Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Divine Word Missionaries International Visit

The Divine Word Missionaries who have a residence in Bordentown had visitors from different countries and Father Flor brought them over to celebrant Mass for us.
From left to right
Brother Emmanuel from Haiti who is taking a group of young adults to the UN, Father Flor , who is a resident at Bordentown and is original from the Philippines, Father Paul, originally  from China and will be stationed in Antigua and Father Johann who is from Indonesia. Father Johann is secretary to the Provincial and came to the United States to learn English at Epworth.

Sunday, July 20, 2014


(A biblical reflection on the 16th Ordinary Sunday, 20 July 2014)
Gospel Reading: Matthew 13:24-30 (long version: Matthew 13:24-43)
First Reading: Wisdom 12:13,16-19; Psalms: Psalm 86:5-6,9-10,15-16; Second Reading: Romans 8:26-27
Another parable He put before them, saying, “The Kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the householder came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then has it weeds? He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?” But he said, ‘No; lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’” (Matthew 13:24-30 RSV)
How do you treat other people when they fall short of your expectations? Do you find yourself turning against them – maybe in your mind and heart, if not outwardly? It’s a tempting reaction but not one that Jesus recommended. In fact, His parable of the weeds among the wheat tells us not to write anyone off as hopeless. Just as the householder refrained from having the weeds pulled up for fear of uprooting the wheat (Matthew 13:29), we must refrain from dismissing others, in effect throwing out the “wheat” in their lives along with whatever we perceive the “weeds” to be.
Who are the “weedy” ones in your life – those you have given up on, those you don’t treat so well because they have pulled away from God? Look closely at your list and ask yourself whether perhaps your judgments might be contributing in some way to their bondage. Is it possible that you have a beam in your eye, something that prevents you from seeing the beauty and promise – the wheat among the weeds – within them? Even in their sin, God sees their potential and gives them opportunities to realize it through the power of His Son. He invites you to take on this attitude, too.
Today at Mass, take some time to reflect on God’ invitation to patience. Let the readings show you God’s heart and help you embrace that heart for yourself: “Although You are sovereign in strength, You judge with mildness, and with great forbearance You govern us. ... You have taught Your people that the righteous must be kind” (Wisdom 12:18-19). “The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us” (Romans 8:26). Having experienced God’s mercy in your own life – and who hasn’t? – you can be patient with the imperfections of others, with the Spirit’s help. And amazingly, the more you learn to see people through the eyes of Jesus, the more you will draw them to Him. They will change. So will you.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, forgive me for having written some people off as beyond help. Knowing Your love and patience toward me, I am compelled to pray that every “hopeless case” will make it into Your Kingdom. I pray for an abundant harvest of the finest wheat. Amen.
Jakarta, 18 July 2014

