To hear the Audio reflections of Friday, July 21, 2017 click HERE
Thursday, 20 July 2017
To read the texts click on the texts: Ex 11:10-12:14; Mt 12:1-8
The story, which forms the text of today, may be termed as a Sabbath controversy. Matthew refers here to Sabbath for the first time in his gospel. The point of contention is not very clear in Matthew, because the law permitted a person passing through a neighbour’s grain field to pluck heads of corn and eat them (Deut 23:23-25).
The point here seems to be whether such an act could be done on the Sabbath. While in Mark the Pharisees ask a question, in Matthew, they are clearly hostile and make a charge. In his response to the Pharisees, Jesus quotes refers to the story of David in 1 Samuel 21:1-6, where David went beyond the rule to the need of his men. If David could do such a thing, then Jesus who is greater than David can do so even more. The Matthean Jesus also refers to the text from Numbers 28:9-10 where the priests in the Temple sacrifice there on the Sabbath, indicating that sacrifice is greater than the Sabbath. Since mercy is greater than sacrifice, it is surely greater than the Sabbath.
Reaching out in love to anyone in need takes precedence over every rule, law and regulation. It is the human who must always come first. The rule, law and regulation follows.
Wednesday, 19 July 2017
To read the texts click on the texts: Ex 3:13-20; Mt 11:28-30
Jesus invites all those who are burdened to come to him for rest. The burden in this context seems to be that of the law and its obligations. When Jesus invites the burdened to take his yoke, which is easy, he is not inviting them to a life of ease, but to a deliverance from any kind of artificiality or the blind following of rules and regulations. The disciple must learn from Jesus who is in Matthew “the great teacher”. The rest that Jesus offers is the rest of salvation.
We can get so caught up today with wanting to have more that we might lose sight of the meaning of life itself. The desire to acquire more and more and be regarded as successful based on what we possess sometimes leads to missing out on so much that life has to offer.
Tuesday, 18 July 2017
Wednesday, July 19, 2017 - Is your pride preventing you from encountering Jesus? What will you do about it today?
To read the texts click on the texts: Ex 3:1-6,9-12; Mt 11:25-27
This text is addressed to all those who accept the message of Jesus unlike those in Chorazin and Bethsaida. Jesus begins his prayer here by giving thanks to the Father. It is openness to the revelation of God that Jesus makes which is responsible for the receipt of this enormous privilege.
Acknowledging Jesus is not a matter of one’s superior knowledge or insight, but given as a gift to those who open themselves to this revelation. Jesus himself is an example of such openness, which allowed him to receive everything directly from God. It is his intimacy with the Father and not his religious genius, which is responsible for this grace.
Monday, 17 July 2017
Tuesday, July 18, 2017 - If you were a resident of Chorazin or Bethsaida how would you respond to the woes?
To read the texts click on the texts: Ex 2:1-15; Mt 11:20-24
The woes pronounced against Chorazin and Bethsaida are because of the refusal of the people in them to repent. The people of these towns did believe in the miracles, but this belief did not translate into a change of mind, which was the primary purpose of the miracles that Jesus worked. Also, the Gentile cities of Tyre, Sidon that were regarded as biblical symbols of evil would fare better on the day of judgement that Chorazin and Bethsaida.
The miraculous and extra-ordinary cannot always sustain faith, which is a gift from God to anyone who wants to receive it and is willing to open the heart and mind. More often than not a kind word or a gentle touch can lead people to repentance.
Sunday, 16 July 2017
To read the texts click on the texts: Ex 1:8-14,22; Mt 10:34-11:1
These verses make up the conclusion of Matthew’s Mission Discourse. The choice is a difficult one to make and sometimes it may be between even family and one’s conscience. Loyalty to Jesus has priority over loyalty to anyone else or anything, indeed even over life itself. If one is willing to share the cross of Jesus, one will also be given the privilege of his authority. The discourse ends with the affirmation that the disciple is always a representative or ambassador of Jesus and any good done to the disciple will be considered as good done to Jesus himself.
We must keep in mind that the only Jesus that people today can see and touch is the Jesus that we make known through our words and actions. He has allowed us to share in his mission. This is also an enormous privilege, but entails a tremendous responsibility.