Monday 30 April 2018

Audio Reflections of May 1, 2018, St. Joseph the Worker

To hear the Audio Reflections of May 1, 2018, St. Joseph the Worker click HERE

Tuesday, May 1, 2018 - St. Joseph the Worker - Has your stereotyping and prejudiced mind led to missing out on the beauty of others?

To read the texts click on the texts: Gen 1:26-2:3; Col 3:14-15,17,23-24;Mt 13:54-58

Pope Pius XII instituted the feast of St. Joseph the Worker in 1955 and to be celebrated on May 1. The relationship between Joseph and the cause of workers has a much longer history.

In a constantly necessary effort to keep Jesus from being removed from ordinary human life, the Church has from the beginning proudly emphasized that Jesus was a carpenter, obviously trained by Joseph in both the satisfactions and the drudgery of that vocation. That Joseph’s trade was carpentry is clear from the Synoptic Gospels and today’s Gospel in particular.  Matthew {unlike Mark who identifies Jesus as a carpenter (Mk 6:3)} identifies Jesus as the “carpenter’s son” since he is interested in showing Jesus as Son of Joseph and so Son of David.  Though the text does not explicitly state the reason for the offence, the preceding question, "Where then did this man get all this?" indicates that they did not expect that the son of a carpenter could be capable of reaching the heights that Jesus had reached. It also indicates a closed attitude on the part of Jesus' townspeople and their stereotyping of him. They are unable to believe that God can accomplish all things.

In response to their negative attitude to him, Jesus speaks of himself as a prophet and identifies himself with the true prophets of Israel. The reason why Jesus did not do many deeds of power there was because of their unbelief. This is a strong statement and speaks about the necessity of an open mind and heart for miracles to occur.

The readings chosen for the feast all seem to stress that humans need to realise that they are humans and also to realise that God will always be God.

Work is an extension of the human person and we give expression to our creativity through our work. However, we must also remember that we are much more than our work and all that we do. Jesus was a carpenter by trade but he was much more than that. He was also a prophet and a messenger of God. We too like Jesus and Joseph though ‘workers’ of one kind or another are more than our work. We too are prophets and messengers of God.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018 - St. Joseph the Worker - Gen 1:26-2:3; Col 3:14-15,17,23-24; Mt 13:54-58

Tuesday, May 1, 2018 - Gen 1:26-2:3; Col 3:14-15,17,23-24; Mt 13:54-58

  1. What did God do on the seventh day?

  2. He created the sun, moon and stars
    He rested
    He began his work again

  3. Where did Jesus teach in his hometown?

  4. His home

  5. On which day according to Genesis was humankind created?

  6. Fifth

  7. What quality binds everything in perfect harmony?

  8. Love

  9. How is Jesus referred to by the people of his hometown?

  10. Mary's son
    Joseph's son
    The carpenter's son

  11. In whose name must the Colossians do what they do?

  12. The Holy Spirit
    The Lord Jesus
    God the Father

  13. Why did Jesus not do many deeds of power in his hometown?

  14. Because he unable
    Because of their unbelief
    Because they did not praise him

  15. How must the Colossians do the tasks they do?

  16. As done for their masters
    As done for the Lord
    As done to earn reward

  17. How many letters did Paul write to the Colossians?

  18. Two

  19. What is the message of the readings of today?

  20. Humans are more than their work
    We are created in God's image and likeness
    St. Joseph is a model worker

Thanks for taking the Quiz. I hope it makes the word of God more relevant. Let me know on Suggestions are always welcome.

Sunday 29 April 2018

Audio Reflections of Monday, April 30, 2018

To hear the Audio Reflections of Monday, April 30, 2018 click HERE

Monday, April 30, 2018 - Do Jesus and the Father dwell in you? How will you show this through your actions today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Acts14:5-18; Jn 14:21-26

To be a true disciple of Jesus, it is not enough to make a verbal proclamation of faith in him. One is also required to keep his commandments. It is important to note here that one does not earn Jesus’ love by keeping his command to love.  It is because one has already experienced that love that one wants to love and obey in return.

Judas (not Iscariot) does not appear in any of the Synoptic Gospels. He is the one who misunderstands here and asks a question about the revelation that Jesus is to make, not realizing that the revelation has been made already. If the disciples want to continue to experience the love that Jesus has made manifest to the world, they must continue to love one another. It is in the love of one another that they will experience the love of God and Jesus. This will result in a mutual indwelling. Just as Jesus dwells in the Father and the Father in him, so Jesus and the Father will live in the disciples and the disciples in them. This abiding presence of God and Jesus within the disciples as a community is both the foundation and the result of love expressed in deeds. Where there is no love shown, Jesus and the Father cannot be made present.

Though Jesus has made explicit what the disciples are to do if they are to make him present, it is possible that they may not have grasped all the implications of the command. The Paraclete or Advocate, only here in John identified with the Holy Spirit, will “remind” them of Jesus’ teachings. This clearly indicates that the Holy Spirit will not give new or different teaching, but only reinforce all that Jesus has already taught. The Spirit will be sent in Jesus’ name and so, like Jesus was the exegesis of the Father, the Spirit will be the exegesis of Jesus.

To keep the words of Jesus means to live them out in action. The ones who do that have already experienced the indwelling of God and Jesus in them. This indwelling will strengthen them and enable them to live out the word more fully each day. This is not a linear but cyclic process. More living out means more indwelling and more indwelling means more living out.

