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Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Thursday, July 2, 2015 - Do you believe that God has forgiven you all your sins? Will you now extend the same forgiveness to at least one person whom you find it difficult to forgive?

To read the texts click on the tests: Gen 22:1-19; Mt 9:1-8

The miracle of the healing of the paralytic who was let down from the roof which forms our text for today is found also in Mark (2:1-12) and Luke (5:17-26). 
Matthew has omitted some details from Mark and thus shortened his narrative. Through these omissions, Matthew allows the reader to focus exclusively on Jesus and his words. It is unusual that Jesus does not respond to the paralytic’s immediate need but first forgives him his sins. The healing of the man is done later and only as demonstration of the fact that Jesus has power and authority to forgive sin, because the scribes consider Jesus’ pronouncement of forgiveness of sins as blasphemy. 
Since Jesus heals by the power of God, he can forgive sins by the same power. In Matthew, the crowd does not praise God for the miracle like they do in Mark and Luke, but for the authority to forgive sins attributed not only to Jesus but to human beings (“such authority to human beings” – Mt 9:8).


Most doctors today are convinced that there is an intimate connection between negative feelings and especially unforgiveness and physical ailments and advice a positive attitude and forgiving and letting go, for quicker healing. If we persist in our unforgiveness, we will continue to have a variety of ailments and sometimes no amount of external medicine will help at all. Forgive it is good for health.

MORNING OFFERING


Wednesday, July 1, 2015 - Which demons are possessing you and so not allowing you to be free? Do you believe that Jesus can exorcise them from your life today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Gen 21:5,8-20; Mt 8:28-34

The text begins by stating that Jesus arrived on the other side, which because of the presence of pigs mentioned in 8:30 is clearly Gentile territory, since Jews considered pigs as unclean. While in the story in Mark 5:1-20 there is one demoniac, in Matthew’s story there are two (8:28). The version in Matthew is considerably shorter than the one in Mark, since Matthew omits many details that Mark gives. One possible reason for this is that Matthew wants to focus attention in his story solely on Jesus. 
The demons recognise Jesus and also recognise that they belong to two different worlds. In Mark, the demons enter into conversation with Jesus, but in Matthew they do not, but only beg Jesus to send them into the herd of swine., and Jesus exorcises them with just one word, “Go”. Matthew does not tell us what happens to the demoniacs after the demons leave them. However, when the people of that town are told what happened to the demoniacs, they beg Jesus to leave their neighbourhood.


More than physical demons that may possess us, we may be possessed by psychological demons. These can be feelings of fear, anger, revenge, jealousy, envy and a pessimistic attitude. If we continue in these feelings we are not living fully the life that God wants us to live. We need to decide that with the help of Jesus we are going to get rid of them today.

Monday, 29 June 2015

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - Have the “storms” of your life sometimes overwhelmed you? Will you believe that with Jesus in the boat of your life these can be controlled?

To read the texts click on the texts: Gen 21:5,8-20; Mt 8:24-34

The miracle in our text for today known sometimes as the Calming of The Storm is found also in Mark (4:35-41) and Luke (8:22-25). It is only Matthew, however, who emphasises that the disciples “followed Jesus into the boat”. The miracle is not only a nature miracle but also a story told to indicate that Jesus has control over the storms of life itself. In Matthew the “storm” indicates the stormy experience of the community (represented by the disciples in the boat) who follow Jesus. While in Mark the cry is one of distress (“Teacher do you not care if we perish?”), in Matthew, it is a liturgical-sounding cry for help (Save, Lord; we are perishing). In both Mark and Luke the reprimand about “little faith” is after Jesus has calmed the storm, whereas in Matthew, the reprimand precedes the calming. This is an indication that “faith” is primary, and if the disciples had the faith needed, they would not be agitated.


