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Wednesday, 30 November 2016

MORNING OFFERING


Thursday, December 1, 2016 - St. Edmund Campion SJ - When faced with a difficult situation, do you often take the easy way out or the right way out?

To read the texts click on the texts: Isa 53:3-11;Jn 17:11b-17

Edmund Campion was born in London on January 25, 1540. He received his early education at Christ’s Hospital popularly known as The Bluecoat School and St. John’s College Oxford. He received his degree in 1564. He was chosen to give the funeral oration on the occasion of the burial of Sir Thomas White the founder of St. John’s College. When Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) visited the College, Campion was chosen to lead a public debate in front of her. He was because of his learning and oratory skills tipped to be a future Archbishop of Canterbury.  He was referred to by William Cecil who was one of the principal architects of the reformation as the “diamond of England.” It was the hoped that Campion would become a defender of the new faith which, though favored by the temporal power, lacked learned apologists. Yet even as he was ordained to the Anglican diaconate, he was being swayed toward Rome, influenced in great part by older friends with Catholic sympathies. In 1569 he journeyed to Dublin, where he composed his “History of Ireland”. At this point Campion was at the summit of his powers. He could have risen to the highest levels of fame had he stayed his course. But this was not to be. By the time Campion left Ireland, he knew he could not remain a Protestant. Campion's Catholic leanings were well-publicized, and he found the atmosphere hostile upon his return to England in 1571. He went abroad to Douay in France, where he was reconciled with the Church and decided to enter the Society of Jesus. He made a pilgrimage to Rome and journeyed to Prague, where he lived and taught for six years and in 1578 was ordained a Jesuit priest. In 1580 he was called by superiors to join fellow Jesuit Robert Parsons in leading a mission to England. He accepted the assignment joyfully, but everyone was aware of the dangers. The night before his departure from Prague, one of the Jesuit fathers wrote over Campion's door, "P. Edmundus Campianus, Martyr."

Campion crossed the English Channel as "Mr. Edmunds," a jewel dealer. His mission was nearly a short one: At Dover a search was underway for Gabriel Allen, another English Catholic expatriate who was rumored to be returning to England to visit family. Apparently Allen's description fit Campion also, and he was detained by the mayor of Dover, who planned to send Campion to London. Inexplicably, while waiting for horses for the journey, the mayor changed his mind, and sent "Mr. Edmunds" on his way.
Upon reaching London, Campion composed his "Challenge to the Privy Council," a statement of his mission and an invitation to engage in theological debate. Copies spread quickly, and several replies to the "Challenge" were published by Protestant writers, who attached to it a derogatory title, "Campion's Brag," by which it is best known today. Campion and his companions traveled stealthily through the English countryside in the early summer of 1581, relying on old, landed Catholic families as hosts. They celebrated Mass, heard confession, performed baptisms and marriages, and preached words of encouragement to a people who represented the last generation to confess the faith of a Catholic England.

There were close calls. Many homes had hiding places for priests—some even had secret chapels and confessionals—and the Jesuits had to rely on these more than once. Campion took extraordinary risks, never able to turn down a request to preach or administer the sacraments, and more than once he escaped detection while in a public setting.

His fortune changed while visiting the home of Francis Yate in Lyford Grange, which was west of London. Yate was a Catholic imprisoned for his faith who had repeatedly asked for one of the Jesuit fathers to tend to the spiritual needs of his household. Though it was out of the way and the queen's searchers were reportedly in hot pursuit, Campion was unable to resist the request.

He traveled to Lyford, heard confessions, preached well into the night, and departed without difficulty after celebrating Mass at dawn. Some nuns visiting the home shortly thereafter were upset to hear they had just missed Campion, and so riders were dispatched to persuade him to return, which he did. Word of his return reached George Eliot, born and regarded as Catholic but in fact a turncoat in the pay of the queen; he had a general commission to hunt down and arrest priests. Eliot arrived at Lyford with David Jenkins, another searcher, and attended a Mass. He was greatly outnumbered by the Catholics, and, fearing resistance, made no move to arrest Campion. He departed abruptly to fetch the local magistrate and a small militia and returned to the Yate property during dinner. News of the approaching party reached the house, and Campion and his two priestly companions were safely escaped to a narrow cell prepared especially for that purpose, with food and drink for three days.

