Monday, 29 August 2016

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time-C
I Reading: Wisdom 9:13-18: Who can divine the will of the Lord?
II Reading: Philemon 9-10.12-17: Have him back, not as a slave any more, but as a dear brother.
Gospel: Luke 14:25-33: None of you can be my disciple unless he gives up all his possessions.
The Cost or Conditions of Discipleship, Lk 14:25-35
Jesus is not interested in cheap invitations and discipleship. The call to discipleship is to receive the eternal benefits and advantages offered by God. A person must pay the ultimate price to get salvation, all that one is and has to follow Jesus Christ. What does it cost to follow Christ? Jesus explains vividly:
The cost or conditions of discipleship involves the supreme sacrifice: renunciation (v.26), self-denial (v. 27), thoughtfulness-counting the cost (v.28-32) and forsaking all-giving up everything (v.33-35).
There are three other conditions for discipleship given by Christ elsewhere. 1) Love to others-love one another (Jn 13:35;34)
2) Steadfastness-hold my teaching (Jn 8:31)
3) Fruitfulness-you bear much fruits as my Father’s glory to be my disciples (Jn 15:8).
This is the all important subject of this passage.
1. Huge crowds followed Jesus and he challenged them (v.25)
2. A man must put Christ first: Before family and even before self
3. A man must bear the cross of death: Death to self (v.27)
4. A man must give thought to discipleship: Count the cost and the consequences (v.28-33)
a. Illust. 1: A builder-must count his resources
b. Illust. 2: A king at war must count the consequences
c. The point: A man must pay the ultimate price-give up everything
5. A man must have the salt of discipleship: The Salt of self-denial (v.34-35)
a. A half-hearted choice
          1) is worthless
          2) is to be cast out
b. an invitation: hearing is a choice
Thought: A half-hearted choice worthless and is to be cast out. Salt  that is worthless and useless is always thrown out, for it is good for nothing. A person must bear the cross of death-to self (Lk 9:23; Mt 16:24).
We cannot understand God’s plan unless He reveals to us. Only the Spirit can help us to understand God’s plans of love for us; only He can give us the strength to follow Christ.

Gospel: Luke 6:1-5 : Why are you doing something that is forbidden on the Sabbath day?

Jesus Teaches That Need Supersedes Religion, Lk 6:1-11
People have the tendency to institutionalize religion, to  make it full of form and ritual, rules and regulations, ceremonies and services. Men, religionists and lay-men alike, are too often guilty of “having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2Tim 3:5). This is the very point Jesus is making in this passage. The more important things in life to meet the needs of people.
1. The Sabbath (v.1): This is the very thrust of Luke: to show that religion and ritual must never be put before the needs of man (Mt.12:1).
2. Fact 1: Meeting man’s real needs is more important than religion and ritual (v.1-5)
a. The need: the disciples were hungry, so they picked grain
b. The opposition: The religionists became upset because a religious rule was broken.
c. The answer of Jesus: An illustration
1) David hungered
2) David overrode the religious rules to meet a need
d. The point: The Son of Man is as great as David-He is the Lord of the Sabbath
3. Fact 2: Doing good and saving life are more important than religion and ritual (v.6-11)
a. The need: A man’s right hand shrivelled
b. The opposition by the religionists
c. The question and challenge of Jesus
1) He perceived their thoughts
2) He challenged them to think honestly
3) He healed the man doing good
d. The point: To do good and to save life supersedes rituals
e. The religionists’ insane anger
Thought: Christ shows that human needs are far more important than religious rituals and rules. We are not to abuse, neglect or ignore religious worship and ceremonies. Sometimes, however, a real need arise that has to be taken care of immediately.

Gospel: Luke 5:33-39 : When the bridegroom is taken away from them, then they will fast.

