Sunday, 25 November 2018

First Sunday of Advent: Year- C
First Reading: Jeremiah 33:14-16: I will make a virtuous Branch  grow for David.
Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2: Coming of Jesus.
The Gospel: Luke 21:25-28. 34-36: Your liberation is near at hand.
We are starting today a New Year of Worship. We shall go again through the various times of the Year of the Church:
Ordinary time of the Year.

We do not notice the growth of our children, plants, flowers, trees etc every day. Yet there is a growth and development each moment of our lives.
The church wants us to grow, day after day, year after year and through the various times in the Year of Worship.
We don’t grow by just remembering in the Year of the Church, we can grow spiritually:
·       By re-living them within us year after year
·       By really getting ready for the coming of Christ at Advent time
·       By really having Christ born in our souls at Christmas
·       By really suffering and dying to sin with Christ during Lent time
·       By really rising to a new life with the Risen Jesus at Easter
·       By really receiving the Holy Spirit at Pentecost
·       By actively and joyfully waiting for the final coming of Christ during the ordinary time of the year.
In a way, Christians ought to live these various times of the year of Worship at one and the same time throughout their life.
We should always be ready to welcome Christ since Christ keeps on coming to us in various ways day after day.
So we must live with Christ, walk with Christ, suffer with Christ, die with Christ and rise with Christ on the last day and every day of our life.
1.    The time of Advent:
There are two types of time in Greek: 1. Chronos (calendar time) 2.kairos (the fullness or grace filled time).
The word “Advent” means “coming” –who is coming? Not the historical Jesus as physical body, but the transformed Christ at the last day for judgement.
2.    There is no salvation apart from Jesus Christ:
We can see God and reach God through Jesus Christ the mediator between God and the people. Jesus saved us by his just living life, dying to sin, death, resurrection and ascension into heaven.
At the beginning of this season of Advent, we should make ours the prayer which the Prophet puts in the lips of the people of Israel in today’s first reading:
a.    We must acknowledge our own sinfulness
b.    We must get convinced that sin is at the root of all our miseries
c.     There is nothing in us to make us deserve salvation
d.    The sad state to which our sins have reduced us came about because we neglected prayer
e.     Fallen as we find ourselves, we are tempted, like the Jews to complain to God
We are wrong. It is not God who abandoned us but we who abandoned God. His invitation to repent during this time of Advent is a fresh proof of his concern for us.
3.    Having acknowledged our sins, we should take a second step: confidently ask our redeemer to come to our rescue:
There is no way for a person to go back to God by himself or herself. So we must implore him to come and save us.  Isaiah expresses this beautifully when speaking to God on behalf of his people.
Is. 64, 8- “We are the clay, you are the potter; we are the work of your hands.”
Is. 63, 16- “You, O Lord, our Father; our Redeemer is your ancient name.”
Is. 63, 17- “Return for the sake of your servant, the tribes of your inheritance.”
Is. 64, 1- “Oh that you would tear the heavens open and come down.”
4.    While waiting for Jesus’ coming, we must praise him for all that he has already done to save us:
5.    We must never grow discouraged in our waiting for Christ’s coming:
Paul gives us the reason why: Because God will never fail us. (1 Cor. 1, 8).
6.    In our waiting for Christ, we must keep both: Watchful and Active:
This is the message of Luke in the passage of the Gospel we have read. In carrying out our task, Jesus warns us to be watchful, since the devil is at all times trying to convince us that there is yet ample time left in life to prepare for Jesus’ coming. eg. The parable of the ten virgins: The five wise virgins were watchful and the other five were foolish without watchfulness and preparation.
Thought: Advent means “coming”: We await the first coming of Jesus for which is continuously His saving deeds or works carried out till the end and the second coming of Christ at the end of our lives (death) for the salvation of our souls.
The presence of Jesus Christ will be found in three ways: When we are gathered as a community to pray, to listen or hear to the Word of God and to take  part in the Eucharist.                      

Gospel: Luke 21:34-36: Stay awake, praying for the strength to survive all that is going to happen.
I Reading: Daniel 7:15-27: Sovereignty and kingship will be given to the people of the saints of the Most High.
The Warning: Watch and Pray for the Day of Jesus’ Return, 21:34-36
The world is to going to suffer and will experience disasters and calamities due to lack of faith in God, injustice, corruption, violence, inequality, oppression etc.; therefore the believers must watch and pray always.
1. It demands taking care (v.34-35)
a. By not engaging in worldliness
          1) partying and drunkenness
          2) anxieties of life
b. Reason: Lest the believer be caught unaware-snared-trapped
2. It demands watching and praying always (v.36)
a. To be counted worthy
b. To escape the things coming to earth
c. To stand justified
Thought: The believer to be careful, to guard him/herself against these things because the day of the Lord’s return, can catch him unexpectedly and unprepared. (Mt 24:38-39; Eccl 9:12)

