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Tag Archives: THE PHARISEES

MATTHEW 9:15 (Today’s Gospel Reading: Matthew 9:14-15)

Jakarta, 4 March 2022

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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MARK 8:11-13 (Today’s Gospel Reading)

Jakarta, 14 February 2022

A Christian Pilgrim

 
 

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WHAT THEREFORE GOD HAS JOINED TOGETHER, LET NOT MAN PUT ASUNDER

WHAT THEREFORE GOD HAS JOINED TOGETHER, LET NOT MAN PUT ASUNDER

(A biblical reflection on the 27th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME [YEAR B] – 3 October 2021)

Gospel Reading: Mark 10:2-16

First Reading: Genesis 2:18-24; Psalms: Psalm 128:1-6; Second Reading: Hebrews 2:9-11

The Scripture Text

And Pharisees came up and in order to test Him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to put her away.” But Jesus said to them, “For your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one. So they are no longer two but one. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.”

And in the house the disciples asked Him again about this matter. And He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

And they were bringing children to Him, that He might touch them; and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it He was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to Me, do not hinder them; for to such belongs the Kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And He took them in His arms and blessed them, laying His hands upon them.(Mark 10:2-16 RSV)

The Pharisees’ question to Jesus on marriage was not just an innocent inquiry posed by a group of perplexed believers. Rather, as they did throughout Jesus’ ministry, the Pharisees were looking for a way to trap Jesus in His own words.

Although formulated as if a simple “yes” or no” answer would suffice, their question involved complex interpretations of Hebrew law. In addition, if Jesus answered one way, He could be accused of disavowing John the Baptist’s reproach of Herod for divorcing his wife and marrying his sister-in-law. If He agreed with John, however, He could become a target for Herod’s anger.

Jesus did not allow Himself to become enmeshed in the trap. Instead, He sought to raise the discussion to a higher level and take advantage of the opportunity to speak yet again of the Father’s desire to unite us in love. By trying to trick Jesus with thorny legislative questions, the Pharisees had missed the whole point about God’s plan for marriage.

Jesus took his questioners back to the beginning, when God created man and woman in His own image and likeness (Genesis 1:26,27) and established that in marriage the two would become one flesh (Genesis 2:24). Jesus revealed marriage as a wonderful gift from God that is meant to reflect the union He longs to have with His people. Both kinds of union – between man and woman, or between God and His people – are meant to be so intimate that they must not be broken. What a privilege it is to be intimately united with God and another person!

As we consider the state of marriage in the world, perhaps even our own marriage, we may be tempted to look only at the difficulties and forget God’s power and love. Let us pray for all marriages today, that they be protected and raised up to become beautiful signs of God’s love for His people everywhere.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, how grateful we are for Your love. Fill our hearts with a deeper love for You. May Your love for us overflow to others, to bring healing and reconciliation. Amen.HisHis

Jakarta, 2 October 2021

A Christian Pilgrim

 
 

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MATTHEW 5:20 (Today’s Gospel Reading: Matthew 5:20-26)

Jakarta, 10 June 2021

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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MARK 8:11-13 (Today’s Gospel Reading)

Jakarta, 15 February 2021

A Christian Pilgrim

 
 

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TEACHER, WHICH IS THE GREAT COMMANDMENT IN THE LAW?

TEACHER, WHICH IS THE GREAT COMMANDMENT IN THE LAW?

(A biblical reflection on the 30th ORDINARY SUNDAY [YEAR A], 25 October 2020)

Gospel Reading: Matthew 22:34-40

First Reading: Exodus 22:21-27; Psalms: Psalm 18:2-4,47,51; Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 1:5-10

The Scripture Text

But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they came together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, to test Him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” And He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.”(Matthew 22:34-40 RSV)

The Pharisees may not have had evil intentions when asking Jesus the question as to the greatest commandment. But they have done us a good service by getting this crystal clear answer from Him. In this answer He tells us that the person who loves God and neighbor fulfills all her/his obligations, and carries out all the duties that God’s self-revelation in “the law and the prophets” imposes on her/him. God revealed Himself to us in the Old Testament as our Creator and divine benefactor. He had no need of us, since He is infinitely perfect in Himself, but out of His infinite goodness He wished to share His eternal Kingdom of happiness with mankind and so He created us. That we should love such a benefactor and be grateful to Him is not asking much of us; such love should surely be the spontaneous reaction of a rational being, and yet there were and there are many who fail to acknowledge any such obligation.

No Christian, worthy of the name, can ever be among such thoughtless and thankless people. We have greater proofs of God’s love for us than “the law and he prophets” gave to the Israelites. We have the added proofs of God’s infinite interest in us brought to us by the Incarnation. We have been raised to the sublime status of adopted children of God.

Where Christians can, and too often do fail, is in their true love of neighbor. Yet Jesus says that this commandment is like the first. Love of neighbor is an essential part of our obligations toward God. If we fail in this we fail in our love for God, for we refuse to carry out this sacred duty. If we do not recognize our neighbor as our sister or brother we do not recognize God as our Father and we do not love Him. As Saint John puts it: “anyone who says: ‘I love God’ and hates (does not love) his neighbor is a liar” (1 John 3:20).

Let each one of us ask her/himself today how seriously she/he takes this law of fraternal charity and how faithfully she/he carries it out. Not all of us may be able to give material help to a neighbor in need but the poorest of us can spare a kindly word, an encouraging word, for a neighbor weighed down with care and troubles. All of us can pray for a neighbor who needs spiritual and temporal help. Most of us can deny ourselves some unnecessary luxuries in order to give a needed loaf of bread to a hungry fellowman, while those who have an abundance of this world’s goods need not look far afield to find cases and causes worthy of their Christian charity.

Remember that whatever spiritual or material help is given out of true charity to a neighbor in need, is given to God, and whatever is given to God is soundly invested in heaven, and heaven pays handsome dividends.

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, and breathe on me! Empower me to live the law of love! Apart from You, I am powerless, but with You, I can fulfil the command to love. Make me realize that I cannot love others if I do not love myself first. Open my heart to the passionate love of the Father and help me to come to Him everyday as His child and good disciple of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Jakarta, 24 October 2020

A Christian Pilgrim

 
 

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LUKE 11:53-54 (Today’s Gospel Reading: Luke 11:47-54)

Jakarta, 15 October 2020

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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LUKE 11:39-41 (Today’s Gospel Reading: Luke 11:37-41)

Jakarta, 13 October 2020

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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MATTHEW 23:12 (Today’s Gospel Reading: Matthew 23:1-12)

Jakarta, 22 August 2020

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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MATTHEW 22:37-39 (Today’s Gospel Reading: Matthew 22:34-40)

Jakarta, 21 August 2020

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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