Saturday 30 September 2023

Sunday, October 1, 2023 - Homily


Sunday, October 1, 2023 - Twenty-sixth Sunday of the Year - Not words, but deeds

To read the texts click on the texts: Ezek 18:25-28; Phil 2:1-11; Mt 21:28-32

A priest friend was telling me how during the time of heavy rains in his town because of which many people lost a lot of their belongings, he made an appeal during his Sunday homily for people to come and help him reach out to those who were affected by the rains. When he asked people to raise their hands to indicate if they would come, about 70% of the 500 people present raised their hands. He fixed the following Saturday as the day on which they would go out to help. When the day came, five people turned up. They said, but did not do. They had words but no action

There is an intimate connection between all three readings of today. In the reading from Ezekiel, the prophet calls the people to realize that it is not God’s ways that are unfair but their own. He asks the people to grow up and accept responsibility for their actions and not lay the blame on God’s door. It is not God who punishes or condemns, but punishment is the consequence or result of a person’s wrong doing. The ones who persist in their evil ways condemn themselves. Ezekiel’s portrayal is of a generous and forgiving God who wants everyone to come back to him. Anyone who turns back to God will be accepted and forgiven.

This theme of acceptance and forgiveness is affirmed by Matthew in the Gospel text. At the end of the parable of the two sons he says that those who turn to God after renouncing their former evil ways will indeed be saved. This turning to God has be a turning that is shown in action and not mere words.

It is important to understand the immediate context. It is placed in the Gospel almost immediately after Jesus has entered the temple in Jerusalem and “cleansed” it. This action leads the chief priests and elders of the people to question Jesus’ authority. It is in this context that the parable is told and the audience continues to be the chief priests and the elders. It brings out powerfully the fact that these who just questioned Jesus’ authority are themselves rejecting the kingdom.

The first son initially refuses his father’s request. It was culturally unacceptable, so afterwards he does go and do what his father asks. Thus his initial refusal is followed by eventual obedience. The second son not only agrees to go but also reinforces this agreement by addressing his father as “Lord”. However, he does not go and his initial agreement is followed by eventual disobedience. Though the answer to Jesus’ question as to which son did the will of the father is obvious and the Jewish leaders answer correctly. What shocks and offends them is the application that Jesus makes. They are compared with the son who was ready with words and even words of respect, but with what remained mere empty words. Though God spoke to them through the Law and numerous prophets, they had merely heard and not obeyed. The tax collectors and prostitutes on the other hand, who are likened to the first son, are the ones who are entering the kingdom and receiving salvation because they dared to do so, even though they may have initially refused to listen.

The second reading from Philippians provides the Christological foundation of such conversion. Jesus himself is the model of the truly obedient son, who says yes to his Father in the most radical and action oriented way. His actions match his words. There is no dichotomy. In this he goes one better than the first son in not only doing but also saying. The initial verses of the hymn explode with verbs of action. Jesus did not grasp at equality with God; he emptied himself; he took on the form of a slave; he came in human likeness; he was obedient to the point of enduring the ignominy of death in one of the most shameful of ways: on a cross. This is the attitude that true followers of Jesus are challenged to adopt. In the second half of the hymn, the verbs then shift. God becomes now the actor or doer exalting Jesus and giving him a name above every name. Doing the will of the Father, for Jesus, was more than simply a matter of words; it is always a matter of deeds. Appropriate and relevant action, accompanying the words, is the way of a true disciple of Jesus.

The repentance that today’s texts call for is a radical change of heart, mind and vision that is seen in denying self and reaching out to everyone in need. It is true that there will be times when, like the first son, we may say an initial “I will not”, but when we dare to look at the example of Christ that continues to shine brightly before us, we are challenged to imitate him and have that same mind and heart. We are called to realize, like him, that if we dare to open ourselves to obedience, even though it might not seen at first glance as the best option, we too like him will conquer death and be that example which the world so badly needs today.

Friday 29 September 2023

Saturday, September 30, 2023 - Homily


SATURDAY, September 30, 2023 – Does it make sense to proclaim a “Suffering Messiah” today? How will you do it if it does?

To Read the texts click on the texts: Zechariah 2:5-9,14-15; Lk 9:43-45

The second Passion prediction in the Gospel, which is our text for today, follows immediately after Jesus’ mighty work in exorcising the demon in the previous scene. It is only in Luke that Jesus announces his passion and death while “all were marvelling at everything he did.” Only Luke adds the phrase, “Let these words sink into your ears;” in order to bring out the gravity of the pronouncement. He abbreviates the Passion prediction of Mark, so that his passion prediction simply has “the Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men.” Through this shortening, Luke focuses on Jesus’ “being handed over” or “delivered”, and omits any reference to Jesus’ death and resurrection. Like in Mark, here too the disciples’ are not able to understand. However, Luke gives a reason for this, namely “it was concealed from them”, though he does not say by whom.

It is not easy for us to give up control. Moat of us like to be in control of every situation so that we do not need to depend on someone else. These verses are calling us to understand that this is not always possible or even necessary. There may be times when we need to give up control and especially to God acting through humans if we are to be faithful to his will.

Friday, September 29, 2023 - Homily


Thursday 28 September 2023


To read the texts click on the texts: Dan 7:9-10,13-14; Rev 12:7-12; Jn 1:47-51

The three Archangels Michael (Who is as God? or Who is like God?), Gabriel (Strength of God) and Raphael (God heals) are the only angels named in Sacred Scripture. However, ancient apocryphal literature mentions others beside these three, but the names are spurious.

Archangel Michael is invoked for protection against evil and regarded as a Champion of God’s people. Gabriel is mentioned four times in the Bible. Of these the most significant are in the New Testament when he makes the announcement of the birth of john the Baptist and Jesus to Zechariah and Mary respectively. Raphael is mentioned in the Book of Tobit and is the one who heals Tobias’ blindness. Raphael is not mentioned in the New Testament, but is invoked for healing and acts of mercy.

