Wednesday, December 31, 2014


02268_vladimir_theotokos_luke_dingmanAs the Christmas season unfolds, the Holy Spirit continues to invite us to ponder the events surrounding the birth of Jesus. Today’s feast is especially important because it focuses our attention on the fact that Mary bore the very Son of God in her womb. From the moment of His conception, Jesus of Nazareth held all the fullness of God’s love, grace, and power in His person.
This is the mystery, the wonder that Mary treasured and pondered in her heart (Luke 2:19). She did not fret over the dangers her new family would face. She did not worry about what might happen in the future, or regret what might happen in the future, or regret what might have happened in the past if she and Joseph had not been asked to raise the Son of God. Instead, Mary carefully observed all the ways God was working as she brought Jesus to birth and began to raise Him. She did not let God’s words and deeds become memories that gradually faded; she kept them alive in heart.
God does not want His truths to fade from our minds either. He wants us to imitate Mary by keeping His promises alive in our hearts throughout the year. Indeed, He is giving us this new year as an opportunity to grow in our knowledge of His love.
Of course, Mary did not just have the memory of historical events. She had Jesus with her, day after day. Now, through the Holy Spirit, we too can experience Jesus’ presence day after day. This is part of the promise of the Gospel. The more we prayerfully reflect on who Jesus is and what He has done, the closer He draws us to Himself.
In this new year, why don’t we (you and I) resolve to spend time each day with Jesus in Scripture and prayer? As we make the effort, we will find Jesus’ words taking on their own life within each of us and transforming us into His likeness. Let it happen. Let this be the year that we treasure and ponder Jesus, the Son of God.
Jakarta, 1 January 2015
A Christian Pilgrim

New Years Eve January 1 Mother of God

Daily Dig for December 31

The solemnity of Mary , Mother of God
January G
Remember us, most loving Mother of God.
Jörg Zink
You have been placed upon this earth. Go your way through it, paying heed to God’s will. Follow his leading, and pay attention to each sign he gives. He who sent you is there. He will guide you. He will accompany you with the face of your brother. He will keep you from falling. He will point out your path. He will receive you at its end. Even then he will stay beside you. Forever.
Give thought now to the road Jesus trod upon this earth, starting in Bethlehem. It is your path. Follow it, and become one with the will of God as he has shown it to you.
Source: “Doors to the Feast

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Tuesday December 30

2014 in review

2014 in review


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achristianpilgrim posted: "The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog. Here's an excerpt: The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 44,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney O"
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2014 in review

by achristianpilgrim
The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.
Here's an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 44,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 16 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
achristianpilgrim | December 30, 2014 at 2:34 am | Tags: ANNUAL REPORT, SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE | Categories: BLOG PERFORMANCE REVIEW | URL:

Monday, December 29, 2014

Monday December 29

"At last, all-powerful Master, You give leave to Your servant to go in peace, according to Your promise. For my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared for all nations, the light to enlighten the Gentiles and give glory to Israel, Your people." (Luke 2:29-32; text from the Divine Office)
Jakarta, 29 December 2014
A Christian Pilgrim
achristianpilgrim | December 29, 2014 at 12:26 am | Tags: LUKE 2:29

