Tuesday, 30 June 2020
Wednesday, July 1, 2020 - Which demons are possessing you and so not allowing you to be free? Do you believe that Jesus can exorcise them from your life today?
Monday, 29 June 2020
Tuesday, June 30, 2020 - Have the “storms” of your life sometimes overwhelmed you? Will you believe that with Jesus in the boat of your life these can be controlled?
Sunday, 28 June 2020
Monday, June 29, 2020 - Sts. Peter and Paul - Today the Lord builds his CHURCH on you and UR in CH CH
Saturday, 27 June 2020
Sunday, June 28, 2020 - What is that thing, who is that person, which is that event that is not allowing you to be free? What will you do about it today?
Friday, 26 June 2020
To read the texts click on the texts: Lam 2:2,10-14,18-19; Mt 8:5-17
The text of today contains the healing of the Centurion’s servant and the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law. The healing of the Centurion’s servant is also found in Luke (7:1-10) and John but with variations. While in Luke the centurion never makes an appearance personally, in Matthew he addresses Jesus as “Lord”, which is an address only believers use in Matthew. The response of Jesus to the Centurion’s need is seen by some as a question rather than a statement, “I should come and heal him?” This is in keeping with Matthew’s portrayal of Jesus who is sent as Messiah only for the lost sheep of Israel (10:5-6) and not for Gentiles. The Centurion is not deterred by Jesus’ question, and responds with faith. The healing takes place from a distance. The focus, however, is not on the miracle but on the faith of the centurion and through his faith the faith of “unbelievers”. The centurion does not claim to have faith. It is Jesus who testifies to his faith.
We can get deterred and lose our focus when things do not go the way we want them to. At these times we may blame our family, our neighbours and even God. The Centurion’s attitude is a lesson to us never to get deterred from what we have to do and continue to keep our sights fixed on what we want to achieve confident that our perseverance will pay rich dividends.
Thursday, 25 June 2020
Friday, June 26, 2020 - Are there some around you whom you have been treating as lepers? Will you have the courage to reach out and touch them today? In your prayer do you express the confidence that the leper in the story expresses? If No, why not?
To read the texts click on the texts: 2 Kgs 25:1-12; Mt 8:1-4
We begin reading today in the liturgy and will continue for the whole of next week from Chapters 8 and 9 of the Gospel of Matthew. These Chapters contain what is known as the “Miracle Cycle” of Matthew, because in them we find ten miracles in series of three miracles each. The fact that the Miracle Cycle follows immediately after the Sermon on the Mount and both are framed by a summary statement in 4:23 and 9:35 is an indication that Matthew’s intention is to show through such a placement that Jesus is the Messiah in words (through the Sermon on the Mount) and deeds (through the Miracle Cycle).
The healing of a leper, which is our text for today, is also found in the Gospels of Mark and Luke, but where Mark narrates the emotional reactions of Jesus, Matthew and Luke omit them. The term leprosy was used for any kind of skin disease, and those with such kind of diseases were considered as unclean and not allowed to be part of society. They had to live on the outskirts of the city, and had to make their presence known whenever they entered the city, so that others could avoid any kind of contact with them and so not get contaminated.
The leper addresses Jesus as Lord, which is a title used only by believers in the Gospel of Matthew. In this miracle, Jesus not only heals the leper, but also reaches out and touches him. This probably means that Jesus cannot be contaminated or made unclean by anything from outside. It could also indicate Jesus’ wanting to reach out to the leper in a personal manner and treat him as a full human being.
The prayer of the leper is a lesson for each one of us on the meaning of prayer. In his prayer the leper both acknowledges his dependence on Jesus through the words, “If you will” and also has faith in the ability of Jesus to heal through the words, “you can make me clean”. Prayer means to acknowledge our dependence on God and also to have faith that God can do what to us may seem impossible.
Wednesday, 24 June 2020
Tuesday, 23 June 2020
Wednesday, June 24, 2020 - The Birth of John the Baptist - Like John the Baptist, we are called by God to show others the way of Jesus.
Monday, 22 June 2020
Sunday, 21 June 2020
Monday, June 22, 2020 - Do you know that when you point a finger at someone there are three fingers pointing back at you?
Saturday, 20 June 2020
To read the texts click on the texts: Jer 20:10-13; Rom 5:12-15; Mt 10:26-33
During his years as premier of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev denounced many of the policies and atrocities of Joseph Stalin. Once, as he censured Stalin in a public meeting, Khrushchev was interrupted by a shout from a heckler in the audience. “You were one of Stalin’s colleagues. Why didn’t you stop him?” “Who said that?” roared Khrushchev. An agonizing silence followed as nobody in the room dared move a muscle. Then Khrushchev replied quietly, “Now you know why.” It is not always easy to stand up and be counted.
