Tuesday, 13 September 2016

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time-C
I Reading Amos 6:1.4-7: : Those who sprawl and those who bawl will be exiled.
II Reading: 1 Timothy 6:11-16: Do all that you have been told until the Appearing of the Lord.
Gospel: Luke 16: 19-31: God things came your way, just as bad things came the way of Lazarus. Now he is being comforted here while you are in agony.
The Rich Man and Lazarus: The Self-Indulgent vs. the Man of Faith
Only Luke records the Parable of Dives and Lazarus, the last in a series dealing with the misuse of wealth. Dives who had refused to listen to Moses and the Prophets in his life time regarding the treatment of the poor, suffers misery hereafter, while Lazarus has his reward in the bosom of Abraham at the banquet of the blessed.
Jesus identified Lazarus was named Lazarus where as the rich man was not identified and named in this passage. The eternal truth is much more blessed and much more terrifying than any mere human description. The rich man is punished for his indifference to the poor man at his door. The rich man misused two opportunities i.e. wealth and religion. The name Lazarus means God is help. He is an allegorical representation either of his poor disciples (Lk 6:20). Wealth destroys society unless equitably shared. The history and present society shows that often wealth causes havoc in the heart of people. Jesus conveys a good lesson to everyone today that the Pharisees were wrong in thinking that their wealth was a sign of their holiness or God’s reward for it; if at all, it was a sign of just the contrary. Neither is poverty a sign that the poor people come second in God’s love. Their trust in God will not fail them; while those who put their trust in wealth, are in for a rude shock when their end comes. Jesus confirms that rich people seldom learn the lesson that riches are dangerous because of their pride, greed and unconcern for the poor. We do not read that the rich man committed any particular crime; it was lack of concern for the poor that cost him heaven. Neither did Lazarus enter heaven just because he as beggar, but because, in his poverty, he put his trust in God. Thus, wealth easily leads people to selfishness and to trust in themselves, whereas poverty patiently borne, leads a person to put his/her trust in God who does not fail anyone. In other words, the parable of the rich man confirms the teaching of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount: “How happy are you who are poor: Yours is the Kingdom of heaven” (Lk 6:20). It is not having of wealth that Our Lord condemns, but the misuse of it.
1.     A difference in life (v.19-21)
a.     Rich man nameless, Lazarus named
b.    Rich man wealthy, Lazarus poor
c.      Rich man healthy, Lazarus disabled
d.    Rich man lived in luxury and extravagance; Lazarus begged, helpless
2.     A difference in death: Lazarus died and was escorted to Paradise; rich man died and was buried (22)
3.     A difference in eternity (23-31)
a.     Rich man in hell, Lazarus in Paradise
b.    Rich man saw glory, Lazarus was in glory
c.      Rich man was alone, Lazarus had fellowship
d.    Rich man had burning sensation, Lazarus had water
e.      Rich man tormented, Lazarus comforted
f.      Rich man remembered his former life, Lazarus was silent
g.     Rich man was fixed in hell, Lazarus was fixed in Paradise
h.    Rich man agonized for loved ones, Lazarus was settle in eternity
i.       Rich man begged for other chance, Lazarus was silently at peace
j.       Rich man was unable to intercede for his family, Lazarus was at rest in God’s promises.
Thought: Two conditions are absolutely needed to enter into God’s Kingdom and be saved: humble trust in God and concern for the poor. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? (Mark 8: 36).

Gospel: Luke 9:43-45: The Son of Man is going to be handed over. They were afraid to ask him about what he had said.

The Second Prediction of Death: A Rebuke of Present Generation, 9:37-45
Jesus was rebuking his generation because of their unbelief and a perverse heart.
1. The next day after the transfiguration (v.37-40)
2. Rebuke 1: Unbelief and a perverse heart (v.40)
3. Rebuke 2: A lack of God’s power (v.42-43)
a. Jesus rebuked the disciples’ lack of power by his own act of healing
b. The people were amazed
4. Rebuke 3: A slowness/dullness to grasp the Messiah’s death (v.44-45)
Thought: Powerlessness is inexcusable. Why? Because Christ has revealed how the believer can possess the power and strength of God (Mt 17:20; Jn 3:27; 5:15; 2Cor 3:5; Acts 1:8; Rom 8:1-17)

Gospel: Luke 9:18-22: You are the Christ of God, The Son of Man is destined to suffer grievously.

