Tuesday, 30 January 2018

5th Sunday in Ordinary Time-B
I Reading: Job 7: 1-4.6-7: Restlessly fret till twilight falls.
II Reading: 1Corinthians 9:16-19.20-23: I should be punished if did not preach the Gospel.
Gospel: Mark 1:29-39: He cured many who were suffering from diseases of one kind or another.
With the spread of the scientific developments, new discoveries and good education; one may ask to himself or herself; why should man/woman have to suffer, get sick and die? What is the true meaning of suffering in life? We get this answer in today’s first reading taken from the Book of Job.
In the second reading, Paul has been defending his apostolic position to some who may have doubted it. As God’s slave, he is under compulsion to preach the Gospel without personal reward to serve them for nothing. His reward lies in the blessings of the Gospel.
The Gospel talks about the ministry of healing continues to demonstrate the power of our Lord amid the needs of a suffering world. The word “immediately” is used more than forty times in Mark, making urgency one of the keynotes of this Gospel. The reading tresses the source of our Lord’s power.
The Book of Job reflects serious concern, after the exile, with the problem of suffering, how to reconcile the misfortunes of the righteous  with the justice and love of God. With the spread of education and scientific developments, human has found the answer to many problems, but not the answer to a question on suffering in life. The wife and the friends of Job misinterpret the meaning of suffering in life. Suffering is a mystery cannot be explained by human beings except God. Finally God gives the answer.

1.    A problem which Job cannot solve:
As we know Job was a very rich man, he had been blessed with seven sons and three daughters and a lovely wife, he was sincere and honest and righteous man one who always depended on God. But Job least expected, misfortune struck: his children died, his possessions were taken away and what was worse, a repugnant skin-disease covered his body from head to foot. Even his wife turned against him.

Job now put a question to himself which practically everyone asks when afflicted by suffering: Why should God allow these misfortunes to have come upon me? Three friends come to discuss with Job trying to find the answer to that question. They made matter worse. Time and gain Job burst into the same complaint, especially when his suffering became unbearable.

At the end, rather than question God, Job decided to put his trust in him and abandoned himself to his will. In returned for his trust, God gave him back whatever he had lost and more, he became a happy man once again. It was God who led him to come to the right conclusion. This is not the story of a real person Job in life, but God prompted someone to write this book that might help people to behave in the time of suffering the way of Job did: Trusting God and his goodness.
2.    We discover the meaning of suffering through faith in Christ:
Jesus cast a bright over the mystery of suffering.

The Gospel of today offers us the picture of an ordinary day in Jesus’ life at the time of his preaching:
Jesus preached: the Good News everywhere
Jesus healed the sick: those who came to him because he had compassion on them and to lead them to witness his wonders to faith in him. The prophecy of Isaiah fulfilled in him as the Messiah (Is 53:4; Mt 8:17).
Jesus prayed: early in the morning in a lonely place before dawn.

Jesus taught us that bitter lesson by himself suffering and dying so that we may learn to suffer and die with him. Wise people and doctors know how to obtain medicines from bitter herbs so also our life should be.
3.    A few points for Christians to keep in mind regarding suffering:
a.    Any kind of suffering or sickness is not the punishment of God but God’s glory (Jn 9:2-3).
b.    Suffering is a mystery cannot be explained, some time only God has the reasons for this.
c.     Sickness is meant to bring us closer to God.
d.    Sickness brings God closer to people.
e.     Sickness brings us closer to our brothers and sisters/neighbours.
4.    Our Christian community ought to bestow its love on the sick in their midst: our care should be expressed in deeds and not just in words.
Thought: Suffering in all its forms will continue to afflict human as long as we live in this world. Sickness is one the many bitter fruits tat sin brought about. We all get sickness. During his preaching Jesus healed many sick people even he raised the dead, but he did not altogether take away sickness from the world.
What is most important is to bring people closer to God and God bestows his love on the sick in a particular way. Jesus gives the true meaning of suffering, death and sickness in life. Let us believe in the power of Jesus and listen to his words of preaching, teachings and take part in the healing mystery of Jesus.
When a person truly worships the Lord and invites Him into his/her home, the Lord will enter and fellowship therein. He willingly becomes a guest of anyone who extends the invitation.
Saturday: 4th Week in Ordinary Time-B
I Reading: 1Kings 3:4-13: Give your servant a heart to understand how to discern between good and evil.
Gospel: Mark 6:30-34: They were like sheep without a shepherd

The Need for Rests and Its Dangers

Every person needs, rest, relaxation and time alone with God. However, when the believer is seeking to rest, he/she must know there are some serious dangers that confront him/her. This passage shows three of the dangers.

