Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Blessed Be!

Blessed Be!
by Deshi Ramadhani, SJ

Blessed be the moment I was conceived
It was loving

Blessed be the date I was born
It was cheering

Blessed be the Church where I was baptized
It was welcoming

Blessed be the Mass of my first Communion
It was strengthening

Blessed be the booth of my first Confession
It was touching

Blessed be the day I was ordained
It was empowering

Blessed be the day I said my first Mass
It was humbling

Blessed be all the days of my life
Richly adorned with God's forgiveness

Jakarta, March 24, 2008
With thankful heart for the gift of Easter

Monday, March 24, 2008

My Homily on Easter Vigil 2008

Here is my homily on the Easter Vigil Mass with the Jakarta Expatriate Community at St. Theresia's Church, Saturday March 22, 2008. I hope that this will continue to bless you!


by Deshi Ramadhani, SJ

There are at least five brief sentences that the women in the Gospel hear: He is not here. He has risen. Go quickly! Tell his disciples! Return to Galilee!

Jesus is no longer in the tomb. What is a tomb? It’s a place of death, made of stone, cold, and dark. The tomb is the place of death. Sadly, our heart is sometimes also the place of death: hard as stone, cold, and dark. When do we find ourselves in that kind of tomb? What are the aspects of death that we modern people living in a big city like Jakarta might have experienced? I offer you four of them.

First, death is the lack of freedom. This can mean, death is our addiction, be it substance addiction, porn or sex addiction, internet addiction or game addiction, movie addiction, or any kind of addiction. When you are addicted you are not free. If Jesus destroys death, He also wants to bring any of you who have been struggling with your addiction out of the tomb. Today, Jesus is saying to you: I’m no longer in the tomb, and I don’t want you to stay in that tomb. Secondly, death is the lack of honesty. The good strategy of sin is that sin can convince you to pretend as if nothing happened. Your life may look fine, but deep in your heart you know that it is painful to continue that kind of life. Today, Jesus is saying to you: I’m no longer in the tomb. I want you to come out of the tomb, to bring your darkest side to light. Find a good spiritual friend with whom you can share, and who can sincerely pray with you and for you. Thirdly, death is the lack of forgiveness. When Jesus appears to his disciples, those whom He loves so much, but also those who abandoned Him, Jesus basically tells them: I forgive you. Some of you may think that by not forgiving others you punish them. The truth is, it is you who are being punished. It is you who suffer. If that is the kind of death you are bearing in your heart, today, Jesus is saying to you: I’m no longer in the tomb, and I don’t want you to stay there. Learn to forgive with my own forgiveness. Fourth, death is the rapid destruction of our environment. Soon enough, this city will be overloaded with garbage and wastes. This requires a radical change in our way of life, of spending, of using our natural resources. We are all in that kind of death and it can become worse. Today, Jesus is saying to us: I don’t want you to stay there. Do something with me to recreate this environment into a place of life again.

These are at least four areas from where we are invited to go out. Resurrection is a new beginning. But there is another dimension in it. If you read the stories of Jesus’ apparitions, you will find a continuous tension between recognizing and not recognizing Jesus. So the Eater faith is not a magical change like what Harry Potter can do with his wand. We may think that way. We wish that things were different. We wish that our past had been better. I wish my husband or my wife were more faithful. I wish my kids were better. I wish my pastors were better. Easter faith is not a magical change. By saying this, I don’t want to tone down this powerful event in the history of humanity. But learning from the relationship between Jesus and disciples, we would rather say that Easter faith is like embracing the uncertainty of life. Life is so uncertain. What is certain is that we are not alone (either we feel it or not). What is certain is that there is someone whose love exceeds any kinds of love that ever existed in the history, who walks with us. And He is Jesus the risen Lord.

But why return to Galilee? Matthew wants to show that it is a new beginning. They started their journey from Galilee. It is a place of those beautiful memories, a place of hope, a place of great expectations, a place of big dreams. What is your Galilee? It can be the place or the moment where you first met you husband or your wife, or your wedding day; it can be that day when your children were born, it can be the day you got promoted, it can be a retreat house where you had that life changing conversion; it can also be this Church, or this community. Find your own Galilee. Jesus is waiting to empower you even more from that Galilee.

We heard from the readings today. At the beginning was the creation. It is a master piece of God who puts order into the chaos. This same God decides to bring a people out of the bondage of slavery. This same God decides to renew the people by giving new heart, new spirit. And here we are. We have been baptized in the death of Jesus because we believe that through this kind of death we participate in His resurrection. Do you want to continue to live with that lifeless death in your addiction, your dishonesty, your unforgiving attitude, your disrespect toward environment, or do you want to come out from that tomb and learn to walk and embrace newly life’s uncertainty? It is a new beginning, because you do it with Jesus. It is new, because the biggest enemy, death, has been conquered. It is new, because He is alive. Let’s walk with Him as we continue to shout to the whole world: Christ is risen, Hallelujah! Amen.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

My Article in KOMPAS

Here is the link to my article that appeared in the National Newspaper KOMPAS (Saturday, March 22, 2008). It is in Indonesian, though. The title is "Kasih Seorang Sahabat" (that is, "Love of a Good Friend"). It's a brief meditation (for wide audience) on Easter. Blessings!


Friday, March 14, 2008

Today and Tomorrow
by Deshi Ramadhani, SJ

God says...
I forgive you today
because I know
I will forgive you again tomorrow

We say...
I forgive you today
because I know
I will never forgive you again

How sad!

Jakarta, March 13, 2008

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Dear all,
Here are some thoughts on forgiveness.
Be blessed!


Forgiven and Forgiving
By Deshi Ramadhani, SJ

It takes love to be forgiven
It takes lots of love to be forgiving

It is easy and enjoyable to say "God forgives me"
It is tough and painful to say "I forgive you"

To be forgiven is to live
To be forgiving is to die

Jakarta, March 11, 2008

Friday, March 7, 2008

Dear all,
Here I am again. There are two changes in this new blog compared to the old one. First, the name itself. I now call it "You Are God, Not Us." It's the title of a little prayer-poem I wrote some days ago. I got up that morning and my heart was suddenly brought to God's forgiveness. By naming this new blog that way, I hope that God's forgiveness will always be a living reality for all of us. Secondly, people now know that "deshisj" is my trademark, so to speak. It is used in the address now. Besides, it's shorter, and I guess, more "user-friendly." Blessings to you all, as we wind down (at the same time up to Calvary) along this Lenten season. Here is the poem. May you be blessed through it...

You are God, Not Us
by Deshi Ramadhani, SJ

God, I thank You
That You are God, not us

Had You been us
You would have publicly defamed David
You would have erased his name forever
We would have never known of him
We would only have had glimpses
There was once a mighty king
Who lost all his chances
For walking on the rooftop on a breezy day
And for letting his eyes command his lust

God, I thank You
That You are God, not us

Now we can proudly declare
Jesus, Our Lord and Savior
Is from the line of that sinful king
And, we, proudly, can say
We take part in that grace
Poured down to us
Through that fallen king
Lustful, deceitful, murderous,
And because of that, so lovable

God, I thank You
That You are God, not us

Had You been us
There would have been no saints
Nor popes, nor bishops, nor priests
Nor preachers, nor ministers, nor leaders
There would have been no sacraments,
Nor the Church, nor us!
There would have been only
People pretending to be You
Forgetting who they really are

God, I thank You
That You are God, not us

For the Church of broken people...
Monday, March 03, 2008