Later Eliot and Jenkins both claimed to have discovered the priests, offering the same story: A strip of light breaking through a gap in the wall leading to the hiding place was the giveaway—both men took credit for noticing it, and each reported being the one to break through the wall. No doubt each sought the credit for capturing the infamous Campion, for no priest was more beloved by the Catholics or more despised by the crown.
Campion was taken to the Tower and tortured. Several times he was forced to engage in debates, without benefit of notes or references and still weak and disoriented from his rackings and beatings. He acquitted himself admirably, all things considered: a testament to his unparalled rhetorical skills.

His trial was a farce. Witnesses were bribed, false evidence produced; in truth, the outcome had been determined since his arrival. Campion was eloquent and persuasive to the last, dominating the entire procedure with the force of his logic and his knowledge of the Scripture and law, but in vain. He and his priestly and lay companions were convicted of treason on November 14 and were sentenced to death. His address to the court upon sentencing invoked the Catholic England for which he had fought, the Catholic England which was about to die: "In condemning us, you condemn all your own ancestors—all the ancient priests, bishops and kings—all that was once the glory of England."

On December 1, 1581 the prophecy hanging over his door in Prague was fulfilled: Campion was hanged, drawn, and quartered. The poet Henry Walpole was there, and during the quartering some blood from Campion's entrails splashed on his coat. Walpole was profoundly changed. He went overseas, took orders, and 13 years later met his own martyrdom on English soil. Campion was beatified by Leo XIII in 1886.

The first reading chosen for the feast is from the fourth servant song in the Book of Isaiah and is apt for the feast. Like the servant before him and his Lord Jesus Edmund Campion chose to be true to his convictions even in the face of the most frightening consequences. Like in the case of the servant and the Lord himself, it is not possible to comprehend fully the extent of Campion’s courage and determination. Yet, even this conclusion which at first glance seemed like defeat for Campion but was indeed victory fitted in with God’s plan for the world. In the eyes of those around him at that time, Campion was despised and humiliated. He was tortured and beaten. He was bruised and degraded. However, the fact that he is remembered today more than 400 years after his death is testimony to the fact that he was indeed victorious. This victory was spoken of by Jesus in his priestly prayer which is the Gospel text for today and in which besides asking his Father to protect his disciples from the evil one, he is also aware that they will have trouble in the world and be hated by many because they will stand like him for the truth. This Campion did to perfection.



Audio reflections of Thursday, December 1, 2016

To hear the Audio reflections of Thursday, December 1, 2016 click HERE

Thursday, December 1, 2016 - Is the home of your life built on rock or sand? How will you show that it has been built on rock today? Is the home of your life able to withstand the storms that threaten it from without? If No, what will you do about it today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Isa26: 1-6; Mt 7:21, 24-27

The three chapters beginning from 5:1 and ending at 7:29 contain one of the most famous discourses of Matthew, known as “The Sermon on the Mount”.  This is the first of the five great discourses in the Gospel of Matthew.  Each of the five ends with the phrase, “and when Jesus had finished…” (7:28; 11:1; 13:53; 19:1; 26:1). The Sermon on the Mount begins by showing Jesus as a Rabbi, teaching ex-cathedra (5:1) and ends by showing Jesus as the Messianic prophet, addressing the crowds (7:28). The Sermon is a composition of Matthew. An analysis of similar texts in the Gospels of Mark and Luke indicate that many verses found here in Matthew are also found in Mark and Luke in different contexts. This does not mean that Jesus did not say these words. It means that Matthew has put them together in this manner. Most are agreed that the theme of the Sermon is found in 5:17-20, in which Jesus speaks about having come, not to abolish but to fulfil the Law and Prophets.  He issues a challenge to those listening to let their “righteousness” be greater than that of the scribes and Pharisees in order to enter the kingdom.  This they will do if they internalize the law rather than if they simply follow it as a set of rules and regulations.