Jesus Reveals His Great Mission: The Great Mission of All, Lk 5:27-39
The greatest life ever lived on earth was the life of Jesus Christ. Therefore no mission cam ever compare with the mission which He was sent to do. The greatest mission of Jesus Christ was…
·        A quickening mission: to make people alive to God
·        An eternal mission: to give people life forever
·        A purposeful mission: to cause people to commit their lives to God unconditionally.
Luke’s very purpose in this passage is to reveal the great mission of Christ with the skilful mind of a man who knew the Lord intimately, he weaves several events together to spell out the great mission of Jesus Christ.
1. The mission of calling out-casts (v.27-29)
a. He went forth
b. He saw
c. He called
d. The outcast left all and followed Jesus
e. The outcast reached his friends
2. The mission of calling sinners to repentance (v.30-22)
a. The religionists questioned Jesus’ associations
b. Jesus’ answer
1) He illustrated His mission
2) He started His mission
3. The mission of bringing real joy (v.33-34)
a. The religionists questioned Jesus’ behaviour
b. Jesus’ answer: His presence brings joy and vitality to life
4. The mission of dying (v.35)
5. The mission of launching a new life and spiritual movement (v.36-39): Jesus gave three points to illustrate what he meant:
a. Illustration 1: Not patching the old, but starting a new: A patch of new cloth is used to patch an old garment, for it fails to match the old garment. Jesus was saying that he was not patching up the old life, but starting a new life and new movement (Mt 9:16; 2:21).
b. Illustration 2: Not putting His teaching (wine) in old wineskin: The new wine is not put into old wineskins, for the new wine would burst the old wineskins. Jesus was saying that he was not putting his teaching into the old life and movement, but he was launching a new life and movement for God (Mk 2:22)
c. Illustration 3: The new is difficult to accept-it takes time: The new wine is difficult to accept if one has been drinking of wine. Jesus was saying that his new life and spiritual movement would be difficult to accept; it would take time. Men/women were slow to give up the old, for they were too content with it (their religious ways and self-righteousness). Therefore, men would often refuse to even consider the new life and movement. (2Cor 5:17; Eph 4:22-23; Col 3:10; Titus 3:5; 1Pet 1:23; 1Jn 5:1; Jn 3:3).
Thought: The person who is truly an outcast of society, who is rejected and despised by people, can be saved and delivered from emptiness and loneliness. Jesus Christ will save him/her. In fact, He longs to save and deliver the outcast, the empty and lonely of the earth.

Gospel: Luke:5: 1-11: They left everything and followed him.

Jesus Calls His First Disciples: Steps to Calling Men, Lk 5:1-11
Jesus Christ set out to catch all men, but he is unable to catch everyone by himself. He needs help, the help of all who will follow him. The present passage is a descriptive picture of how Jesus goes about calling men to help him the enormous task of reaching the world.
1. Lake Gennesaret (v.1)
2. Step 1: Seeing a vision of people who need to hear the Word of God (v.1)
3. Step 2: Seizing resources (v.2-3)
a. seeing the resources available
b. seeing a man: Simon
c. leading the man to serve
4. Step 3: Removing reluctant obedience (v.4-5)
5. Step 4: Demonstrating godly power (6-7)
a. A catch so great the net breaks
b. A catch so great other help is needed
c. A catch so great both boats are filled
d. A catch so great the boats began to  sink
6. Step 5: Stirring a deep confession (v.8-9)
a. of sin
b. of Christ as Lord
c. of awe-reverence-fear
7. Step 6: Challenging men to discipleship, that is, to catch other men/people (v.10)
8. Step 7: Watching for the decision to forsake all (v.11)
Thought: The difference between catching fish means for death and catching men/people for life/alive. The disciples of Jesus were to give life to lifeless as Jesus did.

Gospel: Luke:4:38-44: I must proclaim the Good News to the other towns too, because that is what I was sent to do.

Jesus Ministers and Makes an Amazing Impact:
A Day in the Life of Jesus, Lk 4:38-44
This is one of the most interesting passages in all of Scripture. This is the very beginning, the very launch of Jesus’ ministry. Note how busy and pressuring and tiring the day was, and note the powerful lessons applicable to our lives.
1. He cured the most needful (v.38-39)
a. so needful, a great fever
b. so needful, could not speak or seek Jesus for herself
c. so needful, could not even come to Jesus
d. so needful, he came and healed her; she arose and ministered
2. He healed the diseases of those who sought him out (v.40)
3. He rebuked the evil spirits from making a false profession (v.41)
4. He sought  to be alone, seeking the presence of God (v.42)
a. He tried to get alone
b. He was sought out and was begged to stay
5. He persisted in His mission despite pressure to be sidetracked (v.43-44)
Thought: Jesus is the great hope of the most needful. No matter how desperate or helpless or weakened-Jesus will speak the Word of healing. All that is needed is a willing heart and mind.

Gospel: Luke:4:31-37: I know who you are: The Holy One of God.

Jesus Ministers and Makes an Amazing impact:
A Day in the Life of Jesus, Lk 4:31-44
This is one of the most interesting passages in all of Scripture. This is the very beginning, the very launch of Jesus’ ministry. Note how busy and pressuring and tiring the day was, and note the powerful lessons applicable to our lives.
1. Jesus went down to Capernaum (v.31)
2. He taught in the morning service with authority (v.32)
3. He delivered the most unclean (33-37)
a. A man with an unclean spirit sat in worship
1) Evil spirits acknowledged Jesus’ deity
2) Jesus rebuked the evil acknowledgement
3) Jesus cast out the unclean spirit
b. The people were amazed
c. The spirit spread His fame
Thought: The person who is morally unclean and dirty is in desperate straits. He is gripped by an evil force that cries out in the very face of God…
Jesus cast out the evil spirit and saved the man. How? By His Word, by simply saying, “Be quiet…come out of him!” Note the great power of the Lord’s Word. ?(Mt 28:18; Jn 17:2)

Gospel: Luke:4:16-30: He has sent me to bring the good news to the poor. No prophet is accepted in his own country.

