Sunday, 9 December 2018

SUNDAY-3rd Week of Advent:Year- C
First Reading: Zephaniah 3:14-18: The Lord will dance with shouts of joy for you as on a day of festival.
Second Reading: Philippians 4:4-7: The Lord is very near.
Gospel: Luke 3:10-18: What must we do?
The Plain Message of John the Baptist: A Message for All Ages, Lk 3:7-20
The message of John the Baptist was powerful, a message for all ages.
1. He preached condemnation (v.7)
2. He preached repentance (v.8)
3. He preached against pride (v.8)
4. He preached judgement (v.9)
5. He preached social justice (v.10-14)
a. The people: were to love and care enough to share their material possessions
b. The tax collectors: were to love and care enough to stop exerting their authority and cheating people
c. The soldiers: were to love and care enough to provide security and service to the nation
6. He preached the Messiah’s coming (v.15-17)
a. The Messiah’s person
b. The Messiah’s baptism
c. The Messiah’s judgement
7. He preached many other things (v.18)
8. He preached against sin in high places (v.19-20)
a. He preached against the governor’s sin
b. The result: he was arrested
Thought: Most people are prideful. They feel they are special enough to be acceptable to God, that God would never reject them. They feel acceptable because they have godly parents, have been baptized, are not bad, are good enough, religious, members of the church and regular worshippers etc.
What is most important is to walk in the way of the Lord and to establish God’s kingdom on earth.
We the Christians are happy and joyful people the fact that we have already been forgiven, the Lord is already in our midst, the Lord is very near (Phil 4:5) and through prayer, we can obtain whatever we need (Phil 4:6).
The way to salvation is open to everyone; repentance and love for neighbour are the only conditions required to be saved.

Advent: Week 2: Saturday: Year C
1st Reading: Ecclesiasticus/Sir: 48: 1-4. 9-11: Elijah will come again.
Gospel: Matthew: 17: 10-13: Elijah has come already and they did not recognise him.
Jesus did not allow the three disciples Peter, James and John the brother of James to share their experience about the transfiguration of Jesus because it could not be understand by the people immediately. It was just incredible to grasp until after the resurrection. This charge to keep silent baffled the disciples because the scribes had always taught that Elijah was to come and proclaim the Messiah (cf. Mal: 4: 5). Even the disciples of Jesus did not understand the true meaning of Messiahship of Jesus so they asked such question. Jesus explained them clearly and said that John the Baptist was the prophet like Elijah who was to come. The people killed him; the Messiah too was to suffer at the hands of the people. God is there to strengthen Jesus and the disciples to suffer and to die for the kingdom of God.
I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins. (Jn 8: 24).
Thought: Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Believe in him is absolutely essential.

Advent: Week 2: Friday: Year- C
1st Reading: Isaiah 48: 17-19: If only you had been alert to my commandment.
Gospel: Matthew: 11: 16- 19: They heed neither John nor the Son of Man.
The Message Given to a Childish Generation:
Every generation has its privileges. The privileges are used properly by some and ignored and abused by others. It was a privilege to know Christ personally but the vast majority have ignored and abused Christ; therefore most do not know God personally or in a community living.
Jesus called his own generation was a childish generation or wicked generation or a perverse generation. They turned away from right and good to that which was corruptible. They acted contrary to the evidence, truth and justice. They were wrong headed, mindless and contrary and did not receive the truth. Jesus message is applicable to every generation.
1.    There is the childishness of this generation:
They acted like children with playfulness and lack of seriousness in life. They were fault finders, mindless and playful who never be pleased with God/Jesus.
a.    They accused John the Baptist of separation. John practised the disciplined life, poor life and simple living in his food, drinks, clothes and shelter. They called him, he is possessed by the spirit and he is mad.
b.    They accused Jesus of worldliness. Jesus was very opposite of John. He was accused of being a glutton, drunkard, sinner and friend of immoral people.
John preached a gospel of repentance and separation and Jesus preached a gospel of liberty and justice. But they found fault with both and accepted neither. They wanted to do their own way as they wanted. So there was the inconsistence in their thinking and doing. They did not think about the reason and logic behind God’s glorious plan in Christ the Messiah to save their lives.
Thought: there are two approaches to righteousness: the separatist approach of John and the social approach of Jesus. They majority rejected both approaches. Jesus did not condemn John’s approach and John did not condemn Jesus’ approach where as both supported each other and worked for the kingdom of God on earth for the greater glory of God and salvation of humankind.