The text of today is from the conclusion of the Sermon. It begins with Jesus stating emphatically that mere words on the part of people, even if one addresses him with lofty titles and fervent pleas, will not gain one entry into the kingdom.   Entry into the kingdom is determined by “doing” the Father’s will. Right action is more important than right words.

What it means to do the Father’s will is brought out clearly in the parable of the two builders. The point here, besides action, is one of foresight. The builder who builds his house on sand is doing, at first glance, as well as the one who builds his house on rock. It is only when the rain falls, the storm comes, and the wind blows, that the difference is seen. The house built on rock continues to stand, whereas the one built on sand falls. The wise person represents those who put Jesus' words into practice; they too are building to withstand anything. Those who pretend to have faith, which is a mere intellectual commitment, or who enjoy Jesus in small doses as and when it suits them, are foolish builders. When the storms of life come, their structures fool no one; above all, they do not fool God.

The sermon speaks of grace, but the grace of God is known only in that community committed to doing God’s will, as revealed in Jesus. There can be no calculating “cheap grace.”  One must take the Sermon on the Mount seriously as the revealed will of God to be lived. The subject matter of the sermon is not the person of Christ, but the kind of life Christ’s disciples are called to live. One cannot avoid Christology and appeal only to the teaching or great principles of Jesus, for these are inseparable from the claims of his person. But, for Matthew, the converse is also true: “Correct” Christological understanding can never be a substitute for the ethical living to which Jesus calls his disciples. Christology and ethics, like Christology and discipleship, are inseparable for Matthew.


While some regard the Sermon as an ideal to be read and not lived, others see it as being capable of being lived out by only a select few. These kinds of interpretations miss the point. Since the Sermon is addressed to both the disciples and the crowd, there is no doubt that it is meant for all. It is a challenge to be lived out by anyone who professes to be a disciple of Jesus.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

MORNING OPFFERING


Audio Reflections of Wednesday, November 2016, the feast of St. Andrew

To hear the Audio Reflections of Wednesday, November 2016, the feast of St. Andrew, click HERE

Wednesday, November 30, 2016 - St. Andrew, Apostle - Andrew left everything to follow the Lord. How will you follow the Lord today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Rom 10:9-18; Mt 4:18-22

Andrew was the brother of Simon Peter (Mt 4:18; Mk 1:16; Jn 1:40; 6:8) and along with his brother was a fisherman. According to the Gospel of John, Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist and was one of the first to follow Jesus. The Gospels of Matthew and Mark state that Andrew and his brother were the disciples to be called by Jesus to become “fishers of men”; a phrase which was used to probably link it with their trade.

Though not in the group of the three disciples (Peter, James and John) who seemed to have a special place in the ministry of Jesus, it was Andrew who brought the boy who had five barley loaves to Jesus in the Gospel of John (Jn 6:8) and who along with Philip told Jesus about the gentiles (Greeks) who wished to meet Jesus (Jn 12:22).

Andrew is said to have been martyred by crucifixion at the city of Patras. His crucifixion is believed to have been on Cross that was shaped like the alphabet X. This Cross is commonly known as “Saint Andrew’s Cross” today.

The Gospel text for the Feast is the call of the first four disciples as narrated by Matthew. It is Jesus who takes the initiative in this story and come to the brothers, Simon and Andrew. Jesus’ invitation is also a promise. The invitation which is “to follow” him, will result in the brothers becoming ‘fishers of men and women’. It is an invitation to participate in the saving work of Jesus.

The response of the brothers is immediate. They leave everything to follow Jesus. While it was surely a risk to act in such a manner, it is also true that the call of Jesus was so compelling, that they simply could not refuse.


What does it mean to follow Jesus and accept his invitation to follow? It means that one is willing to accept the challenge to see God in all things and all things in God. It therefore means continuing to follow when everything is going the way we want it to  and also when our plans go awry and we cannot understand why things happen the way they do. It means trusting at every moment that we have to continue to what is required of us and leave everything else (including the worrying) to God. It means trusting that God will never let us down and that all that happens to us is for God’s glory and our good.

Monday, 28 November 2016

MORNING OFFERING


Audio Reflections of Tuesday, November 29, 2016

To hear the Audio Reflections of Tuesday, November 29, 2016 click HERE

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 - What is preventing you from seeing and hearing God’s word today? What will you do about it?