1.    The disciples returned from their mission: Reported what they had done and taught (v.30)
2.    Danger 1: Not taking time to rest:
a.    The disciples worked long and hard
b.    The disciples were pressed by the crowds
c.     The disciples left to rest
The demands of the crowd that taxed the disciples’ energy. The disciples had bodies that naturally required some relief from pressure and rest from labour. The disciples had spirits that required some extended periods alone with God in meditation, study and prayer. They had to be recharged before they could charge to others.
The disciples needed a quiet place to get alone with God not a place of business, commercialism and fine accommodations. Finally the Lord cared about them, rekindled them, consoled them, and He had compassion upon them, so He said, “come with me by yourselves...and some rest.”
3.    Danger 2: Taking too much time to rest when people are seeking help
4.    Danger 3: losing sight of people who are as sheep without a shepherd
a.    Jesus saw and had compassion
b.    Jesus began to teach

Thought: There is a time to minister, just as there is a time to spend alone with God. There is a time to work, just as there is a time to pray. There is time to get up, just as there is a time to rest and relax and love.
Friday: 4th Week in Ordinary Time-B
I Reading: Ecclesiasticus 47:2-11:  David put all his heart into his songs out of love for his Maker.
Gospel: Mark 6: 14-29: It is John whose head I cut off; he has risen from the dead.

The Death of John the Baptist: The Immoral verses the Righteous

Herod heard about Jesus and the preaching of the disciples and the news troubled and disturbed him. The reason was that Herod was doing the immoral activities and already he had beheaded John the Baptist because of his selfish motives; whereas Jesus and his disciples were establishing the kingdom of God through their ministry of preaching, teaching and healing and they were doing the righteous activities against immorality in the society.

1.    The opinions about Jesus spread as the disciples preached (v.14-15)
a.    Herod: thought Jesus was John the Baptist risen from the dead
b.    Others: thought Jesus was Elijah or prophet: wrong conception
2.    Herod’s reaction to Jesus: a guilty conscience (16-23)
a.    Because of several illegal acts
i.                Imprisoning a just man John the Baptist
ii.              Stealing his half brother’s wife
iii.            Committing adultery
b.    Because of an inadequate religion
c.     Because of a partying, drunken spirit
d.    Because of seeking social approval
e.     Because of his fear of what people might say
3.    Salome’s reaction to John: Weakness of character (24-25)
a.    Social conformity: dress apparel and partying
b.    Immature dependency upon mother
4.    Herodias’ reaction to John: a revengeful spirit (25-26)
i.                She wanted to live as she wished
ii.              She wanted to sin without interference
iii.            She ignored God, His law and demand for accountability. She ignored the message of God and His righteousness. She ignored the fact that she had to meet God after death
5.    John’s reaction to Jesus: a courageous loyalty to the Messiah-martyrdom (27-29)

Thought: Salome is picture of so many today who lack self-esteem and a strong spirit, of many who sense a great need to fit in. Therefore, they give in to the immoral and sinful suggestions and lists of others.

