare that “God who is mighty has done great things for me; holy is His name.”

Prayer: Heavenly Father, You raised Your daughter Mary through her assumption into heaven. Help me to come before You in humility and loving trust, as she did. By the power of Your Holy Spirit, fill me with the depth of faith that Mary had. Amen.

Jakarta, 13 August 2022

A Christian Pilgrim

 
 

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LUKE 9:29-30 (Today’s Gospel Reading: Luke 9:28-36)

Jakarta, 6 August 2022 [Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord]

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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LUKE 12:20 (Today’ Gospel Reading: Luke 12:13-21)

Jakarta, 31 July 2022 [18th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – YEAR C]

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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LUKE 11:13 (Today’s Gospel Reading: Luke 11:1-13)

Jakarta, 24 July 2022 [17th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year C]

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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THE LORD’S PRAYER

THE LORD’S PRAYER
 (A biblical reflection on the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time [Year C] – 24 July 2022) 
 
Gospel Reading: Luke 11:1-13
 
First Reading: Genesis 18:20-33; Psalms: Psalm 138:1-3,6-8; Second Reading: Colossians 2:12-14
 
The Scripture Text
He was praying in a certain place, and when He ceased, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” And He said to them, “When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread; and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive every one who is indebted to us; and lead us not into temptation.”
And He said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything’? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him whatever he needs. And I tell you, Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”  (Luke 11:1-13 RSV)
 
During Jesus’ life, one of His favorite spots for prayer was the Mount of Olives. On that site a Church has been erected called “Pater Noster Church” or simply “The Church of the Our Father.” In the arcade of the Church are thirty-two stone tablets upon which the words of the Our Father have been inscribed in thirty-two languages. It was possibly on the Mount of Olives that Jesus had been praying when His apostles came and asked Him to teach them how to pray.
 
The apostles were perhaps looking for a precise formula to us in prayer, but it was not Jesus’ intention to give them such. Rather, He wished to indicate to them the manner, the spirit, and the feeling they should have in prayer. The early Christians understood that it was the idea of the prayer that was important, and not the precise words.
 
The apostles were both surprised and amazed at Jesus’ answer. They were surprised at the brevity of the prayer. They had observed how Jesus Himself spent very long periods in private prayer. Naturally, they expected that He would possibly recite for them what He said in those extended periods of prayer. Also, at that time daily Jewish prayers were long and involved, comprising as many as eighteen benedictions. The apostles were amazed at the familiar term “Father” with which they were told to address God. It is true that the Jews thought of God as their Father; but in the entire Old Testament, God is referred to as a Father on only 14 (fourteen) occasions, and the Jews never dared to address Him as such in prayer. In the first reading today, we saw how careful even Abraham was in pleading with God to spare Sodom and Gomorrah. Though he was bold in his approach to God, he was cautious not to appear brazen or imprudent. Abraham did not use the term “Father” but only “Lord.” So, we (you and I) can imagine how the apostles must have felt when they were told that they were to be more familiar with God than even the great Abraham was!
 
Jesus used the Aramaic word “Abba” for “father”. The English word simply does not have the same connotation. “Abba” was the word a little child used in speaking to his father. It was a homey, family-word. “Dear Father” comes close to the meaning, but perhaps our word “Dad” or even “Daddy” is closer. Jesus meant to show us the childlike trust we should have in prayer, no matter how old or sophisticated we may be. No wonder Jesus had such concern for little children. Only they can teach us the complete trust we must have in God; the absolute reliance on Him; the tender, loving affection that should be ours.
 
The word, however, has more than a psychological implication. It expresses a great truth that God as our Father is the source of all our life, spiritual as well as physical. Saint Paul, in the second reading today, speaking of baptism, wrote, “And you, who were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, …” (Colossians 2:13). God indeed gave us new lives in company with Christ. In baptism, God truly became our Father. He gave us a share in the same life that His divine son possesses in fullness from all eternity. And so when we pray, God sees in us the person of Jesus, and He can say of us, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17).
 