The First Prediction of Death: Who Jesus Really is, 9:18-22
Who is Jesus? The most critical time in a man’s life is when he answers this question.
1. Jesus was alone praying (v.18)
2. The people’s belief: Jesus was only a great man (v.18-19
3. The disciples’ conviction: Jesus was Messiah (v.20)
4. The full meaning of the conviction (v.21-22)
a. The full meaning: was not yet grasped
b. The full meaning: Jesus was the suffering and conquering Saviour
Thought: There will be the same false confession about Jesus Christ exist in every generation (Mk 6:3; Jn 1:10-11; 1Jn 2:22-23; 4:3).

Gospel: Luke 9:7-9: I beheaded John, so who is this I hear such reports about?

Jesus Commissions His Disciples, 9:7-9
Jesus sent out his disciples for the first time with commission to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.
1. Their effect (v.7-9)
a. Herod was disturbed by their message
b. The people speculated about Jes
us’ identity
c. Herod desired to know Jesus’ identity
Thought: The Most ideal from of evangelism is probably this method given by Christ : a selected home and family serving as the centre of witness within a community or town. The early church was definitely centred in the homes of committed believers (Acts 5:42; 12:12; 16:40; 20:20; 1Cor 16:19; Col 4:15; Philemon 2).

Gospel: Luke 9:1-6: Jesus sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal.

Jesus Commissions His Disciples, 9:1-9
Jesus sent out his disciples for the first time with commission to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.
1. Their call: To come together for ministry (v.1)
2. Their equipment: Power and authority (v.1)
3. Their mission: To preach and minister (v.2)
4. Their method (v.3-5)
a. Not to seek success through personal appearance and materialism
b. To minister in the homes, to the interested and the hospitable
c. To warn rejecters
5. Their obedience: They went forth preaching and ministering (v.6)
6. Their effect (v.7-9)
a. Herod was disturbed by their message
b. The people speculated about Jesus’ identity
c. Herod desired to know Jesus’ identity
Thought: The Most ideal from of evangelism is probably this method given by Christ : a selected home and family serving as the centre of witness within a community or town. The early church was definitely centred in the homes of committed believers (Acts 5:42; 12:12; 16:40; 20:20; 1Cor 16:19; Col 4:15; Philemon 2).

Gospel: Luke 8:19-21: My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and put it into practice.

Jesus Teaches the True Kingship, 8:19-21
Jesus teaches how to become a true family of God. There are two kinds of  families: the family of God and the family of a human being. There is a closer tie than the family, the tie (doing the Will of God with obedience and humility) that binds him and his followers together.
1. Jesus’ family sought him (v.19)
2. True kingship is not based upon relationships (v.20)
3. True kinship is based upon the Word of God: Hearing and doing it
Thought: True kinship is not based upon human relationships but those who do the Will of God; obeying and listening to the Word of God.

Gospel: Luke 8:16-18: A lamp I put on a lamp-stand so that people may see the light when they come in.

Jesus Teaches Three Fundamental Principles of Life, 8:16-18
Jesus gives three fundamental principles of life to all believers both layperson and preacher.
1. A lamp (life) is for the purpose of giving light (v.16)
a. it is not covered, not hid
b. it is made conspicuous
2. Secrecy is impossible: All things shall be found out (v.17)
3. Truth is very narrow (v.18)
a. a person must watch how he/she hears
b. the reason: truth shall be rewarded; but the seemingly true shall be stripped away.
Thought: It is great encouragement to the faithful and a realistic and understandable threat to the lazy and close-minded.

