Monday 31 January 2011
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.
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 29 January 2011
Have you stopped rowing the boat of life because you are overwhelmed with the storms? Will you start rowing again today?
Do you more often than not focus on the present or the future? Do you focus on the now or on the later?
Tuesday 25 January 2011
Is your general attitude to life positive or negative? Will you make an attempt to interpret every incident positively today?
Saturday 22 January 2011
Friday 21 January 2011
Wednesday 19 January 2011
Monday 17 January 2011
How often in your life have rules and regulations become more important than love? What will you do about it today?
How often have your actions been motivated out of fear rather than love? Will you perform at least one action from love today?
Saturday 15 January 2011
Friday 14 January 2011
When you look at an egg will you see the eagle? Has your stereotypical way of looking prevented you from seeing people as they are?
Thursday 13 January 2011
Wednesday 12 January 2011
Do you use the talents God have gifted you for service, or do you keep them to yourself? Do you appreciate good health, or do you more often than not complain that things are not as good, as you would like them to be?
Monday 10 January 2011
How often is there a dichotomy between your words and your actions? Will you try to synchronise them today?
Sunday 9 January 2011
Saturday 8 January 2011
Thursday 6 January 2011
Will you say that kind word; give that loving touch or that uninhibited hug that can result in someone being healed today?
In the NT, “leprosy” seems not to be limited to Hansen’s disease but denotes various skin diseases that could produce scales, inflammation, or lesions. The priestly legislation regarding the detection and treatment of leprosy is reported in detail in Leviticus 13–14. The Levitical law required that the afflicted person be examined by a priest. If the priest determined that the person had leprosy, he or she was to be quarantined for seven days. At the end of the week, the priest might extend the quarantine a second week or pronounce the person clean or leprous. The law required that a leprous person wear torn clothing, leave his hair disheveled and live alone or with other lepers. When approached by another person, the leper was to cover his or her upper lip and call out, “Unclean, unclean” (Lev -46). Leviticus 14 prescribes a detailed ritual for the cleansing of a leper who has been healed from the disease. The leper must be examined by a priest, a ritual involving two birds was performed, and then the cleansed leper would bathe, shave, and wash his or her clothes before returning to the community.
This story of the healing of a leper in Luke is found also in Mark 1:40-45. Luke, however, states that the man was “covered with leprosy” and so heightens the man’s condition. The leper makes a fervent plea to Jesus as is evident when he falls “on his face” and asserts that Jesus can cure him and make him clean. Jesus reaches out and touches the leper which here could be Luke’s way of showing that Jesus could not be defiled by external laws, rules and regulations. It could also mean that while others would shun an unclean person like a leper and run as far away as possible from him, Jesus draws close and even touches the man. The leper is healed instantly. In Luke, the reason for the man to remain silent and to tell no one seems to be in order to get the certification from the priest that he was clean. Unlike Mark who ends the story by saying that the leper did not obey the command to silence but proclaimed it freely and began to spread the word, Luke does not say anything further about the leper. The text ends with the growing popularity of Jesus and the crowds’ attraction to him. Jesus, however, would always seek solitude and silence and the opportunity to be alone with his father.
Though the scriptures explicate on many occasions that there is no connection between sin and illness, many today attribute diseases, illness and misfortune to sin. Sometimes it is not the individual’s sins but the sins of his/her forefathers which they think are being brought on them. Nothing is further from the truth than this warped way of thinking. Most of the sicknesses today are psychosomatic and those which are not are often the result of an unhealthy life style or in the case of the poor malnutrition. Our response to our own illnesses and to those of others has to be the response of Jesus. The first step towards healing is having a positive attitude as both the leper and Jesus show. The leper approaches Jesus with confidence and a positive attitude and Jesus responds with compassion and love. Jesus makes no judgement on the cause of the leper’s illness but does what he has to do to reach out and heal and this is what we are called to do when we see someone in need of healing. Often it is not external medicine but a kind word, a loving touch or an uninhibited hug that can result in healing. This remains the challenge for us today.
Wednesday 5 January 2011
This text contains the first public appearance of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke. This occurs in a synagogue in which Jesus announces the coming of the
The Spirit plays an important role in the Gospel of Luke and so at the beginning of his public ministry Jesus is led by the Spirit and begins teaching in the synagogues and wins the approval of all people.
In the synagogue of
Jesus’ first words after the reading are electric. He announces that the centuries of waiting on God’s blessing have ended: “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” The words from Isaiah spoke of an anointing by the Spirit, the work of a prophet, and dramatic signs of God’s redemption. The townspeople had heard reports of Jesus’ teaching elsewhere and might reasonably have expected that if he was a prophet endowed by the Spirit of God he would favor his hometown with his mightiest works. Thus they would share in the fame of the prophet from Nazareth so that no longer would anyone be able to say (however wrongly) that there were no prophets from Galilee (John 7:52). In short, they heard Jesus’ declaration of fulfillment as a promise of special favor for his own people and his “hometown”
As confirmation of the crowd’s initial enthusiasm for Jesus’ announcement, Luke reports that they bore witness to him and marveled at the “gracious words” he spoke. Luke is depicting a positive response to Jesus based on the content of Jesus’ proclamation. If the people find him eloquent it is because they are pleased by what he has said.
