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Author: Romo Valentinus Bayuhadi Ruseno OP

The Impossible Demands

The Impossible Demands

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time [B]
September 12, 2021
Mark 8:27-35

We encounter another Jesus’ hard saying. Jesus gathered His disciples and other people who wished to follow Him and said at least three conditions if they committed to Him and His mission. These three are “deny yourselves, carry your crosses and follow Me!” These requirements are genuinely challenging and demanding for all Jesus’ disciples from every age and place. Yet, what do these conditions mean for Jesus’ first followers?

The first condition is to deny ourselves. This means to say no to ourselves, but what does it mean for Peter, James, John, and those who listened to Jesus for the first time? Considering the historical context, many Jesus’ disciples and followers expected Him to be the Messiah-like King David, a brilliant general, a politically dominant king. Jesus would march against the Roman forces and triumphantly trample them. Yet, Jesus introduced Himself as the Messiah who would suffer and die. Therefore, those who wanted to follow Him must say no to the very ideal and expectation they held dear, not to the initial reason they look for Jesus.

The second condition is to carry their crosses. This usually means that we need to endure various hardships and sacrifices in following Jesus faithfully. However, for Simon, Andrew, and the rest of the disciples, the cross had no other meaning but to face one of the most gruesome capital punishments in human history. They literally must die in horrible ways in following Jesus.

The third condition is to follow Jesus. This ordinary means that we must not only say we believe in Jesus, but we need to live up also to His teachings and commandments. Jesus told his disciples on another occasion, “But the one who hears and does not act is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation [Luk 6:49].” However, for Matthew, Philip, and His other first disciples, following Jesus means walking with Jesus toward Jerusalem. In this city, Jesus would confront the Jewish authorities and the Roman colonizers and have a final showdown with the forces of darkness. To follow Jesus means that the disciples began their way of the cross.

Basically, Jesus was asking His disciples to offer their lives and die. This is a crazy demand, yet what more insane is that His disciples literally followed Him. They gave up the idea of the triumphalist Messiah and embraced Jesus as the suffering servant of the Lord. They decided to travel with Jesus to Jerusalem and witnessed how their Master crucified and died. Finally, they carried their crosses and faced horrible deaths. Simon Peter and Andrew were nailed on the cross like their Teacher, and the rest shared the same lot. How is this impossible?

The answer is that though Jesus’ demands are almost humanly impossible, God gives necessary grace to fulfill these conditions. As the Lord told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness [2 Cor 12:9].” Without supernatural help, our frail humanity will stand a chance. If then, the apostles who relied on God’s grace could offer the lives for Christ and attain eternal life, it is now our turn to allow God’s grace to work in us so God may do great wonders in us, and we finally receive the fullness of life.

Valentinus Bayuhadi Ruseno, OP

Tuntutan yang Mustahil

Tuntutan yang Mustahil

Minggu ke-24 Masa Biasa [B]
12 September 2021
Markus 8:27-35

Sekali lagi, kita menjumpai perkataan Yesus yang keras. Yesus mengumpulkan murid-murid-Nya dan orang-orang lain yang ingin mengikuti-Nya, dan mengatakan setidaknya tiga syarat jika mereka benar-benar berkomitmen kepada-Nya dan misi-Nya. Tiga kondisi ini adalah “sangkallah dirimu, pikul salibmu dan ikutlah Aku!” Persyaratan ini benar-benar menantang dan berat bagi semua murid Yesus dari segala zaman dan tempat. Namun, apa artinya kondisi-kondisi ini bagi para murid pertama Yesus?

Syarat pertama adalah menyangkal diri kita sendiri. Ini berarti mengatakan tidak pada diri kita sendiri, tetapi apa arti ‘menyangkal diri’ bagi Petrus, Yakobus, Yohanes dan mereka yang mendengarkan Yesus untuk pertama kalinya? Jika kita mempertimbangkan konteks sejarah, banyak murid dan pengikut Yesus mengharapkan Dia menjadi Mesias seperti raja Daud, seorang jenderal yang brilian, raja yang dominan secara politik. Yesus akan bergerak melawan pasukan Romawi dan dengan penuh kemenangan menginjak-injak mereka. Namun, Yesus memperkenalkan diri-Nya sebagai Mesias yang akan menderita dan mati, dan oleh karena itu, mereka yang ingin mengikuti-Nya harus mengatakan tidak pada cita-cita dan harapan yang mereka junjung tinggi, tidak pada alasan awal mereka mencari Yesus.

