Tuesday 30 April 2019

Audio Reflections of Wednesday, May 1, 2019 St. Joseph the Worker

To hear the Audio Reflections of Wednesday, May 1, 2019 St. Joseph the Worker click HERE

Wednesday, May 1, 2019 - St. Joseph the Worker - Work is only a small part of who we are. We are each of us more than our work

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. In response to their negative attitude to him, Jesus speaks of himself as a prophet and identifies himself with the true prophets of Israel.

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.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019 - Gen 1:26-2:3; Col 3:14-15,17,23-24; Mt 13:54-58

Wednesday, May 1, 2019 - Gen 1:26-2:3; Col 3:14-15,17,23-24; Mt 13:54-58

  1. In whose name must the Colossians doe all things?

  2. In the name of their anscestors
    In the name of the Lord Jesus
    In the name of the Spirit

  3. Why did Jesus not do many mighty works in his hometown?

  4. Because he did not get paid
    Becuase there were no sick people there
    Because of their unbelief

  5. Where did Jesus teach the people?

  6. In the Temple
    In the countryside
    In the synagogue

  7. What does Colossians say binds everything together?

  8. A rope
    A cord

  9. Whose son did the people say Jesus was?

  10. Mary's
    The Carpenter's

  11. On which day did Genesis say humans were created?

  12. Fifth

  13. On which day did God finish his work?

  14. Sixth

  15. Who does Jesus say is not honoured in his own country?

  16. A saint
    A preacher
    A prophet

  17. What does Genesis say God created on the seventh day?

  18. The sun, moon and stars
    God rested on the seventh day
    The plants and trees

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

  20. Work is only a small part of who we are.
    We are each of us more than our work
    Our work is an extension of ourselves

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

Monday 29 April 2019

Audio Reflections of Tuesday, April 30, 2019

To hear the Audio Reflections of Tuesday, April 30, 2019 click HERE

Tuesday, April 30, 2019 - Have you been tempted to give up or give in when things do not go the way you want them to go? Will you see in the cross you are carrying your own exaltation?

To read the texts click on the texts: Acts 4:32-37; Jn 3:7-15
The text of today repeats the last two verses of yesterday in order to situate the question that Nicodemus asks in the following verse. To Jesus’ statement that it is necessary for a person to be born of water and the spirit, or from above, and that this birth, like the wind/spirit is a mystery that cannot be fully grasped, Nicodemus responds with amazement. His question once again begins with “How”. This indicates the limits that Nicodemus sets even before any revelation can be made to him. This is the last time that Nicodemus will speak. He begins with “How” and ends with “How”. He does not seem to have been able to go to the deeper meaning and mystery to which Jesus was taking him. Though he is a teacher himself, he has refused to learn and so, cannot understand.

Through the monologue that follows, Jesus renews the offer of new birth through his death, resurrection, and ascension. The “we” of Jesus, in the Gospel context, stands for Jesus, John the Baptist, and the disciples of John, who followed Jesus and witnessed to him. These witnesses speak from their own experience; what they know, they say. If Nicodemus is not able to understand the simple things, like being born from above and with water and the spirit, how will he able to understand even greater mysteries than this? Jesus alone has the authority to make the revelation of heavenly things since he has come from heaven. He has the power on earth to reveal things of heaven. In 3:14, for the first time, we come across what may be regarded as a passion, resurrection, and ascension prediction in the Gospel of John. Jesus will be lifted up/exalted, just as Moses lifted up/exalted the bronze serpent in the wilderness. The word “hupsoo’ can mean “lift up” or exalt”. Thus, while the word might indicate the physical act of “lifting up” the cross beam at the time of his crucifixion, it can also mean his “exaltation”. Thus, in his crucifixion, Jesus will also be exalted, yet there is no exaltation apart from the crucifixion. The consequence of believing in Jesus lifted up/exalted is eternal life, which here means a life lived in the constant presence of God.

It is significant that for the Gospel of John, the very act of the crucifixion is also seen as the act of the resurrection and ascension. Jesus dies, but only to be raised to life and ascend to the Father. This insight is extremely important for our lives as well, because it means that, if we accept it, our lives will never be the same again.

It says to us that, even when we are in extremely difficult situations and there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel, God continues to be there with us. It says to us that, at moments when we think all is lost and we have no hope, we must not give up or give in. It says to us that, even at those times when we cannot fully understand why things happen the way they do and we are tempted to throw in the towel, God continues to offer hope and consolation.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019 - Acts 4:32-37; Jn 3:7-15

Tuesday, April 30, 2019 - Acts 4:32-37; Jn 3:7-15

  1. Who lifted the serpent in the wilderness?

  2. Aaron

  3. What will those who believe in the Son of man receive?

  4. The choicest of gifts
    The most beautiful reward
    Eternal life

  5. Who does Jesus say has ascended into heaven?

  6. The one who is righteous
    The one who has descended from heaven
    The one who does no wrong

  7. How many needy persons were among the first Christian community?

  8. Many

  9. Who will also be lifted up like the serpent?

  10. Moses
    The Son of man

  11. To whom did the possessors of lands and houses give the money after selling them?

  12. To their family members
    To the aposltes
    To their relatives

  13. Who sold a field which belonged to him?

  14. Barabbas

  15. Of which place was Barnabas a native?

  16. Germany

  17. What was the earlier name of Barnabas?

  18. James

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

  20. We must be able see God's hand even when carrying the cross
    God is present even in Gethsemane
    We must have the courage to believe even when we cannot see

