The House of Prayer

It is clear that the Bible mentions the House of God is the house of prayer. Hundreds of years before Jesus, the Temple of God was built as a place for Israel to worship their God, the God of their ancestors Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who had delivered them from the slavery in Egypt, and after the exile from Babylonia. The Temple of God in Jerusalem became a symbol of the freedom and the kingdom of God.
It is said that many people came to the Temple to worship and glorify God. Every year they gather together at the temple to celebrate their freedom. Every single person from domestic or over sea alike comes to Jerusalem to celebrate the paschal feast. From these facts we get to know the Temple of God was the very heart of Jews tradition of worshiping God. That was their idealism as an independent nation, as a chosen nation.

But the temple no longer be a truly the house of prayer since the priests or those were in charge or who have duty to look after the temple  obligated some new strict rules that must be obeyed of people who come to the temple. Moreover they took over the power to legalize whether or not a sacrifice is clean or valid (halal). To make sure that the offerings were valid they forced people to buy offerings from their store somewhere in the temple. It is quite socking that cost of the offering was double. This raised difficulties in the heart of the people. People no longer think of God first but money, the priests and the offering sellers instead. Especially if it comes to the poor they will not be able come to the temple. In other words corruptions and injustice have come to the temple and destroy the dignity of the temple and turned it into a robbers’ den.
At that time, Jesus came and drove away those who were selling in the temple. He cleaned it up with his power and his “anger”. He could see no longer the temple as a building like what the Jews understood but his body instead. He came to bring back the dignity of house of prayer. He explained the truly meaning of the Temple clearly. It is the house of prayer where everyone is welcomed, black and white, the rich and the poor, man and woman, the priests and lay people alike. Moreover the temple is Jesus’ body. It will be destroyed but on the third day He rose again from the death to draw everyone close to Him. Jesus brings back our freedom and gave the power to the Church to continue what He has done in the world. And the Church has been living for about 2000 years and has done as much as she could do to bring people coming together closer to Jesus.

The Gospel today (Luk 19:45-47)remains us the Temple of God is the place where God reigns. St. Paul further said that our body is the temple of God. How? It is because we were baptized in the name of Jesus and receive the Eucharist. Jesus has transformed our body to be holy. Our hearts have a strong root in Christ. But in the way of our life it is often that we couldn't see the house of God in our hearts. We try to go out our body to get the peace, the freedom or whatever instead. In fact the answer is in our heart. We are coming back to our heart where there God lives alone. Mary the Mother of God gave us the example of opening heart to God’s will. She is our mother, the mother of the Church who brings about many people closer to God.

Bro Nest

Mgr. Martinus Situmorang visits Sydney

Early winter in 2009 Mgr. Situmorang was in the midst of Catholic Indonesian Community of Sydney for his three days visit. His coming was a great blessing for many particularly for all Indonesians in Sydney who had been waiting for a special celebration of a year anniversary of WYD 2008. There were some main points that worth reflecting out of his visit from 12-15th June 2009 that came to my mind.

One day Reflection
One day’s recollection at Kensington Church on Saturday 13 was a moment of being resurrected and strengthened by bishop’s talk. Going back to the SAGKI 2005’s theme, Situmorang stressed the meaning of “to get up and to move” as a new movement and resurrection which based on our confidence, conscience and idealism to follow Christ. “We are not raised caused by sort of forces outside our lives like “someone is throwing cold water to a sleep beggar”, but everyone is called by God for a certain mission”, bishop said.
Believing that Jesus is the resurrection itself we need to follow the example of John the Disciple and Mary His mother who were present closely beside Jesus with their passion and compassion. Jesus does not need us as his defenders like St.Peter might think, because Jesus has the power over heaven and earth. Jesus wants us to be with him, to live his resurrection at anytime in anywhere.
The bishop took many examples from the Scripture emphasising how the disciples could not pass “the exam” after three years together with Jesus. But after the day of Pentecost the disciples were strengthened to proclaim the Good News by the power of the Holy Spirit they had received. Though they did not have any extra titles, Peter and other disciples were able to be witnesses. So it is true that the Holy Spirit strengthen the disciples to live a new life, the Church’s birth.
“Before we have a personal relationship with Jesus we could not encounter the true life, the resurrection, the new life”, bishop said. Every one of us is the subject whom God blesses to receive his life. The resurrection does not protect the death, but it gives the true meaning of our death, that is to live in Jesus’ life. Therefore for God we must bear fruits for he has given us his grace in order to be able to defeat the sins in this world. The fruit is what we have received from God. This world is the locus theologicus of God’s love, the place we bear good fruits. That is why there is no a significant different between the “trade and altar”.
While talking about the fruits of life, Mgr. Situmorang also stressed the power of pray in this life. Because the fruit that we give is not only the worldly fruit but also the spiritual fruits which will never fade away.

The Day of Corpus Christi
On Sunday 14, Mgr. Situmorang held a Corpus Christi mass at OLSH Catholic Church Randwick, concelebrated by CIC Chaplain Rm. Ho. During this mass 99 people received the Sacrament of Confirmation from the hands of his Eminence. This confirmation followed by an installation of the new council for the next period. During his homily the bishop gave encouragement to the-99 to be disciples in this age, proclaiming the truth of Jesus.
Straight after the mass, young-adult Catholic group (MUDIKA) invited us to enjoy a creative show “Kunang-Kunang” so called, at Brigidine College Hall. This performance was amazing and good prepared. In this occasion the Bishop assured that Catholic in Sydney is growing up, affirming that we are not sort of “benalu” in other country. But we are the people who have the freedom and have contribution of building humanity, religion, and culture in our society. Therefore he said, "be good citizens whatever our citizenship are."

Being Jesus' Witnesses

It seems to me that Easter is not just a yearly moment to celebrate the easter chocolate and the sort of song ALLELUYA but the most fundamental thing is that we celebrating our faith, our victory, our freedom, in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Over the last couples days I have had some reflections on the meaning of Jesus’ resurrection in my daily experiences as I always receive him every day from the hand of his beloved priest, in the Eucharist.

My reflection is ispired by the fact that Jesus had died in order to redeem our humanity, our dignity, to bring back our origin to the very beginning of creation, life everlasting. Therefore humanbeings have to suffer no more for nothingness but for something greater than that suffering. It would be done by the way of the cross, to follow Jesus and to love as he has loved us endlessly.
But today, as we see in the gospel (John 20:19-31), we catch a glimse of how the disciples reacted to Jesus' resurrection. It's mentioned that they stay at home and lock the door becuase they afraid of being persecuted by the authority for following Jesus teaching. Apart from what they were doing in the house, whether they were praying or sharing about Jesus, we clearly can see the mentality of the so-called the best friends of Jesus was like the cowards. They hid themselves. They had lost the corage. For some extents I would say that sometimes this mentality is still occurred in my contemporary life. We know that Jesus' name is the most popular name that ever. There are about 35% of world populations are Christian and of course they all recognise this name. But how many of them just stay in “a locked door” and how many “go out to spread the Risen Jesus”?
I came to my room and said to myself: “Maybe I also have spent too much time sitting down in my “room” and afraid of being outside there”. I am afraid not because they want to put me away, nor to persecute me, but because it simply nothing to do with them regarding Jesus. Jesus is likely out there, someone in history and he never know here, never seen. I am afraid of being known that I hardly believe in him. In this way only Jesus can judge my way. But I know that one day I have to be his witness in somewhere and sometime.

Bro Nestor.