Sunday, 25 June 2017

Gospel: Matthew 8:5-17: Many will come from east and west to take their places with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob.
I Reading: Lamentations 2:2. 10-14.18-19: Cry aloud to the Lord, daughter of Zion.

Jesus Heals a Centurion’s Servant: Receiving and Rejecting Men, 8:5-13

This passage shows that Jesus is definitely the Messiah (v.13). He also has the power to reject the unbelieving (v.12). Jesus had the messianic power to do the mission of his Father receiving any person, regardless of the barrier. He could span every conceivable barrier.
a.     The ideological barrier: the centurion was despised, rejected and hated by Jews.
b.     The physical barriers: the centurion’s servant was ill.
c.      The spiritual barriers: the centurion was a Gentile.
Jesus receives any person who truly believes, but rejects those who do not believe, no matter who they are.
1.     Jesus’ great power was aroused to receive the rejected (v.5-9)
a.     By the centurion’s humility
1)    Begged a Jew
2)    Called Jesus Lord
3)    Jesus’ response: “I will”
b.     By the centurion’s sense of unworthiness
c.      By the centurion’s love for a slave
d.     By the centurion’s great faih
1)    In Jesus’ supreme authority and power
2)    In Jesus as Sovereign Lord (v.8)
2.     Jesus’ great power was aroused to embrace believers of every nationality (v.10-11)
a.     The Roman centurion
b.     The “many” from every place, from all nations
3.     Jesus’ great power shall reject the unbelieving (v.12)
4.     Jesus’ great power proved his Messiahship (v.13)
Jesus Heals Peter’s Mother-in-Law: Jesus’ Power and Its Purpose, 8:14-17)
One of the purposes for which Jesus came to earth was to meet the needs of individuals and families. The experience in Peter’s home shows this.
1.     Purpose 1: To meet the needs of the individuals and families (v.14-15)
a.     He visited Peter’s home
b.     He healed Peter’s mother-in-law: she arose and served
2.     Purpose 2: To meet the needs of the large crowds (v.16)
3.     Purpose 3: To prove his Messiahship (v.17)
a.     He bore the ultimate cause of disease
b.     He bore each fresh illness
Thought: No individual or family is too poor or unimportant for Jesus to visit and help. He cares for all.
Gospel: Matthew 8:1-4: If you want to, you can cure me.
I Reading: 2 Kings 25:1-12: Judah was deported from its land.

Jesus Heals the Leper: Cleansing the Most Defiled

This passage is beautiful for spiritual cleansing. The power of Jesus to heal and cleanse the most defiled person in clearly seen.
1.     The large crowds followed Jesus (v.1)
2.     The leper: the unclean and most defiled person (v.2)
a.     He came to Jesus
b.     He worshipped Jesus
c.      He asked and trusted Jesus for cleansing
3.     The Lord Jesus (v.3)
a.     He touched
b.     He said, “I am willing”
c.      He cleansed
4.     The cleansed man (v.4)
a.     He must beware of pride, of boasting
b.     He must obey the law
Thought: “I am willing.” The mission of Jesus Christ is to seek and to save that which is lost, no matter how defiled (Lk 19:10; Mt 9:12-13; 20:28). The Church is called to the very same mission (Jn 20:21). Jesus said go-go to “all creation,” to every human being (Mk 16:15; cp. Mt 28:19-20).


