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Friday, 30 November 2012

How would you define prayer? Can it be said of you that your life is prayer?


If you wish to read the texts click on the texts: Rev 22:1-7; Lk 21:34-36

On the last weekday in Ordinary Time, the Church invites us to reflect on the   verses which conclude the Eschatological Discourse. In them, Luke composes an exhortation that stresses constant watchfulness and prayer as opposed to drunkenness and dissipation. The reason for alertness is because the day can come at any time. 
The final verse introduces a positive exhortation. The opposite of sleep and dissipation is vigilance and prayer. The final verse of the discourse calls for constant alertness and prayer, so that one will be able to stand before the Son of Man with dignity and honour. Life itself must be prayer.
Some of us regard being good as a burden. This is because we wrongly associate with seriousness and a lack of joy. On the contrary, a good person and holy person is primarily a joyful person. Such a person enjoys every moment of every day and lives it fully. Such a person leaves nothing undone and therefore will be ready at all times.

The Seven Sacraments

 The seven Sacraments in the Catholic Church are: Baptism, ____________________, ___________________  (know as Sacraments of Initiation) ______________________ and _____________________ (known as Sacraments of State of Life) and ___________________ and ______________________ (Known as sacraments of healing - physical and spiritual)

Jesus and Satan


About whom did Jesus say, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

(a)            John the Baptist
(b)            Peter
(c)            Judas
(d)            Thomas
(e)            The brothers James and John

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Jesus and Satan


About whom did Jesus say, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

(a)            John the Baptist
(b)            Peter
(c)            Judas
(d)            Thomas
(e)            The brothers James and John

The Miracles Of Jesus


When Jesus went to his home town in Matthew, he did not do many miracles there. The reason for this was:

(a) His townspeople did not ask him to
(c) His hour had not yet come
(d) He did not want to show off his talents

While it is true that Jesus also did not want to show off his talent, here in Matthew and also Mark, he did not (Mark says, "could do no mighty deed there") the reason is the unbelief of the people of his hometown.

Will you live today as if it were your last day on earth?


If you wish to read the texts click on the texts: Rev 20:1-4.11 - 21:2; Lk 21:29-33

The parable of the fig tree found in these verses is the last parable that Jesus tells in the Gospel of Luke. This parable is found also in Mark 13:28-29 and Matthew 24:32-33, but whereas Mark and Matthew speak only of the fig tree, Luke speaks of “the fig tree and all the trees” (21:29). When people can see for themselves that these trees have come out in leaf they know for themselves that summer is near, so when they see the Son of Man coming in a cloud (21:27) they will know that the kingdom is near. Since Luke probably thought that the end would come soon, he has added the last two sayings about what will not pass away until “these things” have taken place. They are “this generation” and the “words” of Jesus. These pronouncements must serve as a reminder of the assurance of redemption for the believer.
Our job as Christians is not to bother about when the end will be but to live fully in the present moment. If we do so then no matter when the end comes we will always be ready.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

The Miracles of Jesus


When Jesus went to his home town in Matthew, he did not do many miracles there. The reason for this was:

(a) His townspeople did not ask him to
(b) Their unbelief
(c) His hour had not yet come
(d) He did not want to show off his talents

The Pauline Corpus


What is the order in which the letters of the Pauline Corpus are placed in the Bible?

a) In the order in which they were written

b) In the order of the importance of the letter

c) In the order of length of the letter

d) In the order in which they were read in the early Church.

The letter of Paul to the ROMANS is the longest of his letters and thus placed first. His letter to PHILEMON is the shortest and thus placed last. It does not have chapters only verses .

If the end were to come today would you be able to hold your heal high fearlessly? If No, what will you do about it today?


