Sunday 30 September 2018

Audio Reflections of Monday, October 1, 2018, St. Therese of the child Jesus

To hear the Audio Reflections of Monday, October 1, 2018, St. Therese of the child Jesus, click HERE

Monday, October 1, 2018 - 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 for this 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 often 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 what is termed by as 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.

St. Therese of the Child Jesus - Isa 66:10-14; 1 Cor 13:4-13; Mt 18:1-4

Monday, October 1, 2018 - St. Therese of the Child Jesus - Isa 66:10-14; 1 Cor 13:4-13; Mt 18:1-4

  1. How old was Saint Therese when she died?

  2. Twenty-one

  3. Which three does Paul say abide?

  4. Faith, hope and peace
    Faith, hope and love
    Faith, hope and knowledge

  5. Who came to Jesus to ask about who was greatest?

  6. The crowd
    His relatives
    His disciples

  7. Whom does Isaiah call the people to rejoice with?

  8. Israel

  9. Whats does Paul say about prophecies?

  10. They are not true
    They will come to an end
    They are from the devil

  11. Whom did Jesus call and put in front of his disciples?

  12. His mother
    A child
    A blind man

  13. What is another name by which St. Therese is known?

  14. Doctor of the Church
    The Little flower
    The sister of Jesus

  15. What will come to end when the complete comes?

  16. The partial
    The world
    The whole earth

  17. How will the Lord extend prosperity to Jerusalem

  18. Like a river
    Like a sea
    Like a great gift

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

  20. We need to acknowledge our dependence on God for entry into the Kingdom
    St. Therese was a beautiful example of what it means to become a child
    Humility is a gift from God

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Saturday 29 September 2018

Sunday, September 30, 2018 – Will you speak on behalf of God today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Num11:25-29; Jas 5:1-6; Mk 9:38-43,45,47-48

The English word, “prophet,” comes from the Latin, “propheta” or Greek, “prophētēs” which means “one who speaks on behalf of God”. Since the prophet is the mouth by which God speaks to humans, what a prophet says are not his own words, but God’s words. Moses, who figures in the first reading of today, is an example of a prophet from the Old Testament.  James, from whose letter the second reading of today is taken, is an example of a prophet in the New Testament.

The first reading, from the book of Numbers, tells about an incident that occurred as the Israelites were marching through the desert toward the Promised Land. God offered to bestow some of the spirit that was in Moses on seventy elders of the people.  These seventy would then share the duties of leadership with Moses. When God bestowed the spirit on the elders, they, like Moses, became prophets and were able to prophesy or speak on behalf of God. Two men, Eldad and Medad, who had not been part of the group of seventy, also received the spirit and began prophesying. Joshua, who was the assistant to Moses, told Moses to stop them, apparently thinking that it was improper for anyone who had not been part of the group of seventy to prophesy. But Moses refused to accept Joshua's advice. Instead, he said, “Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit on them!”

The point that Moses makes is that the Spirit of God cannot be controlled by human structures. It is a force for change that blows where it will. The charisma of God can appear in members who are not supposed to have such power. Their prophesying illustrates that the boundaries of even minimal forms of hierarchy can be broken by the uncontrollable Spirit of God. The role of Moses in this episode illustrates how an ideal and charismatic leader will promote and recognize such power in unexpected places, rather than view it as a challenge to his own authority, as did Joshua. Charisma breaks established boundaries both inside and outside of communities. Charismatic leadership forces communities to be self-critical, because the power of God can appear in unexpected forms, places, and persons.

Such charismatic leadership is noticed in the second reading of today when James also speaks as a charismatic prophet. With words that are bound to sting, he berates the oppressors of the poor. He does not mince words and is categorical and forceful in his criticism of the rich.  He is especially critical of those who have made their riches ends in themselves. Speaking on behalf of God, he calls on them to realize that it is their riches which will be used as evidence for their condemnation and judgement. Like his Lord, Jesus, had done before him, James pronounces woes on the rich because of their mistreatment of the poor.

