Saturday, 27 July 2019

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time-C
I Reading: Genesis 18:20-32: I trust my Lord will not be angry, but give me leave to speak.
II Reading: Colossians 2:12-14: He has brought you to life with him, he has forgiven us all our sins.
Gospel: Luke 11:1-13: Ask, and it will be given to you.
The Great Subject of Prayer, Lk 11:1-13
This passage deals with the great subject of prayer. So we need to study time and again and learn how to pray without ceasing in life. The prayer of a Christian should resemble that of Christ. Jesus himself prayed often. What was Jesus’ prayer like? “Our Father” and He taught his apostles as we read in the gospel. He taught them to pray the way he himself did. The “Our Father” prayer as given by Luke, does not exactly coincide with the one given by Matthew (Mt 6:9-13). Luke gives a shorter form, but the content of both is essentially the same. Let us now examine the content of this wonderful prayer:
a) “Father…”- we are His loving children
b) “May your name be held holy”
c) “Your kingdom come”
The second part of the Our Father is:
a) “Gives us this day our daily bread…!”
b) “Forgive us our sins…for we ourselves forgive..!”
c) “Do not put us to the test…”- Give us the strength to resist temptation when the devil tempts us. Save us from the evil one (Mt 6:13).
Jesus taught us how to pray, how to converse with God our Father: with trust, with gratitude, with joy, just as he himself did.
1. Jesus prayed (v.1)
a. The disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray
b. John the Baptist had taught his disciples to pray
2. Jesus’ model prayer (v.2-4)
a. Thank God
  1) for being our Father
  2) for heaven
b. Praise His name always and don’t hate His name
c. Pray
  1) for His kingdom
  2) for daily bread
  3) for forgiveness
  4) for deliverance
3. Man’s part in prayer (v.5-10)
a. The illustration: man is to persevere and endure in prayer
b. The point: perseverance and endurance receive what is requested
c. The exhortation
  1) ask- shall be given
  2) seek- shall find
  3) knock- shall be opened
d. The answer assured
4. God’s part in prayer (v.11-13)
a. The illust.: God is not evil, but He is good-He is just like a father
b. The point: God is most willing to give- especially the Holy Spirit to dwell with man’s heart and life
Thought: Jesus Himself prayed to the Father always and asked His power and strength to continue His works and to do the Will of God.
Prayer makes us closer to God and helps us to love people with forgiveness and enables us to take up all kinds of responsibilities; even gives us lots of strength and courage to undergo sufferings or persecutions in life.
Man/woman is a bundle of needs; he/she needs to turn to God at every step, prayer is the way to do so. We must approach God in prayer with respect, with trust and with love.