If you wish to read the texts click on the texts: Rev 18:1-2.21-23; 19:1-3.9; Lk 21: 20-28

The text of today, continues the Eschatological Discourse, but speaks now of the destruction of Jerusalem and other cosmological signs which announce the coming of the Son of Man. Josephus the Jewish historian recorded the horrors of the Jewish war, which lasted from April until August of the year 70 C.E. It was a terrible for all the inhabitants and many were killed during it. The Romans razed the whole city to the ground. Once this happens and the other signs have come to pass signalling the end that is at hand, the Son of Man will appear in a cloud, with great power and glory. When this happens others might faint from fear, but the disciples are asked to hold their heads up high, because their salvation has indeed come.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

The Pauline Corpus


  1. What is the order in which the letters of the Pauline Corpus are placed in the Bible? 
a) In the order in which they were written
b) In the order of the importance of the letter
c) In the order of length of the letter
d) In the order in which they were read in the early Church.


The Resurrection


Which Jewish sect did not believe in the Resurrection?

1.    The Levites


3.    The Pharisees

4.    The Herodians

If someone witnessed your actions all through today, would they conclude that you are a disciple of Jesus?


If you wish to read the texts click on the texts: Rev 15:1-4; Lk 21:12-19

These verses are part of Luke’s Eschatological Discourse. The Greek word “Eschaton” is translated as “the last things”, “the things of the next life”. The main point of these verses is to prepare the disciples for the coming trial by exhorting them to regard trials as an occasion for bearing witness. 
The text begins by telling the disciples what they (the persecutors) will do namely arrest you, persecute you etc.  It then goes on to advise the disciples what they must do in the face of this persecution, namely that they must bear witness but not be obsessed with the anxiety of preparing their defence. The reason for this is because of what Jesus will do, namely, give the disciples wisdom to counter any argument of the opponents. The text ends with an assurance of God’s support and protection on those who endure.

Monday, 26 November 2012

The Resurrection


Which Jewish sect did not believe in the Resurrection?

1.    The Levites
2.    The Sadducees
3.    The Pharisees
4.    The Herodians

John the Baptist


The family of John the Baptist lived in the hill country of which tribal area?
(a) Ephraim
(b) Levi
(c) Simeon
 


Ein Kerem (Karem) is traditionally regarded as the village in which Elizabeth and Zechariah lived and in which John the Baptist was born. However, this is not mentioned by Luke.

Are you so concerned about the next life that you are not living fully this life?


If you wish to read the texts click on the texts: Rev 14:14-19; Lk 21: 5-11

Luke follows Mark 13:1-8 quite closely in these verses, though he also makes some changes. While in Mark 13:1 Jesus comes out of the Temple and predicts its destruction when his disciples point to it magnificence, in Luke, Jesus is within the Temple when he predicts its destruction when some (not the disciples) speak of its magnificence (21:5-6). This is why unlike in Mark 13:3 he is not on the Mount of Olives opposite the Temple, but within its precincts when he is asked about when this will take place (21:7). Mark 13:3 has Peter, James, John and Andrew who ask this question; Luke has the people pose the question. Jesus responds by stating not the hour when this will take place, but by issuing a set of three warnings. The first warning is not to allow oneself to be led astray and be led into believing that the ones’ who come in his name are the Messiah. The second warning follows the first: they must not go after these false Messiahs. The third warning is not to be terrified when they hear of wars and insurrections, because they are part of God’s plan in bringing about the kingdom and must out of necessity happen before the final coming. 

Sunday, 25 November 2012

John the Baptist


The family of John the Baptist lived in the hill country of which tribal area?

(a) Ephraim

(b) Levi

(c) Simeon

(d) Judah

Will you forego one meal this week and give what you save to someone less fortunate than you?


If you wish to read the texts click on the Texts: Rev 14:1-3; 4b-5; Lk 21:1-4

Jesus’ comment on the widow’s offering follows immediately after his condemnation of the scribes, who “devour widow’s houses”. Luke omits most of Mark’s introduction to the widow’s offering (see Mark 12:41). In the new scene, which Luke brings about by his comment that “He (Jesus) looked up and saw”, Luke introduces two sets of characters: the rich contributors and a poor widow. The action of both is the same. However, the size or amount of the gifts of the rich contributors is not mentioned, but it is explicitly stated that the widow put in two lepta, the smallest copper coins then in use. It would have taken 128 lepta to make one denarius, which was a day’s wage. Two lepta would therefore have been worthless. In a twist reminiscent of many of Jesus’ parables, Jesus states that the widow who put in what seems like a worthless amount has put in more than any of the rich contributors. The following statement clarifies how this could be. They contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty. They contributed gifts she contributed herself.

