Wednesday, October 22, 2014
To read the texts click on the texts: Eph 3:14-21; 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, October 21, 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - 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: Eph 3:2-12; 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, October 20, 2014
Tuesday, October 21, 2014 - 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: Eph 2:12-22; 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, October 19, 2014
I leave for Belgaum (Desur) tomorrow (October 20, 2014) to give a Retreat to 21 Jesuit Deacons from different Jesuit Provinces in India who will be ordained Deacons in January 2015 and Priests at the end of 2015. It is an eight day Retreat and will conclude on October 28, 2014. Please pray for them and for me. Let the Spirit do what the Spirit has to do. That is all that matters.
Monday, October 20, 2014 - Do you possess things, or do things possess you? If God were to call you to himself at this moment would you be ready to go?
To read the texts click on the texts: Eph 2:1-10; Lk 12:13-21
The text begins with someone in the crowd asking Jesus to serve as judge in the division of an inheritance. While Jesus will not accept this role, he points the man and the crowd to a different understanding of the meaning of wealth and life. This different understanding is explicated through a parable, which is found exclusively in Luke.
It is about a rich man who had more than he required and soon became possessed by his riches. This possession leads him to focus on making provision to store his great wealth so that he can use it exclusively for himself in future. It is self-centeredness at its worst. The only ones in the parable are the rich man and his wealth. In the midst of all his planning and calculations, God speaks to him addressing him as “fool”. There is a sharp contrast between the rich man’s planning for “many years” and the “this very night” of God. It is clear that first of all when God calls, he will have to go and second that when he goes he can take nothing of what he has stored with him.
There is the very real danger of forgetting God if one allows oneself to be possessed by one’s riches.
The manner in which some of us accumulate things seems to indicate on the one hand that we think we are going to live forever and on the other hand that even if we have to die that we can take all of which we have accumulated. The parable of today calls us to realise first that we can be called at any time and hence must live in such a manner that we will have no regrets no matter when that might be and second that whenever we are called we can take nothing of what we have gathered together but will have to leave it all behind. Thus while planning for the future may be necessary, obsession with the future is uncalled for.