A Christian Pilgrim

Friday, July 4, 2014

July 4th If You Want Peace Work for Justice

ew post on Breaking In The Habit

If You Want Peace… Community Organize

by friarcasey
Of all the many accomplishments of organizations like this, the biggest is that these students develop confidence in themselves and in each other.
Of all the many accomplishments of organizations like this, the biggest is that these students develop confidence in themselves and in each other.
A few years ago, I wrote a post entitled “If You Want Peace, Work For Justice” that made this distinction between social charity and social justice: charity identifies a need and fulfills it while justice asks why there was a need in the first place and then attempts to change the system that caused it.
While both charity and justice are integral aspects of Catholic Social Teaching, and understanding that neither can fully work without the other, I find myself stressing justice over charity. Don’t get me wrong. Charity is desperately needed and I wouldn’t want to downplay the life work of someone like Mother Theresa. There are times, though, when charity is nothing more than a bandaid on a fatal wound: it prolongs life but it never allows those in need the freedom of authentic human development. As the adage goes, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish you feed him for a lifetime.” Justice looks to the future, treating the problem not just the symptoms. In practical terms, it means being a voice for the voiceless by demanding quality education, safe environments, and equal treatment under the law so that all people may be able to feed themselves instead of relying on others to feed them.
In my time so far in Camden, however, I have learned that there is actually another layer to this distinction. While justice (as I have defined it) gives a voice to the voiceless, community organizing helps those without a voice find their own. While traditional means of justice may eliminate a systemic problem in order to make life better for many people, (something I obviously DO NOT want to downplay), there is still a sense that it is a form of charity because it is done for someone without enabling them to do it themselves. Not only that, there’s no denying the fact that movements are more vibrant and longer lasting if they come from the people and for the people directly affected by injustice. Thus, in the case of feeding a man from above, community organizers might say, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; show a man that he can fix his hunger by hiring a fishing teacher and he will know how to find solutions for a lifetime.” Through effective community organizing, people gain the confidence and skills to take control of their lives without relying on wealthy donors or educated activists to do everything for them.
A great example of this is the Student Leaders’ Von Nieda Park Task Force at St. Anthony’s school. Comprised of 6th-8th grade students, this group meets each week to identify problems in their neighborhood, research who has the power to make changes, and elicit the skills needed to professionally approach those in power. These students chair a monthly meeting at the park, attend city council meetings, organize cleanups, and travel to Washington, D.C. each year to give a presentation. In the past two years, they have transformed what was once called “the nation’s most depressing park,” into a comfortable neighborhood park for the whole family. How? They saw a need in their area, worked together, and convinced local officials to help make it happen. In two years, the city has installed new basketball nets, trashcans, fences, and now, brand new lights, a project that cost the city and county $365,000. I’d like to remind you that these are 6th-8th graders… When people come together around an issue, great things can happen.
That’s not to say that it’s easy to do or that it’s without setbacks. Community organizing requires tremendous patience and perseverance, thick skin and a short memory. The friar responsible for the Student Leaders here reminds us often of the women who once told him, “Father, ain’t nothing ever going to change in Camden.” This is a common response, and it’s understandable. If you had been rejected and lied to by powerful people your entire life, wouldn’t you be a little hesitant to get excited too? The key is building confidence with small victories, showing people that hope is not useless; change can happen.
More importantly, and much more difficultly, community organizers must not let impatience or frustration move them to act on behalf of the community. Sure, the community organizer may be able to do something successfully on her/his own, but how has this helped the community find its own voice? The sign of a great basketball player is not the amount of points s/he scores, it’s how much better the others players play around her/him. It’s about building the team, not just the tasks. It requires relying on others and giving people the chance to succeed. This might mean being a little less efficient, dealing with a few more frustrations, and even accepting more frequent setbacks than doing something on one’s own. It’s a type-A personality’s nightmare. But what good is it to go about it alone? More importantly, what good is it if we always treat those around us like children, never showing them how to lead themselves?
As brothers and sisters in Christ, it’s not about winning the race, it’s about making sure everyone is able to make it to the end. Community organizing does just that. By focusing on local issues with local people, it involves those closest to the issue and gives them ownership over their lives. While it may not effect the sort of large-scale systemic changes that other forms of justice can, what it does is build community and build confidence. It does not hand people a better life, it helps them work for it themselves. If you want peace in your neighborhood, community organize.
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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Wednesday July 2