This Lord, who speaks in the Gospel text of today, is not merely a prophet. He does not merely speak on behalf of God. Rather, he is God. If the words of the prophet have to be taken seriously and acted upon, how much more so the words of God himself.  In the first part of the Gospel text of today, Jesus corrects John, like Moses corrected Joshua. Like Joshua before him, it seems that John, too, was jealous of the unnamed exorcist who was able to exorcise despite not being part of the inner circle of Jesus. Jesus, however, is open and accommodating. He will not set limits on persons as long as they are doing what God wants them to do. He will not be an obstacle or stumbling block in the way of anyone who is doing good, and he exhorts his disciples to adopt this way of thinking. Since Jesus does not stand on his ego, he is able to allow the unnamed exorcist to do God’s work. He does not claim a monopoly on such work. What is important is that the work be done and the kingdom brought closer.

However, the kingdom will remain a distant dream and will not be translated into reality if there are stumbling blocks that keep coming in the way of the kingdom. These are not external events, but persons and their attitudes and this is what Jesus addresses in the second part of today’s Gospel. The behaviour and attitude of the disciples can become a scandal to those who witness them. On the one hand, one cannot blame others for the decisions one makes.  On the other hand, however, if these are simple people, there is every possibility that the scandalous behaviour of Jesus’ disciples can scandalize them. Thus, the disciples are warned.

The scandals that we can cause, as disciples of Jesus, can be seen in two areas. One area is when, like Joshua and John, we become narrow minded and parochial in our way of proceeding. We may focus so much on the external that we might lose sight of the internal. We may place so much emphasis on our small community that we might neglect the larger community. The second area in which we can cause scandal is through the words that we speak and the actions that we do.  Our words and actions may, at times, push people away from Jesus rather than draw people to him. When people look at the lives we lead, and at our way of proceeding, and know that we are followers of Jesus, is it likely or unlikely that they will be inspired to follow him?

The call of the readings then, is a twofold call. It is first a call to each one of us to be prophets of God and to have the courage to speak on his behalf to a world that has grown deaf and will not hear and to a world that has grown blind and will not see. It is also a call to an open-minded attitude that will welcome the actions of those who may not belong to our “inner circle” of faith, realizing that the Spirit of God can work when and where the Spirit wills.  It is also to live our lives as Christians and followers of Jesus in such a manner that, when people see and hear us, they will be seeing and hearing Jesus Christ. It is to dare to say, with Paul, that it is no longer we who live, but Christ who lives in us. (Gal 2:20)

Sunday, September 30, 2018 - Num 11:25-29; Jas 5:1-6; Mk 9:38-43,45,47-48

Sunday, September 30, 2018 - Num 11:25-29; Jas 5:1-6; Mk 9:38-43,45,47-48

  1. What has happened to the riches of the rich?

  2. They have rusted
    They have rotted
    They are moth eaten

  3. How many chapters does the letter of James contain?

  4. Seven

  5. Who does James say the rich have condemned and murdered?

  6. The weak one
    The righteous one
    The meek one

  7. What has happened to the gold and silver of the rich?

  8. They have been eaten by moths
    They have rusted
    They have rotted

  9. Who told Jesus that they tried to stop the unnamed exorcist?

  10. Peter

  11. What were the names of the two men who remained in the camp?

  12. Eldad and Medad
    Joshua and Moses
    James and John

  13. What will be used as evidence against the rich?

  14. Their moth eaten clothes
    The rust of their gold and silver
    Their rotted riches

  15. On how many elders did the Lord put the spirit?

  16. Seventy-two

  17. What was Joshua's father's name?

  18. Yehushewa
    Joshua Sr

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

  20. We are all called to be prophets and speak on behalf of God
    To be a prophet requires courage and God's grace
    Prophets are the need of the hour

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Friday 28 September 2018

Audio Reflections for Saturday, September 29, 2018 the feast of Michael, Gabriel and Raphael

To hear the Audio Reflections for Saturday, September 29, 2018 the feast of Michael, Gabriel and Raphael click HERE

Saturday, September 29, 2018 - Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael

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.

