Friday 31 March 2023

Saturday, April 1, 2023 - Homily

 God’s ways are not our ways. We are reminded as we reflect on today’s readings that there will be numerous times when we will knowingly or unknowingly try to upset the plans of God because they do not fit in with what we think is good for us.

Saturday, April 1, 2023 - Impatience is trying to go faster than the Holy Spirit. Are you by nature impatient?

To read the texts click on the texts: Ezek37:21-28; Jn 11:45-56

The first two verses of today can be seen as the conclusion of the miracle story of the raising of Lazarus. While some of those who witnessed the miracle respond positively, others do not. However, the number of those who believe is more than that of those who do not as is evident in the use of “many” for those who believed and “some” for those who did not. The chief priests and Pharisees respond to the information they receive about the miracle by calling a meeting during which they discuss the fate of Jesus. Their main concern seems to be their own loss of power. They do not seem really interested in the destruction of the temple or even Jerusalem but with the effect that Jesus’ popularity will have on their own selfish interests.

Caiaphas who was high priest speaks on behalf of all of them. Even as he wants Jesus to die so that greater trouble can be avoided, he is in fact unknowingly prophesying about the true meaning of the death of Jesus. Though his sole aim is political expediency, he is collaborating in God’s plan of salvation for the whole of the human race. He uses his power to suppress God’s word but in effect witnesses to him. In his death Jesus would gather together all the scattered people of God to bring them to a union and unity never witnessed before.

Jesus retreats to Ephraim after the Sanhedrin’s decision. This retreat, however, is not to escape death but to control its time. Jesus will not go to his death until his hour arrives. It is God who decides that hour and no amount of human plotting or planning can hasten its arrival.

Even as the Passover draws near, questions remain about whether Jesus will come to the feast or not. It is not clear whether those who are looking for him have a positive or malicious intent. The question, however, reinforces the idea that Jesus acts not according to the will of human beings but of God and if God so ordains then no matter what the threat or consequence, Jesus will do what is required.


God’s ways are not our ways. As high as the heavens are from the earth so are God’s ways different from ours. It is not always possible to accept this simple truth and there are times when we try to go faster than the Holy Spirit because of our impatience. We are reminded as we reflect on today’s readings that there will be numerous times when we will knowingly or unknowingly try to upset the plans of God because they do not fit in with what we think is good for us. At times like these we too behave like the adversaries of Jesus. We have to realize that no matter how much we try we will never be able to upset God’s will for the world though it might seem sometimes that we have and can. When we witness evil overpowering good, selfishness dominating selflessness or fear overtaking love, then it might seem that we have done so. However, these “victories’ are only temporary as was the victory of the ones who crucified Jesus on the cross. In the final race it is always God who wins, it is always selflessness that come first and it is always love that will overcome.

Thursday 30 March 2023

Friday, March 31, 2023 - Homily

 How will you make God visible today?

Friday, March 31, 2023 - How will you make God visible today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Jer 20:10-13; Jn 10:31-42

The text of today begins with the Jews picking up stones to stone Jesus. While the immediate context is the last words of Jesus in his response to who he is, namely “The Father and I are one”, this reaction must also be seen in the larger context of the revelations that Jesus has been making. Jesus’ question to the Jews immediately after their attempt to stone him is indicative of this. He asks them for which of his good works they want to stone him. In response they accuse Jesus of blasphemy. Though it is true that Jesus is equal to God, they do not realize that it is not he who makes such a claim on his own accord. It is God who confirms him. Jesus uses “their” law to prove his claims and disprove theirs. He begins by citing the first half of Ps 82:6 in which human beings are regarded as “gods” because they receive the Word of God and then goes on to prove from the lesser to the greater, that thus it cannot be blasphemy if Jesus speaks of himself as God’s Son. It is the Father who sanctified and thus set apart Jesus and sent him into the world and thus he always does what the Father commands him to do.

Jesus goes on to appeal to his works as a proof of the fact that he has indeed been sent by God. His works, which are in keeping with God’s plan for the world, are clear indication that he and the Father are one. He is in the Father and the Father is in him. To be able to recognize this is to come to faith. These words do not go down well with the listeners who try to arrest him. Again as in the past Jesus escapes because his hour had not yet come.

The last three verses of the text look back to 1:28 and to John’s witness of Jesus at Bethany. John’s witness and then truth of that witness manifested in Jesus leads people to believe in Jesus.


In these verses, Jesus does not claim to be another God or to replace God or even make himself equal to God. He claims to make God known as never before. He reveals God as loving Father and as one whose only will for the world is its salvation. This is evident in the works that he performs, which are works of unconditional and redeeming love.

Jesus’ offer of recognizing him in the world is an offer that is relevant and available even today. The “good works” he inaugurated are on view whenever one goes beyond oneself and reaches out in love and compassion. They are continued when one speaks an enhancing word or performs a loving action. There are visible in selfless service and forgiveness. They are visible when love is made real.

Wednesday 29 March 2023

Thursday, March 30, 2023 - Homily

 Will you look for the revelation of God in everything that happens to you today?

Thursday, March 30, 2023 - Will you look for the revelation of God in everything that happens to you today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Gen 17:3-9; Jn 8:51-59

The consequence of keeping Jesus’ word is the destruction of death itself, since his word is a life giving word and can only result in life. This promise of Jesus is misunderstood by the listeners. They attack Jesus’ identity by appealing to Abraham and the fact that he died. Since Abraham died, the words of Jesus cannot be true. They thus accuse Jesus of being possessed by a demon. They keep challenging Jesus by asking him whether he is greater than Abraham. While the question here assumes a negative response, for the one who has accepted Jesus, the response can only be positive. Jesus is indeed greater than Abraham and all the prophets. The reason for this is that Jesus does not glorify himself. It is the Father himself who glorifies Jesus. It is the God in whom the Jews believe who glorifies Jesus. The Jews claim to “know” him, but in reality do not. It is Jesus who knows and reveals the Father and so anyone who refuses to believe in this revelation is shutting him/herself out from the truth and so indulging in lies and falsehood.

For the first time here Jesus himself appeals to Abraham to prove his claims. However, by the use of the distancing “your ancestor Abraham” Jesus indicates on the one hand that there is a distance between him and his listeners and on the other that while they may have Abraham as their ancestor (father) he has only God as his. Even so it is Abraham their father who also testified to Jesus when the grace was given to him by God to “see” Jesus’ day. He did see it and rejoiced in it. Here too the Jews misunderstand Jesus. They appeal to chronology, not realizing that Jesus goes beyond time and space. The double “Amen” with which Jesus responds is an indication on the one had of a new teaching and on the other of a deep revelation. While on the one hand there is a contrast of tenses: the past (Abraham was) and the present (I am), on the other hand the “I am” saying is used here in the absolute sense indicating that Jesus identifies himself with God. Jesus is infinitely greater than Abraham since Jesus is one with God.

The Jews respond to this revelation by wanting to stone Jesus because they consider it blasphemy. However, since his hour had not yet come, Jesus cannot be touched.


