Saturday, April 30, 2016

Sunday Reflections May 1, 2016


by achristianpilgrim
(A biblical refection on THE SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER [YEAR C] – 1 May 2016)
Gospel Reading: John 14:23-29 
First Reading: Acts 15:1-2,22-29; Psalms: Psalm 67:2-3,5-6,8; Second Reading: Revelation 21:10-14,22-23 
The Scripture Text
Jesus answered him, “If a man loves Me, he will keep My words, and My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent Me. 
These things I have spoken to you, while I am still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. You heard Me say to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced, because I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place, you may believe.”  (John 14:23-29 RSV) 
Jesus sought to comfort His disciples as He prepared them for the pain of Good Friday. Yes, He would leave them; but they would not alone. Those who loved Him could expect both Him and His Father to dwell in them. The Holy Spirit would help them to remember everything Jesus had taught. Jesus promised that He would leave them with His peace, a peace that St. Paul would later describe as passing “all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).
Jesus wanted His followers to believe in these promises: And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place, you may believe.” (John 14:29). As always. Jesus stressed the necessity of faith. Once the disciples believed in Jesus’ words, they could expect His promises to be fulfilled. The promise of the indwelling Trinity stands at the very heart of the Christian life. It is the fruit of the crucifixion, the very reason why Jesus suffered and died.
How do we build our faith so that we can claim this prize? Jesus ask us to love Him (John 14:23). Love blossoms as we come to know someone intimately. Love follows knowledge, and the knowledge we gain of Jesus is directly proportional to the time we spend with Him. We will fall more in love with Jesus as we meet Him in the Gospel, as we adore Him in the Eucharist, and as we hear Him speak to us in prayer.
How will we know when He is dwelling in us? We will experience peace, even in difficult trials. Like the good Samaritan, we will love and care for our neighbors because they are our sisters and brothers in Jesus. As we go about our day, we will hear the quiet, inner voice of the Holy Spirit, prompting us to do what the Lord wills in each situation we encounter. Jesus did not leave us. He has risen and lives among us, and He wants to make His home in us.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for the life You give us through Your Son and through Your Holy Spirit. May the fire of Your love warm us as You dwell in us. Amen.
Jakarta, 30 April 2016 
A Christian Pilgrim

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Sunday April 24, 2016


by achristianpilgrim
(A biblical refection on THE FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER [YEAR C] – 24 April 2016)
Gospel Reading: John 13:31-35 
First Reading: Acts 14:21-27; Psalms: Psalm 145:8-13; Second Reading: Revelation 21:1-5 
The Scripture Text
When he (Judas) had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of man glorified, and in Him God is glorified; if God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and glorify Him at once. Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’ A new commandment I give to you that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:31-35 RSV) 
Balance is essential for the Christian life. If we do not develop a healthy sense of balance and a realistic understanding of the human condition, it is for us to fall. We become disillusioned and stop growing in the love of Jesus. Our readings for this Sunday call for a sense of balance.
Jesus, in our reading from John’s Gospel, is gathered with His disciples at the Last Supper. He has washed the disciples’ feet and has explained this “parable in action”. Jesus now gives the disciples a new commandment: “Love one another. Such as My love has been for you, so must your love be for each other. This is how all will know you for My disciples; your love for one another.” These words of Jesus are quite profound and moving. However, we must wonder: Who can live up to such words? Can we really love in such a way?
Without a sense of balance we may easily rush in (like the rich young man whom Jesus asked to sell all) where prudence would counsel a more humble approach. For we must admit that our capacity to love often falls short of the example of Jesus. At times our actions give little evidence that we are the disciples of Jesus. We grow weary and greatly limit “the finer angels” which live within each of us. We know well the temptation to give up and simply go along in order to get along. The words of Jesus do nothing but frustrate us and make us aware of how greatly we fall short of God’s glory.
Are we simply better off just forgetting the words of Jesus? Not unless we also want to forget about discipleship and true peace. The command to love is not an all or nothing proposition. To love as Jesus loved is a lifelong process into which we are continually invited to grow and be matured.
Jesus spoke about love, not to cause us to despair but to inspire and empower us. None of this is easy. We must balance the all to love with realization that this involves a cost. To follow in the way of love means, in the words of Paul and Barnabas, the “We must undergo many trials/tribulations if we are to enter into the Kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). The present trials can deepen our love and strengthen our commitment to love because He who first loved us is the One who says, “Behold, I make all things new” (Revelation 21:5). The promise of the new heaven and the new earth (Revelation 21:1) is not an idle one. It comes from the One who dwelt among us as enduring love. It comes from the One who invites us to love in the same way.
Note: Adapted from Rev. William F. Maestri, GRACE UPON GRACE, Makati, Philippines: St. Paul Publications, 1990, pages 250-251.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You have returned to the Father’s glory. Your divine light, like the sun, is too bright for our eyes to take. But the warmth of Your presence is here for us through the mutual love of Your disciples in the Christian community who follow Your commandment to “love one another just as You have loved us”. Thank You for Your continuing presence, dear Lord Jesus. Amen. 
Jakarta, 22 April 2016 
A Christian Pilgrim 