Syarat kedua adalah memikul salib mereka. Ini biasanya berarti bahwa kita harus setia menanggung berbagai kesulitan dan pengorbanan dalam mengikuti Yesus. Namun, bagi Simon, Andreas, dan murid-murid lainnya, salib tidak memiliki arti lain selain menghadapi salah satu hukuman mati paling mengerikan dalam sejarah manusia. Mereka benar-benar harus mati dengan cara yang mengerikan dalam mengikuti Yesus.

Syarat ketiga adalah mengikuti Yesus. Hal biasa ini berarti bahwa kita tidak hanya percaya kepada Yesus, tetapi kita juga harus hidup sesuai dengan ajaran dan perintah-Nya. Yesus memberi tahu murid-murid-Nya pada kesempatan lain, “Tetapi orang yang mendengar dan tidak bertindak sama seperti orang yang membangun rumah di atas tanah tanpa dasar [Luk 6:49].” Namun, bagi Matius, Filipus, dan murid-murid pertamanya yang lain, mengikuti Yesus ini berarti secara harfiah berjalan bersama Yesus menuju Yerusalem. Di kota ini, Yesus akan menghadapi otoritas Yahudi dan penjajah Romawi, dan juga pertarungan terakhir-Nya dengan kekuatan kegelapan. Mengikuti Yesus berarti bahwa para murid memulai jalan salib mereka.

Pada dasarnya, Yesus meminta murid-murid-Nya untuk mempersembahkan hidup dan bahkan mati untuk Yesus. Ini adalah permintaan yang gila, namun yang lebih gila lagi adalah murid-murid-Nya benar-benar mengikuti-Nya. Mereka melepaskan gagasan tentang mesias yang salah dan memeluk Yesus sebagai Mesias yang menderita. Mereka memutuskan untuk melakukan perjalanan dengan Yesus ke Yerusalem, dan menyaksikan bagaimana Guru mereka disalibkan dan mati. Akhirnya, mereka sendiri memikul salib mereka dan menghadapi kematian yang mengerikan. Simon Petrus dan Andreas dipaku di kayu salib seperti Guru mereka, dan sisanya nasibnya tidak jauh berbeda. Bagaimana ini mungkin?

Jawabannya adalah bahwa meskipun tuntutan Yesus hampir tidak mungkin secara manusiawi, Tuhan memberikan rahmat yang diperlukan untuk memenuhi kondisi ini. Seperti yang Tuhan katakan kepada Paulus, “Cukuplah kasih karunia-Ku bagimu, sebab justru dalam kelemahanlah kuasa-Ku menjadi sempurna [2 Kor 12:9].” Tanpa bantuan adikodrati, kemanusiaan kita yang lemah tidak akan mampu. Jika kemudian, para rasul yang mengandalkan rahmat Allah, dapat mempersembahkan hidup bagi Kristus dan mencapai hidup yang kekal, sekarang giliran kita untuk mengizinkan rahmat Allah bekerja di dalam kita sehingga Allah dapat melakukan keajaiban-keajaiban besar di dalam kita, dan akhirnya kita menerima kepenuhan. kehidupan.

Valentinus Bayuhadi Ruseno, OP

Miracle for a Better World

Miracle for a Better World

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time [B]
September 5, 2021
Mark 7:30-37

A miracle is something extraordinary. Miracles make ordinarily impossible things possible. Yet, some miracles are more powerful and cause more wonder than others. In today’s Gospel, Jesus performed yet another stunning miracle. He healed a person with hearing and speech impairment. At first, the miracle seems familiar and another routine for Jesus, but we may discover remarkable details if we got closer to the story’s context.

The person who begged for healing was struggling with several disabilities. The man was deaf, and if he could not hear sounds and voices since birth, he would not be able to speak as well. His speech impediment significantly worsened the condition. He could not say not only because he never heard a word but also his speech faculty had defects. It was an almost impossible case.

Another detail is that the way Jesus healed the man. He did not act the usual routines. He neither touch the afflicted person nor performs distant healing. His actions were somewhat ‘eccentric’. Mark described that Jesus placed His fingers inside man’s ears as if He tried to clear what blocked the hearing passages. He also spat on his hands and put his wet hands on the man’s tongue, as if He tried to soften what was dry and petrified. Jesus looked up to heaven and uttered ‘Ephatha!’ as if giving the command to various body parts that were tightly closed. Then, a remarkable miracle took place.

