Monday, 25 September 2017

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time-A
I Reading: Ezekiel 18:25-28: When the sinner renounces sin, he shall certainly live.
II Reading: Philippians 2:1-11: In your minds you must be the same as Christ Jesus.
Gospel: Mt. 21: 28-32: John came, but it was the sinners who believed in him.

The Parable of Two Sons: What It Takes to Enter God’s Kingdom

God wants us all to be saved on this earth and in heaven too. The basic demand that God makes of us to do the will of God/Father in heaven (Mt 7:21). In the seconding reading, Jesus saved us through his perfect obedience to the plans of his Father. The parable of the two sons narrated in today’s Gospel, Jesus warns us that doing his Father’s will is not a matter of words but of deeds.
The first reading tells us that God condemns no one; it is man himself who chooses to be lost by committing sin and refusing to repent. God saves everyone who does His will; but we must say “yes” to God, but so much with lips but with our deeds. Jesus is the Son who always said “yes” to his Father by total obedience and humility until death on the cross, as a result God raised him high and gave him the name…that all beings should bend the knee at the name of Jesus and that every tongue should acclaim Jesus Christ as Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
What does it take to enter God’s kingdom? Not only profession and righteousness, but also repentance and belief. In this passage Jesus wanted to convey a critical message to the Jewish leaders by saying a parable of two sons and asking a question, “What do you think?” that would determine their eternal destiny. Now we analyse the parable of two sons:
1.     The Parable is simple and clear. It concerns a man had two sons. Notes several facts.
a.     Commands first son to go and work in his vineyard is an emphatic imperative. There is no other alternative choice to excuse.
i.                   He says “I will not.”
ii.                 He later changes his mind and goes to work.
b.     Commands second son.
i.                   He says, “I will, sir.”
ii.                 He never goes to work.
c.      The first son did what his father wanted.
2.     Jesus gave the point of the parable: Sinners enter the kingdom before religionists (the self-righteous and those who make a false profession).
i.                   Jesus identified the man and the two sons in the parables.
ii.                 Jesus identified the vineyard and work that was to be done. The vineyard is the kingdom of God and the work is “entering the kingdom of God.”(Mt 19: 23-24).
iii.              Jesus clearly stressed the point of the parable. “I tell you the truth.” “Sinners, the tax collectors and prostitutes entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.”
iv.               Jesus shocked his audience. He declared that people’s idea of religion is wrong.
3.     The reason: Religionists do not believe John-that Jesus is the Son of God.
a.     Yet John was righteousness
b.     Sinners believed John
c.      The religionists’ problem: See changed lives but still do not repent and believe.
Thought: The great tragedy of religionists is this: they stand aloof. They reject the counsel of God. They do not listen, obey, go and work in His vineyard with obedience and humility.
Jesus opened the way to salvation for everyone by submitting to the plans his Father had laid down for him to save the world. God saves all who does his will and obeys Him with humility.

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.
I Reading: Ecclesiastes 11:9-12:8: Remember your creator in the days of your youth, before the dust returns to the earth, and the breath to God.
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: Ubelief 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.
I Reading: Ecclesiastes 3:1-11: There is a time for every occupation under heaven.
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?
I Reading: Ecclesiastes 1:2-11: There is nothing new under the sun.
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 Jesus’ identity
c. Herod desired to know Jesus’ identity
Thought: The method Jesus chose for evangelizing was the method of home evangelism (10:5f). The disciple was to carefully investigate and search out a receptive family and home. It emphasis the family ministry, stability, security, settledness, preaching and ministering in the community and spreading from family to family and village to village. He was to make that home the centre for ministry. 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.
I Reading: Proverbs 30:5-9: Give me neither poverty nor riches, grant me only my share of bread to eat.
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 an 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.
I Reading: Proverbs 21:1-6.10-13: Various proverbs
Jesus Teaches the True Kingship, 8:19-21
Jesus teaches there is a closer tie than the family, the tie 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.
I Reading: Proverbs 3:27-34: The wilful wrong-doer is abhorrent to the Lord.
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.

