Wednesday, 28 August 2019

22nd  Sunday in Ordinary Time-C
I Reading: Ecclesiasticus 3: 17-20.28-29: Behave humbly, and then you will find favour with the Lord.
II Reading: Hebrews 12:18-19.22-24: You have to come to Mount Zion and the city of the living God.
Gospel: Luke 14:1.7-14: Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the man who humbled will be exalted.
The Importance of Humility, Lk 14:7-14
Our community prayer or Sunday gathering or any celebration should be a gathering and celebration of joy and not of fear (Exodus 20:19-The Israelites pleaded Moses when God was speaking at the thunder, lightning, trumpet blasting and the mount smoking) “Speak to us yourself and we shall listen; but do not let God speak to us, or we shall die.”
Our Sunday service is a banquet which Jesus Christ, personally prepares for us with love for the Christian community, and Luke wanted his Christians to realise the following:
We are the poor whom Jesus invites. We are poor both materially and spiritually.
We are the lame and the cripple, incapable of walking along the way to heaven; Jesus comes on Sunday gathering to give us a helping hand to reach there.
We are the blind people, whose spiritual eyesight Jesus restored at Baptism and he helps us to see God and makes us to understand the plan of God.
Who will accept such a great invitation of Jesus Christ?
Only the truly humble accept Jesus Christ’s invitation to the banquet of God’s kingdom. The Sunday service should help us to grow in humility, by helping us realise our own weakness, sinfulness and total unworthiness of being admitted into God’s kingdom. The proud person thinks only of what he/she thinks him/herself to be. In a way he/she becomes his/her own idol and worships him/herself. The proud person does not serve God and he forgets his neighbour; no one really counts, except himself (Si 3:28). There is no person as wise, as powerful and as holy as Jesus (you alone are the Lord in Gloria we sing, Rev. 19:16-“The king of kings and the Lord of lords.” Yet Jesus Christ is so humble even unto death (Phil 2:6-8). Jesus spent his life at the service of his Father and of humankind.
We must attend Sunday service with humility. This is what Jesus taught his disciples at the Last Supper; “I have given you an example so that you may copy what I have done to you” (Jn 13:15) vs. 1Cor 11:17-18.
Finally our Sunday service must lead us to put ourselves at the service of our brothers and sisters in the community especially the poor in the society.
Jesus taught the importance of humility in this passage.
1. Jesus attended a banquet (v.7)
a. He noticed some choosing the best seats
b. He shared a parable
2. The parable: The ambitious guest (v.8-10)
a. The first man: Seeks the place of honour
  1) Is displaced
  2) Finds all other seats already taken
  3) Has to take the lowest seat
  4) Is embarrassed
b. The second man: Takes the lowest place of honour
  1) Is acknowledged
  2) Is rewarded with a higher position
  3) Is honoured by all
3.The parable’s point (v.11)
a. Self-exaltation humbles
b. Humility exalts
4. The demonstration of humility (v.12-14)
a. Humility is not serving those who can repay
b. Humility is serving those who are needy and cannot repay
c. Humility shall be rewarded
Thought: Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up (James 4:10). Humility is a problem to most people. Why? Because the world looks upon humility as a sign of weakness and cowardice.

