Tuesday, 6 December 2022

Wednesday, December 7, 2022 - Are you carrying the burden of unforgiveness, guilt, resentment, jealousy, or anger in your heart? Will you lay down that burden on Jesus’ shoulders today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Isa 40:25-31; Mt 11:28-30

The verses that make up the text of today are exclusive to Matthew. They are an invitation from Jesus to all those who are burdened. The burden referred to here is most likely the burden of religious obligation. This often became an obstacle in one’s path to God. While “yoke” generally meant obedience or even servitude, here the yoke is Jesus’ own yoke. Thus, this is not the yoke of the law; rather, it is the yoke that will deliver one from the artificial burdens of human religion. The “easy yoke” of Jesus is not an invitation to a life of ease but to a life of freedom. This is why it is important to “learn” from Jesus as a disciple learns from his/her teacher. This learning is not imitation but is learning from the revelation of God made visible in Jesus. When one recognizes who God really is, after learning from Jesus, one realizes that God is indeed a God who desires that all men and women be free and serve him only in freedom rather than from any external compulsion.

 Jesus invites anyone who wishes to come to him to do so. No one is excluded. What are required are openness and a desire to see a new revelation of God. It is a revelation that only Jesus is competent to make because he alone knows the Father, as father, and reveals him as such. This revelation is of a God who will not burden people with sets of rules and regulations. It is a revelation of a God who is unconditional love and who can be recognized only when love abounds.

Monday, 5 December 2022

Tuesday, December 6, 2022 - Homily


 Show concern for at least one person today

Tuesday, December 6, 2022 - How will you show practical concern for at least one person today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Isa 40:1-11; Mt 18:12-14

The Gospel text of today is taken from the fourth discourse in the Gospel of Matthew, known as “The Community Discourse”. It is addressed primarily to members of Matthew’s community and not to outsiders.

The parable of the lost sheep is found also in the Gospel of Luke. The context in Luke, however, is quite different from that in Matthew. While in Luke, it is told as a response to the murmurings of the Pharisees because Jesus was eating with tax collectors and sinners, in Matthew, it is part of the Community Discourse.

Thus, the concern in these verses in Matthew is clearly for members of the community who stray. The point is pastoral care and sanctification rather than evangelism and justification. The sheep that is lost is not more valuable than others, but has strayed and needs to be brought back. The finding and the return of the lost sheep cause joy. Every individual in the community is important and it is the responsibility of the community to seek out those who stray and bring them back into the fold. Mature disciples are to live their lives with the spiritual welfare of others in view. There is no such thing as an individual Christian. Every Christian is a Christian within community.

In a world in which individualism seems to be the order of the day, and when each is concerned only about him/herself, the parable of the lost sheep comes as a breath of fresh air. It challenges us to get out of our comfort zones and our selfish ways of living and live instead, lives that are other centered. It informs us that we are, each of us, our brother’s and sister’s keepers; each of us must accept responsibility for them. We are not individuals but one community that must be a community of concern for the other and a community showing this concern by reaching out in love.

Sunday, 4 December 2022

Christmas and New Year programme at the Shrine of the Infant Jesus , Nashik Road


 

Monday, December 5, 2022 - Homily


 

We are called upon to persevere, even at those times when the road is only uphill. We are called upon to never give up, to never give in.

Monday, December 5, 2022 - Can you be described as a person who perseveres? Do you easily give up or give in? Will you have the courage not to give up at all today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Isa35:1-10; Lk 5:17-26

The healing of the paralytic, which is the text of today, introduces a series of four controversy stories. The religious authorities, the Pharisees and scribes, are introduced for the first time in the Gospel of Luke. The general resistance Jesus met in Nazareth at the beginning of his ministry now becomes much more focused, and a specific charge is considered: blasphemy. The story weaves together, even more closely than earlier scenes, the twin themes of the power of Jesus:  the power of his words and his power to heal. For the first time, faith and forgiveness of sins are introduced.

Luke has very likely taken this story from Mark 2:1-12. Yet, he makes significant changes in his own narration which bring out the points that he wants to make. These changes are obvious in his introduction and in his conclusion. Unlike in Mark, where the crowd presses around Jesus, in Luke, it is the Pharisees and teachers of the law who are around Jesus. At this stage, it is not clear whether they are there to investigate Jesus or to listen to his teaching. The faith of the men carrying the paralytic is seen in their determination to not let the crowd be an obstacle to his encountering Jesus. Since Luke has spoken of Jesus’ power to heal, in the introductory verse, it would seem that Jesus would heal the man instantly. However, instead of healing, Jesus pronounces a forgiveness of the man’s sins. This pronouncement leads to an objection on the part of the scribes and Pharisees. They accuse Jesus of blasphemy, a crime punishable by death. Jesus rises to the challenge by demonstrating, through the healing of the paralytic, that he did indeed have the authority to forgive sins. In Luke, both the paralytic and the crowds glorify or praise God.

Many significant points are made by this story. The first is that Jesus, who forgives, is also who heals. Faith is shown here not so much as a verbal proclamation or an intellectual assent to a truth, but in action. The action is both confident and determined. It believes and perseveres. Jesus is shown here, not only as the one who frees us from an ailment, but the one who effects a total healing with his word of healing. It is wholeness that is at the root of what Jesus came to do.

There are times in our lives when we give up too easily. We lack perseverance when we do not get what we pray or ask for. Sometimes this lack of perseverance leads to frustration and despair. We lose faith, we stop believing, we become negative and depressed. We are called through this pronouncement story to continue to believe, even in our darkest hour. We are called upon to persevere, even at those times when the road is only uphill. We are called upon to never give up, to never give in.

Saturday, 3 December 2022

Sunday, December 4, 2022 - Homily


 Keep on keeping on...

Sunday, December 4, 2022 - Second Sunday in Advent - Keep on keeping on

To read the texts click on the texts: Isa 11:1-10; Rom 15:4-9; Mt 3:1-12

Zion is here and again like in Chapter 2, the center of the peaceful cosmos described in these verses by the prophet Isaiah. This peace is seen on two levels. The first is on the level of the future king’s (“A shoot”) character and rule. He will be filled with the spirit of the Lord and will have the gifts required to judge fairly and not by mere appearances. The ruthless and wicked will be judged with integrity and fairness. The poor and the meek will be protected completely. The second level is seen in the peaceful cosmos where humans, animals and the rest of nature will live in harmony without the need to destroy each other.

In these verses of the penultimate chapter of his letter to the Romans, Paul begins by exhorting his readers to the hope Christians must attain through the examples of endurance, perseverance and hope found in the scriptures. This perseverance or refusal to give up must lead to tolerance and harmony found in the example of Christ himself. Christ is the only model on which Christians must base their words and deeds.

