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Friday, 31 March 2017

Audio reflections of Saturday, April 1, 2017

To hear the Audio reflections of Saturday, April 1, 2017 click HERE

Saturday, April 1, 2017 - Will you understand that God will reveal himself to you in ways you never even considered? Will you find him in everything that happens today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Jer11:18-20; Jn 7:40-52

The invitation of Jesus to the thirsty to come and drink from the living water that he will give leads to the discussion among the people which begins the text for today. While those who come on hearing this invitation regard Jesus as “the” prophet, others explicitly call him the Messiah. Still others question whether Jesus could really be the Messiah because of the popular belief that the Messiah would come from Bethlehem. Yet it was also true that some believed that the origins of the Messiah would be a mystery and no one would know where he would come from. These contrary views lead to a difference of opinion and though some want to arrest Jesus they do not lay hands on him.

When the police return to inform their masters that they could not arrest Jesus because they had never heard anyone speak like him, they are accused of having also been deceived by Jesus and taken in by his sophistry.

Nicodemus who is also one of the Jewish authorities speaks on behalf of Jesus and reminds his companions of the law and a hearing that was required before judgement. His question is ironic and seems intended to bring out that his companions knowledge of the law is a matter of doubt. They respond to Nicodemus in the same way in which they respond to the temple police. They deride him and assert their seemingly superior knowledge of scripture. Though they are emphatic that no prophet is to arise from Galilee, this knowledge is faulty, because the scriptures do speak of the Galilean origins of the prophet Jonah. John intends to convey through this assertion on the part of the Pharisees that they had misunderstood both the origins of the Messiah and who he is. Traditional messianic categories are inadequate because they rely on prior assumptions and expectations rather than judging Jesus on the basis of what he reveals about himself: that he is the one sent from God.


Jesus will always remain bigger than anything that we can ever imagine. Our most intimate encounters with him must make us realize this. He cannot be captured by the concepts, words or images that we use and while these help us to get to know his better, they will always be inadequate. Yet, this does not mean that we cannot know him as intimately as we want to. He reveals himself to each of us according to the level of openness we possess. 

Thursday, 30 March 2017

NET RETREAT 2017 - Do not worry about the money


Audio Reflections of Friday, March 31, 2017

To hear the Audio Reflections of Friday, March 31, 2017, click HERE

Friday, March 31, 2017 - Will you open your eyes, ears and heart and SEE that God is present in our world even today?

To read the texts click on the texts:. Wis2:1, 12-22; Jn 7:1-2, 10, 25-30

The feast of the tabernacles was originally a harvest festival and was linked to the journey of Israel in the desert after the exodus when they stayed in tents or booths. It was a seven day festival that brought great joy and during this festival people lived in booths to remember their sojourn and God’s graciousness to them. The liturgical rites performed during this festival, included water libation and torch-lit processions. These form the background for the discourse of Jesus during this festival.
The crowds are surprised to see Jesus teaching in public despite the death threats and so wonder if he could indeed be the Messiah. They also wonder if the authorities know that Jesus is the Messiah but are denying it for some reason. Soon, “reasonableness” gives way to insight and intuition when the crowds go back to their stereotypes. They “know” where Jesus comes from and since no one will know where the Messiah comes from, Jesus cannot be the Messiah. The fact is that the crowds know only one aspect of Jesus’ antecedents. Jesus informs them that they are not aware that his real origin is in God. One will only be able to recognize and know Jesus when one realizes that he comes from God and has been sent by him. This upsets the listeners and though they try to arrest him, they cannot do so, because the ordained hour set by God has not yet come.

The crucial question here is whether or not one perceives Jesus as having been sent by God. The answer to this question determines whether one is on the right track or engaged in only superficial reflection. One reason why the authorities’ could not recognize Jesus as having been sent by God was because they had made up their minds already. They refused to let God work in the way he wanted. They decided how God must work and how the Messiah would come. They “knew”. This “knowledge” led to their being closed to the revelation that God made, so that even after he came, they continued to look for another.


God continues to come to us in various disguises and forms. He comes in persons, events and situations. If we decide in advance how he must come, then there is the danger that we too might continue to miss him and not be aware of his presence. The way to be able to find him in all things and all things in him is to be open and receptive and let God be God. It is to open our eyes, ears and every fiber of our being to the revelation that he will make and to be prepared for that revelation in the most unexpected persons, places and events.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Audio Reflections of Thursday, March 30, 2017

To hear the Audio Reflections of Thursday, March 30, 2017 click HERE

Thursday, March 30, 2017 - Do you believe in Jesus? How will you show that you are a “believer”?

To read the texts click on the texts: Exod 32:7-14; Jn 5:31-47

The text of today contains the second part of the discourse of Jesus in response to the outrage of the Jewish leaders because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath. It can be seen to be divided into two parts. The first part speaks about the witnesses John and the Father who testify to Jesus’ claims and the second part about the rejection of Jesus and the unbelief of the leaders.

The witness that Jesus offers is not his own since no one can legitimately or validly bear witness on his own behalf. The first witness Jesus mentions here is John the Baptist who in the Gospel of John is portrayed more as a witness rather than as a precursor or Baptist as he is in the Synoptic Gospels. In witnessing to the truth John witnessed to Jesus since Jesus is the truth. However, John was a mere lamp and not the light so though his testimony is true there is another witness far greater than John and that is the works that Jesus has accomplished after being sent by the Father. “Works’ here seems to refer not just to the miracles that Jesus worked but to the whole of his ministry. These works are the works of the Father and so bear witness to him and to the relationship that Jesus shares with him as Son. Since Jesus as Son does what God as father commands him to do, Jesus completes the Father’s own works. The third witness is the Father himself. God himself cannot be seen, yet, he has been made visible in Jesus and the Jewish leaders have refused to believe the God made so visible.

The scriptures also testify on behalf of Jesus and though the leaders search and study the scriptures because they seek life, they refuse to believe what they learn there, namely that Jesus is the one who gives life and life in abundance. This is because they are unable to distinguish truth from falsehood. It is not Jesus but Moses himself who will accuse them of unbelief. This is because Moses also testified to Jesus and despite his testimony, they have refused to believe. If one believes what Moses wrote, one has to believe in Jesus, there is no middle ground here.


It is not easy to believe in Jesus, because such a belief calls for a radical change in one’s life’s orientation. Belief in Jesus will mean a movement from selfishness to selfless, domination to service and fear to love and not many are inclined to make this change. Most of us are content to live our lives insulated from others and preferring to live as islands rather than as community. We pretend not to know who we are and what our calling is. It seems easier this way. However, as the Gospel text makes clear there is no middle ground and if one is not willing to live the kind of life that Jesus invites us to as his disciples, then one is a non-believer. 

