Sunday 31 July 2022

Monday, August 1, 2022 - Homily

 Will you become bread for at least one person today?

Monday, August 1, 2022 - Will you like Jesus become bread for at least one person today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Jeremiah 28:1-17; Mt 14:13-21

The miracle of the feeding of the five thousand with five loaves and two fish in which five baskets are gathered is the only miracle that Jesus worked that is found in all the four Gospels (Mk 6,32-44; Lk 9,10-17; Jn 6,1-15).

In Matthew, Jesus withdraws after hearing about the death of John the Baptist. However, as he did earlier (12,15), the withdrawal is not out of fear, as is clear here from the fact that even in his withdrawal he is able to reach out to the multitudes and satisfy their hunger. The crowds follow Jesus and when Jesus sees them, he reaches out to make them whole. Unlike in Mark where the disciples are shown in a bad light in their sarcastic response to Jesus’ charge to them, “you give them something to eat” (Mk 6,37), in Matthew they are not. In Matthew, it is the disciples’ lack of faith, which is brought to the fore. In Matthew, the words and actions of Jesus here, resemble more closely than in Mark, the words and actions at the scene of the Last supper (26,20-27). The people eat, are satisfied and there is food left over which highlights the abundance and extravagance of the miracle. Matthew adds “besides women and children” (14,21) to Mark’s “five thousand men” (Mk 6,44) in order to expand the numbers and emphasise again the abundance of the miracle.

Many like to see this miracle as one in which selflessness is at the core. Seeing Jesus share his own meal so freely, others were motivated into sharing what they had so that there was more than required. It is in giving that we receive and more than we ever expected.

Saturday 30 July 2022

Sunday, July 31, 2022 - St. Ignatius of Loyola - Homily

 St. Ignatius learned to find God in all things and all things in God. Will we?

Friday 29 July 2022

Saturday, July 30, 2022 - Homily

 We can point to God's love by our actions of love

Sunday, July 31, 2022 - St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus

Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) the founder of the Society of Jesus possessed innumerable qualities which made him a giant of his time. He remains a giant of our times as well. I will attempt to enumerate some of them below in the hope that with God’s grace we can assimilate at least some of them in our following of the Lord.

One quality that characterised the life of St. Ignatius above all others was his deep personal love for the person of Jesus Christ. Ignatius was so taken up with Jesus that he was willing to do anything, go anywhere, and be anyone as long as he could imitate him. This was precisely why, when he founded the Society or Company which he hoped would do great things for the Lord, he named it after Jesus. His intention in naming the Society after Jesus was both because he did not seek personal glory and also because he wanted that his companions and those who decided to join this least Society would be ‘Jesuita’ (like Jesus Christ). For Ignatius, like for Paul, all he wanted was to know Christ (Phil 3:7).

This personal love for the person of Jesus was also his reason for being a Contemplative in Action. While Ignatius always set aside time for prayer and communion with the Lord, in his personal life, prayer was never separated from action. He developed the ability to find God in all things and all things in God.There was a constant interplay between experience, reflection, decision and action, in line with the ideal of being a contemplative in action like Jesus himself was. His prayer gave him the necessary strength that he required in his work and his work made him aware of his need for prayer.

It was because of this close communion with the Lord whether when at work or in solitude and silence that Ignatius was always listening to and waiting for the Lord. Though Ignatius was in constant and close touch with the Lord, he never presumed to tell the Lord what to do. Rather, like an attentive student before his Master, he was always listening and discerning what the Lord wanted him to do. This is why when he wrote the Spiritual Exercises he devoted a whole section to Discernment. In this section he provided twenty rules for discernment mainly because his one desire was to do what God wanted him to do. This was in imitation of his master Jesus whose food and drink was to do the will of his Father (Jn 4:34).

His desire to do God’s will, no matter what the consequences led him to keep searching for the Magis or the greater, the more. The entire life of St. Ignatius was a pilgrim search for the Magis, the ever-greater glory of God, the ever-fuller service of men and women, the more universal good, the more effective apostolic means. The Magis was not simply one among others in a list of the qualities of St. Ignatius - it permeated them all. There was no complacency or self-satisfaction. There was to be no giving in to mediocrity in his way of proceeding. God had to be given not only all but more than all. He always strove to make the good, better; the better, better still and the better still, still better. This is why he chose as the motto of the Society of Jesus Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam (A.M.D.G.) which means in English, The Greater Glory of God.

It was precisely this striving for the Magis that led him to the invaluable quality of Indifference which is part of the last Annonation in the Spiritual Exercises. Ignatius understood Indifference as deep concern for the ‘things of the Lord’. It was precisely because of this concern that one could be detached from the outcome. Ignatian Indifference means doing all that has to be done to the best of one’s ability and then leaving the rest in God’s capable hands. It was because one is convinced that the Lord is in control, that one can rest assured that everything will work out as the Lord wants it to. In the same context therefore one is detached from riches and also poverty, from the possession of things and also from their absence. This quality of Indifference helped Ignatius never to give in to despair or lose hope. There were many times in his life when things did not go as planned and even times when his plans were turned upside down. However, like Paul he too learned to be content in any and all circumstances (Phil 4:11-13). He was able to be at equanimity at all times.

