Saturday, February 28, 2015

Saturday- Sunday -February 28 Reflection by Father Robert Barron to the People of the Cross


Whenever the Bible speaks of Abraham, it is speaking of faith, for he is our father in faith. The story of the Akeda, the great test of faith and obedience, comes near the end of a lifetime of faith. As we enter more deeply into Lent, it would behoove us to take a quick look at where Abraham's story began.

Abram, at the age of 75, was summoned by God to leave his home city and, with everything he owned, to begin a wandering trek in the desert in search of a land that God would show him. The miracle is that he did it since, at first he seems to be wavering in faith. He needs some kind of guarantee.

God makes a formal covenant with him, and he does so in the standard manner of the time. He tells Abram to bring several animals forward and to cut them in two, laying their halves side-by-side. The idea is that the two people entering into an agreement would walk in between the severed pieces and swear that the same would happen to them if they broke the covenant.

Abram falls into a trance and a deep terrifying darkness came over him. Here we see his side of the deal. What does trance imply if not a loss of control? When you fall asleep or unconscious, you are practically defenseless. And doesn't darkness signal the same thing? The fear of the dark is primordial. We don't know where we are going, and that is so frustrating! So it is with the things of God.

But then we see God's side of the deal. "When the sun had set and it was dark, there appeared a smoking firepot and a flaming torch which passed between those pieces." In the form of fire, God signals his covenant fidelity.

God can be trusted, even when he is leading us through the deepest darkness. This means that great faith is justified - for Abram, and for us.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Thursday February 26- Reflection by Father Robert Barron

To the People of the Cross- "The Cross is the Tree of Life"

One of the most dreadful stories in the entire Bible is the one the ancient Israelites called "the Akeda," the binding of Isaac. The story is terrible, not simply because it involves human sacrifice, not only because it involves a father's willingness to kill his own son, but because it seems to set God against God.

After all, Isaac was the son of the promise, the son of Abraham's impossibly old age, the one through whom Abraham would become the father of many nations. Hoping against hope, Abraham had continued to have faith, even as he and his wife became old and then ancient. This faith was finally justified as Sarah became pregnant and gave birth to Isaac.

Then, some twelve years later, when Isaac was just coming of age, Abraham heard a voice commanding him to sacrifice this son to God, this beloved, bearer of the promise of God. God asks obedience of Abraham.

Now I know many of us might grate against calls to be obedient to authority. But obedience (which means, fundamentally, "listening") is absolutely essential to the Biblical perspective.

Obeying God is nothing like obeying a politician or a president or a king. Such people are flawed and sinful and sometimes have to be opposed. But God isn't like that. God is love right through; he wants only what is for our good.

Another important point: politicians and presidents and kings put out policies that we can readily understand, but God is essentially mysterious. We cannot, even in principle, fully understand what God is up to, what his purposes are. His commands - which will always be for our good - are nevertheless often opaque to us. And this is precisely why we have to obey, listen, and abide - even when that obedience seems the height of folly.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wednesday Lenten Day Febrary 25 Reflection by Father Robert Barron

Remember, as ISIS Reminded us,
We are People of the Cross
and proud of it.

This past week we have looked at the temptation of the garden and the temptations of desert. All temptations have one thing in common: they entice us to resist the Lordship of God in our lives.

The first temptation began with the Great Lie in the garden; the lie that says we can live our best life outside the rules of God, that freedom requires unrestricted autonomy.

The three temptations Jesus faced in the desert are temptations we all face. Not the exact same things, of course, but his temptations represent three classic ways that we resist the Lordship of God in our lives.

First, we place sensual pleasure at the center of our concerns. We make eating, drinking, and sex the dominant concerns. But this is a source of great mischief, for only God can legitimately fill that central position. This is why Jesus must confront this temptation, feeling its full weight, and then resist it for us.

Next, we are tempted by power. From political dictators to tyrants within families and friendships, power is alluring. This is the temptation Jesus faces as he is brought to the highest mountain and offered all the kingdoms of the world. Once more, on our behalf, Jesus resists this temptation.

Finally, we are tempted to make honor our central pursuit. We want to raise our own reputation, be seen by everyone, be admired, be esteemed - this is the temptation Jesus faces when he is taken to the parapet of the Temple, the highest place in the society of his time and the place of supreme visibility. For the third time, Jesus confronts and resists this temptation for us.

This Lent, I ask you to reflect on where you are right now. What are you doing in the garden? Who is luring you and how? Are you buying into the Big Lie?