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

NET RETREAT 2017 - DO NOT WORRY ABOUT THE MONEY


Audio Reflections of Wednesday, March 29, 2017

To hear the Audio Reflections of Wednesday, March 29, 2017 click HERE

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 - Jesus revealed the Father through all that he said and did. Will you reveal Jesus by what you say and do today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Isa49:8-15; Jn 5:17-30

These verses contain the first discourse in the Gospel of John. It is made up of many closely related themes. The Jews are outraged that Jesus has healed on the Sabbath and in answer to this outrage Jesus answers them in the following verses. 
To the charge that Jesus was making himself equal to God, Jesus answers that he as Son can do nothing apart from the Father. He is completely dependent on the Father and merely does the Father’s work. The Father reveals all that he does to his Son including raising the dead and giving them life. Thus the Son shares in the life giving work of the Father. The Son has also been given the power and authority to judge. This implies that everyone is under the Son’s reign and rule, and thus must confer on him the same honour that is conferred on the Father. The one who does not honour the Son does not honour the Father since it is the Father who has sent the Son.


To hear the Son’s word and believe in God opens the gift of eternal life. The alternative is judgment. This judgement will be based on the response to the Son in the present. Those who accept him and do good will be granted the resurrection of life whereas those who reject the Son and thus do evil will go to the resurrection of condemnation. The now will determine the later, the present will determine the future. This part of the pericope ends with an idea expressed earlier namely that the Son can do nothing on his own and will do nothing on his own, because he seeks only to do the will of his Father.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Audio Reflections of Tuesday, March 28, 2017

To hear the Audio Reflections of Tuesday, March 28, 2017 click HERE

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - Do I set limits on God’s magnanimity and generosity in forgiving me? Have I forgiven myself? How do I show that I have really been forgiven? What does it means that I can rise, take up my mat and walk?

To read the texts click on the texts: Ezek 47:1-9, 12; Jn 5:1-3, 5-16

The miracle of the healing of the paralytic is exclusive to the Gospel of John. The story is set in Jerusalem and the miracle occurs during one of the Jewish festivals though John does not specify which one. Later in the narrative we are told that the day of the festival was also the Sabbath and this adds to the significance of both the festival and the Sabbath and thus the miracle and the controversy that follows. Festivals in John are used as a platform for a deep revelation of the person of Jesus and this festival is no exception.

John gives a detailed description of the place where the miracle was performed as if encouraging the reader to place him/herself in that place. Three kinds of invalids are mentioned: the blind, the lame and the paralyzed. These are at the pool waiting for the stirring of the water. Popular belief was that an angel was responsible for the stirring of the water and thus for the inexplicable bubbling at the surface. Of these one is singled out. He is a man who has been ill for thirty-eight years, which symbolizes that his illness is almost permanent. At this point the text does not tell us what his illness is. Jesus picks out this man and again we are not given a reason. Did he come across to Jesus as the one most in need? Was he the only one who did not have someone to help him? We are only told that Jesus “knew that he had been there a long time”. Jesus initiates the miracle by approaching the man. Yet, he does not force his healing on the man as is evident in the question that he asks him; “Do you want to be made well?” The man does not answer the question but begins his litany of complaints. He has already set limits to what he believes can be done for him. He does not expect the impossible. Jesus responds to the man’s complaints with three imperatives: “stand up, take your mat and walk”. That Jesus’ words are effective and transformative is evident in the fact that the man was made well. He obeys Jesus’ commands to the letter: “He took up his mat and walked”.

Immediately after the miracle, there is an objection on the part of “the Jews” (which here refers to the Jewish authorities who oppose Jesus and not the Jewish people in general) because the man was carrying his mat on the Sabbath and this constituted work which was not allowed on the Sabbath. The man responds that he is simply obeying what Jesus asked him to do. The Jewish leaders prefer to focus not on the fact that he had been made well, but on the one who told him to violate the Sabbath. The man cannot respond to the question of the Jewish leaders about who Jesus is, since he does not know Jesus.

At this point Jesus reenters the story and finds the man in the temple confirming that he has been made well and speaks to him about sin. He invites the man to move from the mere physical healing to spiritual healing. The man on encountering Jesus again, announces to the Jews that it was Jesus who made him well. While some see these words of the man as pointing Jesus out to the Jewish leaders, others interpret them as an announcement of the man about who Jesus is. Again the leaders refuse to focus on the positive action of the man being made well and focus instead on the violation of the Sabbath. This is why they decide to persecute him.

Two issues are brought out in this story. The first is that of illness. While we may be able to see with the eyes of our head, it is possible that we too like many of those who were at the pool may be psychologically or spiritually blind. We may not be able to see another person’s point of view and imagine sometimes that ours is the only correct viewpoint. We may also be blind to the sufferings of the numerous people around us and close ourselves in on our own small worlds. We may have the facility and use of both of our legs, but may have given in to lethargy or laziness. We may have lost the desire and drive to do what we have to do. We may be able to use all our limbs and move about freely, but may have given in to fear. We may also be carrying resentments, bitterness, anger, jealousy and even rage in our hearts because of which we are paralyzed and not able to move freely.

The second issue which the story brings out is that of law versus love. Like the Jewish leaders we are also guilty sometimes of focusing too much on the law and not enough on love. Like they were not able to focus on the man’s wholeness but only on the violation of the Sabbath, so we are sometimes prone to focus on the negatives rather than on the positive. We prefer often to give a negative interpretation to a person’s actions and words rather than a positive one.


The miracle thus calls each of us to give up the blindness of our heart and the lameness of our mind and the paralysis of our spirit and to focus on the positive of God’s unconditional healing and love made visible in Jesus.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Audio reflections of Monday, March 27, 2017

To hear the Audio reflections of Monday, March 27, 2017 click HERE

Monday, March 27, 2017 - Do you believe in God only when things go the way you plan or do you continue to believe in all circumstances? Is your God only a miracle worker or is he a God with you and for you?

To read the texts click on the texts: Isa65:17-21; Jn 4:43-54 

The healing of the royal official’s son (4:46-54) which is part of our text today begins after the dialogue with the Samaritan woman (4:1-42). The first two verses of today’s text (4:43-45) serve as an interlude between the two stories. John uses the saying of the prophet having no honour in his own country, to show why Jesus came to Galilee. In John, Judea is Jesus’ own country and since he was not accepted there, he had to go to others including the Samaritans. Like the Samaritans, the Galileans welcome him.

