Saturday, 31 January 2015

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time-B
I Reading: Deuteronomy 18:15-20: I will raise up a prophet and I will put my words into his mouth.
II Reading: 1Corinthians 7:32-35: An unmarried woman can devote herself to the Lord’s affairs: all she needs worry about is being holy.
Gospel: Mark 1:21-28: He taught them with authority.

Jesus’ Teaching and Its Impact: Launching a New Ministry (1:21-22)
Jesus is launching a new ministry in the very beginning with his authority which is very important for the believer as he goes forth serving his Lord.
1.     Jesus began with worship: Immediately-in the Synagogue (v.21)
2.     Jesus seized the opportunity to teach (v.21)
3.     Jesus amazed the crowd (v.22)
a.     His teaching (v.14-15)
b.    His authority

Jesus’ Power over Evil Spirits and Its Impact:
Delivering the Most Enslaved (1:23-28)
People can be delivered from all the forces of evil by the power of Jesus. Jesus has the power to deliver man (Rom 8:31; 1Jn 4:4; Mt 8:28-34; 17:14-21; Lk 8:26-39)
1.     Picture 1: The need of the possessed man (v.23-24)
a.     He was in the synagogue: nobody helped him or cured him
b.    He raged and cried out, sensed and recoiled from purity
c.      He identified Jesus: The Son of God, the Holy One of God
2.     Picture 2: The Power of Jesus (v.25-26)
Who is the agent or the author of evil spirit or who created the evil spirit? The misuse of the freedom and disobedience to the command of God and the will of God. The first parents disobeyed God’s command and misused the human freedom as a result sin and death came into the world where as Mother Mary and Jesus obeyed God’s will and brought eternal life and salvation to the humankind. The disobedient angels were also thrown down from the heaven.
Jesus rebuked the evil spirit: because of Satan’s influence, leading, cheating, tempting, and deceiving the man to take away from God and to influence him to disobey the commandments of God or will of God like Adam and Eve in the Genesis deceived by the serpent. Now the seed (Jesus) is crushing the head of evil spirit and its power over man.
Moses talked about this real Prophet Jesus the Messiah who would lead the people of God in the first reading of today. That is what John the Baptist said, “I am not a prophet, Elijah and Christ..But one who comes after me He is the Christ the Messiah.” Thus we need to listen to the voice of Jesus and obey his teaching and commands of loving God and loving neighbours.
Paul is urging to live a holy life for God rather than living according to own will or plan or wish but to live according to God’s will and plan which can bring victory over evil spirit.
How can we love Jesus and obey or listen to his command? By four things:
i.                   Prayer
ii.                 Reading the Word of God and practice them in life
iii.              Sacrament of Reconciliation
iv.              The Eucharist and doing good works in life for others and for God.
a.     The evil spirit obeyed
3.     Picture 3: The impact upon people (v.27-28)
a.     The people were amazed
b.    The people questioned: What power, what new revelation (teaching) is this?
c.      The people spread his fame
Thought: knowing that Jesus is the Holy One of God is not enough. A person has to believe in the power of Jesus Christ and love him and live a clean and pure heart.
One of the major purposes of Jesus in confronting evil spirits was to prove his Messiahship (Mt 8:28-34). He is the Messiah.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

 Saturday: 3rd Week in Ordinary Time-B
I Reading:
Cycle I- Hebrews 11:1-2.8-19: He looked forward to a city founded, designed and built by God.
Cycle II- 2Samuel 12:1-7.10-17: I have sinned against the Lord.
Gospel: Mark 4: 35-41: Who can this be? Even the wind and the sea obey him.

The Authority of Jesus over Nature: Rest and Peace

What was the purpose of this experience? Why was a storm allowed to arise on the sea with Jesus in the boat? The answer is given in v.42 “Who is this?” Jesus proved again that he is the Messiah! Calming the storm would do three things.
1.     It would demonstrate who he is: the Sovereign Lord who has all power- even power over nature.
2.     It would strengthen the belief of his followers, belief in him as the Messiah and his personal care as their Savior.
3.     It would give to all generations a picture of His care and power to deliver through all the storms of life (trial and fearful experiences).
In this experience Jesus has demonstrated his wonderful care and power to deliver the believer through all the storms of life.

1.     Rest and peace are sought after a tiring day (v.35-36)
a.     At evening- Jesus was fatigued tired
b.    He was so fatigued, he went as he was-without any preparation
c.      Other ships went also
2.     Rest and peace can be experienced despite a great storm (v.37-38)
a.     Boat filled with water
b.    Jesus slept
3.     Rest and peace are a concern to Jesus
a.     The disciples feared lest they drown
b.    The power of Jesus to control the situation
4.     Rest and peace come through two sources
a.     Through faith
b.    Through Jesus, His power and His Word. Cp. v.39
Thought: The power of Jesus to control the sea and its storms, to control nature itself, demonstrates three facts:
i.                   Christ is the Son of God, the Sovereign Lord over all nature and life (Mt 8:26; Mk 1:1).
ii.                 Christ can calm any storm of life for us (Mt 28:18; Rom 1:4).
iii.              Christ can strengthen us to go through any trail (1Cor 10:13; 2Cor 1:3-4; 2:14; 2Tim 4:18; Ps 91:3).

