Thursday 30 November 2023

Friday, December 1, 2023 - Homily


Friday, December 1, 2023 - Will you live today as if it were your last day on earth?

To read the texts click on the texts: Daniel 7:2-14; Lk 21:29-33

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

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

Wednesday 29 November 2023

Thursday, November 30, 2023 - Homily


Thursday, November 30, 2023 - St. Andrew, Apostle - Andrew left everything to follow the Lord. How will you follow the Lord today?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday 28 November 2023

Wednesday, November 29, 2023 - Homily


Tuesday, November 28, 2023 - Homily


Wednesday, November 29, 2023 - If someone witnessed your actions all through today, would they conclude that you are a disciple of Jesus?

To read the texts click on the texts: Daniel 5:1-6,13-14,16-17,23-28; Lk 21:12-19

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

Monday 27 November 2023

Tuesday, November 28, 2023 - Are you so concerned about the next life that you are not living fully this life?

To read the texts click on the texts:Daniel 2:31-45; Lk 21:5-11

Luke follows Mark 13,1-8 quite closely in these verses, though he also makes some changes. While in Mark 13,1 Jesus comes out of the Temple and predicts its destruction when his disciples point to it magnificence, in Luke, Jesus is within the Temple when he predicts its destruction when some (not the disciples) speak of its magnificence (21,5-6). This is why unlike in Mark 13,3 he is not on the Mount of Olives opposite the Temple, but within its precincts when he is asked about when this will take place (21,7). Mark 13,3 has Peter, James, John and Andrew who ask this question; Luke has the people pose the question. Jesus responds by stating not the hour when this will take place, but by issuing a set of three warnings. The first warning is not to allow oneself to be led astray and be led into believing that the ones’ who come in his name are the Messiah. The second warning follows the first: they must not go after these false Messiahs. The third warning is not to be terrified when they hear of wars and insurrections, because they are part of God’s plan in bringing about the kingdom and must out of necessity happen before the final coming. 

Sunday 26 November 2023

Monday, November 27, 2023 - Homily


Monday, November 27, 2023 - Will you forego one meal this week and give what you save to someone less fortunate than you?

To read the texts click on the texts: Daniel 1:1-6,8-20; Lk 21:1-4

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

Saturday 25 November 2023

Sunday, November 26, 2023 - Homily


Sunday, November 26, 2023 - Jesus Christ the Universal King - What does our King demand?

To read the texts click on the texts: Ezek 34:11-12,15-17; 1 Cor 15:20-26, 28;Mt 25:31-46

Quas Primas (Latin for “In the first”) was an encyclical of Pope Pius XI promulgated on December 11, 1925. It introduced the Feast of Christ the King. World War I (1914-1918) had ended, and had not brought real peace, but more hatred, anger and violence. Coming as it did after the end of the War, the encyclical sought to give the world, as a whole, a new idea of kingship by asking it to look at Christ the Universal King, and how he lived out his kingship. Christ is a King who totally identifies with his subjects, particularly the marginalized – the poorest of the poor.

This identification is made explicit not only in the Gospel text for the feast but also in the first reading of today.

In the first reading, Ezekiel talks about God as the shepherd of Israel. The kings of Israel were regarded as God’s visible representatives and were given the divine title of shepherd. But many of them did not live up to this responsibility. Their leadership style differed from that of God’s. God’s style was that of giving priority of attention to the needs of the disadvantaged, especially their need for justice and empowerment. First God raised up prophets, like Ezekiel, to warn the kings. When they failed to listen, God decided to get rid of the ungodly kings and their beneficiaries, and promised that he would shepherd the flock himself. The defeat of Israel by her enemies, in which the big people, the royalty and the nobility, were banished into exile, was seen as God’s way of getting rid of the bad leadership

The Gospel text which continues the theme of the first reading is not so much about the kingship of Jesus. Rather, it is a passage about the “kingdom” of God, about all those who kin to God, and, therefore, who are kin to each other. We are all kin to one another. We are all indeed one. The deepest expression of this truth, on this side of life, is a spirituality  in which there is no split between our devotion and our deed; no split between mystery and commandment,; no split between piety and ethics and no split between being and doing. Like mystery and commandment, interwoven as they are, Jesus is one with the hungry and the thirsty, is one with the stranger and the prisoner, and is one with the naked and the sick. To care for these is to care for Jesus. To care for them is to reach back into the very essence of life and to touch the God who is in and with the hungry, the thirsty…” And then the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these, who are members of my family, you did it to me.”