The Gospel text of today deals with what it takes to stand up and be counted. It is part of Matthew’s Mission Discourse in which Jesus, after commissioning his disciples, gives them both instruction for and exhortation in Mission. Today’s reading deals with exhortation. The words “Do not be afraid” appear three times. ‘Do not be afraid to be open about faith, do not be afraid of powerful opponents, and do not be afraid about what future holds in store. All three lay in God’s hands.’ The message therefore is this: Confidence in God’s presence and promise even in the midst of persecution. The message is: ‘Do not be afraid to stand up and be counted because God is on the side of those who fight for justice and the truth.’
It is possible that fear might lead to the disciples remaining silent and not communicating the message of Jesus, which is a message of the Kingdom. While the disciples should expect persecution, they should not be paralyzed by fear. They must continue to give bold witness to the message entrusted to them that in Jesus and his words and works, the Kingdom of heaven has indeed come. The disciples will be tempted to give up when things get difficult, but they are called to persevere till the end with the witness that they must give. The ideas expressed in this part of the Gospel are similar to the first reading from Jeremiah.
After castigating the leaders for not obeying God’s word and warning them that therefore they would be conquered by Babylon, Jeremiah is scourged and put in stocks by Passhur, the head of the temple police. The text of today, spoken after his release, includes Jeremiah’s sixth lament, in which he begins by railing at God for “enticing” him into proclaiming God’s message and then allowing him to be mocked and shamed. Though he is tempted to give up his vocation of being a prophet (and so speaking God’s word on behalf of God) because he is aware that people are plotting against him, he perseveres. This perseverance results from his confidence in the fact that God will come to his aid and deliver him from his enemies.
These enemies cannot do real harm, because though physical death is indeed a possibility for a disciple of Jesus, it will only be a transition, says Jesus. God’s power is much more than even death. All that happens to the disciple is known by God. As surely as God knows the comings and goings of even the littlest bird, so he knows everything that happens to the disciple. He is always the one who is in charge. He is “father” to the disciples and so the disciples are related to Jesus as brothers and sisters. This relationship between the Father, Jesus and the disciples must lead to witnessing to Jesus and all that he stands for including justice and truth and to hope for the future.
The best example of this confidence according to the reading from Romans is Jesus himself. He was obedient unlike Adam; he remained sinless and faithful unlike Adam and thus made grace reign freely where there would have been universal condemnation. He dared to stand up and be counted. He was unafraid even in the face of ignominy, persecution and death. Thus through his life, mission, death and resurrection Jesus has given his disciples the example they must follow, the path they must take and the way they must walk.
To walk this way continues to be difficult especially today when fears of all kinds continue to dominate our lives and take control of us, not allowing us to be the kind of persons we are meant to be. There are numerous people who will try their best to stifle the message of justice and peace; simply because it is beneficial to them do so. There are many who will try to shut down the voices of those who protest against discrimination and violence.
By looking to Jesus we see that the trials and sufferings of this life, especially what we face as we try to live out and share our faith, are short-lived. We should, therefore, not give in to fear; knowing that in the end truth will triumph over untruth, justice over injustice, and eternal life over death, as we are able to see already in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
Friday, 19 June 2020
To read the texts click on the texts: Isaiah 61:9-11; Lk 2:41-51
The Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is celebrated on the Saturday following the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to show the close connection between Mary and her beloved Son.
This means that every year the feast is celebrate on the Saturday before the third Sunday following the fest of Pentecost.
The Immaculate heart of Mary is a symbol used to represent the interior and exterior life of Mary. It is used to represent her joys and sorrows, her trials and strength, her love for her God shown through her determined yes and her love for all humanity shown in and through the love for her Son.
The Gospel text chosen for the feast is popularly known as “The Finding in the Temple” and is taken to mean the finding of Jesus. However, a close look will indicate that Jesus was never lost. He always knew where he was and where he was supposed to be. It was Mary and Joseph who were lost without their son.
This text is found only in the Gospel of Luke and gives us an insight into the childhood of Jesus. It also indicates the awareness of Jesus even at this young age of who he was and his relationship with the Father. Even as it does this it also brings out powerfully the relentless search of Mary for her son. He was the centre of her life and she would not rest until she found him. What we are searching for reveals a great deal about who we are.
The Immaculate heart of Mary reminds us of the response of Mary to the privilege that she received to be God’s mother. Her response went beyond a mere “yes” or even co-operation and collaboration with God. Her response let God do in and through her. This may be termed as a passive activity or an active passivity on the part of Mary. She became the instrument through which God was able to reveal his son to the world.
