Monday, 23 December 2019

The Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ:
 Mass During the Day
1st Reading: Isaiah 52:7-10: All the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.
2nd Reading: Hebrews 1:1-6: God has spoken to us through his Son.
Gospel: John 1:1-18: The Word was made flesh, and lived among us.
This passage is one the summits of Scripture. In fact, it probably reaches the highest of human thought. What is thought that reaches the height of human concepts? It is this: Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is …
·       The Word of God
·       The Creator of Life
·       The Very Being and Essence of Life
These three truths have to be deeply thought about understand their meaning. However, the importance of the truth lie at the very foundation of life. They cannot be overstated for they determine a man’s destiny. If Jesus Christ is the Word of God, then people must hear and understand that Word or else be lost forever in ignorance of God Himself.
1. Christ is eternal (v.1-2)
a. Pre-existent
b. Co-existent
c. Self-existent
2. Christ is the Creator (v.3)
a. Positive statement
b. Absolute statement
3. Christ is Life (v.4-5)
a. The source of light
b. The answer to darkness
          1) Shines in darkness
          2) Conquers darkness

Jesus the Light of the World: The Witness of John the Baptist, Jn 1:6-8
John the Baptist was a very special witness to Jesus Christ. John’s sole purpose on earth was to witness and to be testimony to the Light of the world. His purpose stands as dynamic example for every believer. The purpose of the believer is to bear the same witness as John: Jesus Christ is the Light of the world.
1. A man sent from God (v.6)
2. A man with a mission (v.7)
a. To bear witness
b. That men might believe
3. The man who was great, but was not the Light (v.8)

Jesus the Light of Men:
The Second Witness of John the Apostles, Jn 1:9-13
The world is in desperate straits. It is full of darkness-the darkness of sin and despair, of sickness and death, of corruption and heal. The darkness looms over the whole world. This is the problem dealt with in the present passage. There is a hope in Jesus Christ, for Christ is the true light, and light dispels darkness.
1. Christ was the Light (v.9)
a. The true Light
b. His mission: To give light to people
2. Christ was tragically rejected by the world (v.10-11)
a. He was in the world, but He was rejected
b. He came to His own people, but they rejected Him
3. Christ was wonderfully received by some (v.12-13)
a. How: By believing
b. Result: Became sons of God
c. The source of becoming a child of God: A new birth
          1) Was not of man
          2) Was of God

Jesus the Word Made Flesh:
The Third Witness of John the Apostle, Jn 1:14-18
“The Word became flesh”-God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, was made flesh and blood; He became a man. No greater message could ever be proclaimed to man.
1. Christ became flesh (v.14)
2. Proof 1: Christ dwelt visibly among us (v.14)
a. His glory was seen
b. Full of grace and truth
3. Proof 2: John the Baptist bore witness of the superiority of Christ (v.15)
4. Proof 3: Men have received the fullness and grace of Christ (v.16-17)
a. Not by law
b. By Jesus Christ
5. Proof 4: God’s Son alone has seen God (v.18)
Thought: The Word (logos) is Jesus Christ. John faced a serious problem in writing to the Gentiles, that is, the non-Jewish world. Most Gentiles had never heard of the Messiah or Saviour who was expected by the Jews. The idea was foreign to them. However, the Messiah was the very centre of Christianity. How was John going to present Christ so that a Gentile could understand?
The answer lay in the idea of the Word, for the Word was understood by both Gentiles and Jews.
The Word of God was seen as the creative power of God, the power that made the world and gave light and life to every man/woman (Gen 1:3, 6, 11; Ps 33:6; 107:20; 147:15; Is 55:11).
Wishing you a Blessed Christmas!

The Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ:
Feast of Christmas, Mass at Dawn
1st Reading: Isaiah 62:11-12: Look your Saviour comes.
2nd Reading: Titus 3: 4-7: It was for no reason except his own compassion that He saved us.
Gospel: Luke 2: 15-20: The Shepherd found Mary, Joseph and the baby.
The Messiah had been foretold since the world began in Genesis. The prophecy given by Jacob back in the Genesis was now being fulfilled. The birth of Jesus is in the very beginning of Genesis itself to save the humankind from sin and death which shows God’s faithful love, mercy and forgiveness to the humankind in the world.
1.    God invites Jerusalem to rejoice:
In the first reading of Isaiah, God invites Jerusalem to rejoice with an extraordinary joy. It is obvious that when Scripture speaks of Jerusalem as a Daughter of Zion or a woman or to a mother refers not so much to the city itself but to the people living in it, nay to the whole people of Israel. Yahweh invites Jerusalem to rejoice for two reasons:
i.                First, because her Saviour was about to come to free the people of Israel in exile who had been for years in exiles. So that Yahweh would purify their sins and they would be called “the redeemed ones”, “the people made holy.”
ii.              The second reason for rejoicing would be the extraordinary love that Yahweh would henceforth bestow on Jerusalem. Now on Jerusalem would be called “the one her husband for”, the beloved of Yahweh and they would no longer be called “the abandoned one”, “the one cast away.” This is the language Scripture often uses to express God’s deep love for the people of Israel.
What has all this to do with the Feast of Christmas we are celebrating?
It has much to do. God was announcing the two folds event in Isaiah. Firstly, His coming to free his people from exile and take them back home and secondly, His coming in the person of the Messiah, become man to free humankind from the slavery of sin and death and take us all home with Him.
In fact, we are now the “the new people of new Israel”, and the Church, our Mother, “the new Jerusalem.” This is the reason why God invites us to rejoice at Christmas and at all time rejoice whole heartedly , now we are “the redeemed ones” at the birth of Jesus at Bethlehem (Beth=house, Lehem=bread)=house of bread). Jesus truly becomes our food or bread or life and gives us the salvation, the eternal life to all of us. So we are the privileged people to rejoice always.
2.    Paul explains the great change that the coming of Jesus brought to us all:
In the second reading, Paul writes to his disciple Titus who had been appointed to the lead the Church of an island called Crete. He explains God’s love, forgiveness and freedom for humankind although we are unworthy or sinners. So the church invites the Christians today to rejoice, since at Christmas Jesus repeats his coming in our lives at all times.
3.    Why did Jesus become a man? Do we deserve his coming into this world?
Paul would give the answer to these questions in his letter to Titus. There was nothing in human beings that make him/her deserve being saved by God. Only God’s unconditional love and kindness brought Jesus to save us.
Looking at the Babe Jesus in the manger, with the eyes of faith, we should discover God’s goodness reflected in him. Paul tells us that Jesus is “God’s perfect copy” (Heb 1: 3). Jesus is “the living image of his Father.” He revealed his Father’s love for humankind in his own unique love for us which he showed his love through his death on the cross.
4.    How to respond to God’s love today? Is there any way to respond to it?
In today’s Gospel, the shepherds and Mary show us the way to respond God’s love:
a.    The shepherds: The second reading could tell us that the shepherds were not deserved people to receive the first good news of Jesus’ birth who were known as the despites and thieves in the society. Jesus stared his work of salvation with them precisely because they were the ones who needed him most. The shepherds discovered God’s and responded immediately in a wonderful way:
i.                They believed what the angel said and hurried up to see Jesus.
ii.              They praised God for His love for them, the Redeemer is born.
iii.            They made known to others what had been revealed to them.
b.    Mary: Like says of her: “Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart.” She kept a precious treasure what she leant about her Son: she did not give up the Word of God when the Angel announced. She pondered over it time and again, always trying to discover the depth of God’s love shown to her to save the world by Jesus.
On this feast of Christmas, both the shepherds and Mary invite us to discover the precious gifts our Saviour has brought for us. Let us try to discover and experience God’s love, mercy and forgiveness in our lives and believe in the power of Jesus and praise Him always for his salvation and proclaim the Good News of Jesus to all the people in the world as the shepherds did.
Thought: How many missed the first coming of Jesus Christ? How many will miss the second coming of Jesus Christ?

Wishing you a Blessed Christmas!

Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ
Christmas Vigil Mass
1st Reading: Isaiah 62:1-5: The Lord takes delight in you.
2nd Reading: Acts 13:16-17.22-25: Paul’s witness to Christ, the Son of David.
Gospel: Matthew 1:1-25: The ancestry of Jesus Christ, the Son of David.
Jesus’ Divine Birth: Unusual Events (Mt 1:18-25):
The coming of God’s Son into the world was one of the most phenomenal events in all of history. It necessitated and caused some very unusual events.
1.    His birth was of the Spirit.
2.    His birth created a predicament.
a.    Joseph’s predicament: Mary was pregnant before marriage.
b.    Joseph’s character and solution.
i.                Character: A righteous man
ii.              Solution: Not to expose Mary
3.    His birth necessitated a special revelation.
a.    To give assurance
i.                He was chosen
ii.              He was not to be fear
b.    To guide: In taking Mary to be his wife
c.     To explain: the child is of the Spirit
d.    To reveal the child’s destiny
i.                His name Jesus
ii.              His mission to save
4.    His birth was a fulfilment of prophecy
a.    Predicting his virgin birth (Cf. Is 7:14)
b.    Predicting his name: Emmanuel
5.    His birth brought about a great obedience.

Jesus (iesous): Saviour; He will save. The Hebrew form is Joshua (yasha), meaning, Jehovah is salvation; He is the Saviour. The idea is that of deliverance, of being saved from some terrible disaster that leads to perishing (Jn 3:16; Rom 8:3; Gal 1:4; Heb 2:14-18; 7:25).
Jesus is Immanuel: God is with us, God revealed in human flesh (Is 1:26; 9:6; Jn 1:1, 14; 2Cor 5:19; 1Jn 1:2).
Thought: Joseph acted as God would have a man to act.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas!

Saturday, 21 December 2019

Fourth Sunday of Advent: Year- A
First Reading: Isaiah 7:10-14: The maiden is with child.
Second Reading: Romans 1:1-7: Jesus Christ, descendant of David, Son of God.
The Gospel: Matthew 1:18-25: Jesus is born of Mary who was betrothed to Joseph, son of David.
Jesus’ Divine Birth: Unusual Events, Mt 1:18-25
The coming of God’s Son into the world was the most phenomenal events in all of history. It necessitated and caused some very unusual events. Joseph was a just and righteous man and accepted Mary through trust and faith in God as his mission to be the foster-father of Jesus the Son of God with humility and doing God’s will with obedience like Mary did in her life.
The Message is like Joseph:
We need to trust in God and listen to him and be faithful to God always.
We need to experience Emmanuel in our life and change the world.
Do we have any gift for our Birthday Baby Jesus today?
Let us be a Christmas gift to others with the love of God and his mercy, compassion and forgiveness toward our brothers and sisters around us.

1. His birth was of the Spirit (v.18)
2. His birth created a predicament (v.18-19)
a. Joseph’s predicament: Mary was pregnant before marriage
b. Joseph’s character and solution
          1) Character: A righteous man
          2) Solution: Not expose Mary
3. His birth necessitated a special revelation (v.20-21)
a. To give assurance
          1) He was chosen
          2) He was not to fear
b. To guide: In taking Mary to be his wife
c. To explain: The child of the Spirit
d. To reveal the Child’s destiny
          1) His name: Jesus
          2) His mission: To save
4. His birth was a fulfilment of prophecy (v.22-23)
a. Predicting His virgin birth
b. Predicting His name: Immanuel
5. His birth brought about a great obedience (v.24-25)
Thought: God chose the name of His Son, Jesus (iesous): Saviour; He will save. The Hebrew form is Joshua (yasha), meaning Jehova is salvation; He is Saviour. The idea is that of deliverance, of being saved from some terrible disaster that leads to perishing (Jn 3:16; Rom 8:3; Gal 1:4; Heb 2:14-18;7:25). Jesus’ mission was to save and His purpose for living. God gave Him mission-the purpose for every person’s life who looks to God as Jesus looked (Mt 20:28; Lk 19:10; Jn 20:21).
God met Joseph when he took time to get alone and to think. The right frame of mind is essential in order to hear and receive the message of God.
The believer who gets alone with God and think through the trails confronting him will be met by God. God will give assurance and guide the believer (Mt 6:33; Ph 4:6-7; Jn 16:13; Rom 8:13; 13:5).