St. John Berchmans SJ - Patron of Altar Servers - What is preventing you from following Jesus unconditionally? What will you do about it today?


If you wish to read the texts click on the texts: 1 Jn 4:1-8; Lk 9:57-62

John Berchmans SJ Born in Brabant (Netherlands/Belgium) on 13th  March, 1599. He joined the Society of Jesus on 24th September 1616 when he was 17 years of age. After his first vows he was sent to Antwerp and a little later to Rome to study Philosophy. He was in his third year of Philosophy, when he was seized with a violent fever and died on 13th August, 1621.

Though he was a Jesuit for only a short period of time and was not ordained a priest, he was known even as a young Jesuit for his piety, devotion and focus. He learned the secret of living in the present moment. He was known to do even the most ordinary and mundane tasks as if it was to be the last task of his life. It was said of him that he did ordinary things extraordinarily well. Because of his devotion to the Eucharist and his regular service at the Altar he is the Patron of Altar Servers.

He was declared Blessed in 1865, and was canonized in 1888. His statues represent him with hands clasped, holding his crucifix, his book of rules, and his rosary.

The Gospel text for the feast is from the Gospel of Luke and is about the would-be followers of Jesus, and Jesus’ warnings about what discipleship will entail.

To the first would-be follower who promises to follow Jesus wherever he goes, Jesus responds by stating clearly that unlike even the foxes that at least have holes, he does not have anywhere he can call his own. If the would-be follower is ready for this insecurity, he may follow.

The second person is called to follow by Jesus, but responds by asking for permission to bury his father. This was a duty that was binding on all devout Jews. Jesus’ response is harsh and demands that the disciple be primarily concerned about the kingdom.

The third would-be follower puts conditions to his following namely that he wants to say farewell to his family. However, here too the response of Jesus is clear. Looking back while ploughing leads to a crooked furrow.

In total contrast to the three examples of persons mentioned in the text, John Berchmans was one who was ready to follow his Lord in total poverty, and did not once look back once he put his hand to the plough. He was focussed on the kingdom and kept that focus till the very end.

While it is not necessary to give up the state of life one has chosen in order to follow Jesus, what is to be understood is that following will necessarily mean changing one’s style of life. It will mean a move from selfishness to selflessness, from acquiring material possessions to sharing them with others and from anything negative to everything that is positive.

The Feeding of the Five Thousand


Who said to whom?

“There is a lad here with five barley loaves and two fish; but what are they among so many?” 


2.    Philip said these words to Jesus in the Gospel of John just before Jesus could feed the five thousand.

3.    Thomas said these words to Jesus in the Gospel of John just before Jesus could feed the five thousand.

4.    Simon Peter the brother of Andrew said these words to Jesus in the Gospel of John just before Jesus could feed the five thousand.


The Feeding of the five thousand is the ONLY MIRACLE that Jesus worked that is narrated by all Four Evangelists. However, ONLY JOHN mentions barley loaves and that Andrew pointed the boy out to Jesus.






Saturday, 24 November 2012

The feeding of the five thousand

Who said to whom?


“There is a lad here with five barley loaves and two fish; but what are they among so many?”  

1.    Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter said these words to Jesus in the Gospel of John just before Jesus could feed the five thousand.

2.    Philip said these words to Jesus in the Gospel of John just before Jesus could feed the five thousand.

3.    Thomas said these words to Jesus in the Gospel of John just before Jesus could feed the five thousand.

4.    Simon Peter the brother of Andrew said these words to Jesus in the Gospel of John just before Jesus could feed the five thousand.

The Burial of Jesus


Which of these men was responsible for burying Jesus’ body in the Gospel of Mark?

(a) Peter

(b) Nicodemus


(d) The Beloved Disciple

All the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) mention ONLY Joseph of Arimathea. John alone mentions Nicodemus AND Joseph of Arimathea.

CHRIST THE KING



What kind of a king will you proclaim?

