Monday, 21 June 2021

Tuesday, June 22, 2021 - How will you show that you have chosen the narrow gate?

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

The first verse of today (7:5) introduces a new subject: holiness. The point that seems to be made here is that holy things have their place and should not be profaned. 7,12 has often been termed, as the Golden rule, which the Matthean Jesus states, is a summary of the law and prophets. Here it is stated positively. One must treat others in the same way that one expects to be treated. This also means that one must take the initiative in doing the loving thing that does not wait to respond to the action of another. In the final two verses of this pericope (7,13-14) the point being made is that it is the narrow gate that leads to life and salvation and the broad or wide gate to damnation. One must make a choice for one or another.

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

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

Sunday, 20 June 2021

Monday, June 21, 2021 - Homily


 

Do you know that when you point a finger at someone there are three fingers pointing back at you?

Monday, June 21, 2021 - Do you know that when you point a finger at someone there are three fingers pointing back at you?

To read the texts click on the texts: Gen 12:1-9; Mt 7:1-5

The absolute prohibition of judgement found in 7,1 is unparalleled in Jewish tradition. When the individual comes to stand before God for judgement, he/she will be judged according to the measure that he/she has used for others. Those who have been merciful will receive mercy. One must be aware that one is not in any superior position, which gives one the right to judge others. If one is aware of one’s own weakness and frailty then one will be careful of pointing out the faults of others.

Judging others comes too easily to some and often we judge only by externals. It is important to realise that it is possible that we might not be aware of all the reasons why a person behaves in a particular manner and so mistaken in our judgement. If we can give the benefit of the doubt to the person concerned and find reasons for his/her behaviour we will have done well.

Saturday, 19 June 2021

Sunday, June 20, 2021 - Homily


 No matter how rough the sea, no matter how high the waves, no matter how much the boat is rocked and, no matter how dangerous the way ahead might seem, those who believe in Christ know that he is in the boat and, with a word, he will calm the storm.

Sunday, June 20, 2021 - Believing even in the storm that Jesus is with us

To read the texts click on the texts: Job 38:1,8-11; 2 Cor5:14-17; Mk 4:35-41

A Sunday school teacher was trying to get her class to dramatize the story of the Stilling of the Storm. She explained to the children how they should dramatize the roles the disciples, the wind, and even the boat itself. Next she asked each child which character they wanted to be in the play. Each child in turn spoke up. One wanted to be Jesus, another wanted to be Peer, and others wanted to be the disciples. The teacher was taken aback when she came to a small stammering girl at the back of the class, who said, “I would like to be the cushion holding up the head of Jesus.”

While at first we might wonder at the choice of this “passive” role, a deeper reflection will enable us to see that there is a profound wisdom in the choice that this girl made. In the story of the calming of the storm, which is the Gospel text of today, the cushion beside Jesus comes out best. The disciples are agitated, the waves are violent, and the boat is being tossed about. It is Jesus and with him, the cushion on which he rests, that is most serene, calm, and at peace. The reason why Jesus is serene and calm is because he has supreme authority over all of creation including the sea.

This supreme authority of God over all of his creation and especially the sea is brought out magnificently in the first reading of today with the series of questions that God asks Job. The answer to the question about who is really in control might seem obvious to us: God alone. However, it is not as obvious to Job. The reason for this is that everything in Job’s life seems to be going awry. It is not easy for him to understand how God is in control when a lot of things in his life are totally beyond control. He cannot make sense of what is happening to him. He can find no rational explanation for it. In such a situation, how is Job expected to believe that God is still in control? In such a situation, how can Job know that it is God “who shut in the sea with doors” and “prescribed bounds for it”? How can Job be expected to believe that God is still the master of the sea with the ability to stop the waves?

These are also the questions in the minds and hearts of the disciples of Jesus who are in their boat on the Sea of Galilee. The storm rages and threatens. The waters lash the boat. Their lives are in danger. Will Jesus be able to save them? Can he stop the waves? Does he have control over the sea? If he does, why is he asleep? Why does he not do something?

