To hear the Audio Reflections of Saturday, November 30, 2018 click HERE
Friday, 30 November 2018
Saturday, December 1, 2018 - 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 opposite of sleep and dissipation is vigilance and prayer. Accordingly, 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.
Saturday, December 1, 2018 - Rev 22:1-7; Lk 21:34-36
Thursday, 29 November 2018
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.
Friday, November 30, 2018 - St. Andrew - Rom 10:9-18; Mt 4:18-22
Wednesday, 28 November 2018
Thursday, November 29, 2018 - 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 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.
At this happening, others might faint from fear, but the disciples are asked to hold their heads up high, because their salvation has indeed come.
Thursday, November 29, 2018 - Rev 18:1-2,21-23; 19:1-3,9; Lk 21:20-28
Tuesday, 27 November 2018
Wednesday, November 28, 2018 - 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.
Wednesday, November 28, 2018 - Rev 15:1-4; Lk 21:12-19
Monday, 26 November 2018
Tuesday, November 27, 2018 - Are you so concerned about the next life that you are not living fully this life?
To read the text 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.
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.
Tuesday, November 27, 2018 - Rev 14:14-19 ; Lk 21:5-11
Sunday, 25 November 2018
Monday, November 26, 2018 - 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.
Saturday, 24 November 2018
To read the texts click on the texts: Dn 7:13-14;Rev 1:5-8; Jn 18:33-37
Quas Primas - which is Latin for “In the first”, was an encyclical of Pope Pius XI. It was titled such because these are the words that begin it. It was promulgated on December 11, 1925, and introduced the Feast of Christ the King. World War I (1914-1918) had ended, and had not brought real peace, but more hatred, more anger, and more violence. Coming as it did after the War, the encyclical sought to give the whole world a new idea of kingship. The encyclical asked the world to look at Christ, the Universal King, and see how he lived out his kingship. Christ is a King who totally identifies with his subjects and, of these, with the marginalized, the downtrodden, the scum of society, and the poorest of the poor.
The feast of Christ the Eternal King is celebrated every year on the last Sunday in Ordinary time, just before the season of Advent begins. It may be seen as a feast that is both a conclusion and a new beginning. It concludes the ordinary time of the year and is a new beginning or preparation for the coming Messiah.
The readings chosen for the feast of today make two interrelated points. The first is that everlasting dominion is given to Christ who is eternal king. The second is that this King is the one who had been crucified, died, and raised.
The first reading, from the book of Daniel, focuses on the first point. In the vision that Daniel sees, the empires of this world are rendered powerless. The reason for this is because now, all authority is given to one person who is “one like a Son of Man”. He only looks like a human being, but he is not. Also, he is not an earthly figure because he comes from heaven and not from earth. It is to him that sovereignty, honour, glory, and kingship over all peoples, nations, and languages is given. While many link this figure to the Archangel Michael, there is no doubt that, when interpreted in the light of the Gospels, the words fit much better the resurrected Christ. He is the one whose dominion is indeed everlasting and to whom has been given all power and glory.
However, as the Gospel reading of today makes explicit, the kingship of Jesus was not won by force, coercion, intimidation, or violence. It was won on the Cross. In the second of the seven scenes in which Jesus is inside, the people outside and Pilate vacillating, the kinship of Jesus is explained. The question which Pilate asks Jesus “Are you the king of the Jews” is a question that is found in all four Gospels. It is extremely significant and relevant because it is one which determines who Jesus really is and what kind of king he has come to be. In his response, Jesus turns the tables on Pilate and instead of being the one who is questioned, becomes the questioner. However, Jesus’ question is also asked to find out if Pilate has understood the true meaning of kingship. Pilate, however, like the others who have condemned Jesus shows that he has not understood. He refuses to see. He dare not understand. Still, Jesus tries to explain to Pilate the true meaning of kingship and authority. Very clearly his kingship is not one that is won by force or violence. It is a kingship that has as its basis truth, justice, peace and unconditional sacrificing love. It is a kingship in which the king does not expect people to die for him; rather he goes to his death for them. It is a kingship in which no matter how badly he is abused and reviled, he will continue to be a king who will give and keep giving without expecting anything in return.
That this is indeed Jesus’ kingship is confirmed by the second reading from the Book of Revelation, in which John tells us that we were loosened from the bonds of sin and selfishness by the blood of Jesus on the Cross. It is through this one act of altruism and unselfishness that Jesus has become king and that we have been made his brothers and sisters. Since he is not merely a God who was but also, a God who is, he invites, beckons, and challenges us to the same selfless service and unconditional love. He beckons us and invites us to his way of life.
His way of life is not only a life of words, but a life of action as well. It is a life in which we, as followers of this eternal king, will forget ourselves and concentrate on how we can make the lives of those around us better. It is a life in which we wake up from our stupor and move out of the islands that we have built and become aware of the cries and needs of people, especially the poor. It is a life through which we will keep proclaiming that violence, domination, hostility, bloodshed, and aggression can never be the answer. It is a life where authority means service and greatness means to be last of all.
Thus, the good news we celebrate today is that we have a King who, unlike the kings of this world, pays attention to us and helps us, not only when we are needy and disadvantaged, but especially when we are needy and disadvantaged. The challenge for us today is to forget our own need for love and happiness. The challenge is to reach out in love, as Christ the Eternal king has shown, to make someone else happy, someone who may be in greater need. Are we willing to celebrate and extol such a king?