Sunday, 14 July 2019

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time-C
I Reading: Genesis 18:1-10: Abraham and Sarah unwittingly offer hospitality to God’s Angels and receive a blessing. Lord, do not pass your servant by.
II Reading: Colossians 1:24-28: Paul unites his own sufferings with those of Christ for the Church. A mystery hidden for centuries has now been revealed to God’s saints.
Gospel: Luke 10:38-42: Martha welcomed Jesus into her house. It is Mary who has chosen the better path.
The One Thing Needed: To Sit at Jesus’ Feet, Lk 10:38-42
The readings discover what the presence of Christ in our midst ought to  mean in our life. The first and the second readings talk about the hospitality of Abraham, Martha and Mary. Jesus visits us time and again to carry on his work of salvation. How? 
a) Jesus multiplies his visits to the Christian community:
i. when we gather to pray
ii. when the Word of God is read or explained to us
iii. when we celebrate the Holy Eucharist
b) Jesus longs to be the guest of our families
i. Jesus wants to be invited: the best invitation is family prayer
ii. we must make Jesus feel at home as a result Jesus gives the tree gifts: unity, peace and joy.  If the presence of Jesus is not there these gifts disappears from the family or a person.
c. Christ ought to be the permanent guest of each Christian. The indwelling of God in each Christian is at the centre of our Christian life. Paul wrote to his Christians of Corinth, “Don’t you realize that you are God’s temples, and that the Spirit of God is in you?” (1Cor 3:16).
Christ visits us with particular love in time of suffering. He continues to suffer in each Christian that suffers for the church or faith. Now we can better understand the words of Paul at the beginning of today’s first reading: “ It makes me happy to suffer for you as I am suffering now, to make up all that has still to be undergone by Christ for the sake of his body, the Church.” (1Cor 1:24)  
In the Gospel, Mary and Martha’s experience teaches that waiting and sitting at Jesus’ feet is much more important than running to and fro trying to work one’s way into God’s favour. There is one basic essential in life, and that is sitting at Jesus’ feet and hearing His Word. 
1. Jesus entered a village (v.38)
2. Two strong characters (v.38-39)
a. Martha’s character
1) giving
2) courageous
3) caring and loving
b. Mary’s character
1) loving and humble
2) gripped with a spiritual hunger
3. Martha’s problem: She was distracted (v.40)
a. distracted by serving
b. distracted by material things: food and necessities and the cares of the world
4. Martha’s one need: to sit quietly and listen to Jesus’ words (v.41-42)
Thought: Our devotion and loyalty to Jesus Christ is a daily affair (Lk 9:23). Seeking to hear the Word of God and learning at the feet of Christ is very important as the believers or followers of Christ. 
Listening to God’s voice, words and to obey His commands is very important; the Shema (Deut 6:4-9) “Listen O Israel, the Lord your God is the only God…love Him…and love your neighbours as yourself.” Even Jesus emphasized on the word “to listen” to him while preaching, teaching and healing the people. Jesus listened to his Father, Mary listened to the Word of God; so let us listen to Jesus always who is the Eternal Word and Life for us.

Gospel: Matthew 12:14-21: Jesus warned them not to make him known; this was to fulfil the prophecy. 
I Reading: Exodus 12:37-42: It was night when the Lord brought Israel out of the land of Egypt. 
Messiah is the Chosen Servant of God
The Old Testament predicted who the Messiah would be and what His work would be. This passage proves that Jesus fulfilled what was predicted of the Messiah. 
  1. 1.Two attitudes toward Jesus and His response (v.14-16)
  1. a.First attitude: the Pharisees plotted against Jesus, so he withdrew
  2. b.Second attitude: many followed Jesus, so he healed them
  3. c.Jesus requested no publicity
  1. 1.Jesus’ person (v.17-18)
  1. d.God’s chosen servant
  2. e.God’s Beloved Son
  3. f.God’s Spirit upon him-fully
  1. 1.Jesus’ work (v.18-21). What Jesus did and the quiet, tender way he went about doing it proved his Messiahship.
  1. g.He proclaims justice to all peoples
  2. h.He shows humility
  1. 1.Not strife: arguing
  2. 2.Not crying: reacting
  3. 3.Not fussing
  1. a.He loves and encourages
  2. b.He leads justice to victory
  3. c.He gives hope to all
Thought: Christ submitted to God’s will; therefore he was given a great work to do; he experienced the great trust of God. Christ shuts no man out, but men do shun and avoid, exclude and shut one another out. Jesus reaches out to all, and he shows all how to live a just and righteous life.

Gospel: Matthew 12:1-8: The Son of Man is master of the Sabbath. 
I Reading: Exodus 11:10-12:14: You shall slaughter a lamb between the two evenings; and when I see the blood I will pass over you.
Messiah is Greater than Religion, Mt 12:1-8
Chapter 12 deals with the rising opposition to Jesus Christ both from religionists (Mt 12:1-45) and from his own family (Mt 12:46-50). Jesus confronted attack after attack, vindicating his Messiahship against each one. Suspicion, rejection and fear of Christ were growing at a rapid pace. Jesus had to continue to proclaim the truth for the sake of every generation, for he was the true Messiah, the Saviour of all who would believe and surrender to him.
Christ used this opportunity to show that he himself was the Messiah is greater than the Sabbath or religion.
  1. 1.A questionable act-breaking the Sabbath law (v.1-3)
  1. a.The religionist’s accusation
  2. b.Jesus’ progressive argument and defense
  1. 1.Step 1: need has precedence over tradition and ritual (cp. David) (v.3-4)
  2. 2.Step 2: necessary work has precedence over the Sabbath, that is over religion (v.5)
  3. 3.Step 3: he (the Messiah) is greater than the temple (v.6)
  4. 4.Step 4: he will have a religion of mercy and not sacrifice (v.7)
  5. 5.Step 5: he is Lord of the Sabbath and religion (v.8)
Thought: The religionists (Jewish teachers) corrupted God’s Word (Rev. 22:18-19; Prov 30:6; 1Jn 5:3; Acts 23:8; Lk 6:2).
The religionists did not have a merciful heart; they were not compassionate and understanding of human need. They did not understand the true meaning of God’s heart and Word. They knew God’s Word but did not know its meaning. They judged and censored others because they did not know the meaning of God’s heart and Word. God’s heart and word never allows censoring any one. How much mercy and compassion are needed in all our dealings!