As human beings we often set limits on ourselves. While this is bad enough, we often also go further and set limits on God. We decide in advance what God can and cannot do and so miss out on mystery and miracle. Our stereotypes and closed minds result in our missing out on the revelation that God continues to make to us. In our understanding of who God is or how he reveals himself, it is important for us to note that with our finite minds we will never be able to totally fathom the depths of this mystery. We are limited by space and time, but God is not. Thus, it is important to open our minds as fully as we can and even after we have done this to know that there will still be much that we do not and can never know.

Tuesday 28 March 2023

Wednesday, March 29, 2023 - Homily

 What is the falsehood that is binding you? Will you let go of it and allow the truth to set you free?

Wednesday, March 29, 2023 - What is the falsehood that is binding you? Will you let go of it and allow the truth to set you free?

To read the the texts click on the texts: Dan 3:14-20, 24-25, 28; Jn 8:31-40

The verses which form the text for today contain what may be seen as the fundamental lines of debate and disagreement between Jesus and the Jewish leaders. In these verses the succeeding verse builds up on the preceding one and thus intensifies the debate. The sayings are addressed to the Jews who “believed in him”. Though these do, their faith seems inadequate as is seen in their response to Jesus to come to the truth. The truth that Jesus refers to here is not an abstract principle but the presence of God in Jesus. The recognition of this truth results in a person’s being set free. The words “will make you free’ result in upsetting the listeners who protest that since they are Abraham’s descendants they are naturally free. However, they do not realize that in rejecting Jesus they are also rejecting Abraham and so are not really his descendants and consequently not free. Since freedom is a gift, it cannot be earned or acquired through one’s antecedents. It is made visible in the actions that one performs. If one performs sinful actions, then one is a slave and so not free. Though the Jews claim to be descendents of Abraham, their actions do not correspond to their claim. They are guilty of the sinful action of trying to kill Jesus. Freedom is possible only through the Son who alone can make free because he is the Truth. In order to receive this freedom one must be able to recognize the truth of who Jesus is. This they cannot do.

Monday 27 March 2023

Tuesday, March 28, 2023 - Homily

 Are you able to experience like Jesus joy even in the midst of your pain?

Tuesday, March 28, 2023 - Are you able to experience like Jesus joy even in the midst of your pain?

To read the texts click on the texts: Num 21:4-9; Jn 8:21-30

The words which begin today’s text continue the theme of Jesus’ departure begun in 8:14. Here, it is his death, resurrection and ascension which will be the focus. Though God has revealed himself in Jesus, the Jewish leaders have refused to recognize him. This is the sin in which they will die. When Jesus speaks of his departure, he is misunderstood. The Jewish leaders think of suicide, but Jesus speaks of laying down his life of his own accord for the salvation of all. The reason why they misunderstand is because they and Jesus stand on opposite sides. They are from below and of this world, Jesus is from above and not of this world. If they want to change their position, they can only do so by recognizing in Jesus, God. The leaders are not able to do this and show that they have completely misunderstood Jesus in the question they ask. Jesus affirms that he has told them from the beginning who he is. He is the one sent by God and it is God who affirms and confirms him.

When they “lift up” Jesus on the Cross (which can also be translated as “exalt” and so mean resurrection and ascension) then they will recognize him. This statement of being “lifted up” or “exalted’ is the second of the three such statements in the Gospel of John. The first appears in 3:14 and the third in 12:32-34. In these two cases because of the use of the passive voice, the suggestion is that God will do the exalting. It is only here that the responsibility for the “lifting up” is thrust on the people. Thus, even as they crucify him, they will also exalt him and in this act recognize him as the one who is. Even when on the cross Jesus will not be alone because the Father will be with him.

Jesus’ words touch the hearts of many who hear him and they come to believe.


Jesus’ coming into the world was not primarily to die but to save. Yet, if this salvation could only be achieved through his death on a cross, then so be it. Jesus was willing for it if this was to be the only way. He was also aware that because of his faith, trust and confidence in the Father that his crucifixion or being lifted up on the cross would also be his resurrection and ascension, his being exalted. Even as he is crucified, the very ones who crucify him realize that what they have done is nailed love incarnate to the cross. This love accepts, forgives and continues to love even from the cross.

Sunday 26 March 2023

Monday, March 27, 2023 - Homily

 Do you “feel” forgiven by God? If No, why not?

Monday, March 27, 2023 - Do you “feel” forgiven by God? If No, why not?

To read the texts click on the texts: Dan 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62; Jn 8:1-11

Most scholars today are of the opinion that this text did nor originally belong to the Gospel of John and was added later. Numerous reasons are put forward to support this view. One is that the term “scribes” used here is the only time in the Gospel that it is used. John does not use “scribes” anywhere else in his Gospel. Another reason is that while in the rest of the Gospel of John the debates with the Jewish leaders are long, here it is brief. This fits in better with the controversy stories of the Synoptic Gospels. Also the Mount of Olives is mentioned only here in the Gospel of John, though in the Synoptic Gospels it is frequently mentioned. Jesus is addressed as “teacher” only here in John. Be that as it may, the text is now part of John’s Gospel and we have to interpret it within the Gospel.

This event takes place in the Temple. Though the law commanded that both the man and woman who engaged in adultery would be put to death (Lev 20:10; Deut 22:22), the scribes and Pharisees accuse the woman alone and do not provide the necessary witnesses who had “caught” the woman in the very act of committing adultery. The intention of the scribes seems clear: it is to trap Jesus. Initially, Jesus does not want to engage the question and so bends down and writes with his finger on the ground. The point here is not what Jesus was writing but the distancing gesture that he performs. Since the scribes persist in the question, Jesus straightens up and addresses the scribes directly. The statement that he makes takes them beyond the question that they ask to a self examination and introspection. Once he has raised the issue, Jesus bends down again and writes with his finger. This time, the intention of writing is to show that he has said all that he has to say and wants them to decide what they have to do. They do not answer in words, but through their action of leaving the place. That all of them leave beginning with the elders is an indication that no one is without sin. When Jesus straightens up the second time he addresses the woman who is alone with him since all others have gone away. The woman who is addressed directly for the first time confirms that no one is left to condemn her. Jesus responds by not condemning her, but also challenging her to receive the new life that forgiveness brings.


The attitude of Jesus to people, whether those who engaged in condemnation or the condemned seems to be the focus of the story. The questions of Jesus to the scribes and Pharisees and the woman allows them equal opportunity to part with old ways after having received forgiveness. Jesus condemns no one, not even those who condemn. However, while the woman accepts the gift of new life, the scribes and Pharisees show their non-acceptance through their actions of going away. It is thus a story of grace and mercy freely given by God in Jesus which when received results in a radical transformation of a person and the challenge of a new life.


While it is true that this story may be seen as a moral lesson informing us that we are not to judge rashly or point fingers at others since when we do, there will be three fingers pointing back at us, it is also a story that goes beyond this moral lesson to the core of the revelation that God makes in Jesus. The God revealed in Jesus is a God who does not condemn, a God who accepts each of us as we are and a God who even when we find it difficult to forgive ourselves, keeps forgiving and accepting us.