“The voice in the wilderness” found in the Gospel text of today belongs to John the Baptist who uses strong images to describe what the coming of the Messiah will entail. Though particularly strong with the Pharisees and Sadducees, John calls all people to repentance. No one is excluded. This repentance must be shown in action and not merely words. Like in the case of the king mentioned by Isaiah, “the one who follows” will here separate the wheat from the chaff. While the wheat will be gathered into the barn, the chaff will be burned in a fire.

In what is known as the third “Emanuel prophecy” Isaiah prophesies about whom many thought would be King Hezekiah. He was prophesied as one who would be filled with the gifts of the spirit which were wisdom, insight or understanding, counsel, power or might, knowledge and fear of the Lord. However, he did not come up to the expectations of the prophecy and of the people and so people began to look for a new successor to King David who would fulfill this expectation.

The world had to wait for eight centuries for this expectation to be fulfilled in its entirety. It was fulfilled in every single aspect in the person of Christ. He was and is the one who continues to stand as an ensign or signal to all peoples everywhere. He is the one who though he followed John the Baptist was more powerful than John the Baptist could ever hope to be and who baptizes not merely with water but with the Holy Spirit and fire.

In his coming and in his person he invites each one of us to make a choice. We can choose to be struck with the rod or to be judged with integrity. We can choose to burn in an unquenchable fire or to be gathered up into God. The choice is entirely up to each one of us. It must also be remembered that just because we have the name Christian and have been baptized does not necessarily mean that we have chosen life over death. The choice that we make has to be shown in our lives.

When we look around at the injustice, poverty, division and disharmony that continue to exist in our world, it is not easy to believe that the Messiah King has indeed come and set his seal over all humanity. But he has indeed come. Why then do we seem to prefer to choose death over life? Isaiah seems to offer an answer to this question when he speaks of the “knowledge of the Lord” which we seem to have lost. The consequence of this knowledge is indeed harmony and transformation but because we have lost it we are caught up in disharmony and sameness. Paul takes this point further when he reminds us that we may not have persevered and lost hope. We have removed our gaze from Christ and have stopped relating to each other the way he relates to us. We have instead of being selfless preferred to be selfish, instead of reaching out have preferred to be locked up in our own small worlds and instead of enduring and persevering have lost hope and given up.

The challenge then is to go back to “our root” Jesus Christ and continue to keep our gaze fixed on him. We continue to learn from him that only in dying to ourselves can we hope to be born to new life and be gathered up like wheat into his barn.

Friday, 2 December 2022

Saturday, December 3, 2022 - Homily - St. Francis Xavier


 Perseverance is the key

Saturday, December 3, 2022 - St. Francis Xavier SJ (1506-1552) - Will I in imitation of Francis Xavier keep on keeping on or will I give in and give up at the slightest sign of trouble?

To read the texts click on the texts: Zeph 3:9-10,14-20; Rm 10:8-17; Mt 28:16-20

The baptismal name of Francis Xavier was Francisco de Jaso y Azpilicueta and he was born on April 7, 1506. In 1525, having completed a preliminary course of studies in his own country, Francis Xavier went to Paris, where he entered the Collège de Sainte-Barbe. Here he met the Savoyard, Pierre Favre, and a warm personal friendship sprang up between them.

It was at this same college that St. Ignatius Loyola, who was already planning the foundation of the Society of Jesus, resided for a time as a guest in 1529. Ignatius soon won the confidence of the two young men; first Favre and later Xavier offered themselves with him in the formation of the Society. Four others, Lainez, Salmerón, Rodríguez, and Bobadilla, having joined them, the seven made the famous vow of Montmartre, on August 15, 1534.

After completing his studies in Paris and filling the post of teacher there for some time, Xavier left the city with his companions on November 15, 1536, and turned his steps to Venice, where he displayed zeal and charity in attending the sick in the hospitals. On June 24, 1537, he received Holy orders with St. Ignatius. The following year he went to Rome, and after doing apostolic work there for some months, during the spring of 1539 he took part in the conferences which St. Ignatius held with his companions to prepare for the definitive foundation of the Society of Jesus. The order was approved verbally on September 3, 1539, and before the written approbation was secured, which was not until a year later, Xavier was appointed, at the earnest solicitation of the John III, King of Portugal, to evangelize the people of the East Indies. He left Rome on March 16, 1540, and reached Lisbon about June. He remained there for nine months, and was noted for his apostolic zeal.

On April 7, 1541, he embarked in a sailing vessel for India, and after a tedious and dangerous voyage landed at Goa on May 6, 1542. The first five months were spent in preaching and ministering to the sick in the hospitals. He would go through the streets ringing a little bell and inviting the children to hear the word of God. When he had gathered a number, he would take them to a certain church and would there explain the catechism to them. About October, 1542, he started for the pearl fisheries of the extreme southern coast of the peninsula, desirous of restoring Christianity which, although introduced years before, had almost disappeared on account of the lack of priests. He devoted almost three years to the work of preaching to the people of Western India, converting many, and reaching in his journeys even the Island of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).

Many were the difficulties and hardships which Xavier had to encounter at this time; yet he persevered and never gave up. In the spring of 1545 Xavier started for Malacca. He worked there for the last months of that year, and although he was successful, he was not as successful as he would have liked to be. About January 1546, Xavier left Malacca and went to Molucca Islands, where the Portuguese had some settlements, and for a year and a half he preached the Gospel to the inhabitants of Amboyna, Ternate, Baranura, and other islands in that area. It is claimed by some that during this expedition he landed on the island of Mindanao, and for this reason St. Francis Xavier has been called the first Apostle of the Philippines.

By July, 1547, he was again in Malacca. Here he met a Japanese called Anger (Han-Sir), from whom he obtained much information about Japan. His zeal was at once aroused by the idea of introducing Christianity into Japan, but for the time being the affairs of the Society of Jesus demanded his presence at Goa, and so he went there taking Anger with him. During the six years that Xavier had been working among the people, other Jesuit missionaries had arrived at Goa, sent from Europe by St. Ignatius; moreover some who had been born in India had been received into the Society. In 1548 Xavier sent these Jesuits to the principal centres of India, where he had established missions, so that the work might be preserved and continued. He also established a novitiate and house of studies, and having received into the Society Father Cosme de Torres, a Spanish priest whom he had met in the Malucca. He started with him and Brother Juan Fernández for Japan towards the end of June, 1549. The Japanese Anger, who had been baptized at Goa and given the name of Pablo de Santa Fe, accompanied them. They landed at the city of Kagoshima in Japan, on August 15, 1549. The entire first year was devoted to learning the Japanese language and translating into Japanese, with the help of Pablo de Santa Fe, the principal articles of faith and short treatises which were to be employed in preaching and catechizing. When he was able to express himself, Xavier began preaching and made some converts, but these aroused the ill will of the Bonzes, who had him banished from the city. Leaving Kagoshima about August, 1550, he penetrated to the centre of Japan, and preached the Gospel in some of the cities of southern Japan. Towards the end of that year he reached Meaco, then the principal city of Japan, but he was unable to make any headway here. He retraced his steps to the centre of Japan, and during 1551 preached in some important cities, forming the nucleus of several Christian communities, which in time increased with extraordinary rapidity.

