To hear the Audio Reflections of Thursday, February 1, 2018 click HERE
Wednesday, 31 January 2018
This Quiz is based on 1 Kgs 2:1-4,10: 1-2; Mk 6:7-13
Thursday, February 1, 2018 - How often have you given up when the results of your action were not as you expected? Will you keep on keeping on today? How would you define Mission? Will you engage wherever you are today?
To read the texts click on the texts: 1 Kgs 2:1-4;10:1-2; Mk 6:7-13
The text of today contains what may be termed as the “Mission Discourse” according to Mark. Jesus sends his disciples out on mission, and instructs them about the content of mission and provides a strategy for mission. The content combines word and action, proclamation and deed. The Kingdom is not merely a spiritual enterprise, but connected intimately with the whole of life. The strategy that Jesus gives may be summarised in one word, which is “detachment”. Jesus instructs them to be detached from material things and even from the outcome of mission. The job of the one who is sent is to engage in mission and not bother about the results. The results will be taken care of by God.
The Church has two patrons of Mission St. Francis Xavier and St. Theresa of the Child Jesus, whose lives were quite different from each other. While St. Francis Xavier was active moving from place to place with the hope of baptising as many as he could, St. Theresa of the Child Jesus spent her religious life as a Cloistered Carmelite and never went from place to place but remained where she was and still did mission. By placing these two different individuals and lives before us, the Church is pointing out to us that
is one: namely
working to make the kingdom that Jesus inaugurated a reality. This may be done
through various ministries or apostolate. While one kind of ministry may be
prayer, another kind can be preaching. Mission
Tuesday, 30 January 2018
To read the texts click on the texts: 2 Sam 24:2,9-17; Mark 6:1-6
Jesus’ visit to his hometown is not a pleasant experience. While in Mark he is designated as a carpenter, in the parallel text in Matthew (Mt 13:53-58), he is designated as “the carpenter’s son”, since Matthew wants to portray Jesus as son of Joseph and so son of David.
His status as a carpenter would have been lower than that of a member of the educated class, and the villagers would probably have resented the position that Jesus reached and the status he has acquired. By designating Jesus as “son of Mary” rather than “son of Joseph” they may have intended to insult Jesus, and so cut him down to size. Jesus’ response to his townspeople is in the form of a proverbial saying. Jesus is amazed at the lack of faith among his own people. Mark adds strongly at the end of the episode that Jesus “could do no mighty work there because of their unbelief” which indicates that Jesus was rendered incapable by the lack of faith of his own.
Often we deal with others in a stereotypical way and label people all too easily. This does not allow us to encounter them in their uniqueness and freshness and we may miss a great deal.
Monday, 29 January 2018
Tuesday, January 30, 2018 - How easily do you give up when things do not go your way? Will you persevere today?
To read the texts click on the texts: 2 Sam 18:9-10,14,24-25,30 – 19:3; Mk 5:21-43
In the text of today, Mark has used what is known as the sandwich construction. This means that he has introduced the incident about Jairus’ daughter being ill (5:21-24), interrupted it with the cure of the woman with the flow of blood (5:25-34) and continued again and completed the incident of the curing of Jairus’ daughter (5:35-43). The reason for this sandwich construction seems to be to heighten the suspense. Since Jairus’ daughter is at the “point of death”, Jesus must not tarry but hurry if she is to be saved. Yet, Jesus tarries, confident in the knowledge that he can indeed raise even the dead.
In these miracles, both of those who are healed are female, and the number twelve appears in both. The woman has been ill for twelve years and the girl is twelve years old. In both, the cure is the result of faith. These incidents indicate that Jesus has power over both life and death. He is indeed Lord of heaven and earth.
We may tend to give up and lose heart especially when our prayers remain unanswered for a period of time. We may sometimes accept defeat and stop praying. We may lose faith. These miracles call us to continue to hope even if there are times in our lives when our prayers do not seem to be answered. If we persevere and have faith like the woman and Jairus, we too can obtain from the Lord what seems impossible.
Sunday, 28 January 2018
This quiz is based on 2 Sam 15:13-14,30; 16:5-13; Mk 5:1-20
Monday, January 29, 2018 - How often has another person’s need been more important to you than your own?