Gospel: Luke 21:29-33: When you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near.
I Reading: Daniel 7:2-14: I saw, coming on the clouds of heaven, one like a son of man.
The Parable of the Fig Tree: The Signs are Clearly Seen, Lk 21:29-33
When will Christ return to earth? The day and hour are known only by God, but believers are to be ready and watchful always like the five wise virgins with oil in their lamps and the other five virgins were foolish without watchfulness.
1. The signs can be seen are discernable (v.29-31)
a. will be seen just as the leaves of a fig tree are seen when they first appear
b. will show the kingdom of God is near
2. The sings will occur within one generation (v.32)
3. The signs are sure eternally set (v.33)
Thought: Looking, observing, studying, thinking about the fact is essential in order to see the truth.
Three things are certain to happen in human history:
i. “The beginning of birth pains (sorrows)” (Mt 24:8).
ii. “The great distress (tribulation), unequalled from the beginning of the world” (Mt 24:21).
iii. “The Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” (Lk 21:27).
Heaven and earth shall pass away but not the words of Jesus (2Pet 3:10; Rev 21:1; 1Jn 2:17; Is 34:4; 51:6; Lk 12:19-20).

Gospel: Luke 21:20-28: Jerusalem will be trampled down by the pagans until the age of the pagans is completely over.
I Reading: Daniel 6:12-28: God sent his angel who sealed the lion’s jaws.
The Destruction of Jerusalem, Lk 21:20-24
This passage is definitely dealing with the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and with the Jewish nation throughout history (v.24). The fall of Jerusalem is judgement upon sin, not the abomination that causes desolation (that is, the antichrist spoken of by Matthew and Mark, Mt 24:15;Mk 13:14). The fall of the world will be also judgement upon sin. Jesus did not give the exact time of the fall of Jerusalem and the world, but he indeed said about the signs of the end of world. Let us be vigilant and watchful always and trust in the power of God.
1. A sign for which to look: Jerusalem surrendered by armies (v.20)
2. A time to flee (v.21)
3. A time of punishment (v.22)
4. A time of owe: Distress and wrath, death and captivity (v.23)
5. A time numbered by the Gentiles (v.24)
The Coming of Jesus: The Son of Man, Lk 21:25-28
In this passage we see the Lord’s personal return to earth (Lk 21:27,35) at the end of the world.
1. The signs of astronomical happenings and their results (v.25-26)
a. anguish of nations
b. oceans affected
c. men faint from terror and fearing
d. reason re-emphasized: heavenly body shaken
2. The actual coming of Jesus, the Son of Man (v.27)
3. The great encouragement to the believer: Look up your redemption is near (v.28)
Thought: We are to be prepared for the coming judgement of the end time by watchfulness and believing in true God. Believers are not to be discouraged, but encouraged hoping in the Lord.

Gospel: Luke 21:12-19: You shall be hated by all men on account of my name, but not a hair of your head will be lost.
I Reading: Daniel 5:1-6.13-14.16-17.23-28: The fingers of a human hand appeared and began to write.
The Tragic Sign Prior to the End: Persecution, Lk 21:12-19
This passage talks about the sign of persecution applied to all believers in every generation. Jesus assures and promises to his disciples to gain life during the time of persecution and not a hair of their head will perish which shows Jesus’ constant protection for the followers.
1. The persecution of believers (v.12-15)
a. The persecutors: religious and civil authorities
b. The reason: believers are followers of Jesus Christ
c. The result: a glorious testimony
d. The preparation
          1) Do not prepare a defence
          2) A supernatural answer will be given
2. The betrayers of believers (v.16-17)
a. Relatives
b. All men
3. The promise to believers (v.18-19)
a. God is in control
b. Eternal security: if endure
Thought: God holds the believers in His hands. The promise is the eternal security of the believers’ soul. God turns the suffering into “an eternal glory (and reward) that far overweighs them all” (2Cor 4:17).

Gospel: Luke 21:5-11: Not a single stone will be left on another.
I Reading: Daniel 2:31-45: God will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; it will absorb all kingdoms.
The Predicted Signs of the Present Age, Lk 21:5-11
This chapter is known as the Olivet Discourse. It deals with three great subjects that lay out in the future when they were predicted by Jesus.
1. The destruction of Jerusalem Temple: The disciples admired  the temple’s beauty (v.6-7; cp. Mt 25:2-3)
a. Jesus predicted the temple’s utter destruction
b. The disciples asked two questions         
          1) when was it to be destroyed: Jesus did not answer this question
          2) what were signs
Sign 1: False christs
Sign 2: Conflict of nations
Sign 3: Natural disasters
c. The warning: be not deceived
2. The Lord’s return (v.7; cp. Mt 24:3):
3. The end of the world (v.7; cp. Mt 24: 3).
Matthew and Mark’s account of what happens in this passage should be read along with Luke for a clearer understanding.
Thought: Jesus said, “The end will not come right away,” not yet. “Watch out that you are not deceived.” (2Chr 15:6-7; Jer 51:45-46; Lk 21:34; Phil 4:6; 1Pet 5:7)

Gospel: Luke 21:1-4: He noticed a poverty-stricken widow putting in two small coins.
I Reading: Daniel 1:1-6.8-20: The king found none to equal Daniel, Hananiah, Michael and Azariah.