The text, thus, is not so much God’s condemnation of some people, as it is about the universal vision of the love of God, about the very scope of God’s love in Jesus for the whole world. Jesus remains the model of unconditional and eternal love. This was shown in the most powerful of ways by Jesus himself, when in total obedience to the Father, he dared to spread his arms on the Cross in total surrender of self. Therefore, God raised him.

This understanding is important to avoid any kind of misinterpretation that might arise due to a person thinking that it is his/her deeds that earn merit and reward. The righteous who reached out to the least of their brothers and sisters, did so because they understood it was necessity to help, love, serve, visit and feed. They dared to listen to the promptings of the Spirit and responded to these promptings. They did not do what they did for reward. They did not earn the kingdom but inherited it. Inheritance is determined by the giver not the receiver. The kingdom remains a free gift of God.

Though the unrighteous also addresses Jesus as Lord, it is not enough. Their address remains at the theoretical level and is not translated into action. They did not act because they did not believe that God could hide himself in the poorest of the poor. They did not realize that our God had been made visible in Jesus, who taught all who were willing to listen, that God was primarily a God of the poor, and that though he was king, he came only to serve

The sufferings borne by the last of our brothers and sisters continue to summon and challenge us as Church today. They continue to ask us to dare to be credible and authentic witnesses of the Gospel. However, what we need is not merely more action, more doing for the sake of doing. No! What our King demands is a universal unity of love and togetherness. It is a togetherness that transcends all of our frontiers, the frontiers of our mind and of our heart, the frontiers of our creeds and doctrines – all of those externals that keep us apart, that keep us apart that keep us separated and split.

The challenge for us today is to forget our own needs and reach out in love to make someone else, who may be in greater need, happy. For whatever we do to the least needy children of God, these brothers and sisters of Jesus, we do to him.

Friday 24 November 2023

Saturday, November 25, 2023 - Homily


Saturday, November 25, 2023 - If you were told that your life after death would be determined by the life you live now, what changes would you make in this life?

To read the texts click on the texts: 1 Maccabees 6:1-13; Lk 20:27-40

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

Thursday 23 November 2023

Friday, November 24, 2023 - Homily


Friday, November 24, 2023 - If the Lord were to come to the Temple of your heart, would he find selling and buying or would he find himself there?

To read the texts click on the texts: 1 Maccabees 4:36-37,52-59; Lk 19:45-48

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

Wednesday 22 November 2023

Thursday, November 23, 2023 - Homily


Thursday, November 23, 2023 - What keeps you from recognising the Messiah?

To read the texts click on the texts: 1 Macc 2:15-29; Lk 19:41-44

The text of today dwells on the theme of Jesus’ rejection by the religious elders. The city Jerusalem, whose name contains the word peace, does not recognise the King of Peace, Jesus Christ. Jesus’ tears for Jerusalem are because she did not recognise that if she accepted him as Messiah, true peace would indeed reign. 

The numerous attempts of Jesus to win over the people were met with stiff resistance. They had closed their minds and hearts to anything that he had to say because it did not fit in with what they had already set their minds to believe.

Tuesday 21 November 2023

Wednesday, November 22, 2023 - Homily


Wednesday, November 22, 2023 - How will I show through my life that I have opted for Jesus the king?

To read the texts click on the texts: 1 Maccabees 7:1,20-31; Lk 19:11-28

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

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

Monday 20 November 2023

Tuesday, November 21, 2023 - Homily


Tuesday, November 21, 2023 - What one action will you perform to show that you have repented TODAY?

To read the texts click on the texts : 1 Maccabees 6:18-31; Lk 19:1-10

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

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

Sunday 19 November 2023

Monday, November 20, 2023 - Homily


Monday, November 20, 2023 - What is it that prevents me from seeing good in others? Do I want to receive back my sight?