What happened was truly unique. The man could not only hear, but he could speak plainly. A man who was deaf since birth would need some time to learn how to say, but the great miracle was that Jesus infused the man with the gift of language. Jesus did heal not only the bodily infirmities but also enlighten the man with knowledge and understanding. It was a whole package miracle!

However, the miracle did not stop there. The effects of Jesus’ miracles ripple through the ages. We may not always see miracles of healing like in the Gospel, but we can always perform a miracle of love and mercy. As disciples of Christ, we continue to build a better place for people with disabilities. Now, our world may not be perfect, but it is a much better place for our afflicted brothers and sisters. If we see the bible, the early Church was concerned with how to take care of the most disenfranchised and how the apostles appointed seven deacons to minister to the poor widows. St. James, in his letter, denounced a practice in some ancient parishes that gave a seat to the rich and not to the poor [Jam 2:1-5]. The culture to help the poorest of the poor and even building structures like hospitals, shelters for the homeless, orphanages dramatically begins with Jesus and His Church. This spirit will continue until the age of time.

We thank our brothers and sisters who continue becoming the miracles of Christ for those people with disabilities. They spend time and resources to take care of abandoned babies, learn sign language to introduce Good News to the people who cannot hear, and create a better place for everyone.

Valentinus Bayuhadi Ruseno, OP

Mukjizat untuk Dunia yang Lebih Baik

Mukjizat untuk Dunia yang Lebih Baik

Minggu Biasa ke-23 [B]
5 September 2021
Markus 7:30-37

Dalam Injil hari ini, Yesus melakukan mukjizat yang sungguh menakjubkan. Dia menyembuhkan seseorang yang tidak bisa mendengar dan mengalami gangguan berbicara. Jika dibaca sesaat, tampaknya mukjizat ini tidak berbeda dari mukjizat Yesus yang lain, tetapi jika kita melihat lebih dekat ke dalam konteks kisah ini, kita akan menemukan detail-detail yang luar biasa.

Yesus berhadapan dengan seorang pria yang tidak bisa mendengar atau tunarungu, dan jika dia tidak dapat mendengar suara sejak lahir, dia tentunya tidak akan dapat berbicara juga. Kondisinya diperparah oleh adanya gangguan pada kemampuannya berbicara. Dia tidak bisa berbicara bukan hanya karena dia tidak pernah mendengar sebelumnya, tetapi juga adanya cacat di bagian mulut atau lidahnya yang membuat dia kesulitan untuk membentuk kata. Bisa kita bayangkan penderitaan yang harus dihadapi orang ini.

Detail lainnya yang menarik adalah cara Yesus menyembuhkan orang ini. Yesus tidak melakukan rutinitas seperti biasanya dalam melakukan mukjizat. Dia tidak hanya menyentuh orang yang menderita atau melakukan penyembuhan jarak jauh. Gaya-Nya kali ini agak ‘anti mainstream’. Markus menggambarkan bahwa Yesus meletakkan jari-Nya di dalam telinga sang pria, seolah-olah Dia mencoba membersihkan apa yang menghalangi saluran pendengaran. Dia juga meludahi tangannya, dan meletakkan tangannya yang basah di lidah pria itu, seolah-olah Dia mencoba melunakkan apa yang kering dan membatu. Yesus menengadah ke langit dan mengucapkan ‘Efata!’ – seolah memberi perintah pada berbagai bagian tubuh yang tertutup rapat untuk terbuka. Kemudian, mukjizat yang luar biasa terjadi!

Apa yang terjadi benar-benar luar biasa. Pria itu tidak hanya bisa mendengar, tetapi dia bisa berbicara dengan jelas. Seorang pria yang tidak bisa mendengar sejak lahir akan membutuhkan beberapa waktu untuk belajar berbicara, tetapi mukjizat yang luar biasa adalah bahwa Yesus memberi orang ini karunia bahasa. Yesus tidak hanya menyembuhkan kelemahan dan cacat tubuh, tetapi juga menerangi manusia dengan pengetahuan dan pengertian. Itu adalah mukjizat seluruh paket!