To read the texts click on the texts: Isa 11:1-10; Lk 10:21-24

The Gospel text of today is found also in the Gospel of Matthew, but here, in Luke, it follows the return of the seventy (seventy-two) from mission and continues the note of celebration that this successful return began. There are three clusters of sayings. Today’s text contains the second and third of the three. 

The second cluster is addressed by Jesus to God. In it, he acclaims the Father for hiding revelation from the wise and intelligent and revealing it to infants. This theme is not new, and is also found in other Jewish wisdom literature. However, the next verse, which speaks about the relationship between the Father and the Son, is unique and distinctly Christological. The knowledge that God gives is “handed over” by the Father directly to the Son. This is the source of Jesus’ authority and is also why the Son is competent to reveal the Father as father. 

The third cluster of sayings is made by Jesus to the disciples. A blessing is first pronounced on the disciples for what they have seen, followed by an explanation. Even prophets and kings were not privileged to see the Son and hear him, but the disciples are so privileged.


The revelation that Jesus made was never meant to be a secret or restricted to only a few. However, since it was a revelation and was done in freedom and generosity, it had to be accepted in like manner. Any kind of a block, whether pride, a closed attitude, or a preconceived notion, would prevent one from seeing and hearing. Thus, it is not God or Jesus who restricts, but a person’s attitude which prevents the person from seeing and hearing. Openness, receptivity, and humility are required in order to receive the revelation that Jesus continues to make, even today. The ones who receive this revelation are indeed blessed.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

MORNING OFFERING


Monday, November 28, 2016

To hear the readings for Monday, November 28, 2016 click HERE

Introduction to the readings on weekdays in Advent

To hear  an Introduction to the readings on weekdays in  Advent click HERE

Monday, November 28, 2016 - Do you give up when at first your prayers are not answered? Will you persevere in your asking today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Isa2:1-5; Mt 8:5-11

Weekdays in the season of Advent begin with the miracle of the healing of a Gentile officer’s servant. In Matthew’s narrative of this miracle, the focus of attention is on the sayings of both Jesus and the centurion. The centurion does not explicitly tell Jesus his request, but simply relates the situation of his servant. The fact that he addresses Jesus as “Lord” indicates that he is a believer (in Matthew, only those who believe in Jesus address him as “Lord”). Though the response of Jesus might be read as a statement (“I will come and cure him”) it seems better to read it as a question, “I should come and cure him?” Read as a question, it expresses hesitancy and fits in with Matthew’s portrayal of Jesus as the one sent only to the lost sheep of Israel. The centurion, however, responds with faith.

He regards Jesus as one who is under no power or authority. If he, though under the authority of his superior officers, can command and expect to be obeyed, then it is a sure fact that Jesus, who is above all and under no one, will surely be able to heal his servant. This is why there is no need for Jesus to even enter his house.

Jesus’ response to the centurion’s faith is to comment on the lack of faith of those to whom he had been sent, Israel. This lack of faith on the part of Israel, and faith on the part of the Gentiles, will lead to the inclusion of the Gentiles in the eschatological banquet.


 Faith has often been regarded, by some, as a verbal profession of belief. While this is necessary, what is more important is that faith be shown in action. The centurion did this. The confidence with which he approached Jesus is already an indication that, though he had not recited a creed, he had faith. His response to Jesus’ hesitancy is to respond with a positive word of confidence in Jesus’ ability to make whole. He knew in his heart that Jesus had the power, since Jesus’ authority was God’s authority and his word was effective because it was, in fact, God’s word. 

Introduction to the readings on Weekdays in Advent

The readings on Weekdays during the four seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter are the same every year. Though there is sometimes a connection between the first reading and Gospel, at other times the connection is tenuous. This is why I have commented only on the Gospel and not on the first reading. It also seemed that commenting on the first reading would result in making the book cumbersome and heavy to read. However, since the readings chosen for these seasons though from different Gospels have a common theme, I will introduce each of the seasons and comment generally on the readings for that season to aid that focus. 