Friday, April 22, 2016

April 22 Praise to you, Mother Earth

Most High, all-powerful, all-good Lord,
All praise is Yours, all glory, honor and blessings.
To you alone, Most High, do they belong;
 no mortal lips are worthy to pronounce Your Name.
 We praise You, Lord, for all Your creatures,
especially for Brother Sun,
who is the day through whom You give us light.
And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendor,
of You Most High, he bears your likeness.
We praise You, Lord, for Sister Moon and the stars,
in the heavens you have made them bright, precious and fair.
We praise You, Lord, for Brothers Wind and Air,
 fair and stormy, all weather's moods,
by which You cherish all that You have made.
We praise You, Lord, for Sister Water,
so useful, humble, precious and pure.
We praise You, Lord, for Brother Fire,
through whom You light the night.
 He is beautiful, playful, robust, and strong.
We praise You, Lord, for Sister Earth,
 who sustains us
with her fruits, colored flowers, and herbs.
We praise You, Lord, for those who pardon,
for love of You bear sickness and trial.
Blessed are those who endure in peace,
by You Most High, they will be crowned.
We praise You, Lord, for Sister Death,
from whom no-one living can escape.
Woe to those who die in their sins!
Blessed are those that She finds doing Your Will.
No second death can do them harm.  
We praise and bless You, Lord, and give You thanks,
and serve You in all humility.
(In Jesus' Name, Amen.)_______________________________________________
                                                          Text is in the Public Domain.                                        
                                Layout & Photos: Copyright © 2002  S.G.P. All rights reserved. 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Sunday April 17

(A biblical refection on THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER [YEAR C] – April 17, 2016) 
Gospel Reading: John 10:27-30 
First Reading: Acts 13:14,43-52; Psalms: Psalm 100:2,3,5; Second Reading: Revelation 7:9,14-17 
The Scripture Text
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27-30 RSV)
The greater the expectations, the greater the degree of disappointment can be. We expect a great deal from God, and He also expects a great deal from us. We usually expect from God what only God can give – and some more besides. Among these great expectations of ours is the one which holds that God should protect us from all harm. The God who has formed a covenant with us should also provide for us and defend us in times of stress. Some go even further. They hold that God should allow no trial or suffering to come our way at all. Today, however, our readings speak of persecutions and tribulations.
The first reading is about the trials and persecutions of Paul and Barnabas. The second reading from the book of Revelation and the Gospel reading have to do with vindication and God’s fidelity. In the final analysis we can trust God. The trials we endure only make sense and are bearable in the light of the One in whose name we stand firm – Jesus Christ. The book of Revelation contains the great scene in which those who have “survived the great period of trial” are now safe in the presence of God. The Lamb has won the victory. “He will lead them to springs of the life-giving water, and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.” And ours as well, of course.
Today’s Gospel reading employs the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. The sheep always find themselves in vulnerable positions. The wolf is always ready to snatch them away. Too often the shepherd is nothing but hired hand. In the face of danger he flees. Money is never enough to evoke the kind of courage and commitment necessary to resist the evil one. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who cares for those who follow Him and hear His voice. This care requires even the giving up of His life. Jesus’ followers may have to do the same in order to remain faithful to Him. But even in the face of death, God’s love is at work saving and bringing home all who hear His voice and respond. “I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perished.”
220px-Teilhard_de_Chardin(1)The great Jesuit priest and scientist, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin [1881-1955] has written the following concerning the trials we encounter and the seeming absence of God:
“To justify this obscurity, so strangely incompatible with the divine sun, scholars explain that the Lord deliberately hides Himself in order to test our love. One has to be hopelessly lost in intellectual games, or never to have encountered either in oneself or others the suffering of doubt, not to see what is detestable in such an answer. O my God, Your creatures stand before You, lost and in anguish, appealing for Your help. To have them rush to You, it would be enough to show them a single ray of Your light, the fringe of Your coat – and You would not do this for them?”
This quote ended with a question. But there is more to His words:
“No, God does not hide Himself to make us search for Him, of that, I am sure – much less to let us suffer in order to increase our merits. On the contrary, bent down over His creation which moves upward to Him, He works with all His power to give us happiness and light. Like a mother He watches over His newly born child. But our eyes are unable to see Him yet. Is not precisely the whole course of centuries needed in order for our gaze to accustom itself to the light? (Pierre Telhard de Chardin, How I Believe). 
Short Prayer: Heavenly Father, I believe that even in the darkness of our trials and persecutions, the light of Your love is shining. I pray for the wisdom to see and know that the light shines in the darkness and that it is not overcome. Amen. 
(Adapted from Rev. William F. Maestri, Grace upon Grace, Makati, Philippines: 1988, St. Paul Publications, pages 248-249.
Jakarta, 16 April 2016 
A Christian Pilgrim 
achristianpilgrim | April 16, 2016 at 2:00 pm | Tags: JESUS THE GOOD SHEPHERDPIE