The first verse of the miracle story that follows is an introduction narrating the case. The son of a royal official is ill in Capernaum. The mention of Cana and a summary of the first miracle of turning water into wine anticipate another miracle. The healing in this miracle, however, is done at a distance. The official makes a request for Jesus to come down and heal his son who is at the point of death. The immediate response of Jesus is directed not to the official alone but to all. That Jesus did heal the official’s son is an indication that his words are not meant merely as a rebuke, but go deeper. Though the people will base their faith in him merely on signs and wonders, Jesus invites them to realize that these are not what will motivate him to act. He will act only in accordance with the will of God. Human expectation cannot determine his action. Even after hearing this seeming rebuke, the official is not deterred. He perseveres in his request. With a word and from a distance, Jesus performs the healing. The official’s faith is Jesus is seen in his obedience to the command to “Go”. He does go on his way.

The attestation of the miracle is provided by the servants of the official who meet him when he is still on his way to his home. The official on further enquiry realizes that Jesus is the one who has performed the healing and is led to faith. The man now believes in Jesus, not only in Jesus’ word.

At the end of the miracle John remarks that this was then second sign that Jesus worked after coming to Galilee. In his Gospel, John always refers to the miracles of Jesus as signs.

Sickness and brokenness are very much visible in our world today and most are in need of some form of healing or another. At times doctors are not able to diagnose an illness and at other times when they are and perform a complicated operation, ask the patient and family members to pray and have faith. There is only so much that they can do, the rest is in God’s hands. The official in the story had probably gone to Jesus as a last resort (his son was not merely ill but at the point of death) after having explored and exhausted all other avenues. He is single minded in his purpose and will let nothing deter him. He believes and perseveres. His faith gains for him not only his son’s life but also the gift of faith in Jesus.


This means that faith cannot be based on external signs alone and remain at that level. If it is and does, then one will look at Jesus as a mere miracle worker. The focus here would be only on the actions of Jesus and not on his person from which his actions flow. If one is able to go beyond the action to the person of Jesus, then one will also be able to see who God is: God with us, for us and in us. 

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Audio reflections of Sunday, March 26, 2017

To hear the Audio reflections of Sunday, March 26, 2017 click HERE

Sunday, March 26, 2017 - Loss of Vision - "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye."

To read the texts click on the texts:1 Sam 16:1, 6-7,10-11,13; Eph 5:8-14; Jn 9:1-41

Some time ago, a young man came to see me to pour out his heart. He admitted he was a workaholic, because of which he was increasingly distancing himself from his wife and two children. His marriage was on the verge of breaking up, since he could not find time to spend with his family. He was caught in a vicious circle. He worked hard in order to provide for his family and the harder he worked and the more time he spent in the office, the further was he moving away from his family.

As he poured his heart out, I simply listened. His job had become his obsession. He wanted to give his wife and children things he had never had as a child and this effort to gain all things for his family became an enemy of the persons he loved most. He finally looked up at me and exclaimed, “I’ve lost sight of everything that matters most!”

The fox says something similar to the Prince in The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery: “And now here is my secret, a very simple secret; it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.” The young man realized that he had lost his vision, the heart vision. He had not lost his external sight or vision, but the inner vision, the heart vision, which enables one to see clearly. He left my room with a promise to set his priorities right and thanked me for listening.

The loss of vision, which the young man experienced, is similar to the one experienced by both Samuel in the first reading of today and Pharisees in the Gospel text. In the case of Samuel, the reason for the loss vision is due to mistaken perception and judging by outward appearances alone. However, God makes it clear to him that he judges not by the external but looks at the heart. In the case of the Pharisees, the loss of vision was caused by their set opinions and understanding. They wanted to follow the law as thoroughly as they could, but did not realize that they had mixed it up with their interpretation and preconceived ideas and thus had shut the door to any kind of revelation that God was constantly making in Jesus through his Spirit.

They were so sure of everything – that God did not work on the Sabbath, that Moses was God’s only spokesperson, that anyone born blind and anyone who broke the Sabbath had to be a sinner,  that God did not work through sinners, that God did not work on sinners and that furthermore no one could teach them anything. In this context, it must be noted that John makes abundantly clear in this text that physical illness is not the effect of sin. Rather sin here is connected with spiritual blindness and anyone who rejects the true light who is Jesus is guilty of sin and so is spiritually blind. This is an even more dangerous blindness than the physical one.

The man born physically blind comes to both physical sight and spiritual sight in his being able to see and recognize Jesus as the one who is sent. Through opposition and persecution the blind man moves from a confession of “the man Jesus,” to “prophet,” to “one from God” and finally to a confession of Jesus as the Son of Man and the Lord.

The second reading of today reminds the Ephesians and us, that like the man in the Gospel who represents all of us, we were also blind and stumbling in darkness, but now we live in the light of Christ and his Good News, and that light is seen in the way we behave. In the way we relate with other people in “complete goodness and right living and truth”. Our lives are to have a transparency where there is no darkness, no hidden behavior which we would be ashamed to reveal to others.

So we must think about our darkness, our blindness. Of course, acknowledging our own spiritual blindness can be embarrassing, painful, and threatening. To confess our own groping darkness and howling demons within, our frustrations, fears, and failures, unnerves us. Such a confession may be unsettling. We may be also anxious of what others might say, think or do.

Tradition, jealousy or legalism, blinded the religious leaders and prevented them from seeing the obvious. What blinds us to the truths that we should be seeing? Regardless of what it is, Jesus offers to remove blindness and show us the light.


We have been “enlightened” through baptism and are commissioned to confess and witness to our faith. Imitating the journey of the man who finally recognized Jesus, we should progress to an inner enlightenment, so that we can confess the crucified one as the Son of Man, who, when lifted up, will draw all things to himself.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Saturday,. March 25, 2017 - The Annunciation of the Lord - Will you like Mary say "Let it be done to me" and let the Lord do in you.

To read the texts click on the texts: Isa 7:10-14; 8:10; Heb 10:4-10; Lk 1:26-38

The Annunciation of the Lord is the beginning of Jesus in his human nature. Through his mother and her courageous YES, Jesus became a human being. The point of the Annunciation is to stress that Jesus did not come down from heaven as an “avatar” but rather that in every sense of the word; he was totally and completely human. Another related point is that God “needs” the co-operation of human beings to complete the plans God has for the world. One of the most beautiful examples of co-operating with God is that of Mary and her unconditional Amen.

