Saturday, July 15, 2017

July 10, 2017 Visits from Friar Michael and Timothy

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Sunday Gospel for June 25, 2017


by achristianpilgrim
(A biblical refection on THE 12th ORDINARY SUNDAY (YEAR A) – 25 June 2017)
 Gospel Reading: Matthew 10:26-33 
First Reading: Jeremiah 20:10-13; Psalms: Psalm 69:8-10,14,7,33-35; Second Reading: Romans 5:12-15 
The Scripture Text
“So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, utter in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim upon the house-tops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s will. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows. So every time who acknowledges Me before men, I also acknowledge before My Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:26-33) 
Jeremiah was a very unhappy and persecuted man, as the book of Scripture which bears his name tells us. Although he desperately tried to do what was right – and precisely because he did – he was denounced, gossiped about and tormented. His condemners constantly tried to maneuver him into a trap.
Many people today suffer the same fate as Jeremiah, especially those with public responsibilities. They are often the objects of vicious attacks and merciless gossiping. These are the odious tactics of small, vicious people too stupid and cowardly to face their supposed opponents and voice their objections in person.
If a person is continually subjected to harassments it can cause them to become bitter and filled with hate. When we meet a disgusted person with a negative attitude about most things, very likely they have been fashioned by someone’s viciousness.
Contrast the reading from Jeremiah with that from the Gospel of Matthew. Here we encounter a bright and cheerful mood, with optimistic thoughts and feelings. Jesus says: “Do not let men intimidate you.” The Lord promoted long ago the type positive thinking which is so common in our time. We have numerous books, tapes and lectures available today, presented by dynamic achievers who want to convey to others their secrets of success. They say that attitude is the most important factor in determining our degree of happiness and success.
If we have a poor and negative attitude toward our jobs, other people and life in general, then we are prone to failure On the other hand, if we exhibit a positive, strong and aggressive attitude toward our tasks, then we will succeed.
The Lord’s insistence that others not intimidate us is so very current and correct. Why should others be permitted to put us down and make us feel inferior? No one is sin-proof and no one lives a life without making poor judgments and other mistakes. Remembering that we are as good as the next person (and especially that God has told us that we are personally worth more than a flock of sparrows) should help us to raise our self-esteem if it has fallen.
Someone has said that it is our attitude rather than our aptitude which will determine our altitude. Jesus counsels us to be strong-willed, prudent, persevering and filled with faith. If God loves His created birds so much that not one will fall without His consent, then we should rejoice that He loves us “more than a whole flock of sparrows.”
When we have to contend with the whisperings and gossip which surely will come our way, we need not be defeated, for the Lord commands us to be unintimidated. Regardless of the evil forces which pull us down, His graces are far stronger to lift us up.
(Adapted from Rev. James McKarns, GO TELL EVERYONE, pages 60-61)
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, thank You for Your counseling us to be strong-willed, prudent, persevering and filled with faith. Amen.
Jakarta, 24 June 2017 
A Christian Pilgrim 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Feast of Mary - May 31


by achristianpilgrim
Prayer: Heavenly Father, You inspired the Blessed Virgin Mary, when she was carrying Your Son, to visit Elizabeth. Grant that, always docile to the voice of the Spirit, we may, together with our Lady, glorify Your Name. We pray this in the most precious Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Jakarta, 31 May 2017
A Christian Pilgrim 
achristianpilgrim | May 31, 2017 at 4:05 am | Tags: MAGNIFICAT | Categories: MARY, SAINTS WE LOVE | URL:
Comment   See all comments   Like

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Sunday , May 28 Seventh of Easter


by achristianpilgrim
A biblical reflection on the SEVENTH SUNDAY OF EASTER [Year A] – 28 May 2017)
Gospel Reading: John 17:1-11a 
First Reading: Acts 1:12-14; Psalms: Psalm 27:1,4,7-8, Second Reading: 1 Peter 4:13-16 
The Scripture Text
When Jesus has spoken these words, He lifted up His eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Thy Son that the Son may glorify Thee, since Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom Thou has 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