The choice of the Gospel reading from John is because of the mention of angels in the last verse of the text. Though having an opinion about where the Messiah would come from, Nathanael remains open to another revelation. Though skeptical, he is willing to be convinced. Jesus addresses Nathanael as an “Israelite” which signifies his faithfulness to the law and is used here in a positive sense. He is without guile because though he has questions and even doubts, he is open and receptive and willing to learn. Jesus’ intimate knowledge of Nathanael and the revelation that he makes to him leads to a transformation in Nathanael and he comes to faith. He responds to Jesus with a confession and though he begins with Rabbi, he moves on to recognizing Jesus as Son of God and King of Israel.

However, Jesus responds by pointing out to Nathanael that this is only the beginning of the revelation that Jesus makes. If he continues to remain open he will experience even greater things. By means of a double “Amen”, Jesus points out to Nathanael and to others there that he will be the bridge between heaven and earth. Through the phrase “you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” (Jn 1:51) which combines images from the descent of the Son of Man as narrated by Daniel (7:13) and the ladder of Jacob’s dream in Genesis (28:12), Jesus states that Jacob’s ladder is replaced by the Son of Man. He will be that place and person in whom the earthly and divine encounter each other. He as Son of man will make God known. The Son of Man becomes the place where the earthly and the heavenly, divine and human, temporal and eternal meet.

When looked at from this angle, the feast of the Archangels is saying to us that our God is not merely in the heavens. Our God is not merely a God who has created the world and left it to its own design. Rather our God is a God who is intimately connected to the world and present to and in it. Our God is a God who is concerned about our world and ever willing to lend a hand whenever any one of us requires it.

Wednesday 27 September 2023

Thursday, September 28, 2023 - Homily


Thursday, September 28, 2023 - You know a great deal about Jesus, but do you really know him? When did you last meet him personally?

To read the texts click on the texts: Haggai 1:1-8; Lk 9:7-9

This text (9,7-9) forms the meat of the sandwich formed by the sending out of the Twelve (9, 1-6) and their return (9, 10-17). In a sandwich construction, an event is begun, interrupted by another event and the first event is continued and completed. In this instance, the disciples are sent on mission (9,1-6), the return is interrupted by the question of Herod (9,7-9) and the event of the sending out of the disciples is continued and completed by their return (9,10-17). In such a construction, the first and the third events throw light on the event in the middle or the meat of the sandwich. The first and third events narrate the sending and successful return, and it is in this light that the question of Herod, “Who is this?” which is the second event or in the centre, must be read. Herod’s desire to see Jesus foreshadows coming events. When Herod did meet Jesus, his desire to see Jesus was fulfilled, but he wanted only to see Jesus perform a sign. He never really grasped the answer to his own question. Though John the Baptist has been beheaded and Jesus will also be killed, yet the violence of the wicked will be no match for God’s grace. The success of the disciples’ in mission is only a shadow of the success that Jesus will experience in mission.

The intention behind wanting to meet Jesus is extremely important. If one’s approach is curiosity that will be the level at which one will see him. If one’s approach is faith, then one will encounter him as he is.

Tuesday 26 September 2023

Wednesday, September 27, 2023 - Homily


Wednesday, September 27, 2023 - What does mission mean for you today? How and where will you proclaim it?

To read the texts click on the texts: Ezra 9:5-9; Lk 9:1-6

This passage may be seen as the culmination of the entire section Lk. 7,1 – 8,56. In this section, we were shown the nature of Jesus’ Kingdom mission. The Twelve now share in that same mission. These verses may be termed as the Mission Discourse according to Luke. Though Luke has taken much material from the Mission Discourse of Mark (see Mk. 6,6b-13), he has also made changes, which bring out his meaning of mission more clearly. Before Jesus instructs his disciples on how they must go about their mission, he gives them not only authority as in Mark, but power and authority. This power and authority is given not only over the unclean spirits as in Mark, but over all demons and to cure diseases. Only in Luke are they also sent to “preach the Kingdom of God”. This indicates that for Luke, mission is inclusive and includes both doing as well as saying, both action as well as word.

Besides power and authority, Jesus also gives the disciples a strategy for mission. This may be summed up as detachment from things (take nothing for your journey), persons (stay there and from there depart) and from events (and wherever they do not receive you, when you leave shake off the dust from your feet). Dependence ought to be only on the Providence of God. The rejection shown Jesus is also in store for those sent by Jesus. The last verse in today’s text, underscores the disciples’ obedience to the commands of Jesus by reiterating the principal features of mission: preaching the good news and healing the sick. That mission is universal is made clear in the last word, “everywhere”.

As missionaries today, we are called to continue to the Mission inaugurated by Jesus and put into motion by his first disciples. It is a mission, which includes every aspect of life and involves all persons. This means that we are called not to be part-time missionaries or disciples, but on mission always and everywhere.

Monday 25 September 2023

Tuesday, September 26, 2023 - Homily


Monday, September 25, 2023 - Homily


Tuesday, September 26, 2023 - Would Jesus point to you as a member of his family? Why?

To read the texts click on the texts: Ezra 6:7-8,12,14-20; Lk 8:19-21

Though this text, which concerns the mother and brothers of Jesus, is found also in Mark 3,21-22 and 3,31-35 and Matthew 12,46-50, Luke narrates it quite differently from both. In Mark 3,33 and Matthew 12,48 Jesus asks who his mother and brothers are. In Luke, however, Jesus does not ask this question, but says simply when told that his mother and brothers desire to see him, that his mother and brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it. Luke thus gives a positive thrust to the scene unlike Mark and Matthew. It might be said that while in Mark and Matthew Jesus seems to reject his physical family and choose instead the crowd (so Mark) or his disciples (so Matthew), in Luke he does not do so. This means that though family relations with Jesus are not based on physical relations but on the word of God, his physical family does indeed hear the word of God and acts on it.