Where are you in desert? How do you stand up to the three great temptations: to sensual pleasure, honor, and power?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tuesday, February 24- LENT for The People of the Cross

The first two temptations were straightforward enough: sensual pleasure and power. But this third one is more elusive. It is the temptation toward glory. It is the temptation to use God, to manipulate him, instead of becoming his servant: "Then the devil led him to Jerusalem, made him stand on the parapet of the Temple, and said to him, 'If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here...'"

What does the Temple have to do with glory? There was no place more central in Jewish society than the Temple, no place more revered. Therefore, to stand at the very pinnacle of the Temple is to stand highest in the eyes of the world, with everyone watching you - even God. As the devil says to Jesus, "He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you...With their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone."

This is the temptation to place ourselves above God, a temptation that all of us sinners are susceptible to. But Jesus replies, "You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test." Jesus himself is God, so he's issuing a reminder to all of us: God remains God, and we must become his servant.

Having dealt with these three classic temptations, Jesus is ready for his mission. He knows who he is and who he is not. This is our challenge throughout Lent.

The Gospel passage then ends on an ominous note: "When the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time." Notice the words "for a time." This is warning to all of us that temptation will return throughout our lives, often at key moments. It's a summons to be ready, always ready.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Saturday February 21 Father Robert Barron's Reflection

At every point in the Gospels, we are meant to identify with Jesus. God became man that man might become God. We participate in him and thereby learn what a godly life is like. Nowhere is this clearer than in the Gospel story of the temptations in the desert.

Jesus has just been baptized. He has just learned his deepest identity and mission and now he confronts - as we all must - the great temptations. What does God want him to do? Who does God want him to be? How is he to live his life?

Now watch how, at every turn, Jesus undoes the damage of Eden caused by the Great Lie. The devil first tempts him to make his own sensual pleasure the center of his life, to measure good and evil by what sensually satisfies him. But Jesus reverses the momentum: "One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God."

Next, Satan takes Jesus to the parapet of the Temple and tempts him to make his ego the center of his life, to make his own glory the measure of good and evil. But Jesus again counters: "You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test."

And then the devil takes him to a high mountain and shows him all the kingdoms of the world: "All these I shall give to you, if you will prostrate yourself and worship me." The temptation is to make power the center of his life, to make of his own authority the measure of good and evil. But Jesus replies: "Get away, Satan! It is written: 'The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.'"

The account in Matthew ends with a critical line: "Then the devil left him." At the word of Jesus, even Satan must depart. Let us remember that fact when we are tempted by the Great Deceiver.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Our God is a living God, and God wants us to share his life. This is why "God planted a garden in Eden...and he placed there the man he had formed." In Eden he gave us near total freedom as a sign of his good will and his desire that we fulfill ourselves in every direction. Politics, art, science, literature, philosophy, music, sports, entertainment - all that conduces to human flourishing is desired by God.

But then enters the serpent. Like us, the serpent is a creature of God. He is totally dependent on God for his life. He is not some sort of co-equal rival to God. The Church has always taught that evil is parasitic on the good, not a substantive opponent.

Nevertheless, he is a wily opponent. He forces Eve to wonder about the prohibition: "Did God really tell you not to eat from any of the trees in the garden?" When she clarifies, he says, "You certainly will not die! God knows well that the moment you eat of it you will be like gods knowing good and evil."

This is the great temptation and the great lie. The serpent places in the minds of Adam and Eve the conviction that unless and until they determine the meaning and purpose of their lives, they will not be free. To put it in modern terms, their lives will not be lived to the fullest.

But the knowledge of good and evil is the godlike prerogative to set the agenda for one's life, to determine the difference between right and wrong. And this belongs to God alone. Just as he breathed life and being into us, so he breathes moral and spiritual purpose into us.

When we convince ourselves that we live on our own terms, we cease to be truly free and alive.

When Adam and Eve grasped at this knowledge, they were expelled from the garden, not because God is vindictive, but because it is the natural consequence of making oneself into God.

When we grasp at divinity, whatever life we have dries up. We become small souls, locked in the prison of our egotism, victims of the Great Lie

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Thursday February 19 Thursday after Ash Wednesday

This Lent I am praying for the Children of the world,
the Children of our country and all countries.
If we want to stop ISIS and Violence we must begin
with our Children.
They must see in us an example of goodness.
Prayer for Children
O God
send Your blessing
on Your Children
through the Holy Spirit,
guide us to teach them well
and to show them Your love
so that they may grow in Christia;n maturity and
become Christ's witnesses in the world.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Reflection again for the People of the Cross Febrary 28, 2015



The People of the Cross

It took ISIS,

 reminding us-

that we are

the People of the Cross.

