Saturday, 31 October 2015

I Reading: Deuteronomy 6:2-6: Listen, Israel: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart.
II Reading: Hebrews 7:23-28: Because he remains forever, Christ can never lose his priesthood.
Gospel: Mark 12:28-34: This is the first commandment. The second is like this.
The Question about the Greatest Commandment, Mk 12:28-34

Why should we love Lord our God and our neighbour? In what does loving one’s own neighbour consist? Today’s readings vividly explain and give the answers to the above questions.
Jesus summed up God’s commandments into one: to love God through loving one’s neighbour. The Jews turned God’s command into a daily prayer. In today’s reading Moses urges his people “to fear God and to keep his commandments.” Moses was not telling his people “to be afraid of God”, but to revere him as we revere our own father and mother, and to obey him out of love.
God promises the three gifts to those who keep his commandments:
1.     A long life
2.     A numerous family
3.     All sorts of material blessings during life.
We should not be keeping in our hearts grudges, which mean we must forgive those who sin against us. We must support or help or rescue people in need. It is all about actions and deeds not so much of words or thoughts. We must be always united in God’s love, mercy and forgiveness.
Jesus had met his third group of challengers, the Sadducees. In their minds, His threat to their security remained. He had silenced and routed them. Jesus used the occasion to teach man the greatest provision and duty of human life: love. Love will provide for every need man has; therefore love is the greatest duty of man.
1. A Teacher of the Law approached Jesus (v.28)
a. Observed Jesus’ arguments
b. Posed a test question: Which is the important commandment?
2. The greatest commandment (v.29-31)
a. The Lord our God, The Lord is one
b. The Lord our God is to be loved
c. The Lord our God demands that we love our neighbours as ourselves
3. The great vastness of the commandment (v.32-34)
a. So great it causes honest and thinking men to agree
b. So great it exceeds all offerings and sacrifices
c. So great it almost assurances salvation to those who understand it
Thought: People are to love God supremely and love their neighbours selflessly without any discrimination because all are the children of one God.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed, 2snd November
Gospel: Matthew 25:31-46
I Reading: Wisdom 3:1-9
II Reading: Romans 6:3-9
The Parable of the Sheep and Goats:
The Final Judgement of Nations, Mt 25:31-46
Jesus taught about the final judgement of nations (all nations of people) which will be the judgement of the world through the parable of the sheep and Goats. He judges two types of beings, sheep and goats, not same type of being. The sheep are faithful whereas goats are not faithful and don’t serve Christ.
The only faith that God knows and accepts is the faith that servers Christ by ministering to people. A man who says he has faith and does not ministering to people is only professing faith in Christ. Scripture says, “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do” (Jas 2:18). God knows no faith apart from good works, that is, apart from ministering to the needs of the  people.
1. The Son of Man is coming to judge (v.31-33)
a. coming in glory
b. coming with angels
c. coming to be enthroned
d. coming to gather all nations
e. coming to separate the nations, both sheep and goats
          1) sheep- favoured seat
          2) goats- unfavoured seat
2. The judgement of sheep will occur (v.34-40)
a. the judge: the king
b. the invitation: come
c. the reward: the kingdom
d. the basis of judgement: ministering to Christ
e. the ministry defined
          1) a humble, instinctive ministry: no thought of reward, only of helping people in need
          2) a ministry to the Lord’s brothers and sisters
3. The judgement of goats will occur (v.41-45)
a. the judgement
          1) cut off from God
          2) eternal fire
b. the basis of judgement
          1) a failure to minister
          2) a selfish life
          3) a spiritual blindness
4. The judgement is for eternity (v.46)
Thought: Selfishness, indulgence, extravagance, hoarding-all that leads to and indicates the neglect of others-will visibly condemn a person when he or she stands before Christ (Mt 19:16-22, 23-24,27-30).