Namun, mukjizat tidak berhenti di situ. Efek dari mukjizat Yesus terpancar selama berabad-abad. Kita mungkin tidak bisa melakukan mukjizat penyembuhan seperti dalam Injil, tetapi kita selalu dapat melakukan mukjizat cinta dan belas kasihan. Sebagai murid Kristus, kita diundang untuk terus membangun tempat yang lebih baik bagi orang-orang yang terpinggirkan secara khusus, para penyandang disabilitas. Jika kita melihat Alkitab, Gereja perdana juga fokus dengan bagaimana melayani mereka yang paling lemah, dan bagaimana para rasul menunjuk tujuh diakon untuk melayani para janda miskin [Kis 6]. St Yakobus dalam suratnya mengkritisi praktik di beberapa paroki kuno yang memberikan kursi kepada orang kaya dan bukan kepada orang miskin [Yakobus 2:1-5]. Budaya untuk membantu orang miskin dan terpinggirkan, dan bahkan membangun struktur seperti rumah sakit, tempat perlindungan bagi tunawisma, panti asuhan, secara dramatis dimulai dengan Yesus dan Gereja-Nya, dan semangat ini akan berlanjut sampai zaman.

Kita berterima kasih kepada saudara-saudari kita yang terus menjadi mujizat Kristus bagi mereka yang miskin, lemah dan para penyandang disabilitas. Mereka adalah orang-orang yang menghabiskan waktu dan sumber daya untuk merawat bayi terlantar, yang belajar bahasa isyarat untuk memperkenalkan Kabar Baik kepada orang-orang yang tidak dapat mendengar, dan yang menciptakan tempat yang lebih baik bagi semua orang.

Valentinus Bayuhadi Ruseno, OP

The Law, Traditions dan Heart

The Law, Traditions dan Heart

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time [B]
August 29, 2021
Mark 7:1-23

The Pharisees came to scrutinize Jesus, and these were not just ordinary Galilean Pharisees who often debated with Jesus. They were the leading Jewish authority, and they came to pass judgment on Jesus: whether Jesus is an orthodox Jew or a false prophet. Yet, we may ask, who are these Pharisees who often collided with Jesus and His disciples? The pharisaic movement was one of the Jewish religious movements in first-century Palestine. Though not always in a good relationship, they were contemporaries with other groups like the Sadducees, Zealots, and Essenes. However, Pharisees were the most popular because many of their members were Jewish laypeople compared to other groups.

What is unique to the Pharisees? We need to understand first about the ceremonial purity in the Old Testament. The Law of Moses commanded those men and women who were entering the sacred place like the Temple to be ceremonially clean. If they were in contact with dead bodies, they became unclean and could not enter the holy ground. Thus, they were required to do ceremonial washing to clean this impurity. The purpose of this ceremonial purity is not about morality [what is right or wrong] but to train the Israelites to see and honor the sacred places as God’s dwellings.

The Pharisees were zealous for the Law, and they were responsible for bringing this ceremonial purity to the context of the Israelite household. They wanted to be ceremonially clean, not only in the Temple but also when they entered their houses, when they ate and drank, and even when they went to bed. The thing was that Moses never gave laws about this pharisaic thing. Thus, as a solution, the teachers or the rabbi came up with their set of rules and regulations. Eventually, these became the (pharisaic) traditions of the elders.

Going back to Jesus, we note that what the Pharisees from Jerusalem discovered was Jesus did not observe those traditions. They did not find any shred of evidence that Jesus violated the Law of Moses. Indeed, Jesus was fulfilling the Law. Jesus then criticized the Pharisees for being over-zealous on traditions to the expense of the Word of God. Jesus reminded the true essence of the Law, which is the formation of the heart. The laws and the traditions are good if they bring us closer to God. They become twisted when they chain us and keep us far from God. It would be useless if we are ceremonially clean, but our hearts are impure and sinful.

Jesus’ reminder to the Pharisees is always timely and proper to us. Do we keep our religion as mere collections of traditions, rituals, and customs that keep us from the Lord? Do we read the Word of God to help us understanding and loving the Lord better or simply to put up a show? Do we gather images, statues, and other religious articles just for collections, or do these help us honor God who perfects His creatures? Do we get involved in various services and ministries to feel good about it or serve our brothers and sisters in need?

Valentinus Bayuhadi Ruseno, OP