We might possess the name Christian because of our baptism, but this does not necessarily mean that we belong to the family of Jesus. In order to belong what is also necessary is putting into action what Jesus has taught.

Sunday 24 September 2023

Monday, September 25, 2023 -What is the Good News according to you? Will you share it with others today? How?

To read the texts click on the texts: Ezra 1:1-6; Lk 8:16-18

These verses in Luke are a commentary on the Parable of the Sower, which in Luke appears in 8,5-8. Just as a farmer sows the seed so that all of it may bear fruit, so also a lamp is lit so that it may give light. Like seed is sown not to be trampled on, eaten by birds, to wither or to be chocked, so a lamp is lit not to be hid under a jar or under a bed. Knowledge of the kingdom is not esoteric or secret, reserved for a particular group alone, but must be made known to all. It is knowledge, which must be shared openly with others. It is indeed the Good News, since it is a communication of love, and therefore it must not only be heard, but also experienced. By adding, “Then pay attention to how you listen”, the Lucan Jesus reminds listeners that they can choose and control how they will listen to the word of God. A total openness to the word of God results in an appropriate response to it.

Hearing is an active process. It calls for a commitment. Those who are open to that word are like a lamp, which gives light to all. An attentive hearing of the word of God can result in the transformation of one’s life and the living out of that word can lead to transformation in the lives of others.

Saturday 23 September 2023

Sunday, September 24, 2023 - Homily


Sunday, September 24, 2023 - Are you good because of fear of punishment or hope of reward or are you good because it is good to be good?

To read the texts click on the texts: Is 55:6-9; Phil 1:20-24,27; Mt 20:1-16

The parable of the labourers in the vineyard, who are paid the same wages for unequal work, is exclusive to the Gospel of Matthew. Many are of the opinion that the original parable ended at 20:13 or 20:14a, and what follows from 20:14b–16 or 20:14-16 are Matthean additions. The parable narrates how the landowner himself goes to the market to hire labourers at different hours and even at the eleventh hour. While the first group of workers is told explicitly that they will be paid the day’s wage which was one denarius, while the others are told that they would be paid whatever is right. When the time for payment arrives the focus is on the groups hired first and last, with the last being paid before all the other. They are paid one denarius, which is the day’s wage. The last are also paid what the landowner agreed with them. Since the parable does not speak about the amount work done by each group or say that those who were hired at the eleventh hour did as much work as those who were hired in the morning, it leaves the reader stunned. This ending upsets and challenges conventional values. The point that Jesus seems to make in the parable is that the tax collectors and sinners will be given the same status as those who have obeyed the law.

The additions by Matthew stress the jealousy and envy of those who were hired in the morning. The objection is not to what they have received but about the fact that the others have received as much as they, which they regard as unfair. The difference is that they have received what is theirs through their hard work and effort; the others have received what they have because of the landowner’s generosity.

If one can identify with the group who complains, then it is time that one checks one’s motivation whenever one does good, because if one does not, one will continue to get frustrated at what one sees happening around one. Is the work that you do reward in itself? Or do you expect another reward?

First Session September 2023 Retreat

Friday 22 September 2023

Saturday, September 23, 2023 - Homily


Saturday, September 23, 2023 - Focus on the action, the result will follow

To read the texts click on the texts:1 Tim 6:13-16; Lk 8:4-15

The text of today combines both the Parable of the Sower (8, 5-8) and the allegory (8, 11-15) {in an allegory, every element in the story is given a meaning. So, the seed is regarded as the word of God, those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe an be saved, and so on}. Though it is true that the Sower disappears from the scene after he is first mentioned, and the seed takes centre stage, the parable is really one of contrast between the beginning and the middle, and the end. Thus, the Sower (whom the end will affect) is still an important figure in the parable. Since many have confused the allegory with the Parable, the meaning of the parable may have been missed. In this reflection we will focus on the Parable.

The farmer would sow along “the path”, because according to research done on the agricultural practices in Palestine at the time of Jesus, the practice was to sow seeds first and then plough it into the ground. Sowing on “rocky ground” is not surprising because the underlying limestone, thinly covered with soil, barely showed above the surface until the ploughshare jarred against it. Sowing among “thorns” is also understandable, because this too will be ploughed up. Though the ploughing of the three kinds of soil above will be done, it will result in a loss, because in none of them will the seed grow. It will seem that seventy-five percent of the effort is lost. While most of the parable focuses on “sowing”, in the last verse it is already “harvest time”. The abnormal, exaggerated tripling, of the harvest’s yield (thirty, sixty, a hundredfold) symbolises the overflowing of divine fullness., surpassing all human measure and expectations (A tenfold harvest counted as a good harvest and a yield of seven and a half as an average one).To human eyes much of the labour seems futile and fruitless, resulting in repeated failure, but Jesus is full of joyful confidence; he knows that God has made a beginning, bringing with it o harvest of reward beyond all asking or conceiving. In spite of every failure and opposition, from hopeless beginnings, God brings forth the triumphant end, which he has promised.

1.  Do I usually focus more on the reaping than on the sowing? Do I focus more on the result than on the action? Do I focus more on the future than on the present?

2.  How do I react when most of my effort seems to be in vain? Do I throw up my hands in despair? Do I give up? Do I get despondent? Or do I carry on despite all odds? Do I continue to persevere? Do I keep on keeping on?

3.  How attached am I to the result of my action? Can I plunge into the din of battle and leave my heart at the feet of the Lord?