Gospel: Matthew 11: 28-30: I am gentle and humble in heart. 
I Reading: Exodus 3:13-20: I AM who I AM. I AM has sent me to you.
The Great Invitation: Given to This Generation, Mt 11:28-30
Christ paints two pictures in this passage. One picture is of extreme weariness. The other picture is of extreme pressure. Jesus does not say what caused the weariness or pressure (heavy burdens). It does not matter, for his invitation is open to all. It is a simple invitation, requiring so little and offering so much.
  1. 1.Come to Me (v.28)
  1. a.Who: The weary
  2. b.Why: He will give rest
  3. c.Condition: Must come to Jesus
  1. 1.Take my yoke-learn of Me (v.29-30)
  1. d.Why:
  1. 2.He is gentle and humble
  2. 3.We will find rest
  3. 4.His yoke is easy, his burden is light
  1. a.Condition: Must come to Jesus Christ
Thought: Some of the things that exhaust us are
  • ïToo much work
  • ïWorldliness and carnality (fleshy pleasure)
  • ïSin and guilt
  • ïUnsatisfying spirit in money and material possession
  • ïName and fame of emptiness in life
  • ïPower and lowliness of it
  • ïThe rituals and traditions of religion
  • ïRules and regulations
  • ïNot knowing the truth of life is one the major causes of exhaustion
Every person has his/her yoke that is his/her life to live and his/her task to do while on earth. Jesus is gentle and humble. He cares, looks after us. How far we can go to Jesus’ invitation (Come to ME) and how capable we are.

Gospel: Matthew 11: 25-27: You have hidden these things from the learned and revealed them to mere children. 
I Reading: Exodus 3:1-6.9-12: The Lord appeared to Moses in the shape of a flame of fire, coming from the middle of a bush.
The Blindness of This Generation. The generation was blind to three things
  1. 1.The people were blind to God’s truth:
  1. a.The wise are blind: self- sufficient
  2. b.The little children are not blind: teachable
  1. 1.The people are blind to God’s will and purpose:
  2. 2.The people were blind to the Messiah. Note: a man is blind to four facts about the Messiah:
  1. a.He is of God, His very own Son
  2. b.He has been given all things
  3. c.He is the Mediator
  4. d.He alone reveals God
Thought: Spiritual truth is “hidden” where? In God. The only key to spiritual truth is faith and trust in God. What Christ condemns is not intelligence and wisdom but intellectual pride and self-sufficiency.

Gospel: Matthew 11: 20-24: It will not go as hard on Judgement day with Tyre and Sidon and with the land of Sodom as with you. 
I Reading: Exodus 2:1-15: Pharaoh’s daughter named him Moses because, she said, “ I drew him out of the water.” Later, when he was a man, he set out to visit his countrymen.
The Judgement of this Generation, Mt 11:20-24
There is the judgement of this generation. 
  1. 1.The judgement of this generation (v.20-24)
  1. a.The judgement of two privileged cities
  2. b.Because they were privileged
  3. c.Because they did not repent
  4. d.Because they ignored Christ
  5. e.The degree of their judgement: to be greater than most
  6. a.The judgement of the most privileged city
  1. 6.Because it had the greatest opportunity
  2. 7.Because it did not repent
  3. 8.Because it neglected Christ
  4. 9.The degree of its judgement: to be the greatest
Thought: Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist-he denies the Father and the Son (1 John 2:22).

