Friday 30 September 2016

Audio Reflections of Saturday, October 1, 2016

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Audio Reflections of October 1, 2016 the feast of St,. Therese, the Little Flower,

To hear the Audio Reflections of October 1, 2016 the feast of St,. Therese, the Little Flower, click HERE

Saturday, October 8, 2016 - How would you define “God’s Word” today? Do you put this “Word” into practice in your life? How?

To read the texts click on the texts: Gal 3:22-29; Lk 11:27-28

The words, “While he was saying this” connect what follows to what has gone on before. Jesus has just challenged his listeners to fill their lives with the kingdom of God, and now a woman in the crowd blesses the mother of Jesus, because of the beauty she sees in Jesus. While Jesus does not deny that his mother is indeed blessed, he uses this opportunity to extend the blessing to anyone who like his mother will hear the Word of God and put it into practice in their lives.

If the woman in the crowd was able to bless the womb that bore Jesus, it was because she could see and experience the goodness in Jesus. This goodness was manifested not only in what he said but in what he did and was therefore visible in his person. If we like Jesus hear the word of God and act on it, then others will pronounce the same blessing on us.

Saturday, October 1, 2016 - St. Therese of the Child Jesus - The Little Flower

To read the texts click on the texts: Isa 66:10-14; 1 Cor 13:4-13; Mt 18:1-4

St. Therese of the Child Jesus is one of my most favourite saints. I admire and am inspired by her for a number of reasons, but one of the most important reasons is her response to life. She had more challenges than most of us will ever have, yet her response was always positive no matter what the challenge she faced. In this regard she teaches us how we too must be able to see the hand of God in everything that happens to us.

She was born in 1873 and died very young at the age of 24 (1897). At the age of 14, she had an experience that transformed her life. She decided to give her whole life to God and entered the Carmelite convent in Lisieux. Though she was often sick and plagued with doubts, she remained faithful and received the ability to find God in all things and all things in God. Her focus was not on doing great things but on doing all that she did with unconditional love. She would do even the most ordinary tasks with extraordinary love.

The Gospel text for the feast  is taken from Matthew’s “Community Discourse” (18:1-35). It is the fourth of the long discourses in Matthew. Some see the discourse as divided clearly into two parts (18:1-14 and 18:15-35), with various indications, which point to such a division. Some of these indications are as follows: Both sections end with a parable (18:12-13 and 18:23-34), after the parable is a concluding statement of Jesus, which begins with the word “So” (18:14.35), there is also in the sayings, a reference to the heavenly Father and the saying is about the subject of the preceding section (“little ones” and “brother/sister”).

The discourse begins with a question about the disciples regarding greatness. In his response, Jesus makes clear that being in the kingdom or coming into it, is not a matter of one’s talents or qualities, but “becoming like a child”. In first-century Judaism, children were often regarded as inferior and were treated as property rather than as persons. The point Jesus makes here is that one must acknowledge dependence on the Father. The reception of a child is an indication that one has accepted the values of the kingdom and one is no longer concerned about being greatest.

This was the attitude of St. Therese to life and she lived as a child of God all through her life. She inspires and invites us to the same.

Thursday 29 September 2016

Audio Reflections of Friday, September 30, 2016

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Friday, September 30, 2016 - If you were a resident of Chorazin, Bethsiada or Capernaum, what would you do after hearing these words of Jesus?

To rad the texts click on the texts:Job 38:1,12-21; 40:3-5; Lk 10:13-16

Immediately after the Mission Discourse to the seventy-two (10:1-12), Luke has added the sayings on the woes against Chorazin , Bethsaida and Capernaum (10:13-15). The reason why the woe is pronounced on them is because they did not repent even after seeing the deeds of power that were wrought in their towns. The people of even Tyre and Sidon, which were condemned in Isaiah 23:1-18, would have repented if the same deeds had been done in their towns. Therefore the judgement on Chorazin and Bethsaida will be all the more severe. 

In Luke, Jesus had done a number of deeds of power in Capernaum (4:23,31-41), and still there was no repentance in the hearts of the people. Capernaum will not be exalted, but will be brought down to Hades. The last verse of this section (10:16) confers on the disciples the authority of Jesus himself. The authority of the disciples who are sent by Jesus is the same as the authority of Jesus himself.

Miracles take place every day if only we open our eyes to see. When a child is born, when a tree comes out in flower, when it rains, when a bird sings, when a person reaches out selflessly with a kind word or deed, miracles happen. We need to stop looking for miracles only in the spectacular and extraordinary and realise that they happen at every moment of every day.

