Monday, 30 May 2016

I Reading: 1Kings 17:17-24: Elijah, prophet of God, prays and a child is restored to life. Look, your son is alive.
II Reading: Galatians 1:11-19: God revealed his Son in me, so that I might preach the Good News about him to the pagans.
Gospel: Luke 7:11-17: A funeral procession is transformed into a celebration of life. Young man, I tell you to get up.
Jesus Raises a Widow’s son: Great Compassion and Power, 7:11-17
The most phenomenal event in all history is the resurrection of the dead. Today the church wants us to reflect on a problem that has worried humankind from the beginning of the world: death. Death is a truly mystery, and only Jesus can help us to solve it. The first reading and the Gospel of today speak about it. The prophet Elijah raises a boy back to life. Jesus brings back to life the son of the widow of Nain. Jesus completed his victory over death as he died on the cross. The whole life of a Christian is a battle against sin and death; he obtain the final victory over both, when he or she dies in the Lord. We shall be raised back to life as soon as we die. The meaning of the so-called “final resurrection” is that we confess in Credo: “I believe in the resurrection of the dead.”
It may be the fact of Jesus himself being resurrected or the promise  of believers’ being raised somebody, or of Jesus raising the dead some men just have enormous difficulty believing such claims. Luke knew this, so he wanted to help unbelieving minds. In this event Luke shared the great compassion and power of Jesus to raise the dead.
1. Jesus entered Nain-many were present to witness the conquest of death (v. 11)
2. The great compassion of Jesus: He was touched (v.12-13)
a. By death: a dead man
b. By a broken heart
c. By a loving, caring and beloved woman/widow
c. The Lord saw/Jesus saw: had compassion and spoke, giving assurance
3. The great power of Jesus (v.14-15)
a. To bypass traditional beliefs
b. To stop the death processional
c. To raise the dead
4. The great awe of the people (v.16-17)
a. They glorified God
b. They believed him to be a prophet
c. They acknowledged God’s dealing with them again
d. They bore witness
Thought: Willingness and obedience on the part of the pallbearers and the mother were essential for Jesus to raise the dead son. We, too, must be willing and obedient if we wish to be raised from the dead (Phil 3:11, 3:7-11).

Saturday:9th Week of the year – C

Gospel: Mark 12:38-44: This poor widow has put more in than all of them.
The Warning to the Crowds and Religionists: Some Things to Guard Against, Mk 12:38-40
Jesus warns to the crowds and religionists to guard against sins, corruptions and injustice. The passage discusses six of these sins. All six have to do with pride or flaunting oneself, either by elevating oneself above others or by misusing others.
1. Dress: To draw attention (v.38)
2. Greetings and titles: To exalt man (v.38)
3. Showing self: To be seen in the market place (v.38)
4. Front seats and high places: to be seen, admired, and honoured (v.39)
5. Devouring widows: to use widow for gain (v.40)
6. Long prayers: to show piety (v.40)
Thought: People exalt one another with titles: Reverend, Doctor, Director, Executive, Chairman, President, Prime Minister, Governor, etc.-all to elevate one above the masses bellow (Mt.23:12). All are our responsibilities must be based on humility, service and total commitment to establish God’s kingdom on this earth.

The Widow’s Offerings: Real Giving, Mk 12:41-44
This is a touching story with a powerful message often ignored. This passage shows how God’s heart reaches out to those in need reaches out in tenderness and compassion and love. It also shows how much devotion and commitment and boldness meant to Him. This shows how deeply God is moved by those who give all they are and have to Him (contrast the Rich Young Ruler, Mk 10:17-22). Finally the lesson is what real giving is.
1. Jesus observed some people giving (v.41-42)
a. Saw the wealthy give much
b. Saw a widow give little
2. Real giving is sacrificial giving  (v.42)
3. Real giving is measured by how much a person has left-not by how much a person gives (v.43)
4. Real giving seeks to have a need met (v.44)
5. Real giving is giving all a person has
Thought: We lack devotion and dedication in our commitment to God, whether commitment of life, time, gifts, or money.
We lack boldness in giving and using what we have for God and needy people.

