To hear the Audio Reflections of Monday, June 25, 2018 click HERE
Sunday, 24 June 2018
Monday, Hune 25, 2018 - 2 Kings 17,5-8.13-15.18; Mt 7,1-5
Monday, July 25, 2018 - Do you know that when you point a finger at someone there are three fingers pointing back at you?
To read the texts click on the texts: 2 Kings 17:5-8,13-15,18; Mt 7:1-5
The absolute prohibition of judgement found in 7:1 is unparalleled in Jewish tradition. When the individual comes to stand before God for judgement, he/she will be judged according to the measure that he/she has used for others. Those who have been merciful will receive mercy. One must be aware that one is not in any superior position, which gives one the right to judge others. If one is aware of one’s own weakness and frailty then one will be careful of pointing out the faults of others.
Judging others comes too easily to some and often we judge only by externals. It is important to realise that it is possible that we might not be aware of all the reasons why a person behaves in a particular manner and so mistaken in our judgement. If we can give the benefit of the doubt to the person concerned and find reasons for his/her behaviour we will have done well.
Sunday, June 24, 2018 - The Birth of St. John the Baptist - Will you speak God’s word to at least one person today?
To read the texts click on the texts: Isa 49:1-6; Acts 13:22-26; Lk 1:57-66,80
The Birth of Saint John the Baptist is celebrated on June 24 each year. The reason for this is the mention in the Gospel of Luke that Elizabeth was in her sixth month when the Announcement was made to Mary (Lk 1:36) about the birth of Jesus. Thus if Christmas is celebrated on December 25 each year, John the Baptist who was the son of Elizabeth and Zechariah had to have been born six months before Jesus.
According to some, John is born when the days are longest (June 24), and from his birth on they grow steadily shorter. Jesus is born when the days are shortest (December 25), and from his birth on they grow steadily longer. John speaks truly when he says of Jesus, "He must increase, but I must decrease." (Jn 3:30).
The Gospel text of today is from the Gospel of Luke. Luke does not give us too many details about the birth of John, and he narrates it with a short sentence. He focuses more on the events that follow the birth and, through them, show that God’s word spoken through the angel, Gabriel, is being fulfilled. Elizabeth does bear a son and the people rejoice at the birth because of the great mercy shown by God.
Circumcision of the child on the eight day was in accord with Gen 17:9-14 where God makes circumcision on the eight day a sign of the covenant with Abraham. It was the father who normally named the child and, in doing so, recognized the child as his own. Sometimes, the child was named after the father, especially if the father was a person who was highly esteemed. Objections were raised to the name “John” (“God had been gracious”), chosen by Elizabeth. That the people made signs to Zechariah to ask him what he wanted to name the child indicates that, besides being dumb, he was also deaf. The moment Zechariah writes the name “John” on a writing tablet, Zechariah regains his speech. Once again, God’s word comes to pass. The fear and amazement with which the people respond to these happenings is an indication that they experienced God’s awesome power. The question that the people ask, about what the child would turn out to be, is answered in summary form by Luke when he ends this narrative by stating that “the hand of the Lord was with him.”
God’s word is a word of power and will come to pass, no matter how many obstacles we may put in its way. It is a word that enhances and builds up, a word that gives life. To be sure, we may not always be able to understand and accept it for what it is, but in the final analysis, it is always a word that is for our good and for his glory.
Monday, June 25, 2018 - Isa 49:1-6; Acts 13:22-26; Lk 1:57-66,80
Saturday, 23 June 2018
To read the texts click on the texts: Job 38:1,8-11; 2 Cor5:14-17; Mk 4:35-41
A Sunday school teacher was trying to get her class to dramatize the story of the Stilling of the Storm. She explained to the children how they should dramatize the roles the disciples, the wind, and even the boat itself. Next she asked each child which character they wanted to be in the play. Each child in turn spoke up. One wanted to be Jesus, another wanted to be Peer, and others wanted to be the disciples. The teacher was taken aback when she came to a small stammering girl at the back of the class, who said, “I would like to be the cushion holding up the head of Jesus.”
While at first we might wonder at the choice of this “passive” role, a deeper reflection will enable us to see that there is a profound wisdom in the choice that this girl made. In the story of the calming of the storm, which is the Gospel text of today, the cushion beside Jesus comes out best. The disciples are agitated, the waves are violent, and the boat is being tossed about. It is Jesus and with him, the cushion on which he rests, that is most serene, calm, and at peace. The reason why Jesus is serene and calm is because he has supreme authority over all of creation including the sea.
