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MARK 16:15-16 (Today’s Gospel Reading: Mark 16:15-20)

Jakarta, 25 April 2022 [FEAST OF ST. MARK, EVANGELIST]

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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THE SIGN OF THE CROSS IS MORE THAN A ROUTINE PROCEDURE TO BEGIN AND END A PRAYER

THE SIGN OF THE CROSS IS MORE THAN A ROUTINE PROCEDURE TO BEGIN AND END A PRAYER

A biblical reflection on TRINITY SUNDAY – 30 May 2021)

Gospel Reading: Matthew 28:16-20

First Reading: Deuteronomy 4:32-34,39-40; Psalms: Psalm 33:4-6,9,18-19,20,22, Second Reading: Romans 8:14-17

The Scripture Text

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw Him they worshiped Him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.(Mt 28:16-20)

The Sign of the Cross is more than a routine procedure to begin and end a prayer. It is a prayer; a very profound one. This visible sign is a powerful profession of our faith in the existence of the Holy Trinity. In fact it is a mini-liturgy, doing and saying something that is distinctively religious.

One of the ways to augment today’s celebration of the Feast of the Holy Trinity is to concentrate on the reverent use of this sacred sign.

We touch our heads showing our assent of faith, as we pronounce the name of the Father, our divine Creator. It is a dedication of our minds to God. Our fingertips next come to rest at the base of our hearts, symbols of love. We speak the name of the great Lover, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, God-Man and Savior. The sign is concluded as the fingers move from one shoulder to the other, signifying eagerness to give our arms and hands to good works under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Finally the hands interlock, showing we are united and single-minded in our efforts. With this conclusive gesture we say “Amen” – so be it.

In the name of the Trinity we were signed in baptism, have had our sins forgiven and received many blessings. Although basic to our faith, the Trinity is not to be understood but professed and admired. Some people, desirous of solving every mystery, overly simplify God and claim to know His intimate nature and thoughts. They “interpret” the Bible avoiding scholarly assistance, which they say only complicates matters. This approach may be attractive but is not honest, for God is not simple, nor is religion.

We believe God is one nature but three persons, but the full meaning of those words is far beyond our poor comprehension. However, the Trinity is a unique model and sign of harmonious unity – a unity God expects to see in the daily lives of His children.

Every blessing of the Church flows from the Trinity, traced out through the Sign of the Cross. Under that sign we sealed our wedding vows, and that same familiar sign will bid us safe passage to the eternal Kingdom. May the Trinity Sunday inspire each and everyone of us to manifest faith with our minds, love with our hearts, service with our hands, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Prayer: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Jakarta, 29 May 2021

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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MATTHEW 28:18-20 (Today’ Gospel Reading: Matthew 28:16-20)

Jakarta, 21 May 2020 [THE ASCENSION OF THE LORD]

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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I AM WITH YOU: Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord [Year A] – Matthew 29:16-20

Jakarta, 21 May 2020

A Christian Pilgrim

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2020 in MISCELLANY

 

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IN THE NAME OF THE BLESSED TRINITY

IN THE NAME OF THE BLESSED TRINITY

A biblical reflection on TRINITY SUNDAY – 27 May 2018)

Gospel Reading: Matthew 28:16-20 

First Reading: Deuteronomy 4:32-34,39-40; Psalms: Psalm 33:4-6,9,18-19,20,22, Second Reading: Romans 8:14-17 

The Scripture Text

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw Him they worshiped Him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” (Matthew 28:16-20)

In today’s Gospel we read that Baptism is to be administered in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. We must try to appreciate the weight of importance that Scripture gives to a name. In the name is the presence of the person and a sharing in all that this person stands for. It is not merely acting out of the remembrance of some inspirational figure as we do when we call a club or a street after some patriot/national hero.

In Scripture, the name of a person calls up the living and active presence of that person. In Baptism we are established in a vital dynamic relationship with God as our creator, our redeemer and our sanctifier. In the name of the three divine persons is the presence and power of the three.