Saturday, 14 December 2019

Third Sunday of Advent: Year- A
First Reading: Isaiah 35:1-6.10: God himself is coming to save you.
Second Reading: James 5:7-10: Do not lose heart, because the Lord’s coming will be soon.
The Gospel: Matthew 11:2-11: Are you the one who is to come, or have we got to wait for someone else?
The Assurance:
Given to a Questioning Disciple, John the Baptist, Mt 11:1-6
In John the Baptist’s mind, the Messiah was coming to baptize people with the Spirit of God and with fire (Mt 3:11;Lk 7:21-23). But Jesus was baptizing with the Spirit of God and he was doing nothing about baptizing with fire, the messianic fire of judgement. John must have wondered why Jesus was delaying in carrying out what he himself had announced about him under the influence of the Spirit.: to cut the trees that yielded no fruit, to burn away the useless chaff, punishing Herod and people like him (Mt 3:10,12). To John’s mind, Christ was fulfilling only half of the prophecies concerning the Messiah (Mt 1:1, 18; 3:11;11:2-3, 5-6;12:16; 22:42; Lk 7:21-23). John was confused in prison.
Perhaps, John started doubting if he had been mistaken; perhaps this man, Jesus, was not the Messiah after all-and all his life and suffering had been in vain. He sent two disciples to ask, and Jesus used the opportunity to vindicate His Messiahship.
1. Jesus ended the commissioning of His disciples (v.1)
a. He sent them out
b. He began to minister again-alone
2. John’s perplexity: Pictured a stern Messiah (v.2-3)
a. Jesus’ works were works of love
b. John questioned: Expected a Messiah of judgement, not love
3. Jesus’ assurance: He was beyond question the Messiah (v.4-6)
a. He spoke as Messiah
b. He demonstrated the power and works of the Messiah
c. He fulfilled prophecies of the Messiah
d. He preached the gospel of the Messiah
e. He promised both the blessing and judgement of the Messiah
Thought: John did not fully understand Jesus, and to be honest, we all lack understanding; yet what is needed is for us to do what John did.
·       He trusted Jesus Christ anyway.
·       He committed his life to proclaiming that Jesus was the Messiah and continued to proclaim the message even though he did not fully understand.
·       He sought answers to what he did not understand.
·       He did not let his questions destroy his faith.
·       We should not fear nor be ashamed because we may not understand or have questions about Jesus. In fact, it is good to make absolutely sure in all matters concerning our salvation. We should seek and ask unashamedly (Jas 1:5).
·       John was not weary in looking for the Messiah. He said he would keep on looking if Jesus were not the Messiah. We must not become weary and doubting because He has not yet returned (2Pt 3:3-4,8-18).
·       John’s questioning began when he was in prison facing great trouble and trail.
·       John had questions to arise in his mind. Even the strongest are not always strong no matter who they are (Mt 26:36-46,69-75; Gal 2:11f). severe trails are often a great strain upon our faith. In such times, we need His strength and assurance (1Pt 4:12-13;5:7,10; 2Cor 1:3-4;2Tim 1:7; Heb 12:3).
·       John believed the Scripture and looked for the Messiah’s first coming. We are to believe the Scriptures: He has come and He is coming again (Jn 14:2-3, 1 Thes 4:13f; Titus 2:12-13).
·       John was not a wavering reed but a man firm in his conviction as a prophet, the Messiah’s forerunner, the herald of the true king, the greatest of the natural men, the last of an age, the age predicting the Messiah and he was a promised Elijah, the one to precede the Messiah.
Jesus spoke as one having authority: He spoke, taught, and preached as the Messiah (Mt 7:28-29; Jn 14:10). Jesus demonstrated the power and works of the Messiah. Jesus was saying that His works and concern (love) were the works and concern predicted for the Messiah. Jesus did not just professed to be the Messiah, He proved it as God’s Son, the Messiah (Jn 14:10-11). Jesus encouraged John not to be offended by Him.