His ‘indifference’ which meant that for him God was in control in all circumstances led him to formulate ‘Rules for thinking with the Church’. Unlike some contemporaries of his time who broke away from the Church when they disagreed with the hierarchy, Ignatius was loyal to the Church right through. To be sure, like some of his contemporaries he was aware that the Church was in need of healing. He regarded the Church as a mother. He never considered himself an outsider, an armchair critic, but actively went about trying to reform the Church from within. Since the Church was the Body of Christ (1 Cor 12:12-31), Ignatius regarded himself and the Society as an integral part of this body.

This ‘Body of Christ’ was in the world and had to serve the world. Of those to be served, Ignatius preferred to be in solidarity with those most in need. He deliberately chose the path of poverty in order to experience first-hand what the poor went through. This enabled him to reach out to them in a practical and tangible manner. In the Constitutions he asks Jesuits to regard poverty as a mother and if any change was to be made in this vow, it was only to be allowed if poverty was to be made stricter. This concern for others was evident in his choice of the ministries in which Jesuits would engage. The numerous schools, colleges, universities, other institutions of learning and social institutions which express solidarity with the poor and disadvantaged are testimony to this concern.

The feast of Ignatius is for each of us an opportunity to ask whether we can try to assimilate some of these qualities. Of these, it seems to me that if we make every attempt to deepen our relationship with the Lord, all others will naturally follow. In order to do this we must be ready to live each moment fully, do what we have to do in that moment and after we have done that, leave everything that remains undone in God’s hands through prayer.

Saturday, July 30, 2022 - Will you, like John the Baptist point to Jesus through your life today? How?

 To read the texts click on the texts: Jer26:11-16,24; Mt 14:1-12

Herod mentioned at the beginning of this story of the death of John the Baptist found also in Mark 6:14-29 is Herod Antipas and the son of Herod the Great mentioned in the Infancy narrative of Matthew (2:3). Though Matthew has taken this story from Mark, he shortens it considerably. Matthew’s reason for Herod wanting to kill John is the same as Mark, John, his disciples go and tell Jesus about what had happened. had objected to Herod having married Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife when he was still alive. In Matthew, unlike in Mark, it is not Herodias who wants to kill John, but Herod himself. When the daughter of Herodias (who is not named) pleases Herod with her dance on his birthday, she asks for the head of John the Baptist. After burying John

It is not always easy for us to take a stand against injustice. Yet this is what this text is calling us to do. In the process on taking a stand we might become unpopular or sometimes the object of ridicule. The challenge is how much we are willing to risk

Novena to St. Ignatius of Loyola - Day Eight - Ever searching for the Magis


Thursday 28 July 2022

Friday, July 29, 2022 - Homily

 Do you tell God what God must do or will you listen to what God would have you do?

Friday, July 29, 2022 - St. Martha - Will you like Martha, presume to tell Jesus what he ought to do, or will you like Mary listen to what he would like you to do?

 To read the texts click on the texts: 1 Jn 4:7-16; Lk 10:38-42

St. Martha whose feast is celebrated today is mentioned in the Gospels of Luke and John. She is the sister of Mary and Lazarus. She comes across in the Gospel of Luke as a doer.

This text, which speaks of the encounter of Martha and Mary with Jesus, takes the form of a pronouncement story (a story in which a saying of Jesus stands out and is the focus of the story).

While the Gospel of Luke explicitly mentions women disciples of Jesus, here Mary is even sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to his teaching, something unthinkable at the time of Jesus. By sitting at his feet, Mary is acting like a male, and in doing so neglects her duty of helping to prepare the meal. This action of Mary also results in bringing shame upon her house

Though justified Martha’s protest is put negatively by her. It is clear that her focus is not the Lord, but herself. She is concerned not with her service of the Lord, but the trouble that it is causing her because she is left alone to serve. The response of Jesus to Martha is the main point of the story and the pronouncement. The repetition of her name is a mild rebuke. Her “cares” have prevented her from unhindered devotion and attention to the Lord. Mary has chosen the one thing necessary and that is the Lord. Martha presumes to tell Jesus what he should do; Mary lets Jesus tell her what to do.

There are times when we do things not because we are convinced that they have to be done but because we want the approval of others or we want others to know how hard we are working. These are selfish acts and do not bring grace. The act that does bring grace is when we do what has to be done simply because it has to be done and expect nothing in return.

Wednesday 27 July 2022

Thursday, July 28, 2022 - Homily

 If the sorting were to take place now, would you be kept or thrown away? What will you do to ensure that you are kept?

Thursday, July 28, 2022 - If the sorting were to take place now, would you be kept or thrown away? What will you do to ensure that you are kept?

To read the texts click on the texts: Jer18:1-6; Mt 13:47-53

The parable of the Net (13,47-48) its interpretation (13,49-50) and the parable of the householder (13, 51-52) are found only in the Gospel of Matthew.

In the parable of the Net, a large net is used to catch fish of every kind. There is no sorting out of the fish at the time of their being caught. It is only after the net is full and drawn ashore that the sorting takes place. The good fish are kept and the bad are thrown away.

The interpretation focuses on the fate of the evil (bad fish), which will be thrown into the furnace of fire. It does not speak about the fate of the righteous except to say that the evil will be separated from them.

In the parable of the householder, both the new and old are affirmed. However, the old, which is valuable, is presented in a new light and therefore seen in a new way. The fact that the order of the words is “new” and “old” is an indication that the new is to be used to interpret the old and not the other way around.

Tuesday 26 July 2022

Wednesday, July 27, 2022 - Homily

 To find the treasure we need to reorient ourselves

Wednesday, July 27, 2022 - Homily

 What is the treasure you have set your heart on?