I Reading: Acts 12:1-11
II Reading: 2 Tim 4:6-8.17-18
Gospel: Mt 16:13-19
We celebrate today the feast of the apostles Peter and Paul. Let us thank God for these two apostles the light and strength they needed to announce the Good News of Jesus Christ throughout their life-time, and witnessed to Christ at their death through their shedding of their blood. Both were executed in Rome around the year 67 A.D., that is, some 35 years after Jesus’ death and resurrection.
These two saints are known as the “Pillars of the Church.” The Church of Christ is built by the blood of the Lamb (Jesus Christ), by the blood of the martyrs and believers. “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.”
Andrew brought his brother Simon to Jesus. Jesus fixed his eyes on him and said “You are Simon, son of John; you are to be called Cephas, which means a rock (Jn 1:42).” In today’s Gospel Jesus confirmed and strengthened the faith of Peter and gave him the power and authority to carry out the mission of Christ and nothing should destroy or diminish the mission of Christ while proclaiming the Good News of Christ.
Simon Peter was an ordinary person and illiterate (Jewish mission) where as Paul was the highly educated person (Gentile mission). Both invested their whole energy in Christ and loved him so much and followed him immediately till the end of their lives even unto death. Even persecution and opposition did not stop them spreading the Gospel of Christ. Although they had lots of differences and contracting characters, still they worked together (Unity) and preached the Good News to the people (diversity) and continued the mission of Christ with a missionary zeal (universal mission for the salvation of souls).
Let us ask for God’s grace to strengthen our faith in Christ and imbibe the spirit of these two saints to continue the mission of Jesus Christ despite persecution, rejection, opposition and temptation in our vocational journey of Christ.
Gospel: Matthew 7:15-20: You will able to tell them by their fruits.
I Reading: 2 Kings 22:8-13. 23:1-3: In the people’s hearing the king read out everything that was said in the book of the covenant found in the Temple of the Lord, and in the presence of the Lord he made a covenant.

The Warning about False Prophets

Jesus Christ is talking about prophets, men who proclaim and teach the gospel. There are some who are false prophets, men who proclaim and teach a false gospel. Christ says seven things about false prophets. (Cf. Gal 1:6-9).
1.     Their presence: Beware (v.15)
2.     Their chief trait: they appear as sheep, but inwardly they are wolves (v.15)
a.     Outwardly: as sheep
b.     Inwardly: are wolves
3.     Their revealing mark: the fruit they gather (v.16)
4.     Their true nature: is not good, but corrupt and evil (v.17)
5.     Their hopeless fruit: cannot bear good fruit, but only bad and corrupt fruit (v.18)
6.     Their terrible future: judgement (v.19)
7.     Their fruit: exposes them (v.20)
Thought: “By their fruit you will recognize them.”
1)    “Test the spirits,” the prophets (1Jn 4:1)
2)    “Test everything,” the prophet’s fruit (1Th 5:21)

Gospel: Matthew 7:6.12-14: Always treat others as you would like them to treat you.
I Reading: 2 Kings 19:9-11. 14-21. 31-36: I will protect this city and save it for my own sake and for the sake of David.

The Summit of Ethics: The Golden Rule and the Two Choices in Life,
Mt 7:12-14
This Scripture contains two of the most well-known things Jesus ever said. They deal with two of the basic issues of life.
(1) There is the issue of righteousness. How can a person live righteously? That is, have a right relationship with his neighbour?
(2) There is the issue of life. How can a person be sure he has life, real life?
1.     The golden rule of life (v.12)
a.     Demands true justice
b.     Includes real love
c.      Teaches the whole law
2.     The two choices in life (v.13-14)
a.     Two gates: wide vs narrow
b.     Two ways: easy and hard
c.      Two ends: destruction vs life
d.     Two travellers: the wise vs the unwise
e.      Two decisions: no effort vs seeking to find
Thought: Three things are required of people:
1)    To know what Jesus Christ taught.
2)    To believe what Jesus Christ taught.
3)    To do what Jesus Christ taught. It is not enough to know or to believe the golden rule. We must live it.

Gospel: Matthew 7:1-5: Take the plank out of your own eye first.
I Reading: 2 Kings 17: 5-8. 13-15.18: The Lord thrust Israel away from him. There was none left but the tribe of Judah.

The Warning about Judging and Criticizing Others
Jesus Christ pulls no punches with the criticizer.
1.     Do not judge; do not criticize (v.1)
2.     The criticizer will be judged (v.2)
a.     For the same criticism
b.     With equal weight
3.     The criticizer fails to examine himself (v.3)
a.     He looks for faults
b.     He looks for faults in others-not himself
4.     The criticizer is deceived about himself (v.4)
a.     He speaks, but unthoughtfully
b.     He is not fit to judge
5.     The criticizer is a hypocrite: he must extract his own sin first (v.5)
6.     The criticizer is undeserving of the gospel (v.6)
a.     He tramples the gospel underfoot
b.     He turns against and tears people apart.
Thought: God forgives the humble and repentant sinner, but He shall judge the judgemental and critical person. There is to be no mercy whatsoever for the person who shows no mercy (Jas 2:13).