 We begin our Lent

with ashes

Ashes our fore-head

in the form of a Cross,

reminding us:

We are dust

and reminding us

we walk a narrow path

following in the footsteps

of our dear and gracious leader, Jesus.

Where does His path lead us?

The path to the Cross-

reminding us -

His words from the Cross:

Father, forgive them.-

reminding us

only in His love

 can LOVE.

 By His death and resurrection

He has set us free -

He has saved the world.

 This Lent

we come to change our hearts

to help change the world.

We are the People of the Cross

and by His Cross ,by His Grace

we can do it.



Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Pope Francis' Suggestions for Lent

Every year Catholics try to answer the age old question: What should I do for Lent? Well, who better to pick for as your Lenten spiritual director than Pope Francis? He has some great ideas for you!

Here we selected 10 of his best tips:

1. Get rid of the lazy addiction to evil

“[Lent] is a ‘powerful’ season, a turning point that can foster change and conversion in each of us. We all need to improve, to change for the better. Lent helps us and thus we leave behind old habits and the lazy addiction to the evil that deceives and ensnares us.” – General Audience, March 5, 2014

2. Do something that hurts

“Lent is a fitting time for self-denial; we would do well to ask ourselves what we can give up in order to help and enrich others by our own poverty. Let us not forget that real poverty hurts: no self-denial is real without this dimension of penance. I distrust a charity that costs nothing and does not hurt.” – Lenten Message, 2014

3. Don’t remain indifferent

“Indifference to our neighbor and to God also represents a real temptation for us Christians. Each year during Lent we need to hear once more the voice of the prophets who cry out and trouble our conscience. God is not indifferent to our world; he so loves it that he gave his Son for our salvation.” –Lenten Message, 2015

4. Pray: Make our hearts like yours!

“During this Lent, then, brothers and sisters, let us all ask the Lord: ‘Fac cor nostrum secundum cor tuum’: Make our hearts like yours (Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus). In this way we will receive a heart which is firm and merciful, attentive and generous, a heart which is not closed, indifferent or prey to the globalization of indifference.” – Lenten Message, 2015

5. Take part in the sacraments

“Lent is a favorable time for letting Christ serve us so that we in turn may become more like him. This happens whenever we hear the word of God and receive the sacraments, especially the Eucharist. There we become what we receive: the Body of Christ.” – Lenten Message, 2015

6. Prayer

“In the face of so many wounds that hurt us and could harden our hearts, we are called to dive into the sea of prayer, which is the sea of God’s boundless love, to taste his tenderness. Lent is a time of prayer, of more intense prayer, more prolonged, more assiduous, more able to take on the needs of the brethren; intercessory prayer, to intercede before God for the many situations of poverty and suffering.” – Homily, March 5, 2014

7. Fasting

We must be careful not to practice a formal fast, or one which in truth ‘satisfies’ us because it makes us feel good about ourselves. Fasting makes sense if it questions our security, and if it also leads to some benefit for others, if it helps us to cultivate the style of the Good Samaritan, who bends down to his brother in need and takes care of him.” – Homily, March 5, 2014

8. Almsgiving

“Today gratuitousness is often not part of daily life where everything is bought and sold. Everything is calculated and measured. Almsgiving helps us to experience giving freely, which leads to freedom from the obsession of possessing, from the fear of losing what we have, from the sadness of one who does not wish to share his wealth with others.” – Homily, March 5, 2014

9. Help the Poor

“In the poor and outcast we see Christ’s face; by loving and helping the poor, we love and serve Christ. Our efforts are also directed to ending violations of human dignity, discrimination and abuse in the world, for these are so often the cause of destitution. When power, luxury and money become idols, they take priority over the need for a fair distribution of wealth. Our consciences thus need to be converted to justice, equality, simplicity and sharing.” – Lenten Message, 2014

10. Evangelize

“The Lord asks us to be joyous heralds of this message of mercy and hope! It is thrilling to experience the joy of spreading this good news, sharing the treasure entrusted to us, consoling broken hearts and offering hope to our brothers and sisters experiencing darkness.” – Lenten Message, 2014

You probably won’t be able to take huge steps forward in all of these areas. Instead, pick a couple that stand out to you and try to find practical ways to grow in your love of God and your love of your neighbor.