Sunday, November 25, 2018 - Dn 7:13-14; Rev 1:5-8; Jn 18:33-37
Friday, 23 November 2018
Saturday, November 24, 2018 - 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”
Saturday, November 24, 2018 - Rev 11:4-12; Lk 20:27-40
Thursday, 22 November 2018
Friday, November 23, 2018 - St. Michael Pro SJ - When the going gets tough, the tough get going. What do you make of this statement? Do you give up or give in when difficulties come your way? Do you throw up your hands in despair? Will you continue to persevere like Miguel Pro and trust today?
To read the texts click on the texts: Acts 5:27-32,40-41; Mt 10:16-25
Miguel Augustin Pro was born in 1891 in Guadalupe, Mexico, one of eleven children of a mining engineer. He joined the Society of Jesus in 1911; a year after a persecution had begun in Mexico. The Jesuit novices were sent to study in other countries, and Miguel was ordained in Belgium in 1925.
The Provincial sent Pro to Mexico City in 1926, hoping a return home might relieve the priest’s chronic stomach ailment from which he suffered much. A few days after Pro arrived in Mexico City; President Calles banned all public worship. Since he was not known as a priest, Pro went about clandestinely—sometimes in disguise—celebrating Mass, distributing communion, hearing confessions, and anointing the sick. He also did as much as he could to relieve the material suffering of the poor. His quick thinking and pranks helped him in many narrow escapes.
In 1927, an assassination attempt was made on a Mexican general. A bomb was thrown from a car that had once belonged to one of Pro’s brothers. Police arrested Pro and his two younger brothers. When the man behind the plot heard that Pro had been arrested, he confessed. But to teach Catholics a lesson, with no witnesses and no trial,Pro and his two brothers were condemned to death by officials. One of the officers who had captured Pro led him out of jail to be executed. He begged Pro to forgive him. Pro put his arm around him and said, “You have not only my forgiveness but my thanks.” He also softly told the firing squad, “May God forgive you all.” Then with arms spread as if on a cross, Father Pro shouted, “Long live Christ the King!” before a bullet silenced him. Although the real criminal and one of Miguel’s brothers were also shot, the other brother was pardoned at the last moment. Despite the government’s ban on a public funeral, thousands came to Pro’s wake.
Pro was beatified in 1988.
The sayings found in Matthew’s Mission Discourse here are found in the Eschatological Discourse of Mark (Mk 13:9-13). This is an indication that for Matthew, Mission isalready eschatological.
The punishment, which is referred to here, is not random, but official punishment from members of organised authority. Even in this difficult situation the disciples are offered encouragement. They will depend not on their own strength, but on the Holy Spirit. They are to be missionaries even in the courtroom. Their imprisonment and trial must be regarded as an opportunity to make mission known. Mission takes priority even over family ties and if family ties have to be broken because of mission then so be it. The affirmation of the coming of the Son of Man is probably meant to provide succour to the missionaries in their distress.
Jesus is not calling us here to be sadists and look for suffering, persecution and pain. Rather he is challenging us to go about doing what we have to do, to be as prudent as possible about it and if despite that persecution, suffering and pain come, to be prepared and ready for it and not to be afraid.
A parallel is then drawn between the disciples who are sent by Jesus and Jesus himself. The disciples will share the same fate as their master. His response to negative assessment of his mission was equanimity and this must be the response of the disciples’ as well. They must not retaliate, but continue to persevere in the firm hope that they will eventually succeed. They are asked to be fearless in mission.
Jesus’ suffering is the basic model for the fate of his disciples. It originates in the mission he gives them; everything Jesus says to the disciples in this discourse becomes understandable in terms of his own way. Of special importance is the element of comfort the entire story of Jesus brings to the disciples’ suffering. It takes place not only in the master’s footsteps; it stands at the same time under the perspective of his own resurrection.
Friday, November 23, 2018 - 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 10:8-11; Lk 19:45-48
The cleansing of the temple is one of the incidents that is 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 judgement on human sinfulness. These are passages heavy with pathos and tragedy. Jesus weeps, laments, and sounds warnings that fall on deaf ears.
Friday, November 23, 2018 - St. Michael Pro SJ - Acts 5:27-32,40-41; Mt 10:16-25
Friday, November 23, 2018 - Rev 10:8-11; Lk 19:45-48
Wednesday, 21 November 2018
To read the texts click on the texts: Rev5:1-10; Lk 19:41-44
The text of today dwells on the theme of Jesus’ rejection by the religious elders.
The city Jerusalem, whose name contains the word peace, does not recognise the King of Peace, Jesus Christ. Jesus’ tears for Jerusalem are because she did not recognise that if she accepted him as Messiah, true peace would indeed reign. The numerous attempts of Jesus to win over the people were met with stiff resistance. They had closed their minds and hearts to anything that he had to say because it did not fit in with what they had already set their minds to believe.
There are times in our lives when we 'conveniently' believe what suits us and reject many other truths. In doing so we are like the people of the city of Jerusalem who have closed ourselves to the revelation that God continually makes. We must develop the ability to find God in all things and all things in God.
Thursday, November 22, 2018 - Rev 5:1-10; Lk 19:41-44
Tuesday, 20 November 2018
To hear the Audio Reflections of Wednesday, November 21, 2018 The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, click HERE
Wednesday, November 21, 2018 - 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.