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time-C
I Reading Amos 8:4-7: : The prophet of old challenges the people over their corrupt dealings and oppression of those who are poor.
II Reading: 1 Timothy 2:1-8: Paul urges us to a love of unity, teaching us to pray for all God’s people.
Gospel: Luke 161-13: You cannot be the slave both of God and of money.
The Parable of the Unjust Manager: Man and Money, Lk 16:1-13
This passage is one of the most difficult passages in all of Scripture to understand. Verse eight is the primary reason. There is one particular danger against which the church repeatedly warns us in our Sunday readings: the danger of riches because of wealth wrongly acquired or badly used. No other Gospels stresses the danger of riches so much as that of Luke. The Christians were tempted to make the acquiring of money the main purpose of their lives. So Luke dedicates the whole chapter of 16, from which today’s Gospel has been taken, to guide the use of money. To that purpose Luke brings in two parables of Jesus:
·        The parable of the unfaithful manager narrated in today’s Gospel (Lk 16:1-8).
·        The parable of the rich man and Lazarus about which we shall hear next Sunday (Lk 16:19-31).
Money and oppressions are particularly bad when obtained through oppression, corruptions, exploitations, cheating the poor and down trodden ones. The prophet Amos saw the country’s wealth was built on the social injustice and that the people had no real regard for their religion. The prophet Amos speaks of “the poor being sold for a pair of sandals” (Amos 8:6). The poor had to take loans; the Law forbad taking interest from the needy, (Ex 22:24-25; Lev 25:35-37; Deut 23:20-21) but exorbitant interests were charged, and when a person was unable to  repay the loan, his fields and house were confiscated. When nothing was left, the wife and children of the debtor would be taken as slaves.
Today our concern for social justice and for the poor around us will tell us whether our attitude towards money and possessions accords or not with the Gospel. We must always alert and see that whatever wealth comes to us is legitimately acquired, and that God approves of the use we make of it. The Gospel makes it clear that attachment to money and possessions cannot be combined with a genuine Christian life. The advice of St Paul to Timothy in today’s second reading is to pray for people in authority to discharge their duties in all honesty, for the poor and oppressed who today are victims of injustice, for the rich to change their hearts, refrain from exploiting the poor.
Jesus also teaches about the rich young man- looking for the eternal life- but goes back sadly when Jesus said, go and sell all your wealth and give to the poor; camel can enter into the eye of a needle but very hard for a rich man to enter into heaven etc.
The manager was a trusted slave who was put in charge of the landowner’s estate. He was highly regarded and esteemed, considered to be completely trustworthy. The term “manager” is applied to ministers (1Cor 4:1) and to believers in general (1Pt 4:10; Lk 16:1).
1. The Unjust manager (v.1-7)
a. He was charged with embezzlement, with wasting the Lord’s possessions
b. He was required to prepare a final accounting
c. He knew he was guilty and was unwilling to change and cry for mercy
d. He decided what to do: He would forget the Lord and court the favour and rewards of people
2. The worldly are more wise in their material pursuits than God’s people are in their spiritual pursuits (v.8)
3. The Christian is to use material wealth for good (v.9)
a. Wealth will fail-at death
b. Giving will be reciprocated
4. The Christian is to be faithful in handling possessions: how he handles his possessions will determine what he will be trusted with eternally (v.10-12)
a. Money is the least trust
b. Unfaithfulness disqualifies one from true, heavenly riches
c. Unfaithfulness disqualifies one from all he would receive
5. The Christian cannot serve two masters: Must choose God or riches (v.13)
Thought: How many religionists mislead others through false teaching, causing so many not to use their lives and gifts for God.
Let us be faithful towards of the “little things” God has entrusted us with, that we may one day possess “the real great things”, the eternal life.

Gospel: Luke 8:4-15: The part in the rich soil is people who take the word to themselves and yield a harvest through their perseverance.

Jesus Teaches the Sure Fate of the Word:
How People Receive the Word, 8:14-15
Jesus wanted people to know that hearing the Word of God was not enough but need to bear fruits. Those who hear the Word of God and obey accordingly definitely they will bear fruit. It is great encouragement to the preacher and teacher and to the lay witnesses. The seed they sow shall bear fruit (Mt 13:1-9; Mk 4:1-20).
1. Crowds thronged Jesus came from every town (v.4)
2. The parable: A farmer sowed seed (v.5-8)
a. some fell by the path
          1) were trampled
          2) were devoured
b. some fell upon rock
          1) were withered and scorched
          2) had no moisture or depth
c. some fell among thorns: were choked
d. some fell on good ground: were fruitful
3. The reason why Jesus spoke in parables (9-10)
a. to reveal the truth to open hearts
b. to conceal the truth from closed minds
4. The interpretation (v.11-15)
a. the seed is the Word of God
b. some are by the path
          1) they do hear
          2) the devil snatches the word away
c. some are on rock
          1) they do hear
          2) they are choked with materialism and pleasure
e. some are on rich soil
          1) the keep the word
          2) they have honest and good hearts
          3) they bear fruit
Thought: The success of the seed depends upon one thing alone; the condition of the soil (heart) to receive the seed (Word). If the ground (heart) is soft and rich (good qualities) then will bear much fruit.
Gospel: Luke 8:1-3: With Jesus went several women who provided for him out of their own resources.

Jesus and the Women who Supported Him, 8:1-3
This is an interesting passage. It shows that Jesus received financial support for his ministry. There were some women, apparently well-off financially, who supported Him.
1. They supported a ministry of preaching (v.1)
a. It reached out
b. It was true to the gospel: the kingdom of God
2. They supported a ministry of discipleship (v.1)
a. Mary Magdalene: A dark past
b. Joanna: A lady of the king’s court
c. Susanna: An unnoticed follower
d. Many others: unknown
Thought: The women supported a ministry of discipleship. Although Jesus appointed the twelve disciples and later on it was soon to be the Great Commission to all His followers.