Sunday, December 28, 2014


(A biblical reflection on the Feast of THE HOLY FAMILY – Sunday, 28 December 2014)
Gospel Reading: Luke 2:22,39-40
First Reading: Genesis 15:1-6; 21:1-3; Psalms: Psalm 105:1-6,8-9; Second Reading: Hebrews 11:8,11-12,17-19; Gospel Reading: Luke 2:22-40 (longer version)
The Scripture Text
And when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord.
And when they had performed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. And the Child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon Him. (Luke 2:22,39-40 RSV)
At the beginning and the end of this passage about the Holy Family, Luke mentions that Mary and Joseph were observing the Law of the Lord. Clearly, here was a family where God was number one and everything was evaluated in the light of faith. They belonged to the larger family of the Jewish religion and their faith was supported by religious customs and ritual.
mission1After eight days every male child was circumcised in observance of the ancient covenant between God and Abraham, the father of believers. In the case of a firstborn male a sacrificial offering was rendered to God as the source of all life. Then after forty days they had the ritual of purification of the mother which restored her to participation in religious service. Through the observance of these religious traditions the faith of the people was supported and the sacredness of life was kept in the forefront. The place of God in the family was deeply respected.
In our present time when there is a great push towards the secularization of society, the Law of the Lord is disregarded by many in the debates on family morality. Secularism is a pattern of thought and behavior which seeks to set humanity on a pedestal apart from God. Echoes of the first temptation can be heard: “... and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5 RSV) ... having the right to decide for themselves what is right and wrong. Where traditional Christian morality is cast aside there is an alarming increase in the number of unmarried pregnancies, with all the consequent pains and pressures of the single-parent family.
Secularization lacks the vision of God’s faithful love and cannot find the grace or courage to say “forever”. It leads to cohabitation without the permanency of marriage or to civil marriages which are often little more than contracts until further notice. Secularism fails to appreciate the sacredness of sexual intercourse as an act which is open to cooperation with God in the wonder of creating a new human being who will have an eternal future. The fact that there may be unhappy marriages and bad families does not alter the claim that a good family provides the most natural environment for the growth of a child towards full human maturity.
Luke’s portrait of the Holy Family highlights their observance of the Law of the Lord. Jesus Himself would later clarify the essence of this law: love of God and love of one’s neighbor. Out of these two precepts flow the qualities of the Christian family.
06_10_2The love of God will be clearly seen as the number one value in a Christian home. There will be time and place for prayer, for discussion on the deep mysteries of life and death, and for the sort of reading which will deepen one’s understanding of the faith and inspire virtuous action. As we like to pin up pictures of our heroes, so in the Christian home one will notice the pictures of statues which express religious devotion. Those who share the same faith will be moved towards its expression in liturgy. There is something lacking in a family where prayer is always a private affair and they never have any togetherness in liturgical participation.
The love of God inspires our love for one another in God’s family. Charity must begin at home. Home is where we are wanted: where the love is so deep that storms on the surface never threaten the relationship: where we sometimes let off steam and show our worst features but remain totally confident that we will be forgiven.
The Christian family reaches out beyond its doors to the immediate neighbors. Christian neighbors show sensitivity to the old, the lonely, the sick. They rally round in times of crisis, they anticipate needs and they stay in compassion with the broken-hearted.
It was not all sunlight and easy going for the Holy Family. They were to know emigration, searching for work, misunderstanding, and rejection. It would all be part of that sword of sorrow piercing Mary’s soul (Luke 2:35). But God was over all and that was enough for Mary’s peace. At Bethlehem the Child was swaddled in binding cloths so that His bones might grow straight and strong. In the years at Nazareth He was surrounded by an atmosphere of faith and religious observance which helped Him to mature in character and to grow in wisdom. Luke notes that God’s favor was with Him. For the face of God always smile warmly over the family which observes the Law of the Lord.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, to us the Holy Family is a model of religious observance, in prayerfulness and fidelity to God through light and darkness, joy, and sorrow, breaking and growing. Let Your Holy Spirit keep guiding us to become good disciples of Christ, and to spread His Good News to others we meet. Amen.
Jakarta, 26 December 2014 [Feast of St. Stephen, the First Martyr]
A Christian Pilgrim

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Pope Francis' Christmas Message