Saturday, September 29, 2018 - Dan 7:9-10,13-14; Rev 12:7-12; Jn 1:47-51

Saturday, September 29, 2018 - Dan 7:9-10,13-14; Rev 12:7-12; Jn 1:47-51

  1. What does the name Gabriel mean?

  2. Strength of God
    Who is as God?
    God heals

  3. Upon whom does Jesus say the angels will ascend and descend?

  4. The Son of God
    The Son of Man
    The Ancient One

  5. How many served the Ancient One?

  6. Ten thousand times ten thousand
    A thousand thousand
    A thousand times ten thousand

  7. How were the wheels of the chariot of the Ancient One?

  8. Fiery flames
    Burning fire
    Raging tempest

  9. Which angel is mentioned in the second reading of today?

  10. Gabriel

  11. What does the name Michael mean?

  12. God heals
    Who is as God?
    Strength of God

  13. What colour was the clothing of the Ancient One?

  14. Red as scarlet
    White as snow
    Blue as the sky

  15. What does the name Raphael mean?

  16. Who is as God?
    God heals
    Strength of God

  17. Whom did Jesus say he saw under the fig tree?

  18. Philip

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

  20. God's presence is constantly with us
    Our God never abandons us
    God's love for us is constant as shown through his angels

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Thursday 27 September 2018

Audio reflections of Friday, September 28, 2018

To hear the Audio reflections of Friday, September 28, 2018 click HERE

Friday, September 28, 2018 - 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:Ecclesiastes 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.

Friday, September 28, 2018 - Ecclesiastes 3:1-11; Lk 9:18-22

Friday, September 28, 2018 - Ecclesiastes 3:1-11; Lk 9:18-22

  1. Who answered Jesus' question about his identity?

  2. John

  3. What is the sixth time mentioned in today's reading?

  4. a time to weep, and a time to laugh
    a time to mourn, and a time to dance
    a time to keep silence, and a time to speak

  5. Besides the elders and chief priests who else would reject Jesus?

  6. The Pharisees
    The High Priest
    The scribes

  7. When did Jesus ask his disciples the question ‘Who do the crowds say that I am?'

  8. When he was eating
    When he was praying
    When he was travelling

  9. On which day did Jesus say he would be raised?

  10. After three days
    The second day
    On the third day

  11. What is the last time mentioned in today's reading?

  12. a time to love, and a time to hate
    a time for war, and a time for peace
    a time to seek, and a time to lose

  13. How many chapters does the book of Ecclesiasticus contain?

  14. Fifty-one

  15. How many chapters does the book of Ecclesiastes contain?

  16. Twenty

  17. Besides Elijah and one of the ancient prophets who else did people think Jesus was?

  18. Elisha
    John the Baptist

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

  20. Jesus did not come to be a glorious Messiah but one who would save
    Jesus is indeed the Christ of God
    Jesus died that we may have life in abundance

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Wednesday 26 September 2018

Audio Reflections of Thursday, September 27, 2018

To hear the Audio Reflections of Thursday, September 27, 2018 click HERE

Thursday, September 27, 2018 - 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:Ecclesiastes 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 here 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.

Thursday, September 27, 2018 - Ecclesiastes 1:2-11; Lk 9:7-9

Thursday, September 27, 2018 - Ecclesiastes 1:2-11; Lk 9:7-9

  1. What is the eye not satisfied with?

  2. Seeing
    Clear sght
    Eye drops

  3. What is new under the sun?

  4. Everything
    Some things

  5. Which Old Testament is name in today's Gospel?

  6. Elisha

  7. What did Herod say he had done to John?

  8. He had listened to his preaching
    He had beheaded him
    He had befriended him

  9. What is another name for the Book of Ecclesiastes?

  10. Ecclesiasticus

  11. Where do all streams run?

  12. To the mountains
    To the rivers
    To the sea

  13. What does the Preacher say remains forever?

  14. The sun
    The earth
    The moon

  15. What is the book of Ecclesiasticus also known as?

  16. Qoheleth

  17. Who was perplexed when he heard of the things being done by Jesus' disciples?

  18. Pilate
    John the Baptist

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

  20. To engage in the Mission of Jesus is challenging
    All is temporary and passing
    One must be be prepared to forego all to follow Jesus

