Friday 30 June 2023

Saturday, July 1, 2023 - Does Jesus Christ have faith in you?

To read the texts click on the texts: Gen 18:1-15; Mt 8:5-17

The text of today contains the healing of the Centurion’s servant and the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law. The healing of the Centurion’s servant is also found in Luke (7,1-10) and John but with variations. While in Luke the centurion never makes an appearance personally, in Matthew he addresses Jesus as “Lord”, which is an address only believers use in Matthew. The response of Jesus to the Centurion’s need is seen by some as a question rather than a statement, “I should come and heal him?” This is in keeping with Matthew’s portrayal of Jesus who is sent as Messiah only for the lost sheep of Israel (10,5-6) and not for Gentiles. The Centurion is not deterred by Jesus’ question, and responds with faith. The healing takes place from a distance. The focus, however, is not on the miracle but on the faith of the centurion and through his faith the faith of “unbelievers”. The centurion does not claim to have faith. It is Jesus who testifies to his faith.

We can get deterred and lose our focus when thigs do not go the way we want them to. At these times we may blame our family, our neighbours and even God. The Centurion’s attitude is a lesson to us never to get deterred from what we have to do and continue to keep our sights fixed on what we want to achieve confident that our perseverance will pay rich dividends.

Thursday 29 June 2023

Saturday, July 1, 2023 - Homily


Friday, June 30, 2023 - Homily


Friday, June 30, 2023 - In your prayer do you express the confidence that the leper in the story expresses? If No, why not?

To read the texts click on the texts: Gen 17:1,9-10,15-22; Mt 8:1-4

We begin reading today in the liturgy and will continue for the whole of next week from Chapters 8 and 9 of the Gospel of Matthew. These Chapters contain what is known as the “Miracle Cycle” of Matthew, because in them we find ten miracles in series of three miracles each. The fact that the Miracle Cycle follows immediately after the Sermon on the Mount and both are framed by a summary statement in 4,23 and 9, 35 is an indication that Matthew’s intention is to show through such a placement that Jesus is the Messiah in words (through the Sermon on the Mount) and deeds (through the Miracle Cycle).

The healing of a leper, which is our text for today, is also found in the Gospels of Mark and Luke, but where Mark narrates the emotional reactions of Jesus, Matthew and Luke omit them. The term leprosy was used for any kind of skin disease, and those with such kind of diseases were considered as unclean and not allowed to be part of society. They had to live on the outskirts of the city, and had to make their presence known whenever they entered the city, so that others could avoid any kind of contact with them and so not get contaminated.

The leper addresses Jesus as Lord, which is a title used only by believers in the Gospel of Matthew. In this miracle, Jesus not only heals the leper, but also reaches out and touches him. This probably means that Jesus cannot be contaminated or made unclean by anything from outside. It could also indicate Jesus’ wanting to reach out to the leper in a personal manner and treat him as a full human being.

The prayer of the leper is a lesson for each one of us on the meaning of prayer. In his prayer the leper both acknowledges his dependence on Jesus through the words, “If you will” and also has faith in the ability of Jesus to heal through the words, “you can make me clean”. Prayer means to acknowledge our dependence on God and also to have faith that God can do what to us may seem impossible.

Wednesday 28 June 2023

Thursday, July 29, 2023 - Sts Peter and Paul


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Thursday, June 29, 2023- Saints Peter and Paul -

To read the texts click on the texts: Acts12:1-11; 2Tim 4:6-8, 17-18; Mt 16:13-19

There is an old story about the death of St. Peter in Rome during the persecution of Nero. Peter heard about Nero's plan to burn the city and blame the Christians. He figured as the one who presided over the church in the city he would be arrested and put to death. So he did the sensible thing - Peter was always a sensible man - he got out of town, and at night. The Appian Way was dark for a while as Peter snuck down it. However, as the night wore on the sky was illuminated by the flames rising from the city. Peter hurried on and eventually was far enough away from the city that it was dark again. Then he saw someone coming in the opposite direction, someone who even at night seemed familiar. It was the Lord himself. What was he doing out at night and walking towards Rome? “Where are you going, Lord?” Peter asked him. “To Rome”, Jesus replied, “to be crucified again in your place”. Peter turned around and returned to Rome and according to tradition was crucified there.

Though this story does not agree with what is narrated in the first reading of today from the Acts of the Apostles, in which we are told that Peter was imprisoned, it does agree with what the Gospels narrate about Peter’s denials, and brings out an important facet of the meaning of the feast: Jesus did not choose strong, brave and courageous individuals to continue the work that he had begun. He chose weak, frail and cowardly humans. He chose individuals who would falter and fail. This is the Peter who confessed Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the Living God” and to whom the Jesus handed over the “keys” of the Church, knowing full well that there would be times when the lofty confession would turn into a base denial.

Paul’s conversion story is narrated twice in the Acts of the Apostles and Paul himself speaks of it in some of his letters. His commission as an apostle of Christ began with a divine revelation of the identity of the Lord Jesus. He reports the events surrounding his recognition of Jesus as the Lord of glory and his appointment as apostle to the gentiles. Felled to the ground by a brilliant light from heaven and hearing a reproachful voice addressing him by name his first need was to know who it was who broke into his life with such awe-inspiring power. Just as Jesus told Peter that he would assign to him the charge of leading his Church once the Peter recognized his master's true identity, so also Paul's task was given to him only after Jesus revealed himself as the glorified Lord.