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time-C
I Reading: Isaiah 66:18-21: They will bring all your brothers from all the nations.
II Reading: Hebrews 12:5-7.11-13: The Lord trains the one that he loves.
Gospel: Luke 13:22-30: Men from east and west will come to take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. Salvation cannot be taken for granted. It is given by God to those who respond in faith.
The Saved Discussed
Who are the saved? Will many be saved? Shall I be saved or shall I be lost? Jesus answers these questions in this passage. Faith teaches us that this earthly life will come to an end, and that death will introduce us into a new life that lasts forever with God. God wants everyone saved. In the gospel; the man did not look or seek for personal salvation but he asked and discussed with Jesus about the salvation of a few people or many. The Jews were thinking by birth as a Jew and circumcision they are going to be saved but Jesus said to enter through the narrow gate or door which means by self-denial and faith in Jesus Christ as the Messiah and the Saviour of the world. If we wish to enter into heaven we must leave all evil actions and pride; instead we need a total obedience to God’s will and humility. Self-denial is very important to enter into the narrow gate. Jesus said, if you would follow me; take up your cross and follow me. If anyone saves his life will lose it and anyone who loses his life for my sake will save it (Lk 11:9-10; 9:23-24).
The narrow gate or door is specific, very specific, only way and straight and not crooked way to enter to be saved. Jesus Christ is the only way, the truth and the life (Jn 14:6). So we need to seek, search and look for God to be saved not by baptism (by Christians) or circumcision (by Jews) or fellowships (by other churches) but by our committed life, self-denial and faith in Christ. We need every effort to struggle and work hard to enter into the narrow gate (Jesus).
To be “saved” means “to be with God in our present and future life” to see Him, to share His life and joy and peace. To be “lost” means not to be admitted into God’s presence and to be deprived of God’s life, joy and peace for ever. When we speak of “heaven” and “hell”, we are not speaking about places but of “states” (ways) of being: “heaven” means “to be with God”, while “hell” means to be deprived of Him. God wants and longs that everyone may be saved in heaven with Him and forever. It is up to each one of us to decide or choose whether to be saved or to be lost. We need to try to enter by the narrow door with humility and obedience to God’s teachings and commands. We cannot enter into heaven with pride, Selfishness, self-righteousness, disobedience to God’s will and teachings, jealousy, envy, hatred and all evil actions.
Jesus answers to challenge us so that we will make sure we are saved.
1. Jesus journeyed toward Jerusalem (v.22-23)
a. Taught in the cities and villages
b. Along the way someone questioned Jesus about salvation
2. The saved make every effort to enter the narrow door (v.24)
3. The saved act soon enough: A man move too late (v.25)
4. The saved are not the citizens of so-called Christian nations nor members of certain fellowships (v.26)
5. The saved shall be separated from the lost, and the lost shall see them enter God’s kingdom (v.27-28)
6. The saved will come from all nations and classes of society (v.29-30)

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time-C

I Reading: Jeremiah 38:4-6.8-10: You have borne me to be a man of dissension for all the land.

II Reading: Hebrews 12:1-4: We shall keep running in the race we have started.

Gospel: Luke 12:49-53: I am not here to bring peace, but rather division.

The Three Gross Misconceptions of Man, 12:49-59

Today’s gospel reading sounds as a shocking passage for all of us today. The words sounds really strange on Jesus’ lips; we find it difficult to take them literally. We need to take his words seriously and try to understand the real meaning. Jesus came to bring peace and union among people. That is what we find in the Scriptures “the Messiah as a man of peace”: “Prince of Peace” (Is 9:6). “He will be our peace” (Mt 5:5). The shepherds’ singing: “Peace on earth to men whom God loves” (Mt 2:14). In the Beatitudes “Blessed are the peace-makers; they shall be called God’s children”(Mt 5:9). Jesus wanted his disciples to be like him and to be the messengers of peace “In whatever house you enter, let your first words be: ‘Peace to this house’” (10:5). Jesus’ gift to his disciples during his passion, was peace:“Peace I bring to you; my own peace I give you, a peace the world cannot give, this is my gift to you”(Jn 14:27). The Risen Jesus Christ’s gift to his disciples “Peace be with you” (Jn 20:20-21). So Jesus is a man of peace, giving peace to the world and bringing salvation to the world those who receives him, believe in him and accept Jesus as the Messiah and the Lord of the universe. The three readings are clear: “faithfulness to God often entails suffering. Jesus himself suffered and announced, “if they persecuted me, they will persecute you too” (Jn 15:20). It does not meant that those who follow Jesus must renounce all peace, joy and happiness.

There are three main reasons of his saying:

Jesus covered three gross misconceptions of man.

1. Misconception 1: The Messiah was to bring peace on earth (v.49-53)

a. Truth 1: He came to bring judgement

b. Truth 2: He came to suffer and die

c. Truth 3: He came to bring division

2. Misconception 2: The Messiah has not yet come (v.54-57)

a. Truth 1: People discern the weather, i.e. earthly events

b. Truth 2: People do not discern the signs of times, the Messianic age

c. Truth 3: People do not discern spiritual matters

3. Misconception 3: Men have no need to make peace with God (v.58-59)

a. Truth 1: People have a bad case before God, the judge

b. Truth 2: The time is urgent-“try hard”

c. Truth 3: The surety of payment, that is judgement

Thought: The believer is to love God first and foremost then his/her family or friends.