Wednesday 28 September 2016

Audio Reflections of Thursday, September 29, 2016, the feast of the Archangels click

To hear the Audio Reflections of Thursday, September 29, 2016, the feast of the Archangels click HERE

Thursday, September 29, 2016 - STS. MICHAEL, GABRIEL AND RAPHAEL - How often do you realise that God dwells IN you?

To read the texts click on the texts: Dan 7:9-10,13-14; Rev12:7-12; Jn 1:47-51

The three Archangels Michael (Who is as God? or Who is like God?), Gabriel (Strength of God) and Raphael (God heals) are the only angels named in Sacred Scripture. However, ancient apocryphal literature mentions others beside these three, but the names are spurious.

Archangel Michael is invoked for protection against evil and regarded as a Champion of God’s people. Gabriel is mentioned four times in the Bible. Of these the most significant are in the New Testament when he makes the announcement of the birth of john the Baptist and Jesus to Zechariah and Mary respectively. Raphael is mentioned in the Book of Tobit and is the one who heals Tobias’ blindness. Raphael is not mentioned in the New Testament, but is invoked for healing and acts of mercy.

The choice of the Gospel reading from John is because of the mention of angels in the last verse of the text. Though having an opinion about where the Messiah would come from, Nathanael remains open to another revelation. Though skeptical, he is willing to be convinced. Jesus addresses Nathanael as an “Israelite” which signifies his faithfulness to the law and is used here in a positive sense. He is without guile because though he has questions and even doubts, he is open and receptive and willing to learn. Jesus’ intimate knowledge of Nathanael and the revelation that he makes to him leads to a transformation in Nathanael and he comes to faith. He responds to Jesus with a confession and though he begins with Rabbi, he moves on to recognizing Jesus as Son of God and King of Israel.

However, Jesus responds by pointing out to Nathanael that this is only the beginning of the revelation that Jesus makes. If he continues to remain open he will experience even greater things. By means of a double “Amen”, Jesus points out to Nathanael and to others there that he will be the bridge between heaven and earth. Through the phrase “you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” (Jn 1:51) which combines images from the descent of the Son of Man as narrated by Daniel (7:13) and the ladder of Jacob’s dream in Genesis (28:12), Jesus states that Jacob’s ladder is replaced by the Son of Man. He will be that place and person in whom the earthly and divine encounter each other. He as Son of man will make God known. The Son of Man becomes the place where the earthly and the heavenly, divine and human, temporal and eternal meet.

When looked at from this angle, the feast of the Archangels seeming to be saying to us that our God is not merely in the heavens. Our God is not merely a God who has created the world and left it to its own design. Rather our God is a God who is intimately connected to the world and present to and in it. Our God is a God who is concerned about our world and ever willing to lend a hand whenever any one of us requires it.

Tuesday 27 September 2016

Audio reflections of Wednesday, September 28, 2016

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Wednesday, September 28, 2016 - What is preventing you from following Jesus unconditionally? What will you do about it today?

To read the texts click on the texts:Job 9:1-13,14-16; Lk 9:57-62

While part of this text is found also in Matthew, the latter part (9:60b-62) is exclusive to Luke. It concerns the would-be followers of Jesus, and Jesus’ warnings about what discipleship will entail.

To the first would-be follower who promises to follow Jesus wherever he goes, Jesus responds by stating clearly that unlike even the foxes that at least have holes, he does not have anywhere he can call his own. If the would-be follower is ready for this insecurity, he may follow.

The second person is called to follow by Jesus, but responds by asking for permission to bury his father. This was a duty that was binding on all devout Jews. Jesus’ response is harsh and demands that the disciple be primarily concerned about the kingdom.

The third would-be follower puts conditions to his following namely that he wants to say farewell to his family. However, here too the response of Jesus is clear. Looking back while ploughing leads to a crooked furrow.

While it is not necessary to give up the state of life one has chosen in order to follow Jesus, what is to be understood is that following will necessarily mean changing one’s style of life. It will mean a move from selfishness to selflessness, from acquiring material possessions to sharing them with others and from anything negative to everything that is positive.

Monday 26 September 2016

Audio Reflections of Tuesday, September 27, 2016

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016 - Don’t try to teach a pig to sing. It is waste of your time and irritates the pig.

To read the texts click on the texts:Job 3:1-3,11-17,20-23; Lk 9:51-56

The section of the Gospel of Luke beginning from 9:51 and ending at 19:28 is known as the Travel Narrative or Journey to Jerusalem. Beginning today and on all weekdays till Advent, (except on feast days) we will be reading from this section of Luke’s Gospel. It is therefore important to have an understanding of what this section means. Luke begins this travel narrative by telling us that when the days drew near for Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. Jesus’ arrival at Jerusalem in 19:28 marks the end of this section. One important reason for this section where Luke diverts from Mark, is so that Luke can add here material from his own special source and also material from the source known as “Q” which he and Matthew have in common. In this section we will also find many parables, sayings meal scenes, controversies and warnings, through which the Lucan Jesus explicates his way of life.