The apostles' mission thus grew out of their loving knowledge of the person of Jesus, the Son of the living God. Their work, indeed their whole life, was to follow from this surpassing knowledge of Christ which became the basis of all their dealing with others. They were given to the whole Church to teach us not only what Christ revealed and taught but also how to live as he himself had put into practice the things willed by the Father.

Today we marvel at the transformation of these previously weak human leaders. Peter’s newfound passionate commitment to his Lord and to the fledgling church resulted in his imprisonment. Paul too was jailed. He did not see this as failure, but as the destiny that was his in consequence of his commitment to the Gospel. He had fought the good fight, he had run the race, and he had kept the faith. He faced death, and he knew it. That was the price they had to pay for their commitment and fidelity to the Lord.

Their personalities were very different, their approaches to spreading the Faith were very different, and their relationships with Christ were very different. Although the two were both Apostles, there were moments of disagreement and conflict between them. And yet, they are bound together on this single feast, as they were bound together by the one Faith, confessing the one Lord, shedding their blood for him and his mission of peace, justice and love.

Within the recent past, the church has been tossed to and fro in storms of controversy. Not one storm, but many storms, and not in one country, but in many countries. It has been the target of fierce persecution from without, and it has also allowed evil to corrupt it from within. Whether in circumstances of harassment or scandal, the lives of many have been diminished, their confidence undermined and their faith tested.

Without minimizing the suffering in our current situations, we should remember that dire trials are really not new to the church. From its very beginning it has faced opposition. The first reading for today’s feast describes one such situation.

Despite its trials, however, the church has survived and even flourished. This is not due to the strength and holiness of its members. Though Jesus told Peter that the church would be built upon him, the church’s real foundation was and continues to be Jesus Christ its Lord. He is the one who commissioned Peter; he is the one who assures the church of protection. He is the one who stood by Paul and gave him strength to bring the Gospel to the broader world. The church may have been built on Peter the former denier and spread by Paul the former persecutor, but it is the church of Jesus Christ, and it will endure because of his promise.

Today we celebrate the fidelity of Peter and Paul, sinners like us all. Initially, they were both found wanting. When they eventually repented, they were forgiven by God in Christ. Though they were victims of persecution, their commitment to Christ and to the church made them heroes. Their victory is evidence that the gates of hell shall not prevail. Their victory is evidence that we shall indeed overcome.

Wednesday, June 28, 2023 - Homily


Tuesday 27 June 2023

Wednesday, June 28, 2023 - Is your being good? What will you do to make it better?

To read the texts click on the texts: Gen 15:1-12,17-18; Mt 7:15-20

The text of today is from the latter part of the Sermon on the Mount. In it Jesus asks his listeners to focus on the internal i.e. the heart from which everything else flows. If the heart is pure than everything that a person does or says will also be pure. The external is only an expression of the internal. A person's actions or words flow from what is in his/her heart.

Our actions do not often coincide with our words, because we do not always mean what we say. Sometimes we say one thing and do another. There is a dichotomy between our words and actions. We are called to synchronise the two.

Monday 26 June 2023

Tuesday, June 27, 2023 - Homily


Tuesday, June 27, 2023 - The words that you use to complete this sentence will give you a fairly good idea of how you treat others: People are usually …………………… How will you show that you have chosen the narrow gate?

To read the texts click on the texts: Gen 13:2,5-18; Mt 7:6,12-14

The first verse of today (7,5) introduces a new subject: holiness. The point that seems to be made here is that holy things have their place and should not be profaned. 7,12 has often been termed, as the Golden rule, which the Matthean Jesus states, is a summary of the law and prophets. Here it is stated positively. One must treat others in the same way that one expects to be treated. This also means that one must take the initiative in doing the loving thing that does not wait to respond to the action of another. In the final two verses of this pericope (7,13-14) the point being made is that it is the narrow gate that leads to life and salvation and the broad or wide gate to damnation. One must make a choice for one or another.

We wish that people would be kind and understanding with us but we are seldom kind and understanding towards them. Often the behaviour that we find revolting in others is the behaviour we ourselves are guilt of. When we criticise others for being too harsh, we need to ask whether we have not been so.

Sunday 25 June 2023

Monday, June 26, 2023 - Homily


Monday, June 26, 2023 - Do you know that when you point a finger at someone there are three fingers pointing back at you?

To read the texts click on the texts: Gen12:1-9; Mt 7:1-5

The absolute prohibition of judgement found in 7,1 is unparallel in Jewish tradition. When the individual comes to stand before God for judgement, he/she will be judged according to the measure that he/she has used for others. Those who have been merciful will receive mercy. One must be aware that one is not in any superior position, which gives one the right to judge others. If one is aware of one’s own weakness and frailty then one will be careful of pointing out the faults of others.

Judging others comes too easily to some and often we judge only by externals. It is important to realise that it is possible that we might not be aware of all the reasons why a person behaves in a particular manner and so mistaken in our judgement. If we can give the benefit of the doubt to the person concerned and find reasons for his/her behaviour we will have done well.

Saturday 24 June 2023

Sunday, June 25, 2023 - Homily


Sunday, June 25, 2023 - Do not be afraid

To read the texts click on the texts: Jer 20:10-13; Rom 5:12-15; Mt 10:26-33

During his years as premier of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev denounced many of the policies and atrocities of Joseph Stalin. Once, as he censured Stalin in a public meeting, Khrushchev was interrupted by a shout from a heckler in the audience. “You were one of Stalin’s colleagues. Why didn’t you stop him?” “Who said that?” roared Khrushchev. An agonizing silence followed as nobody in the room dared move a muscle. Then Khrushchev replied quietly, “Now you know why.” It is not always easy to stand up and be counted.