Friday, 6 December 2019

Second Sunday of Advent: Year- A
First Reading: Isaiah 11:1-10: He judges the wretched with integrity.
Second Reading: Romans 15:4-9: Christ is the Saviour of all men.
The Gospel: Matthew 3:1-12: Repent for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.
Jesus’ Forerunner, John the Baptist:
A Message for All, Mt 3:1-12
God showed His power and His love in giving us the Messiah. Isaiah projects the well known picture of the Messianic rule. Messiah of David’s stock will reveal new qualities of spirit, especially justice as the poor have never known. A new relationship between man and the order of nature will be like Paradise revisited. Prophet Isaiah has been called “the prophet of Advent,” the messenger of God helping us to get ready to receive the Messiah who is going to save us. John the Baptist and Paul also invite us today to prepare ourselves with repentance or conversion to receive the Messiah for our salvation. God displayed his power in giving us the Messiah. The Messiah should be a man filled the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God would endow the Messiah with the wonderful qualities: the spirit of wisdom and of insight, the spirit of counsel and of power, the spirit of knowledge and of fear of the Lord (the fear of the Lord is his breath-Gen 1:2). The Messiah will bring peace; peace between man and God, man and man and man and the nature in the creation. The Messiah will spread the knowledge of Yahweh to the whole land (Is 11:9). In order to receive the Saviour we must allow the Spirit of God to possess us by repentance or conversion. The Spirit of God has power to change the hearts of a persons from wolves into lambs, chaff, useless straw into precious grain and to start yielding fruit. John called the leaders of the Jews “vipers” snakes whose heart was full of poison and who poisoned people around.
John the Baptist set a blazing example for every minister and believer of the Gospel. His message is a message for all; he speaks to the common person and the religionist alike.
1. John administered in the wilderness of the desert (v.1)
2. His message to the people: Repent, the Kingdom of Heaven is near (v.2-6)
a. His message fulfilled prophecy: One’s crying, “prepare”
b. His message was the message of a prophet: He dressed and ate as a prophet
c. His message bore fruit
          1) Crowds gathered
          2) Crowds confessed and were baptised
3. His message to the religionists, the Pharisees and Sadducees (v.7-10)
a. Warning 1: Flee the wrath to come
b. Warning 2: Repent
c. Warning 3: Heritage is of no value
d. Warning 4: Judgement is at hand
          1) Immediate: Now
          2) Inevitable: Every unfruitful tree is cast into the fire
          3) Basis: Fruit
4. His message to all: Christ-Messianic preaching (v.11-12)
a. Christ is greater…
b. Christ shall baptize…
c. Christ shall judge and purge
          1) Gather some
          2) Burn some
Thought: God uses the wilderness or desert (quiet places) to prepare and launch the ministry of people. Quietness is essential: “Be still and know that I am God” (Ps 46:10). Meditation is essential (Gen 24:63; Jos 1:8; Ps 1:2;63:6;77:12;119:15,23,48,78,148; 143:5; 1Tim 4:15).
Believers are never alone, no matter how secluded they may be. God is there.
The Gospel began in a wilderness or desert, not in a synagogue or church (Is 32:15; 35:1-2; 51:18-19).
God has the very place for every believer to serve. John’s place was in the wilderness or desert; Jesus Christ’s was in the cities and synagogues as well as the countryside. Believers should witness and prophets should preach wherever they are –in the wilderness or in the cities.
God raises up His servant, His witness, His prophet in His time (v.3).
Preaching is to be to the people. It is to be affirmative, authoritative, positive but not uncertain and negative.
The world should hear, respect and respond to the messenger of God (v.5-6). God forgives sin when a person confesses and repents of his sin (v.6).

Saturday, 30 November 2019

First Sunday of Advent: Year- A
First Reading: Isaiah 2:1-5: The Lord gathers all nations together into the eternal peace of God’s kingdom.
Second Reading: Romans 13:11-14: Our salvation is near.
The Gospel: Matthew 24:37-44: Stay awake so that you will be ready.
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 with due preparation and repentance, to listen to the Word of God and act accordingly and doing the will of God and to take  part in the Eucharist.