The text chosen for the feast is that of the Annunciation as narrated by Luke. It relates the scene immediately after the announcement of the birth of John the Baptist and contains the announcement of the birth of Jesus. There are many similarities in the annunciations to Mary and to Zechariah. The angel Gabriel is the one who makes both announcements. Both Zechariah and Mary are called by name and exhorted not to be afraid. Both ask a question of the angel, and it is the angel who tells them what name each child is to be given.  It is the angel who predicts what each child will turn out to be. However, even as there are similarities, there are differences in the narratives. While the announcement to Zechariah comes in the Temple and as a result of his fervent prayer, the announcement to Mary comes (apparently) when she is in her home and it is unanticipated. While Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth are advanced in age, Mary has not yet stayed with her husband, and so is a virgin. The birth of John to parents who are past the age of child bearing is a miracle, but even greater is the miracle of the birth of Jesus, who would be born through the Holy Spirit, and to a virgin. Even as John the Baptist goes with the spirit and power of Elijah, Jesus will be called “Son of God”. Luke clearly wants to show John as great, but only the forerunner of the Messiah, Jesus, who is greater.

Here, too, like in the case of the announcement of the birth of John the Baptist, God intervenes in human history.  Mary though betrothed or engaged to Joseph, who was of David’s family, had not yet lived with him. This she would do only after marriage, which would be one year after the betrothal. The angel greets Mary as the recipient of God’s grace. She has opened herself to the promptings of God’s Spirit. While Zechariah was gripped with fear at the very appearance of the angel, in the case of Mary, it is the angel’s greeting that perplexed her. The angel reassures Mary and makes the announcement, not only of Jesus’ birth, but of who he will be and all that he will accomplish.

In response to this announcement Mary, like Zechariah, asks a question. While both questions seem similar, it is clear that Zechariah’s question expressed doubt and asked for a sign, as is evident in the angel’s words before Zechariah is struck dumb. Mary’s question, on the other hand, is a question asked in faith. Mary did not question the truth of the revelation like Zechariah did. She asked only for enlightenment on how God would accomplish this wonderful deed. This will be accomplished in Mary through the work of God’s spirit. This is why the child will be called holy. Luke probably also intends to convey here that it is not merit on Mary’s part that obtained for her what she received, but God’s generous gift in the Spirit.

The evidence that what the angel has announced will indeed take place is the pregnancy of Elizabeth, for nothing is impossible for God. Mary responds, not merely with a Yes, but by asking that the Lord work in her to accomplish all that he wants. The annunciation would not have been complete without Mary’s trusting, obedient response.

Today, many assume that those whom God favours will enjoy the things we equate with a good life: social standing, wealth, and good health. Yet Mary, God’s favoured one, was blessed with having a child out of wedlock who would later be executed as a criminal. Acceptability, prosperity, and comfort have never been the essence of God’s blessing. The story is so familiar that we let its familiarity mask its scandal. Mary had been chosen, “favoured,” to have an important part in God’s plan to bring salvation to God’s people, but it is unthinkable that God would have forced Mary to have the child against her will. Mary is an important example, therefore, of one who is obedient to God even at great risk to self.


When we think of or reflect on Mary, the one word that comes to mind to describe her whole life is the word, AMEN, a word which may be translated, “so be it”, “your will be done”, “do whatever you want to do in my life”. This was, indeed, Mary’s constant response to every situation in her life, especially when she could not understand why things were happening the way they were. The text of today is, then, a call and challenge to each one of us that we, too, like Mary, might be able to say YES to everything that God wants to do in our lives. It is a challenge to be open and receptive to the Spirit of God, so that we, too, might be able to give birth to the Saviour in our hearts.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Audio Reflections of Saturday, March 25, 2017 the Annunciation of the Lord

To hear the Audio Reflections of Saturday, March 25, 2017 the Annunciation of the Lord click HERE

Audio reflections of Friday, March 24, 2017

To hear the Audio reflections of Friday, March 24, 2017 click HERE

Friday, March 24, 2017 - Will your love for God show in your love for at least one person today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Hosea14:2-10; Mk 12:28-34

In Matthew 22:35, the lawyer asks the question about the great commandment in order to test Jesus; in Mark he is not hostile and does not intend to test Jesus. As a matter of fact Mark mentions at the beginning of the incident that the lawyer thought that Jesus had answered the Sadducees well and at the end of that response, he commends Jesus for his answer. Jesus responds to the lawyer’s question in the words of the “Shema”, which speaks of love of God (Deut 6:5-6), but adds also the love of neighbour (Lev 19:18). 

The scribe’s response to this is to acknowledge Jesus’ answer as correct and to add that following these commandments is greater than sacrifices and burnt offerings. Jesus concludes the dialogue by stating that because the scribe has recognized what his priorities are, he is not far from the kingdom of God.


Love of God cannot really be separated from love of neighbour. The two go together. Our love for God is made manifest and tangible only when we reach out in love to someone else.  While Paul gives a beautiful description of what love is and what it is not in 1 Corinthians 13, my own definition of love is that in love there is no “I”.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Audio reflections of Thursday, March 23, 2017

To hear the Audio reflections of Thursday, March 23, 2017 click HERE

Thursday, March 30, 2017 - Do you believe in Jesus? How will you show that you are a “believer”?

To read the texts click on the texts: Exod 32:7-14; Jn 5:31-47

The text of today contains the second part of the discourse of Jesus in response to the outrage of the Jewish leaders because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath. It can be seen to be divided into two parts. The first part speaks about the witnesses John and the Father who testify to Jesus’ claims and the second part about the rejection of Jesus and the unbelief of the leaders.

The witness that Jesus offers is not his own since no one can legitimately or validly bear witness on his own behalf. The first witness Jesus mentions here is John the Baptist who in the Gospel of John is portrayed more as a witness rather than as a precursor or Baptist as he is in the Synoptic Gospels. In witnessing to the truth John witnessed to Jesus since Jesus is the truth. However, John was a mere lamp and not the light so though his testimony is true there is another witness far greater than John and that is the works that Jesus has accomplished after being sent by the Father. “Works’ here seems to refer not just to the miracles that Jesus worked but to the whole of his ministry. These works are the works of the Father and so bear witness to him and to the relationship that Jesus shares with him as Son. Since Jesus as Son does what God as father commands him to do, Jesus completes the Father’s own works. The third witness is the Father himself. God himself cannot be seen, yet, he has been made visible in Jesus and the Jewish leaders have refused to believe the God made so visible.