Monday, April 30, 2018 - Acts 14:5-18; Jn 14:21-26

Monday, April 30, 2018 - Acts 14:5-18; Jn 14:21-26

  1. What did the Priest of Zeus bring to honour Paul and Barnabas?

  2. Oxen and sheep
    Oxen and garlands
    Oxen and goats

  3. Who asked Jesus the question in the Gospel text of today?

  4. Judas Iscariot
    Judas (not Iscariot)

  5. What name did the people of Lycaonia give to Barnabas?

  6. Lukos

  7. Who wanted to maltreat and stone the apostles?

  8. The High Priest
    The Gentiles and Jews with their rulers
    The Scribes

  9. What did the people of Lycaonia shout when they saw the crippled man healed?

  10. Praise God
    The gods have come down to us in human form
    We have never seen anything like this

  11. What name did the people of Lycaonia give to Paul?

  12. Lukos

  13. What is another name for the Advocate or Helper?

  14. The Holy Spirit

  15. What miracle did Paul perform in Lystra?

  16. He made a blind man see
    He made a crippled man walk
    He made a deaf man hear

  17. Which other cities besides Lycaonia did the Apostles preach in?

  18. Lystra and Jerusalem
    Lystra and Derbe
    Lystra and Tarsus

  19. What is the message of the readings of today?

  20. Disciples of Jesus are capable of performing the same works that Jesus did?
    The Holy Spirit is Jesus' permanent gift to us
    If we say we love Jesus, we MUST be able to love others

Thanks for taking the Quiz. I hope it makes the word of God more relevant. Let me know on Suggestions are always welcome.

Saturday 28 April 2018

Sunday, April 29, 2018 - Are you part of the vine or the cut off branch?

To read the texts click on the texts: Acts9:26-31; 1 Jn 3:18-24; Jn 15:1-8

A tribe in Africa has what we may consider an unusual way of punishing offenders. The one who commits an offence is simply banished from the tribe and is forbidden to have any contact with anyone from it. Research into the lives and workings of these tribes has shown that the one who is so banished has always died within a few days. The reason for the death, researchers point, out is not that the person was not able to fend for him/herself, but the fact that the banished person realizes that such a life is not worth living and simply gives up on life.

The Discourse of Jesus on the Vine and the branches seems to make this very point. It also gives us a beautiful image of Church and in doing so, states emphatically that Christian existence and life is never merely an individual life, but always a life lived in and through community.

The verses of today’s Gospel contain the last of the “I am” sayings in the Gospel of John. Jesus uses a common symbol of the world at that time: Vine. While in 15:1, the relationship with Jesus and the Father is stressed, in 15:5, when the metaphor is used again, Jesus does so in the context of his relationship with his disciples. Thus, the focus of the metaphor is interrelationship. If God is the vine dresser, Jesus is the vine and the disciples are the branches.

While it is easy for most of us to understand God as the vine dresser and Jesus as the vine, it is important for us to understand our role as branches. The first step to this understanding is to note is that on a vine all branches look similar though they are not the same. This similarity suggests cohesiveness and deep inner unity. This unity of the branches is possible only because they grow out of the same vine and it is shown in the fact that all produce the same fruit. This fruit which originates in the vine itself, which is Jesus, is the fruit of unconditional and magnanimous love. Since all produce the same fruit, there is no superior or inferior branch. Each is as precious as the other and is needed to complete the vine. If one branch cuts itself off from the vine not only will that branch wither and die and not be able to produce any fruit, but it will also result in the incompleteness of the vine. This means then that all positions in the Church are only functional and not to be used to dominate or oppress. It also means that each of us is responsible for the welfare of the other.

All too often Christianity has been understood as a religion that has only the individual dimension. The communitarian dimension has been neglected. This is seen in so many of the Sacraments (which are both individual and communitarian) being treated and regarded as private devotions. The approach of many Christians has often been: My God and I. This approach is to misunderstand Christianity and all that Jesus stood for. The metaphor of today makes explicit that mutual indwelling is at the heart of the preaching of Jesus, and that Christianity, while it surely has an individual dimension, just as surely has a communitarian dimension. I am, as a Christian my brother’s and sister’s keeper. Their joys and sorrow, their trials and tribulations, their successes and failures, have to be as real to me as my own if I am to be a Christian in the true sense of the word. The Christian does make an individual commitment and choice to follow Jesus but he/she makes it in and through a community.

This is seen clearly in the first reading of today, in which Saul who became Paul made such a choice. While Paul did have a personal experience of the Lord and was called by him directly, he also had to be accepted by the community who though they were initially afraid because of his past, dared to accept him as one of the branches of the vine. They not only did this, but also made his trial and tribulations their own, protecting him when his life was in danger. In doing so, the community showed in practice what it meant to be part of the vine.

The community lived out the exhortation made by John in the second reading of today in which he asks Christians to love not in word or speech but in action and in truth. The Spirit of Jesus is what sustains the community and constantly reminds them of their status as branches in the same vine. The Spirit that Jesus breathed on the disciples affirms and continues his message of unconditional love. It is a love that makes no distinction, a love that reaches out of itself and a love through which the world will know that he still lives.

Sunday, April 29, 2018 - Acts 9:26-31; 1 Jn 3:18-24; Jn 15:1-8

Sunday, April 29, 2018 - Acts 9:26-31; 1 Jn 3:18-24; Jn 15:1-8

  1. How must we love according to John?

  2. In word and speech
    In truth and action
    In verbal profession

  3. Who is Jesus' father?

  4. The vine
    The vine dresser/grower
    The branch

  5. Who attempted to join the disciples in Jerusalem?

  6. Peter

  7. What is the final destination of branches that do not belong to the vine?

  8. They are thrown into the fire and burned
    They bear much fruit
    They are pruned

  9. Where was Paul finally sent be the believers (brothers)?

  10. Galilee

  11. With whom did Paul speak and argue?

  12. The Jews
    The Hellenists
    The Pharisees

  13. Can the branch bear fruit be itself?

  14. Yes
    I do not know

  15. What does the vine dresser do to branches that bear fruit?

  16. He prunes them so that they will bear even more fruit
    He cuts them off
    he throws them in the furnace to be burned

  17. In which city did Barnabas say that Saul had spoken boldly?

  18. Jerusalem

  19. What is the message of the readings of today?

  20. We are branches of the vine who is Jesus?
    To bear fruit we must remain part of the vine
    We must show through the fruit that we bear that we are part of the vine

Thanks for taking the Quiz. I hope it makes the word of God more relevant. Let me know on Suggestions are always welcome.