Friday, 22 September 2017

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time-A
I Reading: Isaiah 55:6-9: My thoughts are not your thoughts.
II Reading: Philippians 1:20-24.27: Life to me is Christ.
Gospel: Matthew 20:1-16 : Why be envious because I am generous?
The Parable of Workers in the Vineyard: God’s Glorious Grace
Jesus shows the marvellous grace of God in salvation, in giving eternal life in this passage.
1. God’s grace provides work for man-a field to tend or look after (v.1)
2. God’s grace seeks and calls men to work (v.1-7)
a. The early call: To the willing and eager
          1) Shown grace: promised a full wage
          2) Sent into the field
b. The late-comer call: to the idle-slothful-self-seeking-complacent
          1) Shown grace: A forceful challenge and a promise of a just wage
          2) Some responded
c. The constant call: to all-shows constant grace
d. The final call: the eleventh hour call-to the idle
          1) He strongly rebuked
          2) They excuse themselves
          3) They showed grace: a forceful challenge and the promise of a just wage
3. God’s grace pays the promised wages: at the appointed time, at the end of the day (v.8-15)
a. Paid through his foreman
b. Paid out of a heart of care and grace
          1) Cared and showed grace to the late comers: a full wage
          2) Cared and showed grace to the eager workers: a full wage
c. Pay is not based on works and energy: illustrated by the eager workers who murmured over the same pay
          1) Pay is gracious and just: a full wage as promised
          2) Pay is based on God’s care for all: for the last as well as for the first
d. Pay is not as man sees (evil, selfish eyes): Pay is as God’s wills-He is good
4. God’s justice will reign in paying what he promised (v.16).
Thought: Jesus not only condemns riches, unbelievers, Pharisees, Sadducees, but also he condemns the ordinary workers those who are full of envy, jealousy, pride, self-righteous, lazy, idle, hatred and complains etc.
God calls everyone to work in His Kingdom to be saved receiving the eternal life at the end of life. This is called the real unconditional love, forgiveness of sins and faithful love and the mercy of God for His people.
Let us experience the true joy, peace and happiness while praying, following, helping, proclaiming and working in the kingdom of God on earth and let Christ become our centre of life as Paul experienced and said “For me to live means just one thing: Christ! While death will bring me a fabulous gain!” (Phil 1:21)

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.
I Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:35-37.42-49: The things that is sown is perishable but what is raised is imperishable.
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.
I Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:12-20: If Christ has not been raised then your faith is useless.
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.
I Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:1-15: I preached and you believed.
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.
I Reading: 1 Corinthians 12: 31-13:13: There are three things that last: faith, hope and love; and the greatness of these is love.
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.
I Reading: 1 Corinthians 12: 12-14.27-31: You together are Christ’s body; but each of you is a different part of it.
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.
I Reading: 1 Corinthians 11: 17-26.33: If there are separates factions among you, it is not the Lord’s Supper that you are eating.
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.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time-A
I Reading: Ecclesiasticus 27:30-28:7: Forgive your neighbour the hurt he does you, and when you pray, your sins will be forgiven.
II Reading: Romans 14:7-9: Alive or dead we belong to the Lord.
Gospel: Matthew 18:21-19:1 :Do not forgive seven times, I tell you, but seventy-seven times.
The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant: The Spirit of Forgiveness, 18:21-35

Our God who always forgives sins of human beings right from the beginning of the creation story. God so loved the world that he sent His Son into the world to forgive the sins of the world. The parable of the unforgiving debtor explains about cruelty, insensitivity, greed and sinful life. In the second reading Paul stresses on a compelling reason for mutual love and forgiveness. Forgiveness must come “from our heart” (Mt 18:35). Refusal to forgive completely blocks our relationship with God and our neighbours and enemies. It blocks our own forgiveness (Mt 6:14-15; Mk 11:25), it blocks our prayer (Mt 18:19), it blocks our worship (Mt 5:23-24), and finally it blocks the blessings of the kingdom (Mt 5:7; 18:34). All our prayers and petitions are conditioned to the one: “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” (Mt 6:12)
How often are we to forgive a person? Jesus answered this question in this parable.
1. The spirit and practice of forgiveness (v.21-22)
a. Peter asked about forgiving a brother: Is forgiveness is limited?
b. Jesus answered: Forgiveness is unlimited
c. Jesus illustrated: Is like the kingdom of heaven
2. There is God’s spirit of forgiveness: Like a king who settles his accounts with his servants (v.23-27)
a. All must give account
b. One is brought to him
c. The servant owes a huge debt
d. The servant is bankrupt
          1) He is to be sold
          2) He is to lose all
e. The servant faces him

f. The servant cries for mercy
          1) worships the king
          2) makes a commitment
g. The servant experiences the compassion of a loving king: is freed and forgiven
3. There is the servant’s spirit of unforgiveness (v.28-31)
a. He faces a fellow servant who owes him: in comparison a very small sum
b. He reacts severely
c. He rejects the cry for mercy: refuses to forgive
d. He acts materialistically and selfishly-according to law and justice
e. He gives the other servants: they carry the matter to the Lord
4. There is the great day of accounting (v.35)
a. Two bases of judgement
          1) God’s forgiveness: offered in Christ
          2) The servant’s wickedness: he lacks compassion and mercy
b. The judgement
          1) The Lord’s anger
          2) The Lord’s justice: the man was condemned and punished
5. There is the point: An unforgiving person will be judged (v.35)
Thought: God’s love and forgiveness is unconditional and unlimited once there is the repentance of a person.