The scriptures also testify on behalf of Jesus and though the leaders search and study the scriptures because they seek life, they refuse to believe what they learn there, namely that Jesus is the one who gives life and life in abundance. This is because they are unable to distinguish truth from falsehood. It is not Jesus but Moses himself who will accuse them of unbelief. This is because Moses also testified to Jesus and despite his testimony, they have refused to believe. If one believes what Moses wrote, one has to believe in Jesus, there is no middle ground here.


It is not easy to believe in Jesus, because such a belief calls for a radical change in one’s life’s orientation. Belief in Jesus will mean a movement from selfishness to selfless, domination to service and fear to love and not many are inclined to make this change. Most of us are content to live our lives insulated from others and preferring to live as islands rather than as community. We pretend not to know who we are and what our calling is. It seems easier this way. However, as the Gospel text makes clear there is no middle ground and if one is not willing to live the kind of life that Jesus invites us to as his disciples, then one is a non-believer. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017 - Which is the demon that has possessed you and does not leave you free? Will you attempt to get rid of that demon today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Jer7:23-28;Lk 11:14-23

The onlookers respond to the exorcism of a demon that made a man mute, in different ways. While there are some who are amazed, others attribute Jesus’ power to cast out demons to Beelzebul and still others ask for a sign from heaven. This is an indication that no one doubted Jesus’ power to exorcise and heal. They attributed it to different sources. In his response to this charge and test, Jesus says that since exorcisms represented a direct assault on Satan’ power and kingdom, it is clear that he cannot be on Satan’s side. Also, if Jesus’ exorcisms’ were performed by the power of Satan, the same would have to be said of other exorcists belonging to their community. Instead Jesus’ works indicate that the kingdom of God has indeed arrived. Through his exorcisms, Satan’s power is broken. In the simile of the strong man and his castle, Jesus explicates that he is the stronger one who overpowers Satan who had guarded his kingdom well till this time. Finally Jesus invites his listeners to take a stand for him. The saying here is strong. If one does not positively opt for Jesus, one has opted against him. The time now is for decision and choice.

Once he has answered his critics (11:17-23), Jesus moves on to exhort his listeners to fill their lives with the kingdom of God, because it is possible that despite the exorcism, if a person persists in his old ways, he will be possessed once again and this will be ever worse than before.


While there is no doubt that Jesus did exorcise people who were possessed by demons, we must avoid getting caught up with exorcisms ourselves. Rather, today there are many subtle forms of “possession” which are more dangerous than “external possession”. Some of these are consumerism, selfishness, ignorance and a better than thou attitude. We need to ask the Lord to exorcise these demons from our lives.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Audio reflections of Wednesday, March 22, 2017

To hear the Audio reflections of Wednesday, March 22, 2017 click HERE

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 - When was the last time you performed an action without any expectation of reward? Will you perform one today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Dt 4:1,5-9; Mt 5:17-19

These verses contain what are commonly known as the “theme” of the Sermon on the Mount. In these verses, the Matthean Jesus makes explicit that he is a law abiding Jew. His attitude towards the Jewish law is fundamentally positive. However, Jesus also makes explicit here, that he has come not merely to confirm or establish the law, but to fulfill or complete it. This means that he will go beyond a purely legal interpretation to a broader perspective. He will remove the focus from the mere external and concentrate on the internal. The focus will be more on the attitude than merely on the action.


While laws, rules and regulations are necessary and help towards order, it is also possible that they can become ends in themselves and not as they are meant to be, means to an end. We might follow in some cases the letter of the law, but miss out on its spirit. We might even follow the rule or law only because we are afraid of getting caught and punished and not because we are convinced of it.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Audio Reflections of Tuesday, March 21, 2017

To hear the Audio Reflections of Tuesday, March 21, 2017 click HERE

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - What would be your position if God kept a grudge against you for every sin you committed? Will you give up all your un-forgiveness today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Dn 3:25, 34-43;Mt 18:21-35

The text of today is the conclusion to Matthew’s “Community Discourse” (18:1-35). It begins with a question from Peter about the number of times one is expected to forgive. While Peter proposes seven times, Jesus’ response far exceeds that proposal.  The number seventy-seven can be understood in this way or even as four hundred ninety (seventy times seven). The point is not so much about numbers but about forgiveness from the heart. If one has to count the number of times one is forgiving, it means that one is not really forgiving at all.  The story that follows in 18:23-35 about the king who forgave his servant a debt of ten thousand talents (a talent was more than fifteen years wages of a labourer). The combination of “ten thousand” and “talents” is the greatest possible figure and indicates the unimaginable sum of money owed. An indication of how large this sum was can be seen when compared with the annual tax income for all of the territories of Herod the Great which was 900 talents per year. The point is that the debt is unpayable. The servant in his desperation asks for time to pay back the debt. Though the king knows that no matter how much time is given to the servant he will never be able to pay back what he owes, forgives him all the debt in his magnanimity and generosity. The debt of the fellow servant to him pales in comparison with his own debt to the king. Yet, if given time there was a clear possibility that the money could be repaid, because though by itself it was a large sum, it would not be impossible to repay. The servant who had been forgiven by the king will have none of it. He refuses to listen and be convinced. When the matter is reported to the king be the fellow servants, the king takes back his forgiveness because the one who was forgiven could not forgive in turn. This indicates that he had closed himself to the forgiveness of the king and not received it completely. The conclusion is frightening because it will be impossible for the first servant to repay the debt. This means that he will be tortured for eternity.


How easy it is to say “I am sorry” when we know we are in the wrong or have done something that deserves punishment. We expect to be forgiven by others when we do them harm after we have said sorry, and sometimes if they do not forgive us, we get upset with them even more. We need to apply the same yardstick to ourselves when others ask for forgiveness from us.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Audio reflections of March 20, 2017 the feast of St. Joseph, husband of Mary

To hear the Audio reflections of March 20, 2017 the feast of St. Joseph, husband of Mary click HERE

Monday, March 20, 2017 - St. Joseph, Husband of Mary - When in a dilemma do you usually do the right thing or the loving thing? Would your life have been any different if Jesus had not been born?