Which one of Pope Francis’ tips sticks out to you the most? Tell us in the comments below.

Tuesday Febrary 17 Lent Begins Tomorrow


On the cusp of this great season of Lent, which begins tomorrow, Ash Wednesday, I'm so excited to begin this spiritual journey with you. Together, we will join over 200,000 other Christians as we march toward the Resurrection of the Lord.

For many people, the big feast of the year is Christmas, but for Christians, the truly great feast is Easter. Without Easter, without the Resurrection, we would not have the gift of salvation. Jesus had to rise from the dead or else he would have just been another failed Messiah and his birth would be a forgotten footnote of history.

That's why Lent is such an important time of year for us. It is the period when we refocus on the passion and death of Jesus so that we will be ready to embrace the good news of the Resurrection at Easter.

During the next forty-seven days, we will be looking at the great themes of our salvation, from the Temptation of Adam and Eve to our Redemption at the Cross. As we move through the pages of time, the story of our salvation will unfold.

So, as we begin with Ash Wednesday and its reminder of repentance, let us resolve to do our best each day, knowing that it is not the destination, but the journey that will ultimately transform us.


Fr. Robert Barron

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day

Vincent van Gogh
I always think that the best way to know God is to love many things. Love a friend, a wife, something, whatever you like, and you will be on the right way to knowing more about it; that is what I say to myself. But one must love with a lofty and serious intimate sympathy, with strength, with intelligence, and one must always try to know deeper, better, and more. That leads to God, that leads to unwavering faith.
Source: The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh

Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:1-5, NIV
Lord our God, keep us in the grace that is ours through Jesus Christ. Uphold others also in this grace. Reveal yourself everywhere to those who trust in you and who await your kingdom. May your blessing be on our household. We thank you for helping us, and with your help we want to be faithful to you. Then when hardships come, we can be certain of your presence. We know and trust you. We know and trust the Savior, and we know and trust the Holy Spirit, in whom we can have community and be strengthened to serve your glory. Amen.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Happy Birthday Abe

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.” (Second Inaugural address)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Wednesday, Febraury 11 Our Lady of Lourdes and also the Feast Day of Sister Mary Frances OSC

Our Lady of Lourdes is a venerated title of the Blessed Virgin Mary invoked by Roman Catholics in honor of the Marian apparitions said to have occurred on numerous occasions in 1858 in the vicinity of Lourdes, France. The first of these is the apparition of 11 February 1858, when Bernadette Soubirous, a 14-year-old peasant girl, admitted to her mother that a "lady" spoke to her in the cave of Massabielle (a mile from the town) while she was gathering firewood with her sister and a friend.[1] Similar apparitions of the alleged "Lady" were reported on seventeen occasions that year, until the climax revelation of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception took place.[2]

Bernadette Soubirous was later canonized as a Saint, and Roman Catholics and some Protestants believe her apparitions have been validated by the overwhelming popularity and testament of healings claimed to have taken place at the Lourdes water spring.

In 1862, Pope Pius IX authorized Bishop Bertrand-Sévère Laurence to permit the veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Lourdes. On 3 July 1876, Pope Pius IX formally granted a Canonical Coronation to the image that used to be in the courtyard of what is now part of the Rosary Basilica.[3][4] This Marian title, Our Lady of Lourdes, has been widely copied and reproduced, often displayed in shrines and homes, most notably in garden landscapes








Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you ……

by achristianpilgrim
Jakarta, 11 February 2015
A Christian Pilgrim
achristianpilgrim | February 11, 2015 at 12:11 am | Tags: JOHN 14:27, PEACE OF CHRIST | Categories: QUOTABLE QUOTES | URL:

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Tuesday Febrauary 10

In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will in Christ Jesus.

by achristianpilgrim
Jakarta, 10 February 2015
A Christian Pilgrim
achritianpilgrim | Februar
Rachel Carson

Is the exploration of the natural world just a pleasant way to pass the golden hours of childhood or is there something deeper? I am sure there is something much deeper, something lasting and significant. Those who dwell, as scientists or laymen, among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life. Whatever the vexations or concerns of their personal lives, their thoughts can find paths that lead to inner contentment and to renewed excitement in living.…There is symbolic as well as actual beauty in the migration of the birds, the ebb and flow of the tides, the folded bud ready for the spring. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter.