VATICAN CITY -- Here is the English translation of Pope Francis’ homily at Christmas Mass Dec. 24 in St. Peter’s Basilica:
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined” (Is 9:1). “An angel of the Lord appeared to [the shepherds] and the glory of the Lord shone around them” (Lk 2:9). This is how the liturgy of this holy Christmas night presents to us the birth of the Savior: as the light which pierces and dispels the deepest darkness. The presence of the Lord in the midst of his people cancels the sorrow of defeat and the misery of slavery, and ushers in joy and happiness.
We too, in this blessed night, have come to the house of God. We have passed through the darkness which envelops the earth, guided by the flame of faith which illuminates our steps, and enlivened by the hope of finding the “great light”. By opening our hearts, we also can contemplate the miracle of that child-sun who, arising from on high, illuminates the horizon.
(CNS photo by Paul Haring)
(CNS photo by Paul Haring)
The origin of the darkness which envelops the world is lost in the night of the ages. Let us think back to that dark moment when the first crime of humanity was committed, when the hand of Cain, blinded by envy, killed his brother Abel (cf. Gen 4:8). As a result, the unfolding of the centuries has been marked by violence, wars, hatred and oppression. But God, who placed a sense of expectation within man made in his image and likeness, was waiting. He waited for so long that perhaps at a certain point it seemed he should have given up. But he could not give up because he could not deny himself (cf. 2 Tim 2:13). Therefore he continued to wait patiently in the face of the corruption of man and peoples.
Through the course of history, the light that shatters the darkness reveals to us that God is Father and that his patient fidelity is stronger than darkness and corruption. This is the message of Christmas night. God does not know outbursts of anger or impatience; he is always there, like the father in the parable of the prodigal son, waiting to catch from afar a glimpse of the lost son as he returns.
Isaiah’s prophecy announces the rising of a great light which breaks through the night. This light is born in Bethlehem and is welcomed by the loving arms of Mary, by the love of Joseph, by the wonder of the shepherds. When the angels announced the birth of the Redeemer to the shepherds, they did so with these words: “This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger” (Lk 2:12). The “sign” is the humility of God taken to the extreme; it is the love with which, that night, he assumed our frailty, our suffering, our anxieties, our desires and our limitations. The message that everyone was expecting, that everyone was searching for in the depths of their souls, was none other than the tenderness of God: God who looks upon us with eyes full of love, who accepts our poverty, God who is in love with our smallness.
On this holy night, while we contemplate the Infant Jesus just born and placed in the manger, we are invited to reflect. How do we welcome the tenderness of God? Do I allow myself to be taken up by God, to be embraced by him, or do I prevent him from drawing close? “But I am searching for the Lord” – we could respond. Nevertheless, what is most important is not seeking him, but rather allowing him to find me and caress me with tenderness. The question put to us simply by the Infant’s presence is: do I allow God to love me? More so, do we have the courage to welcome with tenderness the difficulties and problems of those who are near to us, or do we prefer impersonal solutions, perhaps effective but devoid of the warmth of the Gospel? How much the world needs tenderness today!
The Christian response cannot be different from God’s response to our smallness. Life must be met with goodness, with meekness. When we realize that God is in love with our smallness, that he made himself small in order to better encounter us, we cannot help but open our hearts to him, and beseech him: “Lord, help me to be like you, give me the grace of tenderness in the most difficult circumstances of life, give me the grace of closeness in the face of every need, of meekness in every conflict”.
Dear brothers and sisters, on this holy night we contemplate the Nativity scene: there “the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light” (Is 9:1). People who were unassuming, open to receiving the gift of God, were the ones who saw this light. This light was not seen, however, by the arrogant, the proud, by those who made laws according to their own personal measures, who were closed off to others. Let us look to the crib and pray, asking the Blessed Mother: “O Mary, show us Jesus!”
Cindy Wooden | December 25, 2014 at 4:39 am | Categories: CNS | URL: http://w

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

What the Visitation Report Means for Vocations

What the Visitation Report Means for Vocations

What the Visitation Report Means for Vocations

Paul Bednarczyk | Dec 16 2014 - 3:41pm | 0 comments
Nuns listen during Vatican press conference for release of final report of Vatican-ordered investigation of U.S. communities of women religious.
The recently released Apostolic Visitation Final Report acknowledges the challenges of contemporary vocation promotion for women religious. This was also confirmed in the now landmark 2009 “Study on Recent Vocations to Religious Life,” commissioned by the National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC) in collaboration with the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA). The challenges of an aging, diminishing population, coupled with fewer entrants, present unique opportunities to religious congregations in their desire to attract a newer membership, who tend to be more educated, a bit older and more culturally diverse. What sometimes is forgotten is that although they are fewer in number, by the grace of God, women continue to respond to the call to religious life in the Catholic Church. In fact, it is estimated that there are 1,200 women currently in religious formation in the United States with several thousand more seriously discerning a religious vocation each year.
The findings in the Final Report are also similar to what NRVC learned in its “Women Religious Moving Forward in Hope” program, a series of four gatherings of vocation directors and major superiors from the two leadership conferences (LCWR and CMSWR). The goal of this program was to have sisters from diverse traditions, charisms and spiritualties, explore individual and common vocation efforts in response to the 2009 vocation study. Through a facilitated process of respectful dialogue, the sisters expressed a desire to define clearly their identity as women religious as different from the laity and those in other forms of consecrated life. They recognized the need for reconciliation among sisters themselves, were grateful to dialogue with women from both conferences and desired to work together for their common future. They saw the need for a revitalization of their communities and desired to work with parishes, dioceses and church leaders and minsters to expose youth and young adults to this unique form of discipleship in the church.
Thus, the Visitation report affirms in many ways what many women religious already know and what they have worked to address (admittedly, some more proactively than others).
What is truly hopeful is the Holy See’s commitment to “engage in respectful and fruitful dialogue with” women religious so as “to transform uncertainty and hesitancy into collaborative trust.” Religious sisters are an essential and formidable force in the life of the church. They have managed hospitals, schools and universities and have forged innovative, effective ministries to meet the needs of the poor with little money, but with great vision and determination. I applaud the Congregation’s acknowledgement of the structural, cultural, and financial challenges women’s religious institutes face in attracting and retaining new members. I am especially heartened by the Congregation’s very clearly stated commitment to work with Pope Francis to find expression for “feminine genius” and a role for women in “decision making in the different areas of Church life.”
During this Year of Consecrated Life, Pope Francis invites all religious to look to our future with hope. If this final report furthers the realization of honest dialogue and greater collaboration among religious and church authorities, then the future of religious life will be stronger. This will benefit not only religious institutes, but the church and the People of God as well who have always relied on the faithful service and inspiring lives and witness of our sisters. What could more hopeful than that?
Paul Bednarczyk, C.S.C., is executive director of the National Religious Vocation Conference.