The Gospel text of today deals with what it takes to stand up and be counted. It is part of Matthew’s Mission Discourse in which Jesus, after commissioning his disciples, gives them both instruction for and exhortation in Mission. Today’s reading deals with exhortation. The words “Do not be afraid” appear three times. ‘Do not be afraid to be open about faith, do not be afraid of powerful opponents, and do not be afraid about what future holds in store. All three lay in God’s hands.’ The message therefore is this: Confidence in God’s presence and promise even in the midst of persecution. The message is: ‘Do not be afraid to stand up and be counted because God is on the side of those who fight for justice and the truth.’

It is possible that fear might lead to the disciples remaining silent and not communicating the message of Jesus, which is a message of the Kingdom. While the disciples should expect persecution, they should not be paralyzed by fear. They must continue to give bold witness to the message entrusted to them that in Jesus and his words and works, the Kingdom of heaven has indeed come. The disciples will be tempted to give up when things get difficult, but they are called to persevere till the end with the witness that they must give. The ideas expressed in this part of the Gospel are similar to the first reading from Jeremiah

After castigating the leaders for not obeying God’s word and warning them that therefore they would be conquered by Babylon, Jeremiah is scourged and put in stocks by Passhur, the head of the temple police. The text of today, spoken after his release, includes Jeremiah’s sixth lament, in which he begins by railing at God for “enticing” him into proclaiming God’s message and then allowing him to be mocked and shamed. Though he is tempted to give up his vocation of being a prophet (and so speaking God’s word on behalf of God) because he is aware that people are plotting against him, he perseveres. This perseverance results from his confidence in the fact that God will come to his aid and deliver him from his enemies.

These enemies cannot do real harm, because though physical death is indeed a possibility for a disciple of Jesus, it will only be a transition, says Jesus. God’s power is much more than even death. All that happens to the disciple is known by God. As surely as God knows the comings and goings of even the littlest bird, so he knows everything that happens to the disciple. He is always the one who is in charge. He is “father” to the disciples and so the disciples are related to Jesus as brothers and sisters. This relationship between the Father, Jesus and the disciples must lead to witnessing to Jesus and all that he stands for including justice and truth and to hope for the future.


The best example of this confidence according to the reading from Romans is Jesus himself. He was obedient unlike Adam; he remained sinless and faithful unlike Adam and thus made grace reign freely where there would have been universal condemnation. He dared to stand up and be counted. He was unafraid even in the face of ignominy, persecution and death. Thus through his life, mission, death and resurrection Jesus has given his disciples the example they must follow, the path they must take and the way they must walk.

To walk this way continues to be difficult especially today when fears of all kinds continue to dominate our lives and take control of us, not allowing us to be the kind of persons we are meant to be. There are numerous people who will try their best to stifle the message of justice and peace; simply because it is beneficial to them do so. There are many who will try to shut down the voices of those who protest against discrimination and violence.

By looking to Jesus we see that the trials and sufferings of this life, especially what we face as we try to live out and share our faith, are short-lived. We should, therefore, not give in to fear; knowing that in the end truth will triumph over untruth, justice over injustice, and eternal life over death, as we are able to see already in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.


Friday 23 June 2023

Saturday, June 24, 2023 - St. John the Baptist


Saturday, June 24, 2023 - Will you speak God’s word to at least one person today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Isa 49:1-6; Acts 13:22-26; Lk 1:57-66,80

The Birth of Saint John the Baptist is celebrated on June 24 each year. The reason for this is the mention in the Gospel of Luke that Elizabeth was in her sixth month when the Announcement was made to Mary (Lk 1:36) about the birth of Jesus. Thus if Christmas is celebrated on December 25 each year, John the Baptist who was the son of Elizabeth and Zechariah had to have been born six months before Jesus.

According to some, John is born when the days are longest (June 24), and from his birth on they grow steadily shorter. Jesus is born when the days are shortest (December 25), and from his birth on they grow steadily longer. John speaks truly when he says of Jesus, "He must increase, but I must decrease." (Jn 3:30).

The Gospel text of today is from the Gospel of Luke. Luke does not give us too many details about the birth of John, and he narrates it with a short sentence. He focuses more on the events that follow the birth and, through them, show that God’s word spoken through the angel, Gabriel, is being fulfilled. Elizabeth does bear a son and the people rejoice at the birth because of the great mercy shown by God.


Circumcision of the child on the eight day was in accord with Gen 17:9-14 where God makes circumcision on the eight day a sign of the covenant with Abraham. It was the father who normally named the child and, in doing so, recognized the child as his own. Sometimes, the child was named after the father, especially if the father was a person who was highly esteemed. Objections were raised to the name “John” (“God had been gracious”), chosen by Elizabeth. That the people made signs to Zechariah to ask him what he wanted to name the child indicates that, besides being dumb, he was also deaf. The moment Zechariah writes the name “John” on a writing tablet, Zechariah regains his speech. Once again, God’s word comes to pass. The fear and amazement with which the people respond to these happenings is an indication that they experienced God’s awesome power. The question that the people ask, about what the child would turn out to be, is answered in summary form by Luke when he ends this narrative by stating that “the hand of the Lord was with him.”

God’s word is a word of power and will come to pass, no matter how many obstacles we may put in its way. It is a word that enhances and builds up, a word that gives life. To be sure, we may not always be able to understand and accept it for what it is, but in the final analysis, it is always a word that is for our good and for his glory.

Saturday, June 24, 2023 - How often do I try to be in two places at the same time or at two times in the same place?