Saturday 25 March 2023

Sunday, March 26, 2023 - Homily

 Hope for the hopeless, Life for the lifeless

Sunday, March 26, 2023 - Hope for the hopeless, Life for the lifeless

To read the texts click on the texts: Ezek37:12-14; Rom 8:8-11; Jn 11:1-45

Why do we keep visiting the old and infirm and those in hospitals when we have no miracle drug to take away their pain? Why do we commit ourselves to the political process when there is so much cynicism and a malaise of despair in politics today? Why does the Church through her priests, religious and laity continue to reach out to those in need despite the tremendous opposition by vested interests and the attempts at destruction of those works by those who cannot bear to see the poor get their due and rights? The prime reason is because we continue to believe that God is still in charge, that he is still in control and that with his help and hope in him we will overcome.

“The smell of death is everywhere. The pictures you see on TV do not tell the whole story. You only see the devastation in those pictures. But when you are here, you not only see the devastation, but you smell it, no matter where you go or what you do.” Those who visited the tsunami disaster areas described the scene in this way time after time. The very smell of death permeated the air. This could also be a description of what Ezekiel may have felt when the Lord challenged him to see that he would open the graves of the dead of Israel and restore them to life again. Yet, the Lord did indeed act in accord with his word and life was restored. Death which is the absence of the breath of God’s spirit was transformed to life by the life giving spirit of God. Ezekiel realized that there was no limit to God’s power to save and that everything was possible for God. He continued to hope and communicated this hope to all of Israel. Even in exile in Babylon, Israel must not give in to despair, but hope. The Psalmist expresses this hope in the Lord. He is so confident of the mercy of God and his power to redeem that even from the depths of despair he knows that the Lord will hear his cry for help.

Martha, the sister of Lazarus, despite her verbal acceptance of Jesus as the Resurrection and the Life, did not expect that her brother would be raised and brought back to life again. This is why when Jesus asks for the stone to be removed from the tomb, her focus is the smell of death. The reason for Jesus’ great distress was not because of the insincerity of the mourners, nor because the people did not believe that he was the source of life and stood among them, not even because he was forced to perform a miracle in public with the crowd present, but in all probability because of what sin and death had done to humanity. They had succeeded in robbing humanity of hope. The tears that Jesus sheds, while being an acknowledgement of what sin and death are capable of doing, are not tears of despair. Physical death is indeed difficult to accept, but it surely is not the end. Thus, we are not asked not to weep, but only not to give in to despair, not to lose hope.

However tempting it might be, however human, however understandable, hopeless despair is not a Christian way of living. However painful our current circumstances, and however agonizing our honest questions—about job loss, wayward children, financial disaster, chronic sickness, destruction of works and institutions that have been painstakingly built, false allegations made by vested interests—ultimately things will get worse, for nothing can compare to the horrible specter of death that awaits us all. But Christian faith believes that God in Christ will conquer and transform even that ultimate enemy death.

Paul’s letter to the Romans talks about the same Spirit of God that gives life.  He explains that the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives in us and is responsible for giving us life.

As we near the end of Lent, we are being reminded that God’s Spirit is the source of our life as a community.  We are not only being prepared for Christ’s resurrection but our own.

We can make some choices about how we get to Easter.  We can choose not to focus on the things of the world that distract us and drain our life from us.  We can choose to resist loving or accepting some more than others because they are different or think differently.  We can deny those things that satisfy a sense of artificial power based on material things. We can choose to nurture a sense that we are individually more important than who we are together, as a family.

Or we can be restored by allowing the Spirit of God to give us life.  We can choose to live as Jesus lived.  We can live our call to be a community of faith focused on the strength of our unity.  We can give ourselves over to be restored by letting those things that separate us from God and each other die and be resurrected in Spirit to life as faithful believers. The choice rests with us.

Friday 24 March 2023

Saturday, March 25, 2023 - Homily

 Will you like Mary say "Let it be done to me" and let the Lord do in you.

Saturday, March 25, 2023 - The Annunciation of the Lord - Will you like Mary say "Let it be done to me" and let the Lord do in you.

To read the texts click on the texts: Isa7:10-14;8:10; Heb 10:4-10; Lk 1:26-38

The Annunciation of the Lord is the beginning of Jesus in his human nature. Through his mother and her courageous YES, Jesus became a human being. The point of the Annunciation is to stress that Jesus did not come down from heaven as an “avatar” but rather that in every sense of the word; he was totally and completely human. Another related point is that God “needs” the co-operation of human beings to complete the plans God has for the world. One of the most beautiful examples of co-operating with God is that of Mary and her unconditional Amen.

The text chosen for the feast is that of the Annunciation as narrated by Luke. It relates the scene immediately after the announcement of the birth of John the Baptist and contains the announcement of the birth of Jesus. There are many similarities in the annunciations to Mary and to Zechariah. The angel Gabriel is the one who makes both announcements. Both Zechariah and Mary are called by name and exhorted not to be afraid. Both ask a question of the angel, and it is the angel who tells them what name each child is to be given.  It is the angel who predicts what each child will turn out to be. However, even as there are similarities, there are differences in the narratives. While the announcement to Zechariah comes in the Temple and as a result of his fervent prayer, the announcement to Mary comes (apparently) when she is in her home and it is unanticipated. While Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth are advanced in age, Mary has not yet stayed with her husband, and so is a virgin. The birth of John to parents who are past the age of child bearing is a miracle, but even greater is the miracle of the birth of Jesus, who would be born through the Holy Spirit, and to a virgin. Even as John the Baptist goes with the spirit and power of Elijah, Jesus will be called “Son of God”. Luke clearly wants to show John as great, but only the forerunner of the Messiah, Jesus, who is greater

Here, too, like in the case of the announcement of the birth of John the Baptist, God intervenes in human history.  Mary though betrothed or engaged to Joseph, who was of David’s family, had not yet lived with him. This she would do only after marriage, which would be one year after the betrothal. The angel greets Mary as the recipient of God’s grace. She has opened herself to the promptings of God’s Spirit. While Zechariah was gripped with fear at the very appearance of the angel, in the case of Mary, it is the angel’s greeting that perplexed her. The angel reassures Mary and makes the announcement, not only of Jesus’ birth, but of who he will be and all that he will accomplish.

In response to this announcement Mary, like Zechariah, asks a question. While both questions seem similar, it is clear that Zechariah’s question expressed doubt and asked for a sign, as is evident in the angel’s words before Zechariah is struck dumb. Mary’s question, on the other hand, is a question asked in faith. Mary did not question the truth of the revelation like Zechariah did. She asked only for enlightenment on how God would accomplish this wonderful deed. This will be accomplished in Mary through the work of God’s spirit. This is why the child will be called holy. Luke probably also intends to convey here that it is not merit on Mary’s part that obtained for her what she received, but God’s generous gift in the Spirit.


The evidence that what the angel has announced will indeed take place is the pregnancy of Elizabeth, for nothing is impossible for God. Mary responds, not merely with a Yes, but by asking that the Lord work in her to accomplish all that he wants. The annunciation would not have been complete without Mary’s trusting, obedient response.