Friday 27 April 2018

Audio Reflections of Saturday, April 28, 2018

To hear the Audio Reflections of Saturday, April 28, 2018 click HERE

Saturday, April 28, 2018 - Jesus revealed the Father as unconditional love. How will you reveal Jesus today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Acts13:44-52; Jn 14:7-14

These verses continue the teachings begun in 14:1. The one who knows Jesus also knows the Father for Jesus reveals the Father as Father. In Jesus, one sees the Father as never before because no one has revealed him like Jesus does. Like Thomas before him, now Philip does not understand what Jesus is saying and in his ignorance, asks a question. He does not realize that in seeing Jesus he has seen the Father because of the revelation that Jesus makes of the Father. In offering himself, Jesus has offered all the revelation that the disciples need to identify the Father.

Jesus can only do what the Father has told him and so his works are those of the Father. Philip and the other disciples must be able to see Jesus as the revelation of the Father, if not in his person, at least through the works that Jesus does. The works flow from his person and are not separate from him but an integral part of who Jesus is. The works, too, are works of revelation. They show that the primary aim of God is not to condemn but to save and so are works that enhance and build up.

Since it is Jesus who sends the disciples, the works that anyone who believes in Jesus will do will be the same as those of Jesus. In fact, these will be able to do even greater works than Jesus. These works will make known the whole story of Jesus as Word made flesh and so, will be greater than those which Jesus does. Since these will be done after the whole Christ event – death, resurrection, and ascension to the Father – they will continue the glorification of Jesus.  They will continue to reveal Jesus to the world, sitting at the right hand of God. Jesus will answer every prayer of the disciples made in his name and he will grant their petitions.

As Jesus made God known to the world through unconditional, magnanimous love, so the disciples are called to do the same. The works that Jesus did have to be continued today if Jesus is to be made present and is to be revealed to a world that does not yet know him. It is the present community of disciples that has the responsibility to continue the mission that Jesus began. Whenever an enhancing word is spoken, whenever an action that heals is done, whenever love is shown in a tangible manner, then the work of Jesus continues and Jesus continues to be made present.

To be sure, the revelation of God that Jesus made can also be recognized in the depths of one’s heart, but this is not the whole story. It is a love that must be shared and revealed to the world if it is to be complete and whole. The incarnation was not a private revelation given to a select few, but an earth shattering event made visible to the whole world. So the revelation of Jesus, today, has to be done visibly and tangibly.

Saturday, April 28, 2018 - Acts 13:44-52; Jn 14:7-14

Saturday, April 28, 2018 - Acts 13:44-52; Jn 14:7-14

  1. Who asked Jesus to show them the Father?

  2. Thomas

  3. Where did Paul and Barnabas go after shaking the dust off their feet?

  4. Jerusalem

  5. Whom will the believer know if they know Jesus?

  6. The Holy Spirit
    The Father
    The Trinity

  7. Whom did the Jews try to contradict?

  8. Paul

  9. To whom did Christianity turn because the Jews rejected Jesus?

  10. It gave up
    The Gentiles
    The Sadducees

  11. Whom did the Jews incite to speak against Paul and Barnabas?

  12. The whole city
    Devout women and leading men
    The high priest

  13. What is the message of the readings of today?

  14. Perseverance is the key
    Jesus revealed the Father as unconditional love. We must reveal Jesus in the same way
    Our actions must speak louder than our words

Thanks for taking the Quiz. I hope it makes the word of God more relevant. Let me know on Suggestions are always welcome.

Thursday 26 April 2018

Audio reflections of Friday, April 27, 2018

To hear the Audio reflections of Friday, April 27, 2018 click HERE

Friday, April 27, 2018 - Have you, by your narrow mindedness, prevented others from encountering Jesus? Will you realize that he is bigger than anything that you can ever imagine?

To read the texts click on the texts: Acts13:26-33; Jn 14:1-6

Today’s Gospel reading contains the first of the teachings of Jesus that speak about his departure and what it means for his disciples.  

At the beginning of these teachings, Jesus commands his disciples to stand firm. They are not to let the event of his departure overwhelm them. They are not to give in to despair, give up, or lose hope. They must continue to trust and believe. Even though it might seem, on the surface level, that evil is winning, the disciples must realize that God is always in charge and in control of all situations.  They must place their trust in God and in Jesus. 

Since Jesus shares an intimate relationship with the Father, and since the disciples can do so too, there will be as many rooms as there are believers. God and Jesus will exclude no one who wants to share this relationship with them. Jesus goes, but only to return and so, his going is not permanent. It is a temporary act that must be done and completed. This going and returning will be evidence of his power over everything, including death. Nothing and no one will ever be able to separate the disciples from the love that Jesus has for them. The purpose of Jesus’ returning is to take the disciples to the place where he is: the bosom of the Father. 