In the first week of Advent with the exception of Tuesday when Luke is read, the Gospel readings are all from the Gospel of Matthew. The readings begin by inviting us to look at Jesus who reaches out to a Gentile by healing his son and gives us a lesson on the meaning of perseverance in prayer. They then take us to Jesus who is the most perfect revelation of the Father and the unconditional love that the Father wants to lavish on the world. This love is shown not in words alone but also in deeds as is evident in the feeding of the four thousand and in Jesus inviting all listeners to show that their faith in him and his words is a practical and tangible faith. This faith is manifested by the two blind men who even though they cannot see, “know” who Jesus is and make their knowledge known. This gift of faith enables the disciples to be sent out like Jesus and to continue the work of preaching and healing that he began. The Mission which Jesus inaugurated is a mission that is shown in deeds and not words alone.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Audio Reflections of Sunday, November 27, 2016

To hear the Audio Reflections of Sunday, November 27, 2016 click HERE

Sunday, November 27, 2016 - First Sunday in Advent - “Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday”

To read the texts click on the texts: Isaiah 2:1-5; Rom. 13:11-14; Mt 24:37-44

In this oracle of salvation Isaiah speaks of the elevation or exaltation of Zion, the mountain of the Temple of the Lord. This elevation will result in the establishment of peace and justice among all nations. The people will make a pilgrimage to Zion to learn the Lord’s ways and walk in his paths. They will go to God’s holy mountain to learn from him. This instruction will result in the instruments of war being turned into farming tools. Peace will reign and so there will be no need to train for war.

In this part of his letter to the Romans, Paul exhorts his readers because of the urgency of the times to wake up and live in the light rather than darkness. This is done by giving up things done under the cover of the dark and daring to appear in the light. Christians must express through their words and actions the very presence of Christ.

The text from Matthew is part of his Eschatological Discourse (24-25). To the question “When will Christ return?” Matthew’s answer is “No one knows” (24:36). As in the time of Noah life went on as usual with no sign that judgement was going to come, so will it be at the Parousia (literally “presence” but taken to mean the second coming of Christ). However, this lack of knowledge about the exactness of the hour instead of becoming a cause for concern must be the motivating factor to be ready at all times. In the metaphor of the thief who breaks and enters the house, the point being made is that it is the one who knows that the exact hour is unknown will be the one who will remain vigilant and awake.

Many of us live in the future rather than in the present. We want to know what will happen tomorrow and in the process do not live fully today. This obsession with the future is because basically we are frightened. We are frightened of what the future holds for us, we are frightened of whether we will be able to cope with what the future brings and we are frightened of whether the future will be better than or worse than our present. The Gospel text of today is calling for exactly the opposite of this way of living. It is calling for a total living in the present and doing what we have to do in the now, with no useless worry about what the morrow will bring. This is what it means to be ready at all times. A story is told of St. John Berchmans {a young Jesuit who died when he was  22 years old} who when  asked what he would do if he was told that he was going to be called by the Lord at the moment when he was playing football is said to have replied, “I will continue playing football.” The Latin phrase “Age quod agis” “Do what you are doing” sums up his attitude and the attitude expected of each of us who profess to be followers of Christ.

However, we will only be able to have such a kind of confidence to continue doing what we are doing,  if we give up the negative things that we might be doing and the negative attitudes that we might carry and substitute them instead with everything that enhances, builds up  and is positive. Being good and doing good are not be looked upon as a burden but something that comes naturally to the Christian who has experienced the move from darkness to light and from fear to love through what Christ has done through his life, mission, death and resurrection. We must show through this kind of positive and fearless living that we are indeed children of the light and have as inspiration the person and message of Christ.
If we dare to live in this manner then the prophecy of Isaiah which was fulfilled in the coming of Jesus 2000 years ago will also become a reality once again today. We will become that mountain of the Temple of the Lord to which everyone will look and learn the Lord’s ways. They will learn that to live in the future is futile, that to be obsessed with what is not yet is to fail to appreciate fully the present moment. They will realize that it is better to be positive than negative, to enhance and build up rather than pull down and destroy, to live fully and completely rather than die without ever having lived.