To read the texts click on the texts: 2 Sam 7:4-5,12-14,16; Rm4:13,16-18,22; Mt1:16,18-24

Devotion to St. Joseph became popular from the 12th century onward and in the 15th Century the feast of St. Joseph began to be celebrated on March 19 every year. Devotion to St. Joseph as foster father of Jesus and husband of Mary grew tremendously in the 19th Century and continues till this day.
This Gospel text for the feast of today includes one verse of the genealogy, which specifies that Joseph was the husband of Mary of whom Jesus was born. The verses that follow narrate the story of his birth. Since Mary and Joseph were engaged, they were legally considered husband and wife. Thus, infidelity in this case would also be considered adultery. Their union could only be dissolved by divorce or death. Though Joseph is righteous or just, he decides not to go by the letter of the law and publicly disgrace Mary, but he chooses a quieter way of divorcing her. God, however, has other plans for both Joseph and Mary and intervenes in a dream. Joseph is addressed by the angel as “Son of David” reiterating, once again after the genealogy, the Davidic origin of Jesus. He is asked to take Mary as his wife and also informed that is the Spirit’s action that is responsible for her pregnancy. He is told that he is to give the child the name “Jesus". Jesus (Iesous) is the Greek form of "Joshua" which, whether in the long form yehosua, ("Yahweh is salvation") or in one of the short forms, yesua, ("Yahweh saves”), identifies the son, in the womb of Mary, as the one who brings God’s promised eschatological salvation. The angel explains what the name means by referring to Ps 130:8. The name “Jesus” was a popular and common name in the first century.  By the choice of such a name, Matthew shows that the Savior receives a common human name, a sign that unites him with the human beings of this world rather than separating him from them.
Matthew then inserts into the text the first of ten formula or fulfillment quotations that are found in his Gospel. This means that Matthew quotes a text from the Old Testament to show that it was fulfilled in the life and mission of Jesus. Here, the text is from Isa 7:14 which, in its original context, referred to the promise that Judah would be delivered from the threat of the Syro-Ephraimitic War before the child of a young woman, who was already pregnant, would reach the age of moral discernment. The child would be given a symbolic name, a short Hebrew sentence “God is with us” (Emmanu‘el) corresponding to other symbolic names in the Isaiah story. Though this text was directed to Isaiah’s time, Matthew understands it as text about Jesus, and fulfilled perfectly in him, here in his birth and naming.
This birth narrative of Matthew invites us to reflect on a number of points. Of these, two are significant.  First, many of us are often caught in the dilemma of doing the right thing which might not always be the loving thing.  If we follow only the letter of the law, we may be doing the right thing but not the most loving thing.  However, if we focus every time on the most loving thing, like Joseph, it is surely also the right thing. Though Joseph could have done the right thing and shamed Mary by publicly divorcing her, he decides to go beyond the letter of the law and do the loving thing, which in his case was also the right thing.


Second, the story also shows us who our God is.  Our God is God with us. Our God is one who always takes the initiative, who always invites, and who always wants all of humanity to draw closer to him and to each other. This God does not come in power, might, and glory, but as a helpless child. As a child, God is vulnerable. He is fully human and in his humanity, is subject to all the limitations that humanity imposes on us. Yet, he will do even that, if only humans respond to the unconditional love that he shows.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Sunday, March 19, 2017 - God is freely available to all

To read the texts click on the texts: Ex 17:3-7; Rm 5:1-2, 5-8;Jn 4:5-42

At first glance, it might seem that because of the mention of water in the first reading and the Gospel, the theme of today centers around water. However, it goes much deeper. It goes as deep as the immanent presence of God who is not only with and around us, but also within us.

This story of Moses bringing water from a rock is similar to the one in Num 20:2-13, where Moses and Aaron are denied entry into the land because of their lack of trust in God, when after Moses struck the rock twice, water gushed from a rock. The story in Exodus, which is the first reading of today, relates two place names associated with this miracle. One is called Meribah (people quarelling with Moses) and the other Massah (putting God to the test). The grumbling of the people reflected their general attitude. Even though they were freed from oppression and led by God through the wilderness, they still complained. Blessings were not enough. They wanted their needs and desires fulfilled immediately! This attitude of the people stood in stark contrast to the immanent and constant presence of the Lord. The testing of God is summed up in the last sentence of the text: “Is the Lord among us or not?”

If anyone doubted that God is indeed with us and in Jesus could cut through any barriers that may have been set up, Paul reminds the Roman community of one overriding fact: “Christ, while we were still helpless, died for the ungodly … God proves his love for us in that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” If Jesus entered our lives while we were sinners, how can anything we do later take Him out of our lives? He lives in us constantly.

This also means, therefore, that no place, event, time or person is unworthy of God’s salvation. Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman makes this abundantly clear. This incident is perhaps one of the most unusual of all those reported in the New Testament. The conversation would surprise his contemporaries. By engaging in a dialogue with the Samaritan woman, Jesus broke two clear boundaries that had been set up. The first, which was between Jews and Samaritans, and the second, between men and women. Yet John tells it to reinforce the theme that in Jesus, who is the source of living water, God continues to be present and freely available to all irrespective of caste, creed, race, colour or gender.

In explaining how this was possible, Jesus compared the water from Jacob’s well with his living water. The water drawn from Jacob’s well would satisfy only physical thirst. Lack of this water would thus cause thirst again. However, the living water Jesus offered truly satisfied, because it gave eternal life. Jesus painted the image of an artesian spring, water leaping up into life everlasting. The woman understood only in part. She desired eternal life, but only as a continuation of her present existence. She did not realize that the reception of God’s gift required her to look to the giver. Even when she did look, all she saw was a prophet, one who worshipped at the Jerusalem Temple. She, being a Samaritan, had her own centre of worship. Jesus corrects this misunderstanding by inviting her to realize that the time was fast approaching when the location of worship would be irrelevant. Indeed, in the presence of Jesus, that time had arrived. He revealed himself to her in the words, “I AM”, and through this revelation, which here is absolute and with no predicate, showed her God as someone who is present and acts in this world. Jesus is the one in whom God is seen and known. Now the woman knew. Gender, nationality, and moral standing did not matter. Only the Spirit mattered.


The challenge of the texts of today is therefore to realize that openness like Jesus has shown is necessary, if the Church is to continue the revelation that Jesus made. All too often exclusivism on the part of the Church and a closed attitude to those of different orientations has led to their being pushed away from Jesus rather than being drawn to him. They also point out that with healthy dialogue, understanding and insights can be gained. Through the dialogue Jesus had with her, the Samaritan woman’s expectations were fulfilled and exceeded and the Samaritans from the city recognized the Saviour of the world. If we as Church realize this, then we can lead people to the immediate experience of Jesus, which is and continues to be both a gift and a task.

Audio reflections of Sunday, March 19, 2017

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Friday, 17 March 2017

Audio Reflections of Saturday, March 18, 2017

To hear the Audio Reflections of Saturday, March 18, 2017 click HERE

Saturday, March 18, 2017 - How would you define your relationship with God? What names do you use to address God? What does this tell you about your relationship?