Source: Plough Quarterly No. 3

Daily Prayer for February 10

Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt

In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: We have a strong city; God makes salvation its walls and ramparts...Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal. Isaiah 26:1-4, NIV

Lord our God, help us find the path that we may walk with confidence because you are our Father. Banish all thoughts that try to depress us. Let your Spirit drive them away. May our hearts become quiet before you, because you, the Almighty, guide everything for man's good on earth. Everything will lead to thanksgiving, to your praise and glory. Be with us at all times, day and night. May our hearts always exult afresh, rejoicing in you, our God and our Savior. Amen.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Sunday February 7 Jesus went up the Mountain to Pray

(A biblical refection on the FIFTH ORDINARY SUNDAY [YEAR B], 8 February 2015)
Gospel Reading: Mark 1:29-39
First Reading: Job 7:1-4,6-7; Psalms: Psalm 147:1-6; Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 9:16-19,22-23
CA17B1C8The Scripture Text
And immediately He left the synagogue, and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever, and immediately they told Him of her. And He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up and the fever left her; and she served them.
That evening, at sundown, they brought to Him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered together about the door. And He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew Him.
And in the morning, a great while before day, He rose and went out to a lonely place, and there He prayed. And Simon and those who were with Him followed Him, and they found Him and said to Him, “Every one is searching for You.” And He said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also; for that is why I came out.” And He went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons. (Mark 1:29-39 RSV)
Imagine ourselves (you and I) were in the entourage of a famous athlete – say Serena Williams. Every game is sold out because of the crowd’s interest in the star player. After the game, fans clamor for an autograph or for just a glimpse of the player. The adulation of the crowds would surely be intoxicating, both for the player and the friends who surround her.
jesus heals the sickSimilarly, in Capernaum, the crowd’s interest in Jesus was reaching frenzied proportions. Not only had He made a deep impression on them with His teaching, He also drove out an unclean spirit, healed Peter’s mother-in-law, and performed cures for all the sick and possessed who crowded around His door. No wonder, when Jesus disappeared early in the morning, the disciples went looking for Him: He had fans to attend to! But Jesus gave the disciples an unexpected answer: “Let us go on to the next towns” (Mark 1:38).
Jesus never allowed the admiration of the crowds to distract Him from His purpose. The Father had sent Him into the world to open the way for us to enter into His Kingdom, and Jesus worked until He reached His goal (Luke 13:32-33). He always kept His eyes on this goal, no matter how busy He was or how many people made demands on Him. He was not interested in the crowd’s adulation, He wanted them to enter the Kingdom.
Two thousand years later, Jesus remains just as focused as He was then. When He enters our hearts at baptism and gives Himself to us in the Holy Eucharist, He longs to banish the darkness of sin and establish His Kingdom in us. Not only does He want to comfort and encourage us, He wants to pierce our hearts with His truth, to deliver us from evil, and to commission us as His servants. Will you give Jesus the chance to reveal Himself to you today? Will you allow Him to give you a glimpse of what His Kingdom can look like in your life? Are you willing to be sent out as a witness to His Kingdom?
Short Prayer: Lord Jesus, I open my heart to you. Establish Your Kingdom in me. Use me to bring others to you. Amen.
Jakarta, 6 February 2015
A Christian Pilgrim

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Some nice pictures for middle of the week to share.

These are so wonderful !

I just had to share.
Most amazing … not one is political!

Wednesday February 4 - Thought for the Day

Eberhard Arnold

The first Christian community in Jerusalem was more than a historical happening: rather, it was here that the Sermon on the Mount came to life…Jesus prophesied a kingdom, a rule of God that will overturn every unjust condition in the present order of the world, and make it new. To acknowledge this and to live according to it – this is God’s command for the hour.

Source: A Joyful Pilgrimage

Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me." John 14:6, RSV

Lord our God, help us who have listened in the name of Jesus Christ and heard the good tidings. Help us come with our whole hearts to the Savior, who leads us into your arms. Hear our pleading and let your countenance shine over the world. Let a new age come soon. Send your salvation into the world to the glory of your name, so that the truth we have learned about you becomes a reality in our hearts and our whole life can be genuine, rooted in the truth, leading us into heaven, to the honor of your name. Hear us, O Lord our God. We entrust ourselves and our daily lives to you. We want to be faithful. Help us to be your children, mindful at every step that we belong to you. Amen.

Christmas Newsletter 2018