    December 16- Daily Prayer

    From the Plough
    Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt
    The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed. Isaiah 50:4, NIV
    Lord our God, we thank you for giving us the task of serving you in the name of your servant, Jesus Christ, for letting each of us have a part in carrying out your will. Keep us true to this service. We want to be faithful, always listening to you, for you open our ears and help us know your will and respond to it. Be with us in these days. Strengthen your love and compassion in all hearts. May the life of Jesus Christ gain greater and greater power in all people on earth. Amen.

    Saturday, December 13, 2014

    Third Sunday of Advent - Rejoice- December 14

    (A biblical reflection on THE THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT [Year B], 14 December 2014)
    Gospel Reading: John 1:6-8,19-28
    First Reading: Isaiah 61:1-2,10-11; Psalms: Luke 1:46-50,53-54; Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:15-24
    john-baptist-lds-art-parson-39541-printThe Scripture Text
    There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came for testimony, to bear witness to the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light.
    And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed, he did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you a prophet?” And he answered, “No.” They said to him then, “Who are you?” Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” He said, “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”
    Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water; but among you stands One whom you do not know, even He who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” This took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing. (John 1:6-8,19-28 RSV)
    How wonderful it is that from the very beginning, God has been intimately involved in human history, constantly at work to fulfil His promises to us! From generation to generation, He has raised up servants to speak His word and form His people. These women and men, each in her or his own way, reflected something of the promised Messiah, the one through whom God would abundantly pour out His Spirit. This promised one would come to bring freedom to prisoners, good news to the poor, and consolation to the brokenhearted (Isaiah 61:1-2). How God’s people must have waited and longed for the fulfillment of these words!
    KASIHILAH TUHAN ALLAHMU DST.We know that the fulfilment of all our hopes is found in the person of Jesus Christ, “the true light that enlightens everyone” (John 1:9). In Jesus’ birth, all the grace of God came to earth. In His death, He destroyed the power of sin which held us in bondage. In His ascension, He poured out the Holy Spirit on all who would believe. Now, through Jesus, everything God intended for us is within our reach. Our consciences can be cleansed; fear can be lifted; memories can be healed; bitterness and anger can be dissolved.
    As much as we have experienced the power of Jesus’ cross to transform us, there is much more that God wants to do in us, and so He asks us to come to Him each day. When we turn to Jesus, we discover that He is always ready to draw us closer to Himself and bring us into the life of the Trinity. We all have a longing in our hearts for the complete fulfillment of God’s healing and restoration, and this longing – which God placed in us – is but a reflection of our Father’s desire to shower His love upon us.
    As we approach the sacrament of reconciliation this Advent, let us ask the Holy Spirit to continue God’s work in our hearts. When we confess our sins, let us be confident that God will forgive us, heal us, and restore us. He began this work when we were baptized into Jesus’ death and resurrection. He now continues to work as we turn our hearts to Him and allow Him to cleanse and purify us more deeply.
    May the God of peace Himself sanctify you wholly … He who calls you is faithful, and He will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:23-34).
    Prayer: Heavenly Father, our good Lord God, thank You for sending us Jesus Christ, Your only begotten Son, as the fulfilment of all our hopes. Thank You for Your healing and restoration through His death and resurrection. Amen.
    Jakarta, 12 December 2014
    A Christian Pilgrim

    Friday, December 12, 2014

    December 12 -Feast of Our Lady of Gaudalupe

    Sister Nelia fixed the altar with this beautiful tapestry.
    May our Lady bless all the Americas especially Mexico.