Wednesday, July 27, 2022 - What would you give in exchange for your life?

To read the texts click on the texts: Jer 15:10,16-21; Mt 13:44-46

The parables of the hidden treasure (13,44) and the fine pearls (13,45-46) are found only in the Gospel of Matthew. In both the parables the one who finds, goes and sells all he has for the sake of what he has found. However, the one who finds the treasure in the field finds it by accident and is not actively looking for it, whereas the merchant is in search of fine pearls. This is probably why the one in the field is filled with joy whereas the merchant knowing that he has found what he is looking for is not filled with joy, but is willing to give up everything for the sake of the pearl that he has found. Though some may find the action of the man in the field who hides the treasure questionable, it must be noted that the parable does not legitimise the man’s action of hiding, but focuses on his action of selling all that he had. The point of the parables seems to be that the dawning of the kingdom calls for reflection on one’s values and leads to action that brings on a new set of values.

We might become so used to doing things in a particular way that we are unwilling to change even if someone shows us a better way of doing the same thing. These parables are calling us to Newness and to sacrifice what we are for what we can become. 

Novena to St. Ignatius of Loyola - Day Five - "In solidarity with those most in need"


Monday 25 July 2022

Tuesday, July 26, 2022 - Homily

 Do not judge too quickly or too easily

Tuesday, July 26, 2022 - Are you too quick to condemn others merely by what you notice externally? Will you reserve your judgement today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Jer14:17-22; Mt 13:36-43

These verses contain the interpretation or allegory of the parable of the weeds and are found only in the Gospel of Matthew. Since Jesus speaks to the crowds only in parables, Matthew has Jesus go into the house after leaving the crowds and explain privately the meaning of the parable to his disciples. In the interpretation, the attention is on the weeds and so on the final judgement. The Son of Man has indeed sowed good seed in the field, which is the world and not merely the church, but the devil who is responsible for the second sowing has sown weeds. Though this is the case, it is not the believers who represent the good seed who will pass judgement on the unbelievers who represent the weeds Judgement will be passed by God through the Son of Man.

We sometimes wonder why “evil” people seem to be thriving. When we do this we are already making a judgement about a person or about something, which we might not fully know. If we avoid comparing ourselves with others and stop labelling them especially when we are not fully aware of the facts, we can concentrate better on what we are called to do and be.

Novena to St. Ignatius of Loyola - Day Four - Total Involvement in the world


Sunday 24 July 2022

Monday, July 25, 2022 - St. James - Homily

 Authority in the kingdom of God means service

Monday, July 25, 2022 - St. James, Apostle - Will you like St. James drink your cup courageously no matter what the consequences?

To read the texts click on the texts: 2 Cor 4:7-15; Mt. 20:20-28

St. James is described as one of the first disciples along with his brother John to join Jesus (Mk 1:19-20). He was one of the three whom Jesus took with him when he raised Jairus daughter from the dead (Mk 5:35-43), on the mountain of transfiguration (Mk 9:2-9) and at Gethsemane (Mk 14:32-42). The Acts of the Apostles 12:1 records that Herod had James executed by sword. He is the only apostle whose martyrdom is recorded in the New Testament.

The Gospel text chosen for the feast of St. James is from the Gospel of Matthew.  In order to spare the disciples, whom Matthew usually represents as understanding, Matthew replaces the disciples’ own request with one represented by their mother and does not name the “sons of Zebedee” here. The request for seats at the “right hand and left hand” reflects the rule of the Son of Man from his throne. In his reply to the request the Matthean Jesus focuses on the image of the cup which is used as a symbol for suffering, testing, rejection, judgement and even violent death. Though they express confidence that they are able to drink the cup, Jesus knows better. However, even martyrdom will not gain the disciples special places. That is God’s prerogative and grace. Jesus then takes the disciples to another level and perspective of leadership where to be a leader is not to dominate or dictate but to serve. Christina leadership may be defined as service.

James understood this after the death and resurrection of Jesus as was evident in his martyrdom. He followed his Lord and Master to the end and did indeed drink the cup courageously. 

Novena to St. Ignatius of Loyola - Day Three- Contemplative in Action


Saturday 23 July 2022

Sunday, July 24, 2022 - Homily

 Prayer must show itself in deeds

Sunday, July 24, 2022 - Prayer is Action

To read the texts click on the texts: Gn18:20-32; Col 2:12-14; Lk11:1-13

What is prayer? If all the books that could be written to answer this question were written, it would be difficult for the world itself to contain the books that could be written.

There is an old story of a monk who was bothered by mice playing around him when he prayed. To stop it, he got a cat and kept it in his prayer room so the mice would be scared away. However, he never explained to his disciples why he had the cat. One day, the monk walked down the corridors of the monastery and noticed that each of his disciples had a cat in their prayer room. After seeing their master with a cat, they thought having a cat was the secret to powerful praying.

Prayer had been defined as “talking with God”, “listening to God”, “petioning God” “intimate communion and communication with the Lord” and so on. However, a definition that makes the most sense to me is “Prayer is action”. This is because all too often Prayer has been relegated to theory and verbosity. It has often been understood to be sterile. Not too many of us who pray believe that our prayers will be answered and this is proved when we are often surprised and even astounded when we get what we pray for. However, in Jesus’ definition, prayer is not the last but the first resort. When we need something we go first to our Heavenly father who is the primary cause.