Today, many assume that those whom God favours will enjoy the things we equate with a good life: social standing, wealth, and good health. Yet Mary, God’s favoured one, was blessed with having a child out of wedlock who would later be executed as a criminal. Acceptability, prosperity, and comfort have never been the essence of God’s blessing. The story is so familiar that we let its familiarity mask its scandal. Mary had been chosen, “favoured,” to have an important part in God’s plan to bring salvation to God’s people, but it is unthinkable that God would have forced Mary to have the child against her will. Mary is an important example, therefore, of one who is obedient to God even at great risk to self.


When we think of or reflect on Mary, the one word that comes to mind to describe her whole life is the word, AMEN, a word which may be translated, “so be it”, “your will be done”, “do whatever you want to do in my life”. This was, indeed, Mary’s constant response to every situation in her life, especially when she could not understand why things were happening the way they were. The text of today is, then, a call and challenge to each one of us that we, too, like Mary, might be able to say YES to everything that God wants to do in our lives. It is a challenge to be open and receptive to the Spirit of God, so that we, too, might be able to give birth to the Saviour in our hearts.


Thursday 23 March 2023

Friday, March 24, 2023 - Homily

 Will you open your eyes, ears and heart and SEE that God is present in our world even today?

Friday, March 24, 2023 - Will you open your eyes, ears and heart and SEE that God is present in our world even today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Wis 2:1, 12-22; Jn 7:1-2, 10, 25-30

The feast of the tabernacles was originally a harvest festival and was linked to the journey of Israel in the desert after the exodus when they stayed in tents or booths. It was a seven day festival that brought great joy and during this festival people lived in booths to remember their sojourn and God’s graciousness to them. The liturgical rites performed during this festival, included water libation and torch-lit processions. These form the background for the discourse of Jesus during this festival.

The crowds are surprised to see Jesus teaching in public despite the death threats and so wonder if he could indeed be the Messiah. They also wonder if the authorities know that Jesus is the Messiah but are denying it for some reason. Soon, “reasonableness” gives way to insight and intuition when the crowds go back to their stereotypes. They “know” where Jesus comes from and since no one will know where the Messiah comes from, Jesus cannot be the Messiah. The fact is that the crowds know only one aspect of Jesus’ antecedents. Jesus informs them that they are not aware that his real origin is in God. One will only be able to recognize and know Jesus when one realizes that he comes from God and has been sent by him. This upsets the listeners and though they try to arrest him, they cannot do so, because the ordained hour set by God has not yet come.

The crucial question here is whether or not one perceives Jesus as having been sent by God. The answer to this question determines whether one is on the right track or engaged in only superficial reflection. One reason why the authorities’ could not recognize Jesus as having been sent by God was because they had made up their minds already. They refused to let God work in the way he wanted. They decided how God must work and how the Messiah would come. They “knew”. This “knowledge” led to their being closed to the revelation that God made, so that even after he came, they continued to look for another.

God continues to come to us in various disguises and forms. He comes in persons, events and situations. If we decide in advance how he must come, then there is the danger that we too might continue to miss him and not be aware of his presence. The way to be able to find him in all things and all things in him is to be open and receptive and let God be God. It is to open our eyes, ears and every fiber of our being to the revelation that he will make and to be prepared for that revelation in the most unexpected persons, places and events.

Tuesday 21 March 2023

Thursday, March 23, 2023 - Do you believe in Jesus? How will you show that you are a “believer”?

To read the texts click on the texts: Ex 32:7-14; Jn 5:31-47

The text of today contains the second part of the discourse of Jesus in response to the outrage of the Jewish leaders because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath. It can be seen to be divided into two parts. The first part speaks about the witnesses John and the Father who testify to Jesus’ claims and the second part about the rejection of Jesus and the unbelief of the leaders.

The witness that Jesus offers is not his own since no one can legitimately or validly bear witness on his own behalf. The first witness Jesus mentions here is John the Baptist who in the Gospel of John is portrayed more as a witness rather than as a precursor or Baptist as he is in the Synoptic Gospels. In witnessing to the truth John witnessed to Jesus since Jesus is the truth. However, John was a mere lamp and not the light so though his testimony is true there is another witness far greater than John and that is the works that Jesus has accomplished after being sent by the Father. “Works’ here seems to refer not just to the miracles that Jesus worked but to the whole of his ministry. These works are the works of the Father and so bear witness to him and to the relationship that Jesus shares with him as Son. Since Jesus as Son does what God as father commands him to do, Jesus completes the Father’s own works. The third witness is the Father himself. God himself cannot be seen, yet, he has been made visible in Jesus and the Jewish leaders have refused to believe the God made so visible.

The scriptures also testify on behalf of Jesus and though the leaders search and study the scriptures because they seek life, they refuse to believe what they learn there, namely that Jesus is the one who gives life and life in abundance. This is because they are unable to distinguish truth from falsehood. It is not Jesus but Moses himself who will accuse them of unbelief. This is because Moses also testified to Jesus and despite his testimony, they have refused to believe. If one believes what Moses wrote, one has to believe in Jesus, there is no middle ground here.

It is not easy to believe in Jesus, because such a belief calls for a radical change in one’s life’s orientation. Belief in Jesus will mean a movement from selfishness to selfless, domination to service and fear to love and not many are inclined to make this change. Most of us are content to live our lives insulated from others and preferring to live as islands rather than as community. We pretend not to know who we are and what our calling is. It seems easier this way. However, as the Gospel text makes clear there is no middle ground and if one is not willing to live the kind of life that Jesus invites us to as his disciples, then one is a non-believer.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023 - Jesus revealed the Father through all that he said and did. Will you reveal Jesus by what you say and do today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Isa 49:8-15; Jn 5:17-30

These verses contain the first discourse in the Gospel of John. It is made up of many closely related themes. The Jews are outraged that Jesus has healed on the Sabbath and in answer to this outrage Jesus answers them in the following verses. To the charge that Jesus was making himself equal to God, Jesus answers that he as Son can do nothing apart from the Father. He is completely dependent on the Father and merely does the Father’s work. The Father reveals all that he does to his Son including raising the dead and giving them life. Thus the Son shares in the life giving work of the Father. The Son has also been given the power and authority to judge. This implies that everyone is under the Son’s reign and rule, and thus must confer on him the same honour that is conferred on the Father. The one who does not honour the Son does not honour the Father since it is the Father who has sent the Son.

To hear the Son’s word and believe in God opens the gift of eternal life. The alternative is judgment. This judgement will be based on the response to the Son in the present. Those who accept him and do good will be granted the resurrection of life whereas those who reject the Son and thus do evil will go to the resurrection of condemnation. The now will determine the later, the present will determine the future. This part of the pericope ends with an idea expressed earlier namely that the Son can do nothing on his own and will do nothing on his own, because he seeks only to do the will of his Father.

March 20, 2023 St Joseph Husband of Mary Homily

Monday 20 March 2023

Tuesday, March 21, 2023 - Homily

  In which areas do I need a new Vision, a new way of looking at Persons/Things/Events? Am I able to see others point of view in different situations? Do I feel threatened by differing points of view?