Whenever we pray, especially at Mass, we should realize that we are not praying alone – that Jesus is living and praying within us and that it is He who makes our prayer so pleasing and so effective.
 
The Church has used the “Our Father” in the Mass for a very long time. Its use is recorded in Didache, a Christian book written before the year 1000, but it was probably used in the liturgy even before the gospels themselves were written. A very ancient custom places the “Our Father” at the beginning of the Communion rite. This use was no doubt inspired by the petition, “Give us this day our daily bread.” “Bread” is meant to include all of our necessities, but it signifies even more. Scripture scholars say that the word usually translated as “daily” really means “tomorrow”. We are saying “Give us tomorrow’s bread.” But the word “tomorrow” among the Jews did not mean merely the next day, but also the “Great Tomorrow”, the final consummation of God’s plan for salvation.
 
In a Christian sense, the petition is a prayer for that divine food, the bread of life. That will bring us to eternal life. That bread of life is the Eucharist. It is the divine food which nourishes and increases the life of Jesus within us. It is the great gift from our loving Father in heaven, a gift which on the “Great Tomorrow” will bring us to the fullness of our union with Jesus in heaven as true children of God our Father.
 
How fortunate we are that we can “pray with confidence to the Father in the words our Savior gave us.”
 
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I trust that You will do in me more than I can imagine as I take the Lord’s Prayer as the pattern of my prayer and my life. Amen.
 
Jakarta, 23 July 2022
 
A Christian Pilgrim
 
 

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LUKE 10:41-42 (Today’s Gospel Reading: Luke 10:38-42)

Jakarta, 17 July 2022 [16th Week in the Ordinary Time – Year C]

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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MARY AND MARTHA OF BETHANY


MARY AND MARTHA OF BETHANY

(A biblical reflection on the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time [Year C] – 17 July  2022)

Gospel Reading: Luke 10:38-42
 
First Reading: Genesis 18:1-10; Psalms: Psalm 15:2-5; Second Reading: Colossians 1:24-28
 
The Scripture Text
Now as they went on their way, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha received Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to His teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving; and she went to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her.”(Luke 10:38-42 RSV)
 
The small valley-town of Bethany, where Martha, Mary and Lazarus lived, is located just over the mountain from Jerusalem. Today a large church occupies the site which tradition says was the original home of these three close friends of Jesus. Located about 500 feet up the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives is the tomb from which Lazarus was called forth, after he had died.
 
Our Gospel today tells of a casual visit Jesus made to His wrangling Bethany family. Exactly how or why He had developed such a close personal relationship with these three people, we are not told; but John tells us that “Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus very much” (John 11:5).
 
This was not a typical family, since it consisted of two single women and a bachelor brother. Lazarus was possibly somewhat of a recluse, besides being sickly, and needed to be cared for by his two sisters – for in the various passages we never have one word from him. Mary appears to have been shy and introspective, while Martha was aggressive, outspoken and undoubtedly the one in charge of the household. In spite of their varied temperaments and peculiar personalities, they shared a mutual love for Jesus – although their common love for each other left some room for improvement.
 
Martha shows her complete ease in the presence of Jesus by her chiding remark about His sitting and talking to Mary, while she has to do all the work. In essence she subtly said: “What I am doing is more important than what you are saying.” Jesus, however, defended Mary’s right to sit and talk – and indirectly invited the energetic Martha to join them and leave the housework until later. The Lord no doubt smiled and shook His head gently as He spoke her name twice with the suggestion that she sit down and relax. There is a time to work and a time to visit – and now was the time to visit, as Mary was doing. He would not ask her to clean the house or prepare a snack.
 