The Widow’s Offering or Gift: The Question of Giving, Lk 21:1-4
It is very important to support the church and help the needy in the society. Every person must give everything he is and has to meet the need of a world that has thousands dying every day, dying because they lack the very necessities of life and have never heard the gospel of His glorious love and deliverance.
1. Jesus sat and rested (v.1-2)
a. Saw the rich give
b. Saw a poor widow give
2. Giving must be in the right spirit (v.2): not for his/her glorification or recognition
3. Giving must not be based on the amount given, but on the kept back (v.3)
4. Giving must be sacrificial, given because a person has need (v.4)
Thought: The widow gave sacrificially; she gave “out of poverty.” She “gave all she had to live on.” Why? She wanted to help and support the needs of the temple and of poor.

Monday, 19 November 2018

Gospel: John 18:33-37: It is you who say that I am a king.
I Reading: Daniel 7:13-14: His sovereignty is an eternal sovereignty.
II Reading: Apocalypse 1:5-8: Ruler of the kings of the earth…he made us a line of kings, priests to serve his God.
Today we celebrate Christ the universal king. He did not claim to be only the king of the Jews. His kingdom was not to be an exclusive one. He is the king of all who are on the side of truth and listen to his voice.
Christ, our king, belongs to our human family: In today’s first reading, the prophet Daniel tells us that “he saw one like a son of man coming on the clouds of heaven.” (Dan 7:13)
Christ is a powerful king; his power will last forever: In the book of Revelation from which today’s second reading has been taken, Jesus is given the titles, and (Ruler of the kings of the earth” (Revelation 1:5), “King of the kings and Lord of Lords.” (Rev 19:16).
Jesus told the apostles: “All power has been given to me in heaven and on earth” (Mt 28:18). It will never end is the quality of Jesus’ power. The angel announced to Mary that she had been chosen to be the mother of the redeemer, he said her son to be: “His kingdom will have no end” (Lk 1:33). The angel confirmed the prophecy of Daniel which was to be fulfilled in Jesus: “His sovereignty is an eternal sovereignty which shall never pass away, nor will his empire ever be destroyed” (Dan 7:14).
The Book of Revelation says the same thing and puts on Jesus’ lips the following words: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the one who is, who was and who is to come” (Rev 1:8). “Everything starts from me and ends up in me, I was before anything existed and I will continue to be after everything ends.”
Christ our king loves us: he died for us and shares with us whatever he possesses: on the night of his passion, Jesus said to his apostles: “A man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends” (Jn 15:13). Today’s second reading reminds us “Christ loved us and has washed away our sins with his blood” (Rev 1:5).
No king was ever as generous as Jesus:
a. He shares his life with us.
b. He shares his own body and blood in the Eucharist.
c. He shares his own priesthood. Today’s second reading tells: Jesus made us priests to serve his God and Father (Rev 1:6). Since we are priests, our whole life can and should be “a holy sacrifice truly pleasing to God (Rom 12:1)
d. Jesus shares his own joy: “My own peace I give you” (Jn 14:27). “I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, so that they may always see the glory you have given me” (Jn 17:24).
Hence Jesus is our true king and the king of the universe.

Jesus’ kingdom is described as:
·       A kingdom of truth and of life,
·       A kingdom of holiness and grace,
·       A kingdom of justice, of love and of peace.
Jesus was right when he told Pilate that his was not like the kingdoms of this world:
·       Where falsehood reigns and lives are destroyed,
·       Where sin abounds,
·       Where injustice and hatred bring in wars without number.
We must praise our king, Jesus and be grateful to him:
·       For having brought us into his kingdom and made us members of his own royal family,
·       For having loved us through his own suffering and sacrifice of life for our salvation,
·       For having given us his love, peace, joy on earth and glory in heaven.
We have good reasons to rejoice on this feast of Christ the king of the universe and we shall rejoice in heaven at seeing him as he is, so great, so powerful and so loving.