If we like Mary dare to respond like she did, we too can become instruments in the hands of God and reveal Jesus to the world.
Thursday, 18 June 2020
Friday, June 19, 2020 - The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus - Has pride come in the way of your encountering Jesus? What will you do about it today?
To read the texts click on the texts: Dt 7:6-11; 1 Jn 4:7-16; Mt 11:25-30
The feast of the Most Sacred Heart is a movable feast, but is always celebrated on the third Friday after Pentecost. Ever since the seventeenth century when St. Margaret Mary Alacoque was granted visions of the Sacred Heart and asked to spread this devotion, the Jesuits represented by her confessor St. Claude de la Colombière, played a fundamental role in spreading this devotion. Colombière, spoke with Margaret Mary a number of times and after much prayer, discernment and reflection became convinced of the validity of her visions.
In recent times, one of the most loved and admired Generals of the Society of Jesus Fr. Pedro Arrupe was instrumental in reviving this devotion and placing Jesuits once again at the forefront of spreading this devotion. This devotion according to Arrupe was “the centre of the Ignatian experience”. It is an “extraordinarily effective means as much for gaining personal perfection as for apostolic success”.
The feast of the Sacred Heart is to be celebrated as a privilege and grace. However, it is also a responsibility.
First, the love that we receive from the Sacred Heart of Jesus is not a private possession, but one that must be shared with all. Just as the Father makes no distinction and makes the sun rise on the evil and on the good (Mt 5:45), so must we in our sharing of the love of Christ.
Second, the concern that God has for us and our Universe must be a concern which we must show to our world. The wanton destruction of nature, excessive and abusive use of scarce resources like water, indiscriminate cutting of trees for selfish gain, unlawful and criminal killing of wild animals are signs that we are working against God’s concern. If God cares for us so much, must we not care for our world?
Third, the intimate connection of the Sacred Heart and Eucharist reminds us that just as Christ is so easily available to us, we must also be to each other. The Eucharist and the feast of the Sacred Heart ought not to be private and passive devotions, but celebrations that make us ready to reach out in service and availability to anyone who needs us.
The text for the feast is from the Gospel of Matthew. To understand it fully, two points must be kept in mind. The first is that it is placed by Matthew after three “negative” passages which begin at 11:2. These are the response of Jesus to the disciples of John the Baptist to their question whether Jesus was the Messiah, the exasperation with the crowd who do not recognize John nor Jesus, and the denunciation of the cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum. Indeed, this entire section of Matthew’s Gospel seems to lean on a sense of apparent “failure” on the part of Jesus to measure up to the expectations that all around him had in terms of what a “Messiah” would look like or act like.
The second point is that this text is clearly a Matthean composition and is made of three elements. The first two of these are found in Luke but in different contexts and the third is exclusive to Matthew. In Matthew the audience is clearly the crowds and so the words of Jesus here are meant for all.
The passage appearing as it does in this context seeks to state that despite so much of doubt and negativity, that despite so much of blindness and closed attitudes, this is not the last word. Despite the fact that Jesus’ message has been questioned by John the Baptist, rejected by many and especially the wise and understanding and not paid heed to by the cities, yet the invitation and message will find acceptance among the open and receptive of which there are still some left. There is no arbitrariness in this. Rather, it is simply true that for the most part the wise tend to become proud and self-sufficient in their wisdom and particularly unreceptive regarding the new and the unexpected. This is because they have already made up their minds about what kind of Messiah is to come.
On the other hand the childlike are most often unself-conscious, open, dependent, and receptive. They are willing to let God work in their lives. They have not decided in advance how God must act and are willing to let God be God. Thus everything comes down finally to the person of Jesus and the nature of the fulfilment he brings. He cannot be understood if he is restricted to preconceived categories; he will not conform to human conceptual frameworks. He must be understood as God knows him, as the one who on behalf of the Father always does his will.
Thursday, June 18, 2020 - Is there someone who you think has hurt you whom you have not yet forgiven? Will you forgive that person today?
Wednesday, 17 June 2020
Thursday, June 18, 2020 - Is there someone who you think has hurt you whom you have not yet forgiven? Will you forgive that person today?