Jesus Announces His Mission: A Graphic Picture of Rejection, Lk 4:16-30
Jesus Christ claimed to be the Messiah, and his claim was rejected by the people of his days. His claim is still rejected by people today. A graphic picture of rejection is painted in the present passage.
1. A dramatic scene (v.16)
a. Jesus visited his home town
b. Jesus entered the synagogue-his custom on the Sabboth
2. Scene 1: Jesus’ dramatic reading from the prophet Isaiah-concerned the Messiah (v.17-19)
a. The Messiah was to be anointed by the Spirit
b. The Messiah was to preach the gospel (good news)
c. The Messiah was to minister
d. The Messiah was to preach the age of salvation
3. Scene 2: Jesus’ phenomenal claim (v.20-21)
a. The rapt attention of the people
b. The claim of Jesus to be the Messiah
4. Scene 3: The people’s declining response (v.22-23)
a. First: They were impressed
b. Second: They questioned
c. Third: They demanded proof (insisted He heals (prove) himself, that is, work miracles
5. Scene 4: The people’s painful rejection (v.24-27)
a. Illust. 1: Only one needy widow had her needs met in Elijah’s day-because only one widow accepted Elijah.
b. Illust. 2: Only one needy leper was cleansed in Elisha’s day-because only one leper accepted Elisha.
5. Scene 5: The people’s true spirit (v.28-30)
a. An insane wrath: A close mindedness
b. An insane assault: To silence Jesus
c. The insane behaviour of the people failed
Thought: When God calls, He anoints; He equips the messenger with His Spirit. The Holy Spirit goes with the messenger wherever God sends him.

Monday, 22 August 2016

22nd  Sunday in Ordinary Time-C
I Reading: Ecclesiasticus 3: 17-20.28-29: Behave humbly, and then you will find favour with the Lord.
II Reading: Hebrews 12:18-19.22-24: You have to come to Mount Zion and the city of the living God.
Gospel: Luke 14:1.7-14: Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the man who humbled will be exalted.
The Importance of Humility, Lk 14:7-14
Our community prayer or Sunday gathering or any celebration should be a gathering and celebration of joy and not of fear (Exodus 20:19-The Israelites pleaded Moses when God was speaking at the thunder, lightning, trumpet blasting and the mount smoking) “Speak to us yourself and we shall listen; but do not let God speak to us, or we shall die.”
Our Sunday service is a banquet which Jesus Christ, personally prepares for us with love for the Christian community, and Luke wanted his Christians to realise the following:
We are the poor whom Jesus invites. We are poor both materially and spiritually.
We are the lame and the cripple, incapable of walking along the way to heaven; Jesus comes on Sunday gathering to give us a helping hand to reach there.
We are the blind people, whose spiritual eyesight Jesus restored at Baptism and he helps us to see God and makes us to understand the plan of God.
Who will accept such a great invitation of Jesus Christ?
Only the truly humble accept Jesus Christ’s invitation to the banquet of God’s kingdom. The Sunday service should help us to grow in humility, by helping us realise our own weakness, sinfulness and total unworthiness of being admitted into God’s kingdom. The proud person thinks only of what he/she thinks him/herself to be. In a way he/she becomes his/her own idol and worships him/herself. The proud person does not serve God and he forgets his neighbour; no one really counts, except himself (Si 3:28). There is no person as wise, as powerful and as holy as Jesus (you alone are the Lord in Gloria we sing, Rev. 19:16-“The king of kings and the Lord of lords.” Yet Jesus Christ is so humble even unto death (Phil 2:6-8). Jesus spent his life at the service of his Father and of humankind.
We must attend Sunday service with humility. This is what Jesus taught his disciples at the Last Supper; “I have given you an example so that you may copy what I have done to you” (Jn 13:15) vs. 1Cor 11:17-18.
Finally our Sunday service must lead us to put ourselves at the service of our brothers and sisters in the community especially the poor in the society.
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 a 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). Humility is a problem to most people. Why? Because the world looks upon humility as a sign of weakness and cowardice.
Saturday: 21st Week in Ordinary Time-C