The Gospels contain only one instance of Jesus’ teaching his disciples on Prayer. While the text of today’s Gospel is also found in Matthew and is known popularly as the “Our Father”, it must be noted that there is no “Our” in Luke’s version of the prayer which seems to fit the historical context better than Matthew’s version. It is more likely that Jesus taught his disciples the meaning of prayer and how to pray when he was praying.

There are many aspects to the Lord’s Prayer in Luke which contains five petitions. The first and second petitions concern God directly. They are both a petition for God’s sovereignty to be established. They petition for the full coming of God’s kingdom and for the time when all creation will acknowledge and celebrate the holiness of God. The term “Father” is not static but dynamic and indicates an endearing relationship, a relationship of trust and confidence.  It is imperative that one approach God with confidence and conviction much like a trusting child approaches its trustworthy parents. The third petition is for bread, for sustenance in our everyday life. This is an indication that God in concerned with even the mundane, ordinary things our daily lives. Fourthly the prayer is for forgiveness of our sins in the same way in which we forgive others their sins against us. One who will not forgive cannot receive forgiveness; mercy flows through the same channel, whether being given or received. There is no quid pro quo here; however, the ability to forgive and to be forgiven is part of the same gift. We stand in need not only of daily sustenance but also of continual forgiveness. The final petition is a climactic one that underscores our relationship to God as a Father to whom we can appeal for protection from any circumstances that might threaten our lives or our relationship to and for protection during the trials or tests accompanying the full manifestation of God’s kingdom.

Though not part of the prayer that Jesus taught, the instructions that follow the prayer in Luke are as important as the prayer itself and must be seen along with it. The core of these instructions is that God does answer all prayer. What is required is perseverance and persistence. This is the kind of persistence shown by Abraham in the first reading of today when he keeps petioning God who finally grants him what he asks for. Indeed, God exhibits no disapproval even as Abraham is direct and resolute. As Abraham continues to keep petioning, God responds in a consistently positive way. Abraham’s concerns are matched by God’s. God will go to any extent to save the righteous. God’s will to save outweighs God’s will to judge. God does take Abraham’s thinking and petitions into account before deciding what the final outcome will be. God does take prayer seriously.

This is shown in the last part of the Gospel text for today when Jesus assures his disciples that God does answer prayer. To be sure, the answer may not be as we expect or even want, but God does listen and God does answer and without a doubt, what God gives will be infinitely better than what we want for ourselves. A striking example of this is Jesus’ own prayer in Gethsemane. As persistent as Jesus was that the cup be taken away from him so he was that God’s will be done. While the first part of the prayer was not answered and God did not take the cup away from Jesus, the second part that God’s will be done was certainly answered. Though he did not “hear” his Father respond, Jesus rose fortified from his prayer. He was ready now for action, he was ready to face the cross. It is evident today two thousand years later that this was infinitely the better answer. It is very likely that if God had taken the cup away, Jesus would have lived for a few more years. However, if this were the case, then Jesus would not go to the Cross, there would be no resurrection and Jesus would have been remembered as yet another good and holy man. The fact that God’s will was done is the reason why Jesus died and was raised and lives even today.

Paul speaks of this fact in the second reading of today when he reminds the Colossian community of believers of who they have become through the death and resurrection of Jesus. They who were dead have become alive to God through the forgiveness they have received in Jesus’ resurrection.

This is thus what prayer means: We petition God with confidence and persistence, free our minds and hearts of every negative and unforgiveness that will prevent us from receiving his bountiful grace and believe that every prayer of ours will be answered. Our prayer like that of Jesus must fortify us and prepare us to face the realities of the world.

Novena to St.. Ignatius of Loyola - Day Two - Deep personal love for God


Friday 22 July 2022

Saturday, July 23, 2022 - Homily


Are you too quick to judge others ONLY by their external actions. Will you refrain from ALL judgement today?

Saturday, July 23, 2022 - Are there some whom you deliberately exclude from your circle of friends? Why?

To read the texts click on the texts: Jeremiah 7:1-11; Mt 13:24-30

This is a parable found exclusively in the Gospel of Matthew. It is not clear whether this parable existed independently as a parable or whether it was conceived as an allegory from the beginning. Those who think that the parable existed independently interpret the parable to mean a statement against building of boundaries and so excluding some. The building of boundaries and forming exclusive communities is not the business of human beings, but is God’s task.

The point seems to be that even though the kingdom of God has been “sown,” evil continues to be real and effective, and it attempts to understand the interim period with its challenges on the basis of the beginning and especially the completion of the kingdom. In other words, the sowing is all important. Once the seed (wheat) is sown, no matter what the obstacles, there will be growth. The task of the disciple is therefore not to concentrate too much on the darnel (though they are aware of its presence), but to rest firm in the knowledge that since the sowing has been done, the gathering is assured.

Like the field in the parable there is good seed and there are weeds even in the world in which we live. There is both good and evil. We are called to take only what is good and not focus too much on the evil or bad. This does not mean passivity in the face of evil but a call for a discerning mind and heart

Thursday 21 July 2022

Today we begin the Novena to St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus.


Friday, July 22, 2022 - Homily

 Self-absorption can prevent us from seeing as we ought to

Friday, July 22, 2022 - St. Mary Magdalene - Will you like Mary Magdalene be an Apostle of the Ascension of Jesus? How?