In the text of today, we will read of the opposition that Jesus encounters already at the beginning of his journey. A Samaritan village refuses to welcome him. This rejection of Jesus at the beginning of his ministry coincides with the rejection at the beginning of his ministry in Nazareth (4:16-30). This foreshadows the rejection that Jesus will face in Jerusalem. In response to the rejection, James and John want to react and destroy the whole village. Jesus’ rebuke of James and John is an indication that he will not use violence in his ministry, but will win people only through love. The last verse of this text where we are told that they went on to another village also makes clear that Jesus will not force his teaching on anyone who does not want to listen to it.

Sometimes we are faced with opposition with regard to an idea that we may put forward or a suggestion that we may offer. When we identify with that idea or suggestion and feel rejected when it is rejected, then we might be tempted like James and John to react. The attitude of Jesus invites us to detach ourselves from all that we propose, so that we can continue to stay calm and collected.

Sunday 25 September 2016

Audio reflections of Monday, September 26, 2016

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Monday, September 26, 2016 - How will you show through your actions that you belong to the kingdom?

To read the texts click on the texts:Job 1:6-22; Lk 9:46-50

This scene shows the disciples debating among themselves as to which of them was the greatest. The fact that this episode occurs immediately after Jesus has predicted his passion, death and resurrection for the second time, shows that the disciples have not understood the meaning of Jesus’ predictions. In his response to their argument, Jesus puts a child by his side as an example of what it means to be the greatest. The one who like a child acknowledges total dependence on God, the one who does not have any visible means of support, is the one who is greatest.

The second scene in this section is the last one before Jesus turns towards Jerusalem, and also shows the disciples of Jesus in a poor light. This is the only scene in which the apostle John appears alone in the Synoptic Gospels. Here he acts as the spokesman for the group. The reason why they try to stop the unnamed exorcist is because he does not belong to the “inner circle”. The irony is that they as disciples were not able earlier to cast out a demon (9:40), and now someone who is not even part of their group is able to do so. Jesus’ response calls for openness and tolerance. Jesus also seems to say that one’s actions will determine who belongs and does not belong to the kingdom.

Even two thousand years after Jesus, we do not seem to have understood the meaning of what it takes to belong to the kingdom. We keep associating greatness with possessing things or having authority to dominate. Authority for anyone who belongs to the kingdom can only be translated as service.

Though the Gospels do seem to indicate that Jesus came primarily for the Jews, his was an inclusive approach. He excluded no one. All who were open to receive his radical message were welcome to be part of his community. We need to be constantly aware of this especially when we make such clear distinctions between those of other faiths and ourselves. They are also called in their own way.

Saturday 24 September 2016

Audio reflections of Sunday, September 25, 2016

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Sunday, September 25, 2016 - I am my brother’s/sister’s keeper.

To read the texts click on the texts: Am6:1a, 4-7; 1 Tim 6:11-16; Lk 16:19-31

At first glance, both the text from Amos and the Gospel text of today might seem to indicate that riches are bad, or that luxury is to be shunned, or that one must live an ascetic life. A deeper reading however, indicates that the core question of these texts is “Am I my brother/sister’s keeper?” (Gen 4:9). Riches and luxury are a problem when they are gained at the expense of others’ misery.  They are a problem when they deaden the mind and the senses to responsibility. They are a problem when they become ends in themselves or when those who possess them become insensitive and unfeeling to the needs of others around them.

This is what the readings of today seem to point to. The Gospel parable of today has often been titled as the parable of “Dives and Lazarus”. It may be seen to be divided into three parts. In the first part, the focus is on rich man’s opulence and wealth.  The rich man is not named. The Latin term “dives” means “rich”.  In the second part, the focus is on the rich man’s 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 this 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, named Lazarus. It is significant that Lazarus is the only character in any of Jesus’ parables who is 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 was so caught up in his world of material things; he was so caught up in his luxuries and personal enjoyment, that he was unable to see reality right before him. The problem was not so much the riches or luxuries that the rich man was enjoying but that they had blinded him from the reality around him.  They had made him immune to the suffering of those whom he could see.

Amos speaks, in the first reading of today, of this same callous attitude on the part of the rich. These are the ones who, like the rich man of the parable, have lived lives of ease and eaten their fill, without being concerned about the numerous poor and their unmet needs. This is why they are the ones who will be the first to suffer exile and punishment. They have not been their brother/sister’s keepers.

