Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Thursday, July 31, 2014 - If the sorting were to take place now, would you be kept or thrown away? What will you do to ensure that you are kept?

To read the texts click on the texts: Jer 18:1-6; Mt 13:47-53

The parable of the Net (13:47-48) its interpretation (13:49-50) and the parable of the householder (13:51-52) are found only in the Gospel of Matthew.

In the parable of the Net, a large net is used to catch fish of every kind. There is no sorting out of the fish at the time of their being caught. It is only after the net is full and drawn ashore that the sorting takes place. The good fish are kept and the bad are thrown away.

The interpretation focuses on the fate of the evil (bad fish), which will be thrown into the furnace of fire. It does not speak about the fate of the righteous except to say that the evil will be separated from them.

In the parable of the householder, both the new and old are affirmed. However, the old, which is valuable, is presented in a new light and therefore seen in a new way. The fact that the order of the words is “new” and “old” is an indication that the new is to be used to interpret the old and not the other way around.



To read the texts click on the texts: Dt 30:15-20; 1 Tim1:12-17; Lk 9:18-26

The readings of today set the tone for the celebration of the Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus or the Jesuits. In the first reading of today, Moses makes a strong plea to the Israelites to choose life. Ignatius did precisely that when he was convalescing after the injury he suffered at the battle of Pamplona in 1520. His reflections during this time became the turning point of his life. It was when lying in his sick bed and contemplating the life of Christ that he decided that everything was refuse when compared with the knowledge of Christ.

This deep and intimate knowledge of Christ which was not merely intellectual but knowledge of the heart, led him to love Christ with all his heart and mind and to follow him unconditionally.

It was this intimate knowledge of Christ which sustained him all through his life and especially during the tremendous challenges that he faced. Like Paul, he too believed that he received mercy from the Lord. One important reason for receiving this mercy in such large measure was because he recognised that he was a sinner and in need of God’s grace made available freely in Christ. Like Paul, Ignatius became an example to many. One of these whom he converted through Christ’s grace was the now famous Francis Xavier.

The Gospel text from Luke serves as an apt description of how Ignatius perceived his master and Lord Jesus. Though Luke depends on Mark for this scene of Peter’s confession, he has made some significant changes in order to bring out his meaning of the text. The first is that unlike Mark, Luke does not give the geographical location (Caesarea Philippi), but gives instead the context of the prayer of Jesus. Through this change, Luke makes the confession a spiritual experience. Luke also changes Marks, “one of the prophets” to “one of the old prophets has risen.” Though the difference does not appear to be great, it is for Luke. In the Gospel of Luke, before Jesus everything is old. Jesus makes all things new. Luke has also eliminated Peter’s refusal to accept Jesus as the suffering Messiah and the rebuke of Peter by Jesus. Luke avoids narrating Marcan texts that show Peter and even the disciples in a bad light.

The second question to the disciples, “But who do you say that I am?” shows on the one hand that the answers given of the crowd’s understanding of Jesus are inadequate, and on the other that Jesus wants to know their understanding of him. In all the Synoptic Gospels it is Peter who answers, but here too Luke adds to Mark’s, “You are the Christ”, the words “of God”. The Greek word “Christos” means in English “the anointed” and this conveys the meaning of royalty. However, by his addition, Luke also brings in the prophetical dimension of Jesus’ person and mission. This prophetical dimension is explicated in the verses, which follow the confession of Peter, in which Jesus explains the kind of Christ/Messiah/Anointed One that he will be. The reason for the rebuke or “stern order” not to tell anyone is because Jesus wanted to avoid any misunderstanding of the term which could be understood only in the glorious sense. Jesus as “the Christ of God” will come in glory, but only after he has gone to the cross, died, been buried and then raised.

Taken together the five sayings on discipleship show clearly that  discipleship to Jesus requires a total commitment of life, taking the cross, giving one’s life in obedience to Jesus’ direction, forsaking the pursuit of wealth, and living out one’s discipleship publicly before others.

This is what Ignatius did and taught others to do. Today more than 450 years after his death, his legacy still remains. The Society of Jesus that he founded remains a Society that has at its core the following of the Crucified Christ.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Tomorrow, we will celebrate the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus or the Jesuits. For the last eight days, we have been praying that through his intercession we might obtain various graces to live more fully our own lives as individuals and as a community. Today on the last day of the novena, we make our own the prayer of Fr. Pedro Arrupe, himself a former General of the Society of Jesus:  “Lord, meditating on ‘our way of proceeding’, I have discovered that the ideal way of acting is your way of acting.

Give me that sensus Christi that I may feel with your feelings, with the sentiments of your heart, which basically are love for your Father and love for all men and women. Teach me how to be compassionate to the suffering, the poor, the blind, the lame and lepers.  Teach us your way so that it becomes our way today, so that we may come closer to the great idea of St. Ignatius; to be companions of Jesus, collaborators in the work of redemption.”