Friday: 3rd Week in Ordinary Time-B
I Reading:
Cycle I- Hebrews 10:32-39: Remember all the sufferings you had to meet. Be as confident now.
Cycle II- 2Samuel 11:1-10.13-17: You have shown contempt for me taken the wife of Uriah to be your wife.
Gospel: Mark 4:26-34: A man throws seed on the land. While he sleeps the seed is growing: How, he does not know.
The Parable of the Growing Seed: The Growth of Believers (Mk 4:26-29)

This parable describes how the seed goes about growing, and the process through which it passes. The seed is the gospel and the ground is the good soil, either the believer individually or the church collectively. Once the gospel has taken root in the heart of a believer, growth will take pace. The believer will grow spiritually. This is the greatest promise of God, the greatest assurance and confidence, the great hope and encouragement to every believer.

1.     The parable describes the kingdom (v.26)
2.     The seed is sown by a man (v.26)
3.     The growth is not of man (v.27)
4.     The growth is sure and constant, but gradual (v.28)
5.     The growth is consummated and harvested (v.29)

The Parable of the Mustard Seed: The Growth of God’s Kingdom (Mk 4:30-32)

Jesus is describing the growth and greatness of his kingdom, that is of Christianity. He shows how the Christianity begins as the smallest of seeds and grows into the greatest of movement.
The message of the parable is a powerful message to individual believers and congregations as well as to the world wide church. The seed of faith ever begins ever so small, but it grows into the greatest of bushes as it nourishes itself day by day. Mature (grown v.32) believers and congregation alike provide shelter for the people of a turbulent world.

1.     The parable describes the kingdom (Christianity) (v.30)
2.     The seed is sown (v.31)
a.     It is sown in the ground
b.    It is the smallest of all seeds
3.     The seed does grow (v.32)
a.     The reason: it is sown
b.    The result: it is larger than all the plant
4.     The birds do nest under its shade (v.32)

The Use of Parables by Jesus: Why Christ used Illustrations, (Mk 4:33-34)

The wisest of all teachers used illustrations, more specifically, he used parables (Mk 4:2- for more discussion). This passage gives three very practical reasons why Jesus used illustrations in his teaching (Mt 13:10-17 for a detailed discussions).
1.     To illustrate the Word (v.33)
2.     To teach step by step (v.33)
3.     To enforce the lesson in private (v.34)

Thought: The growth of a tree from a small seed is nothing compared to the growth of a person who truly comes to know Jesus Christ nor to the growth of a Church that is truly committed to the mission of Christ (Jn 12:24).

Thursday: 3rd Week in Ordinary Time-B
I Reading:
Cycle I- Hebrews 10:19-25: Let us keep firm in the hope we profess and be concerned for each other, to stir a response in love.
Cycle II- 2Samuel 7:18-19.24-29: Who am I Lord, and what is my House?
Gospel: Mark 4:21-25: A lamp is to be put on a lamp-stand. The amount you measure out is the amount you will be given.

The Parable Dealing with Truth: Truth and Man’s Duty

The light reader and surface thinker will not understand what Jesus is saying. This very fact is the point Jesus was making. Grasping and knowing the truth takes time and effort and energy, and man has a twofold responsibility toward the truth (see Lk 8:16-18 for more discussion).

1.     Share the truth (v.21-23)
a.     The fact: lamps are to be placed on a lamp stand
b.    The warning: all things will be revealed, nothing is hidden-except temporarily
c.      The exhortation: man/woman had better hear
2.     Mark the truth (v.24-25)
a.     Pay attention, make sure you hear the truth
b.    The reason: how much man/woman pays attention determine his/her reward
i.                   The reward of more truth
ii.                 The judgement of losing all

Thought: God gives the light of the truth to believers for a specific purpose: that it might be shared. God wants others to see and know the light, the truth and the purpose of life. The believer must make sure that h/she does not hide or misuse the light of the truth. Every person is given some light and some truth (Rom 1:20-23; 12:3-8; 1Cor 2:12; 12:7f; Jn 8: 32; Eph 4:7). Each person is responsible to use what light and truth h/se has. He/she is not to hide or misuse it. He/she is held accountable for what he/she has, for what God has given him (2Cor 5:10).
God expects a person to seek after the truth. He abhors laziness, selfishness, indulgence, uselessness, worldliness, and ignorance. If a person is filled with junk, he/she is responsible for the junk.