An Ecumenical and Interreligious Celebration for Peace took place in the convent garden of San Francisco in Salta, Argentina, April 25 evening; Representatives from several Religions participated in this prayer: Christians of diverse denominations, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and delegates of the original towns. The Archbishop of Salta, Bishop Mario Antonio Cargnello, on behalf of the Catholic Church, prayed for Peace. The Minister General addressed an emotive message to those presents to conclude the event:

Interreligious and Ecumenical Celebration for Peace

The pursuit of peace and progress cannot end in a few years in either victory or defeat. The pursuit of peace and progress, with its trials and its errors, its successes and its setbacks, can never be relaxed and never abandoned. (Dag Hammarskjold)
These words by the former U.N. General Secretary, Dag Hammarskjold, who died in the pursuit of peace for the Congo, echo the desire of human hearts to live in a world defined by justice, equity, respect, authentic freedom, where the rights of all people, cultural and religious, and most especially minorities, are guaranteed.
In the pursuit of peace, we must examine deeply our attitudes: our capacity for empathy; our willingness to receive forgiveness and to offer forgiveness; our commitment to build bridges in place of erecting walls; and to “extend our circle of compassion to encompass all living things” (A. Schweitzer).
Three weeks ago, I visited our Franciscan communities in Damascus, Aleppo, and Latakia, in Siria. In Damascus, the terror of an endless cycle of exploding bombs twenty-four hours a day reminds everyone that peace remains but a distant hope. Along the heavily guarded road from Damascus to Aleppo, bombed out empty villages and towns litter the landscape. And yet, seemingly in defiance of the violence, nature is bursting forth with brilliant spring flowers, announcing its refusal to be defined by violence, hatred, and despair.
As we entered the city of Aleppo from the east, our minds were numbed by unfathomable destruction – human and material – the consequences of decisions made by all sides involved in the war: the decision to resist any compromise, to accept responsibility for past acts of violence, to which is added the reckless involvement of outside actors in pursuit of selfish interests that deepen human suffering and expand the path of destruction. Behind and above all of this is the lack of political will to take decisions that might open a path towards a very different, defined by the values of mercy, justice, respect, freedom, and the promotion of the common good.
All along the journey in Syria, we heard stories recounting the horrors of war: mothers mourning inconsolably the loss of husbands and sons; sons bearing the visceral wounds of having lost fathers and brothers; elderly who are completely abandoned, with no options to move out of harm’s way; children senselessly slaughtered, caught in the crossfire of a seemingly endless violence. Stories of intolerance, violence, and increasing social exclusion against cultural and religious minorities, and also against refugees and immigrants are encountered at an alarming rate in every part of the world.
Elie Wiesel, survivor of the Shoah and Nobel laureate once said: “Someone who hates one group will end up hating everyone – and, ultimately, hating himself or herself.” Another religious actor, Francis of Assisi, recognized that the antidote to hate was the unwillingness to hate, the unwillingness to surrender to violence, the unwillingness to yield to the dehumanizing forces of evil, and the unwillingness to close the heart or the home to anyone because he or she bears the divine image of God, as if God were present in the flesh of each and every human being. Reflecting this deep longing for peace and reconciliation, there emerged from among the embers of the devastating First World War a prayer for peace:
“O God, Make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love;
Where is injury, pardon;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy”
(Peace Prayer attributed to St. Francis).
Solidarity, compassion, caring, respect, communion and loving. Such values and inner powers can lay the foundation of a new paradigm of civilization, the civilization of a humanity reunited in the Common House, on the Planet Earth (cf. Laudato Si). Our calling is to “compete with everyone in doing good,” as the Qur’an reminds us (Surat-al-Ma’id, 48), and to refuse to compete with anyone in promoting hatred or evil. Last October, Pope Francis, joining with the leaders of the world’s major religions, offered the following reflection: “We want to re-affirm the importance of faith, the importance of prayer, the importance of the grace of God if we really want to build a new world according to the values of God and of humanity based on peace.”
May the planting of an olive tree in this garden, and the planting of other olive trees among the different religious and cultural communities, serve as a concrete sign of our commitment to pursue the path of a new solidarity, a new outpouring of a spirit of hospitality and compassion to all, especially immigrants, those who are poor and marginalized.
My brothers and sisters from the different religious and cultural traditions, my brothers and sisters of Salta, civil authorities, and my dear Franciscan Brothers, let us never forget that our work for peace begins within the hearts of each of us. Our cry and work for peace makes clear to the world that love is stronger than hate; mercy is stronger than vengeance; and our desire for harmony and peace is stronger than all forces of division and violence.
May God bless our efforts. May God bless the people of Salta. Peace! Shalom! Salaam!
Br. Michael A. Perry, OFM
Salta, Argentina, 25 April 2017