THURSDAY-2nd Week of Advent:Year-C
1st Reading: Isaiah 41: 13-20: I, the Holy One of Israel, and your Redeemer.
Gospel: Matthew: 11: 11- 15: A Greater than John the Baptist has never been seen.
What Jesus did was reprimand the crowd. He vindicated John and his mission, reminding the forgetful and the fickle that John was the forerunner, and he claimed that he was the true Messiah.
1.    John was the greatest of natural men/women, yet not as great as the least in the Kingdom of Heaven.
2.    John launched a violent over throw of the kingdom.
i.                He stirred people to storm and rush into the kingdom just as an army storms or rushes into a city. Cf. Lk 16: 16.
ii.              A person must storm the kingdom to enter it. Cf. 2 Tim 2: 3-4; Heb 11: 6.
iii.            A person who really wishes to enter heaven will storm it. That is he/she will endure anything to enter heaven. Cf. Lk 9: 23; Rom 12: 2; Eph 4: 23.
3.    John was the last of an age- the age predicting the Messiah. John ended the age of the Old Testament prophecy. He was the last of a long line of prophets who predicted the coming of the Messiah. He was the one whom God raised up to be the end of one era and the beginning of the new era.
4.    John was the promised Elijah, the forerunner who was to proceed the Messiah. John was not Elijah in person, but he was like Elijah in spirit and power and work (Jn 1: 21-23).
5.    A person must hear. A person has ears in order to hear. Let everyone hear the message of Christ Jesus. Cf. Mt 13: 16; Prov 18: 15.
Thought: God expects us to use the faculties we have in order to receive His message: we have eyes to see His Work, hears to hear His Message, mind to reason the Truth, hand to work His Works, feet to go where He wishes. We are to be as committed to the Messiah as John the Baptist was.

WEDNESDAY-2nd Week of Advent:Year-C
1st Reading: Isaiah 40: 25- 31: The Lord Almighty gives strength to the wearied.
Gospel: Matthew: 11: 28- 30: Come to me all who labour.
The Great Invitation has given to this generation:
Jesus points two pictures in this passage. One is the extreme weariness and the other is extreme pleasure. His invitation is open to all to experience his true joy and peace and offering so much to those who are over burdened and wearied in this busy world.

1.    The first great invitation to this generation is “Come to Me.”:
a.     Who is to come? The weary and the burdened, exhausted and despairing, extremely tired and weighed down, ready to stop and collapse.
b.    Why should the weary and the heavy laden come to Christ? He will give them rest of true peace, joy and happiness.
c.     What are the conditions for receiving this rest? There is only one condition that he/she must come to Christ.

2.    The second great invitation to this generation is, “take my yoke upon you and learn from me.”
a.    Why should a person take up the yoke of Christ? Why should a person learn from Christ? There are three reasons:
i.                Jesus Christ is gentle and humble.
ii.              We will find rest. Cf. Hebrews 4: 1-13.
iii.            Christ’s yoke is easy and his burden is light. The yoke refers to person’s life and task while on earth. The word “easy” (chrestos) can mean well-fitting. Christ is saying that his yoke is his life and task, are fitted to a person to live with Christ.
b.    What are the conditions for finding this rest? Only one condition that the person must come to the Lord and learn of him how to live and labour under his leadership, guidance, direction and care on earth.
Thought: Jesus Christ is gentle and humble. He cares and looks after us. He is concerned and compassionate to us at all time with an unconditional love and care.
Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk. (Isaiah 55: 1).