All Saints Day, 1st November
Gospel: Matthew 5:1-12:
I Reading: Revelation 7:2-4,9-14:
II Reading: 1John 3:1-3:

In the year, 609, Pope Boniface IV cleared out the statues of gods and goddesses from the Pantheon (“the house of all the gods) which was propagated by the Roman empire and turned the building into a church which he dedicated to God in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of all saints. This church is still standing.
Famous martyrs and saints were venerated in the church on various dates throughout the world. Today we have millions of saints who are known and unknown to mankind, but well known to God. The number of saints and martyrs goes on increasing day after day, this led the church to establish a feast in their honour on 1st November around 800 A.D. In this feast we praise God for having accomplished his salvation in so many people.
The Holy Spirit moved the church to establish this feast for a double purpose:
1) To praise God for having completed his salvation in so many of our Christian brothers and sisters throughout world.
2) To encourage those still living on earth to persevere faithful to Christ inspite of human weakness, temptation and persecution.
Their message from heaven today is:
Do not lose discourage; remember that we were just what you are, weak, and sinful people. Yet we were saved by God’s power and love. Keep up the struggle; we are here to lend you a helping hand with our prayer to God. There is a fabulous reward ready for you too here.
1. Every Christian is a saint in the making.
Paul does not hesitate to call his Christians “saints”:
From Paul…to you all, who are God’s beloved in Rome, called to be saints.” (Rom 1, 1.7; 1Cor 1,1.2; 2Cor 13,12).
In today’s second reading, John points out why Christians may rightly be called “saints” while still on earth, inspite of human weakness:
a. We, Christians are truly God’s children at Baptism (1Jn 3:1).
b. We are destined to be with God forever and to be like him (1Jn 3:2-3).
We Christians ought to consider ourselves at all times, “saints in the making” that is, people striving to become holy.
2. Neither human weakness nor suffering nor persecution should discourage Christians from striving after holiness:
The Book of Revelation teaches us about the sacrificial life and witnessing life of the people having faith in Jesus.
a) The first reason why we should not get discouraged is that we have already been chosen to be saved: Ex 39:30- Consecrated to Yahweh. Ez 9:4-T=Greek “Tau”, resemble a cross.
b) Ours is a numerous family; it runs into millions; we should pluck up courage at the thought that so many of our brothers and sisters are ready to give us a helping hand:
The Book of Revelation speaks of 144,000 people assigned by the angel, that is 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel.
We all form part of the new people of Israel; those who will, shall be saved (Rom 11:30-32).
c) Suffering, persecution, difficulties should spur us on to greater faithfulness, not discourage us:
In the first reading of John’s vision- saw a large crowd dressed in white tunics bearing palms in their hands, a symbol of victory during the time of Nero the Roman emperor. The second Baptism is the shedding of his/her blood for Christ which cleanses a person from all sin.
d) The great reward ready for us in heaven ought to encourage us to be faithful to Christ: Revelation, the last verses of the first reading 7: 15, 17 have been left out. They beautifully show what our reward in heaven will be like:
3. Christians are lucky people: Because the kingdom of God belongs to them by their faith and by their witnessing life for Christ and for his church.
Hence our weakness stand in the way of our becoming saints, yet we have very reason to be optimistic that we shall succeed. Suffering, temptation and persecution should not a hindrance to our salvation. All we have to do, is to walk on earth with our eyes fixed on the fabulous reward God has in store for us in heaven.