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Tim McGraw - Humble And Kind (Official Video)

Humble And Kind"

You know there's a light that glows by the front door
Don't forget the key's under the mat
Childhood stars shine, always stay humble and kind
Go to church 'cause your momma says to
Visit grandpa every chance that you can
It won't be wasted time
Always stay humble and kind

Hold the door, say please, say thank you
Don't steal, don't cheat, and don't lie
I know you got mountains to climb but
Always stay humble and kind
When the dreams you're dreamin' come to you
When the work you put in is realized
Let yourself feel the pride but
Always stay humble and kind

Don't expect a free ride from no one
Don't hold a grudge or a chip and here's why
Bitterness keeps you from flyin'
Always stay humble and kind
Know the difference between sleeping with someone
And sleeping with someone you love
"I love you" ain't no pick up line so
Always stay humble and kind

Hold the door, say please, say thank you
Don't steal, don't cheat, and don't lie
I know you got mountains to climb but
Always stay humble and kind
When those dreams you're dreamin' come to you
When the work you put in is realized
Let yourself feel the pride but
Always stay humble and kind

When it's hot, eat a root beer popsicle
Shut off the AC and roll the windows down
Let that summer sun shine
Always stay humble and kind
Don't take for granted the love this life gives you
When you get where you're goin
Don't forget turn back around
And help the next one in line
Always stay humble and kind

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Sunday of Divine Mercy

(A biblical refection on THE SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER – 3 April 2016)
 Remake of doubting St. Thomas
Gospel Reading: John 20:19-31 
First Reading: Acts 5:12-16; Psalms: Psalm 118:2-4,22-27; Second Reading: Revelation 1:9-13,17-19 
The Scripture Text
On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any they are retained.”
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.”
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. (John 20:19-31 RSV)
The apostles had gathered together in locked quarters out of fear that they would be next in line for execution. But in the midst of their apprehensions, Jesus’ appearance brought them joy, comfort, and peace. Only one apostle – Thomas – was absent when Jesus first appeared. And Thomas refused to believe his companions’ reports of an empty tomb and Jesus miraculously alive again.
For Thomas, the shock of the Master’s arrest and crucifixion had left him brokenhearted and hopeless. It seems that in his grief he sought solitude rather than the comforting presence of his fellow disciples. Thomas was sure of only one thing: He would not believe unless he was given visible proof of Jesus’ resurrection.
Imagine Thomas’ surprise when Jesus showed up – even after Thomas had denied his friends’ stories and told them he simply wouldn’t believe! In just one encounter with Jesus, Thomas’ doubt and sadness gave way to firm conviction and unspeakable joy.
Saint Gregory the Great once wrote, “The supreme mercy … ordered that the doubting disciple, as he touched the wounds in the flesh of his Master, heal in us the wounds of our unbelief.” He went to say that Thomas’ doubt can even help us to believe more than the faith of the disciples who did believe. Why? Because we know we’re not alone. Thomas – one of the chosen twelve – was just like us!
Do you know someone who is wavering in faith or feels abandoned by God? Pray that the Lord Jesus will “show up” and reassure them with His presence. Perhaps you feel distant from the Lord or worried that you’ve done something He won’t forgive. Know that Jesus is present for you with His mercy and grace. Today at Mass He wants to come to you in word and sacrament. He is always ready to speak to you, even in times of adversity, loneliness, or temptation. As you listen to Jesus’ word and invite Him into your heart today, let Him strengthen your faith as He did for His good friend, Thomas.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe that Your victory over sin and death can free everyone from disbelief. Give faith to the faint-hearted and hope to the hopeless that everyone may find life, peace, and joy in Your presence. Amen.
Jakarta, 31 March 2016 [EASTER OCTAVE: THURSDAY] 
A Christian Pilgrim

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