We may sometimes get disturbed and agitated when things do not happen the way we expect them to or when we are faced with a difficult situation. At times like the disciples in the Gospel of Mark we may accuse Jesus of not being concerned about our plight and at other times like the disciples in the Gospel of Matthew we may plead with him to come to our aid. No matter which approach we may use, we need to remember that he will let nothing happen to us that is not part of his plan and will. We have to continue to do what is required of as and confidently leave the rest to him.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

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Monday, June 29, 2015 - Sts. Peter and Paul - Today the Lord builds his CHURCH on you and UR in CH CH

To read the texts click on the texts: Acts 12:1-12; 2 Tim 4:6-8,17-18; Mt 16:13-19

There is an old story about the death of St. Peter in Rome during the persecution of Nero. Peter heard about Nero's plan to burn the city and blame the Christians. He figured as the one who presided over the church in the city he would be arrested and put to death. So he did the sensible thing - Peter was always a sensible man - he got out of town, and at night. The Appian Way was dark for awhile as Peter snuck down it. However, as the night wore on the sky was illuminated by the flames rising from the city. Peter hurried on and eventually was far enough away from the city that it was dark again. Then he saw someone coming in the opposite direction, someone who even at night seemed familiar. It was the Lord himself. What was he doing out at night and walking towards Rome? “Where are you going, Lord?” Peter asked him. “To Rome”, Jesus replied, “to be crucified again in your place”. Peter turned around and returned to Rome and according to tradition was crucified there.

Though this story does not agree with what is narrated in the first reading of today from the Acts of the Apostles, in which we are told that Peter was imprisoned, it does agree with what the Gospels narrate about Peter’s denials, and brings out an important facet of the meaning of the feast: Jesus did not choose strong, brave and courageous individuals to continue the work that he had begun. He chose weak, frail and cowardly humans. He chose individuals who would falter and fail. This is the Peter who confessed Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the Living God” and to whom the Jesus handed over the “keys” of the Church, knowing full well that there would be times when the lofty confession would turn into a base denial.

Paul’s conversion story is narrated twice in the Acts of the Apostles and Paul himself speaks of it in some of his letters. His commission as an apostle of Christ began with a divine revelation of the identity of the Lord Jesus. He reports the events surrounding his recognition of Jesus as the Lord of glory and his appointment as apostle to the gentiles. Felled to the ground by a brilliant light from heaven and hearing a reproachful voice addressing him by name his first need was to know who it was who broke into his life with such awe-inspiring power. Just as Jesus told Peter that he would assign to him the charge of leading his Church once the Peter recognized his master's true identity, so also Paul's task was given to him only after Jesus revealed himself as the glorified Lord.

The apostles' mission thus grew out of their loving knowledge of the person of Jesus, the Son of the living God. Their work, indeed their whole life, was to follow from this surpassing knowledge of Christ which became the basis of all their dealing with others. They were given to the whole Church to teach us not only what Christ revealed and taught but also how to live as he himself had put into practice the things willed by the Father.

Today we marvel at the transformation of these previously weak human leaders. Peter’s newfound passionate commitment to his Lord and to the fledgling church resulted in his imprisonment. Paul too was jailed. He did not see this as failure, but as the destiny that was his in consequence of his commitment to the Gospel. He had fought the good fight, he had run the race, and he had kept the faith. He faced death, and he knew it. That was the price they had to pay for their commitment and fidelity to the Lord.

Their personalities were very different, their approaches to spreading the Faith were very different, and their relationships with Christ were very different. Although the two were both Apostles, there were moments of disagreement and conflict between them. And yet, they are bound together on this single feast, as they were bound together by the one Faith, confessing the one Lord, shedding their blood for him and his mission of peace, justice and love.

Within the recent past, the church has been tossed to and fro in storms of controversy. Not one storm, but many storms, and not in one country, but in many countries. It has been the target of fierce persecution from without, and it has also allowed evil to corrupt it from within. Whether in circumstances of harassment or scandal, the lives of many have been diminished, their confidence undermined and their faith tested.

Without minimizing the suffering in our current situations, we should remember that dire trials are really not new to the church. From its very beginning it has faced opposition. The first reading for today’s feast describes one such situation.