Don’t we all get caught up to some degree in the Martha syndrome? We rush about, shouting at others, constantly on edge and filled with tension, doing all our “good works” with a lousy attitude. A change of pace is vitally important for all people. We are often asked, “What do you do?” Maybe the follow-up should be, “How well do you do it?” In all our activities and in everything we do, Jesus is close to us; He wants us to know His presence.
 
Setting aside some time each day for personal meditation can help us to work more effectively and purposefully. The moments we sit at the feet of Jesus are not “down time”, for being alone with the Lord in thought and prayer can melt away tensions. The more we look into His gentle face, the more we begin to smile – for then we realize that He is in charge and everything is not on our shoulders.
 
The primary point of the story is that the Lord visits those who love Him. God wants to visit us, to have a warm fellowship with us. The question is, how do we receive Him?
 
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank You, because You have given us the Holy Spirit to move us to recognize You and to enable us to open our hearts to You. We can also choose the better portion, and be attentive to You as we listen to Your dearly beloved Son, Jesus Christ, and serve others. Amen.
 
Jakarta, 16 July 2022
 
A Christian Pilgrim
 
 

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LUKE 10:36-37 (Today’s Gospel Reading: Luke 10:25-37)

Jakarta, 9 July 2022

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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THE GOOD SAMARITAN

THE GOOD SAMARITAN

 (A biblical reflection on the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time [Year C] – 10 July 2022)

Gospel Reading: Luke 10:25-37

First Reading: Deuteronomy 30:10-14; Psalms: Psalm 69:14,17,30-31,33-34,36ab,37 or Psalm 19:8-11; Second Reading: Colossians 1:15-20

The Scripture Text

And behold, a lawyer stood up to put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read?” And He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And He said to him, “You have answered right; do this, and you will live.”

But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed mercy on him” And Jesus to him, “Go and do likewise.”(Luke 10:25-37 RSV)

If the lawyer had heard very much of our Lord’s preaching, he had certainly missed the point. Apparently, the lawyer hoped that salvation could be achieved once and for all by doing some single thing. Jesus’ preaching had been an effort to overcome a naive legalistic approach to religious life. He emphasized that one’s whole life in every aspect had to be turned to God, that one’s attitude was more important than any single act. And so in the answer Jesus gave, derived indeed from the Old Testament, we hear an epitome of the spirit of the law that should color everything that one does: love God completely and love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus’ point was that a person does prepare himself for eternal life by performing any single work, great or small, but that he does so by living his whole life in accord with the law of love.

The lawyer was not satisfied with the answer, which he seemed to consider as too general. He wanted to get down to specifics. He wanted a nice, net limit within which he would fulfil his obligations. His questions, “And who is my neighbour?” was petty, small. The answer in the parable demanded bigness, generosity.

The parable meant to say that everyone is our neighbor, not just the people we live with, not just the people we like, Jews and Samaritans hated each other. The lawyer was a Jew, and so he thought of Samaritans as heretics, traitors, worthless scum, incapable of doing any good at all. The fact that the Samaritan was the hero of the story, and not the Jew, gave a special bite to it as far as the lawyer was concerned. It was a story of the least likely person showing love to someone he was supposed to despise. The point was painfully clear: there are no limits as to whom the law of love must be applied. The teaching is easy to understand, but hard to put into practice.

Some people have commented that the good Samaritan in the parable represents Christ Himself. Whether that be correct or not, it is true that Jesus found the human race in bad shape, like a man beaten and lying on the roadside near death. He came to our rescue, and gave the supreme example of love, an example we are celebrating in the Mass today. That is the example we are all called to imitate.

Prayer: Jesus, You are my Lord and my Savior. I thank You for Your mercy and grace. Like the man who fell among robbers, I too was stripped and beaten up by sin, Satan, and the world. I was robbed of my dignity as a child of God and left for dead. No one could save me, not even my determination to do everything right. I was powerless. I am and will be forever grateful for such marvellous mercy and grace. Amen.

Jakarta, 9 July 2022

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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