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

Sunday 28 April 2019

Audio Reflections of Monday, April 29, 2019

To hear the Audio Reflections of Monday, April 29, 2019 click HERE

Monday, April 29, 2019 - Acts 4:23-31; Jn 3:1-8

Monday, April 29, 2019 - Acts 4:23-31; Jn 3:1-8

  1. To which group did Nicodemus belong?

  2. Chief Priests

  3. Against whom were the Gentiles gathered?

  4. Against Peter
    Against the king
    Against Jesus

  5. Besides being born of water of what else must one be born?

  6. Fire

  7. Which Gentile procurator is mentioned in the first reading?

  8. Caesar
    Pontus Pilate

  9. What was the name of the Pharisee who cam to Jesus?

  10. Joseph of Arimathea

  11. Which Jewish tetrach is mentioned in the first reading?

  12. Herod

  13. Which king is mentioned in the first reading of today?

  14. Solomon

  15. Where does the spirit come from?

  16. The North
    The South
    One does not know

  17. When did Nicodemus come to Jesus?

  18. In the morning
    At night
    In the afternoon

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

  20. Being born again means being born from above?
    The Spirit of God is a spirit of freedom
    God's Spirit blows where it wills

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

Monday, April 29, 2019 - Have you, like Nicodemus, set limits on what God can and cannot do? Will you open yourself to “mystery” today? How will you show through three actions today that you are born from above?

To read the texts click on the texts: Acts4:23-31; Jn 3:1-8
The first twenty-one verses of Chapter 3 contain the dialogue between Jesus and Nicodemus and a discourse of Jesus. The text of today contains the dialogue.

The first verse introduces Nicodemus as a Pharisee and leader of the Jews. While on the one hand, Nicodemus comes to Jesus and indicates a desire to seek and find, on the other hand, he comes at night. Night, in the Gospel of John, is used in opposition to light and represents separation from the presence of God.

Nicodemus begins the dialogue by making a statement about Jesus’ identity. In addressing Jesus as “Rabbi” (Teacher) he acknowledges Jesus right to teach. He goes even further in acknowledging that Jesus is God’s emissary. However, this affirmation is based on the signs that he has witnessed and Jesus does not entrust himself to those whose faith is based on signs. Nicodemus does not realize that what he has says about the origins of Jesus has a much deeper meaning than the one he means. Jesus is not merely an emissary of God, but has his origin in God. The “we’ of Nicodemus is to indicate that he does not speak for himself alone, but for the community that he represents.

Jesus does not respond directly to Nicodemus’s acknowledgement of him, but challenges him with a teaching of depth. Jesus’ used of the Greek word “anothen” is a classic case of double meaning with which the Gospel of John abounds. In this technique, Jesus uses a word which can have two meanings. The listener always picks the base or literal meaning while Jesus means the deeper meaning. “Anothen” can mean “from above” or “again”. By use of this word, Jesus challenges Nicodemus to move from the base or surface meaning to the deeper meaning and understanding. Nicodemus does not make this move and interprets the word at its surface level. Thus, he sets limits on what is and is not possible. He questions the possibility of a person entering his/her mother’s womb since he interprets “to be born anothen” to mean “to be born again”. Jesus, however, speaks of a radical new birth from above.

To explain further what he means, Jesus uses another set of images; “water and the spirit”. This is an indication that, while on the one hand, entry into the kingdom will require physical birth, through water, it will also require more. It will require a spiritual birth, by the spirit. Entry into the kingdom will require being born from above or by water and the spirit. Like the wind/spirit which blows where it wills and can be felt and heard but not seen, so is birth by the spirit a mystery that cannot be comprehended fully by finite minds.

There are two related points that this text invites us to reflect on. The first of these is the attitude of Nicodemus when he comes to Jesus. His opening “We know” is already an indication that he has come with preconceived notions and not with openness. It also indicates that he is of the opinion that he does not need to learn anything. This is a dangerous attitude for one to have. Learning never ends. While books, experiences, and the like teach us a number of things, there are many things that we still do not know. We need to realize this and, with this realization, must come an openness and desire to learn.
The second and related point is the questions that Nicodemus asks. His closed attitude prompts him to set limits on what God can and cannot do and his “we know’ soon takes the form of “How can”. He is unwillingly to let God be God. His categories are all well defined and no amount of explanation will break through them.  Sadly, he starts with “How can’ and ends with the same words.

Saturday 27 April 2019

Sunday, April 28, 2019 - How will your belief in the Living Lord show in action?

To read the texts click on the texts: Acts 5:12-16; Rev 1:9-13, 17-19; Jn 20:19-31
The verses which make up the Gospel text for today may be seen to be divided into four parts, all of which are interconnected. The first of these is the appearance of the Risen Christ to his disciples, and this is followed by his commission to them. The third is the appearance of the Risen Christ to the disciples when Thomas is present.  The final part is the comments made by the evangelist.

