Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Monday, July 6, 2015
Sunday, July 5, 2015
THEIR EYES OF FAITH WERE CLOSED TO JESUS
(A biblical refection on THE 14th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – July 5, 2015)
Gospel Reading: Mark 6:1-6
First Reading: Ezekiel 2:2-5; Psalms: Psalm 123:1-4; Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
He went away from there and came to His own country; and His disciples followed Him. And on the Sabbath He began to teach in the synagogue; and many who heard Him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get all this? What is the wisdom given to Him? What mighty works are wrought by His hands! Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not His sisters here with us?” And they took offense at Him. And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and among His own kin, and in his own house.” And He could do not mighty work there, except that He laid His hands upon a few sick people and healed them. And He marvelled because of their unbelief.
And He went about among the villages teaching. (Mark 6:1-6 RSV)
The people of Nazareth, though touched by the words of Jesus, questioned where He had acquired the wisdom evident in His words: “Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to Him? ...... Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary? (Mark 6:2,3). Their eyes of faith were closed to Jesus whose miracles and words reflected the work of the Messiah to come. His modest and compassionate manner did not fit their concept of and hopes for a Messiah who would free them from domination by foreign oppressors.
Jesus was rejected, as was Ezekiel, a prophet of God. Both were subjected to disbelief and persecution from an “impudent and stubborn” people (Ezekiel 2:4). They were all part of the people who had broken their covenant with God and, as a result, suffered the hardships of exile and captivity. Ezekiel’s message might fail to convince, but they would know that God had indeed spoken to them (Ezekiel 2:5).
In the coming of Jesus, God was revealing the depth of His love and compassion. Jesus, the Word of God, was calling humanity back to the love and tenderness of the Father. How sad that the people of Nazareth failed to recognize Jesus as the fulfilment of God’s words: “To you, O men, I call, and My cry is to the sons of men” (Proverbs 8:4).
Turning a deaf ear to God is as common today as it was during Jesus’ time on earth. Often our knowledge and understanding of Jesus’ mission as God’s incarnate Son among us is limited to what our minds can comprehend. We resist the challenge to go beyond the familiar and accept that God’s marvelous plan for our lives reaches far beyond our own meagre understanding. Perhaps because we are often content to know Jesus in a superficial manner we think we are dutiful enough. But this attitude keeps us from being open to the fullness of God’s divine life and love that He has planned from all eternity to share with us in Jesus (Ephesians 1:17-18).
God’s word to us in the liturgy and in our prayer and scripture reading is an invitation to surrender our lives more completely to His will. Let us set aside our preconceived ideas and the temporary concerns that lock us into a thinking centered on the here and now, and open our minds and hearts to the work God wants to do in us.
Short Prayer: Lord Jesus, come and be with me. Help me to listen to You more closely. Show me the ways I have boxed You in with My own ideas. Heal me with Your love so that I might serve You more fully. Amen.
Jakarta, 3 July 2015
A Christian Pilgrim
Saturday, July 4, 2015
Prayer for Independence Day
we come to you in thanksgiving
for our nation.
We know that our many blessings --of freedom, liberty, prosperity,
and other gifts too countless to list --
have come from your hand.
Our nation, and its many freedoms,
are a gift from you.
On this day, as we remember our
nation's independence, we pause to
honor you, to praise you and
to thank you.
Heavenly Father, we pray that you
would forgive us our sins, and lead
us, as a nation, in the way we should
Let us not take for granted the many
gifts and blessings you have given us.
May we always honor you.
Be with us, Lord, as we strive to be a
light and a beacon from you, to the world.
In Jesus holy name, we pray.
Friday, July 3, 2015
BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO HAVE NOT SEEN AND YET BELIEVE (2)BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO HAVE NOT SEEN AND YET BELIEVE
(A biblical reflection on the Feast of Saint Thomas, Apostle – Friday, 3 July 2015)
Gospel Reading: John 20:24-29
First Reading: Ephesians 2:19-22; Psalms: Psalm 117:1-2
Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in His side, I will not believe.”
Eight days later, His disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, “Peace be with you.” Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see My hands; and put out your hand, and place it in My side; do not be faithless, but believing.” Thomas answered Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” (John 20:24-29 RSV)
“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe” (John 20:29).
These words may sound like rebuke to Thomas. Yet perhaps they are a blessing for us: Blessed are those who have not actually seen Jesus but believe in Him anyway. Jesus Himself spoke these words as blessing on us, to encourage our faith in Him. Through His Spirit, He has equipped us with the faith we need, and His blessing calls us to exercise that faith, to believe without seeing. He calls us to put our faith in the redemption He won for us when He shed His blood on the cross.
Oh, that we would put our faith in that redemption! God can do so much with us if we surrender our lives to Him. What does that involve? It means doing what Thomas stumbled at – submitting our intellects to the truth God reveals, however He chooses to reveal it. Thomas was so accustomed to seeing Jesus work that he felt uncomfortable believing in Jesus when he couldn’t see Him. We too are accustomed to proceeding on the basis of what we can see; we like to have things make sense to us. But if we are willing to trust Jesus and believe His words, even when we do not understand them, what deliverance from sin we will experience! What comfort from the Father we will know! What reconciliation will spring up between individuals, even nations!
St. Teresa of Avila one prayed: “In Your majesty You seek all kinds of ways and means by which to show us the love that You have for us; yet we hold this in low esteem, inexperienced as we are in loving You. Through the lack of practice, our thoughts follow their usual pattern, and we do not trouble to ponder the great mysteries to be found in the way the Holy Spirit speaks to us. What more could He do to kindle our love for Him?”
With great anticipation, let’s accept the ways God chooses to show us His love! Let’s surrender our lives to Him, knowing that nothing can be greater than receiving His love!
Short Prayer: Lord Jesus, I love You. I worship You, who have conquered my every sin. In You, all is atoned for, all is forgiven. Glory to You, God of the impossible! Amen.
Jakarta, 2 July 2015
A Christian Pilgrim