To read the texts click on the texts: Mic 7:14-15, 18-20; Lk 15; 1-3, 11-32 

The setting for the Parable of the Prodigal son (more correctly called “The Prodigal father”) is the same as at the beginning of Chapter 15 and concerns the murmuring of the Pharisees and scribes because Jesus eats with “tax collectors and sinners.”

Direct taxes (poll tax, land tax) were collected by tax collectors employed by the Romans, while tolls, tariffs, and customs fees were collected at toll houses by toll collectors, the group that appears frequently in the Gospels and is not entirely accurately identified as “tax collectors.” Toll collectors paid in advance for the right to collect tolls, so the system was open to abuse and corruption. The toll collectors were often not natives of the area where they worked, and their wealth and collusion with the Roman oppressors made them targets of scorn.

Those designated as “sinners” by the Pharisees would have included not only persons who broke the moral laws but also those who did not maintain the ritual purity practiced by the Pharisees. The scandal was that Jesus received such outcasts, shared table fellowship with them, and even played host to them.

The beginning of the Parable which speaks of “two sons” indicates that the focus is on their relationship to the Father and not to each other as “brothers”. The demand of the younger son is disrespectful and irregular. There is no rationale here. He was breaking family ties and treating his father as if he were already dead. The father divides his life among them. As soon as the younger son receives his share, there is a progressive estrangement. He goes into a far away country which indicates gentile land and mismanages the money given to him. He spends it all on loose living. His descent into poverty and deprivation is swift. He descends as low as to agree to work for a gentile and in a gentile land. Swine were an abomination to Jews, and they were prohibited from raising swine anywhere. The man who would dare to breed swine was considered cursed.  Human beings even ate carob pods, which were used as animal fodder, in times of famine. This is an indication of the complete destitution of the younger son. He comes to his senses when he is at the depth of his degradation and in the midst of mire and filth.
There are four parts to the speech that the younger son prepares
1.   An address – “Father”
2.   A confession – “I have sinned”
3.   Contrition – “I am no longer worthy”
4.   A Petition – “treat me as one of your hired servants.
The journey begins with coming to himself and ends with his going to his Father. It means learning to say ABBA again, putting one’s whole trust in the heavenly Father, returning to the Father’s house and the Father’s arms. That the younger son is serious about his return is shown in his action. He gets up from the mire and begins the return to his father.

The father’s response is mind boggling. While the son is still a long way off, he runs to meet him. In the first century it was considered undignified for grown men to run. The father sets aside respect and dignity. His only focus is his son. The son begins his speech but is not allowed to complete it. The father interrupts his son even before he can finish. He gives instructions to his servants for a robe, ring and sandals all of which indicate that the son is given back his original place as son. The call to kill the fatted calf is a sign that the return of the son is to be regarded as a time of celebration. The dead son has come alive, the lost son has been found.

Even as the celebration is on, the elder son is introduced. When he is informed about the reason for the celebration, he sulks and refuses to enter the house. Like in the case of his younger son, the father goes to meet his elder son. However, while he does not have to plead with the younger son, he does so with the elder son. The elder son does not address his father as “Father”, nor does he refer to his brother as “brother”. His argues his case on the grounds of merit and what he thinks he rightfully deserves. Even as he does this, he points to the failings of the younger son. What then is the point of being good?

In his response to the elder son, the father first addresses his son as “Son” though he was not addressed as “Father” and also reminds him that the younger son is also his brother. Reconciliation for the younger son meant reconciliation with his father, but for the elder son it means reconciliation with his brother. There is thus both the vertical dimension and the horizontal dimension of reconciliation.

Much of the fascination of this parable lies in its ability to resonate with our life experiences: adolescent rebellion; alienation from family; the appeal of the new and foreign; the consequences of foolish living; the warmth of home remembered; the experience of self-encounter, awakening, and repentance; the joy of reunion; the power of forgiveness; the dynamics of “brotherly love” that leads to one brother’s departure and the other’s indignation; and the contrast between relationships based on merit and relationships based on faithful love.

Unfortunately, we usually learn to demand our rights before we learn to value our relationships. The younger son was acting within his rights, but he was destroying his closest relationships in the process. How many times a week will a parent hear one child say to another, “This is mine. Give it to me”? Children quickly learn to demand their rights, but it often takes much longer for them to learn how to maintain relationships. Governments and law courts defend our civil rights, but how do we learn to defend our civil and familial relationships?

From a distance, the “far country” can be very appealing. Young people leave home for fast living. Spouses move out to form liaisons with exciting new partners. The glow that surrounds the far country is a mirage, however. Home never looks as good as when it is remembered from the far country.

The journey home begins with coming to oneself. That means that the most difficult step is the first one. The younger son had to face himself in the swine pen of his own making before he faced his father on the road. Pride can keep us from admitting our mistakes; self-esteem may require us to take decisive action to set right the things we have done wrong.

Although the opportunity to restore relationships and remedy wrongs begins with coming to oneself, it requires more. We must go to the person we have wronged. Was the younger son just seeking to improve his situation, or was he seeking reconciliation with his father? The direct confession in his interior monologue confirms the sincerity of his intent. Neither the younger son’s pride nor his shame mattered as much as his need to restore his relationship to his father. He did not ask for his filial privileges to be restored. He did not even ask for forgiveness. He merely stated his confession. When the prodigal son came to himself, he came to his father. . . .

The temptation a parent faces is to allow the child’s separation to become reciprocal. If the child separates from the parent, the parent may be tempted to respond in kind. The parable’s model of parental love insists, however, that no matter what the son/daughter has done he/she is still son/daughter. When no one else would even give the prodigal something to eat, the father runs to him and accepts him back. Love requires no confession and no restitution. The joyful celebration begins as soon as the father recognized the son’s profile on the horizon.

Insofar as we may see God’s love reflected in the response of the waiting father, the parable reassures all who would confess, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you.” The father runs to meet his son even before the son can voice his confession, and the father’s response is far more receptive than the son had dared even to imagine. The father’s celebration conveys the joy in heaven. The picture is one of sheer grace. No penance is required; it is enough that the son has come home.

If this is the picture of God’s joy in receiving a sinner coming home, then it can also give assurance of God’s love to those who face death wondering how God will receive them. In the end we all return home as sinners, so Jesus’ parable invites us to trust that God’s goodness and mercy will be at least as great as that of a loving human father.