4.  Do you sometimes act as the “General Manager of the Universe”? Will you resign from that position today?

Thursday 21 September 2023

Friday, September 22, 2023 - Homily


Friday, September 22, 2023 - Does the plight of others affect me at all? What do I do about it?

To read the texts click on the texts: 1 Tim 6:2-12; Lk 8:1-3

This is a text that is exclusive to the Gospel of Luke and is about the women who ministered to Jesus during his ministry. It begins by presenting Jesus as an itinerant preacher going through the cities and villages in order to proclaim the good news of the kingdom.

Luke often mentions a corresponding female or group whenever he mentions a male. He does this first in the example of Zechariah and Elizabeth, and then in the examples of Joseph and Mary, Simeon and Anna. Here too, after Luke has mentioned the Twelve, he mentions women. Mary Magdalene is identified at the one from whom seven demons had gone out and Joanna as the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza and these two appear also in 24,10 in the episode of the empty tomb. Susanna the third woman named here does not appear elsewhere in the Gospel. These and other women provided for Jesus out of their resources.

The striking point about this text is the fact that the disciples were women. At a time when a woman was looked down upon and her place in society was pre-determined, it is quite amazing to note that these became followers of Jesus and even provided for him. This is an indication of the openness that Jesus possessed and of his freedom from all kinds of constraints.

Wednesday 20 September 2023

Thursday, September 21, 2023 - Homily


Thursday, September 21, 2023 - THE FEAST OF ST. MATTHEW - Matthew wrote a Gospel to share his experience of the Lord. What will you do today to share your experience of the Lord?

If you wish to read the texts click here: Eph 4:1-7, 11-13; Mt 9:9-13

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 hand 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:; 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. One reason that has been proposed for this is that Matthew wants to ensure the proper number of witness that was 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).

The text chosen for the feast contains the call of Matthew, and Jesus’ fellowship with tax collectors and sinners. It is only in the Gospel of Matthew that the tax collector is called Matthew. In Mark and Luke he is called Levi. However, in the lists of the Twelve in both Mark and Luke, the disciple is named Matthew and Levi does not appear. It is unlikely that Matthew and Levi refer to the same person. It was rare for Jews to have two different Jewish names. The reason for the author choosing the name Matthew remains unknown. However, in the text what strikes one is that whereas most people who passed by the tax office would see a corrupt official; Jesus was able to see a potential disciple. It was Jesus’ way of looking that led to the transformation and the response of Matthew to the call. In his response to the objection of the Pharisees, Jesus responds with a common proverb about the sick needing a doctor, and also quotes from Hoses 6:6, which here is interpreted to mean that the mercy of God in Jesus is extended to all humanity and takes precedence over everything else. All else must be understood in this light.

There are times when we judge people too easily and many of these times our judgement of them is negative. This is also how we often look at the whole of creation and because we put labels on things, people and all else in creation, we may miss out on the uniqueness that each possesses.

Tuesday 19 September 2023

Wednesday, September 20, 2023 - Homily


Tuesday, September 19, 2023 Homily

Wednesday, September 20, 2023 - Will you dance to the tune of the Lord or are you dancing your own dance?

To read the texts click on the texts:1 Tim 3:14-16; Lk 7:31-35

The point of these sayings of Jesus is to bring out the failure of the crowd to respond to the invitation of John and Jesus. Though John and Jesus are different from each other and went about their ministries differently, the people accepted neither. John lived a very austere life and indulged in no excesses at all, but he was not accepted. Rather he was labelled as a wild man. Jesus on the hand lived quite openly and freely due to this was labelled as a glutton and drunkard.

Many of us are so concerned about what people say about us that we sometimes live our lives based on their opinions. The text of today teaches us that you cannot please everybody every time. There are some who will neither join in the dance nor in the mourning, but sit on the fence and criticise. It is best to leave these alone and do what one believes one ought to do.

Monday 18 September 2023

Tuesday, September 19, 2023 - Homily


Tuesday, September 19, 2023 - If God were to call you to himself now, what are the three things you would regret not having done? Will you do them today?

To read the texts click on the texts: 1 Tim 3:1-13; Lk 7:11-17

The miracle of the raising the widow’s son at Nain is a miracle that is found only in the Gospel of Luke. If the centurion’s servant healed in 7,1-10 was ill and at the point of death, the son of the widow in this story is already dead. There are many similarities between this story and that of Elijah’s raising the widow’s son in 1 Kings 17,10.17-24. Luke emphasises that the son was the widow’s “only son” (7,12). Luke also states that when Jesus saw the widow, he had compassion for her.. Jesus raises the boy quite simply with an authoritative command. The crowd responds by regarding Jesus as a prophet and by affirming that God has been favourable to his people through the deed that Jesus had just done.

The scripture offers many instances where men and women of faith ask for help, and are granted it, even though under normal experiences they might have gone on for the rest of their lives with sin or weakness or sickness or oppression. Does prayer change anything? Again and again the scripture teaches that it does indeed. God can and does intervene in the normal running of his universe. We see just such an instance in this passage. The young man is dead -- his life cut short by sickness perhaps, but death is a "normal" experience in our fallen world. Then Jesus sees a mother's tears, realizes that this widow -- there is no husband and other children mourning beside her -- has lost her only son, and Jesus moved with compassion, and intervenes. God doesn't intervene every time we are hurting or have problems, just as loving parents do not or cannot intervene to soften everything for their children. Sometimes we are angry with God for not giving us the answer to prayer that we desire. Sometimes we blame him for not intervening when our loved ones are sick or die. But it is not because God lacks compassion, for Jesus shows us the Father, and Jesus is full of compassion. We are left with the fact that Jesus indicates that the Father will do things as a result of our prayers, because of his compassion, that he will not otherwise do. Prayer can appeal to the heart of God to bring about change. 