After working about two years and a half in Japan he left this mission in charge of Father Cosme de Torres and Brother Juan Fernández, and returned to Goa, arriving there at the beginning of 1552. He then turned his thoughts to China, and began to plan an expedition there. During his stay in Japan he had heard much of the Celestial Empire, and was anxious to spread the Gospel there. In the autumn of 1552, he arrived in a Portuguese vessel at the small island of Sancian near the coast of China. While planning the best means for reaching the mainland, he was taken ill, and as the movement of the vessel seemed to aggravate his condition, he was removed to the land, where a hut had been built to shelter him. In these poor surroundings he breathed his last.

One can only wonder at the apostolic zeal of Francis Xavier who in the short span of ten years traversed so many seas and visited so many countries to preach the Gospel. He is regarded as the Patron of Missions primarily for these reasons. He was canonized with St. Ignatius in 1622.

The Gospel text of today is taken from the last Chapter and last verses in the Gospel of Matthew and is commonly known as the “Great Commission”. The risen Jesus meets his disciples on a mountain in Galilee and after making a revelation to them issues a command. The command is to “make disciples” which in Matthew is not done merely by baptising, but primarily by teaching people to do what Jesus has done. This is what Francis Xavier. The assurance that Jesus gave his disciples of his abiding presence is the assurance that motivated Xavier to persevere. It must also be our reason for perseverance since Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Thursday, 1 December 2022

Friday, December 2, 2022 - Homily


 Heart blindness is present in all of us. We may be able to see with the eyes of our heads, but not with the eyes of our hearts

Friday, December 2, 2022 - Have you tried seeing with your heart instead of only your eyes? What difference does it make?

To read the texts click on the texts: Isa29: 17-24; Mt 9:27-31

Chapters 8 and 9 of the Gospel of Matthew are 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 that 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 placement, that Jesus is the Messiah, in words (through the Sermon on the Mount) and in deeds (through the Miracle Cycle).

Many regard this story as a doublet of the healing of blind Bartimaeus found in Mk 10:46-52.  Matthew’s story, however, has the healing of two blind men and does not name them. A similar story of the healing of two blind men is found in Mt 20:29-34, and since, in both cases, the one blind man of Mark has become two blind men in Matthew, he pieces the story together with details and elements from his own sources.

The story begins with the blind men following Jesus. While on the one level, this will mean walking behind Jesus, on the deeper level, it means that they are doing what disciples are called to do. Their address for Jesus: “Son of David” (this is the first time in the Gospel that Jesus is called “Son of David”) and “Lord” indicates that they are believers. They have faith. Though physically blind, they are able to see who Jesus is and see the extent of his power to heal them. This faith is the reason why they receive their sight.

The command of Jesus to the blind men not to tell anyone what he had done is disobeyed by them. While some see the command as retention of Marks’ messianic secret (the Markan Jesus tells some of those whom he heals not to make it known, since he does not want people to mistake the kind of Messiah that he has come to be), others see it as an illustration by Matthew that not everyone who says “Lord” obeys the will of the Father manifested in Jesus. These have faith, they themselves say, but yet they do not do.

Blindness is not only an external ailment or limitation. The fox says to the Little Prince in Antoine Saint De Exupery’s book “The Little Prince”: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” There is, thus, also blindness of the heart. As a matter of fact, in many cases, blindness of the heart is worse than blindness of the eyes. Heart blindness closes itself to another point of view. It is a blindness that refuses to look anew at things, events, and people. It prefers the pessimistic and dark side of life.  Heart blindness can only be healed when one turns in faith to God, manifest in his Son, Jesus. 

Wednesday, 30 November 2022

Thursday, December 1, 2022 - Homily


 Is the home of your life built on rock or sand? How will you show that it has been built on rock today? 

Thursday, December 1, 2022 - Is the home of your life built on rock or sand? How will you show that it has been built on rock today? Is the home of your life able to withstand the storms that threaten it from without? If No, what will you do about it today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Isa26: 1-6; Mt 7:21, 24-27

The three chapters beginning from 5:1 and ending at 7:29 contain one of the most famous discourses of Matthew, known as “The Sermon on the Mount”.  This is the first of the five great discourses in the Gospel of Matthew.  Each of the five ends with the phrase, “and when Jesus had finished…” (7:28; 11:1; 13:53; 19:1; 26:1). The Sermon on the Mount begins by showing Jesus as a Rabbi, teaching ex-cathedra (5:1) and ends by showing Jesus as the Messianic prophet, addressing the crowds (7:28). The Sermon is a composition of Matthew. An analysis of similar texts in the Gospels of Mark and Luke indicate that many verses found here in Matthew are also found in Mark and Luke in different contexts. This does not mean that Jesus did not say these words. It means that Matthew has put them together in this manner. Most are agreed that the theme of the Sermon is found in 5:17-20, in which Jesus speaks about having come, not to abolish but to fulfil the Law and Prophets.  He issues a challenge to those listening to let their “righteousness” be greater than that of the scribes and Pharisees in order to enter the kingdom.  This they will do if they internalize the law rather than if they simply follow it as a set of rules and regulations.

The text of today is from the conclusion of the Sermon. It begins with Jesus stating emphatically that mere words on the part of people, even if one addresses him with lofty titles and fervent pleas, will not gain one entry into the kingdom.   Entry into the kingdom is determined by “doing” the Father’s will. Right action is more important than right words.

What it means to do the Father’s will is brought out clearly in the parable of the two builders. The point here, besides action, is one of foresight. The builder who builds his house on sand is doing, at first glance, as well as the one who builds his house on rock. It is only when the rain falls, the storm comes, and the wind blows, that the difference is seen. The house built on rock continues to stand, whereas the one built on sand falls. The wise person represents those who put Jesus' words into practice; they too are building to withstand anything. Those who pretend to have faith, which is a mere intellectual commitment, or who enjoy Jesus in small doses as and when it suits them, are foolish builders. When the storms of life come, their structures fool no one; above all, they do not fool God.