Tuesday, March 21, 2023 - In which areas do I need a new Vision, a new way of looking at Persons/Things/Events? Am I able to see others point of view in different situations? Do I feel threatened by differing points of view?

To read the texts click on the texts: Ezek 47:1-19, 12; Jn 5:1-16

The miracle of the healing of the paralytic is exclusive to the Gospel of John. The story is set in Jerusalem and the miracle occurs during one of the Jewish festivals though John does not specify which one. Later in the narrative we are told that the day of the festival was also the Sabbath and this adds to the significance of both the festival and the Sabbath and thus the miracle and the controversy that follows. Festivals in John are used as a platform for a deep revelation of the person of Jesus and this festival is no exception.

John gives a detailed description of the place where the miracle was performed as if encouraging the reader to place him/herself in that place. Three kinds of invalids are mentioned: the blind, the lame and the paralyzed. These are at the pool waiting for the stirring of the water. Popular belief was that an angel was responsible for the stirring of the water and thus for the inexplicable bubbling at the surface. Of these one is singled out. He is a man who has been ill for thirty-eight years, which symbolizes that his illness is almost permanent. At this point the text does not tell us what his illness is. Jesus picks out this man and again we are not given a reason. Did he come across to Jesus as the one most in need? Was he the only one who did not have someone to help him? We are only told that Jesus “knew that he had been there a long time”. Jesus initiates the miracle by approaching the man. Yet, he does not force his healing on the man as is evident in the question that he asks him; “Do you want to be made well?” The man does not answer the question but begins his litany of complaints. He has already set limits to what he believes can be done for him. He does not expect the impossible. Jesus responds to the man’s complaints with three imperatives: “stand up, take your mat and walk”. That Jesus’ words are effective and transformative is evident in the fact that the man was made well. He obeys Jesus’ commands to the letter: “He took up his mat and walked”.

Immediately after the miracle, there is an objection on the part of “the Jews” (which here refers to the Jewish authorities who oppose Jesus and not the Jewish people in general) because the man was carrying his mat on the Sabbath and this constituted work which was not allowed on the Sabbath. The man responds that he is simply obeying what Jesus asked him to do. The Jewish leaders prefer to focus not on the fact that he had been made well, but on the one who told him to violate the Sabbath. The man cannot respond to the question of the Jewish leaders about who Jesus is, since he does not know Jesus.

At this point Jesus reenters the story and finds the man in the temple confirming that he has been made well and speaks to him about sin. He invites the man to move from the mere physical healing to spiritual healing. The man on encountering Jesus again, announces to the Jews that it was Jesus who made him well. While some see these words of the man as pointing Jesus out to the Jewish leaders, others interpret them as an announcement of the man about who Jesus is. Again the leaders refuse to focus on the positive action of the man being made well and focus instead on the violation of the Sabbath. This is why they decide to persecute him.

Two issues are brought out in this story. The first is that of illness. While we may be able to see with the eyes of our head, it is possible that we too like many of those who were at the pool may be psychologically or spiritually blind. We may not be able to see another person’s point of view and imagine sometimes that ours is the only correct viewpoint. We may also be blind to the sufferings of the numerous people around us and close ourselves in on our own small worlds. We may have the facility and use of both of our legs, but may have given in to lethargy or laziness. We may have lost the desire and drive to do what we have to do. We may be able to use all our limbs and move about freely, but may have given in to fear. We may also be carrying resentments, bitterness, anger, jealousy and even rage in our hearts because of which we are paralyzed and not able to move freely.

The second issue which the story brings out is that of law versus love. Like the Jewish leaders we are also guilty sometimes of focusing too much on the law and not enough on love. Like they were not able to focus on the man’s wholeness but only on the violation of the Sabbath, so we are sometimes prone to focus on the negatives rather than on the positive. We prefer often to give a negative interpretation to a person’s actions and words rather than a positive one.

The miracle thus calls each of us to give up the blindness of our heart and the lameness of our mind and the paralysis of our spirit and to focus on the positive of God’s unconditional healing and love made visible in Jesus.

Sunday 19 March 2023

Monday, March 20, 2023 - St. Joseph, Husband of Mary - When in a dilemma do you usually do the right thing or the loving thing? Would your life have been any different if Jesus had not been born?

To read the texts click on the texts: 2 Sam 7:4-5a,12-14a,16; Rm 4:13,16-18,22; Mt1:16,18-24a

Devotion to St. Joseph became popular from the 12th century onward and in the 15th Century the feast of St. Joseph began to be celebrated on March 19 every year. Devotion to St. Joseph as foster father of Jesus and husband of Mary grew tremendously in the 19th Century and continues till this day

The Gospel text for the feast of today includes one verse of the genealogy, which specifies that Joseph was the husband of Mary of whom Jesus was born. The verses that follow narrate the story of his birth. Since Mary and Joseph were engaged, they were legally considered husband and wife. Thus, infidelity in this case would also be considered adultery. Their union could only be dissolved by divorce or death. Though Joseph is righteous or just, he decides not to go by the letter of the law and publicly disgrace Mary, but he chooses a quieter way of divorcing her. God, however, has other plans for both Joseph and Mary and intervenes in a dream. Joseph is addressed by the angel as “Son of David” reiterating, once again after the genealogy, the Davidic origin of Jesus. He is asked to take Mary as his wife and also informed that is the Spirit’s action that is responsible for her pregnancy. He is told that he is to give the child the name “Jesus". Jesus (Iesous) is the Greek form of "Joshua" which, whether in the long form yehosua, ("Yahweh is salvation") or in one of the short forms, yesua, ("Yahweh saves”), identifies the son, in the womb of Mary, as the one who brings God’s promised eschatological salvation. The angel explains what the name means by referring to Ps 130:8. The name “Jesus” was a popular and common name in the first century.  By the choice of such a name, Matthew shows that the Saviour receives a common human name, a sign that unites him with the human beings of this world rather than separating him from them.

Matthew then inserts into the text the first of ten formula or fulfillment quotations that are found in his Gospel. This means that Matthew quotes a text from the Old Testament to show that it was fulfilled in the life and mission of Jesus. Here, the text is from Isa 7:14 which, in its original context, referred to the promise that Judah would be delivered from the threat of the Syro-Ephraimitic War before the child of a young woman, who was already pregnant, would reach the age of moral discernment. The child would be given a symbolic name, a short Hebrew sentence “God is with us” (Emmanu‘el) corresponding to other symbolic names in the Isaiah story. Though this text was directed to Isaiah’s time, Matthew understands it as a text about Jesus, and fulfilled perfectly in him, here in his birth and naming.


This birth narrative of Matthew invites us to reflect on a number of points. Of these, two are significant.  First, many of us are often caught in the dilemma of doing the right thing which might not always be the loving thing.  If we follow only the letter of the law, we may be doing the right thing but not the most loving thing.  However, if we focus every time on the most loving thing, like Joseph, it is surely also the right thing. Though Joseph could have done the right thing and shamed Mary by publicly divorcing her, he decides to go beyond the letter of the law and do the loving thing, which in his case was also the right thing.