Despite its trials, however, the church has survived and even flourished. This is not due to the strength and holiness of its members. Though Jesus told Peter that the church would be built upon him, the church’s real foundation was and continues to be Jesus Christ its Lord. He is the one who commissioned Peter; he is the one who assures the church of protection. He is the one who stood by Paul and gave him strength to bring the Gospel to the broader world. The church may have been built on Peter the former denier and spread by Paul the former persecutor, but it is the church of Jesus Christ, and it will endure because of his promise.


Today we celebrate the fidelity of Peter and Paul, sinners like us all. Initially, they were both found wanting. When they eventually repented, they were forgiven by God in Christ. Though they faced persecution, their commitment to Christ gave them the courage they needed. Their victory is evidence that the truth will overcome untruth, light will overcome darkness and life will overcome death. Their victory is evidence that we shall indeed overcome.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Sunday, June 28, 2015 - Thirteenth Sunday of the Year - Persevering faith

To read the texts click on the texts: Wis 1:13-15;2:23-24; 2 Cor 8:7,9,13-15; Mk 5:21-43

“Everyone wants to go to heaven but no one wants to die”. This statement of a wit brings out the fear that many have of death. However, the readings of today though they speak about death, regard death as something that is not to be feared if one believes in a God who is the giver and sustainer of life.

The first reading from the Book of Wisdom makes this point emphatically when it states that death cannot be part of God’s plan because God does not act only to see his work end in corruption. The purpose of creation is not death but life and the natural orientation of all created things is life. This is true especially of humans who alone are created in the image and likeness of God. Death thus is not natural and comes about when one stifles the life that God gives.

That God gives life and sustains it is brought out even more powerfully in the Gospel text of today. Mark uses here what is known as the “sandwich construction”. He introduces the incident about Jairus’ daughter being ill and even at the point of dearth but interrupts it with the cure of the woman with the flow of blood. He then continues the incident of Jairus’ daughter who is now dead, but whom Jesus raises. The reason for the sandwich construction here seems to be to heighten the suspense for the reader. Since Jairus’ daughter is at the “point of death”, Jesus must not tarry but hurry if she is to be saved. Yet, Jesus tarries because he knows that the basic orientation of the human is not death but life and that God’s power over death will prevail. Jesus tarries, confident in the knowledge that he can indeed raise even the dead. Jesus tarries because he knows that he is the giver of life. This gift of life is given not only to Jairus’ daughter but also to the woman with the flow of blood, who though not dead, had reached a stage when she was tempted to give up on life. She had reached the end of her tether and her last hope was the Lord. She was not disappointed. She received healing, she received life.

The Psalmist sings the words that the woman, Jairus and his daughter would have wanted to sing. They have indeed been rescued by the Lord. He has liberated them from all bondage. He has saved them from death.
What is responsible for this turn of events? Is it the power of God alone? Is it God acting of his own accord and solely according to his will? The answer is an emphatic “NO”. It is evident in both the first reading and Gospel that it is faith in God’s life giving and sustaining power and the action of God that is responsible. This is made even clearer in the Gospel when Jesus attributes the healing of the woman to her faith and exhorts Jairus not to fear but to believe.

The force of faith and the power of God become manifest in the life of Christians are narrated by the second reading of today. Indeed, thanks to the power of faith they were able to overcome ethnic and cultural barriers, and express their fraternal charity to others by the concrete action of reaching out to their material needs in imitation of Jesus. It is a faith that manifested itself not only in words but also in action.

The challenge of the readings of today may be summed up in the words “persevering faith”. This means that there may be numerous times when we are faced with death like situations. These are situations when like the woman in the gospel story we have done all that is required of us and there seems to be nothing more that we can do. These are situations when like Jairus we have nowhere to turn. It is at times like these when we may tend to give up and give in. However, like the woman and like Jairus we are called never to do this to ourselves because the God we believe in is a God of everything that is positive, a God who never gives up on us and a God of life. Since he is also a God who gives and does not hold anything back, we who are created in his image and likeness cannot live selfish self centred lives, but like Paul invites the Corinthians, we too are invited to live faith filled lives, faith which is shown in action.


Saturday, June 27, 2015 - Does Jesus Christ have faith in you?