    Wednesday, December 10, 2014

    Feast of Our Lady of Gaudalupe is December 12

    Our Lady of Guadalupe (Spanish: Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe), also known as the Virgin of Guadalupe (Spanish: Virgen de Guadalupe), is a title of the Virgin Mary associated with a celebrated pictorial image housed in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in México City. The basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is the most visited Catholic site in the world, and the third-most visited sacred site in the world.[1][2]
    Official Catholic accounts state that on the morning of December 9, 1531, Juan Diego saw an apparition of a maiden at the Hill of Tepeyac, in what would become the town of Villa de Guadalupe in the suburbs of Mexico City. Speaking to him in the native Nahuatl language, the maiden asked that a church be built at that site in her honor; from her words, Juan Diego recognized the maiden as the Virgin Mary. Diego recounted the events to the Archbishop of Mexico City, Fray Juan de Zumárraga, who instructed him to return to Tepeyac Hill, and ask the "lady" for a miraculous sign to prove her identity. The first sign was the Virgin healing Juan's uncle. The Virgin told Juan Diego to gather flowers from the top of Tepeyac Hill, where he found Castilian roses, not native to Mexico, blooming in December on the normally barren hilltop. The Virgin arranged the flowers in his tilma or cloak, and when Juan Diego opened his cloak before Bishop Zumárraga on December 12, the flowers fell to the floor, and on the fabric was the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe.[3]
    The image on the tilma has become Mexico's most popular religious and cultural symbol, and has received widespread ecclesiastical and popular support. In the 19th century it became the rallying call of American-born Spaniards in New Spain, who saw the story of the apparition as legitimizing their own Mexican origin and infusing it with an almost messianic sense of mission and identity - thus also legitimizing their armed rebellion against Spain.[4][5]
    Although the former curator of the basilica Monsignor Guillermo Schulemburg, have doubted the historical existence of Juan Diego and "had sent a letter to the Vatican's Congregation for the Cause of Saints disputing whether Blessed Juan Diego ever existed and objecting to plans for canonization. [...] Father Oscar Sanchez, in charge of Juan Diego's cause, [...] said that Father Schulenberg and two other priests who signed the letter have "zero credibility .... They have no authority." [6] Juan Diego was canonized in 2002, under the name Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin.

    Saturday, December 6, 2014

    (A biblical reflection on THE SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT, 7 December 2014)