The elder brother represents all of us who think we can make it on our own, all of us who might be proud of the kind of lives we live. Here is the contrast between those who want to live by justice and merit and those who must ask for grace. The parable shows that those who would live by merit can never know the joy of grace. We cannot share in the Father’s grace if we demand that he deal with us according to what we deserve. Sharing in God’s grace requires that we join in the celebration when others are recipients of that grace also. Part of the fellowship with Christ is receiving and rejoicing with others who do not deserve our forgiveness or God’s grace. Each person is of such value to God, however, that none is excluded from God’s grace. Neither should we withhold our forgiveness.


The parable leaves us with the question of whether the elder brother joined the celebration. Did he go in and welcome his brother home, or did he stay outside pouting and feeling wronged? The parable ends there because that is the decision each of us must make. If we go in, we accept grace as the Father’s rule for life in the family.

Audio Reflections of Friday, March 17, 2017

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Thursday, 16 March 2017

Friday, March 17, 2017 - Will you give God his due by sharing with at least one person who does not have today? If God were to visit the vineyard of your life and ask for fruit what would your response be?

To read the texts click on the texts: Gen 37:3-4, 12-13, 17-28; Mt 21:33-43, 45-46

This Parable is known variously as the parable of the wicked tenants or the Parable of the Vineyard. While the parable in Mark has been allegorised, it is not clear whether there was a non-allegorical parable going back to Jesus. Those who are of the opinion that there was a non-allegorical parable interpret it to mean that just as the tenants took radical action, so radical action is required in order to gain the kingdom. Others see the parable to mean that the kingdom will be taken away from Israel’s false leadership and given to gentiles and sinners. Still others see the parable to mean that God does not abandon and relentlessly seeks and searches for them and longs for a response from them.

In Matthew, this parable is the center of Jesus’ threefold parabolic response to the chief priests and elders. The first of these is about the two sons (21:28-32) and the third is about the great supper (22:1-14). He also links it to the previous parable of the two sons by means of common words like vineyard, son and the common theme of both which is doing God’s will rather than paying lip service.

In Matthew, the one who gives the vineyard to tenants is a “landowner” and not simply a “man “as he is in Mark. This helps Matthew to use the term “Lord” towards the end of the parable. The vineyard is described much like the one in Isa 5:1-7 which indicates that Matthew intends the vineyard to be read as “Israel” which it is in Isaiah. If in Mark the man who hired out the vineyard wants only his share, here he wants all the fruit. This indicates that God’s claim on the human person and all possessions it total and not partial. There are no half measures with God. It is all or nothing. The two groups of servants which are sent before the Son probably represent in Matthew the former and latter prophets whom God sent to Israel to bring the nation back to him. It is only after the two groups of servants are abused and murdered that the landowner decides to send his Son. In Matthew the son is first taken out of the vineyard and then killed (unlike in Mark where he is first killed and then thrown out of the vineyard) to correspond with what actually happens at the passion and death of Jesus (27:32). In Mark the question about the response of the owner of the vineyard is asked and answered by Jesus, while in Matthew, Jesus asks the questions and the Jewish leaders answer and through the answer pronounce their own condemnation. The tenants had been unfaithful and will have to pay for this unfaithfulness. The quotation of Ps 118:22-23 here results in increasing and intensifying the condemnation of the tenants to whom what was given was given in trust. Since they have been proved untrustworthy and unfaithful, they will be denied further tenancy and others will be given the vineyard to tend.
The Jewish leaders realize that the parable is about them and this only hardens their stance against Jesus and strengthens their resolve to destroy him.


All that we possess is given to us in trust. This means that while we may use what we have, we have also to be concerned about those who do not have and be generous with them. Selfishness on our part leads to our thinking that we must use the things we have exclusively without even the thought of sharing them with others. 

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Audio reflections of Thursday, March 16, 2017

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Thursday, March 16, 2017 - Can I be accused of sins of lack of concern, inability to assess the reality of situations, closing my eyes and ears to the injustices around me, being caught up in my own small world? Does my reflection on sin include “sins of omission”?

To read the texts click on the texts: Jer17:5-10; Lk 16:19-31

The parable of today has often been titled as the parable of “Dives and Lazarus”. It can be seen to be divided into three parts. If in the first part the focus is on rich man’s (who is not named. The term “dives” in Latin means “rich”) opulence and wealth, in the second part it is on his death and burial. In the third part which is the longest there is for the first time in the story, a dialogue. It is between the rich man and Abraham and is the climax of the story.  

The story begins by describing the rich man and his dress and food. The “purple and fine linen” may signify that he was a high ranking official, since the Romans had set standards regarding who could wear purple and how much purple they could wear. In contrast to the rich man there is a poor man who is named Lazarus. He is the only character in Jesus’ parables to be given a name. The name Lazarus means “God helps”. The fact that he is at the gate of the rich man’s house signifies that though the rich man could see Lazarus, he was not aware of his existence. He is so caught up in his world of material things that this results in his inability to see reality right before him. Lazarus would have been content with the bread which was used to wipe the grease from the hand of the one eating and then thrown under the table. However, even this he did not receive. Instead, dogs fed off his sores.

The death of Lazarus is no surprise. However, the detail that is added is that Lazarus is carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. This detail brings to mind that God indeed comes to Lazarus’ help.  The death of the rich man is described in a short sentence which brings out strikingly the transient nature of all his opulence and wealth.

In the third part, there is dialogue between the rich man and Abraham. Lazarus does not speak at all. He is in the bosom of Abraham. Being “in the bosom” of Abraham may imply that Lazarus was the honoured guest at the eschatological banquet, feasting while the rich man was in torment.   In the request that the rich man makes of Abraham to let Lazarus dip the tip of his finger in water to cool his tongue, he calls Lazarus by name which indicates that he knew who Lazarus was and yet refused to look at him on earth as a person. In his response, Abraham reminds the rich man of his and Lazarus’ past and of the chasm that separated them then, but which had been erected by the rich man, and which still separates them now. It is admirable that even in his torment the rich man can think of others (even if they be members of his own immediate family). He makes a second request of Abraham to send Lazarus as a messenger to warn his brothers. Abraham responds that the brothers have already received enough and more instruction and if they have not heeded that they will not heed another. The rich man tries one final time to convince Abraham to send Lazarus as one who has gone back from the dead. Abraham responds by telling the rich man that for those who believe no proof is necessary and for those who do not no proof is sufficient.


The rich man in the story is so caught with the things of the world and with his own self interests that these prevent him from even becoming aware of the needs of another. A number of questions to which there are no easy answers are raised by this parable and we must keep reflecting on them constantly if we are not to lose touch with reality.