To read the texts click on the texts: 2 Cor 12:1-10; Mt 6:24-34

The text of today begins by stating a general rule that undivided attention can be given to one person alone at a time. If there is more than one, then the disciple’s loyalty is certainly split. One must decide whether one will allow oneself to be controlled by wealth and the things of this world, or whether one will realise that they cannot bring true happiness. The prohibition, “Do not worry” dominates the rest of this pericope and is used six times in it. The call to look at nature (the birds of the air and the lilies of the field) is a call to learn how God in his providence provides for them. This does not mean that human beings do not have to work for their living, rather it means that even after working as hard as they can, humans must realise the life is much more than simply work and earning a living. It has also to do with being.

There are indeed many distractions in life, which sometimes can take us away from where we ought to look and focus. While planning is good and desirable, what is undesirable is useless worry or anxiety. When we stir the sugar in our coffee or tea every morning we are already thinking of drinking it. When we are drinking our coffee or tea, we are already thinking of washing the cup. When we are washing our cup, we are already thinking or drying it When we are drying it, we are already thinking of placing it on the rack and when we are placing it on the rack we are already thinking of what we have to do next. We have not stirred the sugar, nor have we have drunk the coffee, nor have we washed it nor placed it on the rack. If one takes one moment of one day at a time and gives of one’s best to that moment, life will be well lived.

Friday, June 23, 2024 - Homily


Thursday 22 June 2023

Friday, June 23, 2023 - If you were given the chance to take just ONE THING with you when you die, what would it be?

To read the texts click on the texts:2 Cor 11:18.21-30; Mt 6:19-23

The section that begins in 6,19 concerns knowing where one’s priorities lie. Treasure stored on earth is of not much use because it is temporary and passing and gathers rust and also can be stolen. Rather heavenly treasure is permanent and eternal. A person’s attention will be concentrated on where his/her treasure is. Thus instead of concentrating on the temporary it is better to concentrate on the eternal, the impermanent. If one does not perceive correctly, one’s whole orientation will be incorrect and one will live a life of futility, concentrating on what is really not essential.

Sometimes we lose focus in our lives and waste so much time on trifles. We are so concentrated on gathering up for tomorrow and the next day, that the present day passes us by and we find that we have live it unaware. An occasional examination of our priorities is required to bring back our focus on what is really necessary.

Wednesday 21 June 2023

Thursday, June 22, 2023 - Homily


Thursday, June 22, 2023 - Is there someone who you think has hurt you whom you have not yet forgiven? Will you forgive that person today?

To read the texts click on the texts:2 Cor 11:1-11; Mt 6:7-15

In the text of today, we read what is commonly known as the "Our Father". However, a better term for this would be "The Lord's Prayer". The reason for this is because there are two versions of the same prayer. The other is found in Lk. 11, 2-4. There, the pronoun "Our" is missing and the prayer begins simply with "Father". Also the context of the prayer in Matthew and Luke is different. While in Matthew the prayer is told in the context of the Sermon of the Mount, in Luke it is told in response to the disciples’ request to Jesus to teach them how to pray (Lk 11,1). Be that as it may, in both Matthew and Luke the point is clear that the prayer is primarily a prayer of dependence on God who is Father. This dependence is for something as dramatic and magnificent as the Kingdom and also for something as routine and regular as bread. Both prayers have also the theme of forgiveness, which is received from God and given to others.

The Lord’s Prayer is not just a prayer; it is also a way of life. The words of the prayer communicate the attitude that one must have toward God and others. While we must acknowledge our dependence on God for everything that we need and regard him always as the primary cause, our attitude to others must be one of acceptance and forgiveness.

Tuesday 20 June 2023

Wednesday, June 21, 2023 - Homily


Let us keep the people of places that are torn with strife in our prayers


Wednesday, June 21, 2023 - How often have you made “means” ends in themselves?

To read the texts click on the texts: 2 Cor 9:6-11;Mt 6:1-6,16-18

Immediately after the six antitheses (5,21-48) in the Sermon on the Mount, there follows instructions on three practices that were common among the Pharisees as a sign of closeness to God namely almsgiving, prayer and fasting. All three though only a means to reach God can be made ends in themselves. Almsgiving can be ostentatious, prayer can be used to show-off and fasting can be used to point to one’s self. Jesus cautions the listeners about these dangers and challenges them to make them all internal activities that will lead the way to God rather than being made ends in themselves.

For us as Christians, Jesus has simplified matters. There is absolutely no obligation in the Christian way of life except the obligation to love. When there is love then all our actions come from our hearts and spontaneously without counting the cost. Almsgiving becomes generous and spontaneous, prayer becomes union with God and leads to action and fasting is done in order to show our dependence on God and not on earthly things.

Monday 19 June 2023

Tuesday, June 20, 2023 - Homily


Tuesday, June 20, 2023 - How often has the expectation of some “reward” been your motivation for “doing good”? Will you “do good” without any expectation of reward today?

To read the texts click on the texts: 2 Cor 8:1-9; Mt 5:43-48

In the last of the six antitheses, Matthew focuses on the love command. . While there is no command to hate the enemy in the Old Testament, yet, there are statements that God hates all evildoers and statements that imply that others do or should do the same. Jesus, makes explicit here the command to love enemies. The conduct of the disciples of Jesus must reveal who they are really are, namely “sons and daughters of God”.

The command to “be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” does not mean to be without faults, but means to be undivided in love as God is undivided in love.

The love we have for others is more often than not a conditional love. We indulge in barter exchange and term it love. We are willing to do something for someone and expect that they do the same or something else in return. It is a matter of “give”, but also a matter of “take”. When Jesus asks us to be like the heavenly Father, he is calling us to unconditional love.