Wednesday: 3rd Week in Ordinary Time-B
I Reading:
Cycle I- Hebrews 10:11-18: He achieved the eternal perfection of all whom he is sanctifying.
Cycle II- 2Samuel 7:4-17: Your house and your sovereignty will always stand secure before me.
Gospel: Mark 4: 1-20: Imagine a sower going out to sow.

The Parable of the Sower or Farmer:
How Men receive the Word of God

There are two great lessons in this parable. First, there is the lesson of sowing the seed, the lesson to the messenger of God. The messenger of God or the genuine believer is to sow the seed, the Word of God, wherever he is no matter the difficulty, the opposition, or the discouragement. When Jesus stood before people, he knew the kind of people who sat before him. He knew...
·        The hard, closed hearts of the religionists and others.
·        The shadow, deceptive enthusiasm of the poor and needy and of others.
·        The worldliness of the well-to-do and others, how entangled they were in things and pleasure.
He knew that many would never listen but he also knew something else: if he just kept sowing the seed, some would bear fruit.
Second, there is the great lesson on receiving the seed, the lesson to the hearers of the Word of God. The soils, that is, human hearts, vary among people. Just what kind of heart a person has depends upon how he/she lived and responded and conditioned himself throughout life.
The condition of his/her determines how he/she will love God and his/her neighbour, whether he/she will be responsible or closed minded. The point is that God holds a person responsible for the condition of his/her heart and for how he/she responds to the gospel.
In this parable Jesus paints the picture of various soils (hearts) and how they receive the seed, the Word of God. (See notes for more discussion Mt 13:1-9; Lk 8:4-15).

1.     Jesus began a method of teaching-the parable (v.12)
a.     The setting: by the lake shore in a boat
b.    The crowd: very large
c.      The parable
2.     The parable: a sower or farmer sows (v.3-9)
a.     Sows seed that does not take root
i.                   Some fall by the path: devoured
ii.                 Some fall upon rocky places: withers
b.    Sows seed that does take root, but does not yield fruit-falls among thorns
c.      Sows seed that does bear fruit
d.    Sows only a few seed that bear 100 percent fruit
e.      A message heard only by spiritual ears
3.     The response to the parable (v.10-12)
a.     The disciples accept the parable
b.    The outsiders reject the parable-deliberately
i.                   Lest they hear, see and understand
ii.                 Lest they be converted and forgiven
4.     The meaning of the parable (v.13-20)
a.     The farmer sows the Word
b.    Some hear the Word-by the path
i.                   The Word is heard
ii.                 Satan comes-take away the Word
c.      Some hear the Word-rocky places
i.                   The Word is received excitedly
ii.                 The Word has no root
iii.              Trail and testing come
iv.              They wither away
d.    Some hear the Word among thorns
i.                   The Word is only added to life
ii.                 The world, riches and things choked the Word
e.      Some receive the Word-on good soil
f.      Some –only a few –bear 100 percent fruit.

Thought: Three steps involved in bearing fruit or producing a crop. Hearing the Word, Accepting the Word and Producing the Word, that doing and living the Word.

Tuesday: 3rd Week in Ordinary Time-B
I Reading:
Cycle I- Hebrews 10:1-10: God, here I am coming to obey your will.
Cycle II- 2Samuel 6:12-15.17-19: David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with acclaim.
Gospel: Mark 3:31-35: Anyone who does the Will of God, that person is my brother and sister and mother.

Jesus’ Impact upon His Own Family:
Feeling Jesus is an Embarrassment

The rumours reached Mary and other cousin brothers and sisters about Jesus’ embarrassment. So they struck out to get him and bring him home before something terrible happened. When they arrived and Jesus was informed of their presence. Jesus made a shocking claim: there is a greater family existing than the human family-a family that has supremacy over blood relationships. It is the family of God, the family of all those who do the Will of God (for more discussion- Mt 12:46-50; Lk 8:19-21).

1.     Jesus’ family (v.31-32)
a.     They were “standing outside”
b.    They sent for him “to call him”
c.      He was informed of the family’s presence and embarrassment
2.     True kinship is not just blood relationship with God (v.34-35)
3.     True kinship is based on a common relationship with God (v.34-35)
a.     It is being a disciple of Christ
b.    It is seeking to do God’s Will

Thought: Some penetrating questions need to be asked and answered by all of us.
·        How many are embarrassed by Jesus?
·        How many are ashamed to stand up for Jesus and his claims?
·        How many fear what their neighbours and friends will say if they take a stand for Jesus?
·        How many want to take Jesus home and lock him up in a room where his claims will not bother anyone?

The Will of God is the law of God (cp. The Ten Commandments, Ex 20:3-17).