Even as Jesus points to himself as the one who reveals the Father, Thomas misunderstands and asks a question. He interprets the words “where I am going” only as a physical destination and so, protests that, since he does not know the final destination of Jesus, it is not possible to know how to get there. Jesus corrects this misunderstanding with an “I am” saying. “The Way” is not a geographical term or physical road, it is Jesus himself. Thus, to know Jesus is to know the way and, to know the way is to know Jesus. In his being “the Way” Jesus is also “Truth” and “Life”. Jesus is the “Truth’ because he has been sent by God to make God’s word known. He became “flesh” and anyone who recognizes this and listens to his voice, is of the truth. Recognition of the truth in Jesus leads to “life” in abundance. Since the fullness of God’s life was revealed in Jesus, one can only partake of this life through Jesus.

It is important not to be too fundamental in interpreting the last verse of today’s reading. All too often, insistence on the exclusiveness of the Christian way has been responsible for problems in various parts of the world. The Gospels all agree that the approach of Jesus was all inclusive and excluded no one who would want to come to the truth. There is no doubt that Jesus revealed the Father in the most unique of ways, as no one before had ever done. This is because, in the incarnation, God took on “flesh” in all its weaknesses and limitations. Jesus did not simply put on human nature but became like us in every single way and thus, can understand every aspect of our lives. However, by the fact of the incarnation, Jesus also gave us an insight into who God is and who we are called to be. He made us aware of our own limitlessness. Though he limited himself, we must realize that Jesus is much bigger than the narrow image of him we often have. This narrow image is responsible for our restricting him and making him as small as we are.

John was writing about his community’s experience of seeing God in Jesus incarnate and was not concerned with showing the superiority of this revelation over any other or with the fate of believers of other religions. We must keep this in mind when interpreting the last verse of today’s text. We must, however, rejoice because we are privileged to receive such a unique revelation of God in Jesus Christ.

When one brackets out the questions that contemporary Christians falsely import into these verses, there is nothing outrageous or offensive about the claims made here. Rather, at the heart of Christianity is this affirmation of the decisive revelation of God in the incarnation. John 14:6 can thus be read as the core claim of Christian identity; what distinguishes Christians from peoples of other faiths is the conviction given expression in John 14:6. It is, indeed, through Jesus that Christians have access to their God.

Friday, April 27, 2018 - Acts 13:26-33; Jn 14:1-6

Friday, April 27, 2018 - Acts 13:26-33; Jn 14:1-6

  1. Of whose family are those addressed in the first reading of today descendants?

  2. Moses'

  3. Who addresses the people in the first reading of today?

  4. Peter

  5. How did God fulfill the promise made to the ancestors?

  6. By giving them land
    By raising Jesus
    By showering them with gifts

  7. Whom did the residents of Jerusalem ask to have Jesus killed?

  8. Pilate

  9. Besides being the Truth and Life what else does Jesus say he is?

  10. The Resurrection
    The Way
    The Good Shepherd

  11. Which Psalm is quoted in the first reading of today?

  12. Psalm 1
    Psalm 2
    Psalm 3

  13. Who asks Jesus a question in the Gospel text of today?

  14. Philip

  15. From where to where did Jesus appear after his resurrection?

  16. From Galilee to Sidon
    From Galilee to Nazareth
    From Galilee to Jerusalem

  17. What is the message of the readings of today?

  18. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life
    Jesus cannot be pigeonholed. He is too big for our small minds to understand
    God wants all to be saved

Thanks for taking the Quiz. I hope it makes the word of God more relevant. Let me know on Suggestions are always welcome.

Wednesday 25 April 2018

Audio Reflections of Thursday, April 26, 2018

To hear the Audio Reflections of Thursday, April 26, 2018 click HERE

Thursday, April 26, 2018 - How do you as a Christian show that you are part of community?

To read the texts click on the texts: Acts13:13-25; Jn 13:16-20

These verses contain the second part of the discourse spoken by Jesus after he washes the feet of his disciples. In the first part (13:12-15), Jesus teaches his disciples about the meaning of his washing their feet, and the implications that this action has for their lives as his disciples.

In the second part of this discourse (13:16-20), Jesus teaches about discipleship in general and the relationship that the disciples share with him. The double Amen at 13:16, and at 13:20, forms an inclusion and so brackets and highlights what Jesus says in between. The disciples must remember that their role, in their relationship with Jesus, is that of servants to their master. If they understand this and act on it, then they will be blessed. They must, at every stage, know where their authority ends. The sayings which are highlighted by the inclusion are in 13:18-19 and contain a prediction of betrayal. Jesus is aware of who the betrayer is and also knows that it is not an outsider, but one who has eaten at table with him. Ps 41:9 is quoted here to accentuate the intimacy of the betrayal. The betrayer is someone whose feet he has washed, one with whom he has broken bread and one whom Jesus has loved to the very end. This foreknowledge of the betrayer also means that Jesus is in control of the events that lead to his death and is not taken by surprise. Another reason for informing his disciples about his betrayal, in advance, is so that they may realize who Jesus is: Son of God. Even as he is betrayed, he will reveal himself as God for us.

Since Jesus has been sent by God, he has God’s stamp and authority. The disciples, who are in turn sent by Jesus, have the authority and stamp of Jesus. Thus, if anyone accepts the disciples, they are in effect accepting Jesus. Just as Jesus shares fully in God’s work, so the disciples share fully in Jesus’ work of giving life to all and giving it in abundance.

Jesus’ act toward us, in love, manifested symbolically in the washing of the feet and sharing of bread, presents everyone who sits at his table with a choice: One can embrace Jesus’ gift to us and embody one’s embrace of that gift through one’s own acts of love or, one can turn one’s back on Jesus’ gift of love. This means that merely sitting at Jesus’ table, and even eating the bread that he gives, is not the full story. It has to be continued in the giving of self to others and is only completed when this is done. We then enter into community with Jesus and with one another.