To read the texts click on the texts: Gen 18:1-15; Mt 8:5-17

The text of today contains the healing of the Centurion’s servant and the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law. The healing of the Centurion’s servant is also found in Luke (7:1-10) and John but with variations. While in Luke the centurion never makes an appearance personally, in Matthew he addresses Jesus as “Lord”, which is an address only believers use in Matthew. The response of Jesus to the Centurion’s need is seen by some as a question rather than a statement, “I should come and heal him?” This is in keeping with Matthew’s portrayal of Jesus who is sent as Messiah only for the lost sheep of Israel (10:5-6) and not for Gentiles. The Centurion is not deterred by Jesus’ question, and responds with faith. The healing takes place from a distance. The focus, however, is not on the miracle but on the faith of the centurion and through his faith the faith of “unbelievers”. The centurion does not claim to have faith. It is Jesus who testifies to his faith.


We can get deterred and lose our focus when things do not go the way we want them to. At these times we may blame our family, our neighbours and even God. The Centurion’s attitude is a lesson to us never to get deterred from what we have to do and continue to keep our sights fixed on what we want to achieve confident that our perseverance will pay rich dividends.

MORNING OFFERING


Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Friday, June 26, 2015 - Are there some around you whom you have been treating as lepers? Will you have the courage to reach out and touch them today? In your prayer do you express the confidence that the leper in the story expresses? If No, why not?

To read the texts click on the texts: Gen 17:1,9-10,15-20; Mt 8:1-4

We begin reading today in the liturgy and will continue for the whole of next week from Chapters 8 and 9 of the Gospel of Matthew. These Chapters contain what is known as the “Miracle Cycle” of Matthew, because in them we find ten miracles in series of three miracles each. The fact that the Miracle Cycle follows immediately after the Sermon on the Mount and both are framed by a summary statement in 4:23 and 9:35 is an indication that Matthew’s intention is to show through such a placement that Jesus is the Messiah in words (through the Sermon on the Mount) and deeds (through the Miracle Cycle).

The healing of a leper, which is our text for today, is also found in the Gospels of Mark and Luke, but where Mark narrates the emotional reactions of Jesus, Matthew and Luke omit them. The term leprosy was used for any kind of skin disease, and those with such kind of diseases were considered as unclean and not allowed to be part of society. They had to live on the outskirts of the city, and had to make their presence known whenever they entered the city, so that others could avoid any kind of contact with them and so not get contaminated.

The leper addresses Jesus as Lord, which is a title used only by believers in the Gospel of Matthew. In this miracle, Jesus not only heals the leper, but also reaches out and touches him. This probably means that Jesus cannot be contaminated or made unclean by anything from outside. It could also indicate Jesus’ wanting to reach out to the leper in a personal manner and treat him as a full human being.


The prayer of the leper is a lesson for each one of us on the meaning of prayer. In his prayer the leper both acknowledges his dependence on Jesus through the words, “If you will” and also has faith in the ability of Jesus to heal through the words, “you can make me clean”. Prayer means to acknowledge our dependence on God and also to have faith that God can do what to us may seem impossible.

MORNING OFFERING


Thursday, June 25, 2015 - Do your actions speak louder than your words?

To read the texts click on the texts: Gen 16:1-12, 15-16; Mt 7:21-29

While the Sermon on the Mount began with Jesus calling his disciples to him and sitting down like a Rabbi to begin to teach them (5:1-2), it ends with Jesus addressing the crowds as a prophet (7:29). The last part of the Sermon, which forms our text for today, is about action rather than words. Prophesying in the Lord’s name will be of no help if one is not willing TO DO the will of God. The examples of the one who built his/her house on rock and the one who built his/her house on sand reiterate this point. The Sermon calls everyone to action.


If the foundation of our lives is strong, then what we build on it will also be strong. If we have a strong sense of values and know what our priorities are in life, we can continue to be focussed on what we have to do.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Wednesday, June 24, 2915 - The Birth of John the Baptist - Like John the Baptist, we are called by God to show others the way of Jesus.