Quas Primas - which is Latin for “In the first”, was an encyclical of Pope Pius XI.  It was titled such because these are the words that begin it. It was promulgated on December 11, 1925, and introduced the Feast of Christ the King.  World War I (1914-1918) had ended, and had not brought real peace, but more hatred, more anger, and more violence. Coming as it did after the War, the encyclical sought to give the whole world a new idea of kingship.  The encyclical asked the world to look at Christ, the Universal King, and see how he lived out his kingship. Christ is a King who totally identifies with his subjects and, of these, with the marginalized, the downtrodden, the scum of society, and the poorest of the poor.

The feast of Christ the Eternal King is celebrated every year on the last Sunday in Ordinary time, just before the season of Advent begins. It may be seen as a feast that is both a conclusion and a new beginning. It concludes the ordinary time of the year and is a new beginning or preparation for the coming Messiah.

The readings chosen for the feast of today make two interrelated points. The first is that everlasting dominion is given to Christ who is eternal king.  The second is that this King is the one who had been crucified, died, and raised.

The first reading, from the book of Daniel, focuses on the first point. In the vision that Daniel sees, the empires of this world are rendered powerless. The reason for this is because now, all authority is given to one person who is “one like a Son of Man”. He only looks like a human being, but he is not. Also, he is not an earthly figure because he comes from heaven and not from earth. It is to him that sovereignty, honour, glory, and kingship over all peoples, nations, and languages is given. While many link this figure to the Archangel Michael, there is no doubt that, when interpreted in the light of the Gospels, the words fit much better the resurrected Christ. He is the one whose dominion is indeed everlasting and to whom has been given all power and glory.

However, as the Gospel reading of today makes explicit, the kingship of Jesus was not won by force, coercion, intimidation, or violence. It was won on the Cross. In the second of the seven scenes in which Jesus is inside, the people outside and Pilate vacillating, the kinship of Jesus is explained. The question which Pilate asks Jesus “Are you the king of the Jews” is a question that is found in all four Gospels. It is extremely significant and relevant because it is one which determines who Jesus really is and what kind of king he has come to be. In his response, Jesus turns the tables on Pilate and instead of being the one who is questioned, becomes the questioner. However, Jesus’ question is also asked to find out if Pilate has understood the true meaning of kingship. Pilate, however, like the others who have condemned Jesus shows that he has not understood. He refuses to see. He dare not understand. Still, Jesus tries to explain to Pilate the true meaning of kingship and authority. Very clearly his kingship is not one that is won by force or violence. It is a kingship that has as its basis truth, justice, peace and unconditional sacrificing love. It is a kingship in which the king does not expect people to die for him; rather he goes to his death for them. It is a kingship in which no matter how badly he is abused and reviled, he will continue to be a king who will give and keep giving without expecting anything in return.

That this is indeed Jesus’ kingship is confirmed by the second reading from the Book of Revelation, in which John tells us that we were loosened from the bonds of sin and selfishness by the blood of Jesus on the Cross. It is through this one act of altruism and unselfishness that Jesus has become king and that we have been made his brothers and sisters. Since he is not merely a God who was but also, a God who is, he invites, beckons, and challenges us to the same selfless service and unconditional love. He beckons us and invites us to his way of life.

His way of life is not only a life of words, but a life of action as well. It is a life in which we, as followers of this eternal king, will forget ourselves and concentrate on how we can make the lives of those around us better.  It is a life in which we wake up from our stupor and move out of the islands that we have built and become aware of the cries and needs of people, especially the poor. It is a life through which we will keep proclaiming that violence, domination, hostility, bloodshed, and aggression can never be the answer.  It is a life where authority means service and greatness means to be last of all.
Thus, the good news we celebrate today is that we have a King who, unlike the kings of this world, pays attention to us and helps us, not only when we are needy and disadvantaged, but especially when we are needy and disadvantaged. The challenge for us today is to forget our own need for love and happiness.  The challenge is to reach out in love, as Christ the Eternal king has shown, to make someone else happy, someone who may be in greater need. Are we willing to celebrate and extol such a king?