Second, the story also shows us who our God is.  Our God is God with us. Our God is one who always takes the initiative, who always invites, and who always wants all of humanity to draw closer to him and to each other. This God does not come in power, might, and glory, but as a helpless child. As a child, God is vulnerable. He is fully human and in his humanity, is subject to all the limitations that humanity imposes on us. Yet, he will do even that, if only humans respond to the unconditional love that he shows.

St. Joseph - Model of faith, hope and love

     I.            Introduction: St. Joseph is one of the very few Saints who has two feast days to honour him. The scriptures do not say much about this silent saint. As a matter of fact, St. Joseph does not speak in the scriptures. His voice is not heard. This is to be expected because St. Joseph was a man of action more than words.

 II.            Inspiration from St. Joseph: As we celebrate a year dedicated to St. Joseph we can draw inspiration from him in many areas of our own lives.

1)  Attentive listening: Matthew is the only one of the four Evangelists who places Joseph on the centre stage in his Infancy Narrative. The angel appears to Joseph in a dream on four separate occasions. (Mt 1:20-21; 2:13; 2:19-21; 2:22). 

Before (Mt 1:18-19) the first of these dreams (1:20-21) Joseph had already made up his mind to follow the law because he was righteous. He became aware of the pregnancy of Mary - to whom he was engaged or betrothed - and possibly suspected her of adultery. The only logical explanation of the pregnancy was that Mary was guilty of adultery.  Joseph had the choice to pursue a legal trial for adultery (Deut 22:23-27) or draw up a bill of divorce. Joseph chose the latter option because he did not want to publicly shame Mary and it would attract less attention.

Hearing with the ears of our head and seeing with the eyes of our head is only one way of hearing and seeing. True hearing and seeing require that we hear and see also with the ears and eyes of our hearts.

2)  Trusting God’s word: The angel explains that the child conceived in Mary is from the Holy Spirit (Mt 1:20) and Joseph must take his pregnant betrothed as his wife. Not only is he to do that, he will also not have the privilege as the foster father to name this child. This name has already been chosen by God as communicated by the angel (1:21). His trust in God’s word shows in his action.

When things go the way we want, it is easy to believe and trust God’s word. However, when God’s word calls us to act the opposite of the way want, it is not easy to accept and follow.

3)  Action more than words: Joseph’s trust in God’s word does not end with his acceptance of Mary and Jesus as his wife and son respectively. In the three dreams that follow the first (2:13; 2:19-20 and 2:22), he is asked to perform actions which are extremely difficult. However, since it is God’s plan and God’s hand is at work, Joseph acts in obedience.

In the first of these dreams, Joseph is asked to go to Egypt hastily. He obeys. In the second, when the family is in Egypt, he is asked to go to Israel (2:19-20). Once again, he obeys. The choice of Nazareth and not Judea in Israel as the place of residence of the family is also attributed to Joseph’s obedience (2:22-23).

We sometimes look for God only in miracles or extraordinary events. Yet, God keeps revealing God’s power, might and love in the ordinary events of our lives. Like Joseph we must open our hearts wide to see.

4)  Acting without expectation: In most of our relationships with others including members of our families, we act with some or other expectation. Sometimes, we expect those to whom we have been generous and kind to also be generous and kind to us in return. At others times, we expect a word of gratitude and even praise for reaching out. At still other times, we expect that those to whom we have reached out will not be ungrateful. With Joseph, there were no expectations whatsoever. He did what had to done.

Each of us is also called by God in our own way to be God’s instrument of love and peace. God does not expect that we do extraordinary things to reveal this love. If like Joseph we can reach out to another even in a small way, we will have done well.

5)  Model for workers and the sanctity of work: The Gospel of Matthew tells us that Joseph was a carpenter (13:55). He does not state whether Jesus followed his foster father in this trade. In his Gospel, he refers to Jesus as “the carpenter’s son” (13:55). The Gospel of Mark, however, informs us that Jesus did follow Joseph in this trade. When Jesus goes back to his hometown, the townsfolk identity him as “the carpenter” (Mk 6:3).

The celebration of the feast of St. Joseph, the worker on the first day of May each year – when Workers Day or Labour Day is celebrated in many countries of the world - is a celebration of the saint and his work ethic, but also a celebration of the participation of humans in God’s work of creation. In this Joseph becomes an inspiration and model to workers of the meaning of hard work and earning one’s living through the sweat of one’s brow.

6)  Model of discernment and faith: Obedience to God’s word required a lot of discernment and faith from Joseph. He was aware that he would not have been able to recognise immediately whether he was indeed doing God’s will. The dreams could have been the result of his own imagination. It required discernment to know that they were not. All decisions that he had to take - the hastening to Egypt, remaining in Egypt when the threat to the child was still alive, and the return to Nazareth - were life changing decisions. They would affect not only his life, but also the life of his wife Mary and Jesus. This is why he had to be convinced of that which he could not see and hope that his actions were in accord with what God wanted him to do.

One important rule of a good discernment is that we do not make decisions when we are upset or even elated. This is because these decisions will be based only on emotion and not discernment. We have to be at equanimity before we make important decisions and in this regard, Joseph is a model to be imitated.

7)  Protector of the family and of the world: In his role as foster father of Jesus, Joseph was protector of his family. The safety of his family was of prime importance to Joseph and he placed their needs and safety above his own.

This quality of Joseph can be extended to include his protection of the whole world. As he kept the interests of his family uppermost, so he keeps the interests of the world uppermost in his intercession for the world.

When we are tempted to live self-centered and selfish lives, Joseph’s selflessness comes as a breath of fresh air inviting us to be other-centered and to make a difference to the lives of others.

III.            Conclusion: In the play Hamlet, there is a scene in which Hamlet says to his friend Horatio “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy” (Hamlet 1.5). One understanding of this is that while there are many things that the human person does know, there are possibly more things that we do not yet know.

One such happening is the Covid-19 pandemic. While theories abound about the origin of the virus and how best to respond to it, the fact is that we are still groping in the dark. This is why like St. Joseph we are called to listen attentively.

We live in times where many of us would prefer to see before we believe. If we are of this mind, then there is no need for faith. St. Joseph teaches us to believe even without seeing. He also teaches us to believe even when we cannot see. This is because like him, we too must realise that God’s will for the world will always be better than what we want for ourselves. We must learn from St. Joseph how to make our will subservient to God’s.

Our actions in most cases, even the seemingly altruistic ones are often with our eye on the reward. St Joseph teaches us that we must learn to find the reward in the doing of the action.

Saturday 18 March 2023

Sunday, March 19, 2023 - Homily

"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye"

Sunday, March 19, 2023 - Loss of Vision - "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye."

To read the texts click on the texts:1Sam 16:1, 6-7,10-11,13; Eph 5:8-14; Jn9:1-41

Some time ago, a young man came to see me to pour out his heart. He admitted he was a workaholic, because of which he was increasingly distancing himself from his wife and two children. His marriage was on the verge of breaking up, since he could not find time to spend with his family. He was caught in a vicious circle. He worked hard in order to provide for his family and the harder he worked and the more time he spent in the office, the further was he moving away from his family

As he poured his heart out, I simply listened. His job had become his obsession. He wanted to give his wife and children things he had never had as a child and this effort to gain all things for his family became an enemy of the persons he loved most. He finally looked up at me and exclaimed, “I’ve lost sight of everything that matters most!