Tuesday, 16 June 2020
Monday, 15 June 2020
Tuesday, June 16, 2020 - How often has the expectation of some “reward” been your motivation for “doing good”? Will you “do good” without any expectation of reward today
To read the texts click on the texts:1 Kings 21:17-29; Mt 5:43-48
In the last of the six antitheses, Matthew focuses on the love command. . While there is no command to hate the enemy in the Old Testament, yet, there are statements that God hates all evildoers and statements that imply that others do or should do the same. Jesus, makes explicit here the command to love enemies. The conduct of the disciples of Jesus must reveal who they are really are, namely “sons and daughters of God”.
The command to “be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” does not mean to be without faults, but means to be undivided in love as God is undivided in love.
Sunday, 14 June 2020
Sunday, June 14, 2020 - Eucharistic Celebration - Corpus Christi and the month's mind of my mum's entry into heaven
To read the texts click on the texts:1 Kings 21:1-16; Mt 5:38-42
The text of today contains the fifth antithesis. In it, Jesus not only affirms the thrust of the Law in opposing unlimited revenge, but also calls for a rejection of the principle of retaliatory violence as well. In the five examples that follow (being struck in the face, being sued in court, being requisitioned into short-term compulsory service, giving to beggars and lending to borrowers) the one point being made is to place the needs of others before one’s own needs. The disciple of Jesus is called to go beyond the call of the Law and do more than it requires.
Saturday, 13 June 2020
To read the texts click on the texts:Deut8:2-3, 14-16; 1 Cor 10:16-17; Jn 6:51-58
A team of Russians and Americans were on a common expedition. Among their cabin foodstuff was Russian black bread. It was tasty but hard on the teeth. During a meal an American bit into a piece and snapped a tooth. He threw the bread overboard and growled: “Lousy Communist bread.” The Russian countered: “It is not lousy communist bread, but a shaky capitalist tooth.” Some of us may complain in a similar manner about the Eucharist being useless. However, if we do not experience the transforming power of the Eucharist it is not on account of the Eucharist but on account of our shaky faith and lack of understanding of what the Eucharist really means.
The feast of Corpus Christi is usually thought to be the feast of the Eucharist and while this is certainly true, it would be a mistake to restrict the understanding of the feast to the ritual of the Eucharist. The feast goes beyond the ritual to life itself, just as the Eucharist does.
The Eucharist is both a sacrament and a sacrifice. The Eucharist is a sacrament, an outward sign in and through which we meet Christ who shares his life of grace with us. Through signs of bread and wine he nourishes and strengthens us for our journey through life. We see with human eyes what looks like bread and wine. We see with eyes of faith, not bread and wine, but the risen, living Lord Jesus.
The Eucharist is a sacrifice, the representation or reliving of Christ’s sacrificial death on Good Friday and of his Resurrection on Easter Sunday.
The scripture readings today stress how God made a covenant with His people, first through Moses and then, finally and forever, through Christ, a covenant sealed and ratified by his blood. This covenant or bond of love between God and us is renewed and deepened through and in every Eucharist or Mass.
The second reading today, from Paul, is the earliest recorded story of anything Jesus did. And that earliest story is about a meal, the Last Supper, which Jesus shared with his disciples. In a very particular way, he made that meal a way to remember him. It brings forward his sacrifice and death and resurrection, his fellowship and unity with us, and everything he taught us. And he did not want his followers to eat it just once that night but to do it again and again, so that we continue to remember.
St Augustine often stressed to his parishioners a unique quality of the Eucharistic food. The ordinary food we eat, he says, becomes part of us. We are what we eat. But partaking of the Eucharist, we become part of Jesus, We become more Christ like, more patient and kind, more forgiving and understanding. We still live our ordinary daily lives, but it is Our Lord who inspires our attitudes and actions. We begin to see people and events through his eyes, to think as he did. When Jesus was on this earth, he used his own hands to reach out to people, but when he wants to feed the poor today, he uses my hands, your hands to do this.
Surely, we hunger and thirst for something new, when we share in the grief, anger, misery and neglect of the impoverished, the unjustly accused, and victims of violence caused by religious intolerance, ethnic hatred, terrorism and racism. We are hungry indeed for peace and thirsty for reconciliation in this our troubled world. We are hungry and thirsty for a new world, a world where we will look one another in the eye and recognize the kinship of sisters and brothers who are all children of God. The promise of this new world is set forth in the strongest possible terms when Jesus declares, “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me and I in them…”
This feast, then, of the Body of Christ, sums up three important confessions of our faith. First, and most important, God became physically present in the person of Christ – true God and true Man. Secondly; God continues to be present in His people as they form the Mystical Body of Christ in his Church. And, thirdly, God becomes present in the form of bread and wine on the altar at Mass. Eucharist, then, should not remain simply a “going to” or “taking of” that begins and ends in the sanctuary. It should become the deepest expression of our communion with Christ.