Thursday, April 26, 2018 - Acts 13:13-25; Jn 13:16-20

Thursday, April 26, 2018 - Acts 13:13-25; Jn 13:16-20

  1. How many nations did the Lord destroy in the land of Canaan?

  2. Seven

  3. Until the time of which prophet did the Lord give the Israelites Judges?

  4. Isaiah

  5. For how many years did the Lord put up with/care for the Israelites in the wilderness?

  6. Fifty

  7. To which place in Pamphylia did Paul and his companions come?

  8. Perga

  9. For how many years did Saul reign?

  10. Thirty-six

  11. Whose son was Saul?

  12. Kish

  13. What did God give the Israelites as their inheritance?

  14. Gold

  15. Which Psalm does John quote in the text of today?

  16. Forty-one

  17. Who succeeded Saul as King?

  18. Jesse

  19. What is the message of the readings of today?

  20. We are ambassadors of Christ
    Our Lord forgives us even when are are ungrateful
    God in Jesus continues to be love

Thanks for taking the Quiz. I hope it makes the word of God more relevant. Let me know on Suggestions are always welcome.

Tuesday 24 April 2018

Audio reflections of Wednesday, March 25, 2018 the feast of St. Mark, Evangelist

To hear the Audio reflections of Wednesday, March 25, 2018 the feast of St. Mark, Evangelist click HERE

Wednesday, April 25, 2018 - St. Mark, Evangelist - Mark wrote a Gospel to share his experience of Jesus. What will you do to share your experience of Jesus?

To read the texts click on the texts: 1 Peter 5:5-14; Mk 16:15-20

The second Gospel was written by St. Mark, who, in the New Testament, is sometimes identified with John Mark. Both he and his mother, Mary, were highly esteemed in the early Church, and his mother's house in Jerusalem served as a meeting place for Christians there.

St. Mark was associated with St. Paul and St. Barnabas (who was Mark's cousin) on their missionary journey through the island of Cyprus. Later he accompanied St. Barnabas alone. We know also that he was in Rome with St. Peter and St. Paul. Tradition ascribes to him the founding of the Church in Alexandria.

St. Mark wrote the second Gospel, probably in Rome sometime before the year 65 C.E..; and possibly for Gentile converts to Christianity. Tradition has it that Mark was the interpreter of Peter. This seems to be confirmed by the position which St. Peter has in the Gospel of Mark.

The Gospel reading for the feast is from Mk16:15-20. Most scholars today regard Mk 16:9-20 as an addition to the original ending of Mark at 16:8. A number of reasons are put forward for this view. The first is that Mary Magdalene is introduced in 16:9 as if she is being mentioned for the first time.  However, Mark has mentioned her before (15:47; 16:1). Second, there is no mention of a Galilean apparition in these verses, though one is explicitly promised in 16:7. Third, these verses are a combination, in summary form, of the post resurrection appearances of Jesus in the other Synoptic Gospels, in John, and in the Acts of the Apostles.
The text of today begins with the command of the Risen Lord to the disciples to proclaim the Good News to all nations. The disciples are challenged to go beyond their fear and with confidence trusting in the power of the Lord. The Lord will accompany them everywhere and their wtiness will draw all peoples to the Lord.

The enemy of faith is fear. However imperfect our faith, and however many times we remain silent when we should testify to the gospel, we can always return to the Lord. None of us can get so far away from Jesus that we cannot be touched by God’s healing presence. Jesus continues to use each of us even in our weakness to be his messengers of the good news that, in him, God loves everyone.

Let the feast of St. Mark be for each one of us an opportunity to live out our faith and inspire others and draw them to the Lord.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018 - St. Mark Evangelist

Wednesday, April 25, 2018 - St. Mark - 1 Peter 5:5-14; Mk 16:15-20

  1. Through whom did Peter write this letter?

  2. Silvanus

  3. How many New Testament letters are attributed to Peter?

  4. Two

  5. With what clothing must believers clothe themselves?

  6. Humility
    Camel's hair
    Leather garments

  7. Which other letter writer quotes the Proverb,

  8. Paul

  9. On which hand of God did Jesus sit after ascending into heaven?

  10. Right
    Not sure

  11. To whom did Jesus command his disciples to preach the Gospel?

  12. A select few
    The whole of creation
    The chosen ones

  13. How many Chapters does the Gospel of Mark contain?

  14. Sixteen

  15. Which other Church is mentioned in the first reading?

  16. The Church in Corinth
    The Church in Babylon
    The Church in Collosae

  17. What is the message of the readings of today?

  18. Like Mark we too are called to proclaim the Lord
    We are privileged to be disciples of Jesus
    Humility is a funny thing. Once you think you've got it, you've lost it

Thanks for taking the Quiz. I hope it makes the word of God more relevant. Let me know on Suggestions are always welcome.

Monday 23 April 2018

Tuesday, April 24, 2018 - Acts 11:19-26; Jn 10:22-30

Tuesday, April 24, 2018 - Acts 11:19-26; Jn 10:22-30

  1. In which place were the disciples of Jesus first called Christians?

  2. Joppa

  3. Which festival is mentioned in The Gospel of today?

  4. Passover

  5. How many chapters does the Gospel of John contain?

  6. Twenty
    Twenty one
    Twenty two

  7. Whom did the Church leaders send to Antioch?

  8. Barabbas

  9. Where was Jesus walking in the temple?

  10. In the area reserved for Gentiles
    In the portico of Solomon
    In the holy of holies

  11. Whom did Barnabas look for in Tarsus?

  12. Saul

  13. What season was it when Jesus went up for the feast?

  14. Winter

  15. To whom did the apostles speak the word in Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch?

  16. The Jews
    The Gentiles
    To all who wanted to hear it

  17. What is the message of the readings of today?

  18. Jesus is the anointed one of God
    Jesus is the shepherd whose voice the sheep hear
    We must bear witness like the first Christians through our actions.

