Thursday, 28 July 2016

18th Sunday in Ordinary Time-C

I Reading: Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:21-23: What does the man gain for all his toil? The attitude of the affluent towards their possessions is called “vanity.”
II Reading: Colossians 3: 1-5.9-11: You must look for the things that are in heaven, where Christ is. A warning against materialism, greed and  intolerance.
Gospel: Luke 12:13-21: This hoard of yours, whose will it be? The parable of the rich fool, highlighting the futility of greed.

The Parable of the Rich Fool:
The Man of Wealth and What He Should Fear, Lk 12:13-21
Our life must be with full of joy and full of meaning and not with emptiness in life. “Vanity of vanities.” All things are vanity. This would mean, “everything is emptiness.” The word “vanity” is 25 times in the book. But the preacher also discovers the meaningful life: “Revere God and keep his commandments.” Your life will have meaning if you do, and no one ever regretted having done so when his life on earth came to an end. We must not replace God with our riches, possessions, power and greed etc. Jesus warns the greedy for his/her possessions which hinder to enter into the kingdom of God. The will of God regarding money and possession is to help and support the poor, the needy and to continue good works in the society. Let us work hard to inherit the eternal life on earth and as in heaven.
Let us examine the parable:
a) the farmer was a self-centred person: he said 6 times “I”, “Mine”, “My”. He did not even said once about God or his gift.
b) The farmer forgot about God and had self-satisfaction only.
c) The sudden shock: Jesus’ uttering a loud “Fool….”
The purpose of our life is to become rich in God’s sight as saint Paul would say in the second reading: a new life at baptism, a life that cannot be destroyed (Col 3:1). We should have Life in the Spirit. “We were clothed n Christ” (Gal 3:27). It is not I who live but Christ lives in me (Gal 2:20).
The man of wealth is often self –sufficient, but there are some things he needs to fear.
1. A request for Jesus to give a judicial decision (v.13-14)
a. Brother’s desire for an inheritance and wealth
b. Jesus’ stern refusal
2. Fear this: Life does not consists in things (v.15-19)
a. The serious charge: watch out! Beware
b. The big sin: Greed or covetousness
c. The big “I” (6 times, 16-19): aggressively self-centred
d. The big mistake: self-indulgence and extravagant living
3. Fear this: your life may be required and demanded tonight (v.20)
4. Fear this: wealth is not a permanent possession-someone else gets it (v.20-21)
Our greatest treasure on earth is the Life in the Spirit and to live with Christ. Money and possessions are God’s gifts to help the poor and needy; we should make use of them in order to become spiritually rich. Our possessions should not become an obstacle on our way to God, as Jesus said to the rich young man, it is easier for a camel to enter into the eye of a needle than a rich man.
Greed-Covetousness (pleonexia): a craving, a desire for more. It is greediness, a dissatisfaction with what is enough. It includes for both material things and fleshly indulgence. It is desiring what belongs to others; snatching at something that belongs to others; a love of having, a cry of give me, give (2Pet 2:14; Mt 6:19-21, 24; 16:26; Eph 5:3-5)

Saturday: 17th Week in Ordinary Time-C

Gospel: Matthew 14:1-12: Herod sent and had John beheaded. John’s disciples went off to tell Jesus.
The Messiah’s Forerunner is Murdered: A Godly vs. Ungodly
This passage is a portrait of a godly vs. ungodly man.
1. John’s mighty works vs. Herod’s guilty conscience (v.1-2)
a. Herod heard of Jesus’ miracles  or works
b. Herod feared John was risen from the dead
2. John’s righteous witness vs. Herod’s immoral life (v.3-4)
3. John’s godly testimony vs. Herod’s worldly and fearful ambition (v.5)
4. John’s denial of the world vs. Herod’s foolishness and fleshly lusts (6-8)
a. Seen in a woman’s shameless dance
b. Seen in Herod’s passionate lust
c. Seen in Herod’s weakness and subjection to his wife
5. John’s godly fate vs. Herod’s unholy pride and weakness (v.9)
6. John’s courageous end vs. Herod’s savage cruelty (v.10-11)
7. John’s joy and glory and vs. Herod’s doom (v.12-14)
a. John’s disciples buried him
b. Jesus was told about John’s death: He grieved and recreated, getting all alone
c. Jesus went forth
          1) with renewed compassion
          2) with renewed ministry
Thought: John was imprisoned, yet the Word of God continued because the Word of God is active, alive, dynamic and life giving Word.