The True Disciple: Who He is and His Reward (The Beatitudes), Mt 5:1-12
The Beatitudes of our Lord are powerful, holding before the world a descriptive picture of the true disciple of God. Seldom people have been spoken with so much meaning in the history of the world.
The Beatitudes cover the glorious hope and reward the believer can expect, now as well as in eternity.
1. Jesus saw crowds (v.1-2)
a. Setting: Mountain
b. Posture: Set-Ready
c. Audience: Disciples
d. Purpose: To teach and prepare
e. Blessed
2. The poor in spirit: Given the kingdom of Heaven (v.3)
3. Those who mourn: Comforted
4. The meek: Inherit the earth (v.5)
5. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness: Filled (v.6)
6. The merciful: Obtain mercy (v.7)
7. The pure in heart: See God (v. 8)
8. The peacemakers: Called the children of God (v.9)
9. The persecuted: Given the kingdom of Heaven (v.10-12)
a. The persecution
          1) Reviled and insulted
          2) Slandered and lied against
          3) Persecuted and hurt
b. The behaviour expected: Joy
c. The reason for joy
          1) Great reward
          2) Great examples: The prophets
Thought: Being filled means “to be filled with the Spirit” or “to be led by the Spirit” (Eph 5:18). “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace…”(Gal 5:22-23).

Gospel: Luke 14:1. 7-11: Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the man who humbles himself will be exalted.
I Reading: Romans 11:1-2.11-12.25-29: Since the rejection of the Jews meant the reconciliation of the world, their admission will mean nothing less than a resurrection from the dead.
The Importance of Humility, Lk 14:7-14
Jesus taught the importance of humility in this passage.
1. Jesus attended a banquet (v.7)
a. He noticed some choosing the best seats
b. He shared a parable
2. The parable: The ambitious guest (v.8-10)
a. The first man: Seeks the place of honour
          1) is displaced
          2) finds all other seats already taken
          3) has to take the lowest seat
          4) is embarrassed
b. The second man: Takes the lowest place of honour
          1) is acknowledged
          2) is rewarded with the higher position
          3) is honoured by all
3. The Parable’s point (v.11)
a. Self-exaltation humbles
b. Humility exalts
4. The demonstration of humility (v.12-14)
a. Humility is not serving those who can repay
b. Humility is serving those who are needy and cannot repay
c. Humility shall be rewarded
Thought: Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up (James 4:10).

Gospel: Luke 14:1-6: Which of you here, if his son falls into a well, or his ox, will not pull him out on a Sabbath day?
1 Reading: Romans 9:1-5: I would willingly be condemned if it could help my brothers.

The Religionists and Their Error, Luke 14:1-6

A chief Pharisee invited Jesus to a meal on the Sabbath. Jesus strongly pointed out the errors of the religionists when they made a plot to entrap Jesus into breaking the Sabbath law. The same errors are common to every generation of religionists.
1.     The religionists watched Jesus critically (v.1)
2.     The religionists overlooked what was really needful (v.2)
3.     The religionists made religious form more important than healing men (v.3)
4.     The religionists refused to confess the truth taught by Jesus (v.4)
5.     The religionists failed to see the inconsistency of their belief and behaviour (v.5)
6.     Conclusion: The religionists were silenced (v.6)
Thought: Religionists are always putting their form and practices of religion before meeting the healing needs of people.


Gospel: Luke 13:31-35: It would not be right for a prophet to die outside Jerusalem.
I Reading: Romans 8:31-39: No created thing can ever come between us and the love of God made visible in Christ.  

The Tragic Rejection of Jesus, Lk 13:31-35
Jesus Christ has always been rejected and opposed by people. This passage deals with persons who rejected Jesus Christ.
  1. Some Pharisees warned Jesus about a plot to kill Him (v.31).
  2. The rejection by political leaders (v.31-33)
a.     His ministry will be completed
b.    His walk today, tomorrow and the day after “must continue”
c.      His death must be diligently pursued in Jerusalem
  1. The rejection by the religionists and the people (v.34)
a.     They killed God’s prophets and messengers
b.    They rejected the Messiah’s salvation
  1. The warning to all those who reject Jesus (v.35)
a.     They will be forsaken by God
b.    There will be a day when Jesus will return and rule supremely
Thought: How many of us know the divine necessity of God to witness? How many of us walk today and tomorrow under the direction (divine necessity) of God?