    (A biblical reflection on THE SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT, 7 December 2014)
    Gospel Reading: Mark 1:1-8
    First Reading: Isaiah 40:1-5,9-11; Psalms: Psalm 85:9-14; Second Reading: 2 Peter 3:8-14
    The Scripture Text
    The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send My messenger before thy face, who prepare thy way; the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.” John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And there went out to him all the country of Judea, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, and had a leather girdle around his waist, and ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, “After me comes He who is mightier than I, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 1:1-8 RSV)
    The Good News is about Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who came into our world and released the life-giving waters of the Holy Spirit to flow within us.
    Today we read the beginning of the holy Gospel according to Mark. He will be our guide to the memory of Jesus Christ for most of the Sundays of the coming year. Hence we can call it the year of Mark. Mark seems to have been the earliest of the four evangelists. He pioneered the work of setting to paper a comprehensive composition of the Christian community’s story of how God met mankind in the life of Jesus Christ.
    Mark begins with a glorious statement of his intention to tell “the Good News about Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1). Our older translations used the term Gospel for the Good News. Gospel is the shortened form of god-spel which in Old English meant good news. This is an attempt to translate the Greek word which Mark used, evangelion. We have to imagine a world without TV, radio or newspapers. The town-crier or the herald of the king would proclaim the great events to the people. When the event to be announced was one calling for joy and celebration it was called an evangelion. It might be news of a victory in battle or perhaps a birth in the royal family.
    YOHANES PEMBAPTIS - 3The Christian writers, Paul and Mark especially, took over this word evangelion and invested it with a divine depth of meaning. As the herald of the great king, Mark begins his story of Jesus Christ with the proclamation that this was an evangelion. His use of the word has remained until our own day whenever we refer to the Gospel or to the Good News.
    After his initial proclamation Mark prefaces his story by relating how John the Baptist went before Jesus, as a messenger preparing the way and as a voice calling from the wilderness. Marks picks up the popular expectation that the prophet of olden times, Elijah, would come back to prepare the people for the Messiah, John appears in the primitive, non-conformist style of Elijah who had been described as “a man wearing a hair cloak and a leather loincloth” (2 Kings 1:8).
    Mark differs from the evangelist Matthew and Luke in that he does not have the Baptist preaching a coming judgment as the urgent motive for repentance. In Mark’s gospel repentance wears a happy face.
    Today’s liturgy links this gospel with a great message of consolation in the first reading. “Console my people ... Jerusalem’s time of services is ended ... her sin is atoned for.” Isaiah continues: “Sion, here is your God.” And that is the Good News which Mark sees the Baptist preparing for ... the coming of God.
    The Good News of John the Baptist is twofold: it concerns the acknowledgment by people of their sins; and it offers the hope that someone is coming, someone powerful, someone who will release the life-giving waters of God’s Spirit upon the earth. Later on the preaching of Jesus will carry on this twofold message: repent and believe.
    It may seem strange to suggest that the Good News is firstly about sin. But while everybody admits that there is a great deal wrong with our world, we have largely forgotten the name of the disease. When a physician diagnoses what is wrong with a patient then the anxiety of all unknown possibilities is removed. The name of society’s disease is sin. John the Baptist enabled people to accept this diagnosis and led them to the waters of renewal. Here the energy to repent comes, not so much from the fear of judgment, but from the approaching footfalls of the Messiah.
    The work of John the Baptist was not to be an end in itself. He came in the style of Elijah to prepare the way for the Messiah. And so, John’s function was to hand over to the One with God’s power and worthiness, the One invested with the Holy Spirit.
    This Advent, repentance comes as a message of consolations and wears a happy face. It is Good News when we acknowledge truthfully our personal responsibility for sin and place our hope in the divine power of the Holy Spirit, which Jesus released for our forgiveness and healing. The Good News began in the diagnosis of our pain, sin; and in recognizing the healing power that God sends us, the Holy Spirit.
    Short Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank You for sending John the Baptist to prepare the way for the Messiah, Your only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, who came to the world for our eternal salvation. Amen.
    Main source: Fr. Silvester O’Flynn OFMCap., The Good News of Mark’s Year, Dublin, Ireland: The Columbia Press/Cathedral Books, 1990 (reprinted 1993), pages 10-12.
    Jakarta, 4 December 2014
    A Christian Pilgrim

    Thursday, December 4, 2014

    Advent Day 4- Reflection

    By G.K. Chesterton
    Good News; but if you ask me what it is, I know not. 
     It is a track of feet in the snow,
    it is a lantern showing a path,
     it is a door set open.

    Sunday, November 30, 2014

    Sunday Advent Reflection

    This first Advent Sunday we reflect on the coming of Christ in our world and on His second coming at the end of our own lives and at the end time.
    So Advent is God coming to us and our coming to Him.
    I sit in the chapel looking out toward White Pine Road and imagine in my mind two groups of people marching
    toward each other on the road.
    One group is Christ and all our beloved dead who already made it to the other side and our group, the Church, going toward Christ  and  His group.
    Along the way we we get distracted with events, parties, sports, shopping and leave the road for a time.
    We are called back this Advent to get serious about the journey.
    What doesn't help us,  give it away, for in the end we will have to give it all away.  But we give it away only  for the great prize - peace and final bliss forever.
    Let us pray for each other this Advent. 

    Advent Day 1 - Our Tainted Offering

     By Father Robert Baron
    Advent Day 1 - Our Tainted Offering

    We all know that Lent is a penitential season, a time when Christians get in touch with their sins. But Advent has a penitential dimension, too. It is the season in which we prepare for the coming of the Savior, and we don't need a Savior unless we're deeply convinced there is something to be saved from.

    Our first reading at Mass today, from the end of the book of the prophet Isaiah, affirms this with a whole series of images describing our sinful condition.

    For example, we hear this wonderful and terrible line: "All our good deeds are like polluted rags; we have all withered like leaves, and our guilt carries us away like the wind."