Sunday 17 September 2023

Monday, September 18, 2023 - Homily


Monday, September 18, 2023 - Will you keep on keeping on today; even when things might not go the way you plan?

To read the texts click on the texts:1 Tim 2:1-8; Lk 7:1-10

In the story of today’s Gospel, we will read of a centurion’s response of faith in Jesus. The emphasis in the miracle is given to the power of Jesus’ word. There is a close parallel to this story in Matthew and a more distant parallel in John. In Matthew, the servant is “lying paralysed at home”, whereas in Luke, the “slave is at the point of death”. While in Matthew, it is the centurion himself who comes to make the request of Jesus, in Luke; he sends first a delegation of elders who would have been leaders of the synagogue. They vouch for the merit of his request. As Jesus starts for the centurion’s house, a second delegation is sent. This time it is the friends of the centurion. The centurion’s words, “I am not worthy” contrast sharply with the tribute paid to him by the Jewish elders, who testified, “He is worthy”. The effect is to place the centurion in an even better light. The centurion’s words may also convey that he was aware that the Pharisees’ regarded a Gentile’s house as unclean and that a Jew would be defiled by entering his home. He is also confident that Jesus could heal at a distance. Just as he acts by commanding his subordinates, he expects no more than that Jesus would do the same. The point of the story is Jesus’ affirmation of the centurion’s faith and not the report of the healing that concludes the story. Luke’s description communicates Jesus’ surprise at the Gentile’s faith, and his approval as well. Where Jesus would have expected to find faith in an Israelite, here he finds it in a Gentile.

There are times when after having tried all available means to solve a problem that we might be facing, we might be tempted to throw up our hands in despair and simply give up. The centurion’s faith is an inspiration to everyone of us that we need to keep on keeping on despite all evidence to the contrary.

Saturday 16 September 2023

Sunday, September 17, 2023 - Homily


Sunday, September 17, 2023 - Forgive, it is good for your health. 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: Sir 27:30-28:7; Rom 14:7-9; Mt18:21-35

The readings of today which are from centuries ago are still as relevant today as they were then. Most doctors today are agreed that harbouring resentment, unforgiveness and similar negative feelings are largely responsible for the ailments we suffer today.

Ben Sirach offers practical wisdom in the first reading of today when he exhorts his listeners to forgive and not hold anger in their hearts. The reason for this is that if one holds the negative, there is no room for the forgiving love of God to enter into one’s heart. When one harbours wrath and anger, one closes heart to receive the forgiveness and acceptance that God keeps giving.

A similar point is made in the conclusion of Matthew’s Community Discourse which is the Gospel text for today. It begins with a question from Peter about the number of times one is expected to forgive. The sevenfold forgiveness that Peter suggests is by no means trivial. Seven is the traditional number of perfection. That Peter suggests forgiving seven times does not mean, therefore, that he wants to grant his brother or sister only a limited forgiveness. Instead, the sense of Peter’s question is: “Is perfect forgiveness expected of me?” Jesus could simply have answered yes, but his answer calls for even more perfection. The most perfect, boundlessly infinite, countlessly repeated forgiveness is demanded of Peter. The answer that Matthew attributes to Jesus cannot be surpassed. In the church Jesus’ rule of radical forgiveness is in effect. The point therefore 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.

For Matthew, it is clear that God’s forgiveness can be lost through human unkindness so that one’s earlier guilt returns. 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) and that same servant who would not forgive another servant who owed him a mere hundred denarii (a denarius was the usual day’s wage for a labourer) insists that if one has not genuinely received God’s forgiveness, one cannot forgive others. The servant, who was forgiven his huge debt, had not interiorised the forgiveness he received. He did not let the grace of forgiveness seep into his heart and consequently was not able to appreciate it. This lack of appreciation of grace, lead to his own unforgiving action toward a fellow servant. The response of the king is immediate. He asks for no explanation, but simply labels the forgiven one as evil and treats him as he treated his fellow slave. The parable ends with the hearers being challenged to reflect on how God will deal with each one and of the consequences of unforgiveness.

The model of forgiveness whom Paul asks us to look to is Jesus. It is he who first showed us the true meaning of forgiveness and also taught us how to forgive in his ministry and especially when on the cross. It is this Jesus for whom we live and die and who remains, the only inspiration that we will ever need.

We expect to be forgiven by others when we do them harm and after we have said sorry. Sometimes, if they do not forgive us, we get upset with them. We need to apply the same yardstick to ourselves when others ask for forgiveness from us. The readings of today are explicit that if we have to truly receive the unconditional forgiveness of God then we have first to open our hearts wide to receive this forgiveness. This openness will result in our being able to forgive others who we think have hurt us.

I am fond of saying, “Forgive, it is good for your health”.

Friday 15 September 2023

Saturday, September 16, 2023 - Homily


Saturday, September 16, 2023 - Will your faith show in action today? How?

To read the texts click on the texts:1 Tim 1:15-17; Lk 6:43-49

Tn the last part of the Sermon on The Plain, the Lucan Jesus uses the metaphor of a tree and its fruit, and through it exhorts the listeners not merely “to say”, but rather “to do”. The nature of a tree is known by the fruit it produces, and each tree produces a different kind of fruit. If a person’s heart is good, then what he/she produces will also be good, whereas if a person’s heart is evil, then the deeds of that person will also be evil.

Luke concludes his sermon with an exhortation to do what the Lord says rather then merely to call him Lord. There is no point in merely saying “I believe” if we are not going to show that belief in action.

