Wednesday, 20 October 2021

Thursday, October 21, 2021 - Homily


 The reason why the announcement of the kingdom brings division is because it calls for a radical change of heart and mind.

Thursday, October 21, 2021 - Will you do good today even in the face of opposition? How?

To read the texts click on the texts: Rom 6:19-23; Lk 12:49-53

The verses of today contain three pronouncements regarding the nature of Jesus’ mission. The first is that he has come to cast fire on the earth. Fire is used as an image of God’s judgement, but ironically when it comes on the disciples at Pentecost (Acts, 2,3), it is the purifying fire of the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, the crisis of judgement is never far away.

The second is about his own baptism, which may be an allusion to his death or to the conflict and distress in which he would be immersed. This governs his whole life. Until he completes his mission, he will not be satisfied.

The third is about the division that his mission will cause. Although the kingdom of God is characterised by reconciliation and peace, the announcement of that kingdom is always divisive because it requires decision and commitment. Though this announcement will indeed cause stress and division, Jesus will not shy away from it because it is the Mission given to him by his Father. Anyone who commits him/herself to Jesus must also then be prepared for the opposition that they will face.

The reason why the announcement of the kingdom brings division is because it calls for a radical change of heart and mind. It overturns our value system and calls us to a life that is challenging and if lived fully also challenges others. It calls for decision and commitment at every moment.

Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Wednesday, October 20, 2021 - Homily


 

Are you good because of fear of punishment or hope of reward, or are you good because it is good to be good?

Wednesday, October 20, 2021 - Are you good because of fear of punishment or hope of reward, or are you good because it is good to be good?

To read the texts click on the texts: Rom 6:12-18; Lk 12:39-48

The text of today is the one immediately after Jesus has begun to exhort his disciples’ to watchfulness (12, 35-38). Based on instructions given in earlier contexts, however, readiness here means trust in God as a heavenly Father, putting away all hypocrisy, handling one’s material possessions faithfully, obeying the ethic of the kingdom, and making life a matter of constant prayer. Peter’s question regarding whether this “parable” was for the disciples alone or for everyone, does not receive a direct answer from Jesus. However, in his response to the question, Jesus responds with another “parable”, which is about the faithful and unfaithful servant/slave. While there will be a reward for the faithful servant, there will be punishment for the unfaithful servant. God will seek much from those to whom he has given much, because everything has been given in trust.

Each of us has a specific role to play in the world, which is confirmed by the fact that we are unique and that there is not one else exactly like us anywhere. Since this is the case, we have to be faithful to that to which we are called. If we do not do what we have to do, no one else will do it and it will remain undone. Besides this it will also mean that we have been negligent in our duty and not appreciated enough the uniqueness of our creation.

Monday, 18 October 2021

Tuesday, October 19, 2021 - Homily


 Do you possess things or, do things possess you?

Tuesday, October 19, 2021 - Do you live one moment of one day at a time or are you living only in the future?

To read the texts click on the texts: Rom 5:12,15,17-21; Lk 12:35-38

The sayings in these verses are a call to watchfulness and readiness. The call to be dressed for action would mean literally to draw up the longer outer garment and tuck it into the sash around one’s waist so as to be prepared for strenuous activity. If the servants/disciples are so ready, they will be able to be prompt in responding to the master’s knock, and will be blessed. This blessing will take the form of a reversal of roles. The master will become servant/slave. The time of the coming of the master is not known and he may come at any time, but if the servant/disciple is always ready, he/she will be blessed.

It is not difficult for us as Christians to relate to this reversal of roles, simply because our God in Jesus has already become slave. It is now left to us as servants to be ready at all times.

Sunday, 17 October 2021

Monday, October 18, 2021 - St. Luke - Homily


 The key to Mission is detachment.

Monday, October 18, 2021 - St. Luke, Evangelist - Luke wrote a Gospel to share his experience of Jesus? What will you do to share your experience?

To read the texts click on the texts: 2 Tim 4:9-17; Lk 10:1-9

St. Luke is regarded as the patron of physicians and surgeons. He wrote one of the major portions of the New Testament, a two-volume work comprising the third Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. In the two books he shows the parallel between the life of Christ and that of the Church.

He is the only Gentile Christian among the Gospel writers. Tradition holds him to be a native of Antioch, and Paul calls him "our beloved physician" (Col 4:14). His Gospel was probably written between C.E. 70 and 85.

Luke appears in Acts during Paul’s second journey, remains at Philippi for several years until Paul returns from his third journey, accompanies Paul to Jerusalem and remains near him when he is imprisoned in Caesarea. During these two years, Luke had time to seek information and interview persons who had known Jesus. He accompanied Paul on the dangerous journey to Rome where he was a faithful companion. "Only Luke is with me," Paul writes (2 Tim 4:11).