Friday, 25 November 2016

MORNING OFFERING


Saturday, November 26, 2016 - St. John Berchmans SJ (1599-1621) - It is not the length of life but the HOW!!!

To read the texts click on the texts: Phil 4:4-9; 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.

Saturday, November 26, 2016 - How would you define prayer? Can it be said of you that your life is prayer?

To read the texts click on the texts: Rev 22:1-7; Lk 21:34-36

These verses are the conclusion of the Eschatological Discourse, and 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.

Audio Reflections of Saturday, November 26, 2016

To hear the Audio Reflections of Saturday, November 26, 2016 click HERE

Thursday, 24 November 2016

MORNING OFFERING


Friday, November 25, 2016 - Will you live today as if it were your last day on earth?

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.

Audio reflections of Friday, November 25, 2016

To hear the Audio reflections of Friday, November 25, 2016 click HERE

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

MORNING OFFERING


Thursday, November 24, 2016 - 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?

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.

Audio Reflections of Thursday, November 24, 2016

To hear the Audio Reflections of Thursday, November 24, 2016 click HERE

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

MORNING OFFERING


Audio reflections of Wednesday, November 23, 2016

To hear the Audio reflections of Wednesday, November 23, 2016 click HERE

Wednesday, November 23, 2016 - If someone witnessed your actions all through today, would they conclude that you are a disciple of Jesus?

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.

The persecution of the disciples, however, does not exceed what Jesus himself will experience. He, too, will be arrested and brought before Pilate and Herod. It is Jesus himself therefore who will give the disciples the content of what they are to say.

The gospel offers not a way of predicting the end of the world but the spiritual resources to cope with the challenges of life. In times of distress the disciples of Jesus are called not to throw their hands up in despair, but to be unafraid. It is a fact that following Jesus who is The Truth will have repercussions and consequences, some of which may be disastrous. However, it is in these circumstances that perseverance and endurance is called for. This is the test of our faith and courage in the promises of the Lord.


Thus we can opt for one of two ways of proceeding. One is to focus so much on prophesies of the future, that they frighten us into idle speculation and inaction. The other is to dare to commit ourselves and actions to make a difference here and now.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Audio Reflections of Tuesday, November 22, 2016

To hear the Audio Reflections of Tuesday, November 22, 2016 click HERE

MORNING OFFERING


Tuesday, November 22, 2016 - Are you so concerned about the next life that you are not living fully this life?

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 meaning of this warning is broad and encompasses being led to sin, being taught false teachings, and being deceived regarding apocalyptic events.

The second warning follows the first: the disciples of Jesus 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.


In times of great danger, stress, and hardship it is natural for persons and communities of faith to turn to God and to the future for hope, for the promise of deliverance. However, idle preoccupation and speculation of what will happen at the end times is not called for. It is a distortion of the Gospel message of Jesus who asks that we concern ourselves not with gossip and guesswork, but in how we must do what we have to do in the present.  

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Audio Reflection of Monday, November 21, 2016

To hear the Audio Reflection of Monday, November 21, 2016 click HERE

Monday, November 21, 2016 - Is Jesus pointing to you as his brother/sister? If yes, Why? If no, why not?

To read the texts click on the texts:  Zech 2:10-13; Mt 12:46-50

The feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary is associated with an event recounted not in the New Testament, but in the apocryphal Infancy Narrative of James. According to that text, Mary's parents, Joachim and Anne, who had been childless, received a heavenly message that they would bear a child. In thanksgiving for the gift of their daughter, they brought her, when still a child, to the Temple in Jerusalem to consecrate her to God. Mary remained in the Temple until puberty, at which point she was assigned to Joseph as guardian. Later versions of the story (such as the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew and the Gospel of the Nativity of Mary) tell us that Mary was taken to the Temple at around the age of three in fulfilment of a vow. Tradition held that she was to remain there to be educated in preparation for her role as Mother of God.