The disciples did not believe the word of Mary Magdalene that the Lord had appeared to her and so, they are behind closed doors. However, even closed doors do not pose a hindrance to Jesus. He comes into their midst. His first words to the disciples are his gift of peace. This is not merely a wish, but a gift, since it is with his peace that they will be sent out into the world. This gift enables them to substitute fearlessness for their fear, courage for their cowardice, and joy for their sorrow. The manifestation of his hands and side is to indicate to them that there is continuity. It is not a different Jesus who appears to them, but the same Jesus, who was crucified, died, buried, and raised from the dead. He is now, also, the Risen Christ. This manifestation enables the disciples to see and recognise him. This is the reason for their joy.
However, the manifestation serves another purpose as well, which is to send the disciples on mission. The disciples are sent by Jesus, the Risen Christ, just as Jesus was sent by the Father. In other words, they are to continue the mission that Jesus began.  As he received the gift of the Spirit before his ministry, so too, the disciples receive the gift of the Spirit from Jesus. The breath of Jesus on the disciples makes them a new creation and readies them for their mission that is to forgive and retain sin.

While this has been understood as a basis for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, it seems, from the text, that the mission is much deeper. The Commission is to “the disciples”, which, in the Gospel of John, is a much larger group than the eleven or twelve. It involves the entire faith community. It is the whole community that is called to continue the mission of Jesus. This mission is not merely the forgiveness or retention of sins that individuals commit.  It is more than that.  In the Gospel of John, sin is, more often than not, a theological failing. It is the refusal to believe that Jesus is the manifestation of the Father. It is the refusal to believe that Jesus reveals God as no other does. Thus, when the disciples are commissioned to forgive and retain sin, what they are really commissioned to do is reveal God to the world as Jesus did.  They will reveal God to the world by the love they have for one another, and by the love they show to others. They will make others see that God is, indeed, love. They will, through their actions, invite others to share in this unconditional love. Those to whom this manifestation is made are free to accept or to reject it. It is in this acceptance or rejection that sins are forgiven or retained. Acceptance means forgiveness.  Rejection means that sins are retained.

This interpretation is confirmed when we realise that one reason why Thomas did not believe the disciples when they told him that they had seen the Lord, was because he was not able to see in their words and actions a manifestation of the love of Jesus. They were as they had been before the revelation that Jesus made to them. There did not seem to be any marked change in their behaviour. They were not able to convince him that the Lord had, indeed, appeared to them. However, Jesus will use, for Thomas, that way which will bring him to faith. In this, Thomas is as “doubting” as the disciples and no more so. Thus, in this scene, the focus of attention is not Thomas, but Jesus. The focus is on the generous offer of himself that Jesus makes to Thomas, an offer that Jesus made to so many others, so often in his life time. After his resurrection, Jesus continues to give. Thomas responds with the most powerful, complete and the highest acclamation for Jesus found in the Gospels: “My Lord and my God!” Jesus is, indeed, Lord and God. The words of Jesus to Thomas after the acclamation include future generations of believers. It is not necessary to have external sight to come to faith. It is not necessary to touch and to feel to come to faith. It is not necessary to have tangible evidence to come to faith. We, who believe without having seen, are invited, like Thomas and the other disciples, not merely to believe in the resurrection, but to believe in the revelation of Jesus as the Son of God.  We are invited to believe in his unique relationship with God. We now have life in abundance because Jesus has completed his work on earth and returned to the Father.

He is, as the second reading of today informs us, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. He who was dead is alive forever and it is he who holds the keys of the kingdom. It is the same Lord who gave Peter and the first disciples the power to heal and make whole. It is the same Lord who gave Peter and the disciples the power to reach out in love.  It is the same Lord who gave Peter and the disciples the power to make him manifest in their every word and action so that others will be brought to believe.

It is the same Lord who gives us this power today. What will we do with it?

Sunday, April 28, 2019 - Acts 5:12-16; Rev 1:9-13, 17-19; Jn 20:19-31

Sunday, April 28, 2019 - Acts 5:12-16; Rev 1:9-13, 17-19; Jn 20:19-31

  1. How many lamp-stands does John say he saw?

  2. Six

  3. What keys does the son of man say he has?

  4. Heaven and Hell
    Earth and Heaven
    Death and Hades

  5. Which disciple was not with the others when Jesus appeared?

  6. Peter

  7. What of Peter did people want to fall on the sick?

  8. His hand
    His garment
    His shadow

  9. What did Jesus give the disciples after he breathed on them?

  10. The Holy Spirit
    His power to work miracles
    His ability to tell parables

  11. What did the son of man have around his bresat?

  12. Armour
    A shield
    A golden girdle

  13. How many days later was Thomas with the disciples?

  14. Six

  15. In whose Portico were the apostles gathered?

  16. David's

  17. On which Island does John say he was?

  18. Mann
    Rosh Hanikara

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

  20. Faith means to believe even when we do not see
    Faith is the assurance of things hoped for
    Faith is to believe before we can receive

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

Friday 26 April 2019

Audio Reflections of Saturday, April 27, 2019

To hear the Audio Reflections of Saturday, April 27, 2019 click HERE


Saturday, April 27, 2019 - Will you communicate Jesus’ healing touch to someone like he has communicated it to you?

To read the texts click on the texts: Acts4:13-21; Mk 16:9-15
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 by narrating the appearance of the risen Lord to Mary Magdalene. Her witness is not believed by those to whom she communicates this news. The next to witness the risen Lord are two disciples as they were walking into the country. These, too, were not believed. Jesus then appears to the eleven while they are at table and first, upbraids them for their stubbornness and lack of faith and then, makes them messengers and apostles of the good news to the whole world.