Sunday 18 June 2023

Monday, June 19, 2023 - Homily


Monday, June 19, 2023 - How often have you gone beyond the call of duty? Will you do so today?

To read the texts click on the texts:2 Cor 6:1-10; Mt 5:38-42

The text of today contains the fifth antithesis. In it, Jesus not only affirms the thrust of the Law in opposing unlimited revenge, but also calls for a rejection of the principle of retaliatory violence as well.. In the five examples that follow (being struck in the face, being sued in court, being requisitioned into short-term compulsory service, giving to beggars and lending to borrowers) the one point being made is to place the needs of others before one’s own needs. The disciple of Jesus is called to go beyond the call of the Law and do more than it requires.

It is so easy for us to be reactors. If someone does something to hurt us, we think that it is “natural” for us to want to do something to hurt him or her in return. In the text of today, Jesus is calling us to be actors and not reactors and to do what we do because we think it is right and just and not as a reaction to someone else’s action.

Saturday 17 June 2023

Sunday, June 18, 2023 - Homily


Sunday, June 18, 2023 - How will you continue to proclaim God's kingdom?

To read the texts click on the texts: Exod 19:2-6; Rom 5:6-11; Mt 9:35-10:8

The themes which stand out in the readings of today are obedience, love and wholeness.

In the reading from the Book of Exodus we are made privy to a theophany. God speaks with Moses and promises that he is a God of justice and mercy. He will continue to bestow his love on the people. The experience of this love must move the people to respond. The manner in which they show that they have received God's love and mercy is if they love others and are merciful to them. This will mean professing their faith in action and not only in words.

Paul speaks of this faith which he says is what justifies us. We are not justified by any merit on our part simply because Jesus has obtained all the graces that we need through his death on the cross. This death was not because we were righteous or worthy in any way. It was because of the gratuity of God in Jesus who died for us even when we were sinners. This is proof (if proof were required) of God’s immeasurable and unconditional love made visible and tangible in Jesus.

The love that we receive from Jesus is a love that must be shared with all those we meet. This is why the Gospel text begins with a summary of the activities of Jesus. This includes word and action, saying and doing. The Mission of Jesus to make people whole is not a restricted, but a universal mission. It is to all and for all. In this mission, every person is made well, every disease is cured and every infirmity is healed.

The trust that Jesus places in his disciples is evident when he gives his disciples the same mission given to him by God. The disciples will speak and act like Jesus did. They will make people well, cure diseases and heal infirmities like Jesus did. Jesus holds nothing back. He gives his disciples the same authority that God gave him. It is with his authority that his disciples will have authority over unclean spirits and over every disease and infirmity. In a word, they will have authority over all the negatives that do not allow people to be whole.

The mission on which Jesus sends his disciples is directed primarily to the poor and downtrodden. It is the marginalized and forgotten that the missionaries are to reach first. They are to give with no expectation of return. Since they have received everything as grace they must impart to others whatever they do with the same grace. Just as the immediate response of Jesus on seeing the crowds was compassion, so must the missionaries be compassionate to everyone they meet.

It must be noted that when Jesus summons the twelve, they are termed disciples. This is from the Greek μαθηταί, and means someone who sits at the feet of the master and learns from him. The reason for the use of this term here is to indicate that the Mission belongs to Jesus and it is with his authority that the disciples are sent out. It is only after they have learned from him that they can become ἀπόστολοι (apostles) or those who are sent out. it is Jesus’ message (“gospel of the kingdom”) that the disciples proclaim, his miracles that they continue, and his presence that defines them.

The list of the names of the twelve is instructive. The first four were fishermen, Matthew was a tax-collector, not much is known about the others, but in the group, there is also a betrayer. We also know that of these chosen twelve, there was not one who remained in Gethsemane when Jesus was arrested. In other words, Jesus did not choose heroes. He chose weak, vulnerable and sinful men and hoped that through them he would continue the Mission given to him by God.

His hope was not belied.  Even if immediately after the death and burial of Jesus, the disciples were a frightened lot, there is no doubt that with the coming of the Spirit which Jesus promised, they became fearless and courageous men. They became men who would keep spreading the message of love no matter what the consequences. They continued the mission of Jesus as he wanted them to continue it, remembering at all times, that the mission was the mission of the Lord.

What message do the readings offer us? The love of God manifested in Jesus is a love that is unconditional. In his letter to the Romans, Paul explains how this is so when he states that Jesus died for us even when we were ungodly and sinners. He did not wait for humanity to become godly and obedient to God. He accepted the whole of humanity as it was with all its weaknesses and sinfulness with no expectation in return. His death to save was an act done gratuitously and without reserve. It was done because of unconditional love.

If we have experienced this love, the only proper response is that we love in return. As the disciples learned from Jesus, we too must sit at his feet and learn from him. It is with his authority that we too like the apostles will them go out to everyone we meet proclaiming God’s kingdom of justice, peace and love. It is then that like the disciples we too will make people whole.

There may be times when our efforts will not bear the fruit that we want. At times like these we keep reminding ourselves that the Mission is not ours but the Lord’s and that in his time and in his way, he will make the whole of humanity whole. If God could make the Universe out of nothing, we know and will remember that nothing is impossible for God.


Friday 16 June 2023

Saturday, June 17, 2023 - Homily


Saturday, June 17, 2023 - When you say, “YES” do you mean YES?