When things in our lives go awry, when nothing seems to go the way we plan, when the road ahead is steep and the going is difficult, and when the boats of our lives are being rocked by the waves of uncertainty and insecurity, then it is not easy to continue to believe that God is on our side. It is not easy to trust and to hope. It is not easy to have faith. We, too, continue to ask questions. Sometimes, like the disciples, we even accuse God and Jesus of lack of concern over our plight. We accuse God of not caring enough about us.

Job was able to realize, much later, that God was always in control. Just so, the disciples come to realize that, though Jesus appears to be asleep, apparently doing nothing, he is in fact very active and doing everything. Though he does not seem to them to be concerned over their plight, the truth is that he is very much concerned. The difference, however, is that whereas the disciples given in to agitation, anxiety and fear, Jesus does not.

This concern of the Lord for the whole of humanity was shown in the most perfect of ways on the Cross. This is what Paul speaks about in the second reading of today. Christ’s death is the transformative event for all of life. Nothing is the same after that. The first radical change brought about by the death of Christ is that now those who believe will live no longer for themselves but for others, in and through Christ. However, this is not all. The death of Christ is an event that encompasses and transforms the whole universe.

This is why believers will look at themselves, at others, and at the universe in a new way. The old ways of looking, the doubt, uncertainty, anxiety, insecurity, the lack of faith and, above all, fear, is replaced by the new way. This new way is a way of confidence, surety, faith, and love. No matter how rough the sea, no matter how high the waves, no matter how much the boat is rocked and, no matter how dangerous the way ahead might seem, those who believe in Christ know that he is in the boat and, with a word, he will calm the storm.

Friday, 18 June 2021

Saturday, June 19, 2021 - Homily


 

Tension and anxiety are caused not by the external stimulus, but by how we respond to what happens. When we have choices (the more choices we have the better) about the outcome of anything we will not get tense as easily. This does not mean that I do not strive to get what I want. It means that if after striving, I do not get what I want, I learn to be content with what I get.

Saturday, June 19, 2021 - How often do I try to be in two places at the same time or at two times in the same place?

To read the texts click on the texts: 2 Cor 12:1-10; Mt 6:24-34

The text of today begins by stating a general rule that undivided attention can be given to one person alone at a time. If there is more than one, then the disciple’s loyalty is certainly split. One must decide whether one will allow oneself to be controlled by wealth and the things of this world, or whether one will realise that they cannot bring true happiness. The prohibition, “Do not worry” dominates the rest of this pericope and is used six times in it. The call to look at nature (the birds of the air and the lilies of the field) is a call to learn how God in his providence provides for them. This does not mean that human beings do not have to work for their living, rather it means that even after working as hard as they can, humans must realise the life is much more than simply work and earning a living. It has also to do with being.

There are indeed many distractions in life, which sometimes can take us away from where we ought to look and focus. While planning is good and desirable, what is undesirable is useless worry or anxiety. When we stir the sugar in our coffee or tea every morning we are already thinking of drinking it. When we are drinking our coffee or tea, we are already thinking of washing the cup. When we are washing our cup, we are already thinking or drying it When we are drying it, we are already thinking of placing it on the rack and when we are placing it on the rack we are already thinking of what we have to do next. We have not stirred the sugar, nor have we have drunk the coffee, nor have we washed it nor placed it on the rack. If one takes one moment of one day at a time and gives of one’s best to that moment, life will be well lived. 

Thursday, 17 June 2021

Friday, June 18, 2021 - Homily


 

The way of the world is to measure success by external possessions. However, we are challenged to check the possessions of our hearts. We need to ask whether we use things or whether things "use" us.

Friday, June 18, 2021 - If you were given the chance to take just ONE THING with you when you die, what would it be?

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

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

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

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Thursday, June 17, 2021 - Homily


 

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