God, however, is the keeper of the poor as is made explicit in the detail found in the Gospel.   Lazarus was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man may have deliberately ignored Lazarus and pretended that he did not exist, but God is aware of Lazarus. God indeed came to Lazarus’ help.  The death of the rich man, in contrast, is described in a short sentence: “The rich man also died and was buried.” This indicates both that he was forgotten soon after his death and strikingly, how transient is his opulence and wealth. His riches are of no consequence now. He has to leave all that he has behind. He can take nothing with him. No matter how rich he was, or how much he possessed, he had to let go when his time was up.

None of us knows when that time will be, but all know that we can take nothing with us.  Paul exhorts Timothy, in the second reading of today, to shun riches which can be as shown, in the case of the rich man and to the people of Amos’ time, as the root of many evils. He must pursue instead that which remains, even when all else has gone, namely, concern for others manifested in unconditional love. It is love alone which is eternal and which does not die. It is love alone which remains forever. This is the love that was manifested by Jesus from the beginning of his ministry right to the time that he stood, witnessed before Pilate, and was put to death. Jesus lived a life that showed that every human being was his brother or sister and he was indeed, their keeper. As disciples of Jesus, we have to realize that each one of us, like Jesus, is indeed, our brother or sister’s keeper.

A number of questions to which there are no easy answers are raised by this parable and we must reflect on them constantly if we are not to lose touch with reality.
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”?
Is my attitude towards those less fortunate than I one of condescension? Do I regard them as persons, like myself?
Is my faith mere “lip service”? What prevents me from “acting” out my faith?
Did the brothers of the rich man get the message?
How would you like to conclude the story? Place yourself in the position of the rich man’s brothers and write down what you would do to ensure that you do not suffer the same fate as the rich man.

Friday 23 September 2016

Audio reflections of Saturday, September 24, 2016

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Saturday, September 24, 2016 - Does it make sense to proclaim a “Suffering Messiah” today? How will you do it if it does?

To read the texts click on the texts:Eccl 11:9–12:8; Lk 9:43-45

The second Passion prediction in the Gospel, which is our text for today, follows immediately after Jesus’ mighty work in exorcising the demon in the previous scene. It is only in Luke that Jesus announces his passion and death while “all were marvelling at everything he did.” 
Only Luke adds the phrase, “Let these words sink into your ears;” in order to bring out the gravity of the pronouncement. He abbreviates the Passion prediction of Mark, so that his passion prediction simply has “the Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men.” Through this shortening, Luke focuses on Jesus’ “being handed over” or “delivered”, and omits any reference to Jesus’ death and resurrection. Like in Mark, here too the disciples’ are not able to understand. However, Luke gives a reason for this, namely “it was concealed from them”, though he does not say by whom.

It is not easy for us to give up control. Most of us like to be in control of every situation so that we do not need to depend on someone else. These verses are calling us to understand that this is not always possible or even necessary. There may be times when we need to give up control and especially to God acting through humans if we are to be faithful to his will.

Thursday 22 September 2016

Audio reflections of Friday, September 23, 2016

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Friday, September 23, 2016 - Can you identify with a “Suffering Messiah”? Would you have preferred that Jesus not go to the Cross? What kind of death would have preferred Jesus to die?

To read the texts click on the texts: Eccl 3:1-11; Lk 9:18-22

Though Luke depends on Mark for this scene of Peter’s confession, he has made some significant changes in order to bring out his meaning of the text. The first is that unlike Mark, Luke does not give the geographical location (Caesarea Philippi), but gives instead the context of the prayer of Jesus. Through this change, Luke makes the confession a spiritual experience. Luke also changes Marks, “one of the prophets” to “one of the old prophets has risen.” Though the difference does not appear to be great, it is for Luke. In the Gospel of Luke, before Jesus everything is old. Jesus makes all things new. Luke has also eliminated Peter’s refusal to accept Jesus as the suffering Messiah and the rebuke of Peter by Jesus. Luke avoids narrating Marcan texts that show Peter and even the disciples in a bad light.

The second question to the disciples, “But who do you say that I am?” shows on the one hand that the answers given of the crowd’s understanding of Jesus are inadequate, and on the other that Jesus wants to know their understanding of him. In all the Synoptic Gospels it is Peter who answers, but here too Luke adds to Mark’s, “You are the Christ”, the words “of God”. The Greek word “Christos” means in English “the anointed” and this conveys the meaning of royalty. However, by his addition, Luke also brings in the prophetical dimension of Jesus’ person and mission. This prophetical dimension is explicated in the verses, which follow the confession of Peter, in which Jesus explains the kind of Christ/Messiah/Anointed One that he will be. The reason for the rebuke or “stern order” not to tell anyone is because Jesus wanted to avoid any misunderstanding of the term which could be understood only in the glorious sense. Jesus as “the Christ of God” will come in glory, but only after he has gone to the cross, died, been buried and then raised.