To read the texts click on the texts:2 Cor 5:14-21; Mt 5:33-37

The fourth of the six antitheses is completely a Matthean composition. There is no precedence for the absolute prohibition of oaths in Judaism. Rather, an oath invoked God to guarantee the truth of what was being sworn or promised, or to punish the one taking the oath if he was not faithful to his word. The Matthean Jesus here rules out oaths completely. He rejects not only false and unnecessary oaths, but also any attempt to bolster one’s statement claim to truth beyond the bare statement of it. It is a demand for truthfulness in everything that one says.

If we are convinced that we are telling the truth as we see it, there may not be any need for us to either raise our voices when making our point or to swear or even to call others to witness what we have said.

Thursday 15 June 2023

Friday, June 16, 2023 - Homily


THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS - Friday, June 16, 2023

The feast of the Sacred Heart is a movable feast, but is always celebrated on the third Friday after Pentecost. Ever since the seventeenth century when St. Margaret Mary Alacoque was granted visions of the Sacred Heart and asked to spread this devotion, the Jesuits represented by her confessor St. Claude de la Colombière, played a fundamental role in spreading this devotion. Colombière, spoke with Margaret Mary a number of times and after much prayer, discernment and reflection became convinced of the validity of her visions.

In recent times, one of the most loved and admired Generals of the Society of Jesus Fr. Pedro Arrupe was instrumental in reviving this devotion and placing Jesuits once again at the forefront of spreading this devotion.  This devotion according to Arrupe was “the centre of the Ignatian experience”. It is an “extraordinarily effective means as much for gaining personal perfection as for apostolic success”.

The feast of the Sacred Heart is to be celebrated as a privilege and grace. However, it is also a responsibility. First, the love that we receive from the Sacred Heart of Jesus is not a private possession, but one that must be shared with all. Just as the Father makes no distinction and makes the sun rise on the evil and on the good (Mt 5:45), so must we in our sharing of the love of Christ. Second, the concern that God has for us and our Universe must be a concern which we must show to our world. The wanton destruction of nature, excessive and abusive use of scarce resources like water, indiscriminate cutting of trees for selfish gain, unlawful and criminal killing of wild animals are signs that we are working against God’s concern.

If God cares for us so much, must we not care for our world? Third, the intimate connection of the Sacred Heart and Eucharist reminds us that just as Christ is so easily available to us, we must also be to each other. The Eucharist and the feast of the Sacred Heart ought not to be private and passive devotions, but celebrations that make us ready to reach out in service and availability to anyone who needs us.

Litany to the Sacred Heart of Jesus



Lord, have mercy on us

Christ, have mercy on us

Lord, have mercy on us

Christ, hear us

Christ, graciously hear us,

God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.

God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.

Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, Son of the Eternal Father, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, formed by the Holy Spirit, in the womb of the Virgin Mother, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, substantially united to the Word of God, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, of infinite majesty, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, sacred Temple of God, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, tabernacle of the Most High, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, house of God and Gate of Heaven, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, burning furnace of charity, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, abode of justice and love, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, abyss of all virtues, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, most worthy of all praise, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, King and center of all hearts, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, in whom dwells the fullness of divinity, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, in whom the Father was well pleased, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, desire of the everlasting hills, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, patient and most merciful, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, enriching all who invoke You, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, fountain of life and holiness, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, propitiation for our sins, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, loaded down with reproaches, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, bruised for our offenses, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, obedient unto death, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, source of all consolation, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, our life and resurrection, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, our peace and reconciliation, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, victim of sin, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, salvation of those who trust in You, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, hope of those who die in You, have mercy on us.

Heart of Jesus, delight of all the saints, have mercy on us.

Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, spare us O Lord.

Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Jesus, meek and humble of Heart, make our hearts like unto Thine.

Friday, June 16, 2023 - Will you bother less about your “doing” and focus more on your “being”? How?

To read the texts click on the texts:2 Cor 4:7-15; Mt 5:27-32

The text of today contains the second (5,27-30) and third (5,31-32) of the six antitheses (5,21-48), which appear in the Sermon on the Mount immediately after the theme. All six while addressing various aspects of the law move the focus away from the letter to the spirit. Each of the six begins similarly i.e. with a juxtaposition of what was said (by God through Moses) and what is now being said (by Jesus to his disciples).

In this pericope, Jesus reaffirms the prohibition against adultery (Exodus 20,14), but goes beyond i.e. to the intention of the heart.

The third antithesis about divorce is related to the earlier one about adultery in subject matter. Deut 24,1-4 assumes the legitimacy of divorce, and in Jewish tradition divorce was relatively easy to obtain. Jesus, however, prohibits divorce. Matthew alone adds the exception clause, not found in Mark 10,2-9 which here is more original and reflects the position of the historical Jesus.

There is sometimes in our understanding of Christianity too much emphasis on what constitutes and does not constitute sin, and on how far we can go before we commit sin. The real question we must ask is how far we must go in love.

Wednesday 14 June 2023

Thursday, June 15, 2023 - Homily


Thursday, June 15, 2023 - How many times did you get angry yesterday? Will you attempt to make it one less time today?

To read the texts click on the texts:2 Cor 3:15; 4:1,3-6; Mt 5:20-26

The righteousness of the disciples of Jesus must exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees. In the six antitheses (5,21-48) that follow, Matthew shows what this means in practice. Each of the six begins with what was said of old and what Jesus is now saying. In these verses (5,21-26) Matthew narrates first of the six, which is about the Torah’s prohibition of murder (Exodus 20,13; Deut 5,18). The supplementary “whoever murders shall be liable to judgement” is not found verbatim anywhere in the Old Testament, and seems to have been added by Matthew to introduce the word “judgement” which he uses in the next verse. After stating the law and adding a supplementary, the Matthean Jesus then radicalises the law and calls for an interiorization of it (5,22). The call seems to be to submit one’s thoughts about other people, as well as the words they give rise to, to God’s penetrating judgement. It is a call to realise that God wills not only that human beings not kill each other but also that there be no hostility between human beings. The next verses (5,23-26) are an application of what Jesus says. Reconciliation is even more important than offering worship and sacrifice. The disciples are called to work for reconciliation in the light of the eschatological judgement toward which they are journeying.