Through the intercession of St. Ignatius we pray for the grace to make Jesus’ way of proceeding our way of proceeding, his way of acting our way of acting.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - What would you give in exchange for your life?

To read the texts click on the texts: Jer 15:10,16-21; Mt 13:44-46

The parables of the hidden treasure (13:44) and the fine pearls (13:45-46) are found only in the Gospel of Matthew. In both the parables the one who finds, goes and sells all he has for the sake of what he has found. 

However, the one who finds the treasure in the field finds it by accident and is not actively looking for it, whereas the merchant is in search of fine pearls. 
This is probably why the one in the field is filled with joy whereas the merchant knowing that he has found what he is looking for is not filled with joy, but is willing to give up everything for the sake of the pearl that he has found. 
Though some may find the action of the man in the field who hides the treasure questionable, it must be noted that the parable does not legitimise the man’s action of hiding, but focuses on his action of selling all that he had. The point of the parables seems to be that the dawning of the kingdom calls for reflection on one’s values and leads to action that brings on a new set of values.

We might become so used to doing things in a particular way that we are unwilling to change even if someone shows us a better way of doing the same thing. These parables are calling us to Newness and to sacrifice what we are for what we can become.

Monday, July 28, 2014

St. Martha - July 29, 2014 - Will you like Martha, presume to tell Jesus what he ought to do, or will you like Mary listen to what he would like you to do?

To read the texts click on the texts:1 Jn 4:7-16; Lk 10:38-42

St. Martha whose feast is celebrated today is mentioned in the Gospels of Luke and John. She is the sister of Mary and Lazarus. She comes across in the Gospel of Luke as a doer.  

This text, which speaks of the encounter of Martha and Mary with Jesus, takes the form of a pronouncement story (a story in which a saying of Jesus stands out and is the focus of the story). While the Gospel of Luke explicitly mentions women disciples of Jesus, here Mary is even sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to his teaching, something unthinkable at the time of Jesus. By sitting at his feet, Mary is acting like a male, and in doing so neglects her duty of helping to prepare the meal. This action of Mary also results in bringing shame upon her house. Though justified Martha’s protest is put negatively by her. It is clear that her focus is not the Lord, but herself. She is concerned not with her service of the Lord, but the trouble that it is causing her because she is left alone to serve. The response of Jesus to Martha is the main point of the story and the pronouncement. The repetition of her name is a mild rebuke. Her “cares” have prevented her from unhindered devotion and attention to the Lord. Mary has chosen the one thing necessary and that is the Lord. Martha presumes to tell Jesus what he should do; Mary lets Jesus tell her what to do.

There are times when we do things not because we are convinced that they have to be done but because we want the approval of others or we want others to know how hard we are working. These are selfish acts and do not bring grace. The act that does bring grace is when we do what has to be done simply because it has to be done and expect nothing in return.

Novena to St. Ignatius - Day Eight - July 29, 2014 - EVER SEARCHING FOR THE MAGIS

The entire life of St. Ignatius was a pilgrim search for the Magis, the ever-greater glory of God, the ever-fuller service of men and women, the more universal good, the more effective apostolic means. Mediocrity had no place in the life and mission of St. Ignatius, and so he was constantly searching for the newer, the better, the more, and constantly challenging everyone who came in contact with him to do the same. The Magis was not simply one among others in a list of the qualities of St. Ignatius it permeated them all.

Often in our lives, we have been content with the “status quo”, the known, the tried, the already existing. Being men and women of the Magis means that we are constantly driven to discover, re-define and reach out for the newer, the better, the more. The Magis is always on the verge of re-definition, good becomes better, the better becomes better still, and the better still, becomes still better. Frontiers and boundaries ought not to be obstacles for us, but new challenges to be faced, new opportunities to be welcomed. Indeed ours must be a holy boldness, which has its roots in our faith in Jesus.

Through the intercession of St. Ignatius we pray for the grace to strive always for the Magis, the greater, the newer, the more.

Small to big. Little to much

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Novena to St. Ignatius - Day Seven - July 28, 2014 - Ignatian Indifference

For Ignatius, indifference was a means to reach the higher goal of the greater good, and so Ignatius would be indifferent to success or failure, riches or poverty, good health or sickness in order to achieve the greater good, which was always the greater glory of God.

Often in our lives we are disappointed when things do not go the way we would like them to go, when things do not happen the way we want them to happen. It is specially at times like these and with the grace of God at all times in our lives, that we need to develop an attitude of Ignatian indifference, which does not mean complacency, but a total acceptance of the outcome of any situation knowing full well that it fits in perfectly with God’s plan for us. 
This attitude must so permeate our being that we are able to say with St. Paul – “I have learned to be content in whatever situation I am… I can do all things in him who strengthens me”.

Through the intercession of St. Ignatius we pray for the grace to do our best at every moment of every day and rest in the knowledge that God will do the rest.