The sermon speaks of grace, but the grace of God is known only in that community committed to doing God’s will, as revealed in Jesus. There can be no calculating “cheap grace.”  One must take the Sermon on the Mount seriously as the revealed will of God to be lived. The subject matter of the sermon is not the person of Christ, but the kind of life Christ’s disciples are called to live. One cannot avoid Christology and appeal only to the teaching or great principles of Jesus, for these are inseparable from the claims of his person. But, for Matthew, the converse is also true: “Correct” Christological understanding can never be a substitute for the ethical living to which Jesus calls his disciples. Christology and ethics, like Christology and discipleship, are inseparable for Matthew.

While some regard the Sermon as an ideal to be read and not lived, others see it as being capable of being lived out by only a select few. These kinds of interpretations miss the point. Since the Sermon is addressed to both the disciples and the crowd, there is no doubt that it is meant for all. It is a challenge to be lived out by anyone who professes to be a disciple of Jesus.

Tuesday, 29 November 2022

Wednesday, November 30, 2022 - Homily


 Following the truth is not easy. It takes courage

Wednesday, November 30, 2022 - St. Andrew, Apostle - Andrew left everything to follow the Lord. How will you follow the Lord today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Rom 10:9-18; Mt 4:18-22

Andrew was the brother of Simon Peter (Mt 4:18; Mk 1:16; Jn 1:40; 6:8) and along with his brother was a fisherman. According to the Gospel of John, Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist and was one of the first to follow Jesus. The Gospels of Matthew and Mark state that Andrew and his brother were the disciples to be called by Jesus to become “fishers of men”; a phrase which was used to probably link it with their trade.

Though not in the group of the three disciples (Peter, James and John) who seemed to have a special place in the ministry of Jesus, it was Andrew who brought the boy who had five barley loaves to Jesus in the Gospel of John (Jn 6:8) and who along with Philip told Jesus about the gentiles (Greeks) who wished to meet Jesus (Jn 12:22).

Andrew is said to have been martyred by crucifixion at the city of Patras. His crucifixion is believed to have been on Cross that was shaped like the alphabet X. This Cross is commonly known as “Saint Andrew’s Cross” today.

The Gospel text for the Feast is the call of the first four disciples as narrated by Matthew. It is Jesus who takes the initiative in this story and come to the brothers, Simon and Andrew. Jesus’ invitation is also a promise. The invitation which is “to follow” him, will result in the brothers becoming ‘fishers of men and women’. It is an invitation to participate in the saving work of Jesus.

The response of the brothers is immediate. They leave everything to follow Jesus. While it was surely a risk to act in such a manner, it is also true that the call of Jesus was so compelling, that they simply could not refuse.

What does it mean to follow Jesus and accept his invitation to follow? It means that one is willing to accept the challenge to see God in all things and all things in God. It therefore means continuing to follow when everything is going the way we want it to  and also when our plans go awry and we cannot understand why things happen the way they do. It means trusting at every moment that we have to continue to what is required of us and leave everything else (including the worrying) to God. It means trusting that God will never let us down and that all that happens to us is for God’s glory and our good.

Monday, 28 November 2022

Tuesday, November 29, 2022 - Homily


 What is preventing you from seeing and hearing God’s word today? What will you do about it?

Tuesday, November 29, 2022 - What is preventing you from seeing and hearing God’s word today? What will you do about it?

To read the texts click on the texts: Isa11:1-10; Lk 10:21-24

The Gospel text of today is found also in the Gospel of Matthew, but here, in Luke, it follows the return of the seventy (seventy-two) from mission and continues the note of celebration that this successful return began. There are three clusters of sayings. Today’s text contains the second and third of the three. The second cluster is addressed by Jesus to God. In it, he acclaims the Father for hiding revelation from the wise and intelligent and revealing it to infants. This theme is not new, and is also found in other Jewish wisdom literature. However, the next verse, which speaks about the relationship between the Father and the Son, is unique and distinctly Christological. The knowledge that God gives is “handed over” by the Father directly to the Son. This is the source of Jesus’ authority and is also why the Son is competent to reveal the Father as father. 

The third cluster of sayings is made by Jesus to the disciples. A blessing is first pronounced on the disciples for what they have seen, followed by an explanation. Even prophets and kings were not privileged to see the Son and hear him, but the disciples are so privileged.

The revelation that Jesus made was never meant to be a secret or restricted to only a few. However, since it was a revelation and was done in freedom and generosity, it had to be accepted in like manner. Any kind of a block, whether pride, a closed attitude, or a preconceived notion, would prevent one from seeing and hearing. Thus, it is not God or Jesus who restricts, but a person’s attitude which prevents the person from seeing and hearing. Openness, receptivity, and humility are required in order to receive the revelation that Jesus continues to make, even today. The ones who receive this revelation are indeed blessed

Sunday, 27 November 2022

Monday, November 28, 2022 - Homily


 Do you give up when at first your prayers are not answered? Will you persevere in your asking today?

Monday, November 28, 2022 - Do you give up when at first your prayers are not answered? Will you persevere in your asking today?

 To read the texts click on the texts: Isa2:1-5; Mt 8:5-11

Weekdays in the season of Advent begin with the miracle of the healing of a Gentile officer’s servant. In Matthew’s narrative of this miracle, the focus of attention is on the sayings of both Jesus and the centurion. The centurion does not explicitly tell Jesus his request, but simply relates the situation of his servant. The fact that he addresses Jesus as “Lord” indicates that he is a believer (in Matthew, only those who believe in Jesus address him as “Lord”). Though the response of Jesus might be read as a statement (“I will come and cure him”) it seems better to read it as a question, “I should come and cure him?” Read as a question, it expresses hesitancy and fits in with Matthew’s portrayal of Jesus as the one sent only to the lost sheep of Israel. The centurion, however, responds with faith.

He regards Jesus as one who is under no power or authority. If he, though under the authority of his superior officers, can command and expect to be obeyed, then it is a sure fact that Jesus, who is above all and under no one, will surely be able to heal his servant. This is why there is no need for Jesus to even enter his house.

Jesus’ response to the centurion’s faith is to comment on the lack of faith of those to whom he had been sent, Israel. This lack of faith on the part of Israel, and faith on the part of the Gentiles, will lead to the inclusion of the Gentiles in the eschatological banquet.