Friday: 17th Week in Ordinary Time-C

Gospel: Matthew 13:54-58: This is the carpenter’s son, surely? Where did the man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?
The Messiah Was Rejected in His Home Town: Why Jesus is Rejected
Jesus was rejected by Nazareth, his hometown and threatened by Herod (Mt 14:1f).
1. Jesus finished teaching the parables (v.53-54)
a. He went to Nazareth, his hometown
b. He taught, but they rejected him
2. Reason 1: They did not understand the source of his wisdom and power (v.54-56)
a. He lacked proper credentials and education
b. He was from humble beginnings
3. Reason 2: They were offended because of him (v.57)
a. Because he was of their own country
b. Because he was of their own house
4. Reason 3: They did not believe him (v.58)
Thought: Prophets should be honoured. Some do honour them, but not everyone. Jesus is saying prophets are worthy of honour (1Tim 5:17).
God cannot work when there is unbelief.
Many judge others by their educations, power, wealth, achievements…is wrong way or means.

Thursday: 17th Week in Ordinary Time-C

Gospel: Matthew 13:47-53: They collect the good ones in a basket and throw away those that are no use.
The Parable of the Dragnet: Separating the Bad from the Good, 13:47-50
The net is the kingdom of Heaven and the gospel is the message of the kingdom. The sea is the world in all the depth of its darkness and its unknown. The fishermen represent Christ and His followers.
1. The parable describes the kingdom (v.47)
2. A net is cast into the sea (v.47-48)
a. It generates every kind
b. It is drawn when it is full
c. The good are gathered into containers
d. The bad are cast out
3. The parable is a symbol of the world’s end (v.49-50)
a. Angels come forth
b. Purpose: Separate the wicket from the righteous
          1) To cast into fire
          2) Result: Weeping and gnashing
The Parable of the Householder: Devotion, Study and Sharing, 13:51-52
This parable teaches a strong truth: the true disciples of Christ had the same privilege and responsibility as teachers and householders. They were unusually blessed. Throughout their lives, they had been instructed in the old counsel, but now they had been taught by Jesus Christ, the Messiah himself. They now knew the new counsel of God. Thus, they were to be responsible disciples and share the whole counsel of God, both the old and the new.
Jesus was charging the disciples to share what they had learned from old Truth (OT) and the new Truth (NT).
Thought: The disciple is like the head of a household. The disciple possess an enormous treasure: the Old Testament and the New Testament (Rom 15:4; 1Cor 10:11; Jn 1:17-18; 14:6; Ps 119:142; Rom 8:3; Heb 8:6, 9:14-15; Mt 5:17)

Wednesday: 17th Week in Ordinary Time-C

Gospel: Matthew 13:44-46: He sells everything he owns and buys the field.
The Parable of the Hidden Treasure: Giving up all for Christ, 13:44
There are two interpretations of this parable.
1. Some say that Jesus Christ is the man (cp.24,37-38) and the treasure in the field represents potential believers who are in the world. In this interpretation, Jesus sees the treasure of people in the world, and seeing them he does four things:
a. He hides the Treasure (Jn 10:14-16,27-30)
b. He goes: He comes to the world (Lk 19:10, Jn 316-17; 10:10;18:37,1Tim1:15)
c. He sells all: He gives up heaven in all its glory and splendour (Lk 2:7;22:37; 2Cor 8:9; Phil 2:7-8)
d. He buys: He pays the ultimate price. He gives his life for the life of people (Rom 5:8; 1Cor 15:3-4; Gal 1:4; 1 Pet 2:24; 3:18)
e. He joys: He envisions the glorious day when all his treasure shall be possessed by him (Heb 12:2).
2. Others say the treasure is the gospel of Christ, the gospel of the Messiah who is ever so precious. A man sees the gospel, the saving message of Christ, as never before; that is, he understands the immense treasure of salvation.
a. He hides the treasure: he tucks it away in his heart, protecting it, not letting it loose. He seeks and continues to seek the truth of Christ.
b. He goes: approaches Jesus Christ and makes a decision.
c. He sells all: repents and turns from his former life to God.
d. He buys: commits all and gives all to possess the treasure of salvation.
e. He joys: experiences the completeness and satisfaction of the treasure and envisions and hopes for more and more, eternally.
Either interpretation fits what is said, and we are probably safe in saying that neither one exhausts the meaning.
The Parable of the Merchant Man and the Pearl of Great Price:
Giving up all for Christ, Mt 13:45-46
The point of this parable is the same as the Parable of the Hidden Treasure. Some say the merchant man is Jesus Christ. Some say the merchant man represents people who seek after truth (pearls).
1. He seeks pearls (v.45)
a. Seeks many pears
b. Seeks fine pearls
2. He finds a priceless pearl (v.46)
a. He goes
b. He sells all he has
c. He buys the pearls
Thought: People seek truth and life in such things as philosophy, science, technology, wealth, fame, sensation, art, music, literature and religion. But there is only one pearl that is priceless and worth more than the world itself-the pearl of Jesus Christ Himself (1Cor 2:3; 2:8-10). Acts 4:12; 1Cor 3:11; Phil 3:8; Col 1:19;2:3,10