2nd February, Feast
I Reading: Malachi 3: 1-4: Look, I am going to send my messenger to prepare a way before me. The Lord you are seeking will suddenly enter his Temple.
II Reading: Hebrew 2:14-18: It was essential that he should in this way become completely like his brothers.
Gospel: Luke 2:22-40: My eyes have seen your salvation.
 We are celebrating today an important event in the life of Jesus: his presentation to God in the Temple of Jerusalem by his parents, forty days after his birth. This is a very ancient feast, one of the oldest in the church that it was celebrated in Jerusalem less than four hundred years after the birth of Jesus Christ that we celebrate today. This feast contains a special message for all Christians. Let us try to discuss this message in the readings of today.
1.    A prophecy of Malachi: Yahweh made a solemn announcement through the prophet Malachi:
i.                He would send a messenger to prepare his way; he planned to come personally to the Temple. He would do so in the person of the Messiah.
ii.                He would cleanse priests and people of their sins so as to enable them to offer a sacrifice worthy of Yahweh. But his offering would not made in Jerusalem alone; it would be carried out “from the farthest East to the farthest West”, that is, by all nations throughout the world. (Mal 1:11)
That is to say: the Messiah would come; He would indeed be the Messenger of Yahweh to all mankind; he would cleanse them of their sins, and lead them to worship God in a worthy manner. This is the content of today’s first reading.
2.      The prophecy of Malachi was fulfilled as Jesus was presented in the Temple: it took nearly 500 years for God to fulfil what he had announced through his prophet. After the birth of the first child, presentation to the Lord, for forty days for the male child and for eighty days for the female child, the mother was permitted to attend in the public service. (Lev 12:1-8; Ex 13:12-14).
3.    What did really take place at the presentation of Jesus to God in the Temple?
·       The surrender to the Will of His Father which he had carried out at the very moment of his conception in the womb of Mary (Heb 10: 5-7).
4.    Simeon and Anne: only the Spirit of God can lead a person to discover who Jesus is and to accept him as one’s own Savior.
5.    Mary and Joseph were led to accept God’s plans to save the world (Lk 2:33-35; 1:38; Mt 1:20; Heb 2:18)
Thought: Jesus is our light of everyone (Jn 1:9). His presentation in the Temple teaches and leads us to a complete surrender to God’s plans in our lives as Mary and Jesus did the Will of God in their lives.
Today’s feast conveys a particular message to parents, namely that, their children belong to God more than to them; they must therefore lead them not only to the Temple or Church, but to God.
Wednesday: 4th Week in Ordinary Time-B
I Reading: 2Samuel 24:2.9-17: It was I who sinned, taking a census of the people. But these, this flock, what have they done.
Gospel: Mark 6:1-6: A prophet is despised in his own country.

The Rejection of Jesus’ Authority: Why Jesus is rejected?

Jesus’ hometown was harsh with him. Most of his neighbours could never accept the fact that He was the Messiah, the Son of God. Unacceptance, unbelief and rumours about him were widespread among his own people; and their unbelief led them to do
Some terrible things.
·       Some in the city tried to kill him.
·       Some friends and neighbours considered him mad or insane (Mk 3:20-21; Lk 4:16-30).
·       His family was extremely embarrassed by his claims and the wild rumors surrounding hi (Mk3:31-32).
The most sever critics of man’s life and works are, of course, those who have always known him.
1.    Jesus was in his home town, Nazareth (v.1-2)
a.    He entered the synagogue
b.    He taught: the people were amazed
2.    Some questioned his source of authority (2-3)
a.    He lacked proper credentials and education
b.    He was from human and humble beginnings
3.    Some were offended by him: They thought of him only as one of their own (3-4): they knew only the human flesh of Jesus and not the divinity
4.    Some blocked God’s power (5)
5.    Some were gripped with unbelief-shockingly so

Thought: The basic problem with Jesus’ home flock was envy and jealousy. They became stiff-necked, giving themselves over to obstinate unbelief. Every believer is responsible and accountable for his or her faith in God. Jesus was perfectly obedient to the Father (Hebrew 5:8).

Tuesday: 4th Week in Ordinary Time-B
I Reading: 2Samuel 18:9-10.14.24-25.30-19:3:  My son Absalom! Would I had died in your place.
Gospel: Mark 5:21-43: Little girl I tell you get up.

The Approaches that lay hold Jesus’ authority: How to approach Jesus

How can a person lay hold of Jesus and his power? This passage deals with the desperate and hopeless person; it shows how the desperate person can approach Jesus and secure his help in any situation.
1.    The crowds gathered around Jesus (v.21)
2.    Scene 1: A rulers desperate approach (22-26)
a.    A selfless attitude
b.    A humble attitude
c.     A pleading attitude
d.    An extant and believing attitude
e.     The result: Jesus grants the desperate request
3.    Scene 2: A woman’s hopeless approach (25-34)
a.    A last resort attitude
b.    A shy, embarrassed, unworthy attitude
c.     An expectant, believing attitude
d.    A confessing attitude
i.                The cost of service to Jesus
ii.              The insensitivity of the disciples
iii.            The confession of the woman
iv.            The result: Jesus grants the hopeless request
4.    Scene 3: A ruler’s believing approach (35-43)
a.    Not a fearful, despairing attitude
i.                Devastating circumstances
ii.              The answer to the terrible circumstances: Jesus’ challenge
b.    Not a wailing, whining attitude
i.                Social customs and influences: to express hopelessness
ii.              The answer: Jesus’ comfort and assurances
c.     Not a sarcastic, sceptical attitude
d.    An obedient attitude: the parents follow Jesus despite the sarcasm
e.     Jesus grants the believer’s request
i.                The power of Jesus
ii.              The amazement of the family
iii.            The thoughtfulness of Jesus