Monday, 19 June 2017

Sacred Heart of Jesus- Feast
I Reading: Deuteronomy 7:6-11
II Reading: 1 John 4:7-16
Gospel: Matthew 11:25-30
Before the beginning of time, before creation, God existed all alone. The love of God was the only love there was then. The love of God is the only love there is now. And the love of God is the only love there will ever be. We are not creators we are only receivers and transmitters of the love of God. And we can transmit only as much as we receive. To tell us of His love, God sent his only Son. “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” Jesus is the greatest expression of the love of God for us and the greatest expression of the human response to that love.
Jesus was divine, the Son of God. He was also human, the son of Mary. He spoke with divine authority but he spoke in human language. He spoke in the simple language of ordinary people of his day about the things they were most familiar with: the birds of the air, the lilies of the field, the sower and the seed, the vine and the branches. When he wanted to tell his apostles how important they were he said that they were the “light of the world” and the “salt of the earth.” And when he wanted to tell us of God’s love for us he used the heart, the human symbol of love. He told us that we should learn of him that he was meek and humble of heart and we would find rest for our souls.
The contemporaries of Jesus knew this meek and humble heart of Jesus and they knew that it beat with unconditional love for them. Rough, simple fishermen leave their boats and nets to follow him. Learned doctors sit at his feet to hear his wisdom. A tax collector leaves his money table to become his disciple. Multitudes follow him for days, so captivated that they forget to provide food to eat. The sick fight their way through the crowds just to touch the hem of his garment. And they all found peace and rest for their souls.
Never before has the unconditional love of the Sacred Heart been as relevant as it is today. We live in the information-centered society of the World Wide Web and the Internet. There is a lust for knowledge. This “info mania” has produced an unbelievable amount of information and data all of which can be stored on a small silicon chip and called forth at will. We can no longer see the forest for the trees. The sheer volume of all of this information has made this the age of the digest, the logo and the symbol.
Theologians are saying that amid the chaos it is necessary to capture the transcendent in a symbol that is relevant for you; in other words to capture the unconditional love of God in a symbol that is relevant for me. Jesus has already done this for us in his Sacred Heart. “Learn of me that I am meek and humble of heart and you will find rest for your soul.”
The Sacred Heart of Jesus is the symbol of the fidelity of the love of God. It reminds us that God loves us unconditionally with a love we cannot earn or ever be worthy of. And he loves us for ourselves, not as we should be, or possibly could be, but as we are with all of the physical warts, psychological quirks and spiritual infidelities.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus is most relevant today because not only is this the information-centered society, but it is also an age of anxiety, fear, insecurity and despair. Every year more than a million and a half Americans suffer heart attacks. Heart failure is the leading cause of death in America today. Heart failure is also the most avoidable cause of death because long before the patient is rushed to the emergency room trouble has been going on in the heart: in the fearful heart, the anxious heart, the discouraged heart, the lonely heart, the rejected heart, the angry heart and the sinful heart. The root cause of all of this heart trouble is the failure to know and trust the meek and humble Sacred Heart of Jesus.
“Jesus, meek and humble of heart make our hearts like unto Thine.”

I Reading: 2 Chronicles 24: 17-25: You murdered Zachariah between the sanctuary and the altar.
Gospel: Matthew 6:24-34: Do not worry about tomorrow.
The Counsel on Worry and Anxiety, 6:25-34
This counsel meets one of the greatest needs of people, the need to be delivered from worry and anxiety.
1.     A counsel- do not worry about necessities (v.25)
a.     About food and drink
b.     About body and clothing
2.     Do not worry about your life and body (v.25)
3.     Do not worry about food and shelter (v.26)
a.     Behold the birds
b.     You are the better than the birds
4.     Do not worry about your life span: worry is pointless (v.27)
5.     Do not worry about clothing (v.28-30)
a.     Consider the lilies
1)    They do not labour
2)    They are more adorned than Solomon
b.     Trust-believe you of little faith
6.     Do not worry: do not be thinking and talking about food, drink and clothing
a.     You are different from the pagans
b.     Your heavenly Father knows your needs
7.     Do not worry: seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (v. 33)
8.     Do not worry about tomorrow: live one day at a time (v.24)
Thought: The testimony of the mature believer is: “I am poor and needy; may the Lord think of me” (Ps 40: 17).