Tuesday: 17th Week in Ordinary Time-C

Gospel: Matthew 13:36-43: Just as the darnel is gathered up and burnt in the fire, so it will be at the end of time.
The Parable of the Wheat and the Weeds Explained
This passage is the interpretation of the Wheat and Weeds (Mt 13:24-30).
1. The parable explained
a. Jesus was alone with his disciples
b. The disciples asked the meaning of the parable
2. The good seed
a. The sower: The Son of Man
b. The field: The world
c. The seed: The children of the kingdom
3. The bad seed
a. The seed: The children of the devil
b. The sower: The devil
4. The harvest
a. The day: The end of the world
b. The reapers: Angels
5. The reaping of the weeds
a. Symbolizing judgement
b. When: In the end of the world
c. Executed by angels
d. Who: Those in the kingdom
          1) who offend others
          2) who are lawless
e. The judgement: Fire and weeping
6. The reaping of the wheat
a. Identity: The righteous
b. Position: Glory in the kingdom
7. The strong call
Thought: The evil came out of the misuse of freedom and disobedience to God’s commandments.

Monday: 17th Week in Ordinary Time-C

Gospel: Matthew 13:31-35: A mustard seed becomes a tree so that the birds of the air shelter in its branches.
The Parable of the Mustard Seed:
The Growth and Greatness of Christianity, Mt 13:31-32
Jesus is describing  the growth and greatness of His kingdom and of Christianity in this parable. He shows how it begins as the smallest of seeds and grows into the greatest of movements. The message of the parable is a powerful message to individual believers and congregations as well as to Christianity as a whole. The seed of faith 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 congregations alike provide lodging for the people of a turbulent world.
1. The parable: Describes the kingdom (Christianity) (v.31)
2. A mustard seed was planted (v.31)
a. A man deliberately took and planted the seed
b. Planted in his field
3. The mustard seed grew and became the greatest of bushes (v.32)
a. Was the smallest seed
b. Grew into the greatest of bushes
c. Result: Birds come and lodge in its branches
The Parable of the  Leaven or Yeast:
The Transforming Power of the Gospel, Mt 13: 33
There are essentially two interpretations of this parable.
1. Some say the leaven represents evil that penetrates the kingdom of God and His church.
2. Most say the yeast symbolizes the kingdom of God that penetrates and works silently to transform people and society.
The Messiah’s Purpose for Speaking in Parables, Mt 13:34-35
See outline and notes-Mt 13:10-17 for a full discussion of the “Messiah’s Reasons for speaking in Parables.” The secret  of the  gospel must be revealed (v.34-35). See Eph 1:9-10.
1. To reach the crowd
2. To teach “these things” the Truth
3. To fulfil scripture
4. To reveal the mystery of the Gospel
Thought: The Gospel is extremely powerful (1Cor 5:6; Gal 5:9).