Thought: It is the sense of unworthiness and hopelessness that touches the heart of Jesus. (Ps 34:18; 51:17)
Monday: 4th Week in Ordinary Time-B:
I Reading: 2Samuel 15:13-14.30; 16:5-13: Let us fly or we shall never escape Absalom.
Gospel: Mark 5:1-20: Come out of that man, unclean spirit.

The Authority of Jesus to Banish Demon

The Spirit of God controls people to varying degrees; evil also controls people to varying degrees. Some persons are extremely controlled by evil; others are just slightly controlled. The man in this passage is said to have been possessed by a legion that is hordes of demons. The man experienced a great deliverance by Jesus Christ.
Who is the agent or the author of evil spirit or who created the evil spirit? The misuse of the freedom and disobedience to the command of God and the will of God. The first parents disobeyed God’s command and misused the human freedom as a result sin and death came into the world where as Mother Mary and Jesus obeyed God’s will and brought eternal life and salvation to the humankind. The disobedient angels were also thrown down from the heaven.

Jesus rebuked the evil spirit: because of Satan’s influence, leading, cheating, tempting, and deceiving the man to take away from God and to influence him to disobey the commandments of God or will of God like Adam and Eve in the Genesis deceived by the serpent. Now the seed (Jesus) is crushing the head of evil spirit and its power over man. Moses talked about this real Prophet Jesus the Messiah who would lead the people of God in the first reading of 4th Sunday-B. That is what John the Baptist said, “I am not a prophet, Elijah and Christ..But one who comes after me He is the Christ the Messiah.” Thus we need to listen to the voice of Jesus and obey his teaching and commands of loving God and loving neighbours. Paul is urging to live a holy life for God rather than living according to own will or plan or wish but to live according to God’s will and plan which can bring victory over evil spirit.
How can we love Jesus and obey or listen to his command? By four things:
i.                Prayer
ii.              Reading the Word of God and practice them in life
iii.            Sacrament of Reconciliation
iv.            The Eucharist and doing good works in life for others and for God.

1.    An eerie event: at night, on the lakeshore-among the tombs (cp.4:35) (v.1)
2.    Scene 1: A man hopelessly possessed-without Jesus (v.2-5)
a.    He had an evil spirit
b.    He lived among the tombs
c.     He was cut off from society
d.    He was uncontrollable, unrestrained, untamed, wild, mad, violent tempered
e.     He was naked, v.15
f.      He was always inflicting wounds upon himself
3.    Scene 2: A man desperately aroused by the Son of God (v.6-7)
a.    He worshipped Jesus
b.    He acknowledged the deity of Jesus
c.     He begged not to be tortured
4.    Scene 3: A man miraculously cleansed by the authority of Jesus (v.8-13)
a.    Jesus spoke the word of power
b.    Jesus showed the man’s great need
c.     Jesus showed the nature of evil spirits
i.                Were subject to Christ
ii.              Desired a body to indwell and influence
iii.            Were malicious and violent-destroyers
5.    Scene 4: A people callously rejected Jesus- by begging Him to leave their presence (v.14-17)
a.    A logical action: Ran to tell
b.    A logical investigation: came to Jesus
c.     A logical account: told of the healing and also of the pigs
d.    An illogical request: asked Jesus to leave
e.     A tragic end: he left
6.    Scene 5: A man deliberately commissioned by Jesus (v.18-20)
a.    He requested discipleship
b.    He was sent to be disciple at home
c.     He was faithful
d.    He was successful

Thought: Jesus Christ has the authority to cleanse man, no matter how mean and evil. Note the demons had just what they wanted. They had caused the people to reject Jesus, choosing the riches of the world rather than him (contrast the spirit of Moses, Heb 11:25-26).
knowing that Jesus is the Holy One of God is not enough. A person has to believe in the power of Jesus Christ and love him and live a clean and pure heart.
One of the major purposes of Jesus in confronting evil spirits was to prove his Messiahship (Mt 8:28-34). He is the Messiah.