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 day is longest (June 24), and from his birth on the days grow steadily shorter. Jesus is born when the day is 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.

MORNING OFFERING


Tuesday, June 23, 2015 - How will you show that you have chosen the narrow gate?

To read the texts click on the texts: Gen 13:2,5-18; Mt 7:6,12-14

The first verse of today (7:5) introduces a new subject: holiness. The point that seems to be made here is that holy things have their place and should not be profaned. 7:12 has often been termed, as the Golden rule, which the Matthean Jesus states, is a summary of the law and prophets. Here it is stated positively. One must treat others in the same way that one expects to be treated. This also means that one must take the initiative in doing the loving thing that does not wait to respond to the action of another. 

In the final two verses of this pericope (7:13-14) the point being made is that it is the narrow gate that leads to life and salvation and the broad or wide gate to damnation. One must make a choice for one or another.

We wish that people would be kind and understanding with us but we are seldom kind and understanding towards them. Often the behaviour that we find revolting in others is the behaviour we ourselves are guilt of. When we criticise others for being too harsh, we need to ask whether we have not been so.


The words that you use to complete this sentence will give you a fairly good idea of how you treat others: People are usually ……………………

Sunday, 21 June 2015

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Monday, June 22, 12015 - 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: Gen 12:1-9; 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.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Sunday, June 21, 2015 - Twelfth Sunday of the Year - Believing during the storm

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.


Thursday, 18 June 2015

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Saturday, June 20, 2015 - 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 Cor 12:1-12; 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. 

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

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Friday, June 19, 2015 - If you were given the chance to take just ONE THING with you when you die, what would it be?

To read the texts click on the texts: 2 Cor 11:18,21-30; Mt 6:19-23


The section that begins in 6:19 concerns knowing where one’s priorities lie. Treasure stored on earth is of not much use because it is temporary and passing and gathers rust and also can be stolen. Rather heavenly treasure is permanent and eternal. A person’s attention will be concentrated on where his/her treasure is. Thus instead of concentrating on the temporary it is better to concentrate on the eternal, the impermanent. If one does not perceive correctly, one’s whole orientation will be incorrect and one will live a life of futility, concentrating on what is really not essential.


Sometimes we lose focus in our lives and waste so much time on trifles. We are so concentrated on gathering up for tomorrow and the next day, that the present day passes us by and we find that we have live it unaware. An occasional examination of our priorities is required to bring back our focus on what is really necessary.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

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Thursday, June 18, 2015 - Is there someone who you think has hurt you whom you have not yet forgiven? Will you forgive that person today?

To read the texts click on the texts: 2 Cor 11:1-11; Mt 6:7-15

In the text of today, we read what is commonly known as the "Our Father". However, a better term for this would be "The Lord's Prayer". The reason for this is because there are two versions of the same prayer. The other is found in Lk. 11:2-4. There, the pronoun "Our" is missing and the prayer begins simply with "Father". Also the context of the prayer in Matthew and Luke is different. While in Matthew the prayer is told in the context of the Sermon of the Mount, in Luke it is told in response to the disciples’ request to Jesus to teach them how to pray (Lk 11:1). 
Be that as it may, in both Matthew and Luke the point is clear that the prayer is primarily a prayer of dependence on God who is Father. This dependence is for something as dramatic and magnificent as the Kingdom and also for something as routine and regular as bread. Both prayers have also the theme of forgiveness, which is received from God and given to others.


The Lord’s Prayer is not just a prayer; it is also a way of life. The words of the prayer communicate the attitude that one must have toward God and others. While we must acknowledge our dependence on God for everything that we need and regard him always as the primary cause, our attitude to others must be one of acceptance and forgiveness.

Monday, 15 June 2015

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015 - How often have you made “means” ends in themselves?

To read the texts click on the texts: 2 Cor 9:1-6; Mt 6:1-6;16-18

Immediately after the six antitheses (5:21-48) in the Sermon on the Mount, there follows instructions on three practices that were common among the Pharisees as a sign of closeness to God namely almsgiving, prayer and fasting. All three though only a means to reach God can be made ends in themselves. Almsgiving can be ostentatious, prayer can be used to show-off and fasting can be used to point to one’s self. Jesus cautions the listeners about these dangers and challenges them to make them all internal activities that will lead the way to God rather than being made ends in themselves.