Thanks for taking the Quiz. I hope it makes the word of God more relevant. Let me know on Suggestions are always welcome.

Audio Reflections of Tuesday, April 24, 2018

To hear the Audio Reflections of Tuesday, April 24, 2018 click HERE

Tuesday, April 24, 2018 - Do you believe that God always wants what is best for you? How will you respond if things do not go the way you wish them to go today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Acts11:19-26; Jn 10:22-30

The verses that begin today’s reading inform us that Jesus is in Jerusalem at the Feast of Dedication which was celebrated in December each year. This feast is the Jewish festival of Hanukkah. It celebrated the liberation of Jerusalem from the reign of the Syrian (Seleucid) king Antiochus Epiphanes. Antiochus had defiled the Jerusalem Temple in 167 BCE by building an altar to his own gods within the Temple sanctuary.  In 165 BCE, Judas Maccabeus and his brothers regained control of the Temple and rededicated it to the God of Israel. The eight-day feast took place in the month December and was marked by the lighting of lamps and rejoicing.

The Jewish religious authorities begin the dialogue by asking Jesus whether he is the Messiah. They are annoyed that Jesus is not being explicit. This is the only place in the Gospel of John where Jesus is asked explicitly whether he is the Messiah. Jesus responds that he has been explicit and that he has told them, in no uncertain terms, the truth about himself and yet, they do not believe. Jesus then points to his ‘works” as indicators of this claim. “Works” here does not refer to miracles alone, but to the broader scope of Jesus’ ministry and includes the revelation of himself as having been sent by God.

Belief in Jesus determines whether one belongs to the fold of Jesus. Since the Jewish leaders do not believe, they cannot and do not belong to the fold. Those who belong to the fold hear the voice of the Shepherd and follow trustingly. Following Jesus leads to eternal life which he alone can give. The reason why Jesus can do this is because he has received this gift directly from the Father. What is more is that Jesus and the Father are one. This means that Jesus and God are united in their work of salvation and Jesus shares completely in God’s work.

We are privileged, as Christians, to have as our God one who is Good Shepherd, one whose primary interest and concern is to care for the good of the sheep. Our God is a God who wants to lead us to safety and to places where there is abundance. He wants what is best for us at all times and will do anything to protect us from any kind of harm. Though this is the case, we do not always listen to his voice and we prefer to go our own way. The only result that we can expect, after such a choice, is destruction and death.

Sunday 22 April 2018

Audio Reflections of Monday, April 23, 2018

To hear the Audio Reflections of Monday, April 23, 2018 click HERE

Monday, April 23, 2018 - What is the shepherd calling you to do today? Will you listen to his voice?

To read the texts click on the texts: Acts11:1-18; Jn 10:1-10

These verses contain part of the Discourse on Jesus, the Good Shepherd. This Discourse appears in the Gospel of John after Jesus has healed a blind man on the Sabbath, because of which, the Jews are upset (9:1-41). It is the last full discourse of the public ministry of Jesus. The Farewell Discourse from 14:1-16:33 is exclusively given to the disciples and not to the public. 

The focus in the first part of the Discourse (10:1-5) is on the shepherd and his relation to the flock. A contrast is made between the authorized shepherd and the bandit. The authorized shepherd enters by the gate, but the bandit climbs in another way. The reason for this is because the gate keeper opens the gate for the authorized shepherd but not for the bandit. Since he is the authorized shepherd, the sheep hear and recognize his voice. When he calls, they answer. There is an intimate bond between the shepherd and his sheep. They recognize and know each other. The shepherd walks ahead of the sheep and leads them out. The sheep are confident in his leadership and thus, follow him trustingly. They will not follow a stranger but will rather run away from him. The comment of the evangelist serves two purposes. The first is that the reader must understand that Jesus is using a “figure of speech” and thus, not take the metaphor literally. The reader must realize that many meanings are possible and therefore, must go below the surface, to the deeper meaning. The second point is that the listeners did not understand this figure of speech. If seen in the context of the miracle, and the healing of the blind man on the Sabbath, and the Pharisees objection because the healing took place on the Sabbath, then it seems clear that the authorized shepherd is Jesus and the bandits are the objectors.  Jesus has the good of the sheep at heart and the bandits do not.

In the second part (10:7-16), while pastoral imagery is still used, the Discourse moves in a new direction. Jesus is also the “Gate” for the sheep. The gate has two functions: one is to give access to those who are legitimate and have a right to enter, and the other is to prevent those whose intention is to cause destruction. Rightful entry into the fold is only through Jesus, who is the gate.

The text of today concludes with one of the most beautiful and comprehensive statements of the mission of Jesus. Jesus is the Good Shepherd and Gate. He has come to give life and give it to the full. All who listen to his voice will receive this life in abundance.

As the gate, Jesus is the way to life, but he is not merely that.  He also leads the way and so, is the Good Shepherd. Jesus is the way to life because he is himself life and he leads the way to life because he lays down his own life. These are non-transferable attributes; they derive from the heart of Jesus’ identity as one sent by God.