Gospel: Matthew 10:34-11:1: It is not peace I have come to bring, but a sword.
I Reading: Exodus 1:8-14.22 : We must take steps against Israel increasing any further.
The Cost of Being the Lord’s Disciple, Mt 10:34-42
In this passage Jesus is exact and uncompromising. He lays some heavy demands upon his disciples. He states clearly what it will cost a person to be his disciple, and he describes the cost by using four illustrations.
  1. 1.Jesus’ purpose (v.34)
  1. a.Not to bring peace
  2. b.To bring a sword
  1. 1.Illustration 1: a person’s family (v.35-37)
  1. c.The fact: Christ sets the believer against his family
  2. d.The demand: must love Christ supremely
  3. e.The reward: counted worthy vs. unworthy
  1. 1.Illustration 2: the cross (v.38)
  1. f.Demand: die-follow
  2. g.Reward: counted worthy vs. unworthy
  1. 1.Illustration 3: a person’s life (v.39)
  1. h.Demand: give up life
  2. i.Reward: lose life vs. find life
  1. 1.Illustration 4: welcoming and ministering to others (v.40-42)
  1. j.Demand: welcome a believer and minister to him
  2. k.Reward: an equal reward
  1. 1.The presence of Christ and of God (v.40)
  2. 2.The equal reward
  3. 3.Strongly asserted: the smallest ministry will not lose its reward
Thought: The world is full of hurt, pain and suffering-not peace. The truth cannot be denied. However, we can be of good cheer, for Christ has overcome the world. 
His word, sharper than any two-edged sword, pierces the soul and spirit of a person, discerning the thoughts and intents of his heart. It convicts the person to become a follower of God and His righteousness (Heb 4:12).

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time-C

I Reading: Deuteronomy 30:10-14: The Word is very near to you for your observance.
II Reading: Colossians 1:15-20: All things were created through Christ and for him.
Gospel: Luke 10:25-37: Who is my neighbour?
The Parable of the Good Samaritan: 
The Two Supreme Questions of Life, Lk 10:25-37
What is the true religion? In today’s readings explain, there wonderful teachers, Moses, Paul and Jesus provide the answer to this question; let us examine them. Everyone can be saved as Moses said to the Israelites: “Obey God’s commands and you will live.” (Deut. 30:16)
The mistake of the Christians of Colossae was that they believed in the evil spirits being Christians as pagans than believing in the good spirit of Jesus Christ. Epaphras being a good Christian came and said to Paul when he was in prison in Rom about the bad news and false teachings led by false teachers. Hence Paul wrote immediately and said to his Christians; he is above everyone and everything; be united with Christ and you have nothing to fear about the evil spirits. Christ reconciled us with God through his death; so he is the head of the Church , a Body of which we, Christians are the members. Christ is our beginning and the end and our goal on earth and in heaven.
A parable about two “religious people” (a priest and a Levite) who had not grasped what religion was about, and a “Samaritan” (known as a pagan) who was despised and dejected by Jews in the society, through love and compassion for the wounded man (Jew) and helped him in the time of real need without any discrimination, came closest to God. 
How many of us help and support the poor, sick, down trodden, needy and oppressed or rejected ones in our societies like the Samaritan man to inherit the eternal life?
There are two supreme questions of life, questions that could revolutionize the world if men would ask them and then heed their answers.
1. A lawyer (an expert in the law) tempted Jesus (v.25)
2. Question 1: How do we inherit eternal life? (v.25-28)
a. First, the law has the answer
b. Second, love God supremely
c. Third, love your neighbour as yourself
d. Fourth, obey and you shall live
3. Question 2: Who is my neighbour? (v.29-37)
a. The traveller: was foolish and irresponsible
1) Travelled alone
2) Was robbed
3) Was assaulted and left half-dead
b. The priest: placed work above people
1) Saw the injured traveller
2) Rushed by him
c. The Levite: placed safety before compassion
1) Saw him
2) Stopped and looked
d. The Samaritan: placed compassion before prejudice and opinion
1) Gave his heart: compassion
2) Sacrificed his work, time, energy, goods and money
3) The Lord’s compassion: go and do likewise
Thought: The Samaritan being a gentile and outcaste saved the Jew in need. According to Jews only relatives and dear ones were their neighbours not the Samaritans who were known as despised and outcaste people in their eyes.
Let us help people in need without any reservations.