Even in the longer ending, one of the main themes is the lack of faith on the part of the disciples. Because of what they witnessed at the crucifixion, they had given up and felt defeated. They had lost all hope and could not get themselves to believe that God could make all things new. Yet, as he did in his life time, Jesus reaches out to them even in their weakness and fear. Since he was able to accomplish all that God wanted him to even when on the cross, he knew that God could continue to accomplish his will even in his weak and frightened disciples. Thus, while they are made aware of their fear, they are also challenged to go beyond it, confident in the knowledge that Jesus himself would be with them.

Unbelief is the friend of faith; 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. 

Saturday, April 27, 2019 - Acts 4:13-21; Mk 16:9-15

Saturday, April 27, 2019 - Acts 4:13-21; Mk 16:9-15

  1. To whom did Jesus command the Eleven to preach the Gospel?

  2. To a select audience
    To Christians only
    To the whole creation

  3. How many chapters does the Gospel of Mark contain?

  4. Sixteen

  5. How many demons does Mark say had been cast from Mary Magdalene?

  6. Six

  7. Which disciples were arrested according to the Acts of the Apostles?

  8. James and John
    Peter and James
    Peter and John

  9. To whom does Mark say Jesus appeared first?

  10. Mary his mother
    Mary Magdalene
    Mary the wife of Clopas

  11. To how many disciples did Jesus appear finally?

  12. Twelve
    Five hundred

  13. After appearing to Mary Magdalene to whom does Mark say Jesus appeared?

  14. Peter and John
    James and John
    Two disciples as they were walking into the country

  15. On which day of the week did Jesus rise?

  16. The last day
    The third day
    The first day

  17. To the inhabitants of which place was the notable that Peter did visible?

  18. Galilee

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

  20. We must witness to Jesus by our actions
    The only Jesus that people will see is the one we make visible
    We must show through love that we are disciples of Jesus

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

Thursday 25 April 2019

Audio Reflections of Friday, April 26, 2019

To hear the Audio Reflections of Friday, April 26, 2019 click HERE


Friday, April 26, 2019 - Do you prefer to sit on the fence or do you take a stand on issues? When you are unable to do something and someone offers a suggestion, how do you respond? Do you reject it outright because you think you know it all, or do you try it out? Can you accept the differences of others easily, or do they have to be like you to be accepted?

To read the texts click on the texts: Acts4:1-12; Jn 21:1-14
Most scholars today see Jn 21:1-25 as a later addition to the Gospel of John. It is not clear whether this material was added by the Evangelist or added later by another redactor or editor. It is true that the language of Chapter 21 differs from the rest of John’s Gospel but, it is also true that all existing manuscripts of John contain Chapter 21. The difference in language is explained as being conditioned by the content and not because someone other than the Evangelist wrote it. Yet, some are clear that, because of the ecclesial concerns which are at the forefront in Chapter 21, and which are not the focuses of the Gospel until Chapter 20, it was added later. Others see the ecclesial concerns as essential to the ending of the Gospel and so, regard Chapter 21 as an integral part of the Gospel. Be that as it may, Chapter 21 is now part of the Gospel and so must be interpreted within the framework of the whole Gospel of John.

There are two parts to this post resurrection story. The first deals with the miraculous catch of fish and the second with the recognition of the risen Lord.

The text begins by informing the reader that Jesus revealed himself to his disciples and then goes on to narrate how this revelation took place. The story is thus to be interpreted as an epiphany. Seven disciples are mentioned, of which only three are named. The beloved disciple, who is mentioned later in the narrative, is one of the seven. The activity of fishing on the part of the disciples, even after they had received the commission from the risen Lord in Chapter 20, may be seen as a sign that they had not obeyed the command.  It might be seen as a sign that they had given up and returned to their former way of life or even as an indication of their aimlessness. This means that an appearance of the risen Lord, and even a command from him, is not enough to cause a transformation in one’s outlook to life. One must be willing to take risks and believe.

The response of the other six to Peter’s statement that he is going fishing is to go with him. This indicates a sense of community and oneness. Though they may not be able to fully understand the significance of going fishing at this crucial time, they will collaborate with Peter. They will pull together. However, despite all their efforts, they are not able to achieve anything. Jesus appears unobtrusively when it is light, and asks a question about the catch. They respond that they have caught nothing. They obey Jesus’ command to cast the net on the right side and are successful. The quantity of fish is so great that they struggle to haul in the net.

The second part of the story narrates the recognition of the risen Lord. The miraculous catch seems to be the reason why the beloved disciple is able to recognize that it is the Lord. Here, too, like at the empty tomb (20:8), he is able to recognize through his intuition. Peter responds to this statement with alacrity, though his desire to be clothed and therefore, respectful, restrains him. The other disciples respond soberly.