The Gospel text chosen for the feast of today contains a pointer as to who make up the true family of Jesus. Unlike in Mark, where the “crowd” is pointed out to as the true family of Jesus, in Matthew, it is the community of disciples who make up the true family. The point being made in this text is not so much about the mother or brothers and sisters of Jesus, but about who will be regarded as true members of Jesus’ family. The action of stretching out his hand has been used earlier to portray Jesus as compassionate (8:3) and also an act, which will be used later to show him as the great deliverer who comes to the aid of his disciples (14:31). In the concluding statement, the Matthean Jesus makes clear that discipleship and being a member of his family is not merely a matter of verbal profession even proclamation, but doing the will of God. This aspect makes anyone a brother or sister of Jesus.


We may imagine that because we have been baptised into the faith we can take for granted that we are members of Jesus’ family. This need not be so, since we need to keep renewing our commitment to Jesus and his cause every day. While verbal proclamation does have its place, it alone is not enough. We must show through our deeds whom we believe in. 

Monday, November 21, 2016 - Will you forego one meal this week and give what you save to someone less fortunate than you?

To read the texts click on the texts: Rev 14:1-5; 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.

Generosity consists not in how much but in how.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

HOW MANY QUALITIES OF CHRIST CAN YOU FIND? FILL IN THE SENTENCE AT THE END


MORNING OFFERING


Audio Reflections of Sunday, November 20, 2016

To hear the Audio Reflections of Sunday, November 20, 2016 click HERE

Sunday, November 20, 2016 - The feast of Christ the Eternal King

To read the texts click on the texts: 2 Sam 5:1-3; Col1:12-20; Lk 23:35-43

The feast of Christ the Eternal King was introduced through the encyclical Quas Primas – (“In the first”) of Pope Pius XI on December 11, 1925.  One main purpose of the encyclical was to communicate hope to a world which seemed to be giving into despair.  Another purpose was to give the world a whole new idea of kingship, dominion and authority. There could be no better model of kingship which the Church could put before the world than Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, the servant king.

This feast is celebrated every year on the last Sunday in Ordinary time. It brings to a close the Ordinary time of the liturgical year and it begins the preparation for Advent and the coming of the redeemer child at Christmas.

The readings for today all speak of Kingship. The first reading tells of the kingship of David who had been anointed king over Judah and now, over the northern tribes of Israel. Thus, David becomes king over all of Israel. However, even as he is anointed king, he is reminded of the kind of king that the Lord wants him to be, namely a Shepherd king. He began life as a shepherd of the flocks of his father.  Now, he is shepherd over the people. Like the shepherd looks after his flock and leads them, so David will look after his people and lead them. The anointing of David as king is not something done on a mere whim. It is the Lord who ordained it.  It is the Lord who said that David would be shepherd and rule over Israel. David had shown his care for his people when he led them out and brought them to the glory that they now experience.

The kingdom that God established in David promised newness. The shape of power in this kingdom will be governed by shepherding and covenant making. Israel’s future hope has, for the moment, become its present hope. This present hope was made even more visible when God chose and anointed Jesus to be king, not only over Israel but over the whole of humanity. Like David before him, Jesus would also be a shepherd of the people.  The covenant that he made with God would be a covenant on the Cross. It would be an eternal covenant, one that no amount of negatives could ever erase.

The Gospel text of today brings out this truth powerfully. Through the irony of the taunts of the leaders and soldiers, Luke highlights both Jesus’ real identity and the true meaning of his death. The leaders and soldiers think that they are ridiculing Jesus. They think that they are making fun of him.  However, even as they do this, they are unaware that this is exactly the kind of king that he has come to be.  Just as Jesus had taught that those who lose their lives for his sake would save them, so now he is willing to lose his life so that all might be saved. Jesus’ death did not contradict the Christological claims; it confirmed them. For him to have saved himself would have been a denial of his salvific role in the purposes of God. Both what is said and what is done at the cross, therefore, confirm the truth about the one who is crucified: He is the Christ, the King of the Jews, the Saviour of the World.

This salvation that Jesus effected on the Cross is made even more visible and more tangible in the response of Jesus to those crucified with him. Though rebuked by one of the thieves, Jesus does not react negatively. He is willing to accept even this taunt. The pronouncement that Jesus makes to the thief who asks for remembrance is solemn. It is the last of the six “Amen” sayings in Luke and the only one addressed to a person. It is also the last of the “Today” pronouncements. That “Amen” and “Today” have been used together is an indication that the pronouncement is emphatic and that there is to be no delay.  What Jesus promises will happen now.