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Tuesday 25 September 2018

Audio reflections of Wednesday, September 26, 2018

To hear the Audio reflections of Wednesday, September 26, 2018 click HERE

Wednesday, September 26, 2018 - What does mission mean for you today? How and where will you proclaim it?

To read the texts click on the texts: Pro 30:5-9; Lk 9:1-6
This passage may be seen as the culmination of the entire section Lk. 7:1 – 8:56. In this section, we were shown the nature of Jesus’ Kingdom mission. The Twelve now share in that same mission. 

The verses of today's Gospel may be termed as the Mission Discourse according to Luke. Though Luke has taken much material from the Mission Discourse of Mark (see Mk. 6:6b-13), he has also made changes, which bring out his meaning of mission more clearly. 

Before Jesus instructs his disciples on how they must go about their mission, he gives them not only authority as in Mark, but power and authority. This power and authority is given not only over the unclean spirits as in Mark, but over all demons and to cure diseases. Only in Luke are they also sent to “preach the Kingdom of God”. This indicates that for Luke, mission is inclusive and includes both doing as well as saying, both action as well as word.

Besides power and authority, Jesus also gives the disciples a strategy for mission. This may be summed up as detachment from things (take nothing for your journey), persons (stay there and from there depart) and from events (and wherever they do not receive you, when you leave shake off the dust from your feet). Dependence ought to be only on the Providence of God. The rejection shown Jesus is also in store for those sent by Jesus. 

The last verse in today’s text, underscores the disciples’ obedience to the commands of Jesus by reiterating the principal features of mission: preaching the good news and healing the sick. That mission is universal is made clear in the last word, “everywhere”.

As missionaries today, we are called to continue to the Mission inaugurated by Jesus and put into motion by his first disciples. It is a mission, which includes every aspect of life and involves all persons. This means that we are called not to be part-time missionaries or disciples, but on mission always and everywhere.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018 - Pro 30:5-9; Lk 9:1-6

Wednesday, September 26, 2018 - Pro 30:5-9; Lk 9:1-6

  1. How many tunics were the Missionaries to take?

  2. One

  3. Besides bringing the good news what did the Missionaries do?

  4. They taught with authority
    They cured diseases everywhere
    They told stories about Jesus

  5. From where did Jesus say the Missionaries must leave?

  6. From the back door
    From the house they entered first
    From the synagogue

  7. Who did Jesus call and give authority?

  8. The crowds
    The disciples
    The Twelve

  9. What will happen if one adds to the word of God?

  10. The person will not be able to write
    The person will be rebuked
    The person will become dumb

  11. Besides proclaiming the kingdom what were they to do?

  12. Teach
    Make disciples

  13. How does Proverbs describe every word of God?

  14. As holy
    As true
    As gracious

  15. Whts is the first of the two things asked before dying?

  16. To feed with food that lasts
    To remove falsehood and lying
    To be rich and wealthy

  17. What power and authority did Jesus give to the Twelve?

  18. Over the ruler of this world
    Over all demons and to cure diseases
    Over things which were difficult

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

  20. The Mission of Jesus is inclusive
    All are invited to be Missionaries
    The Mission is not only words but action as well

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Monday 24 September 2018

Audio Reflections of Tuesday, September 25, 2018

To hear the Audio Reflections of Tuesday, September 25, 2018 click HERE

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 - 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.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 - Prov 21:1-6.10-13; Lk 8:19-21

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 - Prov 21:1-6.10-13; Lk 8:19-21