To read the texts click on the texts: Canticles(Song of Solomon) 3:1-4;Jn20:1-2,11-18

Except for Mary, the mother of Jesus, few women are honoured in the Bible as Mary Magdalene. She is mentioned by all four evangelists as being present at the empty tomb. In the Gospel of John she is the first person to whom Jesus appeared after his resurrection.

After Peter and the beloved disciple see the empty tomb with the linen cloths, they return home. 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.

Wednesday 20 July 2022

Thursday, July 21, 2022 - Homily

 There are more things in heaven and on earth that are dreamt of in our philosophies.

Thursday, July 21, 2022 - Do you consider yourself a disciple or are you an outsider? How does your discipleship show in your life?

 To read thee texts click on the texts: Jer2:1-3,7-8,12-13; Mt 13:10-17

This text concerns the reason for Jesus’ speaking in parables. While in Mark (4,10-12) a larger group asks about the parables, in Matthew, it is the disciples who ask Jesus why he speaks to “them” in parables. Understanding the parables of Jesus is not simply a matter of using one’s intellect, but a grace given by God himself. It is given to those who acknowledge their dependence on God. Only those who have committed themselves to follow Jesus are given an insight into the mysteries of the kingdom. Since they have Jesus as their teacher, they will be able to understand all there is to know. The closed attitude of those who do not wish to follow is what is responsible for their lack of understanding. Matthew quotes Isaiah 6,9-10 completely here, and regards the lack of understanding as a fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecy. Since the disciples are open and receptive they are indeed blessed. They are able to see and hear and understand what mere human knowledge can never hope to understand.

Humanity has taken great strides in the areas of science and technology, and yet there are many things that we still do not understand. We can use technology to communicate with someone who is thousands of miles away, but technology cannot explain to us why we cannot communicate with a neighbour who lives by our side. This must lead to the realisation that when all is said and done we will still fall short of understanding all the mysteries there are and have to depend on God.

Tuesday 19 July 2022

Wednesday, July 20, 2022 - Homily

 Keep on keeping on. Do not give up

Wednesday, July 20, 2022 - Will you keep on keeping on even when your expectations are not fulfilled?

 To read the texts click on the texts: Jeremiah1:1, 4-10; Mt 13:1-9

We begin reading today from Chapter 13 of the Gospel of Matthew. This Chapter is known as “The Parable Discourse” of Matthew, because in it we find seven parables. Two of these parables have been allegorised {The Parable of the Sower (13,18-23) and the parable of the Weeds and the Wheat (13,36-43)}. Some are of the opinion that 13,49-50 is an allegorization of the parable of the Net (13,47-48). The first parable in the Parable Discourse is the one that is known as the parable of the Sower. Though often it is the allegory that has been interpreted instead of the parable where the different types of soil are compared to different types of persons and their reception of the word, this does not seem to be the point of the parable. In the parable, in three types of soil (the path, the rocky ground and among the thorns), the seed is lost, and it is only in one type of soil (good soil) that there is gain. Yet, the gain is enormous. The point seems to be that one must not give in to despair even if it seems that most of the good that we do seems to bear no fruit. In God’s time and in God’s own way it will bear even more fruit than we can ever imagine. We need to keep on keeping on.

In the words of St. Ignatius of Loyola, when we work, we must work as if everything depends only on us and when we pray, we must pray as if everything depends only on God.

Monday 18 July 2022

Tuesday, July 19, 2022 - Homily

 A relationship with God is shown in actions of love

Tuesday, July 19, 2022 - Is Jesus pointing to you as his brother/sister? If yes, Why? If no, why not?

 To read the texts click on the texts: Micah7:14-15,18-20; Mt 12:46-50

The text 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.

Sunday 17 July 2022

Monday, July 18, 2022 - Homily

 Can you believe without signs?

Monday, July 18, 2022 - What sign have you been seeking from the Lord? Will you believe in his presence even in the absence of signs today? How?

 To read the texts click on the texts: Micah6:1-4,6-8; Mt 12:38-42

The text of today is continuation of the earlier text (12, 25-37) in which Jesus makes a series of pronouncements regarding the coming judgement. The Pharisees respond to these statements of Jesus by demanding a sign. In Matthew only disciples address Jesus as Lord, and the address “Teacher” here by the Pharisees indicates that they are not disciples. The sign they demand is a proof of Jesus’ identity. Jesus’ response to the Pharisees’ demand is to make another pronouncement. In this pronouncement he regards them as an “evil and adulterous generation” which means a people who have closed their hearts to the revelation that God is constantly making. The sign of Jonah here refers clearly to the resurrection of Jesus. Further, it is the Gentiles (people of Nineveh) who will rise up and condemn the Jews. It is a clear reversal of roles. Jesus is greater than both Jonah and Solomon.

The manner in which some of us mourn and weep at the death of a loved one seems to indicate that we do not believe in the resurrection. This is the only sign that Jesus continues to give. If we keep looking for other signs of his presence we might find ourselves in the same position as the Pharisees of his time and miss him who makes himself available and visible at every moment of our lives.

Saturday 16 July 2022

Sunday, July 17, 2022 - Homily

 Focussed contemplation versus distracted action

Sunday, July 17, 2022 – Focussed contemplation versus distracted action

To read the texts click on the texts: Gn18:1-10; Col 1:24-28; Lk10:38-42

John Lennon, one of the four Beatles, said, “Life is what happens to you when you are busy making other plans”. This is akin to the admonition that Jesus gives Martha in the Gospel text of today when he says to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things.”