6th Sunday of Easter May 21


by achristianpilgrim

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Crucifixtion Story in Stone

(CNS photo/Barbara J. Fraser)
Photos and story by Barbara J. Fraser
HUARAZ, Peru -- How does an artist depict the tension, emotion and drama of the Passion when crafting images of the Stations of the Cross?
To fashion the statues ordered by Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Las Vegas, Peruvian stone carver Antonio Tafur began with prayer.
He put himself in the place of the people in each scene -- the scowling Pilate, who knew he was condemning an innocent man; the heartsick Veronica easing Jesus' pain; the irate soldier driving nails into the cross as if Jesus were a criminal. Then he chose the precise moment that he wanted to capture, "the way a photographer does."
"I want people to understand what Jesus was like," he said. "And I want them to understand that there is a group of young people (the Don Bosco artisans) living in community, in peace and tranquility. (By following Jesus) you're going to live differently."

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Fifth Sunday of Lent April 2


by achristianpilgrim
(A biblical refection on THE FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT [YEAR A], 2 April 2017)

Gospel Reading: John 11:1-45 (Shorter version: John 11:3-7, 17, 20-27, 33-45) 
First Reading: Ezekiel 37:12-14; Psalms: Psalm 130:1-8; Second Reading: Romans 8:8-11 
The Scripture Text
So the sisters sent to Him, saying, “Lord he whom You love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it He said, “This illness is not unto death; it is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by means of it.”
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when He heard that he was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where He was. Then after this He said to the disciples, “Let us go into Judea again.”
Now when Jesus came, He found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met Him, while Mary sat in the house. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. And even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, He who is coming into the world.”
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled; and He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. So the Jews said, “See how He loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not He who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”
Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb; it was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he had been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank Thee  that Thou hast heard me. I knew that Thou hearest me always, but I have said this on account of the people standing by, that they may believe that Thou didst send me.” When He had said this, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with bandages, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”
Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what He did, believed in him. (John 11:3-7,17, 20-27,33-45 RSV)
Throughout history, human beings have struggled with the problem of pain and suffering but have not come up with many suitable explanations. Thus, we often encourage a sick friend to accept an illness because “It is God’s will”, almost as if we are saying God not only wants us to suffer but also takes some kind of pleasure in seeing us in pain. Today’s Gospel reading gives us reasons to question this way of thinking.
The author of the Gospel according to John provides us with a glimpse of the human side of Jesus when Lazarus, one of Jesus’ close friends, dies. John tells us Jesus was troubled and wept openly upon hearing about Lazarus’ death. Since this is hardly the reaction we would expect from a deity who enjoys seeing people suffer, we can conclude from this story that Jesus is a God who does not like to see His friends in pain. So, let’s stop blaming Him for all the evil in the world and let’s stop telling people who are suffering to accept their pain because “it is God’s will”. It is not God’s will that we suffer and die.
Where, then, does suffering and pain come from? Scripture tells us that pain, the drudgery of work, and death are consequences of sin and did not become part of life until man and woman disobeyed God (see Genesis 3). Since the devil introduced sin into the world, it is the devil, not God, who is responsible for all the pain and suffering we experience.
Finally, in today’s reading, Jesus says He is both the resurrection and the life. This is just one of the seven famous “I am .......” statements we find in John’s Gospel. The other six are: “I am the vine and you are the branches” (15:5) “I am the bread of life”  (6:35) “I am the good shepherd” (10:11,14); “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (14:6); “I am the sheep gate” (10:7); and “”I am the light of the world” (9:5).
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I praise You for restoring what was dead in me and for raising me up to new life. Yes, Lord Jesus, I do believe in You. I want to rise with You. Let me know Your presence today. Amen.
Jakarta, 1 April 2017  
A Christian Pilgrim 
achristianpilgrim | April 1, 2017 at 3:54 am | Tags: BETHANY, I THANK THEE THAT THOU