Friday:9th Week of the year – C

Gospel: Mark 12:35-37: How can they maintain that the Christ is the Son of David?
The Entangled Idea of the Messiah, Mk 12:35-37
Jesus asked the important question to his opponents and today he asks every person: “What do you think about the Christ, the Messiah?”
1. Jesus questioned men (v.35)
2. The entangled idea of the Messiah: He is David’s son-a mere man (v.35)
3. The correct idea of the Messiah: He is the Lord of David-God Himself (v.36-37)
4. The crowds listened to Jesus: with delight (v.37)
Thought: The religionists missed the truth of the Messiah because they misread the Scriptures and did not believe in the power of God. They studied their teachers and authorities more than the Scripture itself. They were dogmatic about their own ideas and notions about the future and how events would actually take place. Prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah were made a matter of fellowship.
But some people listened to Jesus with  a great delight.

Friday:9th Week of the year – C

Gospel: Mark 12:35-37: How can they maintain that the Christ is the Son of David?
The Entangled Idea of the Messiah, Mk 12:35-37
Jesus asked the important question to his opponents and today he asks every person: “What do you think about the Christ, the Messiah?”
1. Jesus questioned men (v.35)
2. The entangled idea of the Messiah: He is David’s son-a mere man (v.35)
3. The correct idea of the Messiah: He is the Lord of David-God Himself (v.36-37)
4. The crowds listened to Jesus: with delight (v.37)
Thought: The religionists missed the truth of the Messiah because they misread the Scriptures and did not believe in the power of God. They studied their teachers and authorities more than the Scripture itself. They were dogmatic about their own ideas and notions about the future and how events would actually take place. Prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah were made a matter of fellowship.
But some people listened to Jesus with  a great delight.

Thursday:9th Week of the year – C

Gospel: Mark 12:28-34: This is the first commandment. The second is like it.
The Question about the Greatest Commandment, Mk 12:28-34
Now the opposition groups chose only one member from among their body to attack Jesus. He was a teacher of the law (Scribe) who was most brilliant and versed in the law.
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 or woman.
1. A Teacher of Law (Scribe) approached Jesus (v.28)
a. Observed Jesus’ arguments
b. posed a test question: which is the most 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 people to agree
b. So great it exceeds all offerings and sacrifices
c. So great it almost assures salvation to those who understand it
Thought: People have to love God supremely (Jude 1:21; 2Th 3:5; Deut 10:12, 11:1; Josh 22:5; Ps 31:23). There are fewer who are open and honest to love God. Some are still away so they are not in the kingdom; they don’t experience God’s love, peace, joy, happiness, forgiveness a result they experience the emptiness and lack of peace and joy in their lives.

Wednesday:9th Week of the year – C

Gospel: Mark 12:18-27: He is God, not of the dead, but of the living.
The Question and Proof of the Resurrection, Mk 12:18-27
Jesus was confronted and challenged by the third group known the Sadducees. This group never believe in the resurrection of the dead and the life after death and angels in heaven. His challengers were the Sadducees, Pharisees, Scribes, the religious and political liberal of the day. Their liberal position caused two things:
1. It caused them to stumble at the spiritual and supernatural. They ridiculed and scorned both. Therefore they did not accept the teachings of Jesus.
2. Their liberal position caused them to feel threatened and to oppose Jesus. Some people were flocking to Jesus and soaking up his teachings. The Sadducees were losing their grip on the people. Their position and wealth were being jeopardized; therefore, they were compelled to attack and discredit Him  before the people.
1. Sadducees attempted to discredit Jesus (v.18)
2. The resurrection is denied and scoffed at (v.19-23)
3. The resurrection is based on the Scriptures and the power of God (v.24)
4. The resurrection is different and any earthly experience: It is of another dimension (v.25)
5. The resurrection is a living relationship that cannot be broken (v.26-27)
a. God is the God of past saints
b. God is the God of the living
c. Any other belief is a great error
Thought: Two things will keep a person from error:
          1) Knowing the Scriptures
          2) Trusting the power of God