Gospel: Luke 20:27-40: He is God, not of the dead, but of the living.
I Reading: Maccabees 6:1-13: I am dying of melancholy because of the wrong I did in Jerusalem.
The Question of the Resurrection:
The Two Worlds (Earth & Heaven) Differ, Lk 20:27-38
Jesus distinguished between this world (earth) and the other world (heaven) and they differ drastically. Jesus used the attack of the Sadducees to discuss the differences.
1. The Sadducees, the liberal minded, tried to discredit Jesus (v.27-33)
a. They referred to Levite marriage
b. They referred a logical situation
c. They asked an egotistical and blind question
2. Marriage is different (v.34-35)
a. This world: there is marriage
b. Next world: there is no marriage
3. Entrance is different: must be countered worthy (v.35)
4. Death is different: no longer can die (v.36)
5. Personal being (nature) is different (v.36)
a. Are like angels
b. Are children of God
6. Life is different: it is a resurrected life (v.37-38)
a. It is life after death
b. Illustrated by Moses
c. Purpose: To live for God
Thought: God is not the God of the dead but of the living (Rom 14:7-9; Acts 26:8; 24:15).

Gospel: Luke 19:45-48: You have turned the house of God into a robber’s den.
I Reading: 1 Maccabees 4:36-37.52-59: They celebrated the dedication of the altar, joyfully offering holocausts.
The Cleansing of the Temple: The Religious Anger of Jesus, 19:45-48
Jesus’ anger is seen at the abuse of God’s temple. The believers and the church is the temple of God (1Cor 6:19-20; 3:16-17). Jesus proclaims the church to be God’s, to be His holy temple. The church is the place that is set apart for prayer, worship and communion with God. Now Jesus cleanses the temple, how?
1. How Jesus cleansed the temple: drove people out (v.45)
a. Those who profaned
b. Those who exploited
2. Why he cleansed the temple (v.46)
a. The place of his presence and dwelling
b. The place of prayer
c. The place for teaching the Word of God
3. The result of his cleansing the temple (v.47-48)
a. The leaders: sought to destroy him
b. The people: listened to him attentively
Thought: The leaders were making the two mistakes:
i. They were letting their greed keep them from Christ (1Tim 6:10;James 5:3; Prov 16:8; Jer 17:11)
ii. They were letting their self-confidence and self-righteousness keep them from Christ (Mt 7:21; Mk 7:6; Titus 1:16; Hosea 10:13; Oba 1:3-4).

Gospel: Luke 19:41-44: If you had only understood the message of peace!
I Reading: 1 Maccabees 2:15-29: We will follow the covenant of our ancestors.
The Dramatic Prediction: Judgement Upon Jerusalem, Lk 19:41-44
This is about the prediction of Jerusalem’s terrible fate and the compassion of Jesus for people doomed to utter destruction. The truth, Scripture is God’s Word that sin dooms a nation, but righteousness exalts a nation and its people.
1. The great love of Jesus for the city (v.41-42)
a. He wept over the city
b. The city had rejected the way of peace; that is, it rejected the Messiah
2. The terrible fate of the city foretold (v.43-44)
a. Was to be encircled
b. was to be utterly destroyed
c. was to be personally judged
3. The cause of the city’s doom (v.44)
(19:41-48) Another Outline: A Look at Jesus
1. The compassion of Jesus (v.41-44)
2. The anger of Jesus (v.45-46)
3. The courage of Jesus (v.47-48)
Thought: Jesus was weeping over the city and its people, weeping because they did not know the way of peace. The people closed their eyes to Jesus and His message of peace. They refused to see Jesus therefore God turned over to their blindness and Jerusalem is doomed to fall as the fate of a nation.
Peace in Greek (eriene) means: to bind together, to join and weave together. It means that one is bound, woven, joined together with himself and with God and with others.

Gospel: Luke 19:11-28 : Why did you not put my money in the bank?
I Reading: 2 Maccabees 7:1.20-31: The creator of the world will give you back both breath and life.
The Parable of the Pounds or Ten Minas:
Every Man is Being Tested, Lk 19:11-27
The Lord trusts us; He believes in us. He gives us gifts and responsibilities to look after until He returns. He longs for us to be faithful and diligent in doing our duty, and He is going to greatly reward those who are faithful. But he is going to severely judge those who do nothing to help a lost and needful world (Mt 25:14-30).
1. Jesus tried to correct a wrong idea about the kingdom of God (v.11)
2. He went to a distant country to receive a kingdom, but He will return (v.12)
3. He insisted: work until I come (v.13)
4. The citizens of the world hate Him and reject His rule (v.14)
5. His servants are to be rewarded according to the percent of their labor (v.15-23)
a. The believer who works 500 percent receives 500 percent
b. The believer who does not work receives nothing
6. The servant who labours 1000 percent will be given the reward of the unfaithful plus his own reward (v. 24-26)
a. Other servants wonder why
b. Because the servant was so faithful-ever increasing, 1Cor 15:58
7. The citizens who are enemies of His rule are to be slain (v.27)
Thought: Every believer is called and gifted by Christ to serve ( Rom 12:3f; 1 Cor 12: 7f; Eph 4:11f).