The fox says something similar to the Prince in The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery: “And now here is my secret, a very simple secret; it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.” The young man realized that he had lost his vision, the heart vision. He had not lost his external sight or vision, but the inner vision, the heart vision, which enables one to see clearly. He left my room with a promise to set his priorities right and thanked me for listening

The loss of vision, which the young man experienced, is similar to the one experienced by both Samuel in the first reading of today and Pharisees in the Gospel text. In the case of Samuel, the reason for the loss vision is due to mistaken perception and judging by outward appearances alone. However, God makes it clear to him that he judges not by the external but looks at the heart. In the case of the Pharisees, the loss of vision was caused by their set opinions and understanding. They wanted to follow the law as thoroughly as they could, but did not realize that they had mixed it up with their interpretation and preconceived ideas and thus had shut the door to any kind of revelation that God was constantly making in Jesus through his Spirit

They were so sure of everything – that God did not work on the Sabbath, that Moses was God’s only spokesperson, that anyone born blind and anyone who broke the Sabbath had to be a sinner,  that God did not work through sinners, that God did not work on sinners and that furthermore no one could teach them anything. In this context, it must be noted that John makes abundantly clear in this text that physical illness is not the effect of sin. Rather sin here is connected with spiritual blindness and anyone who rejects the true light who is Jesus is guilty of sin and so is spiritually blind. This is an even more dangerous blindness than the physical one

The man born physically blind comes to both physical sight and spiritual sight in his being able to see and recognize Jesus as the one who is sent. Through opposition and persecution the blind man moves from a confession of “the man Jesus,” to “prophet,” to “one from God” and finally to a confession of Jesus as the Son of Man and the Lord.

The second reading of today reminds the Ephesians and us, that like the man in the Gospel who represents all of us, we were also blind and stumbling in darkness, but now we live in the light of Christ and his Good News, and that light is seen in the way we behave. In the way we relate with other people in “complete goodness and right living and truth”. Our lives are to have a transparency where there is no darkness, no hidden behavior which we would be ashamed to reveal to others.

So we must think about our darkness, our blindness. Of course, acknowledging our own spiritual blindness can be embarrassing, painful, and threatening. To confess our own groping darkness and howling demons within, our frustrations, fears, and failures, unnerves us. Such a confession may be unsettling. We may be also anxious of what others might say, think or do.

Tradition, jealousy or legalism, blinded the religious leaders and prevented them from seeing the obvious. What blinds us to the truths that we should be seeing? Regardless of what it is, Jesus offers to remove blindness and show us the light.

We have been “enlightened” through baptism and are commissioned to confess and witness to our faith. Imitating the journey of the man who finally recognized Jesus, we should progress to an inner enlightenment, so that we can confess the crucified one as the Son of Man, who, when lifted up, will draw all things to himself.

Friday 17 March 2023

Saturday, March 18, 2023 - Homily

 Does the content of your prayer include despising or condemning others? Has pride prevented you from encountering God? What will you do about it today?

Saturday, March 18, 2023 - Does the content of your prayer include despising or condemning others? Has pride prevented you from encountering God? What will you do about it today?

 To read the texts, click on the texts: Hosea 5:15 – 6:6; Lk 18:9-14

The parable that forms the text today is knows as the Parable of the Pharisee and tax Collector but is not so much about these persons as it is about the disposition for prayer in any person. It is exclusive to Luke. The parable is addressed not to the Pharisees, but to those who “trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt”. This could be a description of any self righteous person.

The two men who went up to the temple to pray are introduced as a Pharisee and a tax collector. Pharisee means “separated one” and the Pharisee in the parable takes this prayer position. He stands apart or by himself. Though he begins his prayer with thanksgiving, it is soon clear that it is not genuine thanks, but self centered. He is aware of the presence of the tax collector in the temple and regards him with contempt even as he prays. The Pharisee makes clear that he follows the law perfectly and obeys even the injunctions to fast and give tithes. He asks nothing of God probably because he thinks he is self sufficient.

By contrast the tax collector will not dare to come near but stands “far off”. This indicates his position before God. He does not consider himself worthy. While the commonly accepted posture of prayer was with hands folded and looking up to God, this tax collector stands with his head bowed and “would not even look up to heaven”. Instead he beats his breast in acknowledgement of the fact that he is unworthy and a sinner. His prayer is God centered. He cedes all power to God. He has nothing to boast about.

The comment at the end of the parable makes clear its intent. The Pharisee returned to his home without having been made righteous, but the tax collector was accepted before God.

Those who trust in their own righteousness will regard others with contempt, and those who regard others with contempt cannot then bring themselves to rely on God’s grace. Therefore, persons who exalt themselves over others and boast of their virtue before God will discover that they have cut themselves off from both, and persons who are aware of their need for grace and forgiveness will not be able to despise other people.

The nature of grace is paradoxical: It can be received only by those who have learned empathy for others. In that regard, grace partakes of the nature of mercy and forgiveness. Only the merciful can receive mercy, and only those who forgive will be forgiven. The Pharisee had enough religion to be virtuous, but not enough to be humble. As a result, his religion drove him away from the tax collector rather than toward him.

Thursday 16 March 2023

Friday, March 17, 2023 - Homily

 Will your love for God show in your love for at least one person today?

Friday, March 17, 2023 - Will your love for God show in your love for at least one person today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Hosea 14:2-10; Mk 12:28-34

In Matthew 22:35, the lawyer asks the question about the great commandment in order to test Jesus; in Mark he is not hostile and does not intend to test Jesus. As a matter of fact Mark mentions at the beginning of the incident that the lawyer thought that Jesus had answered the Sadducees well and at the end of that response, he commends Jesus for his answer. Jesus responds to the lawyer’s question in the words of the “Shema”, which speaks of love of God (Deut 6:5-6), but adds also the love of neighbour (Lev 19:18). The scribe’s response to this is to acknowledge Jesus’ answer as correct and to add that following these commandments is greater than sacrifices and burnt offerings. Jesus concludes the dialogue by stating that because the scribe has recognized what his priorities are, he is not far from the kingdom of God.

Love of God cannot really be separated from love of neighbour. The two go together. Our love for God is made manifest and tangible only when we reach out in love to someone else.  While Paul gives a beautiful description of what love is and what it is not in 1 Corinthians 13, my own definition of love is that in love there is no “I”.

Wednesday 15 March 2023

Thursday, March 16, 2023 - Homily

 Which is the demon that has possessed you and does not leave you free? Will you attempt to get rid of that demon today?