If we come to worship God and there are feelings of anger, revenge or hatred in our hearts, then our worship remains incomplete. It is only an external worship and not true worship. God does not need our adoration, but if want to adore him it must also come from within.

Wednesday, June 14, 2023 - Homily


Tuesday 13 June 2023

Wednesday, June 14, 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: 2 Cor 3:4-11; 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 fulfil 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 12 June 2023

Tuesday, June 13, 2023 - Homily


Tuesday, June 13, 2023 - How will you as a disciple of Jesus be salt and light today?

To read the texts click on the texts: 2 Cor 1:18-22; Mt 5:13-16

The text of today is somewhat of a link text, which joins the beatitudes (5,3-12) to the theme of the Sermon (5,17-20). These verses point out the effect that living the Sermon will have on the liberation of the world. The text makes two assertions about the followers of Jesus. The first is that they are the salt of the earth and the second is that they are the light of the world. Both these symbols seem to point to the indispensable role that the disciples of Jesus are to play in the liberation of the world. It is through the lives of the disciples of Jesus that the world will be moved to glorify God. This is indeed a great privilege, but also a great responsibility.

Salt is an ingredient that adds flavour or taste to that to which it is added. It makes the insipid tasty, edible and enjoyable. Disciples of Jesus are called to add taste and flavour to the lives of others. Light enables one to see correctly and results in removing darkness. This is what the disciples of Jesus must do if they are to be true disciples: remove the darkness from the lives of others.

Sunday 11 June 2023

Monday, June 12, 2023 - Homily

 Do any of the beatitudes apply to you? Will you strive to make at least two applicable to yourself today?

Monday, June 12, 2023 - Do any of the beatitudes apply to you? Will you strive to make at least two applicable to yourself today?

To read the texts click on the texts: 2 Cor 1:1-7; Mt 5:1-12

Beginning today, the gospel reading will be from the Gospel of Matthew except on feasts or special occasions. The Church begins from Chapter 5 of Matthew. The three chapters beginning from 5,1 and ending at 7,29 contain one of the most famous discourses of Matthew known as “The Sermon on the Mount”.

Since we will be reading this Sermon for almost three whole weeks on weekdays, it is important to have some background of what the Sermon is about.

The first point that we note is that this is the first of the five great discourses in the Gospel of Matthew. Each of these five ends with the phrase, “and when Jesus had finished…” (7,28; 11,1; 13,53; 19,1; 26,1). It begins by showing Jesus as a Rabbi teaching ex-cathedra (5,1) and ends by showing Jesus as the Messianic prophet addressing the crowds (7,28).

The second point that must be kept in mind is that the Sermon is a composition of Matthew. An analysis of similar texts in the Gospels of Mark and Luke indicate that many verses found here in Matthew are found in Mark and Luke in different contexts. This does not mean that Jesus did not say these words. It means that Matthew has put them together in this manner.

The third point is the theme, which will determine how one will interpret the Sermon as a whole. Most are agreed that the theme of the Sermon is found in 5,17-20, in which Jesus speaks about having come not to abolish but to fulfil the Law and Prophets, and issues a challenge to those listening to let their “righteousness” be greater than that of the scribes and Pharisees in order to enter the kingdom.

Today’s text contains what is commonly known as the “Introduction” to the Sermon and contains the Beatitudes, which are the communication of a blessing. The mountain is a “theological topos” in the Gospel of Matthew (Luke’s Sermon is from “a level place cf Lk 6,17) and therefore means much more than simply a geographical location. Matthew does not name the mountain, but by choosing it as the place from where Jesus delivers the Sermon, he probably wants to portray Jesus as the New Moses delivering the New Law from a New Mountain. While Jesus in the Gospel of Luke “stands” and delivers the Sermon (Lk 617), in Matthew, Jesus sits down. This is the posture that the Jewish Rabbis adopted when communicating a teaching of importance or connected with the Law. In Luke the crowd is addressed from the beginning of the Sermon and addressed directly, “Blessed are you poor…” (Lk 6,20), but in Matthew, it is the “disciples” who come to Jesus and whom he begins to teach. The address is indirect, “Blessed are the poor in spirit” (5,3). While Luke has four beatitudes with four corresponding “Woes”; Matthew has seven plus an additional beatitude, with no corresponding woes. The reason why the “eight” is called an additional beatitude is because the first and the seventh both end with the phrase “theirs is the kingdom of heaven” forming what is known as an inclusion. Beatitude is an expression of congratulations, which recognises an existing state of happiness. While the rewards described in the first and seventh beatitudes are in the present tense, they are in the future tense in the other five beatitudes. The sense is that it is God himself who will do all of this for them. By choosing to bless the disadvantaged, the Matthean Jesus indicates the thrust of his mission, which is primarily a mission to the disadvantaged.