    When we have become deeply aware of our sin, we know that we can cling to nothing in ourselves, that everything we offer is, to some degree, tainted and impure. We can't show our cultural, professional, and personal accomplishments to God as though they are enough to save us.

    But the moment we realize that fact, we move into the Advent spirit, desperately craving a Savior. We become ready for the last image from today's reading: "Yet, O Lord, you are our father; we are the clay and you are the potter: we are all the work of your hands."

    Today, let us prepare ourselves for the potter to come.

    Saturday, November 29, 2014

    1st Sunday in Advent

    (A biblical reflection on THE FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT [Year B], 30 November 2014)
    Gospel Reading: Mark 13:33-37
    First Reading: Isaiah 63:16-17,19;64:1,3-8; Psalms: Psalm 80:2-3,15-16,18-19; Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:3-9
    KESIAPSIAGAAN - LUK 12 35-40The Scripture Text
    “Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Watch therefore – for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning – lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Watch.” (Mark 13:33-37 RSV)
    Once upon a time, God, the infinite, eternal and all powerful One, came down to meet us on the dusty roads of human life. In the flesh of Jesus Christ, God walked with us through our light and darkness, our joys and sorrows, our solitude and relationships. Scripture writers called it the “fullness of time”. Things would never be the same again.
    In Jesus Christ, God spoke to us in the human language that we can understand. His life warmly portrays God’s love and concern for us. And yet the story is not complete. The journey stretches on until we fully share in Christ’s glorification. That will be at the completion of life’s journey. For the moment we are a people on the way.
    Advent is a time of waiting and watching. It is a very special time for Christians. It opens the Church’s year by picking up the theme of our journey towards Christ who is coming back to meet us. We are not like wandering nomads who have no sure purpose or definite direction. We have the pilgrim’s destiny with God. We travel forward on a road of unknown length until Christ will come again.
    pppas0594The focus of the first Sunday of Advent is on the Second Coming of Christ. The parable of the doorkeeper speaks of the master who will come back to the servants. The message for the servants is twofold: “Be on your guard and stay awake” ...... watch and pray.
    One task of the doorkeeper’s employment is to keep out unwanted visitors and intruders. Here the parable is a moral warning not to open up our doors to the ways of sin. Each passing day we are to watch with the vigilant eye of the sentry to prevent any intrusions of the enemy.
    The unexamined life is a city with no sentries on its walls. Anybody who is serious about living a spiritual life is advised to undertake a daily reflection on our situation. This means more than counting up the number of our faults. It involves an honesty about what motivates us in the things we do.
    We are sometimes surprised when we recognize that some exemplary deeds are done out of very subtle, selfish motivation. We may be doing the right things only to be praised or at least recognized as virtuous, to impress others, or as part of a self-seeking bargain with God. In daily reflection we guard against the intrusions of selfishness in our motivation.
    The second task to the doorkeeper is to open up promptly to all who have the right to enter. Applied to the spiritual life, this means a spirit of prayerfulness or sensitivity to God. The sensitive soul is awake with all the longing of the lover for the approaching footsteps of the beloved. But what is He line, this God-who-comes? In today’s first reading Isaiah uses three very appealing names for God ... our Father, our Redeemer and the potter.
    pppas0250God is the Father who has created us with the potential to share in the divine life. God is the Redeemer who continues to pay the price of liberating us from slavery to incomplete forms of life. He offers us life to the full. And God is the potter who is ever crafting our lives anew. The present clay may be messy and, in our view, without meaningful form or beauty. But the divine craftsman can mould and fashion an amazing masterpiece in the twinkling of an eye.
    The God who is coming back the road to meet us wants to lift us up as His children, wants to liberate us and fashion us anew.
    Do not think of the Second Coming as so distant and unknown as to be irrelevant to the hurly-burly of today’s living. If we are spiritually vigilant and alert then the future will draw us forward towards God. Our hope will energize us by supporting us when we are weak and encouraging us to persevere.
    Prayer: Lord Jesus, we believe that our lives are on a journey towards our heavenly Father who is reaching back to us this day and every day. So, we will be on our guard lest the ways of sin enslave our thoughts. We will also watch in prayer, be vigilant and alert to the daily visitations of the Holy Spirit to our souls. Praised be the name of the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
    Jakarta, 27 November 2014
    A Christian Pilgrim

    Pope Francis visits Sister in Umbria

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