For us as Christians, Jesus has simplified matters. There is absolutely no obligation in the Christian way of life except the obligation to love. When there is love then all our actions come from our hearts and spontaneously without counting the cost. Almsgiving becomes generous and spontaneous, prayer becomes union with God and leads to action and fasting is done in order to show our dependence on God and not on earthly things.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

PRAY FOR...


Tuesday, June 16, 2015 - How often has the expectation of some “reward” been your motivation for “doing good”? Will you “do good” without any expectation of reward today?

To read the texts click on the texts: 2 Cor 8:1-9; Mt 5:43-48

In the last of the six antitheses, Matthew focuses on the love command. . While there is no command to hate the enemy in the Old Testament, yet, there are statements that God hates all evildoers and statements that imply that others do or should do the same. Jesus, makes explicit here the command to love enemies. The conduct of the disciples of Jesus must reveal who they are really are, namely “sons and daughters of God”.

The command to “be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” does not mean to be without faults, but means to be undivided in love as God is undivided in love.


The love we have for others is more often than not a conditional love. We indulge in barter exchange and term it love. We are willing to do something for someone and expect that they do the same or something else in return. It is a matter of “give”, but also a matter of “take”. When Jesus asks us to be like the heavenly Father, he is calling us to unconditional love.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Monday, June 15, 2015 - How often have you gone beyond the call of duty? Will you do so today?

To read the texts click on the texts: 2 Cor 6:1-10; Mt 5:38-42

The text of today contains the fifth antithesis. In it, Jesus not only affirms the thrust of the Law in opposing unlimited revenge, but also calls for a rejection of the principle of retaliatory violence as well.. In the five examples that follow (being struck in the face, being sued in court, being requisitioned into short-term compulsory service, giving to beggars and lending to borrowers) the one point being made is to place the needs of others before one’s own needs. The disciple of Jesus is called to go beyond the call of the Law and do more than it requires.


It is so easy for us to be reactors. If someone does something to hurt us, we think that it is “natural” for us to want to do something to hurt him or her in return. In the text of today, Jesus is calling us to be actors and not reactors and to do what we do because we think it is right and just and not as a reaction to someone else’s action.

PRAY FOR....


Sunday, June 13, 2015 - Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time - Hope and Confidence

To read the texts click on the texts: Ezek 17:22-24; 2 Cor5:6-10; Mk 4:26-34

Optimism, hope, confidence and assurance are words that summarise the theme of all three readings of today.

This note of confidence and hope begins in the first reading where Ezekiel emphasizes the power of God’s word. God will plant the branch or twig from the mighty cedar so that it will grow and bear fruit. The tree will be so huge that every bird of the air will be able to nest in its branches. This means in other words that every human from every nation will recognize and acknowledge the saving power of God. This is why the text ends with the words “I the Lord have spoken. I will accomplish it”. The power of God is so strong that nothing will be impossible. God does this to assert that God is not indifferent to creation. On the contrary God is constantly involved in the whole creative process and in creation. The great reverser, who brings low the high tree and exalts the low tree, thereby demonstrates that power that transcends every human expectation.

This power of God is evident in the Gospel text of today through the two parables of the seed. Clearly both are about the kingdom and are so simple to understand that it is possible that one might miss the point precisely because of their simplicity. In the first of the two commonly known as the Parable of the seed growing secretly, the sequence of events is of prime importance. A person scatters the seed on the ground, sleeps at night, rises in the day and the seed grows. The one who sows is not involved in the process of growth. The seed grows of itself. This is clearly an indication that it is the work of God and that God is in control. It is God who makes the seed grow once it has been sown. This also means that while the disciples are called to do their bit, they can do only that and no more. No matter how much they try, they cannot hasten the growth. No matter how much they worry, they cannot make the seed grow quicker. Thus the point is that the disciples have to sow and God will make it grow. The disciples have only to do their best and God will do the rest.