Theology has been beautifully described as the art of being able to hear stories about God and to tell them in turn. And what is prayer? Prayer is when we know that we are part of these stories of God.

The Blessed Trinity is the story of three movements of God towards us. First is the movement of life out from the mind of God, fathering all creation. When God saw what He had created each day, He said: “It’s good”.

However, human freedom was abused and man sold off his birthright, becoming the slave of sin. He needed to be saved from this slavery. And so, the second movement of God towards us was in sending a Redeemer, a Savior. Nowhere has it been more beautifully expressed than in John 3:16: “God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not be lost but may have eternal life”.

The Son of God took on our human condition to enter fully into our ups and downs, our thought process, our emotions, our strengths and vulnerability … into everything except sin. As our brother, He embraced our lot. As our Savior, He led us out slavery into freedom. As the Word of God He brought us the light of faith. As the Head of the Body, where He has gone, there we hope to follow. And the bassis of our hope is the third movement of God in our regard … the gift of the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is like the breath which always returns to the great surroundings: the power of love which draws towards unity: the power of God which drew up Jesus Christ out of death into glory. And as the glorified body of Jesus is no longer limited within physical limitations, so now the Holy Spirit has been released for all believers.

The theology of the Blessed Trinity tells us the story of God reaching out to us as Father-Creator, as Son-Redeemer and as Spirit-Sanctifier. Prayer is when we know that we are part of that story: when we are caught up in response to God’s movements: when we are partners in God’s dance.

In today’s second reading (Romans 8:14-17), Saint Paul describes what it meant to dance with God’s movements. To be moved by the Spirit, one knows that one is raised to new life, higher than natural life, a child of God. Gone is all servile fear of God. We no longer want to hide from God’s eye but our delight is in coming closer to Him … children running towards their heavenly Father. The essential word of Christian prayer is “Abba, Father”. Prayer is love of the Father expressed in words and sighs and waiting.

Prayer is also praise and thanks. Praise to the Giver and thanks for the gifts. The true direction of praise is from the Spirit moving within us, through the Son and unto the Father. “Through Him, with Him and in Him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is Yours, Almighty Father.” 

Heaven will be the completion of our Baptism. Until then we are heirs of God, having the right to heaven though we are still waiting. While we wait here on earth we still encounter sufferings, tensions and contradictions. But even these experiences are not removed from God’s presence. In these crosses we will encounter Christ on the cross … “co-heir with Christ, sharing His sufferings so as to share in His glory”.

We have been baptized in … plunged into … the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In reconciliation we are absolved in the name of the Blessed Three. And at the end of Mass we are sent out in their name.

In the name is the presence and the power of the one invoked, God is ever-present to us a fatherly power, redeeming word and sanctifying love. In prayer we respond to these movements. Glory be to the Father, through the Son, by the Holy Spirit.

Adapted from Fr. Silvester O’Flynn OFMCap., “The Good News of Mark’s Year”, Dublin, Ireland: The Columbia Press, 1990 (1993 reprinting), pages 133-135).

Prayer: Almighty, eternal, just and merciful God, grant us in our misery that we may do for Your sake alone what we know You want us to do, and always want what pleases You; so that, cleansed and enlightened interiorly and fired with the ardour of the Holy Spirit, we may be able to follow in the footsteps of Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and so make our way to You, Most High, by Your grace alone, You who live and reign in perfect Trinity and simple Unity, and are glorified, God all-powerful, for ever and ever. Amen. (St. Francis of Assisi, at the end of his “Letter to a General Chapter)

Jakarta, 25 May 2018 

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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MATTHEW 28:20

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Jakarta, 27 July 2016

A ChrIstian Pilgrim

 
 

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THE GREAT COMMISSION

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Jakarta, 30 January 2015

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS [MATTHEW 28:16-20]

I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS [MATTHEW 28:16-20]

THE ASCENSION OF THE LORD

KENAIKAN TUHANAs Jesus was about to ascend into heaven He spoke His final words to His disciples: “I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Matthew 28:20 RSV).