by achristianpilgrim
Jakarta, 2 July 2014
A Christian Pilgrim

Tuesday July 1 Breaking the Habit



Breaking In The Habit

Do This in Memory of Me

by friarcasey
What Jesus shared with us was a meal and his life.
What Jesus shared with us was a meal and his life.
In each of the four eucharistic prayers in the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church, the words "Do this in memory of me" are spoken by the priest in what is called the Institution Narrative. Although some of the words change for each prayer, these are repeated in each one: "Do this in memory of me." They are significant words that help guide us in our understanding of this celebration.
In one sense, it is a clear reminder that the reason we meet each week in the Church is because Jesus gave his body and blood to the disciples through the celebration of the Last Supper just prior to his Passion. His words invoke the memory of this religious celebration, the great institution of the sacrament that gives us life and offers us salvation.
But our memory cannot stop there. In another, maybe more significant sense, the memory we must have when we celebrate the Eucharist is of Jesus himself. When we take his body and drink his blood, we are not only remembering the final meal he shared with his disciples before his Passion, we are remembering all that he was/is and all that he did. In one complex moment, we call to mind his triumphant Incarnation and his glorious Passion; the miracles he performed and the words he preached; the love and forgiveness he brought to the lost and the least, and the truth and justice he brought to the corrupt and powerful. Our memory of Jesus is not simply one of a religious feast or liturgical action, it is one of love, forgiveness, humility, simplicity, openness, mercy, unity in diversity, sacrifice, friendship, and most of all, justice.
Because of this, taking part in the mystery of the Eucharist does bring to the present a moment in history, the Last Supper, and allows us to share in the once-for-all sacrifice of our God; but it does much more than that. Taking part in the Eucharist brings to the present the whole life and teaching of Jesus. How can we possibly celebrate the feast without remembering the person celebrating it?
When we remember the person of Jesus, we radically open ourselves up to a new experience of and response to the Eucharist. If what we are remembering when we take the precious body and blood is how Jesus "emptied himself" to become human, we are forced to ask ourselves how well we act with humility and grace. If we remember how Jesus showed mercy and forgiveness to sinners, we are forced to ask ourselves how well we forgive those who wrong us. If we remember how Jesus loved the poor and cared for the outcasts of society, making them his primary focus because no one else would, we are forced to ask ourselves how well we love the poor and outcasts of society and whether or not we are missing an opportunity to love someone unloved by anyone else. In every way, if we remember the person of Jesus, we will be forced to compare our lives with the life he lived, challenging us to grow closer to the one who wants nothing more than to be in perfect union with us.
Jesus says, "Do this in memory of me." My prayer is that, the next time you receive the Eucharist, you will be flooded with the powerful memory of Jesus' life and teachings, that it may be such a powerful experience of remembering the person of Jesus that all you can do is let him pour out of you for the whole world. That is the memory Jesus wants us to have, and that is the true thanksgiving meal we share with one another. Only when Eucharist transforms us in this way can be it called the "source and summit" of our life.

Saturday, June 28, 2014


(A biblical reflection on the Solemnity of SAINTS PETER AND PAUL – Sunday, 29 June 2014)
Gospel Reading: Matthew 16:13-19
First Reading: Acts 12:1-11; Psalms: Psalm 34:2-9, Second Reading: 2Timothy 4:6-8,17-18
The Scripture Text
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, “Who do men say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:13-19 RSV)
On this feast day, we celebrate the two main pillars of the early Church, Peter and Paul. These men represent two vital aspects of Christianity, both in its corporate and individual dimensions – the pastoral and the missionary. From the first Pentecost, Peter’s leadership of the Church was evident. Peter moved from Jerusalem to Antioch to Rome, where for two thousand years his successors have continued to offer a dynamic link to Jesus’ desire to build His Church.
Peter_great_confession_C-999The touchstone of Peter’s faith and the bedrock of his role as leader was his confession, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). This is the very faith that Paul celebrated when he said, “No other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1Corinthians 3:11). Though Paul was among the last to be called an apostle, it could well be argued that it was he who developed the doctrines of faith that became the basis for our creed and continue to define the Church to this day.
The universal Church speaks with one voice when it declares “Jesus is Lord!” These two saints, Peter and Paul, have made it clear that our faith is not meant to be an individual, isolated thing. It’s not just “me and Jesus.” It’s “Christ and His Church.” God never wanted us to live in isolation from each other. He never intended Christianity to be an individual experience. He gave a corporate dimension to our faith so that our experience of life in the Spirit would be spurred on in power and supported in hope by the faithful witness of so many other believers.
By faith we are saved, and this faith is a gift given from our Father in heaven. Through the Church, let us make known the manifold wisdom of God. We too are called to be pillars of the Church. We too are called to proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord. As we take up our calling and profess the Lordship of Christ, we too participate in building up the Church that so long ago was begun by Peter and ignited by Paul.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for calling me to be one of Your disciples. May I ever proclaim Your Lordship in fellowship with all Your people. Amen.
Jakarta, 27 June, 2014

A Christian Pilgrim