  1. What doe the souls of the wicked desire?

  2. Riches
    Gold and silver

  3. Where do the plans of the diligent lead?

  4. To want
    To abundance
    To desire

  5. What is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice?

  6. To follow the law diligently
    To do righteousness and justice
    To avoid sin

  7. What does the Righteous One observe?

  8. Everything that one is doing
    The house of the wicked
    All the wrong that one does

  9. Why could Jesus' mother and brothers not reach him?

  10. Because he had vanished from their sight
    Because of the crowd
    Because they were looking in the wrong place

  11. What happens when a scoffer is punished?

  12. Everyone is sad
    Everyone is happy
    The simple become wiser

  13. What happens when the wise are instructed?

  14. They listen carefully
    They increase in knowledge
    They learn quickly

  15. How is the king's heart in the hands of the Lord?

  16. Like a human heart
    Like a stream of water
    Like a hard heart

  17. What does the Lord weigh?

  18. Gold and silver
    Wheat and corn
    The heart

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

  20. To be related to Jesus we must be willing to do God's will
    To be truly Christian we must live out our baptism
    Baptism makes us Christians, but we must show this in our lives

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Sunday 23 September 2018

Audio Reflections of Monday, September 24, 2018

To hear the Audio Reflections of Monday, September 24, 2018 click HERE

Monday, September 24, 2018 - What is the Good News according to you? Will you share it with others today? How?

To read the texts click on the texts:Pro 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.

Monday, September 24, 2018 - Pro 3:27-34; Lk 8:16-18

Monday, September 24, 2018 - Pro 3:27-34; Lk 8:16-18

  1. What are the perverse to the Lord?

  2. His pride and joy
    An abomination
    The apple of his eye

  3. Where does one put a lamp?

  4. Under a jar
    Under a bed
    On a lampstand

  5. How many chapters does the book of Proverbs contain?

  6. Thirty

  7. Whom does the Lord bless?

  8. The abode of the wicked
    The abode of the righteous
    The abode of the unrighteous

  9. How does the Lord deal with scorners?

  10. He tolerates them
    He is scornful
    He is unjust

  11. Whose ways must one not choose?

  12. The frightened
    The violent
    The wrong

  13. Against whom must one not plan harm?

  14. One's friends
    One enemies
    One's neighbour

  15. From whom must one not withhold good?

  16. From one's friends
    To whom it is due
    From one's family

  17. To whom does the Lord show favour?

  18. The scorners
    The humble
    The proud

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

  20. Hearing is an active prosess
    Openness to the word is to be like a lamp
    An attentive hearing results in transformation

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Saturday 22 September 2018

Sunday, September 23, 2018 - To serve and not to be served

To read the texts click on the texts:Wis 2:12,17-20; Jas 3:16-4:3; Mk 9:30-37
The Gospel of Mark contains three Passion and Resurrection predictions. Three times in the Gospel, albeit with some differences in each, Jesus speaks about his suffering, death, and resurrection. After each of these predictions, there is a misunderstanding of what Jesus says. In the first instance, Peter misunderstands. He insists that Jesus must not suffer and die. In the third instance, the brothers, James and John, misunderstand. They ask for places on the right hand and left hand of Jesus in the kingdom.

It is the second prediction of the Passion and Resurrection, and what follows after, which is the Gospel text of today. Immediately after Jesus has spoken, Mark states unambiguously that the disciples did not understand what Jesus was saying. This is shown also by the silence with which they respond to Jesus’ question “What were you arguing about on the way?” The reason they do not respond is because they had been discussing which one of them was the greatest. They knew, even as they remained silent, that this kind of discussion was not appropriate and did not fit in with Jesus’ world view and scheme of things.

Be that as it may, some more important questions that the Gospel of today raises are these: How could the disciples, who had been so closely associated with Jesus and knew him so intimately, even consider thinking about greatness? Did not all the time they spent with Jesus have any effect on them at all? How come the values that Jesus lived and spoke about constantly, values of self-abnegation, service, selflessness, and the like, have no impact on them?