Tuesday:9th Week of the year – C

Gospel: Mark 12:13-17: Give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar-and to God what belongs to God.
The Question of Civil and Religious Power: The State and God,
Mk 12:13-17
Jesus, being the Messiah, the Son of God Himself, saw through their plot. And Jesus now teaches the truth about the citizenship in state and heaven.
1. The false views of the state (v.13)
a. Religion is supreme
b. The state is supreme
2. The sins common to false views of the state (v.14)
a. Selfish ambition: Leads to compromise
b. Deception: Leads to false flattery and destruction
c. Obstinate unbelief: Leads to denial of truth, condemnation
3. Life within the state depends upon God, not money: Jesus does not have even a coin or denarius (v.15)
4. The State is ordained by God (v.16-17)
a. Something belong to the state
b. Some responsibilities are due the state
5. The state is limited in its power: God is due the things that are God’s (v.17)
Thought: Deception always destroys that which is truthful and strong and lovely (Job 15:5; Ps 5:9; Prov 12:3; 29:5).

Monday:9th Week of the year - C

Gospel: Mark 12:1-12: They seized the beloved son and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard.
The Parable of the Wicked Tenants: God and Israel, Mk 12:1-12
God has entrusted the vineyard of the Church and of the world to us (Mt 28:19-20), the new nation, the new creation of God (Eph 2:11-18; Pet 4-Eph 2:14-15; 4:17-19). Every point covered in Israel’s history should, therefore, be a dynamic message speaking to our hearts.
1. God is generous: He gives everything needed (v.1)
2. God is trusting: He gives responsibility and freedom to govern life (v.1)
3. God is exacting: He expects payment (v.2)
4. God is patient: He sends messenger to receive payment (v.2-5)
a. One suffers mild abuse
b. Still another suffers sever abuse
c. Still another suffers capital abuse
5. God is love: He sends His very own Son to the world (v.6-8)
a. Man’s plot: to kill the Son
b. Man’s reason: to secure inheritance
c. Man’s crime: They killed the Son
6. God is just: He will come to destroy evil keepers (v.9)
7. God is trustworthy: He fulfils His promises (v.10-11)
a. The promise of the Messiah-the stone
b. The exaltation of the Messiah
8. Conclusion: The great tragedy (v.12)
Thought: God is generous to every person. Two of the greatest gifts God has given people are trust and freedom (Gen 1:27-28, Ps 8:6; Mt 25:14, 1Cor 4:2; 1Tim 6:20; Lk 19:13).