Gospel: Matthew 25:14-30: You have shown you can be faithful in small things, come and join in your master’s happiness.
The Parable of the Talents: The Believer’s Duty to Work
Jesus was teaching a much needed lesson: we must be faithful and diligent.
1. The Lord went on a journey (v.14)
2. The Lord entrusted his property to his servants (v.14-15)
a. Called his servant
b. Gave each servant a different portion
c. Gave each servant according to his ability
3. The servants treated the Lord’s goods differently (v.16-18)
a. Two were responsible: Immediately worked
          1) Were faithful and diligent
          2) Were successful
b. One was irresponsible: Did not try
4. The day of settling accounts came (v.19)
a. After a long time
b. The Lord returned
5. The reward for work well done: More work to do (v.20-23)
a. The first servant
          1) Acknowledged God’s gifts and grace
          2) Laboured 100% for the Lord
          3) Was commended and given a great reward: Rulership and joy
b. The second servant
          1) Acknowledged God’s gifts and grace
          2) Laboured 100% for the Lord
          3) Was commended and given a great reward: Rulership and joy
6. The punishment for work not done: Stripping and separation (v.24-30)
a. The servant’s reasons for not working
          1) He misunderstood God: Thought God was too demanding
          2) He feared loss while on earth
b. God’s reasons for condemning the servant
          1) He was wicket and lazy
          2) He was inconsistent
          3) He failed to use his gift
c. The judgement
          1) He was stripped of what he had
          2) He was thrown into the darkness
Thought: Every person or believer has at least one gift (1Cor 12:11; Rom 12:4-9; 1Cor 12:4-30). We must always remember this and must work hard faithfully and diligently.

Friday: 21st Week in Ordinary Time-C

Gospel: Matthew 25:1-13: The Bridegroom is here! Go out and meet him.
The Parable of the Ten Virgins: The Warning to Watch
The believer must watch for the Lord’s return, and he/she must be wise and not foolish in watching (Mt 24:42). This is the point of Jesus’ parable of the ten virgins, five foolish and five wise.
·        The bridegroom is Jesus Christ himself
·        The virgins are believers, all professors of religions
·        The five wise virgins are genuine believers
·        The five foolish virgins are false believers, those who have false profession
·        The lamps represent the lives, that is, the testimony, the witness, the heart, and the profession of the virgins (professing believers)
·        The oil is the provision of righteousness, the supply of the Holy Spirit that is to fill the lamps (lives) of the professing believers
The parable is the dramatic picture of all professing believers, both the wise and the foolish, when the Lord returns.
1. Describes the kingdom of heaven (v.1)
2. There are wise and foolish virgins (believers) who attend a wedding (v.1-4)
a. Five are wise: Five are foolish
b. The foolish take no oil for their lamps: Provision and supply
c. The wise take oil for their lamps: Provision and supply
3. There is a long delay waiting for the bridegroom: All are drowsy and sleep (v.5)
4. There is a great summons When he comes (v.6-9)
a. A surprise: Midnight
b. A cry: Come-meet him
c. The awakening: Prepare their lamps
d. The foolish discover their lamps are out: Frantic-beg for oil
e. The wise scarcely have enough for themselves
5. There is the bridegroom’s return and the gathering of the wise (v.10)
6. There is a shut door to the foolish (v.10-12)
a. The door was shut
b. The foolish cry for entry
c. The foolish will be rejected
7. The point: We must watch and expect the Lord’s return at any moment (v.13)
Thought: Wise is the correct word to call the person who secures additional oil (righteousness=one who always depends on God) to enter into heaven (2Cor 5:21; Eph 4:24).

Thursday: 21st Week in Ordinary Time-C

Gospel: Matthew 24:42-51: Stand ready.
The Lord’s Return and the Believer’s Duty:
Watch-Be Ready-Be Faithful and Wise, Mt 24:42-51
This was Jesus’ last week on earth so he taught his disciples and people with regard to the Lord’s return and believers’ watchfulness and faithfulness till the end of life. When will be the temple (Jerusalem) be destroyed? (v.3) (see Mt 24:1-25:46)
Jesus had just answered the disciples’ questions. Since he would be returning to earth and God wanted the hour to be kept secret, what was the believer to do? How was the believer to live? What was the believer’s duty? Jesus answered these questions in one forceful warning: “Keep watch!” then he shared three parables to explain what he meant by the strong exhortation, “Keep watch!”
1. The believer’s duty: Watch (v.42)
a. The Lord does return
b. Exact time unknown
2. Parable 1: The owner of the house (a professing believer) (v.43-44)
a. He had a house to look after
b. He lived without watchfulness
c. He suffered disaster
d. The point: Readiness is essential, for Christ
3. Parable 2: A faithful and wise servant (a genuine believer) (v.45-47)
a. His responsibility: To oversee and feed
b. His accountability: Is faithful
c. His reward: Put in charge
4. Parable 3: A wicket servant (v.48-51)
a. His attitude: Plenty of time
b. His behaviour: Acts unjustly worldly
c. His judgement: He is doomed
          1) The Lord catches him unexpectedly
          2) The condemns him to death-with the hypocrites
Thought: The Lord’s return is imminent. This is the point. We must stay alert and be diligent in looking his return-today! Every person is responsible for his or her life.