The Gospel text chosen for the feast is the Mission Discourse to the seventy (seventy-two), a text found only in the Gospel of Luke. The number seventy/seventy-two seems to have their origin the list of nations in Gen 10, where the Hebrew text lists seventy nations and the Septuagint lists seventy-two. It may also recall Moses’ appointment of seventy elders to help him (Exod 24:1; Num 11:16, 24). The more likely interpretation, however, is that the number is related to the biblical number of the nations (Gen 10), so that the commissioning of the seventy/seventy-two foreshadows the mission of the church to the nations (Lk 24:47).

In these verses Jesus instructs his disciples how they are to do Mission and conduct themselves in Mission. The key to Mission is detachment. The disciples are to be detached from things, persons and place. They are also to be detached from the outcome of Mission. They must constantly keep in mind that the Mission is the Lord’s and not theirs.

Saturday, 16 October 2021

Sunday, October 17, 2021 - Homily


 Jesus challenges us to give up our acquisitiveness and take on detachment instead

Sunday, October 17, 2021 - How does your way compare with Jesus' WAY?

To read the texts click on the texts: Isa 53:10-11; Heb 4:14-16; Mk 10:35-45

The Gospel of Mark contains three passion, death, and resurrection predictions. These are found in 8:31, 9:31, and 10:32-34. It is only in Mark that all three predictions are “on the way”. This fact illustrates that Mark intends readers of his Gospel to realize, not merely that Jesus spoke these predictions while travelling with his disciples along the road, but also, and more importantly, that Jesus was speaking about his WAY OF LIFE and the way of life to which those who followed him were being invited.

After each of these predictions, there was misunderstanding on the part of one or all the disciples. After the first prediction, Peter is the one who misunderstands.  He protests Jesus’ going to his cross.  Jesus corrects this misunderstanding by insisting that the cross is the only way. After the second, it is all twelve who misunderstand. They discuss among themselves who is the greatest.  Again, Jesus has to correct the misunderstanding by pointing out to them the least is the greatest. After the third prediction, it might seem at first glance that James and John misunderstand when they ask for places of honour.  A closer reading indicates that, along with them, the other ten also misunderstand because of their indignation with the brothers. This indignation indicates that the ten were thinking in the same way as James and John. Jesus, however, is not indignant and again, sets about correcting their misunderstanding. He does this by explicating his way of life and the way of life that he will expect those who follow him to live.

This explication is done, not in words alone but, as both the first and second readings of today point out, in and through inconceivable and mind boggling action.

The first reading speaks of the prophecy of Isaiah. It is part of the fourth and final servant song that is contained in the Book of Isaiah. The suffering of the servant is a definite part of God’s incomprehensible and unfathomable plan. It is the servant who will show through his life, what true love and service really mean.  Appointed by God, he will use his power, not to condemn, but to save. He will bring to completion and fruition the plan of God to save all peoples everywhere and for all time. This is the theme that Jesus takes up in his instruction to the disciples. His task in the world, like that of the suffering servant whom Isaiah had prophesied about, was to become ransom for all. This he would do, not by being served, but by serving. If the disciples wanted to follow him, as fully as they ought to, they had to realize that, in his view, authority meant service. They had to realize that wanting to be first meant willingness to be last.  They had to realize that being master and Lord meant being slave and servant of all.

Jesus showed them how this was done through his willingness to embrace the cross, even if it meant scandal to those who did not believe and foolishness to others. He was willing to embrace the cross even if meant the end of his days, the end of his life. He was willing to embrace the cross even if it meant that he would be abandoned by all, abandoned even by his God and father.

This is why the second reading from Hebrews expresses, as confidently as it does, that we, as believers, need have no fear. We have before us a model that we can imitate. This model is not merely a heavenly model but rather, he is a model who has been, in every way, like us even to the point of being tested as we are. He did not show us the way from on high, but by becoming human, so that he could inspire, encourage, invite, and challenge us. Thus, he is able to understand us in all of our weaknesses and in our striving for position and honour and power.

While, on the one hand, we may be too quick to judge and even condemn the disciples for their striving, any attempt to practice detachment ourselves indicates how difficult it can really be. We often experience feelings of jealousy, envy, resentment, and antipathy or hostility towards those who have more than we, or who are in a “better’ position than we are. We keep craving for things that we mistakenly believe will satisfy.

Jesus shows us, in the Gospel text of today, what it means to be a true disciple. He challenges us to give up our acquisitiveness and take on, instead, the attitude of detachment. He has shown through his life, his mission, and his death, that this detachment is possible. He has shown us this by the totally human life that he led. He has shown us this by going ahead of us and leading the way. The way to do this is to be bold and to approach the throne of God’s unconditional love, mercy, and grace. The way to do this is in knowing that, even if we fall or fail, we can lift ourselves up because of his graciousness to us all. The way to do this is to believe that, with his help, we can be true disciples.  Are we willing to believe that this is so?