The story of Jesus’ visit to the home of Martha and Mary, which is the Gospel text for today, must be seen in connection with the Parable of the Good Samaritan which precedes it. If the parable of the Good Samaritan stressed the horizontal dimension of relationships, this story stresses the vertical dimension. To be sure, action is important and even imperative, but it has to be selfless. When it is done as a chore or seen as a burden, then one feels encumbered and weighed down by it as Martha does.

Abraham shows in the first reading of today what is meant by selfless action. Without even knowing who his visitors are, he lays out a feast for them and he waits on them. He does what Martha does but without any animosity, bitterness, or resentment. This is because he sees his action as reward in itself. Not content with that, Abraham goes even further and waits on his visitors, attentive to their every word, much like Mary does with Jesus. Abraham is content, like Mary, simply to be in the present. He does not let his actions come in the way of his attention to his visitors like Martha does. Thus, Abraham, like Mary, is given the better part, the gift of life.

The main point being made in these readings is not so much pitting contemplation against action or prayer against work. Both are necessary and both have their time and place. However, if the work that one does is done with a heavy heart, like that of Martha, then it is not efficacious. Martha serves and indeed, serves the Lord, but her service is peppered with so much of self that it leads her to complain against her sister. She develops a “martyr complex” which leads to the feeling that she is left alone. One possible reason why Martha feels this way is because she has not spent enough time listening and learning from the Lord. She does what she thinks is necessary without realizing that this is not what the Lord wants at all. It is service, but on one’s own terms and conditions and not the Lord’s.

In his gentle yet firm reproach to Martha, Jesus corrects her view. It is true that, by sitting at the feet of the Lord, Mary is acting like a male which violates a social boundary. By such an act, she would bring shame upon her house. She also neglects her duty to help her sister in the preparation of the meal. Yet, in his response to Martha, Jesus focuses not on these non-essentials, but on the focus and attention that Mary has demonstrated. Her gaze remains fixed on the Lord. She will not let anything or anyone distract her. Her mind, heart, indeed her whole being, is given to listening to his every word, being attentive to his every move. She will not be anxious and worried over many things since she has chosen that which will take care of all worry and anxiety. It is the better part and cannot be taken away. Social conventions do not matter; external food does not matter; rushing about from this to that does not matter. What does matter is simply to be.

Paul realized this as is clear from his letter to the Colossians in which he states that his service for the Church is not for any reward or gain. It is not done with complaint or protest, but done willingly and without any expectation. His sole aim is to reveal Christ to the world and especially to those who have not had the privilege of knowing him. In Christ, social boundaries are removed, externals do not matter. What does matter is that Christ be made known and be loved above all.

A phrase, which St. Ignatius used to describe who a Jesuit, must be is “Contemplatives in Action”. This has been taken further by some after Ignatius’ day to read “Contemplatives Even in Action”. This phrase can be seen as a summary of the message for today. Like the Jesuits, every disciple of Jesus is called to be that. This means that, while action is not relegated to second place after contemplation, it has to and must flow from contemplation if it is to be efficacious. This will ensure that the action that one is engaged in does not become self-serving. This will ensure that it will be action that the Lord wants and not the action that one feels comfortable doing. This will ensure that one will know that the reward of the action is the action itself and so, one will not complain or whine, but do what one does willingly, and with joy.

Friday 15 July 2022

Saturday, July 16, 2022 - Homily


Saturday, July 16, 2022 - How do you usually react to stressful situations? Will you learn from Jesus’ response today?

 To read the texts click on the texts: Micah2:1-5; Mt 12:14-21

The reason why the Pharisees conspire against Jesus, how to destroy him is because he healed a man with a withered arm on the Sabbath. At first glance it might seem that this is an overreaction on the part of the Pharisees. However, when looked at in the broader context of the Kingdom of heaven -  which Jesus represents - and the Kingdom of Satan which is represented by the religious leaders, then it is easier to understand the reaction of the Pharisees. 

The response of Jesus to this conspiracy is to withdraw from that place. However, it is to be noted that Jesus does not withdraw to run away or from fear, but to continue the work of healing and making whole. In this withdrawal is strength and not weakness and it explicates the response of God (Jesus) to human violence and plotting of destruction. 

Even as he makes people well, Jesus does not want to be known or acclaimed and so commands those whom he has healed to remain silent about their healing. This attitude of Jesus leads to the quotation from Isaiah 42:1-4 which is the longest scriptural quotation in the Gospel of Matthew. It is about the suffering servant of Yahweh whose primary mission is to accept those who have been rejected by others. He shows this by not breaking the bruised reed or quenching the smouldering wick. Also, he does this without much fanfare, and yet his ultimate goal is to bring justice to those who place their hope in him. He will ultimately triumph.

Our response to challenging situations or to situations that threaten us is sometimes to run away from fear, and sometimes to use defence mechanisms. Neither of these ways is advocated by Jesus whose way would be to face the challenges head on.

Thursday 14 July 2022

Friday, July 15, 2022 - Homily

 Go beyond the rule

Friday, July 15, 2022 - How often do rules rule you? Will you try to rule rules today?

To read the texts click on the texts :Isaiah38:1-6,21-22,7-8; Mt 12:1-8

The story, which forms the text of today, may be termed as a Sabbath controversy. Matthew refers here to Sabbath for the first time in his gospel. 

The point of contention is not very clear in Matthew, because the law permitted a person passing through a neighbour’s grain field to pluck heads of corn and eat them (Deut 23:23-25). The point here seems to be whether such an act could be done on the Sabbath. While in Mark the Pharisees ask a question, in Matthew, they are clearly hostile and make a charge. 