Saturday, 28 May 2016

I Reading: Genesis 14:18-20: Melchizedek, king and priest, brought bread and wine.
II Reading: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26: Every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are proclaiming the Lord’s death.
Gospel: Luke 9:11-17: From five loaves and two fish the crowd ate as much as they wanted, and the scraps filled twelve baskets.
Jesus Teaches How to Minister, Lk 9:10-17
The Eucharist is the very centre and heart of our faith, church, parish and the believers of Jesus Christ. The Eucharist also the love God to His Son and the love of Jesus by his death on the cross for all for the forgiveness of sins and the salvation of the whole humanity. Jesus himself instituted the Eucharist  on the Holy Thursday and told his disciples “ this is my body which will be given up for you....and this is my blood, the blood of the new covenant which will be poured out for the forgiveness of many and do this in memory of me.”
In the year 1263, a priest from Prague on his pilgrimage to Rome on the way asking God to strengthen his faith since he was having doubts his vocation. The bread turned into flesh and began to bleed and the drops of blood fell on the corporal. The following year 1264, pope Urban IV instituted the feast of the Body and Blood of Jesus. Today is known as the Corpus Christi.
In 700 A.D. a monk was loosing his vocation, during the consecration, the host turned into flesh and the wine turned into blood.
In 1971 and 1981 a hospital laboratory tested the flesh and blood and discovered that the flesh is myocardium which is heart muscular tissue.
There are many the Eucharistic miracles are taking place around the world to strengthen our faith in Jesus. Because God still loves us through His beloved Son Jesus Christ who is always present with us at all times of joys and sorrows. Let us believe in him and have the eternal life.
God shows his love for people by preparing his gifts well in advance (Heb 7:1-2, Gen 14:17-20; Ps 110:4). Jesus prepared his people wisely and delicately to accept his gift of the Holy Eucharist (Mt 14:13-21; Mk 6:30-44; Lk 9:10-17; 22:19;  Jn 6:1-13). For the Eucharist to yield its fruit, the Christian community must celebrate it united in mutual love (1Cor 11:23-25; 15:23; 11: 18,20; Mt 26:26-28; Mk 14:22-24; Lk 22: 19-20).
Jesus’ gift of himself in the Eucharist is intimately connected with that of his own life on the cross; his love for us shines at its best in both gifts. Jesus urges us to repent of our sins and to put ourselves under his Father’s loving rule, to enter into his kingdom and to worthily and gratefully accept his Body and Blood as the nourishment of the Life in the Spirit within us. Mutual union, and concern for our brothers and sisters in the community, are essential conditions to celebrate the Eucharist in a worthy manner.
Jesus once said, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to save” (cp. Mt 20:28; Mk 10:45). So it is with the Lord’s disciple. But how the disciple ministers is of vital concern, for how he ministers determines the eternal fate of people and the success or failure of the Lord’s mission. In this passage Jesus teaches His followers how to minister (Mt 14:15-21; Mk 6:30-44).
1. He demonstrated and taught the need for privacy and rest (v.10)
a. The twelve returned and reported to Jesus
b. Jesus sought privacy with the disciple
2. He allowed the needy to interrupt the much needed privacy and rest (v.11)
3. He met both spiritual and physical needs (v.11)
4. He challenged the disciples to meet the people’s needs (v.12-13)
a. The wrong attitude: Let the people take care of themselves
b. The right attitude: let the disciples meet the people’s needs
c. The problem: Inadequate resources
5. He approached needs in an orderly fashion (v.14-15)
6. He looked to God in meeting needs (v.16-17)
a. He thanked God for what he had
b. He broke and gave what he had
c. He utilized all for future ministering and feeding
Thought: The task is enormous. It can be met only by an orderly, organized approach. The lesson is clear for every believer. Once we do our part, God will multiply our resources. There will always be enough to feed all-if we will only confess our inadequate resources, give thanks for what we have, and then give what we have. (Mt 6:33; Mal 3:10; Ps 24:1; 41:1; 50:10; Prov 11:25, 22:9, 28:27; Eccl 11:1; Is 32:8, 58:10; Hag 2:8).

Monday, 23 May 2016

Saturday:8th Week of the year-C

Gospel: Mark 11: 27-33: What authority have you for acting like this?
The Authority of Jesus Questioned: Two Choices Concerning Jesus,
Mk 11:27-33
This is an important event. Both religionists and civil leaders confronted Jesus head-on, doing all they could to trap and discredit Jesus before the people so they could arrest him and have him killed. Jesus was very forceful in attacking self-righteousness and unbelief. Jesus said, a person even a religionist, who continued in self-righteousness was unworthy of God’s kingdom. Obstinate unbelief would doom any person.
1. Jesus was in the temple (v.27)
a. He was walking
b. The religionists approached and questioned him
2. The question of Jesus’ authority (v.28)
a. Authority of works
b. Authority of person
3. The Choices for man: Illustrated by John the Baptist (v.29-32)
a. Choice one: He was from God
b. Choice two: He was a mere man
4. The tragic answer: No decision (v.33)
Thought: Indecision and agnosticism are always tragic. They just would not convinced of the truth even if Jesus Christ openly revealed the truth to them, they would reject.