The parable of the mustard that follows, points on the one hand to the contrast between small and big, and on the other hand to the fact that it is not merely great trees like oaks and cedars that demonstrate that the kingdom of God has indeed come. The mustard seed though extremely small grows into a large shrub when sown into the ground. Here too the message to disciples is that they must not be anxious or worry about the outcome. They must have the confidence that after they have sown and done all that is required; from small there will be big; from little there will be much. Despite the fact that their efforts sometimes may seem as insignificant and tiny as a mustard seed, the end product will be enormous, simply because God will do what remains to be done.

This is precisely the reason why Paul can have the confidence that he expresses in the second reading of today. He is aware that the present circumstances, which include suffering and affliction, are not the ideal arrangement or the final picture, the goal. Paul therefore adopts the attitude of “indifference” which is not be interpreted as a “don’t care attitude”, laissez faire or a lax attitude, Rather the indifference is a very positive attitude. It is an attitude where because the person concerned knows that he/she can only do so much, does it and leaves the rest to God.


There are moments in our lives when we put in a lot of effort into something and cannot see the fruit of that effort. There are times in our lives when we think that all of our effort is in vain and there are times when we give up and give in because we are more concerned about the outcome or result than about our action. The readings of today warn against such an attitude. They challenge us to do what we are called to do. They also caution us not to jump the gun, but to follow the logical sequence of events. It is sometimes the case that we do not scatter the seed and consequently remain awake at night with useless worry and sleep in the day when we ought to be awake. We first need to sow or scatter the seed for it to take root and germinate. Then we can sleep at night and be awake in the day and the seed will indeed grow.

Friday, 12 June 2015

PRAY FOR...


Saturday, June 13, 2015 - The Immaculate Heart of Mary

To read the texts click on the texts: Isaiah 61:9-11; Lk 2:41-51

The Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is celebrated on the Saturday following the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to show the close connection between Mary and her beloved Son. This means that every year the feast is celebrate on the Saturday before the third Sunday following the feast of Pentecost.

The Immaculate heart of Mary is a symbol used to represent the interior and exterior life of Mary. It is used to represent her joys and sorrows, her trials and strength, her love for her God shown through her determined yes and her love for all humanity shown in and through the love for her Son.

The Gospel text chosen for the feast is popularly known as “The Finding in the Temple” and is taken to mean the finding of Jesus. However, a close look will indicate that Jesus was never lost. He always knew where he was and where he was supposed to be. It was Mary and Joseph who were lost without their son.


This text is found only in the Gospel of Luke and gives us an insight into the childhood of Jesus. It also indicates the awareness of Jesus even at this young age of who he was and his relationship with the Father. Even as it does this it also brings out powerfully the relentless search of Mary for her son. He was the centre of her life and she would not rest until she found him. What we are searching for reveals a great deal about who we are.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

LITANY TO THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS

Lord, have mercy on us
Christ, have mercy on us
Lord, have mercy on us
Christ, hear us
Christ, graciously hear us,
God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, Son of the Eternal Father, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, formed by the Holy Spirit, in the womb of the Virgin Mother, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, substantially united to the Word of God, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, of infinite majesty, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, sacred Temple of God, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, tabernacle of the Most High, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, house of God and Gate of Heaven, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, burning furnace of charity, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, abode of justice and love, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, abyss of all virtues, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, most worthy of all praise, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, King and center of all hearts, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, in whom dwells the fullness of divinity, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, in whom the Father was well pleased, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, desire of the everlasting hills, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, patient and most merciful, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, enriching all who invoke You, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, fountain of life and holiness, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, propitiation for our sins, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, loaded down with reproaches, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, bruised for our offenses, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, obedient unto death, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, source of all consolation, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, our life and resurrection, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, our peace and reconciliation, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, victim of sin, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, salvation of those who trust in You, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, hope of those who die in You, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, delight of all the saints, have mercy on us.
Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, spare us O Lord.
Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Jesus, meek and humble of Heart, make our hearts like unto Thine.