To read the texts click on the texts: 2 Sam15:13-14,30; 16:5-13; Mk 5:1-20
The healing miracle of today is known as the healing of the Gerasene demoniac. The man is so utterly possessed, that it seems almost impossible that he will be healed. Addressing Jesus as the Son of the Most High God, the demon attempts to possess Jesus. However, Jesus will have none of it, and silences him with a word.
The name “legion” used by the demoniac may mean on the one hand that he did not want to give his name and so be cast out by Jesus, and on the other hand may also refer to the Roman occupation of Palestine. The presence of pigs suggests that it is Gentile territory, because Jews considered pigs as unclean animals, and would not have them near. Some have raised questions about the destruction of nature because of the fact that the herd of pigs is drowned after the demon is sent into them. However, it may also be interpreted as the extent of concern that Jesus had for the man. In other words, the salvation of a human being is worth any price. The healed man becomes an apostle.
Today there are various demons that can possess each one of us. Some of these are consumerism, selfishness, addictions and the like, which result in tensions within the family and at times leads to a breakdown of family life. We need first to become aware of them and call them by their names so that with the Lord’s grace they will be exorcised from our hearts and lives.
Saturday, 27 January 2018
THIS QUIZ IS BASED ON THE READINGS OF SUNDAY, JANUARY 28, 2018
To read the texts click on the texts: Dt 18:15-20; 1 Cor7:32-35; Mk 1:21-28
An old American Indian tale recounts the story of a chief who was telling a gathering of young braves about the struggle within. “It is like two dogs fighting inside of us,” the chief told them. “There is one good dog who wants to do the right and the other dog always wants to do the wrong. Sometimes the good dog seems stronger and right is winning the fight. But sometimes the bad dog is stronger and wrong is winning the fight.” “Who is going to win in the end?” a young brave asks. “The one you feed,” the chief answered.
Since for both kings and priests, authority was based on an inherited status, they often became unresponsive to people’s needs. This is one of the main reasons why prophets were needed. Prophets would not inherit their status but would be appointed by God to bring newness and revolution into the lives of people. They would be charismatic and would preach what God commanded them to preach. To some, it seems that they were self appointed. This is why they had to have a strong local following in order to limit or even nullify any attempt to thwart their message. Moses tells the people that the prophet, whom God will raise, will be like him and from among them. This will ensure that their teachings will accord with the teachings of Moses and will be for the benefit of the people even though, at times, the words they would speak would not be easy to digest.
The Gospel text of today narrates that Moses’ prophesy was fulfilled in the most perfect in Jesus. It is significant that, even before Jesus can begin his public ministry, Mark contrasts his teachings with that of the scribes. Though the content is not explicated, it is clear that the teaching of Jesus is a teaching based, not on learning as that of the scribes was but, on experience, and that he believed that his authority came directly from God, as is evident when he comes into Galilee proclaiming the “good news of God” (1:14).
This “teaching” is then shown, in action, in the exorcism that follows, which is the first miracle that Jesus works in the Gospel of Mark. Through this, the authority of Jesus is demonstrated. The demon also recognizes the authority of Jesus and regards him as superior. The demon knows that Jesus has been divinely ordained and set apart by God. As “prophet” of God, Jesus utters a commanding word and subdues the demon. The demon obeys the command and leaves the man. The crowd’s response indicates how authoritative is Jesus’ teaching. With just a word from Jesus, the demon is subdued. The coming of Jesus, as “prophet” of God, signals the end of all satanic and demonic forces.
The demonic forces that Jesus subdued in his time continue to raise their ugly heads, again and again. They take a variety of forms. The recent financial crisis from which the whole world is still reeling and because of which, many have lost their hard earned money, strikes terror in various parts of the world. The hunger of so many people when the world has enough and more for all and the environmental degradation are striking examples of these demonic forces today. One response that we might be tempted to give is to lay the blame for the present situation in our world at God’s door. Since Jesus could exorcise demons at will, what is preventing him from doing so now? Is not God concerned about the plight of so many of his people? Why does he not act? This, however, is not an adult response.