Gospel: Luke 13:20-30: Men from east and west will come to take their places in the kingdom of God.
I Reading: Romans 8:26-30: By turning everything to their good God co-operates with all those who love him.
The Saved Discussed, Lk 13:22-30
Who are the saved? Will many be saved? Jesus Christ answers these questions in this passage. He answers them to challenge us so that we will make sure we are saved.
1. Jesus journey toward Jerusalem (v.22-23)
a. Taught in the cities and villages
b. Along the way someone questioned Jesus about salvation
2. The saved make every effort to enter the narrow door (v.24)
3. The saved act soon enough: A man can move too late (v.25)
4. The saved are not the citizens of so-called Christian nations nor members of certain fellowships (v.26)
5. The saved shall be separated from the lost, and the lost shall see them enter God’s kingdom (v.27-28)
6. The saved will come from all nations and classes of society (v.29-30)
Thought: Birth and ritual are not enough to save a person (circumcision and baptism) but those who seek after the Lord for personal salvation or community salvation and do the will of God.
Gospel: Luke 13:18-21: The Seed grew and became a tree.
I Reading: Romans 8:18-25: The whole creation is eagerly waiting for God to reveal his sons.

The Parables of the Mustard Seed and Yeast (Leaven):
The Kingdom of God, Lk 13:18-21
Jesus taught about the kingdom of God through this parable which people needed to understand fully.
1. The kingdom of God illustrated (v.17)
2. It is like a mustard seed (v.19)
a. It is planted by God
          1) a seed
          2) in His garden
b. It grows to be great
c. It is lodging for all
3. It is like yeast (leaven) working in bread (v.20-21)
a. It is taken and placed in meal
b. It works until the whole is changed
Thought: The purpose of the kingdom is to work like yeast, that is, to change the whole an individual and of society itself.
The kingdom or gospel is deliberately taken and placed into the world. The kingdom and the gospel of God are not by chance.

Gospel: Luke 13: 10-17: This woman, a daughter of Abraham-was it not right to untie her bonds on the Sabbath day?
I Reading: Romans 8:12-17: The Spirit you received is the spirit of sons, and it makes us cry out, “Abba, Father!”
People vs. Religion: Which is more important? Lk 13:10-17
We should not place any religion before human’s real need. Every human person is very important and above all things in the world. Jesus met the needs of the woman who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years and He healed her completely on Sabbath day.
1. Jesus taught in the Synagogue on the Sabbath (v.10)
2. The woman was a worshipper of God (v.11-13)
a. She was worshipping
b. She had a curvature of the spine
c. She was seen and called by Jesus
d. She received Jesus’ word and touch
e. She glorified God first
3. The ruler (religionist) was a worshipper of God (v.14-16)
a. He became angry with the people
b. He corrupted God’s word
c. He rejected Christ
d. He was hypocritical
          1) He placed animals above people
          2) He placed religion above people
4. The effect of Jesus’ works and words (v.17)
a. The opponents: were humiliated
b. The crowds: Rejoiced
Thought: Jesus was worshipping on the Sabbath, doing exactly what He should have been doing. She sought to draw near the Lord for deliverance, whereas the man only practiced his ceremony and ritual.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Gospel: Mark 10:46-52: Master, let me see again.
I Reading: Jeremiah 31:7-9: I will comfort the blind and the lame as I lead them back.
II Reading: Hebrews 5:1-6: You are a priest of the order of Melchizedek, and forever.
The Steps for Getting Help: Blind Bartimaeus, Mk 10:46-52
We must have the great hope and faith in Jesus who can only save us and heal us completely; thus we need to approach Jesus with a desperate need accepting our own weakness, wretchedness, powerlessness and sinful life. Then only we can be healed physically, mentally, psychologically and spiritually. We can see not only the physical world but Jesus, the Saviour of the world and experience the eternal life on this earth as in heaven.
Jesus helped the blind man who was desperately in need. The need may be physical, mental, emotional or spiritual; it may be some problem with the mind, some desperate loneliness.
This passage spells out the steps for getting help.
1. Jesus in Jericho (v.46)
a. the disciples and the crowd
b. a blind man sat begging
2. Step 1: Believing the reports about Jesus (v.47)
3. Step 2: Acknowledging personal need (v.47)
4. Step 3: Persisting, persevering after Jesus (v.48)
5. Step 4: Eagerly expecting to receive Jesus’ help (v.49-50)
a. Jesus stopped and then he called to the man
b. The man threw aside the impeding cloak
6. Step 5: Requesting precisely what is needed (51-52)
7. Step 6: Following Jesus (v.52)
Thought: A person must go where he/she knows Jesus is, where Jesus “passes by”. A person must go where he/she can hear Jesus, or he/she may miss the chance of eternal life.
Bartimaeus believed on the reports and testimony about Jesus. Perseverance is the answer to desperate need-persevering prayer and persevering faith (Mt 7:7; Lk 11:5-10).