Monday, April 23, 2018 - Acts 11:1-18; Jn 10:1-10

Monday, April 23, 2018 - Acts 11:1-18; Jn 10:1-10

  1. Who else besides the Jews accepted the word of God?

  2. The Gentiles
    The Pharisees
    The chief priests

  3. How many men were sent from Caesarea?

  4. Three

  5. In which city was Peter when he went into a trance?

  6. Jeppa

  7. What is the one who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate?

  8. The Good Shepherd
    The owner of the sheep
    A thief and a bandit

  9. What does the thief come to do?

  10. To lead the sheep
    To steal and kill and destroy
    To guide the sheep

  11. Who is the shepherd of the sheep?

  12. The one who climbs in by another way
    The one who enters by the gate
    The one who runs away when the wolf approaches

  13. What does the shepherd do when he has brought out all the sheep?

  14. He follows them
    He goes ahead of them
    He lets them go where they want

  15. What is the message of the readings text of today?

  16. Christianity is inclusive and not exclusive
    Jesus is the true and good shepherd
    In Jesus we have life in abundance

Thanks for taking the Quiz. I hope it makes the word of God more relevant. Let me know on Suggestions are always welcome.

Saturday 21 April 2018

Sunday, April 22, 2018 Fourth Sunday of Easter - Good Shepherd Sunday - Live as a united community!

To read the texts click on the texts: Acts 4:8-12; 1 Jn3:1-2; Jn 10:11-18

The fourth Sunday of Easter is traditionally known as Good Shepherd Sunday and it is easy to see why. In the eight verses of today’s Gospel, Jesus twice describes himself as the Good Shepherd. This clearly indicates that the thrust of these verses is on meaning of this term and also on the relationship of the shepherd and his sheep. Even as he describes himself as the Good Shepherd, he contrasts himself with the hired hand and through this emphasizes the qualities of the Good Shepherd.

Those of us who live in cities or towns may not be able to fully appreciate this allegory. Our experience of sheep leads us to see them as dumb creatures who are good only for their wool and as food on our tables. However, if we go beyond this superficial understanding and attempt to understand instead the deeper meaning then we will be able to appreciate more fully what Jesus means.
The adjective ‘good’ used here can also be read as “model” or “true” and so Jesus is saying that he is the model of true shepherd. This is a reference to the image of God as the good shepherd in the prophet Ezekiel. There God is described as the shepherd who cares for the sheep, rescuing them from danger, feeding them, tending to the weak sheep, healing the wounds of those who are injured and going after those who are lost.

Jesus as the model or true shepherd does all this and more. He even willingly, and of his own accord, lays down his life for his sheep. He does this not to earn a reward, but as an expression of the love that he has for the sheep which is an expression of love for the Father. This is why he in control of even his own death. No one can take his life, because he gives it up freely and without reserve. However, his death is linked inextricably with his resurrection and ascension, and it is through all these three events that he completes his work as good and true shepherd.

In contrast, the hired hand is the bad shepherd or untrue shepherd. This one is concerned only about his own welfare and not the welfare of the sheep. When such a one takes charge, the sheep are scattered and neglected, and go astray.

The good shepherd on the other hand gathers the sheep and keeps them together. He is concerned not only with the sheep that belong to his fold and so is not exclusive. There are other sheep also, who though not of the fold will listen to the shepherd’s voice because they will recognize it as a voice of unconditional love. They will know that their salvation lies in listening to this voice.

Some may find being compared with sheep derogatory. However, if we understand the metaphor for what it is and capture its essence, we will find that this need not be so. The challenge to the sheep is to listen to the voice of the true shepherd and not the hired hand. This means that in a world in which we hear so many voices, to discern the voice of the true shepherd is not easy. The voice of the shepherd calls first to unity. This unity is manifested in community living, in which each is concerned about the other much like the shepherd who is concerned about each and all. It is also manifested in imitating the true shepherd’s qualities of self giving and self sacrificing love. Such imitation of the shepherd will draw all sheep into one fold, in which differences in individuals will not be points of contention, but will be celebrated instead. In the fold of the true shepherd there will be a unity even in diversity, because the mission of the true shepherd is an inclusive one.

This is why Peter can invite the rulers of the people and elders whom he addresses in the first reading of today to join this community of love. It is a community that has one head, one true shepherd, Jesus Christ in whose name and through whose power wholeness occurs. Though he was rejected, crucified, died and was buried, he continues to draw all peoples to him through his resurrection and ascension and being present always.

This gift of being drawn to him is, however, only a foretaste of what is to come. In the second reading John tells his community that they are to receive the grace to see God as he is and will always be: unconditional love.

The readings of today therefore call each one of us to live out our lives according to the model of community envisioned here by Jesus. It is a model of mutual self giving, of self sacrifice and of living as a community. It is a model where the needs of the other take precedence over my own. It is a model in which differences are not frowned upon but celebrated. It is a model in which there is a profound unity even in diversity. It is a model grounded in the mutuality of love embodied in the relationship of Jesus and God.

Sunday, April 22, 2018 - Acts 4:8-12; 1 Jn3:1-2; Jn 10:11-18

Sunday, April 22, 2018 - Acts 4:8-12; 1 Jn 3:1-2; Jn 10:11-18

  1. What does the hired hand do when he sees the wolf coming?

  2. He protects the sheep
    He leaves the sheep and runs away
    He fights against the wolf

  3. Which Psalm does Peter quote in the first reading of today?

  4. Ps 119
    Ps 118
    Ps 120

  5. How has God shown his love for us according to John?

  6. We can do whatever we like
    We are called children of God
    We are free

  7. Who does not own the sheep?

  8. The Shepherd
    The hired hand
    The wolf

  9. What does the good shepherd do for the sheep?

  10. He lays down his life for them
    He sits idle while they graze
    He goes wandering

  11. Who takes the life of the good shepherd?

  12. His enemies
    He lays it down of his own accord
    The wolf

  13. Whom does Peter address in the first reading of today?

  14. The Scribes and Pharisees
    The rulers of the people and the elders
    The high priest and chief priests

  15. How does the good shepherd know the sheep?

  16. Just as the father knows him
    By branding them
    By putting a mark on them

  17. What is the message of the readings of today?

  18. Jesus is the Good Shepherd
    We are blessed that in Jesus we are sons and daughters of God
    By our example we must draw other sheep to the fold of Jesus

Thanks for taking the Quiz. I hope it makes the word of God more relevant. Let me know on Suggestions are always welcome.