Who Jesus is cannot be captured by a title and we must not attempt to do so or imagine that this is possible. Any title we may use for Jesus will always be inadequate and this leads us to the realisation that while we may encounter him in different situations, he will always be bigger than anything we can ever imagine.

Wednesday 21 September 2016


Audio Reflections of Thursday, September 22, 2016

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Thursday, September 22, 2016 - You know a great deal about Jesus, but do you really know him? When did you last meet him personally?

To read the texts click on the texts:Eccl 1:2-11; Lk 9:7-9

This text (9:7-9) forms the meat of the sandwich formed by the sending out of the Twelve (9:1-6) and their return (9:10-17). In a sandwich construction, an event is begun, interrupted by another event and the first event is continued and completed. In this instance, the disciples are sent on mission (9:1-6), the return is interrupted by the question of Herod (9:7-9) and the event of the sending out of the disciples is continued and completed by their return (9:10-17). In such a construction, the first and the third events throw light on the event in the middle or the meat of the sandwich. The first and third events narrate the sending and successful return, and it is in this light that the question of Herod, “Who is this?” which is the second event or in the centre, must be read. Herod’s desire to see Jesus foreshadows coming events. 

When Herod did meet Jesus, his desire to see Jesus was fulfilled, but he wanted only to see Jesus perform a sign. He never really grasped the answer to his own question. Though John the Baptist has been beheaded and Jesus will also be killed, yet the violence of the wicked will be no match for God’s grace. The success of the disciples’ in mission is only a shadow of the success that Jesus will experience in mission.

The intention behind wanting to meet Jesus is extremely important. If one’s approach is curiosity that will be the level at which one will see him. If one’s approach is faith, then one will encounter him as he is.

Tuesday 20 September 2016

Audio Reflections of Wednesday, September 21, 2016

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016 - St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist - Matthew wrote a Gospel to communicate his experience of the Lord. What will you do?

To read the texts click on the texts: Eph 4:1-7,11-13; Mt 9:9-13

Most scholars hold today that the Gospel of Matthew was written after Mark. Matthew’s Gospel was the one that was used most often in the early Church and so it has been placed before Mark in the Bible. It is known as the Ecclesial Gospel or the Gospel of the Church. One reason for this is that Matthew’s thesis seems to be that since Israel for whom Jesus came rejected Jesus as Messiah, the Church has become now the new and true Israel. Also Matthew is the only one of the four Evangelists who uses the word “Ekklesia” translated “Church” in his Gospel (16:18;18:17). There is however, throughout the Gospel the tension between Particularism on the one hand and Universalism on the other. The Jesus of the Gospel of Matthew is sent “only to the lost sheep of Israel” (15:24; see also 10:6) and the same Jesus can tell Israel “the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing the fruits of it” (21:43).

Matthew’s Gospel begins with the genealogy of Jesus, which goes back to Abraham. Joseph is not called the father of Jesus but the husband of Mary (1:16) since Matthew is clear that Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus. The birth of Jesus is then narrated, followed by the visit of the wise men to Bethlehem and Herod’s plan to kill Jesus. This leads the family to go to Egypt where they remain till Herod’s death and then return to Nazareth. The birth, flight into Egypt and return to Nazareth all fulfill scripture.

Matthew then goes on to narrate the Baptism of Jesus by John and Jesus’ temptations and his overcoming them. Jesus then begins his public ministry in Galilee after calling the first four disciples.

Unlike Mark, which is a story, Matthew intersperses his narrative with long discourses. The first of these is the Sermon on the Mount (5:1-7,29). There are four other discourses in the Gospel. These are The Mission Discourse (10:1-11:1), The parable Discourse (13:1-53), The Community Discourse (18:1-19:1) and the Eschatological Discourse (24:1-26:1). Each of these discourses ends in a similar manner with the words, “and when Jesus had finished (7:28; 11:1; 13:53; 19:1; 26:1). This is also Matthew’s way of focussing on the teaching of Jesus and giving it as much if not more importance that the deeds of Jesus.

Like in Mark, Jesus enters Jerusalem triumphantly, but soon encounters opposition, which grows and leads to his arrest, passion and death. The Gospel ends with accounts of the resurrection appearances of Jesus to his disciples and what is known as the Great Commission, in which the disciples are commanded to go to all nations and make disciples of them and assured of the presence of the ever present Lord to whom all authority in heaven and earth has been given (28:16-20).