Gospel: Luke 7:36-50: Her many sins must have been forgiven her, or she would not have shown such great love.

Jesus Contrasts the Attitudes of the Repentant and Self-Righteousness, 7:36-50
The present passage contrasts the attitudes of the sinful (repentant) and the self-righteous. Self-righteousness is a serious sin. It is both common and damning.
1. Simon, a Pharisee, invited Jesus to dinner and Jesus accepted (v.36)
2. The attitude of the repentant: A woman prostitute (v.37-38)
a. She sensed a desperate need
b. She approached the Lord despite all
c. She surrendered to the Lord in utter humility
d. She loved much giving her most precious possession
3. The attitude of the self-righteous (v.39)
a. He was a considerate man, but self-righteous
b. He considered himself better than others
c. He sensed no need for forgiveness
4. The two attitudes illustrated: The parable of two debtors (v.40-43)
a. One debtor owed much; the other little
b. A free forgiveness of both debtors
c. A piercing question: who appreciated and loved the most?
d. A begrudging answer
5. The need of the self-righteous: To really see Jesus, who the repentant say He is (v.44-50)
a. He is the one who deserves more than common courtesies
1) common vs. worshipful respect
2) common vs. humble greeting
3) common vs. sacrificial gift
b. He is the One who has the power to forgive sins
c. He is the One who people need to  ask about
d. He is the One who saves the repentant
Thought: The person who comes to Jesus Christ must come with a broken and contrite heart.

Gospel: Luke 7:31-35: We played the pipes for you, and you wouldn’t dance; we sang dirges, and you wouldn’t cry.

Jesus Reveals God’s Verdict Upon This Generation and Age, 7:29-35
Jesus gave the verdict upon His generation and every generation of people.
1. Reactions to John (v.29-31)
a. The people and tax collectors who were baptised: vindicated John
b. The religionists who were not baptised: rejected God’s purpose
c. Jesus warned His generation and age
2. An age of childishness (v.32)
3. An age of escapism: seeking to escape responsibility (v.33-34)
a. Accused John of conservatism: too denying
b. Accused Jesus of license: too loose
4. An age with only a few wise toward God (v.35)
Thought: The wise (children of wisdom) who accept the ministry of both John and Jesus, both of whom fulfilled the Prophetic Word of God.

Gospel: Luke 7:11-17: 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. 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
d. The Lord 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: It was the Lord who saw her, had compassion upon her and spoke and gave great assurance.

Gospel: Luke 7:1-10: Not even in Israel have I found faith like this.