Friday 20 April 2018

Audio Reflections of Saturday, April 21, 2018

To hear the Audio Reflections of Saturday, April 21, 2018 click HERE

Saturday, April 21, 2018 - Will you opt for Jesus today? How will you show this in your actions?

To read the texts click on the texts: Acts9:31-42; Jn 6:60-69

The text of today begins with the disciples grumbling after hearing what Jesus has said. The sayings are too difficult for them to accept. Jesus responds to their grumbling by issuing a challenge to them. If this affects them, they will be even more affected when they experience the death, resurrection, and ascension of the Son of Man. Jesus takes the disciples beyond the specific event of becoming and giving bread.  He takes them to the whole of the Christ event and its mystery.  Jesus, as Bread of Life, must be seen in the larger context of God’s plan of salvation through his Son.

The flesh, as flesh, and without the Spirit, is nothing. It cannot give live, nor does it have life. It is the Spirit that gives life and makes the flesh what it is. This means that simply eating the flesh of Jesus, without the right disposition, will not lead to life. Thus, those who eat and drink are not merely eating Jesus’ flesh and blood but the Spirit filled flesh and blood of Jesus. Even as Jesus offers the gift of life, through becoming bread, the gift is rejected because most prefer death. There are still those who will not believe. They have made their choice. God offers the gift of his Son to all, but not all will accept him. This is why many disciples drew back and no longer went with Jesus. This rejection leads Jesus to turn to the Twelve and ask them about their stand. They must choose whether they will accept or reject the offer of life that God makes in Jesus.

Simon Peter responds on behalf of the Twelve and at least verbally accepts that offer of life. He acknowledges that Jesus has the words of eternal life and that he is the Holy One of God, the one set aside by God.

Life always offers us choices. The choices that we are sometimes faced with might not always be what we desire, but the fact remains that we are free to choose. We can choose to be miserable or to be happy, we can choose to fear or to love, and we can choose to say No or to say Yes. Every choice that we make has its own consequences and we must be prepared to face them since it is we who have made the choice.

Saturday, April 21, 2018 - Acts 9:31-42; Jn 6:60-69

Saturday, April 21, 2018 - Acts 9:31-42; Jn 6:60-69

  1. Who answered Jesus when he asked the Twelve if they too wanted to go away?

  2. Simon Peter
    James and John

  3. What miracle did Peter perform on Dorcas?

  4. He healed her paralysis
    He resuscitated her from the dead
    He gave her back her hearing

  5. Besides the residents of Lydda which others turned to the Lord?

  6. The residents of Joppa
    The residents of Sharon
    The residents of Samaria

  7. What according to Jesus gives life?

  8. The flesh
    The spirit
    The mind

  9. In which place did Peter find Aeneas?

  10. Lydda

  11. What was the name of the woman disciple in Joppa?

  12. Talitha

  13. In whose name was Aeneas healed?

  14. Peter's
    Jesus Christ's

  15. For how many years was Aeneas bedridden?

  16. Seven

  17. What is the message of the readings of today?

  18. Following Jesus is a conscious decision
    Following Jesus is not easy
    Jesus does not force us to follow but always invites

Thanks for taking the Quiz. I hope it makes the word of God more relevant. Let me know on Suggestions are always welcome.

Thursday 19 April 2018

Friday, April 20, 2018 - When someone places a new idea in front of you, is your first reaction one of rejection?

To read the texts click on the texts: Acts9:1-20; Jn 6:52-59

The first verse of today’s text, which contains the question that the “Jews” ask, is occasioned by the statement that Jesus makes in the previous verse. The agitation in their hearts is because Jesus has identified himself with the bread of life. Jesus replaces the manna that their ancestors ate.

Jesus addresses this protest in the verses that follow. The bread that is to be eaten is the flesh and blood of the Son of Man. Refusal to do this means death or non-life. Eating the flesh and drinking the blood results in life and resurrection on the last day. By not mentioning bread and wine and thus, not equating them with the flesh and blood of Jesus, John focuses on the corporeal and not only on the sacramental representations. He also wants to stress that Jesus gives his whole life to all who are willing to receive him. The flesh that Jesus gives is life giving and so is his blood. It is real food and drink that will end all hunger and thirst.

Eating of the flesh and blood of Jesus leads to a mutual indwelling. The one who eats and drinks abides in Jesus and Jesus abides in that person. This relationship is an extension of the relationship between Jesus and the Father. Just as Jesus lives the Father’s life, so all who eat and drink will live Jesus’ life. The penultimate verse concludes the Bread of Life Discourse and repeats a theme that has been prevalent throughout. The bread which Jesus gives has indeed come from heaven and will give life forever and give it permanently, unlike the manna which could offer only temporary life.

The reference to the synagogue in Capernaum is to highlight the difference between Jesus’ teaching and that of the Jewish teachers and the difference between the manna eaten by their forefathers and the Bread of Life that Jesus gives.

It is not always easy to accept ideas which challenge our old way of thinking. Often our first reaction is rejection of that idea. We refuse to think outside the box, and are content with stereotypes with which we are comfortable. We are comfortable with them because they do not threaten us or call on us to change. We prefer that our boats not be rocked. However, Jesus continues to rock the boat and challenge our ways of thinking and being. He continues to wake us from our stupor and keeps inviting us to see more and be more.