Friday:8th Week of the year-C

Gospel: Mark 11: 11-26: My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples. Have faith in God.
The Fig Tree Cursed: A Warning Against a Fruitless Life, Mk 11:12-14
Why did Jesus destroy the fig tree? Two things always need to be remembered.
1. God is both good and severe. As Paul says, “consider therefore the kindness and the sternness of God” (Rom 11:22).
2. Jesus always acted either to teach people or to save and help people. In the destruction of the fig tree, Jesus was teaching people a much needed lesson-a lesson that shouts loudly, “Be fruitful! Guard against profession without bearing fruit.”
1. Jesus had need (v.12)
2. Jesus was potential (v.13)
3. Jesus examined the fruit (13)
4. Jesus condemned profession without fruit (faith in God) (v.14)
The Temple Cleansed: A Warning to Those Who Abuse God’s Temple,
Mk 11:15-19
The cleansing of the temple took place on Monday, the day after the triumphal entry into Jerusalem. He entered the temple and “looked around at everything” (v.11), observing all that was going on. He stood off to the side observing all the corruption. After some time, heartbroken and weary, he left, returning to Bethany to spend Sunday night. When he rose on Monday morning, he returned to the temple and cleansed it of those who profaned its sacredness.
Four things should be noted about the temple during this last week of our Lord’s life.
1. Jesus was ending his ministry in the temple, his Father’s house of prayer, the place where God’s presence dwells in a special way.
2. Jesus was revealing who he was by cleansing the temple.
3. In cleansing the temple, Jesus was revealing how people were to retreat and use the temple of God.
4. Jesus began and ended his ministry by cleansing the temple.
When our Lord entered Jerusalem, he did not go up to the palace of a king, nor to the courts of the rulers; but he went up to the temple, to the House of God and taught us how the temple is to be used.
1. Jesus entered the temple (v.15)
2. Jesus drove some out of the temple (v.15-17)
a. Those who commercialized or secularized religion
b. Those who desecrated God’s house
c. Those who affected the atmosphere of prayer
d. Those who shut people out
e. Those who changed the purpose of the temple
3. Jesus caused a reaction when the truth of the temple was proclaimed (v.3)
a. Some sought to persecute him
b. Some were amazed
4. Jesus left when the truth was rejected (v.19)
The Conditions of Prayer, Mk 11:20-26
Prayer has its conditions. Jesus used the fig tree to teach what the conditions of prayer are.
1. The fig tree was noticed, cp. V.12-14 (v.20-21)
a. The tree had been cursed by Jesus
b. Peter was surprised at the answer to Jesus’ prayer
2. Condition 1: Faith in God (v.22-23)
a. The object of faith: God
b. The purpose of faith: To remove mountains
c. The way to possess faith: Prayer
          1) Not doubting- in your heart
          2) Believing-in God’s authority
d. The results of faith
3. Condition 2: Expectancy (v.24)
a. Emotions: Desire
b. Will: Ask
c. Spirit: Believe
4. Condition 3: Forgiveness: While praying, forgive (v.25)
Thought: How many today would be gotten rid of if they really sought to cleanse the church of the abusers and secular activities often allowed and promoted within its walls? (1Tim 6:10; James 5:3; Prov 16:8; Jer 17:11)

Thursday:8th Week of the year-C

Gospel: Mark 10:46-52: Master, let me see again.
The Steps for Getting Help: Blind Bartimaeus, Mk 10:46-52
This is the picture of a man’s needing help and needing it desperately. As we read the story, there is no question but that the man’s blindness is  a picture of the blindness, darkness and needs of a world that reels in desperation for help. They need may be physical, mental, emotional or spiritual. Whatever it is, 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 beginning
2. Step 1: Believing the reports about Jesus
3. Step 2: Acknowledging personal need
4. Step 3: Persisting, persevering after Jesus
5. Step 4: Eagerly expecting to receive Jesus’ help (v.49-50)
a. Jesus stopped and called to the man
b. The man threw aside the impeding cloak
6. Step 5: Requesting precisely what is needed (v.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  hear Jesus, or he/she may miss the chance of eternal life.