Friday, 22 July 2016

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time-C
I Reading: Genesis 18:20-32: I trust my Lord will not be angry, but give me leave to speak.
II Reading: Colossians 2:12-14: He has brought you to life with him, he has forgiven us all our sins.
Gospel: Luke 11:1-13: Ask, and it will be given to you.
The Great Subject of Prayer, Lk 11:1-13
This passage deals with the great subject of prayer. So we need to study time and again and learn how to pray without ceasing in life. The prayer of a Christian should resemble that of Christ. Jesus himself prayed often. What was Jesus’ prayer like? “Our Father” and He taught his disciples as we read in the gospel. He taught them to pray the way he himself did. The “Our Father” prayer as given by Luke, does not exactly coincide with the one given by Matthew (Mt 6:9-13). Luke gives a shorter form, but the content of both is essentially the same. Let us now examine the content of this wonderful prayer:
a) “Father…”- we are His loving children
b) “May your name be held holy”
c) “Your kingdom come”
The second part of the Our Father is:
a) “Gives us this day our daily bread…!”
b) “Forgive us our sins…for we ourselves forgive..!”
c) “Do not put us to the test…”- Give us the strength to resist temptation when the devil tempts us. Save us from the evil one (Mt 6:13).
Jesus taught us how to pray, how to converse with God our Father: with trust, with gratitude, with joy, just as he himself did.
1. Jesus prayed (v.1)
a. The disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray
b. John the Baptist had taught his disciples to pray
2. Jesus’ model prayer (v.2-4)
a. Thank God
          1) for being our Father
          2) for heaven
b. Praise His name always and don’t hate His name
c. Pray
          1) for His kingdom
          2) for daily bread
          3) for forgiveness
          4) for deliverance
3. Man’s part in prayer (v.5-10)
a. The illustration: man is to persevere and endure in prayer
b. The point: perseverance and endurance receive what is requested
c. The exhortation
          1) ask- shall be given
          2) seek- shall find
          3) knock- shall be opened
d. The answer assured
4. God’s part in prayer (v.11-13)
a. The illust.: God is not evil, but He is good-He is just like a father
b. The point: God is most willing to give- especially the Holy Spirit to dwell with man’s heart and life
Thought: Jesus Himself prayed to the Father always and asked His power and strength to continue His works and to do the Will of God.
Prayer makes us closer to God and helps us to love people with forgiveness and enables us to take up all kinds of responsibilities; even gives us lots of strength and courage to undergo sufferings or persecutions in life.
Man/woman is a bundle of needs; he/she needs to turn to God at every step, prayer is the way to do so. We must approach God in prayer with respect, with trust and with love.

Saturday: 16th Week in Ordinary Time-C

Gospel: Matthew 13:24-30: Let them both grow till the harvest.
The Parable of the Wheat and the Weeds:
The Question of Evil, Why It Exists
Some of man’s basic questions about the  presence of evil in the world and judging others are covered in this parable. It is a parable that has come very practical answers and lessons for people.
1. There are both good and evil people in this world and in the kingdom of Heaven (v.24-26)
2. Christ sows the righteous; the devil sows the wicked (v.24-25)
3. People question why there is evil in the world and in the kingdom (Church). Did God plant the evil as well as the good (v.27-28)?
4. People are not to judge who the wheat and weeds, the good and bad, are. Why? Because it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between the good and bad, and some of the good might be rooted up (v.29)
5. A day of harvest and of judgement is coming (v.29-30)
6. God alone has the wisdom to judge correctly (v.29-30)
Thought: Where do the weeds come from? An enemy sows them. Weeds will be bounded and burned whereas wheat will be gathered into the owner’s barn.
The devil is a sworn enemy to Christ, to the world , and to all good.

Friday: 16th Week in Ordinary Time-C

Gospel: Matthew 13:18-23: The man who hears the word and understands it, he is the one who yields a harvest.
The Parable of the Farmer or Sower Explained, 13:18-23
This passage is the interpretation of the Farmer and the Seed (Mt 13:1-9)
1. Describes the Kingdom of Heaven
2. The seed by the path
a. Identity: A person who is hard and close-minded
b. Problem: His heart is not soft; seed is unable to penetrate
c. Result: Satan snatches the seed away
3. The seed on rocky ground
a. Identity: A person who experiences a quick, dramatic conversion
b. Problem: He has little root and is unprepared to face the trails and persecution of life
c. The result: He falls away
5. The seed on good ground
a. Identity: Those who hear and understand the Word
b. Result: They bear fruit, but they bear different percentages

Thursday: 16th Week in Ordinary Time-C

Gospel: Matthew 13:10-17: The mysteries of the kingdom of heaven are revealed to you, but they are not revealed to them.
The Messiah’s Reasons for Speaking in Parables:
Who Receives and Who Loses
Why did Jesus speak like this so that his audience could not understand? The reasons are:
i. The unbelieving crowds were deliberately shutting their eyes and ears  to His claim and refusing to be converted and healed spiritually (v.13-15).
ii. It was time to teach the “secrets of the kingdom of heaven” to true disciple. Only the true disciples could understand his teachings and obey them but the deaf and blind heart and mind people would not listen to Jesus.
iii. “The secrets of the kingdom of heaven” cannot be understood without first recognizing Jesus as the Messiah and as the one who brings the kingdom of Heaven to people.
1. Why Jesus spoke in parables (v.10-11)
a. The disciples questioned Jesus
b. The general statement
          1) Secrets are given to believers
          2) Secrets are not given to unbelievers
2. Reason 1: Seekers and achievers receive more (v.12)
a. Some seek and have
b. Some do not seek and lose
3. Reason 2: Unbelievers reject and lose (v.13-15)
a. Their wilful rejection
          1) Do seek and hear, yet refuse to really see and hear
          2) Refuse to understand
b. Their rejection prophesied
c. Their rejection described
1) Harden their hearts
2) Deafen their ears
3) Close their eyes
4) Deny what they see
5) Refuse understanding
6) Fight conversion and healing
4 Reason 3: Believers receive and are blessed (v.16-17)
a. They see and hear
b. They are especially privileged over Old Testament believers
Thought: A little formula says it all.
          Perspective + Initiative = Success
          Perspective – Initiative = Lost opportunity
          Initiative – Perspective = Nothing
The person who seeks more achieves more and more.