In his study of Matthew’s gospel, Fr. Donald Senior underlines the significance of the “with you” phrase. The beginning of Matthew’s gospel was marked by the revelation that Jesus would be called Emmanuel, that is, God-with-us (Matthew 1:23). This theme of God’s abiding presence in the person of Jesus is now matched at the end of Matthew’s gospel by our Lord’s own promise: “I am with you always, to the close of the age.”

The keynote of Matthew’s gospel, namely God-with-us, explains somewhat why Matthew has no ascension story as such. The evangelists Mark and Luke write specifically that Jesus was taken up to heaven, but not Matthew. Although Matthew sets the scene for the Ascension, he stops short of actually saying that Jesus ascends.

Perhaps this is Matthew’s way of stressing the “staying” of Jesus with us, as opposed to His “going away” to heaven. It may be Matthew’s way of calling attention to our Lord’s new, invisible presence in our midst – a sacramental presence transcending all barriers of time and place, as opposed to his historical, visible presence limited by space and time.

We are dealing here with a paradox, a mystery. In one sense, Jesus has “gone away” by ascending in heaven. But in another sense, he is “still with us” here on earth. Our Lord’s “going away”, His Ascension, is most important to us because it confirms His claim to be God’s own Son; it completes the cycle of Incarnation-Redemption-Glorification; and it gives hope of one day following Him

But equally important to us is our Lord’s “abiding presence”. Whenever we read His word, break His bread, gather to pray in His name, and minister to the least of His brethren, we experience his “being-with-us”, here and now. Whenever we deny ourselves for Him, carry our cross after Him, or suffer persecution because of His name, we know that He is “with us” to support, encourage and inspire us.

In the familiar story entitled “Footprints” a man at the end of his life wanted to know why in tough times there was only one set of footprints in the sand. After all, the Lord had promised to walk with him all the way. The Lord replied by telling him that He never left him in times of trial. When the man saw only one set of footprints, it was then that the Lord carried him. The Lord was with the man walking in the sand. May the risen Lord be with us all the days of our life.

Jakarta, 29 May 2014

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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TO GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL THE WORLD

TO GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL THE WORLD 

ascension-8“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few” (Mt 9:37) 

Jesus tells us that the harvest is bountiful but the workers are few. In other words, He is calling us to do the work of making disciples. Jesus is calling us to go into the world and seize every opportunity that presents itself to us. But He also wants us to know that He will open the hearts of people and He will pour out grace upon them as we do the harvesting. 

Some opportunities will simply come our way out of nowhere. If you are a peaceful person, a calm and smiling light, then people will naturally seek you out. When this happens, you have to be ready. You have to be able to explain simply and clearly that it is Jesus who has made you peaceful, and that this peace is available to everyone who believes in Him. 

Other opportunities will require more effort on your part. For instance, God may be leading you to serve in a Bible study in your parish or at a retirement home in your town. He may be leading you to coach a youth group, or to serve on a social committee. Whatever He is calling you to do, your witness of consistency, generosity, and service can open doors and touch hearts. Even something as simple as a kind word can lead people to Jesus. 

images (1)Being a Christ’s disciple means that we “sow seeds” wherever we go. But it also may mean doing some tilling, cultivating, fertilizing, or weeding. Every situation is different, but we do know that Jesus will act like the sun, shining on our work and making it grow and bear fruit – perhaps even thirty or sixty or ninetyfold. 

Jesus promised His disciples that the harvest will always be bountiful. He also promised that He would be with them, even “the end of the age” (Mt 28:20). In our day, many believe that a time of renewal is on the horizon, an era when God will pour out a powerful grace of conversion upon the world and a time of refreshing upon His Church. Let us all pray together that many disciples will be raised up so that the harvest of this renewal can be gathered into the Kingdom of Heaven. Let us all take up Jesus’ challenge to go and make disciples of all the world. 

Jakarta, 9 January 2013 

 

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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