 Faith has often been regarded, by some, as a verbal profession of belief. While this is necessary, what is more important is that faith be shown in action. The centurion did this. The confidence with which he approached Jesus is already an indication that, though he had not recited a creed, he had faith. His response to Jesus’ hesitancy is to respond with a positive word of confidence in Jesus’ ability to make whole. He knew in his heart that Jesus had the power, since Jesus’ authority was God’s authority and his word was effective because it was, in fact, God’s word. 

Saturday, 26 November 2022

Sunday, November 27, 2022 - Homily


  “Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday”

Sunday, November 27, 2022 - First Sunday in Advent - “Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday”

To read the texts click on the texts: Isaiah 2:1-5; Rom. 13:11-14; Mt 24:37-44

In this oracle of salvation Isaiah speaks of the elevation or exaltation of Zion, the mountain of the Temple of the Lord. This elevation will result in the establishment of peace and justice among all nations. The people will make a pilgrimage to Zion to learn the Lord’s ways and walk in his paths. They will go to God’s holy mountain to learn from him. This instruction will result in the instruments of war being turned into farming tools. Peace will reign and so there will be no need to train for war.

In this part of his letter to the Romans, Paul exhorts his readers because of the urgency of the times to wake up and live in the light rather than darkness. This is done by giving up things done under the cover of the dark and daring to appear in the light. Christians must express through their words and actions the very presence of Christ.

The text from Matthew is part of his Eschatological Discourse (24-25). To the question “When will Christ return?” Matthew’s answer is “No one knows” (24:36). As in the time of Noah life went on as usual with no sign that judgement was going to come, so will it be at the Parousia (literally “presence” but taken to mean the second coming of Christ). However, this lack of knowledge about the exactness of the hour instead of becoming a cause for concern must be the motivating factor to be ready at all times. In the metaphor of the thief who breaks and enters the house, the point being made is that it is the one who knows that the exact hour is unknown will be the one who will remain vigilant and awake.

Many of us live in the future rather than in the present. We want to know what will happen tomorrow and in the process do not live fully today. This obsession with the future is because basically we are frightened. We are frightened of what the future holds for us, we are frightened of whether we will be able to cope with what the future brings and we are frightened of whether the future will be better than or worse than our present. The Gospel text of today is calling for exactly the opposite of this way of living. It is calling for a total living in the present and doing what we have to do in the now, with no useless worry about what the morrow will bring. This is what it means to be ready at all times. A story is told of St. John Berchmans {a young Jesuit who died when he was  22 years old} who when  asked what he would do if he was told that he was going to be called by the Lord at the moment when he was playing football is said to have replied, “I will continue playing football.” The Latin phrase “Age quod agis” “Do what you are doing” sums up his attitude and the attitude expected of each of us who profess to be followers of Christ.

However, we will only be able to have such a kind of confidence to continue doing what we are doing,  if we give up the negative things that we might be doing and the negative attitudes that we might carry and substitute them instead with everything that enhances, builds up  and is positive. Being good and doing good are not be looked upon as a burden but something that comes naturally to the Christian who has experienced the move from darkness to light and from fear to love through what Christ has done through his life, mission, death and resurrection. We must show through this kind of positive and fearless living that we are indeed children of the light and have as inspiration the person and message of Christ.

If we dare to live in this manner then the prophecy of Isaiah which was fulfilled in the coming of Jesus 2000 years ago will also become a reality once again today. We will become that mountain of the Temple of the Lord to which everyone will look and learn the Lord’s ways. They will learn that to live in the future is futile, that to be obsessed with what is not yet is to fail to appreciate fully the present moment. They will realize that it is better to be positive than negative, to enhance and build up rather than pull down and destroy, to live fully and completely rather than die without ever having lived.

Friday, 25 November 2022

Saturday, November 26, 2022 - Homily


 

If the Lord were to call you today, would you be ready?

Saturday, November 26, 2022 - How would you define prayer? Can it be said of you that your life is prayer?

To read the texts click on the texts: Rev22:1-7; Lk 21:34-36

These verses are the conclusion of the Eschatological Discourse, and in them, Luke composes an exhortation that stresses constant watchfulness and prayer as opposed to drunkenness and dissipation. The reason for alertness is because the day can come at any time. The final verse introduces a positive exhortation. The opposite of sleep and dissipation is vigilance and prayer. The final verse of the discourse calls for constant alertness and prayer, so that one will be able to stand before the Son of Man with dignity and honour. Life itself must be prayer.

Some of us regard being good as a burden. This is because we wrongly associate with seriousness and a lack of joy. On the contrary, a good person and holy person is primarily a joyful person. Such a person enjoys every moment of every day and lives it fully. Such a person leaves nothing undone and therefore will be ready at all times.

Thursday, 24 November 2022

Friday, November 25, 2022 - Homily


 Will you live today as if it were your last day on earth?

Friday, November 25, 2022 - Will you live today as if it were your last day on earth?

To read the texts click on the texts: Revelation 20:1-4,11 – 21:2; Lk 21:29-33

The parable of the fig tree found in these verses is the last parable that Jesus tells in the Gospel of Luke. This parable is found also in Mark 13,28-29 and Matthew 24,32-33, but whereas Mark and Matthew speak only of the fig tree, Luke speaks of “the fig tree and all the trees” (21,29). When people can see for themselves that these trees have come out in leaf they know for themselves that summer is near, so when they see the Son of Man coming in a cloud (21,27) they will know that the kingdom is near. Since Luke probably thought that the end would come soon, he has added the last two sayings about what will not pass away until “these things” have taken place. They are “this generation” and the “words” of Jesus. These pronouncements must serve as a reminder of the assurance of redemption for the believer.

Our job as Christians is not to bother about when the end will be but to live fully in the present moment. If we do so then no matter when the end comes we will always be ready.

Wednesday, 23 November 2022

Thursday, November 24, 2022 - Homily


 If the end were to come today would you be able to hold your heal high fearlessly? If No, what will you do about it today?

Thursday, November 24, 2022 - If the end were to come today would you be able to hold your heal high fearlessly? If No, what will you do about it today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Rev 18:1-2,21-23; 19:1-3,9; Lk 21:20-28

The text of today, continues the Eschatological Discourse, but speaks now of the destruction of Jerusalem and other cosmological signs which announce the coming of the Son of Man. Josephus the Jewish historian recorded the horrors of the Jewish war, which lasted from April until August of the year 70 C.E. It was a terrible for all the inhabitants and many were killed during it. The Romans razed the whole city to the ground. Once this happens and the other signs have come to pass signalling the end that is at hand, the Son of Man will appear in a cloud, with great power and glory. When this happens others might faint from fear, but the disciples are asked to hold their heads up high, because their salvation has indeed come.