The enormity of the catch is detailed in the number of fish caught, namely one hundred fifty three. A variety of interpretations have been offered to explain this number. St. Augustine proposed a mathematical way of reading this number which is regarded even today as plausible. His explanation was that the number 153 is obtained when all of the integers from 1 to 17 are added together; this mathematical fact thus suggests the completeness of the number 153. Others regard the number as clearly indicating that the narration of this event is an eyewitness account of what actually happened. This is why the number is not a round number, but 153. Still another interpretation is that 153 was the number of species of fish known to Greek zoologists of that time and thus, it signifies that every kind or species of fish was caught in the net. This symbolizes that no one is excluded. That the net did not break, despite the fact that there were so many fish, is an indication of unity even in diversity. That this seems to be the best explanation is confirmed by the fact that the verb “to haul” used here of Peter’s hauling the net ashore is the same verb used to describe those who come to Jesus from God (6:44).  It is the same verb that is used to describe the salvific effect of Jesus’ death when he will “draw’ (haul) all people to himself (12:32). Thus, the disciples continue the mission of Jesus even when they fish, by drawing all to him.

Since the disciples “know’ it is the Lord they do not ask him his identity. Jesus plays the host and invites them to dine with him.

At least three significant points are made by this text. The first is that there is no guarantee that, just because a person has “seen” and “heard” Jesus, he/she will obey his commands or continue his mission. It is possible that, even after such an experience, one will continue in the old ways.

Second, any mission that is undertaken without the help of the Lord will rarely meet with success as is evident in the disciples’ failure to catch anything, even after all their strenuous efforts. Sometimes, it is the words of a stranger that result in the transformation of a situation. To hear these words, it is important to be as open and receptive as the disciples were though they did not know who that stranger was. If the disciples, instead of listening to what the stranger was saying, had acted arrogantly and with pride, they would never have made the miraculous catch and may never have encountered Jesus.

Third, exclusivity has no place in any mission that has its roots in Jesus’ mission. All are included and all are welcome. Even more, each retains his/her identity and is still very much a part of the whole. There is no need for uniformity in the family of Jesus, but unity is very much a core value.

Friday, April 26, 2019 - Acts 4:1-12; Jn 21:1-14

Friday, April 26, 2019 - Acts 4:1-12; Jn 21:1-14

  1. Besides Annas and Caiphas who else were gathered together in Jerusalem?

  2. John and Jude
    John and James
    John and Alexander

  3. How many people does Acts say came to believe because of the preaching of Peter and John?

  4. About four thousand
    About five thousand
    About ten thousand

  5. Besides fish what else did the disciples see when they came ashore?

  6. Bread

  7. Besides the priests and captain which other group came to Peter and John?

  8. The Pharisees
    The Sadducees
    The Scribes

  9. How many disciples were gathered at Lake Tiberias?

  10. Six

  11. On which side did Jesus ask the disciples to cast the net?

  12. The left side
    The right side
    In the centre

  13. How many fish does John say were caught in the net?

  14. One hundred fifty three
    One hundred fifty four
    One hundred fifty six

  15. Who sprang into the sea when he heard it was the Lord?

  16. The disciple whom Jesus loved
    Simon Peter
    The beloved disciple

  17. How far were the disciples from the land when they dragged the boat?

  18. About two hundred yards
    About a hundred yards
    About three hundred yards

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

  20. Exclusivity has no place in any Mission of Jesus
    It is not easy to take a stand for the truth
    Jesus welcomes all without distinction

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

Wednesday 24 April 2019

Audio Reflections of Thursday, April 25, 2019

To hear the Audio Reflections of Thursday, April 25, 2019 click HERE

Thursday, April 25, 2019 - Acts 3:11-26; Lk 24:35-48

Thursday, April 25, 2019 - Acts 3:11-26; Lk 24:35-48

  1. In whose presence does Peter say Jesus was denied?

  2. Herod's

  3. From where does Jesus say repentance must be preached?

  4. Galilee

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

  6. Twenty-six

  7. What was the name of the portico in which people cam together?

  8. David's

  9. What did the disciples give Jesus to eat?

  10. Fruits
    Broiled fish

  11. Besides Moses and the prophets which other book of the OT is mentioned by Jesus?

  12. Judges

  13. To whom does Peter say God gave the covenant?

  14. Moses

  15. When Jesus appeared to the disciples what did he first say?

  16. How are all of you?
    Peace to you
    Why are you afraid?

  17. How many chapters does the Gospel of Luke contain?

  18. Twenty-two

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

  20. Jesus is alive even today
    Jesus continue to save us with his love
    The name Jesus means "God saves"

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

Thursday, April 25, 2019 - Have you received the forgiveness that Jesus proclaimed? How will you preach this forgiveness today?

To read the texts click on the texts:Acts3:11-26; Lk 24:35-48
These verses contain the appearance of the risen Jesus to the eleven and their companions.  Luke’s account has parallels with the accounts found in Matthew, Mark, and John.  Here, too, like in the Emmaus story, the disciples are unable to recognize Jesus. When Jesus appears to them and greets them with a wish of peace, they think they are seeing a ghost and so, are frightened and terrified. Jesus’ response to these emotions is to ask why they are frightened and why doubts must arise.  In order to prove to them that it is indeed he, Jesus shows them his hands and feet and invites them to touch him. This is to prove that he is not a spirit which has no flesh and bones. Despite this invitation, they continue to doubt. Jesus then asks them for something to eat.  He eats what they give him, in front of them. This gesture results in portraying the reality of the bodily resurrection of Jesus. Yet, Luke does not explicitly state that the disciples believed, even after seeing Jesus eat.