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time-C

I Reading: Isaiah 66:10-14: Towards her I send flowing peace, like a river.
II Reading: Galatians 6:14-18: The marks on my body are those of the Lord Jesus.
Gospel: Luke 10: 1-12, 17-20: Your peace will rest on that man.
The Seventy Sent Forth : Great Purpose, 10:1-16
Jesus appoints the seventy and sends forth for his mission. This passage tells the Christian labourer how he is to work and tells the hearer how he is to treat the labourer of God. Paul explains to us what it really means to be a Christ means to have become an altogether new creature, on account of the Life in the Spirit given to us at Baptism. It also means to belong to Christ and finally Paul wishes “peace and mercy to all who follow the rule”, that is, to all who keep faithful to Christ (Gal 6:16). 
Jesus sent seventy two disciples to announce the kingdom of God who represent all the baptised, each one of us included, whereas the twelve apostles whom Jesus sent first, represent not only the apostles but their successors as well: the Pope, the bishops and priests, all those special messengers chosen by God. Number 12, (the number of apostles) stands in the mind of Luke for the 12 tribes of Israel, who in God’s plan, were to be evangelised first. 
1. Jesus appointed seventy disciples to prepare the way for Him (v.1)
a. had many disciples
b. two by two: to support, encouragement and community life
c. saw tremendous need
d. sent as forerunners
2. First, pray for more labourers (v.2)
3. Second, go into an antagonistic world (v.3)
4. Third, trust God and sense the hour’s urgency (v.4)
5. Fourth, guard the message-do not force it upon people (v.5-6)
6. Fifth, accept compensation, but do not seek luxury (v.7)
7. Sixth, be accommodating and adaptable (v.8-9)
a. indentify with people
b. minister to people
c. proclaim the kingdom of God
8. Seventh, walk away from rejecters (v.10-15)
a. any town and people who reject
1) symbolize God’s rejection by wiping off the very dust of the city
2) reason: kingdom of God came near, but they rejected it
3) judgement: shall be greater than Sodom’s
b. any who only profess to be God’s people
1) illustrated by two Jewish towns
2) the reason: the works of Christ were seen, yet he was rejected
3) the judgement: to be more terrible
c. any who have a constant witness but reject: to receive the greatest judgement-hell
9. Eighth, , know that the Christian labourer presents the Lord (v.16)
Thought: Anyone who rejects the Lord definitely will be condemned.

The Seventy Return: Great Power, Lk 10:17-20
Jesus Christ gives great power to the person who truly works for him. 
1. The Seventy returned (v.17)
a. with joy
b. with great results and a testimony of power
2. The Christian labourer has power over Satan (v.18)
3. The Christian labourer has power overall enemies: perfect security (v.19)
4. The Christian labourer is to rejoice in his salvation, not in his power (v.20)
The Seventy Return: Great Privileges, Lk 10:21-24
The Christian labourer has three great privileges. Jesus was filled with joy over these privileges and praised God. The Lord’s heart longs to share these privileges with every person.
1. Jesus rejoiced (v.21)
2. privilege 1: The spiritual insight into truth (v.21)
a. into “these things”
b. God hides truth from the wise and learned
c. God reveals truth to babes
d. such action is well pleasing to God 
3. Privilege 2: The knowledge of God and of His only Son (v.22)
a. God and the Son alone know one another
b. The Son reveals God to some
4. Privilege 3: The insight and privilege of learning God’s full revelation (v.23-24).
Thought: God’s power is defeating Satan, of delivering people from the power of Satan. 
To be a Christians means to give oneself to Christ wholeheartedly.