In his response to the Pharisees, Jesus refers to the story of David in 1 Samuel 21:1-6, where David went beyond the rule to the need of his men. If David could do such a thing, then Jesus who is greater than David can do so even more. The Matthean Jesus also refers to the text from Numbers 28:9-10 where the priests in the Temple sacrifice there on the Sabbath, indicating that sacrifice is greater than the Sabbath. Since mercy is greater than sacrifice, it is surely greater than the Sabbath.

Reaching out in love to anyone in need takes precedence over every rule, law and regulation. It is the human who must always come first. The rule, law and regulation follows.

Wednesday 13 July 2022

Thursday, July 14, 2022 - Homily

 Lay your tiredness at the feet of Jesus

Thursday, July 14, 2022 - What is it that is tiring you? Will you lay it at the feet of Jesus?

 To read the texts click on the texts: Isaiah26:7-9,12,16-19; Mt 11:28-30

Jesus invites all those who are burdened to come to him for rest. The burden in this context seems to be that of the law and its obligations. When Jesus invites the burdened to take his yoke, which is easy, he is not inviting them to a life of ease, but to a deliverance from any kind of artificiality or the blind following of rules and regulations. The disciple must learn from Jesus who is in Matthew “the great teacher”. The rest that Jesus offers is the rest of salvation.

We can get so caught up today with wanting to have more that we might lose sight of the meaning of life itself. The desire to acquire more and more and be regarded as successful based on what we possess sometimes leads to missing out on so much that life has to offer.

Tuesday 12 July 2022

Wednesday, July 13, 2022 - Homily

 To acknowledge Jesus means to show in action that like him, I too love unconditionally

Wednesday, July 13, 2022 - Is your pride preventing you from encountering Jesus? What will you do about it today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Isaiah10:5-7,13-16; Mt 11:25-27

This text is addressed to all those who accept the message of Jesus unlike those in Chorazin and Bethsaida. 

Jesus begins his prayer here by giving thanks to the Father. It is openness to the revelation of God that Jesus makes which is responsible for the receipt of this enormous privilege. 

Acknowledging Jesus is not a matter of one’s superior knowledge or insight, but given as a gift to those who open themselves to this revelation. Jesus himself is an example of such openness, which allowed him to receive everything directly from God. It is his intimacy with the Father and not his religious genius, which is responsible for this grace.

Monday 11 July 2022

Tuesday, July 12, 2022 - Homily

The people of Chorazin and Bethsaida did believe in the miracles of Jesus, but this belief did not translate into a change of mind.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022 - If you were a resident of Chorazin or Bethsaida how would you respond to the woes?

 To read the texts click on the texts: Isaiah7:1-9; Mt 11:20-24

The woes pronounced against Chorazin and Bethsaida are because of the refusal of the people in them to repent. The people of these towns did believe in the miracles, but this belief did not translate into a change of mind, which was the primary purpose of the miracles that Jesus worked. Also, the Gentile cities of Tyre, Sidon that were regarded as biblical symbols of evil would fare better on the day of judgement that Chorazin and Bethsaida.

The miraculous and extra-ordinary cannot always sustain faith, which is a gift from God to anyone who wants to receive it and is willing to open the heart and mind. More often than not a kind word or a gentle touch can lead people to repentance.

Sunday 10 July 2022

Monday, July 11, 2022 - Homily

 Does Jesus Christ have faith in you?

Monday, July 11, 2022 - Does Jesus Christ have faith in you?

 To read the texts click on the texts: Isaiah 1:11-17; Mt 10:34- 11:1

These verses make up the conclusion of Matthew’s Mission Discourse. The choice is a difficult one to make and sometimes it may be between even family and one’s conscience. Loyalty to Jesus has priority over loyalty to anyone else or anything, indeed even over life itself. If one is willing to share the cross of Jesus, one will also be given the privilege of his authority. The discourse ends with the affirmation that the disciple is always a representative or ambassador of Jesus and any good done to the disciple will be considered as good done to Jesus himself.

We must keep in mind that the only Jesus that people today can see and touch is the Jesus that we make known through our words and actions. He has allowed us to share in his mission. This is also an enormous privilege, but entails a tremendous responsibility. If we reach out in love like he did and dare to be selfless and courageous as he was, we will make Jesus present to the world even today.

Saturday 9 July 2022

Sunday, July 10, 2022 - Homily

 Attempt to look with the eyes of the heart?

Sunday, July 10, 2022 - Will you attempt to look with the eyes of the heart?

To read the texts click on the texts: Dt 30:10-14; Col1:15-20; Lk 10:25-37

The Parable of the Good Samaritan has often been interpreted as one which tells the listener that one’s neighbour is anyone in need of help. While that is true, it is only a small part of the meaning and message of the story. The main point of the Parable is that the Samaritan, the outcast, the one marginalized, is Good. The Parable seeks to break the stereotypes that we carry in our minds and hearts about those whom we do not understand.

This point is indicated in a variety of ways. First, one listening to the Parable might have expected the third person in the story to be an Israelite or a Jew after hearing that the Priest and Levite walked by on the other side. However, the listeners’ expectations are shattered when the third person is not a Jew but a Samaritan, a person whom the Jews had strong prejudices against. If the third person were a lay Jew, then the Parable could be interpreted as a dig against the Priestly class represented by the Priest and Levite. However, this is not the case. The one who reached out to help was one who would not normally have been expected to do so because of the animosity that existed between Jews and Samaritans. He, too, ought to have walked by on the other side. Yet, he does not do so. He reaches out to help. A stereotype is broken. A pre-conceived notion is shattered. A label has to be changed.