We have to realize that the demons that are rearing their ugly heads are not willed by God but are a creation of our own selfishness and self-centeredness. If we keep feeding the “bad dog: as we seem to want to do, then it will keep winning. To be sure, the coming of Jesus means that Satan’s rule is at an end, but for this to become a reality today we have to collaborate with Jesus in wanting to exorcise those demons. We can do this, no matter in what state of life we are, if we, like Paul, and have the best interests of others at hear. If we too, like him, want to promote what is good and pleasing to the Lord, then the demons can once again be subdued and God’s power can be seen at work in the world again, like it was in Jesus’ time. Then, the “good dog” will win.
Friday, 26 January 2018
Saturday, January, 27, 2018 - Have you stopped rowing the boat of life because you are overwhelmed with the storms? Will you start rowing again today?
To read the texts read the texts:2 Sam 12,1-7,10-17; Mk 4:35-41
The Gospel reading of today appears immediately after Jesus has completed the Parable Discourse. It is commonly referred to as the miracle of the calming of the storm. While this miracle appears also in the Gospels in Matthew and Luke, the language of the disciples in Mark is harsh. In Matthew, the disciples address Jesus as Lord, and their cry is a plea for help, much like our “Lord have mercy” at the penitential rite. In Luke, like in Mark, Jesus is addressed as “Master” but no allegation about his uncaring attitude is made. In Mark, the disciples allege that Jesus is unconcerned about them. Mark also brings out the contrast between the agitated disciples and the serene Jesus. Jesus is able with a word to calm the forces of nature, and suddenly, there is a great calm.
The boat has often been seen as a symbol of Christianity. The storm then would be the trials and tribulations that attack Christianity from without. Jesus is present with his people even in the midst of all these trials, even though sometimes it may appear that he is asleep and unconcerned. He is able with a word to calm these forces, and so there is no need for agitation and anxious care. We need to keep rowing and trust that he will see us safely to the shore.
Thursday, 25 January 2018
QUIZ ON THE READINGS FOR THE FEAST OF SAINTS TIMOTHY AND TITUS.
Saints Timothy and Titus
To read the texts click on the texts: 2 Tim 1:1-8; Tit 1:1-5; Lk 10:1-9
On January 26, the Roman Catholic Church celebrates the liturgical memorial of Saints Timothy and Titus, close companions of the Apostle Paul and bishops of the Catholic Church in its earliest days.
Both men received letters from Paul, which are included in the New Testament.
Timothy was supposed to have come from Lystra which is in present day Turkey and was known to be a student of Sacred Scripture from his youth. He accompanied Paul on his journeys and was later sent to Thessalonica to help the Church during a period of persecution. Like Paul, he too was imprisoned and his release from prison is mentioned in in the letter to the Hebrews (Heb 13:23). Tradition has it that Timothy died a martyr for the faith like Paul before him.
Titus was born into a Non-Christian family, yet would read the Hebrew Scriptures to find ways and means to live a virtuous life. He was both assistant and interpreter of Paul was sent to the Church in Corinth when Paul could not go. He was Bishop of Crete. According to tradition Titus was not martyred, but died of old age.
The Gospel text chosen for the feast is from Luke and is about the sending of the seventy-two, which is text that is exclusive to Luke . Matthew and Mark have the sending of the Twelve, as does Luke. This then is regarded as a doublet of the sending of the Twelve in Lk. 9:1-6.
The fact that seventy-two and not just twelve are sent indicates growth and movement. The kingdom of God is preached not just by Jesus or the Twelve, but also by many more.
In some manuscripts, the number is recorded as seventy. This is probably due to the list of nations in Genesis 10, where while the Hebrew text lists seventy nations, the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible) list seventy-two. This will mean that the commissioning of the seventy-two foreshadows the mission of the church to all nations.