Monday, 19 October 2015

Gospel: Luke 13:1-9: Unless you repent you will all perish as they did.
I Reading: Romans 8:1-11: The Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you.
The Truth about Suffering and Sin:
The Great Need for All to Repent, Lk 13:1-9
Why do people suffer? Most people think their suffering is due to some great sin they have committed and that God is punishing them because they have been such great sinners. But Christ gave the new and true meaning to suffering in life.
1. Men do don’t suffer because they are greater sinners than others (v.1-5)
a. Event 1: The latest news of a horrible murderous event
          1) did not suffer because they were great sinners
          2) all must repent or perish
b. Event 2: The latest news of a terrible tragedy
          1) did not suffer because they were great sinners
          2) all must repent or perish
2. Men must bear fruit or else they will perish (v.6-9)
a. The fig tree’s privilege: in the vineyard
b. The fig tree’s purpose: to bear fruit
c. The day for reaping came
          1) found no fruit
          2) found that the tree was using up space on the ground and producing nothing
d. The mercy of God
          1) gave another chance
          2) fertilized and fed
e. The judgement was based on fruit
Thought: Suffering is not always due to greater sins but a mystery.
(Mt 7:4; Acts 28:4; 1Cor 1:3-11; Rom 3:1-18; Gal 5:19-21)

Gospel: Luke 12:54-59: You know how to interpret the face of the earth and sky. How is it you do not know how to interpret these times?
I Reading: Romans 7:18-25: Who will rescue me from this body doomed to death?
The Three Gross Misconceptions of Man, 12:49-59
Jesus covered two gross misconceptions of man.
1. Misconception 1: The Messiah has not yet come (v.54-57)
a. Truth 1: people discern the weather, i.e. earthly events
b. Truth 2: people do not discern the signs of times, the Messianic age
c. Truth 3: people do not discern spiritual matters
2. Misconception 2: Men have no need to make peace with God (v.58-59)
a. Truth 1: people have a bad case before God, the judge
b. Truth 2: the time is urgent-“try hard”
c. Truth 3: The surety of payment, that is judgement
Thought: The believer is to love God first and foremost then his/her family.

Gospel: Luke 12:49-53: I am here not to bring peace but division.
I Reading: Romans 6:19-23: Now you have been set free from sin, you have been made slaves of God.
The Three Gross Misconceptions of Man, 12:49-59
Jesus covered three gross misconceptions of man.
1. Misconception 1: The Messiah was to bring peace on earth (v.49-53)
a. Truth 1: He came to bring judgement
b. Truth 2: He came to suffer and die
c. Truth 3: He came to bring division
2. Misconception 2: The Messiah has not yet come (v.54-57)
a. Truth 1: people discern the weather, i.e. earthly events
b. Truth 2: people do not discern the signs of times, the Messianic age
c. Truth 3: people do not discern spiritual matters
3. Misconception 3: Men have no need to make peace with God (v.58-59)
a. Truth 1: people have a bad case before God, the judge
b. Truth 2: the time is urgent-“try hard”
c. Truth 3: The surety of payment, that is judgement
Thought: The believer is to love God first and foremost then his/her family.