Thursday, March 16, 2023 - Which is the demon that has possessed you and does not leave you free? Will you attempt to get rid of that demon today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Jer7:23-28; Lk 11:14-23

The onlookers respond to the exorcism of a demon that made a man mute, in different ways. While there are some who are amazed, others attribute Jesus’ power to cast out demons to Beelzebul and still others ask for a sign from heaven. This is an indication that no one doubted Jesus’ power to exorcise and heal. They attributed it to different sources. In his response to this charge and test, Jesus says that since exorcisms represented a direct assault on Satan’ power and kingdom, it is clear that he cannot be on Satan’s side. Also, if Jesus’ exorcisms’ were performed by the power of Satan, the same would have to be said of other exorcists belonging to their community. Instead Jesus’ works indicate that the kingdom of God has indeed arrived. Through his exorcisms, Satan’s power is broken. In the simile of the strong man and his castle, Jesus explicates that he is the stronger one who overpowers Satan who had guarded his kingdom well till this time. Finally Jesus invites his listeners to take a stand for him. The saying here is strong. If one does not positively opt for Jesus, one has opted against him. The time now is for decision and choice.

Once he has answered his critics (11:17-23), Jesus moves on to exhort his listeners to fill their lives with the kingdom of God, because it is possible that despite the exorcism, if a person persists in his old ways, he will be possessed once again and this will be ever worse than before.

While there is no doubt that Jesus did exorcise people who were possessed by demons, we must avoid getting caught up with exorcisms ourselves. Rather, today there are many subtle forms of “possession” which are more dangerous than “external possession”. Some of these are consumerism, selfishness, ignorance and a better than thou attitude. We need to ask the Lord to exorcise these demons from our lives.

Tuesday 14 March 2023

Wednesday, March 15, 2023 - Homily

 When was the last time you performed an action without any expectation of reward? Will you perform one today?

Wednesday, March 15, 2023 - When was the last time you performed an action without any expectation of reward? Will you perform one today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Dan 4:1,5-9;  Mt 5:17-19

These verses contain what are commonly known as the “theme” of the Sermon on the Mount. In these verses, the Matthean Jesus makes explicit that he is a law abiding Jew. His attitude towards the Jewish law is fundamentally positive. However, Jesus also makes explicit here, that he has come not merely to confirm or establish the law, but to fulfill or complete it. This means that he will go beyond a purely legal interpretation to a broader perspective. He will remove the focus from the mere external and concentrate on the internal. The focus will be more on the attitude than merely on the action.

While laws, rules and regulations are necessary and help towards order, it is also possible that they can become ends in themselves and not as they are meant to be, means to an end. We might follow in some cases the letter of the law, but miss out on its spirit. We might even follow the rule or law only because we are afraid of getting caught and punished and not because we are convinced of it.

Monday 13 March 2023

Tuesday, March 14, 2023 - Homily

  What would be your position if God kept a grudge against you for every sin you committed? Will you give up all your un-forgiveness today?

Tuesday, March 14, 2023 - What would be your position if God kept a grudge against you for every sin you committed? Will you give up all your un-forgiveness today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Dan 3:25,34-43; Mt 18:21-35

The text of today is the conclusion to Matthew’s “Community Discourse” (18:1-35). It begins with a question from Peter about the number of times one is expected to forgive. While Peter proposes seven times, Jesus’ response far exceeds that proposal.  The number seventy-seven can be understood in this way or even as four hundred ninety (seventy times seven). The point is not so much about numbers but about forgiveness from the heart. If one has to count the number of times one is forgiving, it means that one is not really forgiving at all.  The story that follows in 18:23-35 about the king who forgave his servant a debt of ten thousand talents (a talent was more than fifteen years wages of a labourer). The combination of “ten thousand” and “talents” is the greatest possible figure and indicates the unimaginable sum of money owed. An indication of how large this sum was can be seen when compared with the annual tax income for all of the territories of Herod the Great which was 900 talents per year. The point is that the debt is unpayable. The servant in his desperation asks for time to pay back the debt. Though the king knows that no matter how much time is given to the servant he will never be able to pay back what he owes, forgives him all the debt in his magnanimity and generosity. The debt of the fellow servant to him pales in comparison with his own debt to the king. Yet, if given time there was a clear possibility that the money could be repaid, because though by itself it was a large sum, it would not be impossible to repay. The servant who had been forgiven by the king will have none of it. He refuses to listen and be convinced. When the matter is reported to the king be the fellow servants, the king takes back his forgiveness because the one who was forgiven could not forgive in turn. This indicates that he had closed himself to the forgiveness of the king and not received it completely. The conclusion is frightening because it will be impossible for the first servant to repay the debt. This means that he will be tortured for eternity.


How easy it is to say “I am sorry” when we know we are in the wrong or have done something that deserves punishment. We expect to be forgiven by others when we do them harm after we have said sorry, and sometimes if they do not forgive us, we get upset with them even more. We need to apply the same yardstick to ourselves when others ask for forgiveness from us.

Sunday 12 March 2023

Monday, March13, 2023 - Homily

 Have you set limits on where, when and in whom God can work? Will you leave God free? Will you let God be God?

Monday, March 13, 2023 - Have you set limits on where, when and in whom God can work? Will you leave God free? Will you let God be God?

To read the texts click on the texts: 2 Kgs 5:1-15a; Lk 4:24-30

The text begins with the words “Truly I tell you” which is used six times in the Gospel of Luke and always to introduce a solemn statement. Luke alone uses it here to introduce the proverb that follows. This proverb is found also in Mark (6:4), Matthew (13:57) and John (4:44), but in a different form there. In Luke, the proverb is given in a negative form and “hometown” may also be translated as “home country”. This leads to the interpretation that Jesus will be rejected not only by the people of Nazareth (his hometown) but also by the whole of Israel (his home country).The references to Elijah and Elisha are to reinforce the statement made namely that the blessings of God were not restricted to one particular group or community but were available to all peoples. No one was excluded from the graciousness of God and from his bounty. This statement of Jesus enraged the people who were listening to him and drove Jesus out of their town. Though they were hostile to him, Jesus did not let that deter him, but continued to do what he was meant to do.


This scene suggests that the basis for their hostility toward Jesus was a difference in the way they read the Scriptures. The people of Jesus’ hometown read the Scriptures as promises of God’s exclusive covenant with them, a covenant that involved promises of deliverance from their oppressors. Jesus came announcing deliverance, but it was not a national deliverance but God’s promise of liberation for all the poor and oppressed regardless of nationality, gender, or race. When the radical inclusiveness of Jesus’ announcement became clear to those gathered in the synagogue in Nazareth, their commitment to their own community boundaries took precedence over their joy that God had sent a prophet among them. In the end, because they were not open to the prospect of others’ sharing in the bounty of God’s deliverance, they themselves were unable to receive it.


Not only is this scene paradigmatic of Jesus’ life and ministry, but it is also a reminder that God’s grace is never subject to the limitations and boundaries of any nation, church, group, or race. Those who would exclude others thereby exclude themselves. Human beings may be instruments of God’s grace for others, but we are never free to set limits on who may receive that grace. Throughout history, the gospel has always been more radically inclusive than any group, denomination, or church, so we continually struggle for a breadth of love and acceptance that more nearly approximates the breadth of God’s love. The paradox of the gospel, therefore, is that the unlimited grace that it offers so scandalizes us that we are unable to receive it. Jesus could not do more for his hometown because they were not open to him. How much more might God be able to do with us if we were ready to transcend the boundaries of community and limits of love that we ourselves have erected?