In this sending, they are sent in pairs (not in the earlier sending of the Twelve in Lk. 9:1-6), and ahead of Jesus, in order to prepare the way before him. In this sense, they are called to be pre-cursors, forerunners like John the Baptist. The instructions begin with a prayer to be made to God, because it is his mission that they will be engaged in. At the outset they are warned that they will need to be on their guard at all times. The strategy proposed is detachment from things, persons and events. This detachment will help to proclaim the kingdom more efficaciously. Three interconnected aspects of the mission are stressed. The missionaries are to eat what is set before them in order to show the same table fellowship that Jesus showed, they are to cure the sick and to proclaim the kingdom in order to show that the kingdom is not only spiritual but also very practical and touches every aspect of human life. They are to do and also to say.
It is sometimes mistakenly thought that only religious men and women are called to be missionaries. However, as the feast of today indicates though Timothy and Titus were both Bishops in the early Church they were initially lay men (and Titus was a Non-Christian). Some also think that only those who work in the villages are to be termed missionaries. However, the sending of the seventy-two corrects this misunderstanding. The feast of today asks us to reflect on the fact that every Christian is sent on a mission and called to engage in mission, simply because mission is to be done where one is. The threefold mission task in these verses is a further confirmation of the fact that mission includes every aspect of life and so is not the responsibility of only a few, but every disciple of Jesus.
To read the texts click on the texts: 1Tim 2:1-6; Jn 8:33-36
January 26, 1950, is one of the most important days in Indian history as it was on this day the constitution of India came into force and India became a truly sovereign state. On this day India became a totally republican unit.
It was at the Lahore Session of the Indian National Congress at midnight of December 31, 1929 - January 1, 1930, that the Tri-Colour Flag was unfurled by the nationalists and a pledge taken that every year on January 26, the "Republic Day" would be celebrated and that the people would unceasingly strive for the establishment of a Sovereign Democratic Republic of India. The professed pledge came to fruition on January 26, 1950, when the Constitution of India framed by the Constituent Assembly of India came into force, although the Independence from the British rule was achieved on August 15, 1947.
In the first reading chosen for today, the primary emphasis seems to be to stress the breadth of concern for each other that Christians must aspire to express which is a reflection of God’s concern is. Prayer must be communitarian in that it must be made for all. Those in authority need prayers and so Christians must prayer for them.
The Gospel text of today is about Jesus’ interpretation of freedom. Freedom, according to Jesus, is primarily freedom from sin. Sin in this context may be seen as the refusal to acknowledge Jesus as sent by God to set people free. Consequently, freedom is to know and follow the truth. THE TRUTH in all its fullness is manifested in Jesus.
On the 69th Anniversary of our Republic day we need to ask ourselves if we are indeed free.
Quiz Friday, January 26, 2018
Friday, January 26, 2018 - Do you more often than not focus on the present or the future? Do you focus on the now or on the later?
To read the texts click on the texts:2 Sam11:1-10,13-17; Mk 4:26-34
The text of today contains two parables. The first of these (4:26-29) is known as the Parable of the seed growing secretly, and is found only in the Gospel of Mark. The second (4:30-32), known as the Parable of the Mustard seed is also found in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.
In the first parable the point that is being made is that the one who scatters the seed only does so and then goes about his routine, not worried about the outcome of his effort. The seed continues to grow, simply because he has first scattered it. He knows that by worrying the seed will not grow faster, and so he lets it be.
In the Parable of the Mustard seed, the point that is made is that from little, there will be much. Small beginnings have great endings. The parable is a call to begin what one has to do without worrying about how small or big the outcome will be. The growth is sure and definite.
When Mark says in 4:33 that Jesus did not speak to the people without a parable, he is in effect saying that there was a parabolic character about all of Jesus’ teaching. This means that all of Jesus’ teaching involved the listener and it was the listener who supplied the lesson to the teaching and not Jesus. This indicates a freedom of choice that every listener was given at the time of Jesus. They were the ones to decide for or against. Jesus would never force them to accept his point of view.
It is sometimes the case that we spend much of our time worrying about the outcome of our actions even before we can do them. This attitude does not allow us to be in the present moment and so the action that we do is not done to the best of our ability. We do not put ourselves fully into the action that we do. At other times, we do not act at all but only worry. While the first of today’s parable is calling us to act and then relax rather than worry, the second is assuring us that our actions will indeed bear fruit.