Friday, September 16, 2023 - Homily


Thursday 14 September 2023

Friday, September 15, 2023 - Our Lady of Sorrows

To read the texts click on the texts: Heb 5:7-9; Jn 19:25-27; Lk 2:33-35

The title, “Our Lady of Sorrows,” given to our Blessed Mother focuses on her intense suffering and grief during the passion and death of our Lord. Traditionally, this suffering was not limited to the passion and death event; rather, it comprised “the seven dolours” or “seven sorrows” of Mary, which were foretold by the Simeon who proclaimed to Mary, “This child  is destined to be the downfall and the rise of many in Israel, a sign that will be opposed and you yourself shall be pierced with a sword so that the thoughts of many hearts may be laid bare” (Luke 2:34-35). These seven sorrows of our Blessed Mother included the flight of the Holy Family into Egypt; the loss and finding of the child Jesus in the Temple; Mary's meeting of Jesus on His way to Calvary; Mary's standing at the foot of the cross when our Lord was crucified; her holding of Jesus when He was taken down from the cross; and then our Lord's burial. In all, the prophesy of Simeon that a sword would pierce our Blessed Mother's heart was fulfilled in these events. For this reason, Mary is sometimes depicted with her heart exposed and with seven swords piercing it. More importantly, each new suffering was received with the courage, love, and trust that echoed her fiat, “let it be done unto me according to Thy word,” first uttered at the Annunciation

The readings chosen for the feast are from Hebrews and a choice of either John or Luke. All three readings speak about how Jesus and Mary handled suffering in their lives and how we can learn from them.

The text from Hebrews speaks about the total humanity of Jesus to make abundantly clear that the suffering that Jesus went through was an integral part of his earthly life. Though he was challenged with accepting the Cross and though he prayed that the Cross be taken away, what was more important than that was ‘doing God’s will’. This led to acceptance of the Cross willingly and courageously.

The Gospel text from Luke is Simeon’s second oracle and addressed specifically to Mary.  It prefigures the rejection of Jesus. Not all will receive the salvation that has been prepared, see the light of revelation, or recognize the glory of God in the coming of Jesus. The sword that will pierce Mary’s heart refers to the rejection of her son and to the final rejection on the Cross. Mary’s response is courageous, because she knows like Jesus that God’s will for her son is infinitely better than anything she could hope for.

The scene in the Gospel of John is where four women are named standing by the Cross (his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas and Mary Magdalene). Of these the focus falls on Mary, the mother of Jesus and the beloved disciple who is given charge of the mother of Jesus. While the beloved disciple is indeed a historical figure, he/she can also be anyone who loves Jesus. The command of the Lord to such a disciple, who loves him, is that he/she must also take his mother into their home because she is an integral part of the family of Jesus.

The feast of Our Lady of Sorrows is relevant for each of us today. It shows first of all that though Jesus and Mary were constantly doing God’s will, they were not spared from the Cross and the challenges and vicissitudes of life. Second it shows that even in the midst of these challenges we must always remember that God walks ahead of us and will never abandon us. This is why we never give up or give in. Finally, it reminds us that sorrow and the Cross is never the end, but only a step towards resurrection and the fullness of life.

Wednesday 13 September 2023

Thursday, September 14, 2023 - Homily


Welcome to the Shrine of the Infant Jesus, Nashik Road for this Residential Retreat in November 2023. Register soon. Maximum number of seats 50 on first come first served basis.


Thursday, September 14, 2023 - The Exaltation of the Cross - Lifted up and Exalted

To read the texts click on the texts: Num 21:4-9; Phil 2:6-11; Jn 3:13-17

The Exaltation of the Cross is one of the twelve great feasts in the yearly Church cycle. Because the cross is at the heart and centre of all that we as Christians believe, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, the triumph of the cross of Christ over the power of sin and death. And so this feast provides us with another opportunity to reflect on the central mystery of our faith: that the one who was lifted up on the cross in crucifixion has triumphed over the power of sin and death because God highly exalted him.

This feast commemorates two historical events: first, the finding of what was considered the Cross of Christ in the year 326 by the mother of Constantine the Great, St Helen, and second its recovery from Persia in 628.

A story is told of Emperor Heraclius who in the year 628 after making peace with the Persians carried what was considered the Cross on which Jesus hung back to Jerusalem on his shoulders. He was clothed with costly garments and with ornaments of precious stones. But at the entrance to Mt. Calvary a strange incident occurred. Try as hard as he would, he could not go forward. Zacharias, the Bishop of Jerusalem, then said to the astonished monarch: "Consider, O Emperor, that with these triumphal ornaments you are far from resembling Jesus carrying His Cross." The Emperor then put on a penitential garb and continued the journey and carried the Cross into the Church of Holy Wisdom where it was triumphantly exalted. It was then resolved that the Fest of the Triumph or Exaltation of the Cross be celebrated by the Church in all parts of the world.

The Cross -- because of what it represents -- is the most potent and universal symbol of the Christian faith. It is a constant reminder -- and witness -- of Christ's ultimate triumph, His victory over sin and death through His suffering and dying on the Cross. The cross, once a tool of death, has become a means to life, an instrument of our salvation; it gives strength to resist temptation, it gives hope to seek new life and it dispels fear and darkness.

As Christians, we exalt the Cross of Christ as the instrument of our salvation. Adoration of the Cross is, thus, adoration of Jesus Christ, the Son of God who became Man, who suffered and died on the Cross for our redemption from sin and death. The cross represents the One Sacrifice by which Jesus, obedient even unto death, accomplished our salvation. The cross is a symbolic summary of the Passion, Crucifixion, Death and Resurrection of Christ.