The text chosen for the feast contains the call of Matthew, and Jesus’ fellowship with tax collectors and sinners. It is only in the Gospel of Matthew that the tax collector is called Matthew. In Mark and Luke he is called Levi. However, in the lists of the Twelve in both Mark and Luke, the disciple is named Matthew and Levi does not appear. It is unlikely that Matthew and Levi refer to the same person. It was rare for Jews to have two different Jewish names. The reason for the author choosing the name Matthew remains unknown. However, in the text what strikes one is that whereas most people who passed by the tax office would see a corrupt official; Jesus was able to see a potential disciple. It was Jesus’ way of looking that led to the transformation and the response of Matthew to the call. In his response to the objection of the Pharisees, Jesus responds with a common proverb about the sick needing a doctor, and also quotes from Hoses 6:6, which here is interpreted to mean that the mercy of God in Jesus is extended to all humanity and takes precedence over everything else. All else must be understood in this light.

There are times when we judge people too easily and many of these times our judgement of them is negative. This is also how we often look at the whole of creation and because we put labels on things, people and all else in creation, we may miss out on the uniqueness that each possesses.

Monday 19 September 2016

Audio reflections of Tuesday, September 20, 2016

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016 - Would Jesus point to you as a member of his family? Why?

To read the texts click on the texts: Prov 21:1-6,10-13; Lk 8:19-21

Though this text, which concerns the mother and brothers of Jesus, is found also in Mark 3:21-22 and 3:31-35 and Matthew 12:46-50, Luke narrates it quite differently from both. In Mark 3:33 and Matthew 12:48 Jesus asks who his mother and brothers are. In Luke, however, Jesus does not ask this question, but says simply when told that his mother and brothers desire to see him, that his mother and brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it. 

Luke thus gives a positive thrust to the scene unlike Mark and Matthew. It might be said that while in Mark and Matthew Jesus seems to reject his physical family and choose instead the crowd (so Mark) or his disciples (so Matthew), in Luke he does not do so. This means that though family relations with Jesus are not based on physical relations but on the word of God, his physical family does indeed hear the word of God and acts on it.

We might possess the name Christian because of our baptism, but this does not necessarily mean that we belong to the family of Jesus. In order to belong what is also necessary is putting into action what Jesus has taught.

Sunday 18 September 2016

Audio Reflections of Monday, September 19, 2016

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Monday, September 19, 2016 - What is the Good News according to you? Will you share it with others today? How?

To read the texts click on the texts:Prov 3:27-34; Lk 8:16-18

These verses in Luke are a commentary on the Parable of the Sower, which in Luke appears in 8:5-8. Just as a farmer sows the seed so that all of it may bear fruit, so also a lamp is lit so that it may give light. Like seed is sown not to be trampled on, eaten by birds, to wither or to be chocked, so a lamp is lit not to be hid under a jar or under a bed. 

Knowledge of the kingdom is not esoteric or secret, reserved for a particular group alone, but must be made known to all. It is knowledge, which must be shared openly with others. It is indeed the Good News, since it is a communication of love, and therefore it must not only be heard, but also experienced. By adding, “Then pay attention to how you listen”, the Lucan Jesus reminds listeners that they can choose and control how they will listen to the word of God. A total openness to the word of God results in an appropriate response to it.

Hearing is an active process. It calls for a commitment. Those who are open to that word are like a lamp, which gives light to all. An attentive hearing of the word of God can result in the transformation of one’s life and the living out of that word can lead to transformation in the lives of others.

Saturday 17 September 2016

Audio Reflections of Sunday, September 18, 2016

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Sunday, September 18, 2016 - How do you attain the focus in your life?

To read the texts click on the texts: Am 8:4-7; 1 Tim 2:1-8; Lk16:1-13

The story is told of a man who was caught stealing. He was ordered by the king to be hanged. On the way to the gallows, he said to the governor that he knew a wonderful secret and it would be a pity to allow it to die with him. He wanted to disclose it only to the king and so, he was taken to the king. He told the king that he would put a seed of a mango into the ground and, through a secret taught to him by his father, he would make it grow and bear fruit overnight. There would be no need to wait for the mango season or for years; the result would be almost immediate. The king was intrigued.

The next day, the thief, accompanied by the king and several ministers and officers of high ranking, was taken to a field. There, the thief dug a hole in the ground and spoke out the secret saying, “For this seed to grow overnight, it must be put into the ground only by a man who has never stolen or taken anything which did not belong to him. That man must be a totally honest man. Since it will only grow if this condition is fulfilled, I cannot do it since I am a thief. One of you will have to plant the seed.” The thief turned to the Vizier who, frightened, said that in his younger days he had retained something which did not belong to him. The treasurer said that dealing with such large sums, he might have entered too much or too little and even the king owned that he had kept a necklace of his father’s without permission. The thief then looked at all of them and smiled. The king, pleased with the ruse of the thief, pardoned him.