Jesus now counsels his followers about “what is coming upon the world,” admitting that cosmic signs will attend it, signs in the sun, moon, stars, and in the roaring and surging sea. They will cause distress among people of all nations. Fear and foreboding will snatch the breath away from people, as the forces of the heavens are shaken loose. All of this will be a sign of the coming of the Son of Man on a cloud with power and great glory. He will bring deliverance to Christian disciples who will have to learn to “shape up” and hold their heads high in joyful expectation. For the judgment passed on Jerusalem merely presages a judgment of greater dimension and import. As Jerusalem was faced with a crisis when Jesus appeared to teach there, so will the world be faced when he comes as the Son of Man. In contrast to the judgment to be passed on the world, Christian disciples will then realize that their deliverance is near. 

Savarde Solar Project


 We began this project last year. After many challenges it has seen the light of the day. Thanks for your support and prayers. I am very grateful

Tuesday, 22 November 2022

Wednesday, November 23, 2022 - Homily


If some witnessed your actions the whole of today, what would they conclude about you?

Wednesday, November 23, 2022 - If someone witnessed your actions all through today, would they conclude that you are a disciple of Jesus?

To read the texts click on the texts: Rev15:1-4; Lk 21:12-19

These verses are part of Luke’s Eschatological Discourse. The Greek word “Eschaton” is translated as “the last things”, “the things of the next life”. The main point of these verses is to prepare the disciples for the coming trial by exhorting them to regard trials as an occasion for bearing witness. The text begins by telling the disciples what they (the persecutors) will do namely arrest you, persecute you etc. It then goes on to advise the disciples what they must do in the face of this persecution, namely that they must bear witness but not be obsessed with the anxiety of preparing their defence. The reason for this is because of what Jesus will do, namely, give the disciples wisdom to counter any argument of the opponents. The text ends with an assurance of God’s support and protection on those who endure.

The persecution of the disciples, however, does not exceed what Jesus himself will experience. He, too, will be arrested and brought before Pilate and Herod. It is Jesus himself therefore who will give the disciples the content of what they are to say.

The gospel offers not a way of predicting the end of the world but the spiritual resources to cope with the challenges of life. In times of distress the disciples of Jesus are called not to throw their hands up in despair, but to be unafraid. It is a fact that following Jesus who is The Truth will have repercussions and consequences, some of which may be disastrous. However, it is in these circumstances that perseverance and endurance is called for. This is the test of our faith and courage in the promises of the Lord.

Thus we can opt for one of two ways of proceeding. One is to focus so much on prophesies of the future, that they frighten us into idle speculation and inaction. The other is to dare to commit ourselves and actions to make a difference here and now.

Monday, 21 November 2022

Tuesday, November 22, 2022 - Homily


 Are you so concerned about the next life that you are not living fully this one?

Tuesday, November 22 , 2022 - Are you so concerned about the next life that you are not living fully this life?

To read the texts click on the texts: Rev14:14-19 ; Lk 21:5-11

Luke follows Mark 13:1-8 quite closely in these verses, though he also makes some changes. While in Mark 13:1 Jesus comes out of the Temple and predicts its destruction when his disciples point to it magnificence, in Luke, Jesus is within the Temple when he predicts its destruction when some (not the disciples) speak of its magnificence (21:5-6). This is why unlike in Mark 13:3 he is not on the Mount of Olives opposite the Temple, but within its precincts when he is asked about when this will take place (21:7). Mark 13:3 has Peter, James, John and Andrew who ask this question; Luke has the people pose the question. Jesus responds by stating not the hour when this will take place, but by issuing a set of three warnings. The first warning is not to allow oneself to be led astray and be led into believing that the ones’ who come in his name are the Messiah. The meaning of this warning is broad and encompasses being led to sin, being taught false teachings, and being deceived regarding apocalyptic events.

The second warning follows the first: the disciples of Jesus must not go after these false Messiahs.

The third warning is not to be terrified when they hear of wars and insurrections, because they are part of God’s plan in bringing about the kingdom and must out of necessity happen before the final coming.

In times of great danger, stress, and hardship it is natural for persons and communities of faith to turn to God and to the future for hope, for the promise of deliverance. However, idle preoccupation and speculation of what will happen at the end times is not called for. It is a distortion of the Gospel message of Jesus who asks that we concern ourselves not with gossip and guesswork, but in how we must do what we have to do in the present.  

Sunday, 20 November 2022

Monday, November 21, 2022 - Will you forego one meal this week and give what you save to someone less fortunate than you?

 To read the texts click on the Texts: Rev14:1-5; Lk 21:1-4

Jesus’ comment on the widow’s offering follows immediately after his condemnation of the scribes, who “devour widow’s houses”. Luke omits most of Mark’s introduction to the widow’s offering (see Mark 12,41). In the new scene, which Luke brings about by his comment that “He (Jesus) looked up and saw”, Luke introduces two sets of characters: the rich contributors and a poor widow. The action of both is the same. However, the size or amount of the gifts of the rich contributors is not mentioned, but it is explicitly stated that the widow put in two lepta, the smallest copper coins then in use. It would have taken 128 lepta to make one denarius, which was a day’s wage. Two lepta would therefore have been worthless. In a twist reminiscent of many of Jesus’ parables, Jesus states that the widow who put in what seems like a worthless amount has put in more than any of the rich contributors. The following statement clarifies how this could be. They contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty. They contributed gifts she contributed herself.

Monday, November 21, 2022 - The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary - Is Jesus pointing to you as his brother/sister? If yes, Why? If no, why not?

 To read the texts click on the texts: Zech 2:14-17; Mt 12:46-50

The feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary is associated with an event recounted not in the New Testament, but in the apocryphal Infancy Narrative of James. According to that text, Mary's parents, Joachim and Anne, who had been childless, received a heavenly message that they would bear a child. In thanksgiving for the gift of their daughter, they brought her, when still a child, to the Temple in Jerusalem to consecrate her to God. Mary remained in the Temple until puberty, at which point she was assigned to Joseph as guardian. Later versions of the story (such as the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew and the Gospel of the Nativity of Mary) tell us that Mary was taken to the Temple at around the age of three in fulfilment of a vow. Tradition held that she was to remain there to be educated in preparation for her role as Mother of God.

The Gospel text chosen for the feast of today contains a pointer as to who make up the true family of Jesus. Unlike in Mark, where the “crowd” is pointed out to as the true family of Jesus, in Matthew, it is the community of disciples who make up the true family. The point being made in this text is not so much about the mother or brothers and sisters of Jesus, but about who will be regarded as true members of Jesus’ family. The action of stretching out his hand has been used earlier to portray Jesus as compassionate (8:3) and also an act, which will be used later to show him as the great deliverer who comes to the aid of his disciples (14:31). In the concluding statement, the Matthean Jesus makes clear that discipleship and being a member of his family is not merely a matter of verbal profession even proclamation, but doing the will of God. This aspect makes anyone a brother or sister of Jesus.