TUESDAY-2nd Week of Advent:Year- C
1st Reading: Isaiah 40: 1-11: God consoles his people.
Gospel: Matthew 18: 12- 14: God does not wish the little ones to be lost.
The Parable of the Lost Sheep: The Supreme Example of Caring
This is one of the most famous parables shared by Jesus- the parable of “The Lost Sheep” or the parable of “The Seeking Shepherd.” It holds a great message for both the believers an
d the unbelievers, and Jesus applies it to both. Two things show this.
i.                The words “These little ones” refer to genuine Christian believers and the word “Lost” refers to the unsaved person. Cf. Mt. 18: 5-10.
ii.              On this particular occasion Jesus was speaking to his disciples (Mt 18: 1). In Luke Jesus shared the same parable with a different audience and directed it more toward the lost.
Some believers are weak, never having grown in the Lord; others cool off and wander away; still others backslide into sin and shame. Some are stubborn towards the Lord.
The one who strays and the one who is lost are always with us. Mt. 18: 14.
1.    Jesus came to save the lost: This is why he came to earth to save what was lost. It means Christ willingly and deliberately left the glory of heaven and his equality with God and made himself nothing.
2.    Jesus seeks every single one that is lost.
a.    The sheep wandered away.
b.    The sheep was sought by the shepherd (Jesus Christ).
c.     The sheep was sought in the mountain. He does not send another person to after the lost sheep but by himself he goes out with love.
d.    The shepherd is patient and enduring. He seeks until he has found.
e.     The shepherd seeks every path, ridge and crevice.
3.    Jesus may or may not find the lost one: Finding the lost sheep is not sure and easy task. It depends on the positive response of the lost sheep.
4.    Jesus forgives and receives over the recovered one: Great joy is there because the sheep was almost lost forever is found now and the task is successful after lots of thoughts, energy, time and effort to find the lost.
5.    God wills that not a single one be lost: Jesus wants each one of us to become the member of God’s family as brothers and sisters on earth.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
Thought: God loves, cares and forgives every single person those who willingly come to Him trusting in the power of God.
What a lesson for us! The concern of God for a single soul!

MONDAY-2nd Week of Advent:Year- C
1st Reading: Is. 35: 1-10: God himself is coming to save you.
Gospel: Luke 5: 17-26: We have seen strange things today.
Jesus Proves His Amazing Power to Forgive Sins
This passage deals with forgiveness of sins-the important issue that ever confronts man. Can a person’s sins be forgiven? Is Jesus Christ the one who has the power to forgive sins?
1.    An investigative committee visited Jesus.
a.    They were representatives from everywhere: the Pharisees and teachers of the law.
b.    They were to investigate Jesus’ claims
c.     Jesus’ power was set to face the opposition
2.    The approach necessary for forgiveness of sins
a.    They sought help of Jesus.
b.    They believed and had confidence in Jesus’ power to forgive sins and to heal.
c.     They persisted despite enormous difficulty.
d.    They sought forgiveness. The man was definitely seeking forgiveness of sins as well as healing of body. Jesus saw their faith, the faith of the friends as well as of the sick man and forgave the man’s sins. Jesus did not say, “Friend, God forgives your sins.” He said, “Friend I forgive your sins.”
3.    The power necessary to forgive sins: The power of God alone.
4.    The proof that Jesus can forgive sins that He is the Son of Man.
a.    His Word and the fact that it works proves His deity.
b.    His claim proved His deity. He is God, the Son of Man.
c.     His power proved His deity. Jesus spoke the Word, and the man arose. He was healed immediately by the Word healing of the Lord and he was forgiven by the Word of forgiveness. God’s Word proved itself.
d.    His impact proved His deity. The man praised God. The people were amazed, and they praised God and were filled with awe (fear and reverence).

Thought: Jesus has both the power and will to speak the Word of forgiveness and healing to those who seek it.