The Gospel According to Matthew



Most scholars hold today that the Gospel of Matthew was written after Mark. Matthew’s Gospel was the one that was used most often in the early Church and so it has been placed before Mark in the Bible. It is known as the Ecclesial Gospel or the Gospel of the Church. One reason for this is that Matthew’s thesis seems to be that since Israel for whom Jesus came rejected Jesus as Messiah, the Church has become now the new and true Israel. Also Matthew is the only one of the four Evangelists who uses the word “Ekklesia” translated “Church” in his Gospel (16,18,;18,17). There is however, throughout the Gospel the tension between Particularism on the one had and Universalism on the other. The Jesus of the Gospel of Matthew is sent “only to the lost sheep of Israel” (15,24; see also 10,6) and the same Jesus can tell Israel “the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing the fruits of it” (21,43).

Matthew’s Gospel begins with the genealogy of Jesus, which goes back to Abraham. Joseph is not called the father of Jesus but the husband of Mary (1,16) since Matthew is clear that Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus. The birth of Jesus is then narrated, followed by the visit of the wise men to Bethlehem and Herod’s plan to kill Jesus. This leads the family to go to Egypt where they remain till Herod’s death and then return to Nazareth. The birth, flight into Egypt and return to Nazareth all fulfil scripture. Matthew then goes on to narrate the Baptism of Jesus by John and Jesus’ temptations and his overcoming them. Jesus then begins his public ministry in Galilee after calling the first four disciples. Unlike Mark, which is a story, Matthew intersperses his narrative with long discourses. The first of these is the Sermon on the Mount (5,1-7,29). There are four other discourses in the Gospel. These are The Mission Discourse (10,1-11,1), The parable Discourse (13,1-53), The Community Discourse (18,1-19,1) and the Eschatological Discourse (24,1-26,1). Each of these discourses ends in a similar manner with the words, “and when Jesus had finished (7,28; 11,1; 13,53; 19,1; 26,1). This is also Matthew’s way of focussing on the teaching of Jesus and giving it as much if not more importance that the deeds of Jesus. Like in Mark, Jesus enters Jerusalem triumphantly, but soon encounters opposition, which grows and leads to his arrest, passion and death. The Gospel ends with accounts of the resurrection appearances of Jesus to his disciples and what is known as the Great Commission, in which the disciples are commanded to go to all nations and make disciples of them and assured of the presence of the ever present Lord to whom all authority in heaven and earth has been given (28,16-20).

The characteristics unique to Matthew’s Gospel are as under:

1.  Matthew mentions five women in his genealogy (Luke has no mention of women). While many explanations have been offered to explain this fact the most plausible one is that in the case of all five women there was something irregular in their union with their husbands.

2.  The visit of the wise men from the East (2,1-12) is exclusive to Matthew and probably with the intention to show that though the Jewish leaders “know” the details of the birth of the Messiah, they “do” nothing about it. On the other hand, Gentiles (represented by the Magi) do not “know” the details, but are willing to “obey and do”.

3.  Only in the Gospel of Matthew is the tax collector who is called referred to as Matthew (9,9) and is referred to as "Matthew the tax collector" in the list of the disciples (10,3).

4.  Matthew uses the phrase "the Kingdom of God" only in 12,28; 19,24; 21,31.43. Instead, the term "the Kingdom of Heaven" is preferred (3,2; 4,17; 5,3.10. 19.20; 7,21; 8,11; 10,7; 11,11.12; 13,; 16,19; 18,1.3.4; 19,; 20,1; 22,2; 23,13; 25,1). In some of these, Matthew has changed his Marcan source. The best explanation of this phenomenon is Matthew prefers to avoid use of the word "God," using the circumlocution "Heavens" instead.

5.  More than the other synoptic gospels, the Gospel of Matthew stresses the fulfilment nature of Jesus' ministry. The author explicitly cites Old Testament messianic prophecies as having been fulfilled in or by Jesus, often with a formula using the verb "to fulfil."  The following are those instances that are unique to the Gospel of Matthew.

6.  Matthew often doubles the numbers found in his Marcan source. Thus one demoniac of Mark 5,1-20 becomes two in Mt 8,28-34; one blind man of Mark 10,46-52 becomes two blind men in Mt 20,29-34. Matthew also has in 22,2 an ass and a colt where Mark 11,2 has only a colt. On reason that has been proposed for this is that Matthew wants to ensure the proper number of witness that were required to certify an act.

7.  Only in Matthew 16, 17-19 is Peter commended by Jesus after his answer that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God” and given the keys of the kingdom and the power to bind and loose. This is interpreted here as the authority to determine who is allowed in and for the authority to determine what interpretation of the law is binding. Also Peter’s failed attempt to walk on water (14,28-31) after Jesus has successfully done so and the incident of payment of the Temple tax in which Peter is asked to go to the sea to find a shekel in a fish’s mouth (17,24-27) are exclusive to Matthew. This probably indicates that Peter was an important figure in the Matthean community.

8.  Matthew alone narrates that Judas was paid thirty pieces of silver for his willingness to betray Jesus (26,14-16). While some see the connection with Zech 11,12-13 where thirty shekels of silver is mentioned as the wages of the shepherd, others see it as related to Exodus 21,32 which is price that had to be paid by the owner of an ox to the master of a slave who was gored to death by the ox. Judas’ repentance and suicide is also exclusive to Matthew (27,3-10)

9.  Pilate receiving a message from his wife to have nothing to do with Jesus (27,19) and his washing his hands and declaring himself innocent of the death of Jesus (27,24), are incidents that are found only in Matthew. Some see this as Pilate’s obedience to the command of God communicated to him by his wife’s dream and also as Matthew’s attempt to put the onus for the death of Jesus on the shoulders of the Jews. This is also probably why Matthew alone has the people as a whole answer, “His blood be on us and on our children!” (27,25).