On the one hand, a story like this might lend itself to being interpreted to mean that dishonesty or thievery is all right. It might be taken to mean that, though the man had done something wrong, he got away with subterfuge and cunning. However, the point is not so much that, as the fact that, when faced with death, the thief uses all his ingenuity, creativity, and inventiveness to save his life. He uses all his skill to get out of an extremely difficult situation.

This is also the point that Jesus makes in the parable that forms the Gospel text for today. Jesus is not praising dishonesty or even the dishonest steward. His focus in the parable is on the prompt and speedy action that the steward takes. He takes control of a terrible situation and acts decisively because his livelihood and therefore, his life are at stake. He casts caution to the winds, seizes an opportunity and makes provisions for his future.

More importantly, the focus of Jesus is on the contrast between the steps that a person takes for things that are temporary and the lethargy that is shown by most when it comes to things that are eternal. This is what Jesus means when he says,” … for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light.”

This lethargic attitude regarding things that are eternal is the attitude that Amos berates in the first reading of today. The people imagined that the good fortune that they were presently enjoying would continue forever and so, concentrated only on earthly, temporary realities. They would not repent, or seize the opportunity to make amends. They would continue to carry on with the evil they were doing. They would continue to “practice deceit with false balances” “trample on the needy and bring to ruin the poor of the land”. They would continue to cheat the poor and downtrodden and be concerned only with how much they can earn for themselves and that, through unfair and unjust means. Their belly has become their god.

Yet, now is the time of salvation, now is the appointed hour and so, decisions as important as these cannot be left for tomorrow or even later. The kingdom of God is indeed in our midst and in us and this is why we who are called to focus on permanence and eternalness have to act in the present moment. How is this focus attained? What changes must we make in order to get back this focus?

Paul gives us an indication in the second reading of today when he calls Timothy, and us, to supplications and prayers for a peaceable life.

This is a life where each person will live in dignity. This is a life where no one will be in need because there will be equitable distribution and each will have what he/she needs.

This is a life in which none will show the greed and selfishness that has become so much part of our culture and way of living.

This is a life in which “Christ Jesus, himself human,” who dared to give himself as a ransom for all, is the inspiration that, if followed, will make that life a reality.

This is a life in which each one is determined to live for the values of love and justice – everlasting values of the kingdom of God.

Friday 16 September 2016

Audio reflections of Saturday, September 17, 2016

To hear the Audio reflections of Saturday, September 17, 2016 click HERE

Saturday, September 17, 2016 - You sow, God will make it grow

To read the texts click on the texts:1 Cor 15:35-37,42-49; Lk 8:4-15

The text of today combines both the Parable of the Sower (8:5-8) and the allegory (8:11-15) {in an allegory, every element in the story is given a meaning. So, the seed is regarded as the word of God, those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe an be saved, and so on}. Though it is true that the Sower disappears from the scene after he is first mentioned, and the seed takes centre stage, the parable is really one of contrast between the beginning and the middle, and the end. Thus, the Sower (whom the end will affect) is still an important figure in the parable. Since many have confused the allegory with the Parable, the meaning of the parable may have been missed. In this reflection we will focus on the Parable.

The farmer would sow along “the path”, because according to research done on the agricultural practices in Palestine at the time of Jesus, the practice was to sow seeds first and then plough it into the ground. Sowing on “rocky ground” is not surprising because the underlying limestone, thinly covered with soil, barely showed above the surface until the ploughshare jarred against it. Sowing among “thorns” is also understandable, because this too will be ploughed up. Though the ploughing of the three kinds of soil above will be done, it will result in a loss, because in none of them will the seed grow. It will seem that seventy-five percent of the effort is lost. While most of the parable focuses on “sowing”, in the last verse it is already “harvest time”. The abnormal, exaggerated tripling, of the harvest’s yield (thirty, sixty, a hundredfold) symbolises the overflowing of divine fullness., surpassing all human measure and expectations (A tenfold harvest counted as a good harvest and a yield of seven and a half as an average one).To human eyes much of the labour seems futile and fruitless, resulting in repeated failure, but Jesus is full of joyful confidence; he knows that God has made a beginning, bringing with it o harvest of reward beyond all asking or conceiving. In spite of every failure and opposition, from hopeless beginnings, God brings forth the triumphant end, which he has promised.

1. Do I usually focus more on the reaping than on the sowing? Do I focus more on the result than on the action? Do I focus more on the future than on the present?

2. How do I react when most of my effort seems to be in vain? Do I throw up my hands in despair? Do I give up? Do I get despondent? Or do I carry on despite all odds? Do I continue to persevere? Do I keep on keeping on?

3. How attached am I to the result of my action? Can I plunge into the din of battle and leave my heart at the feet of the Lord?