While the actions, or more correctly non-actions, of the Priest and Levite are narrated in few words, Jesus uses seemingly more words than necessary to describe the loving action of the Samaritan. These include his bandaging the wounds of the injured man, pouring oil and wine to cleanse the wound and keep it soft, putting the man on his own animal and even going beyond the call of compassion by leaving money with the innkeeper for the further care of the man. The reason for these many words and this detailed description is probably because, if Jesus had simply stated that the Samaritan helped the man, the listeners would have scoffed and poured scorn on him. They would not have believed that such a thing was possible. The story might have fallen flat on its face. Thus, Jesus had to describe in great detail the actions of the Samaritan to make the story believable.

Jesus turns the lawyer’s question on its head when he asks his own question at the end of the Parable. While the lawyer’s question was “Who is my neighbour?” and the answer to this question would have been, “Anyone in need,” Jesus’ question, “Who was neighbour to the man who fell among robbers?” demands that the Lawyer answers “The Samaritan.” However, so deep rooted is the prejudice of the Jewish Lawyer that he cannot even utter the word “Samaritan” and answers instead, “The one who showed mercy” which is, in other words, the Samaritan. It is clear that Jesus wanted the lawyer, who was a Jew, to go beyond the narrow definition of neighbour, to go beyond his prejudice, his bias, and his stereotyping.

When Israel was split into two kingdoms after the death of Solomon in around 922 BCE, the North (named Israel which had its capital at Samaria) and he South (named Judah which had its capital at Jerusalem), became the target for its neighbours, because its strength was divided. In 722 BCE, the Assyrians captured Israel and Samaria and took as their wives and concubines Israeli women. The children by that union were known as Samaritans and, till the time of Jesus, were regarded as inferior and as outcasts by their former Jewish brothers and sisters. Thus, Jesus is asking the Jewish Lawyer if he can get rid of his negative way of looking at the Samaritans, and regard him also as neighbor. The Samaritan is indeed, neighbour, because he behaved as a neighbour.

The parable is thus a challenge to each one of us to review the stereotypes that we have of others. Often, a stereotype is created because of insufficient or incomplete information about a situation or about the other. It is also created because many of us feel comfortable when we are able to categorize people and place them in neat pigeon holes that we have created in our minds and hearts. Albert Einstein said “It is easier to disintegrate an atom than a prejudice”.

In order to correct this way of looking, Moses’ address to the people in the first reading of today invites them to a following of the Lord and his commands and decrees. This following is not difficult. All it requires is openness and sincerity. It requires one to see, not only with the eyes but also, with the heart. If we see with the eyes of the heart, then we will be able to see rightly.

This is also what Paul means when he speaks in the second reading of today of Jesus who is the image of the invisible God. We, as Christians, need only to look at him and know how we are to speak and how we are to act. We have only to look at him to know that there is a neighbour in every human being.

Friday 8 July 2022

Saturday, July 9, 2022 - Homily

We need to keep persevering and not give up.

Saturday, July 9, 2022 - Do you give up or give in when difficulties come your way? Do you throw up your hands in despair? Will you continue to persevere and trust today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Isaiah6:1-8; Mt 10:24-33

In the verses of today, a parallel is drawn between the disciples who are sent by Jesus and Jesus himself. The disciples will share the same fate as their master. His response to negative assessment of his mission was equanimity and this must be the response of the disciples’ as well. They must not retaliate, but continue to persevere in the firm hope that they will eventually succeed. They are asked to be fearless in mission. The command “not to be afraid” is repeated twice in these verses. The reason for their fearlessness is that the Father is in control even if all evidence is to the contrary. If they remain faithful they will show themselves to be true disciples.

We often begin things with a bang and then end them with a whimper. This is because sometimes our enthusiasm runs away with us. What is required is perseverance and this is more likely if we start slowly and steadily (as Jesus himself did) and then let things build up gradually than if we start with much fanfare, which soon fizzles out

Thursday 7 July 2022

Friday, July 8, 2022 - Homily

 Perseverance is the key

Thursday, July 7, 2022 - Homily

 Detachment is the key

Friday, July 8, 2022 - When the going gets tough, the tough get going. What do you make of this statement?

 To read the texts click on the texts: Hosea 14:2-10; Mt 10:16-23

The sayings found in Matthew’s Mission Discourse here are found in the Eschatological Discourse of Mark (Mk 13,9-13). This is an indication that for Matthew, Mission is already eschatological. The punishment, which is referred to here is not random, but official punishment from members of organised authority. Even in this difficult situation the disciples are offered encouragement. They will depend not on their own strength, but on the Holy Spirit. They are to be missionaries even in the courtroom. Their imprisonment and trial must be regarded as an opportunity to make mission known. Mission takes priority even over family ties and if family ties have to be broken because of mission then so be it. The affirmation of the coming of the Son of Man is probably meant to provide succour to the missionaries in their distress.

Jesus is not calling us here to be sadists and look for suffering, persecution and pain. Rather he is challenging us to go about doing what we have to do, to be as prudent as possible about it and if despite that persecution, suffering and pain come, to be prepared and ready for it and not to be afraid.