Wednesday: 16th Week in Ordinary Time-C

Gospel: Matthew 13:1-9: It produced crop a hundredfold.
The Parable of the Farmer or Sower: How a Man Receives the Gospel?
Jesus revealed and pictured modern-day Christianity. He said the kingdom of Heaven is a mixture of good and bad. It includes professing believers as well as genuine believers; false doctrine as well as true doctrine.
Jesus pictured the world and its priceless value. He said that he had come to seek and sacrificially purchase the world. He said that his followers are to laboriously work, seeking to pull people into the kingdom of God. They were now responsible for teaching the new as well as the old.
Each hearer is responsible for how he receives the Word of God.
1. Jesus Christ preached a parable (v.1-2)
a. On the Sabbath
b. By the seashore in a ship
c. Large crowds gathered
d. They pressed him into a boat
2. A farmer went forth to sow (v.3,18)
3. A large number did not allow the Word of God to take permanent root (v.4-8)
a. Some dwelt by the path
b. Some the Word in a rocky places
c. Some received the Word among thorns
4. Only a small number allowed the Word to take permanent root (v.8)
5. Only a few allowed the Word to bear 100% fruit (v.8)
6. A strong call: Hear (v.9)
Thought: A person is held accountable for the kind of heart he has: hard, emotional, superficial, thorny, or soft and tender.

Tuesday: 16th Week in Ordinary Time-C

Gospel: Matthew 12:46-50: Stretching out his hand towards his disciples he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers.”
Messiah’s Answer to Doubting Relatives, 12:46-50
Mary was acting out of a mother’s love and a sense of responsibility for her son. Jesus taught about the true family of God doing the will of God than an earthly family with blood relationship.
1. He was misunderstood by His family (v.46-47)
          a) They “stood outside”: disturbed by His claims
          b) They try to interrupt His ministry
2. He proclaimed the existence of a unique family (v.48-50)
a. It is not based on blood relationships
b. It is based on discipleship
c. It is based on doing God’s Will
d. It is based on a heavenly, spiritual relationship with God as Father
Thought: The believer’s commitment to Christ is not for the purpose of minimizing the family but to give God His rightful place: supremacy over our lives. Christ sets the supreme example of loyalty to God and the family of God.

Monday: 16th Week in Ordinary Time-C

Gospel: Matthew 12:38-42: The Queen of the South will rise up with this generation and condemn it.
Messiah’s Answer to an Evil Generation or Apostates, 12:38-45
It is evil to seek special or spectacular signs. Jesus Christ is very clear on this point. Why? Because God has given every sign that could be needed  in Christ himself.
1. An evil generation sought a sign (v.38-40)
a. Jesus condemned his generation as evil and adulterous
b. Jesus gave one sign
          1) The sign: Symbolized by Jonah
          2) The sign: His death and resurrection
2. An evil generation was condemned because it did not repent (v.41)
a. Nineveh will testify against
b. Why: Now a greater messenger than Jonah
c. Result: Condemnation
3. An evil generation was condemned because it did not seek the greater wisdom (v.42)
a. The question of Sheba will testify against
b. Why: Now a greater One than Solomon to impart the truth
4. An evil generation followed a false religion-that of self reformation (v.43-45)
a. Illustration: A parable
          1) Man reforms his life
          2) Man fails to fill his life with Christ
b. Result
          1) Greater depravity
          2) End condition is worse
c. Point: A generation that rejects Christ is fit for the takeover of evil
Thought: The people of Nineveh believed God and repented when the prophet preached. Christ implies the experience of Nineveh to the world.
1) The world is ungodly and wicked world.
2) God sent his prophet (Jesus Christ, his own Son) to warn the world in love.
3) The people of the world “do not believe God” and do not repent when the message of Christ is preached.
What Christ is saying. “You ask for a sign. I am God’s sign.”