Jesus does something more. He explains to them, like he did to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, the scriptures and the things concerning him that the scriptures had foretold. Scripture could only be fulfilled in the death and resurrection of Jesus. After this, he commissions them to be witnesses of this fact and through it, the gift of forgiveness of sins to all nations, which will begin in Jerusalem.

Thus, the text which began with the doubt and confusion of the disciples ends with them being made witnesses of the bodily resurrection of Jesus.  They are witnesses that his death and resurrection have resulted in salvation and forgiveness of sins for all humankind.

The points that Luke seems to want to make here are first, that Jesus has indeed been raised, and bodily, and second, that the disciples who will proclaim this fact were eye witnesses to this event.  It was not simply an event that took place beyond history (though the resurrection, as such, is a meta-historical event) but happened in space and in time, was real, and witnessed by the disciples who saw the risen Lord.

The hands and feet that Jesus showed his disciples are visible today in each of us who claim to be his disciples. These are to be shown to the world as “proof” not only of the fact that Jesus is alive, but that in his name, forgiveness is even now being preached. It is significant that the content of the preaching, even after the resurrection of Jesus, is to be forgiveness, because that is why Jesus came into the world; to save people from their sins. This forgiveness can be preached and made real only if we bear witness to it through our lives.

Tuesday 23 April 2019

Thanks for your prayers

Today (April 23, 2019) 25 years ago, along with Frs. Baptist Pinto and Vincent Vaz, I was ordained a Priest at St. Peter's Church, Bandra by the late Simon Cardinal Pimenta. Thanks be to God for his blessings on us and all of you for your prayers and support. Please continue to keep us in your prayers.

Audio Reflections of Wednesday, April 24, 2019

To hear the Audio Reflections of Wednesday, April 24, 2019 click HERE

Wednesday, April 24, 2019 - What is it that keeps you from recognizing Jesus? Is it your focus on the negative? Are you not able to see God because he does not reveal himself or because you do not open wide your heart?

To read the texts click on the texts:Acts 3:1-10; Lk 24:13-35

“That very day” – This phrase refers to the immediately preceding scene in which the women who saw the empty tomb return and narrate to the eleven and to all the rest what they had witnessed. The response of those who heard about the empty tomb from the women interpreted it as an “idle tale and they did not believe them” (24:11).

“two of them” – these are not identified, though later we are told that one of them is Cleopas (24:18). Luke could be intending that the reader place him/herself in the position of the ones who are travelling.

“all these things that had happened” – This phrase refers to all that has happened in the passion and death of Jesus.

“While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.” – They are discussing the things that happened to Jesus when Jesus himself approaches them. These verses also make us wonder how and when they will recognize him. While the use of the passive tense “were kept” may indicate that God prevented them from recognizing him, it may also indicate that their closed attitude or their despondency kept them from recognizing Jesus.

“What is this conversation…? And they stood looking sad.” – The question of Jesus takes them by surprise so that they have to stop their walking.

“Cleophas” – now we are given the name of one of the travelers. The fact that Cleopas was not well known in the early Christian community, and is not in any lists of the Twelve, adds credibility to the story.

“Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” – the irony is that, whereas the question assumes Jesus is the only one who does not know of these earth-shattering events, he is the only one who does know the meaning of all that has taken place.

“What things?” – Jesus feigns ignorance. This simple question of Jesus leads to a lengthy explanation.
Cleopas summarizes the events of Jesus’ life, leading to his death. The death of Jesus, which was indeed the fulfillment of all hope, is seen by Cleophas as the frustration of their hope. He also narrates the report of the women, and concludes with an emphatic statement, “But him they did not see.”

“O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe…” - Jesus brings the irony to an end and reveals himself and the meaning of the resurrection to them. In his explanation, Jesus insists that suffering was a necessary condition for the resurrection.

“He appeared to be going further” – While on the surface, it seems that Jesus did not want to intrude on their plans. On a deeper level, it reinforces the idea that Jesus never forces himself on others. Jesus always leaves the other free. Faith must be a response to God’s constant revelation and grace.

“Stay with us.  So he went in to stay with them” - Jesus accepts the invitation offered by the two disciples.

“took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them.” – These are the same verbs that are used at the feeding (9:16) and at the last supper (22:19). Jesus the guest becomes the host.

“And their eyes were opened and they recognized him” – At table they saw who the stranger was. Sharing bread with a stranger makes the Lord present.

“and he vanished from their sight” – God cannot be captured only by the external senses. We need to encounter him also in our hearts.
“Did not our hearts burn within us..?” – Any encounter with Jesus cannot leave one untouched.

“And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem...” – The Gospel of Luke begins and ends in Jerusalem, and the journey to Jerusalem dominates the ministry of Jesus. The return journey is narrated very briefly. This could also indicate the urgency of the disciples in wanting to communicate to the others their experience of Jesus. It was an experience that they could not contain in their hearts, but had to share with others.

Only after the two hear of the appearance to Simon do they get a chance to share their own experience. The words “what had happened on the road” signifies the conversation that took place between them and Jesus, in which Jesus opened the scriptures to them.  “how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread” signifies the meal that Jesus shared with them.

This story of the appearance of Jesus to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, which is found only in the Gospel of Luke, speaks about the failure of two disciples to recognize their fellow traveller. The moment they recognize the Lord, he disappears from their sight. 