We may imagine that because we have been baptised into the faith we can take for granted that we are members of Jesus’ family. This need not be so, since we need to keep renewing our commitment to Jesus and his cause every day. While verbal proclamation does have its place, it alone is not enough. We must show through our deeds whom we believe in.

Saturday, 19 November 2022

Sunday, November 20, 2022 - Homily


 What one action will you do today to show that you are readying to receive Christ the King?

Feast of the Infant Jesus 2023


 The Feast of the Infant Jesus will be on SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2023. The Novenas will be from Thursday, February 2, 2023 till Friday, February 10, 2023. May God be with you and your families, may the Infant Jesus bless you all and may Mary always intercede.

Sunday, November 20, 2022 - CHRIST THE UNIVERSAL AND ETERNAL KING - What one action will you do today to show that you are readying to receive Christ the King?

To read the texts click on the texts: 2 Sam 5:1-3; Col 1:12-20; Lk 23:35-43

The feast of Christ the Eternal King was introduced through the encyclical Quas Primas – (“In the first”) of Pope Pius XI on December 11, 1925.  One main purpose of the encyclical was to communicate hope to a world which seemed to be giving into despair.  Another purpose was to give the world a whole new idea of kingship, dominion and authority. There could be no better model of kingship which the Church could put before the world than Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, the servant king.

This feast is celebrated every year on the last Sunday in Ordinary time. It brings to a close the Ordinary time of the liturgical year and it begins the preparation for Advent and the coming of the redeemer child at Christmas.

The readings for today all speak of Kingship. The first reading tells of the kingship of David who had been anointed king over Judah and now, over the northern tribes of Israel. Thus, David becomes king over all of Israel. However, even as he is anointed king, he is reminded of the kind of king that the Lord wants him to be, namely a Shepherd king. He began life as a shepherd of the flocks of his father.  Now, he is shepherd over the people. Like the shepherd looks after his flock and leads them, so David will look after his people and lead them. The anointing of David as king is not something done on a mere whim. It is the Lord who ordained it.  It is the Lord who said that David would be shepherd and rule over Israel. David had shown his care for his people when he led them out and brought them to the glory that they now experience.

The kingdom that God established in David promised newness. The shape of power in this kingdom will be governed by shepherding and covenant making. Israel’s future hope has, for the moment, become its present hope. This present hope was made even more visible when God chose and anointed Jesus to be king, not only over Israel but over the whole of humanity. Like David before him, Jesus would also be a shepherd of the people.  The covenant that he made with God would be a covenant on the Cross. It would be an eternal covenant, one that no amount of negatives could ever erase.

The Gospel text of today brings out this truth powerfully. Through the irony of the taunts of the leaders and soldiers, Luke highlights both Jesus’ real identity and the true meaning of his death. The leaders and soldiers think that they are ridiculing Jesus. They think that they are making fun of him.  However, even as they do this, they are unaware that this is exactly the kind of king that he has come to be.  Just as Jesus had taught that those who lose their lives for his sake would save them, so now he is willing to lose his life so that all might be saved. Jesus’ death did not contradict the Christological claims; it confirmed them. For him to have saved himself would have been a denial of his salvific role in the purposes of God. Both what is said and what is done at the cross, therefore, confirm the truth about the one who is crucified: He is the Christ, the King of the Jews, the Saviour of the World.

This salvation that Jesus effected on the Cross is made even more visible and more tangible in the response of Jesus to those crucified with him. Though rebuked by one of the thieves, Jesus does not react negatively. He is willing to accept even this taunt. The pronouncement that Jesus makes to the thief who asks for remembrance is solemn. It is the last of the six “Amen” sayings in Luke and the only one addressed to a person. It is also the last of the “Today” pronouncements. That “Amen” and “Today” have been used together is an indication that the pronouncement is emphatic and that there is to be no delay.  What Jesus promises will happen now.

The salvation pronounced to one of the thieves on the Cross is also the salvation being pronounced to each of us who are willing to receive it. This is because, through his passion and death, Jesus has rescued us, as the letter to the Colossians points out.  He has rescued us from the power of darkness and sin.  He has transferred us into the kingdom of light and all that is good. It is therefore, in the visible image of Jesus Christ that we can comprehend who God is and what God wants to do for each of us. God wants the whole of creation to be reconciled in Jesus. God wants all of creation to be saved in the shepherd and self-sacrificing king.

As we come to the close of another liturgical year, and as we prepare to welcome Christ our eternal king, we need to realize that our king can come only if we are willing to open our hearts and minds wide to receive him. We can do this by removing from our minds and hearts anything that will prevent us from receiving and accepting him. We can do this by removing selfishness and self-centeredness that makes us seek only our own good rather than the good of others. We can do this by reaching out in love and forgiveness as he did, even when on the Cross. Will we ready our minds and hearts to receive our King?

Friday, 18 November 2022

Saturday, November 19, 2022 - If you were told that your life after death would be determined by the life you live now, what changes would you make in this life?

To read the texts click on the texts: 1 Maccabees 6:1-13; Lk20:27-40

The Sadducees were a group of Jews who did not believe in the resurrection. The question they ask Jesus assumes the practice of levirate marriage, where according to Deut 25,5, the brother of a deceased man was to take his brother’s widow as his wife. The Sadducees extend the situation to the point of ridicule by speaking of seven brothers who marry the same woman. The question is whose wife she would be in the resurrection. While in Mark, Jesus first rebukes the Sadducees, in Luke he begins to teach them immediately. Jesus’ response is that life in the resurrection will not simply be a continuation of the life, as we know it now. In the second part of his response, Jesus calls the attention of the Sadducees to the familiar story of the burning bush, in which the point is that God is not God of the dead but of the living.

Jesus’ words can thus be approached from a positive side. The God who created human life, including the institution of marriage, has also provided for life after death for those who have cultivated the capacity to respond to God’s love. The biblical teaching is that life comes from God. There is nothing in or of the human being that is naturally or inherently immortal. If there is life beyond death, it is God’s gift to those who have accepted God’s love and entered into relationship with God in this life: They “are children of God, being children of the resurrection”.

Thursday, 17 November 2022

Friday, November 18, 2022 - Homily


 If the Lord were to come to the Temple of your life what would he find there?