The salvation pronounced to one of the thieves on the Cross is also the salvation being pronounced to each of us who are willing to receive it. This is because, through his passion and death, Jesus has rescued us, as the letter to the Colossians points out.  He has rescued us from the power of darkness and sin.  He has transferred us into the kingdom of light and all that is good. It is therefore, in the visible image of Jesus Christ that we can comprehend who God is and what God wants to do for each of us. God wants the whole of creation to be reconciled in Jesus. God wants all of creation to be saved in the shepherd and self-sacrificing king.


As we come to the close of another liturgical year, and as we prepare to welcome Christ our eternal king, we need to realize that our king can come only if we are willing to open our hearts and minds wide to receive him. We can do this by removing from our minds and hearts anything that will prevent us from receiving and accepting him. We can do this by removing selfishness and self-centeredness that makes us seek only our own good rather than the good of others. We can do this by reaching out in love and forgiveness as he did, even when on the Cross. Will we ready our minds and hearts to receive our King?

Friday, 18 November 2016

Audio Reflections of Saturday, November 19, 2016

To hear the Audio Reflections of Saturday, November 19, 2016 click HERE

GOOD MORNING


Saturday, November 19, 2016 - If you were told that your life after death would be determined by the life you live now, what changes would you make in this life?

To read the texts click on the texts: Rev 11:4-12; Lk 20:27-40

The Sadducees were a group of Jews who did not believe in the resurrection. The question they ask Jesus assumes the practice of levirate marriage, where according to Deut 25:5, the brother of a deceased man was to take his brother’s widow as his wife. The Sadducees extend the situation to the point of ridicule by speaking of seven brothers who marry the same woman. The question is whose wife she would be in the resurrection. 

While in Mark, Jesus first rebukes the Sadducees, in Luke he begins to teach them immediately. Jesus’ response is that life in the resurrection will not simply be a continuation of the life, as we know it now. In the second part of his response, Jesus calls the attention of the Sadducees to the familiar story of the burning bush, in which the point is that God is not God of the dead but of the living.


Jesus’ words can thus be approached from a positive side. The God who created human life, including the institution of marriage, has also provided for life after death for those who have cultivated the capacity to respond to God’s love. The biblical teaching is that life comes from God. There is nothing in or of the human being that is naturally or inherently immortal. If there is life beyond death, it is God’s gift to those who have accepted God’s love and entered into relationship with God in this life: They “are children of God, being children of the resurrection”

Thursday, 17 November 2016

MORNING OFFERING


Audio reflections of Friday, November 18, 2016

To hear the Audio reflections of Friday, November 18, 2016 click HERE

Friday, November 18, 2016 -If the Lord were to come to the Temple of your heart, would he find selling and buying or would he find himself there?

To read the texts click on the texts: Rev 10:9-11; Lk 19:45-48

The cleansing of the temple is one of the few incidents that are narrated by all four Gospels. However, the distinctiveness of Luke’s account stands out more clearly when it is compared with Mark. In Marks account, Jesus enters Jerusalem and the temple, and then withdraws for the night to Bethany. In contrast, Luke has Jesus proceed directly to the Temple. 

The cleansing in Luke is greatly abbreviated, omitting Mark’s references to those who were buying, overturning the tables, selling doves and forbidding anyone to carry anything through the Temple. While in Mark Jesus’ action is part of his prophetic announcement of the destruction of the temple, in Luke, the cleansing prepares his “father’s house” to serve as the site for Jesus’ teaching in the following section (19:47 – 21:38). While in Mark Jesus leaves the Temple definitively after the cleansing, in Luke, Jesus continues to teach in the Temple even after the incident. Since the people were spellbound by the words of Jesus, the chief priests, scribes and the leaders could do nothing to him.


The related scenes of Jesus weeping over the city and driving out the merchants from the Temple speak poignantly of God’s judgment on human sinfulness. These are passages heavy with pathos and tragedy. Jesus weeps, laments, and sounds warnings that fall on deaf ears.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016