The story is for the sake of those who will believe without seeing. It tells us that the presence of the Lord can be known in experiences that transcend the events of the resurrection appearances. It tells us that, even in the darkest moments of our lives, when we are tempted to throw up our hands in despair, when we are tempted to give up, the Lord is walking by our side. We have only to “open” our eyes to see. 

Emmaus is not simply a geographical location. It is a place to which we go to escape from the realities of life when we find them too hard or harsh to bear. This may be an external place (a movie theatre, out of the home, somewhere on the road) or a habit (excessive drinking) or even an internal disposition that we may adopt (giving into frustration, despair, despondency, depression, etc). Emmaus may be a feeling that life is not worth living; that everything is in vain, that it is of no use to anyone whatsoever. Emmaus is whatever we do or wherever we go to make ourselves forget that even the wisest and bravest and loveliest decay and die, that even noble and pure ideals like love, fellowship, and freedom, have been twisted by people for selfish ends. The risen Lord meets us on this, our road to Emmaus, and assures us of his presence. He invites us not to give up or give in. He tells us that we must continue despite all evidence to the contrary, and that we must keep on keeping on. The story also warns us that the Lord will not always come in the manner in which we expect him to come and, that he may come when we least expect him.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019 - Acts 3:1-10; Lk 24:13-35

Wednesday, April 24, 2019 - Acts 3:1-10; Lk 24:13-35

  1. To which village were the two disciples walking?

  2. Nazareth

  3. From whom did Jesus explain the scriptures?

  4. Abraham

  5. At what hour were the disciples going to the Temple?

  6. Sixth hour
    Ninth hour
    Tenth hour

  7. What did Peter say he did not have?

  8. Money for alms
    Silver and gold
    Ant possessions

  9. Which two disciples were going to the Temple at the hour of prayer?

  10. James and John
    Peter and James
    Peter and John

  11. What was the name of one of the two disciples who were walking away from Jerusalem?

  12. James

  13. Who told the disciples that they had seen a vision of angels?

  14. Peter and John
    James and John
    Women from the company of disciples

  15. What was the gate of the temple called where the lame man was ?

  16. Stupendous

  17. Where do the disciples return after they met Jesus?

  18. Galilee

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

  20. Hope is not deceptive
    We must never lose hope or give into despair
    When we give into despair we do not see what we have to

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

Monday 22 April 2019

Audio Reflections of Tuesday, April 23, 2019

To hear the Audio Reflections of Tuesday, April 23, 2019 click HERE

Tuesday, April 23, 2019 - Have your “tears” come in the way of your encountering the Lord? Will you stop crying today?

To read the texts click on the texts:Acts2:36-41; Jn 20:11-18
Mary Magdalene had seen the empty tomb and went and told Peter and the beloved disciple about it. They, too, go to the tomb and find it empty. While Peter and the beloved disciple return home (20:1-10), Mary returns to the tomb. Though John does not give any reason why Mary returns to the tomb, he, also, of all the evangelists, tells us that she stood outside the tomb weeping. This detail sets the stage for the fulfilment of the promise of Jesus that the sorrow of the disciples will turn to joy (16:20, 22). Mary sees the angels who make no pronouncement of the resurrection. In John, the pronouncement of the resurrection and ascension comes only through Jesus. The angels only draw attention to Mary’s present state. Mary’s response to the question of the angels is a plaintive cry for her “lost” Lord.

Immediately after she makes this statement, Jesus himself appears to her but, because of her tears, she cannot recognize him. While Jesus repeats the question of the angels and thus, draws renewed attention to Mary’s present state, he asks a second and more important question: “Whom are you looking for?” This, or a similar question, is asked three times in the Gospel of John. The first time Jesus asks such a question is to the two disciples who follow him (1:38). These are the first words spoken by Jesus in the Gospel of John and so, carry added significance. The question here is “What do you seek?” The second time, the question is asked of those who come to arrest Jesus in the garden (18:4). The question in all three instances, while courteous, is a deep and penetrating question. It requires the one of whom it is asked to go deep into him/herself to search for the response. The disciples are seeking for the residence of Jesus but encounter the Messiah. Those who come to arrest Jesus are seeking for “Jesus of Nazareth” and so are thrown to the ground.  Mary Magdalene is seeking for the dead Jesus, but finds the risen Lord.

Yet, this recognition of the risen Lord is not easy for Mary to make. While in many instances in Jesus’ life, the metaphors he used were misunderstood, here it is Jesus himself. Mary is so caught up in her own desire for the dead Jesus and for what she wants that she cannot recognize his voice when he asks her two pertinent questions. It is only when Jesus calls her name that she is awakened. Though some spiritualize this scene by stating that Mary recognized Jesus since only he called her in this manner, it is not plausible, since John does not speak of the intonation or inflection in the voice of Jesus. Others interpret this scene as a revelation of Jesus as the good shepherd who knows his sheep by name. The sheep respond to his voice, when he calls to them, as Mary does here. Though this is more plausible, it must also be noted that Mary does not recognize Jesus’ voice before he calls her name, although he has asked two questions of her. It thus seems that the main reason Mary was able to recognize Jesus when her name was called was because, being so caught up in herself, only calling her by name would have awakened her from her stupor. That this seems to be the best explanation is also evident in the response of Mary on hearing her name. After addressing Jesus as “Rabbouni”, which is an endearing term, she wants to cling to Jesus. Though the text does not explicitly state that Mary held on to Jesus, his words indicate that either she was about to do so or had already done so.  Jesus will not allow this.  Mary has to go beyond her selfish interests and get used to the presence of the Lord in a new way. She need not hold onto a memory since Jesus is and continues to be.