Jesus Finds Great Faith in a Soldier: Great Faith, What it Is, 7:1-10
Jesus Christ meets the needs of every one-Gentile or Jew, rich or poor, leader or follower, ruler or slaves. He bridges the gaps, prejudices and divisions between people. The one essential for securing His help is faith. A person must have faith in Christ and His power which is demonstrated what happened between the soldier and Jesus in this passage.
1. Jesus returned to Capernaum (v.1)
2. Great faith cares deeply for people (v.2)
3. Great faith feels unworthy in approaching Jesus Christ (v.3)
4. Great faith seeks God in Jesus Christ (v.4-5)
5. Great faith is centred in Jesus Christ (v.6-8)
a. In Jesus as Sovereign Lord
b. In Jesus supreme power and Word
6. Great faith stirs the great power of Jesus Christ (v.9-8)
a. Jesus marvelled
b. Jesus commanded the soldier
c. Jesus healed the servant
Thought: Willingness, obedience and great faith were essential for Jesus to raise the dead son.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time-C
I Reading Exodus 32:7-11. 13-14: : The Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened. Moses prays, so the Lord relents and does not punish his people.
II Reading: 1 Timothy 1:12-17: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Saint Paul rejoices because God has shown him mercy.
Gospel: Luke 15:1-32: There will be rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner. Three “lost and found” stories to show how God loves to forgive.
The Parable of the Lost Sheep:
The Lost Sinner Out in the World, Lk 15:1-7
Chapter 15 is one of the most important chapters in the Bible. In these three parables we find God’s love, mercy, forgiveness and faithfulness and human’s weakness, wrongness and unfaithfulness to God. God always rejoices when He forgives his people those who repent. “Jesus is his Father’s perfect copy,” (Heb 1:3). So Jesus came into the world to make known his Father’s love, mercy, forgiveness and faithfulness to everyone. Today’s three readings teach and explain about God’s love and mercy.
The Gospel includes three of the most famous parables ever told. The parables deal with the lost sinner when the sinner repents and returns home. The first parable is that of the Lost Sheep in the wilderness of the world (Lost outside of the world).
1. Tax collectors and sinners drew near Jesus (v.1-3)
a. The religionists: Grumbling against Jesus associating with “sinners”
b. Jesus: shared  a parable
2. The sheep was lost (outside in the world) (v.4)
3. The sheep was lost because of self (lack of true discernment) (v.4)
4. The sheep was lost “in the wilderness or open country” (v.4)
5. The sheep was sought until found (v.4)
6. The sheep, once found, brought great joy (v.5-6)
7. The sheep represented a repentant sinner (v.7)
The Parable of the Lost Coin:
The Lost Sinner Within the Home, Lk 15:8-10
This passage is often preached and taught right along with the parable of the Lost Sheep (Lk 15:1-7). The lost sheep was lost out in the wilderness or open country of the world, whereas the lost coin was lost in the house.
1. The coin was lost (inside of the house) (v.8)
2. The coin was lost because of others (negligence and irresponsibility) (v.8)
3. The coin was lost in the house (v.8)
4. The coin was sought until found (v.9)
5. The coin, once found, brought great joy (v.9)
6. The coin represented a repentant sinner (v. 10)
Thought: If the Good News of Jesus Christ were preached today in power and authority, how many would be flocking to hear…
·        The gospel of salvation from sin and death?
·        The gospel of the hope for the kingdom of God (Mt 19:23-24)?

The Parable of the Prodigal Son: The Lost Son, Lk 15:11-24
The parable of the prodigal son is the greatest and most beloved story ever told in human language. God loves and reaches out to the most prodigal of men and He runs to embrace any prodigal son who repents and returns home. God forgives his prodigal son and restores him, no matter how terrible the sin and failure of the prodigal.
1.     He said, “Give me” (v.11-13)
a.     My inheritance
b.    My independence
c.      The result: he wasted his life in wild living
2.     He met the day when he suffered and was in need (v.14-16)
a.     He suffered being destitute
b.    He suffered natural disaster
c.      He suffered humiliation
d.    He suffered hunger
e.      He suffered the loss of friends
3.     He came to his senses and snapped out of his insanity, back to reality (v.17-19)
a.     Thought of his father and his enormous provision
b.    Thought of his plight
c.      Thought of humbling himself:
i.                   Of repenting
ii.                 Of confessing his sin and unworthiness
4.     He got up and returned to his father (v.20-21)
a.     He repented-turned from his sinful life
b.    He was accepted even before he confessed
c.      He confessed
5.     He was accepted when he returned to the father (v.22-24)
a.     The father restored him
b.    The father fed the son and celebrated his son’s return
c.      The father proclaimed his son’s new life

The Parable of the Older Son:
The Self-Righteous Religionist, Lk 15:25-32
The second son or the older son represents the self righteous religionist-the mortal, the just, the good-the man who has never committed gross and visible sin. He is religious and does religious works; therefore he feels and believes he is accepted to God. In this parable Jesus pointed out five faults with the self-righteous religionist (Lk 11: 37-54; 18:9-12; Rom 2:17-29).
1.     Fault 1: he was in the field away from home (v.25-27)
2.     Fault 2: he shut himself out (v.28)
3.     Fault 3: he was self-righteous (v. 29)
a.     He claimed to be religious
b.    He claimed to be moral and just
c.      He felt he deserved more, that he was not recognized enough
4.     Fault 4: he lacked compassion and understanding of sinners (v.30)
5.     Fault 5: he failed to see two critical facts (v. 31-32)
a.     He had the same blessings available
b.    His brother was truly saved

Thought: The father restored the prodigal son:
a.     The “robe” restored him to a position of sonship and honour. It symbolized being clothed with the righteousness of Christ.
b.    The “ring” restored him to a position of authority. The son was now to represent the father and his kingdom.
c.      The “sandals” immediately restored and elevated him above servant hood, which means he became a free man. The son was now fitted with sandals to carry the Gospel of Peace wherever he went (Eph 6: 15).
d.    The “celebration” pictures reconciliation, full acceptance, and the great joy of the occasion.
e.      The father proclaimed his son’s new life.
i.                   He was dead and is alive again.
ii.                  He was lost and is found.