THEY ARE THE ONES WHOSE LIVES REFLECTED THE PERFECTION AND HUMILITY OF THE BEATITUDES
(A biblical reflection on the FEAST OF ALL SAINTS – Sunday, 1 November 2015
Gospel Reading: Matthew 5:1-12
First Reading: Revelation 7:2-4,9-14; Psalms: Psalm 24:1-6; Second Reading: 1John 3:1-3
The Scripture Text
Seeing the crowds, He went up on the mountain, and when He sat down His disciples came to Him. And He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
“Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on My account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:1-12 RSV)
The feast of All Saints reminds us of all the men, women, and children who now worship the Lord in heaven and pray for us on earth. They are the ones whose lives reflected the perfection and humility of the Beatitudes. They are the ones who embraced Jesus’ call to become like Him and allow His Spirit to free them from sin. They testify that anyone can become saint – anyone can become a citizen of heaven.
This is a day to recognize not only the martyrs and canonized saints of our faith, but the entire host of unknown witnesses who have also lived lives of faithfulness and holiness and have received their eternal reward. Some of these saints may even include people we have known – family members, friends, and business associates: anyone with “clean hands and a pure heart” (Psalm 24:4).
In the book of Revelation, John described a vision of the heavenly host that overwhelmed him. “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and whence have they come?” (Revelation 7:13), he asked the angel. The reply? “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14-15).
All God asks is that we continually keep our hearts clean before Him. All He asks is that we look to Him for the wisdom and power we need to live as His daughters and sons. He will do the rest.
Jesus holds out the conditions and promises of sainthood for everyone. Let us take comfort and courage from the power of His Spirit within us. Let us also find encouragement in the prayers of the saints who have gone before us. On this day, when we celebrate our communion with all the saints of heaven, let us rejoice in Jesus’ promise that we will receive rewards for following Him – now and in the life to come.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, the saints in heaven behold Your glory and know the rewards of Your life. Fill me with hope in Your promise of eternal life. May we all share the joy of Your saints in heaven. Amen.
Jakarta, 31 October 2015
A Christian Pilgrim
Saturday, October 31, 2015
Friday, October 30, 2015
Thursday, October 29, 2015
Christoph Friedrich BlumhardtBlessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, Lord. They rejoice in your name all day long; they celebrate your righteousness. Psalm 89:15–16, NIV
Dear Father in heaven,
how lovingly you have thought of us! How much good you let us experience again and again! So our hearts are happy, and we go to rest this night full of joy and thanks because we are your children. Our thanks and joy shall be our service to you day and night. More than this you do not ask, and in this we will be faithful. We want to be joyful and to be glad for our lives. Even when we face dark hours, O Lord our God, we are filled with hope that brings us joy for the future as well as for the present, with assurance that your salvation is coming. We rejoice in what you give us already today. Amen.
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
All Christians today trace our faith back to those first disciples - such as Saint Simon and Saint Jude - who were willing to leave everything familiar to share the good news with strangers. Today's feast reminds us to pray for modern-day apostles who leave home and family and risk their lives to bring the love of Jesus to those still waiting to hear about Him.
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, may those who leave home and family and risk all for the Gospel be supported by Your Spirit in the difficult task of bringing Your good news to an often hostile world. Amen.
Jakarta, 28 October 2015
A Christian Pilgrim
Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Monday, October 26, 2015
Saturday, October 24, 2015
JESUS, SON OF DAVID, HAVE MERCY ON ME!
(A biblical refection on THE 30th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME [YEAR B] – 25 October, 2015)
Gospel Reading: Mark 10:46-52
First Reading: Jeremiah 31:7-9; Psalms: Psalm 126:1-6; Second Reading: Hebrews 5:1-6
And they came to Jericho; and as He was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart; rise, He is calling you.” And throwing off his mantle he sprang up and came to Jesus. And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to Him, “Master, let me receive my sight.” And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he received his sight and followed Him on the way. (Mark 10:46-52 RSV)
There is a high hill on the west side of Jericho which offers a panoramic view of the ancient city. The splendid colors of flowers, mingling with the orange blossoms and palm trees, are a delightful sight. It was in this fertile Jordan River Valley town that Bartimeus lived, smelled the fragrant blossoms and heard the leaves rustled by the gentle wind. But he never saw its beauty, for he was blind.
Through the pen of Saint Mark, Bartimaeus finds his way into today’s Gospel, sitting “in the right place at the right time” – when Jesus happened to be passing by. He had heard of the famous Miracle Worker and when told He was right here in Jericho, Bartimaeus suddenly decided to make the biggest gamble of his life. He would call out for Jesus to work one more miracle in Jericho – for him.
He was afraid that perhaps Jesus wouldn’t even hear his call, that people would laugh at him. Yet the thought of being able to see, capable of finding a job and being independent, strengthened his courage. When the crowd grew louder – meaning Jesus was very near – Bartimaeus out-shouted them with eight well-chosen words: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:47). It was this forceful prayer – said two times – which reached the ears of the Lord, causing Him to stop and ask the bystanders to bring to Him the man who prayed that beautiful faith-filled prayer. Bartimaeus began to tremble, causing someone to offer reassurance, “Take heart; rise, He is calling you.”(Mark 10:49), as if he was saying: “You have nothing to fear from Him”. To Jesus’ question, “What do you want me to do for you?” (Mark 10:51) the frightened but expectant blind man cried out, “Master, let me receive my sight.” (Mark 10:51), ... “I want to see!” Bartimaeus’ world of darkness continued a few moments more as he heard the words, “Go away, your faith has made you well” (Mark 10:52) ... “Your faith has saved you.” Suddenly he saw the sunshine, colors danced before eyes and the most breath-taking sight of all was the celestial face of Jesus.
We could make the words of Bartimaeus our own prayer for mercy, entreating the Savior to relieve our sufferings with His healing blessings. Try the prayer if you have spiritual blindness and cannot accept others or find any good in them. Pray those words if you are blind to your faults, have lost your way through life or have no hope for a glorious future. Pray with courage and shout twice if you must, even if others tell you to be quiet.
You may feel helpless, sitting on some dark back road of society, but Jesus still passes by. He wants to lift you from your gloomy shadows of despair. Regardless of how far from Him you may be, trust His mercy and ask His help for He will listen to you. Someday you will behold Him face to face, like Bartimaeus. Just you wait, you’ll see!
Prayer: Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me! Son of David, have mercy on me!
Jakarta, 23 October 2015
A Christian Pilgrim
Friday, October 23, 2015
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Christoph Friedrich BlumhardtLet all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere him. For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm. The Lord foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. Psalm 33:8–10, NIV
Lord our God, we gather together in your presence and ask you to let your light shine in our hearts to strengthen us in times of need and trouble. May we come to know that through all the storms and distress of the world, you are mighty in protecting and sheltering those who trust in you. May we realize the power of your kingdom. Even if all the kingdoms of the world rise in rebellion, you are with us. You are with those who have set their hope on your kingdom and who go on hoping that even in evil days something must happen through your great and holy rule. Amen.
Monday, October 19, 2015