In the first reading of today we read of how Moses lifted up the bronze serpent in order to heal and bring wholeness to a broken people. This was God’s way of showing the people that He was primarily a God who wanted to save and redeem and not condemn and destroy. The Church and especially the evangelist John interpreted this lifting of the bronze serpent by Moses as a foreshadowing of the salvation through Jesus when He was lifted up on the Cross. The Triumph of the Cross is the Triumph of Jesus Christ whose love for us and obedience to his Father climaxed with his death on the cross. The deeper meaning of the Cross is presented in The Christological hymn in today's second reading from the Letter of Paul to the Philippians. Jesus emptied himself completely, not just becoming a human being but accepting the worst public death of the society he lived in to demonstrate the extent of the love of God for us. He died making a willing statement of love, filling the world with the love he had for his Father and his Father had for him. We are saved from the horrors of evil, from meaningless lives due to the love of the Lord. Because Jesus died on a cross for us we are able to proclaim to the world: Jesus is Lord. His love made this possible. When we venerate and adore the cross we are saying: Jesus is Lord of our lives.

To the world this act of surrender on the cross was an act of utter humiliation and subjugation and the height of folly. To the world this death on the cross was a wasted life. To the world this death on the cross was a sign of utter defeat. But what the world calls wisdom, God calls foolishness, and what the world calls strength God call weakness. Therefore God highly exalted the crucified one by raising him from the dead. God gave Jesus his own name so that every creature on earth must now call Jesus “Lord.” What human beings did, God contradicted. And so in the weakness and foolishness of the cross we see the wisdom and power of God: Christ crucified. In him and his cross, surrender becomes power, waste becomes gain and death and defeat become victory and new life.

The cross is at the centre of our lives every time we face sickness and death. The cross is at the centre of our lives in frailty and old age. The cross is at the centre of our lives every time we feel utterly alone and abandoned. The Cross is at the centre of our lives every time we are tempted to give in and give up. It is at the centre of our lives every time we are tempted to throw our hands up in despair. It keeps reminding us that only when we embrace the cross in the midst of suffering and abandonment can we understand the power of the resurrection. Only when we have the courage to keep on keeping on can we like Christ become victorious and conquer. Only when we embrace the cross is it possible for God to raise us up and give us new life.

Tuesday 12 September 2023

Wednesday, September 13, 2023 - Homily


Wednesday, September 13, 2023 - When did you last say a positive word to someone? Will you speak a positive word to at least one person today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Col 3:1-11; Lk 6:20-26

The Sermon on the Plain in the Gospel of Luke is packed into one chapter of 30 verses unlike that of Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount, which extends over three chapters totalling 109 verses.

Unlike in Matthew’s, “Sermon on the Mount” (Mt 5,1 – 7,29) where Jesus pronounces only Beatitudes (Mt 5,3-12), in Luke’s, “Sermon on the Plain”, for each of the four beatitudes there is a corresponding woe. Also unlike Matthew, Luke speaks in the second person and not the third person, which has the effect of making the pronouncements more direct, more personal.

The first beatitude is addressed to the poor (not “the poor in spirit” Mt 5,3). This is indeed a scandalous statement because it overturns all conventional expectations and pronounces a blessing on those who are marginalized. They are promised the kingdom of God by being released from their marginalisation and oppression. It brings to light that God is making an option for the poor. The next two beatitudes concern hunger and mourning and could be addressed to the same group. The poor because they are poor are also hungry and weep. They are promised an end of their hunger in the promise that they will be filled and an end to their weeping and mourning in the promise that they will laugh. The fourth and final beatitude in Luke speaks about the disciple who will be hated, excluded, reviled and defamed. These are called to rejoice in their being reviled and promised a reward in heaven. They are also given as consolation the example of those who went through similar trails before them.

Corresponding to each beatitude, Luke has a woe. The first woe is addressed to the rich who have received their consolation already and so can expect nothing more. Those who have had their fill now and told that they will go hungry and those who laugh now will weep. Those of whom people speak well are compared to the false prophets.

When we look at the injustice, disharmony and poverty around us it is not easy to believe that our God is a God who cares for the poor. Yes, this God became poor in history to show us the way and how we are to live. If we can be a little less selfish, work in our own situations toward harmony and give a little something to someone else, we will be bringing God and his word to them.

Monday 11 September 2023

Tuesday, September 12, 2023 - Homily


Tuesday, September 12, 2023 - Will you collaborate with Christ in bringing about the kingdom today? How?

To read the texts click on the texts: Col 2:6-15; Lk 6:12-19

By placing the appointment of the Twelve immediately after the controversies with the Pharisees (6,1-11) and the dramatic distinction between old and new (5,36-39), Luke presents the appointment of the Twelve as the constitution of a new nucleus for the people of God, perhaps in deliberate succession to the twelve tribes of Israel. The conflicts between Jesus and the scribes and Pharisees have already shown that they represent the old and that, therefore, they are no more fit for leadership in the kingdom than old wineskins for new wine.

Luke makes special mention of the personal prayer of Jesus at all the important events in his life, and so Luke portrays Jesus as praying before his baptism, before his temptation, after a hard days work of preaching, teaching and healing and just before his choice of the Twelve. Jesus knows that even though humans will be weak and fail, even though they will deny and betray him again and again, he would still want them to collaborate with him in bringing about the kingdom.

The choice of the Twelve is a text that offers each of us a lot of hope and consolation. This is because we are aware of what Jesus could accomplish even with such a motley band of men. Since he did so much with and through them, he can do the same with and through us.

Sunday 10 September 2023

Monday, September 11, 2023


Monday, September 11, 2023 - How often have you made rules and regulations more important in your life than love?