Despite this self absorption, Jesus commands Mary to be an apostle, not merely of the resurrection but of the ascension.  For the first time in the Gospel of John, the Father becomes the Father of the disciples also. A new family is created. This means that the disciples and Jesus are related. Jesus is the brother of all disciples and the disciples share the same relationship with God that Jesus shares.

Mary does what Jesus commanded. She has indeed seen the risen Lord. This return makes new life possible for the believing community, because Jesus’ ascent to God renders permanent that which was revealed about God during the incarnation. The love of God, embodied in Jesus, was not of temporary duration, lasting only as long as the incarnation. Rather, the truth of Jesus’ revelation of God receives its final seal in his return to God.

Self pity, uncontrollable grief, and self absorption can all prevent us from encountering Jesus in the challenging situations of life just as they did Mary Magdalene. These emotions take hold of us when we misunderstand the promises of God or, when we do not take them as seriously as we ought. They arise when we give up, even before we begin, or when we prefer to be negative rather than positive about life. It is at times like these that Jesus comes to us, like he came to Mary Magdalene, and asks us to open our eyes and see that he is still with us and alive. He asks us to get used to his presence in all things, in all persons, and in all events. He asks us to be able to see him in the bad times and in the good, in sickness and in health, and in all the days of our lives. We need only open our hearts wide enough to see.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019 -Acts 2:36-41; Jn 20:11-18

Tuesday, April 23, 2019 -Acts 2:36-41; Jn 20:11-18

  1. Whom did Mary see when she stooped to look into the tomb?

  2. Jesus
    Peter and the beloved disciple
    Two angels dressed in white

  3. Whom did Mary mistake Jesus for?

  4. The watchman
    A passer by
    A gardener

  5. What gift did Peter say would be received by those baptised?

  6. The gift of tongues
    The gift of prophecy
    The gift of the Holy Spirit

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

  8. Twenty

  9. What did the angels say to Mary Magdalene?

  10. He is not here. He is risen.
    Woman, why are you weeping?
    Do not look for the living among the dead

  11. Why did Jesus tell Mary not to hold on to him?

  12. Because he did not like to be touched
    Because he had not yet ascended to the Father
    Because he did not want to be defiled

  13. How many were added to the congregation after Peter's proclamation?

  14. Around two thousand
    Around three thousand
    Around four thousand

  15. What was the second question Jesus asked Mary?

  16. Why are you here?
    Woman, why are you weeping?
    Whom do you seek?

  17. In what colour were the two angels dressed?

  18. Purple

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

  20. Tears can come in the way of seeing
    Tears more often that not mean self pity
    Self pity does not help but hinders

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

Sunday 21 April 2019

Audio Reflections of Monday, April 22, 2019

To hear the Audio Reflections of Monday, April 22, 2019 click HERE

Monday, April 22, 2019 - Has Jesus risen in your heart? How will you show this today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Acts2:14, 22-33; Mt 28:8-15
The scene which forms the text for today is found only in Matthew’s Gospel. Immediately after the women leave the empty tomb, to obey the command of the angel to tell Jesus’ disciples about his resurrection, Jesus himself meets them and thus, they are the first to see the risen Christ. 

Through this appearance of the risen Christ, Matthew stresses a point he made earlier through the Emmanuel prophecy (1:23) in the Mission Discourse (10:40) and in other parts of his Gospel, that Jesus would accompany his disciples on Mission. His presence with them would be a constant presence. The risen Christ, who is simply Jesus, thus stressing the continuity with the crucified Jesus, repeats the command of the angel. However, in Jesus’ command, the disciples become “brothers,” indicating that they now belong to the family of Jesus and that all the past has been forgiven. Thus, the women, besides being communicators of the good news of the resurrection, are also commanded to communicate reconciliation. Though Jesus appears as he would have in his life time, he is, nevertheless, the risen Lord as is evident in the response of the women who take hold of his feet and worship him. The risen Jesus is real but he is also new.

The second part of the text (28:11-15) narrates the bribing of the guards and interrupts the flow of the story. However, it also completes the story begun in 27:62-66 in which the chief priests and Pharisees ask Pilate to make the tomb secure and Pilate responds to their request by asking them to place their own guards, which they do. Though the guards had seen the same events as the women, they do not come to faith. They narrate to the chief priests “everything that had happened.” The height of the irony is that the chief priests and elders become the perpetrators of the very story that they accused the disciples of Jesus of possibly fabricating. The soldiers are instructed to fall in line with the story fabricated by the chief priests and elders and money is used as the lure.

The presence of Jesus is an eternal presence. It is a presence that is always there even when we try to deny it like the Pharisees did or even when we cannot feel is as tangibly as we would like. This is not only because of the promise of Jesus to his disciples and us, but also because of the fact that whenever love is made present Jesus is, whenever concern for another is shown, Jesus is and whenever we reach out in love and forgiveness, optimism and hope, Jesus is and continues to be.