Wednesday:8th Week of the year-C

Gospel: Mark 10:32-45: Now we are going up to Jerusalem and the Son of Man is about to be handed over.
The Third Prediction of Death: 
The Problem of Christ’s Death, Mk 10:32-45
This is the third time that Mark stresses the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This passage gives a striking portrait of Jesus and deals very straightforwardly with the problem of His death.
1. Jesus’ iron determination (v.32)
2. Jesus’ amazing drawing power (v.32)
3. Jesus’ thoughtful consideration (v.32)
4. Jesus’ magnificent love and courage (v.33)
a. He will be betrayed to the Jews and condemned
b. He shall be handed down to the Gentiles and tortured and killed
5. Jesus’ great purpose (v.34)
The Problem of Ambition, Mk 10:35-45
Jesus teaches his disciple James and John about their positions in Jesus’ government. His government was not based on worldly power or position or authority but by His death and resurrection with humility.
1. The deceitfulness of wrong ambition (v.35)
a. A secret approach v.41
b. An unlimited request
2. The possible motives for ambition (v.36-37)
a. Favoritism and wealth
b. Power and social status
c. Love, faith and loyalty
3. The great price of ambition (v.38-38)
a. The cup: sacrifice and suffering
b. The baptism: immersed and submerged
c. The prophecy: the certainty of paying the price
4. The exclusive right of God regarding ambition (v.40)
5. The potential conflict among people with ambition (v.41)
6. The greatness of good ambition (v.42-44)
a. Not to rule, not to exercise authority
b. To be servant
c. To be a slave, a bond slave
7. The supreme example of ambition (v.45)
a. Supreme humiliation
b. Supreme mission
c. Supreme price
Thought: Wrong or evil ambition is always deceitful and sneaky. A good ambition is needed always and we can encourage people to build up the kingdom  or reign of God in our lives, homes, societies and in the world.
Tuesday:8th Week of the year-C

Gospel: Mark 10:28-31: You will be repaid a hundred times over, not without persecutions, now in this present time and, in the world to come, eternal life.
The Problem of Rewards:
What One Receives for Following Christ, Mk 10:28-31
The idea of rewards in heaven is foreign to many. It is rejected by others, feeling the idea of God’s rewarding people is mercenary. Scripture abounds with the teaching of rewards “in the age to come” (v.30).
Reward is the point of this passage. Jesus deals with the problem of rewards, of just what a true disciple shall receive both in this world and in the world to come (Lk 16:10-12; Jn 4:36-38).
1. Peter asked about reward (v.28)
2. He receives a hundred times what he gives up (v.29-30)
a. Whether housing or family
b. Whether property or wealth
3. He receives persecution (v.30)
4. He receives eternal life (v.30)
5. He receives an immediate assurance and warning (v.31)
Thought: Leaving everything and following Jesus Christ are the two bases for reward. A true disciple of Jesus will live for Christ and for the Gospel.

Monday:8th Week of the year-C 

Gospel: Mark 10:17-27: Sell everything you own and follow me.The Rich Young Ruler: The Problem of Eternal Life, Mk 10:17-22
This man is known as “the rich young ruler.” He is called because of the combined picture gleaned from all three gospels.
·        He was rich (Mt 19:22; Mk 10:22; Lk 18:23).
·        He was young (Mt 19:20).
·        He was a ruler (Lk 18:18).
He was a rare young man among the people of this day. This is seen in two facts.
1. He was conscious, responsible, dependable-position of leadership.
2. He was eagerly seeking eternal life-a spiritual matter often shunned by young people.
Man/woman has a problem in seeking eternal life.
1. A rich young man sought Jesus (v.17)
a. Eagerness: Ran
b. Humility: Fell on knees
c. Respect: Good Teacher
d. Concern: Eternity
2. Fact 1: To praise Christ is not enough to receive eternal life (v.18)
3. Fact 2: To be respectable is not enough to receive eternal life (v. 19-20)
a. Laws of respectability
b. His respectable character
4. Fact 3: To be loved by Jesus is not enough to receive eternal life (v.21)
5. Fact 4: To give everything is required to receive eternal life (v.21-22)
a. The meaning: Total and sacrificial giving; the abandonment of all
b. The result: The result: the requirement is sad news-he goes away
The Problem of Wealth and Its Dangers, Mk 10:23-27
Jesus took the rich young ruler’s rejection of heaven and warned all people about the problem and dangers of wealth. It is extremely difficult for a rich man to enter heaven. It is a real and truthful warning to all of us.
1. The rich young ruler (v.23)
a. The earth-shaking statement
b. Peril of wealth: Bars from God’s kingdom
2. Rich men face great difficulty-spiritually (v.25)
3. Rich men are set on a pedestal by the world (v.26)
4. Rich men have only one hope-God alone (v.27)
a. God alone can save
b. God alone judges
Thought: Money and possessions can facilitate our lives and cannot save us but God alone.