5. Do you sometimes act as the “General Manager of the Universe”? Will you resign from that position today?

Thursday 15 September 2016

Audio Reflections of Friday, September 16, 2016

To hear the Audio Reflections of Friday, September 16, 2016 click HERE

Friday, September 16, 2016 - Does the plight of others affect me at all? What do I do about it?

To read the texts click on the texts: 1 Cor 15:12-20;  Lk 8:1-3

This is a text that is exclusive to the Gospel of Luke and is about the women who ministered to Jesus during his ministry. It begins by presenting Jesus as an itinerant preacher going through the cities and villages in order to proclaim the good news of the kingdom.

Luke often mentions a corresponding female or group whenever he mentions a male. He does this first in the example of Zechariah and Elizabeth, and then in the examples of Joseph and Mary, Simeon and Anna. Here too, after Luke has mentioned the Twelve, he mentions women. Mary Magdalene is identified at the one from whom seven demons had gone out and Joanna as the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza and these two appear also in 24,10 in the episode of the empty tomb. Susanna the third woman named here does not appear elsewhere in the Gospel. These and other women provided for Jesus out of their resources.

The striking point about this text is the fact that the disciples were women. At a time when a woman was looked down upon and her place in society was pre-determined, it is quite amazing to note that these became followers of Jesus and even provided for him. This is an indication of the openness that Jesus possessed and of his freedom from all kinds of constraints.

Wednesday 14 September 2016

Audio Reflections of Thursday, September 15, 2016 the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows

To hear the Audio Reflections of Thursday, September 15, 2016 the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows click HERE

Thursday, September 15, 2016 - Our Lady of Sorrows - Sorrow and Death are not permanent

To read the texts click on the texts: Heb 5:7-9; Jn 19:25-27; Lk 2:33-35

The title, “Our Lady of Sorrows,” given to our Blessed Mother focuses on her intense suffering and grief during the passion and death of our Lord. Traditionally, this suffering was not limited to the passion and death event; rather, it comprised “the seven dolours” or “seven sorrows” of Mary, which were foretold by the Simeon who proclaimed to Mary, “This child  is destined to be the downfall and the rise of many in Israel, a sign that will be opposed and you yourself shall be pierced with a sword so that the thoughts of many hearts may be laid bare” (Luke 2:34-35). These seven sorrows of our Blessed Mother included the flight of the Holy Family into Egypt; the loss and finding of the child Jesus in the Temple; Mary's meeting of Jesus on His way to Calvary; Mary's standing at the foot of the cross when our Lord was crucified; her holding of Jesus when He was taken down from the cross; and then our Lord's burial. In all, the prophesy of Simeon that a sword would pierce our Blessed Mother's heart was fulfilled in these events. For this reason, Mary is sometimes depicted with her heart exposed and with seven swords piercing it. More importantly, each new suffering was received with the courage, love, and trust that echoed her fiat, “let it be done unto me according to Thy word,” first uttered at the Annunciation.

The readings chosen for the feast are from Hebrews and a choice of either John or Luke. All three readings speak about how Jesus and Mary handled suffering in their lives and how we can learn from them.
The text from Hebrews speaks about the total humanity of Jesus to make abundantly clear that the suffering that Jesus went through was an integral part of his earthly life. Though he was challenged with accepting the Cross and though he prayed that the Cross be taken away, what was more important than that was ‘doing God’s will’. This led to acceptance of the Cross willingly and courageously.

The Gospel text from Luke is Simeon’s second oracle and addressed specifically to Mary.  It prefigures the rejection of Jesus. Not all will receive the salvation that has been prepared, see the light of revelation, or recognize the glory of God in the coming of Jesus. The sword that will pierce Mary’s heart refers to the rejection of her son and to the final rejection on the Cross. Mary’s response is courageous, because she knows like Jesus that God’s will for her son is infinitely better than anything she could hope for.

The scene in the Gospel of John is where four women are named standing by the Cross (his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas and Mary Magdalene). Of these the focus falls on Mary, the mother of Jesus and the beloved disciple who is given charge of the mother of Jesus. While the beloved disciple is indeed a historical figure, he/she can also be anyone who loves Jesus. The command of the Lord to such a disciple, who loves him, is that he/she must also take his mother into their home because she is an integral part of the family of Jesus.

The feast of Our Lady of Sorrows is relevant for each of us today. It shows first of all that though Jesus and Mary were constantly doing God’s will, they were not spared from the Cross and the challenges and vicissitudes of life. Second it shows that even in the midst of these challenges we must always remember that God walks ahead of us and will never abandon us. This is why we never give up or give in. Finally, it reminds us that sorrow and the Cross is never the end, but only a step towards resurrection and the fullness of life.