Wednesday, 24 January 2018
To hear the Audio Reflections of January 25, 2018 the Conversion of Paul, click HERE
QUIZ ON THE CONVERSION OF ST. PAUL
Thursday, January 25, 2018 - Conversion of St. Paul - Saul changed his name to Paul after his conversion. What will you do as a result of having met Jesus Christ?
To read the texts click on the texts: Acts 22:3-16; Mk 16:15-18
Paul’s entire life can be explained in terms of one experience—his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus. In that instant he saw what he could become through grace and not law. It was a revelation to him that no matter how low a person may have fallen; God’s grace could always lift him/her up. It was also a revelation of the heights of mysticism one could reach if one opened oneself to God’s unlimited and unconditional grace.
The story of Paul’s conversion is narrated twice in the Acts of the Apostles (Chapters 9 and 22) and Paul himself makes reference to it in some of his letters (Gal 1:13-14; 1 Cor 9:1-2; 15:3-8)
The conversion of Saul to Paul was the conversion and transformation of a person who lived out the letter of the law, but forgot its spirit. However, once he allowed God’s grace to enter his heart, all that mattered to him was Christ and through Christ divine, gratuitous love. From the moment of his transformation, the focus of his preaching was that salvation was FOR ALL and that no amount of merit could save, because salvation was a free gift of God.
The first reading for the Feast speaks of his conversion and the Gospel text is from the longer ending of Mark and is an apt description of Paul’s power and actions after his transformation. He did indeed proclaim the Gospel to all creation and today invites us to do the same.
His Gospel may be summarised in one sentence, “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself” (2 Cor 5:19)
Tuesday, 23 January 2018
Wednesday, January 24, 2018 - How often have you given into despair and lost hope? Will you continue to hope today?
The text of today is taken from what is known as The Parable Discourse in the Gospel of Mark. The text contains an introduction to the Discourse (4:1-2), the parable of the Sower (4:3-9), a saying on the kingdom and its secret (4:10-12) and the interpretation of the parable (4:13-20). It is important that while it is likely that Jesus uttered the parable, in all probability the interpretation is the work of the early church. This is why; the interpretation of these texts must be done separately.
The parable of the Sower seems to point out that of the four types of soil in which the seed falls, it is LOST in three types and bears fruit in only one type. This indicates that while three quarters of the effort are lost, only a quarter is gain. However, the focus of the parable is not on the loss but on the gain, which even that one-quarter brings. The Parable is pointing out to the fact that this is how life often is. Three quarters of our efforts seem to be wasted and it is possible that when this happens we may give in to despair. However, we are called to focus not on this but on the enormous gain that the one-quarter of our effort will indeed bring.
We may tend to lose heart when we see that most of our efforts do not seem to be bearing fruit. At times like these the Parable of the Sower offers hope that even though much of our effort may seem to be lost, the gain that will arise from it will be enormous. It invites us not to ever lose heart but to keep on doing our part and leave the rest to God. It is calling us to sow and rest confident in the hope that God will make it grow.
Monday, 22 January 2018
Tuesday, January 23, 2018 - If Jesus were to point to his family today, would you be counted as a member?
To read the texts click on the texts:2 Sam 6:12-15,17-19; Mk 3:31-35
The text of today forms the second part of the “sandwich” construction that Mark has used here. He introduced the family of Jesus in 3:20-21, interrupted this with the text on the Beelzebul controversy (3:22-30) and returns to the family of Jesus is today’s text 3:31-35. By using such a structure, Mark indicates that the family of Jesus are also hostile to Jesus. Also, Mark places them “outside” while Jesus is “inside” the house. This too indicates that they are not disciples. Jesus then defines family in terms of those who do the will of God. Some also think that by not mentioning the father of Jesus, Mark wants to assert that for Jesus and his disciples, only God is Father.
We may imagine that because we have been baptised are bear the name Christian we are automatically counted as members of Jesus’ family. However, baptism alone will not make us members of Jesus’ family, but the living out of the baptismal promises in our lives. This means that we must each do what we are called to do, namely our best at every given moment.