To read the texts click on the texts: Col 1:24–2:3; Lk 6:6-11

This is the second Sabbath controversy story. Already at the beginning we are told that the day is a Sabbath and that Jesus goes to the synagogue to teach. In this context, his teaching is not only in words but also in deeds by means of a situation from life.. Only Luke of all the three evangelists tells us that it was the man’s right hand that was withered. This was the hand normally used for work, gesturing and greeting. He would have had to do all of the above with the left hand, which ordinarily was not to be used in public. The scribes and Pharisees are also introduced into the scene, so that there are four parties: Jesus, the man with the crippled hand, the scribes and Pharisees and those who were in the synagogue. While the crippled man sees Jesus as a potential healer, the scribes and Pharisees pose an obstacle to the healing. Jesus makes a public example of the man. All will see what he is about to do. Before the healing, Jesus asks a question, which poses two sets of antitheses: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it. Sabbath observance is defined positively, not in terms of what one will do, but in terms of what one must do. The question brings out the dichotomy that existed in their own lives, because though they would not want a man to be healed from his illness on that holy day, they would have no qualms about discussing the “best way to deal with Jesus” on that same holy day. They preferred the law to life and love.

We might tend after reading this story to condemn the Pharisees and scribes. However, we too often behave as they did. We might attend a Eucharistic celebration and wish everyone in the church the peace of Christ, eat the same bread and yet come out of the church continuing to keep feelings of resentment and anger against our neighbours in our hearts.

Saturday 9 September 2023

Sunday, September 10, 2023 - Homily


Sunday, September 10, 2023 - Collectively, not alone

To read the texts click on the texts: Ezek33:7-9; Rom13:8-10; Mt 18:15-20

As a child in school I leant a poem which had great rhyme and meter and which when recited aloud with actions that accompanied it sounded good to the ear. It went like:

I had a little tea party

This afternoon at three

It was very small

Three guests in all

Just I, myself and me.

Myself ate up all the sandwiches

While I drank up the tea

 It was also "I" who ate the pie

And passed the cakes to me.

It was only many years later that I realized that it was one of the most selfish poems that one could recite. The focus in the poem was on one individual and one individual alone; I, myself and Me. This is surely not the Christian way of proceeding. In Christianity we are individuals but in and within a community.

In the Bible we come across certain passages that are as relevant and practical in our lives today as they were thousands of years ao when they were first written. Today’s readings are good examples of such passages. Together they reminds us that as faithful Christians it is our responsibility to reach out to the errant members of the community and bring them back into the fold. Christianity, is both an individual and communitarian religion and every one of us are our brother’s and sister’s keepers. They even go on to recommend practical steps on how to go about doing this. They invite us to review our ‘I-don’t-care’ attitude toward fallen and lax members of the Church, reminding us that it is our business to reach out to them.

As members of the Church, we are not just a priestly people who offer sacrifice; we are also a prophetic people, which means that we are God’s spokespersons. We speak on behalf of God. Today’s first reading is, in fact, a compact job description that God gave to the prophet Ezekiel on what it means to be a prophetic person. As sentinel or watchman, Ezekiel places himself as an intermediary between God and the people. He realizes that it is his responsibility as a member of the community to ensure that all in the community are saved from sin. He cannot be merely content with his own salvation. He must do whatever it takes to bring those who stray back to the fold.

The Gospel text from Matthew deals with discipline, reconciliation and the presence of the Lord. This text is part of the fourth discourse in the Gospel commonly known as the “Community Discourse”. The concern in these verses is with community or congregational life and not primarily about personal relations. Like Ezekiel, every Christian is also called to be concerned about other members of the community, since ours is a faith of a community and never of merely individuals. We act together, so we can help one another and so we can work to God’s name, thereby multiplying our resources and ability to do what God calls us to do. Our community is the lifeline to the experience of God and an example of the power of God moving among God’s people.

The procedures that Matthew suggests for bringing back an errant member of the community may seem stringent. However, when we realize that the point is one of radical care and concern and not self righteousness or vindictiveness, then they take on a new meaning. The errant member, the leaders of the community and the community are all protected from arbitrariness and self-centered actions.

While a private spiritual and prayer life is essential for each of us and we need to spend time alone with God, it is likely to become dry and turn inward, if it is not infused with regular doses of shared worship and prayer with others, gathered in the Lord’s name. The gathering together also signifies how important we are to each other and how much we depend on each other. Through our link to one another through Christ, there is a power in our community, uniting the values of God to our values on earth. This is how Jesus enables us to use God’s power for healing and life-giving love effectively among God’s people.We come together, we stay together, we work together in our Lord’s name, bringing to focus the presence of God and unleashing the power of the Spirit to transform our lives and the lives of all God’s children.

In the second reading of today Paul, speaking in a similar vein, challenges the community at Rome to show their love for one another in action. It is love which characterizes the Christian community and it is love which will sustain and nourish it. This love must also show itself as a commitment to justice – a love that never does any wrong to anyone. To be Christian thus means to be one who not only loves, but also one led by love to reach out to anyone who is in need. It is to be conscious of the fact that even if one member of the community does not feel part of the community, the community is not whole.

Friday 8 September 2023

Saturday, September 9, 2023 - Homily


Saturday, September 9, 2023 - How often have you made rules and regulations ends in themselves?

To read the texts click on the texts: Col 1:21-23; Lk 6:1-5

The episode is a Sabbath controversy, and is found also in Mark 2,23-28 and Matthew 12,1-8. Since Deut 23,24-25 allowed a person passing a neighbour’s field to pluck heads of grain with the hand, this does not seem to be the reason for the complaint of the Pharisees. Luke (6,1) alone states that the disciples were rubbing the heads of grain in their hands, which could be interpreted as threshing, and threshing was one of the forms of work forbidden on the Sabbath. In his response, Jesus refers to the incident from 1 Samuel 21,1-6 in which David confronted Ahimelech at Nob. The point that the Lucan Jesus makes is that if David had the authority to overturn Levitical rules and eat the bread of the Presence and even give it to his companions, because he gave priority to human need over ritual observance, so can Jesus, who is Lord of the Sabbath.

Rules and regulations are made so that there might be order in society and each will know his/her role. It is possible that sometimes they might become ends in themselves and take precedence over everything else. They can never take precedence over human need. All rules and regulations are at the service of humans and not the other way around.