Friday November 18, 2022 - If the Lord were to come to the Temple of your heart, would he find selling and buying or would he find himself there?

To read the texts click on the texts: Rev10:8-11; Lk 19:45-48

The cleansing of the temple is one of the few incidents that are narrated by all four Gospels. However, the distinctiveness of Luke’s account stands out more clearly when it is compared with Mark. In Marks account, Jesus enters Jerusalem and the temple, and then withdraws for the night to Bethany. In contrast, Luke has Jesus proceed directly to the Temple. The cleansing in Luke is greatly abbreviated, omitting Mark’s references to those who were buying, overturning the tables, selling doves and forbidding anyone to carry anything through the Temple. While in Mark Jesus’ action is part of his prophetic announcement of the destruction of the temple, in Luke, the cleansing prepares his “father’s house” to serve as the site for Jesus’ teaching in the following section (19,47 – 21,38). While in Mark Jesus leaves the Temple definitively after the cleansing, in Luke, Jesus continues to teach in the Temple even after the incident. Since the people were spellbound by the words of Jesus, the chief priests, scribes and the leaders could do nothing to him.

The related scenes of Jesus weeping over the city and driving out the merchants from the Temple speak poignantly of God’s judgment on human sinfulness. These are passages heavy with pathos and tragedy. Jesus weeps, laments, and sounds warnings that fall on deaf ears. 

Wednesday, 16 November 2022

Thursday, November 17, 2022 - Homily


 God comes in many disguises

Thursday, November 17, 2022 - What keeps you from recognising the Messiah?

To read the texts click on the texts: Rev5:1-10; Lk 19:41-44

The text of today dwells on the theme of Jesus’ rejection by the religious elders. The city Jerusalem, whose name contains the word peace, does not recognise the King of Peace, Jesus Christ. Jesus’ tears for Jerusalem are because she did not recognise that if she accepted him as Messiah, true peace would indeed reign. The numerous attempts of Jesus to win over the people were met with stiff resistance. They had closed their minds and hearts to anything that he had to say because it did not fit in with what they had already set their minds to believe.

There are times in our lives when we 'conveniently' believe what suits us and reject many other truths. In doing so we are like the people of the city of Jerusalem who have closed ourselves to the revelation that God continually makes. We must develop the ability to find God in all things and all things in God.

Tuesday, 15 November 2022

Wednesday, November 16, 2022 - Homily


 The road to success is challenging

Wednesday, November 16, 2022 - Homily

To read the texts click on the texts: Rev 4:1-11; Lk 19:11-28

The parable in the text of today is from the common source of Matthew and Luke known as “Q”. However, Matthew (Mt 25,14-30) presents it differently. While in Matthew there are three servants who are given five talents (a talent was equivalent to 20 years wages for a common labourer), two and one talent respectively, in Luke there are ten servants who are given one mina each (a mina was about three months wages for a common labourer). The amounts in Luke are much smaller than in Matthew. Though there are ten servants, we are told only about three. The first of the three has earned ten minas with the one he was given, the second has earned five and so these are given charge of ten and five cities respectively. The third returns the mina to the king because he was afraid of him and knew him to be a harsh man. After berating the man for not putting the mina into the bank, which would have earned interest, the king commands that his mina be given to the one who already has ten.

The point, which Luke seems to make in this parable, is that responses to Jesus the king have a decisive role in human destiny, for responses to him determine life and death. There is no “safe” position. The only road to success is to take risks as taken by the first two servants.

Monday, 14 November 2022

Tuesday, November 15, 2022 - Homily


 What one action will you perform to show that you have repented TODAY?

Tuesday, November 15, 2022 - What one action will you perform to show that you have repented TODAY?

To read the texts click on the texts: Rev 3:1-6.14-22 ; Lk 19:1-10

The story of Zacchaeus’ encounter with Jesus is exclusive to the Gospel of Luke and is the last encounter of Jesus with outcasts before he enters Jerusalem. It takes place when Jesus is passing through Jericho and on his way to Jerusalem. Zacchaeus is the name of the tax collector who Luke informs us is “rich” (19,2). He desires to see Jesus, but there are obstacles to his desire. The first is the crowd and the second is his own short stature. These are interconnected. If there were no crowd, his short stature would not have mattered and if he were tall the crowd would not have mattered. Zacchaeus does not allow thses to hinder him and does what no grown man at his time would do: he runs. Worse: he climbs a tree. Through this Luke indicates that Zacchaeus was willing to face ridicule and being mocked by the crowd in order to do what he had set about to do. He gives up his self-importance and dignity, because all that matters to him is to see and encounter Jesus. When Jesus comes to the place where Zacchaeus he asks him to hurry and come down. Zacchaeus obeys instantly. The reaction of the crowd is to grumble that Jesus would go to the house of a sinner. Zacchaeus on the other hand responds with generosity and uses the visit of Jesus to redeem himself. Jesus responds by confirming Zacchaeus’ status as a “son of Abraham”, not because he was born one, but because of his repentance. In the last verse of the story, Jesus pronounces salvation on the house of Zacchaeus and reaffirms his own mission as Son of man: to seek and save the lost.

The desire of Zacchaeus to see Jesus is a genuine one. He shows it is genuine by his willingness to overcome any obstacles that come in the way of his seeing. He is willing to persevere and do all that is required of him. His perseverance is rewarded by his meeting Jesus and being transformed by him.

Sunday, 13 November 2022

Monday, November 14, 2022 - Homily


 What is it that prevents me from seeing good in others? Do I want to receive back my sight?

Monday, November 14, 2022 - What is it that prevents me from seeing good in others? Do I want to receive back my sight?

To read the texts click on the texts: Rev 1:1-4; 2,1-5; Lk 18:35-43

The text of today is also found in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, but whereas in Matthew there are two blind men and in Mark the name of the blind man is Bartimaeus, in Luke there is one blind man who is not named. However, what is common to all three Gospels is that the blind man/men cries out to Jesus with a messianic title, “Son of David”, and perseveres in his plea despite being told by the people to quiet down. Though the question that Jesus asks the blind man seems redundant, it is necessary for Jesus to ask the question to indicate his respect for the freedom of the man. While on the physical level the man is blind, on the spiritual level he has insight because despite his physical blindness, he is able to recognise that Jesus of Nazareth is also the Messiah, which those who have physical sight are not able to do. Jesus attributes the recovery of his sight to his faith.

We might tend sometimes to close our eyes to the good that there is in others, and we might also prefer to close our eyes to the injustice that we see around us. We might close our eyes to the suffering of people around us and we might prefer to close our eyes to the needs of others. Having eyes we might prefer not to see.