This supreme authority of God over all of his creation and especially the sea is brought out magnificently in the first reading of today with the series of questions that God asks Job. The answer to the question about who is really in control might seem obvious to us: God alone. However, it is not as obvious to Job. The reason for this is that everything in Job’s life seems to be going awry. It is not easy for him to understand how God is in control when a lot of things in his life are totally beyond control. He cannot make sense of what is happening to him. He can find no rational explanation for it. In such a situation, how is Job expected to believe that God is still in control? In such a situation, how can Job know that it is God “who shut in the sea with doors” and “prescribed bounds for it”? How can Job be expected to believe that God is still the master of the sea with the ability to stop the waves?
These are also the questions in the minds and hearts of the disciples of Jesus who are in their boat on the Sea of Galilee. The storm rages and threatens. The waters lash the boat. Their lives are in danger. Will Jesus be able to save them? Can he stop the waves? Does he have control over the sea? If he does, why is he asleep? Why does he not do something?
When things in our lives go awry, when nothing seems to go the way we plan, when the road ahead is steep and the going is difficult, and when the boats of our lives are being rocked by the waves of uncertainty and insecurity, then it is not easy to continue to believe that God is on our side. It is not easy to trust and to hope. It is not easy to have faith. We, too, continue to ask questions. Sometimes, like the disciples, we even accuse God and Jesus of lack of concern over our plight. We accuse God of not caring enough about us.
Job was able to realize, much later, that God was always in control. Just so, the disciples come to realize that, though Jesus appears to be asleep, apparently doing nothing, he is in fact very active and doing everything. Though he does not seem to them to be concerned over their plight, the truth is that he is very much concerned. The difference, however, is that whereas the disciples given in to agitation, anxiety and fear, Jesus does not.
This concern of the Lord for the whole of humanity was shown in the most perfect of ways on the Cross. This is what Paul speaks about in the second reading of today. Christ’s death is the transformative event for all of life. Nothing is the same after that. The first radical change brought about by the death of Christ is that now those who believe will live no longer for themselves but for others, in and through Christ. However, this is not all. The death of Christ is an event that encompasses and transforms the whole universe.
This is why believers will look at themselves, at others, and at the universe in a new way. The old ways of looking, the doubt, uncertainty, anxiety, insecurity, the lack of faith and, above all, fear, is replaced by the new way. This new way is a way of confidence, surety, faith, and love. No matter how rough the sea, no matter how high the waves, no matter how much the boat is rocked and, no matter how dangerous the way ahead might seem, those who believe in Christ know that he is in the boat and, with a word, he will calm the storm.
Sunday, June 24, 2018 - Job 38:1, 8-11; 2 Cor 5:14-17; Mk 4:35-41
Friday, 22 June 2018
Saturday, June 23, 2018 - How often do I try to be in two places at the same time or at two times in the same place?
To read the texts click on the texts: 2 Chronicles 24:17-25; Mt 6:24-34
The text of today begins by stating a general rule that undivided attention can be given to one person alone at a time. If there is more than one, then the disciple’s loyalty is certainly split. One must decide whether one will allow oneself to be controlled by wealth and the things of this world, or whether one will realise that they cannot bring true happiness.
The prohibition, “Do not worry” dominates the rest of this pericope and is used six times in it. The call to look at nature (the birds of the air and the lilies of the field) is a call to learn how God in his providence provides for them. This does not mean that human beings do not have to work for their living, rather it means that even after working as hard as they can, humans must realise the life is much more than simply work and earning a living. It has also to do with being.
There are indeed many distractions in life, which sometimes can take us away from where we ought to look and focus. While planning is good and desirable, what is undesirable is useless worry or anxiety. When we stir the sugar in our coffee or tea every morning we are already thinking of drinking it. When we are drinking our coffee or tea, we are already thinking of washing the cup. When we are washing our cup, we are already thinking or drying it When we are drying it, we are already thinking of placing it on the rack and when we are placing it on the rack we are already thinking of what we have to do next. We have not stirred the sugar, nor have we have drunk the coffee, nor have we washed it nor placed it on the rack. If one takes one moment of one day at a time and gives of one’s best to that moment, life will be well lived.