The answer to these questions is provided in part by the first and second readings of today. The first reading spells out how the attitude of a righteous person, like Jesus, is not at all easy to accept. The righteous person is someone who is inconvenient and tiresome to many. There are two responses to such a person. The first is to ignore him and all that he stands for. However, sometimes, through his life of righteousness, he exposes us who are unrighteous. The second response, therefore, is to do away with him as quickly as one can. It is to test him with opposition, insult, and torture, in the hope that he will give up his position of righteousness and buckle under the pressure. It is to test his forbearance, and patience, and perseverance. It is to find out whether he is really serious about what he preaches and whether he will be able, in reality, to practice it. The disciples choose the first response.

They pretend not to understand because what Jesus preaches is too difficult to translate into action. They prefer, instead, to go the way which most normally go. They prefer to walk the easy road, trod by most others; the road of power, prestige, and honour. The adversaries of Jesus, however, choose the second response. They will do away with Jesus. His presence, and all he stands for, is a threat to them. They will not tolerate this new way that he preaches. It is against everything that they want to be.

The reason they will do this is because, as James explains in the second reading of today, there is envy and selfish ambition in the very core of their being. There is a lack of wisdom and thus, disorder and wickedness of every kind. Their cravings and covetousness prevent them from seeing that there is another way. Their unchecked desires prevent them from daring to walk the path of selflessness and service. They would rather be served than serve.

Jesus, however, will make no compromise. He is convinced that the only way to live life, fully and completely, is through serving rather than being served. In his scheme of things, and in his view of life, the only way to be first is to be last; the only way to be master is by being servant. The only way to be No. 1 is by being No one. He makes this explicit, not only through his words, but also by his action of placing a child in front of the disciples. He points to the child, one who was regarded as a non-person, as his representative. In doing so, Jesus is telling his disciples, and each of us, that in his kingdom, egolessness, dying to oneself, and serving as he served, are the only ways through which one can hope to enter his kingdom.

Greatness in the kingdom overturns the usual perceptions we have of greatness and honour. It is almost normal to consider the first as first and the last as last. The challenge is to learn to think as God thinks which runs counter to well-established behaviour patterns. We often pay lip service to the view that the “first shall be last,” as long as we are not challenged to put that view to the test. The readings of today then, issue a call and challenge to each of us to dare to see that there is another way: the way of being No one so that one can indeed be No.1.

Sunday, September 23, 2018 - Wis 2:12,17-20; Jas 3:16-4:3; Mk 9:30-37

Sunday, September 23, 2018 - Wis 2:12,17-20; Jas 3:16-4:3; Mk 9:30-37

  1. To what do the adversaries want to condemn the righteous man"

  2. To Hades
    To a shameful death
    To perdition

  3. How does James describe wisdom from above?

  4. It is first pure
    It is prudent
    It is humble

  5. Whom did Jesus place before the disciples to teach them about being last?

  6. His mother
    His father
    A child

  7. Whom did Jesus call after he sat down?

  8. The people
    The crowd
    The twelve

  9. In which place did Jesus enter a house?

  10. Galilee

  11. Where does James say conflicts and disputes come from?

  12. The devil
    Cravings within
    From outside

  13. Through which place did Jesus pass when we teaching his disciples?

  14. Capernaum

  15. How will the adversaries test the righteous man?

  16. With hitting and spitting
    With insult and torture
    With a written test

  17. How did the disciples respond to Jesus' question of what they were discussing on the way?

  18. They defended themselves
    They were silent
    They gave wise answers

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

  20. In Jesus' view, if we want to be No. ! we must dare to be No One
    As disciples of Jesus we are called to serve and not be served
    The first must want to be servant

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

Friday 21 September 2018

Audio Reflections of Saturday, September 20, 2018

To hear the Audio Reflections of Saturday, September 20, 2018 click HERE

Saturday, September 22, 2018 - How do I react when most of my effort seems to be in vain?

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 (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 a 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?