By placing this text at the beginning of his Gospel Luke makes clear what the Mission of Jesus will be about not only throughout the Gospel, but even after the death and resurrection of Jesus. The summary of the
Tuesday 4 January 2011
The miracle of the feeding of the five thousand is the only miracle that Jesus worked that is found in all four Gospels (Mt 14:13-21; Lk 9:10-17; Jn 6:1-15). While details differ, what is common are the numbers: With five loaves and two fish, five thousand (“besides women and children” in Matthew) are fed and twelve baskets are gathered.
The story in Mark begins by Jesus having compassion on the crowds when he sees them because they seem as sheep without a shepherd. The images of sheep and shepherd evoke many Old Testament references where kings are condemned by prophets for not being shepherds to their people and to the pleas of prophets to God to shepherd his people. Here, Jesus takes on the role of shepherd of the people. Though he begins this role by teaching the people, he does not stop there. Theory is translated into action, words are shown in deeds.
In Mark the disciples are shown in a bad light. Their response to Jesus’ charge to them, “you give them something to eat”, is sarcastic. They stress the impossibility of what Jesus charges them to do and even ridicule that charge. Jesus responds by asking them to do what they are told and when they find out that there are only five loaves and two fish, they are ordered to ask the crowd to sit down in groups. Miraculously these are enough to feed five thousand and also to gather what is left over which signify the abundance of the miracle. Not only do people have enough, they have more than enough.
The primary function of the feeding miracle in this section of the Gospel is to demonstrate that the people now have a true shepherd in Jesus. They need not be hungry anymore. God’s word and bread will be available in abundance because of the presence of Jesus.
While some see the miracle clearly as miraculous and which cannot be explained rationally, others see it as one in which selflessness is at the core. Seeing Jesus share his own meal so freely, others were motivated into sharing what they had so that there was more than required. It is in giving that we receive and more than we ever expected.
Monday 3 January 2011
The arrest of John the Baptist is the occasion for Jesus to withdraw. However, the withdrawal of Jesus is not one from fear or cowardice, but in keeping with his view of a non-violent kingship. Jesus will not retaliate or react. He remains always the actor, not the reactor.
The reason why Matthew has Jesus settle in
While in Mark the first words that Jesus speaks consist of his proclamation, this is not the case in Matthew. Jesus speaks first with John the Baptist and during the temptations responds to Satan. However, the first public words that Jesus speaks in Matthew are found here. They consist of an imperative based on an indicative. The imperative is the call to “Repent”. The reason for this repentance is that the kingdom of haven is here or has already arrived. The text therefore explicates that no one can do anything or need do anything to bring about the kingdom. No amount of effort on the part of human beings can result in the coming of the kingdom. The reason for this is that it has already come and is given as a free gift to all of humankind. The proper response to the arrival of the kingdom is receiving it with all humility and simplicity and openness and receptivity. A change of mind, heart and vision is what is required to receive the kingdom as a free gift from God. Since the kingdom that Jesus brings is one that has never been experienced before, a narrow mind with a stereotypical way of looking at God and the world will not be able to comprehend it, thus the new mind.
Many of us still think that it is our good deeds which are responsible for our salvation and that if we continue to do good and be good, we will have earned eternal life. This is a warped way of understanding God, Jesus and his message. Our God in Jesus is not a God who is a grocer or one who deals with us as in barter exchange. Salvation can never be earned or bought by our goodness. Rather, our goodness is a consequence of our salvation.
Sunday 2 January 2011
Has your preconceived notion prevented you from encountering Jesus? How will you like John reveal Jesus today?
The Gospel text of today is one which appears immediately after the prologue in the Gospel of John and narrates the witness of John. John is the first witness to Jesus, who is the one who is to come. His preaching attracted such large crowds that the Jewish hierarchy in
In order to recognize this God who is to come, it is necessary to get rid of all stereotypes and preconceived notions that we may have of how he is going to come as these might prevent us from recognizing him when he does come. The reason many of the people of Jesus’ time could not recognize him as the Messiah, is that they had definite ideas on how the Messiah was going to come. The Messiah, they thought, would suddenly descend from heaven in his divine power and majesty and establish his reign by destroying the enemies of
Saturday 1 January 2011
Jesus fulfilled the prophecy about saving people from their sins. Will you fulfil the prophecy of the name “Christian” that you bear? How?
January 1 is celebrated every year as the Titular Feast of the Society of Jesus. It is a day which celebrates giving of the name of Jesus as the Gospel text of today narrates and also honours Mary as Mother of God. Since the Society of Jesus bears the name of Jesus, it regards this day as of special importance.
The Gospel text of today moves the spotlight from the angels to the Shepherds. They move to Bethlehem to see for themselves what the angels had announced. The sign they had been given was of a child in the manger. This sign so amazed them that they had to share it with those whom they met. Everyone who heard what the shepherds reported was amazed. Mary on the other hand continued to reflect on the meaning of these events.
The circumcision of Jesus takes place after eight days had passed according to the law laid down in the Books of Genesis and Leviticus. While the circumcision of a male child marked his acceptance into the covenant community, the naming gave the child an identity. The name also signified the function of the child, what the child would become. In the last verse of today’s Gospel text, the focus is not so much on the circumcision as it is on the naming. The name “Jesus” was chosen not be the parents of Jesus but by the angel of the Lord. Jesus was and would be Saviour of all peoples.