To read the texts click on the texts: 1 Maccabees 1:10-15,41-43,54-57,62-64; Lk 18:35-43

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

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

Saturday 18 November 2023

Sunday, November 19, 2023 - Homily


Sunday, November 19, 2023 - Using our talents for His people

To read the texts click on the texts: Prv 31:10-13,19-20, 30-31; I Thess 5:1-6;Mt 25:14-30

A story is told of an old man who, because he thought he had dedicated his whole life to God, wanted God to help him in his old age. He read the passage in Matthew and Luke where Jesus says that we must ask to receive and began to pray to God that he win the lottery. When the results were declared he found that he had not won and was upset with God. “God”, he said, “I have dedicated my whole life to you and I asked you for a simple favour which, for you, would be so easy to do and yet you have refused me. Why dear Lord, why?” “My son”, God replied, “If you want to win the lottery, at least buy a ticket”. The point is that if one wants to win, then one has to play.

The connection between the second reading and Gospel is clearer today than it usually is and the first reading seems only distantly connected with the Gospel.

The word “talent”, though often understood to mean the gifts and abilities that a person possesses, is here clearly a large sum of money. According to some calculation one talent was equal to 15 years’ wages for a day labourer. The master gives no instructions to the servants about what they are to do with the money. Each servant is left to decide what he must do with what is given to him. All three think that the money belongs to the master and is given to them only in trust. The first two take active responsibility to trade with what is given to them and earn more than they had before. Both are rewarded appropriately and it is in the giving of the reward that we realize that the money given to them initially was actually given to them as their own.

Although the parable alludes to a delay in the master’s return, the attention of the reader is directed not to the surprise of his sudden return but more directly the servants’ conduct during the time he has been away. The parable sets the responsibility of the servants in terms of money but the symbolism points to something obviously more comprehensive.

At first glance it might seem that the guilty servant has acted carefully. He has not lost or squandered the money given to him. He seems to have even acted responsibly by burying the money in the ground so that he could return it safely to his master. So the reaction of the master is surprising. Not only is the money taken back from him, but also he is thrown into the outer darkness. However, the reaction of the master will not be so surprising when we realize first that what was given was not given merely in trust but as the personal property of the concerned servant and second, that to be “good and faithful” is not passive waiting, or even merely obeying rules and regulations or even being obedient to the letter of the law but active responsibility that takes initiative and risk. He didn’t gain but just preserved what was given. Fear had motivated this servant, the fear of failure and losing the talent he had been given. He continued to regard the money as his master’s and not his own, whereas the first and second servants responded actively to the grace given to them freely by the master. They were active, alive and awake.

Paul invites the Thessalonians to a similar attitude, in view of the imminent parousia or coming of the Lord. Since this day will come at any time, the best response is to be ready at all times and all the time. This readiness has to be shown in the actual life that one leads – in one’s actions. Since Jesus has made them children of the light, they must act as such and not as children of darkness who never knew the light

The worthy wife extolled in the first reading is an example of such living. The qualities mentioned are such as must be assimilated by everyone who hopes to be a child of light or to be regarded as a good and faithful servant. The worthy wife does not sit idle all day, but is active doing what she has to do to ensure that the household runs smoothly. Her concern extends not merely to her household but also to the poor and the needy to whom she reaches out.

If the modern use of talents has any relation to the text, it is at the level of allowing God to work in us and with us and putting our talents, qualities and natural abilities at God’s disposal. God has given each one of us gifts and talents. Some have talents of one kind, others of another kind. Some are blessed with more than one, others have just one. However, the fact is that everyone has at least one.

This means that we have to respond to this gift of God, which is latent in us. We will only be brought to fulfillment, when we utilize it and especially for the good of others. We will not be able to do this if, for any reason, we compare who we are or what we have with who others are and what they have. Each of us is unique and special. We are thus responsible and accountable for the way we use what God has given us. We will be affirmed if it is used well and especially for the good of others, and we will condemn ourselves if we bury it in the ground.

Friday 17 November 2023

Saturday, November 18, 2023 - Homily


Saturday, November 18, 2023 - Do you give in too easily when your prayers are unanswered? What keeps you from persevering in prayer?

To read the texts click on the texts: Wisdom 18:14-16; 19,6-9; Lk 18:1-8

This is a parable found only in the Gospel of Luke. While some focus on the judge and term it as the Parable of the Unjust Judge, others focus on the widow and so call it the Parable of the Persistent Widow. Luke introduces this parable as a parable on prayer. The judge is described as a man “who neither feared God nor had any respect for people” (18,2). It is difficult to imagine how such a man can be worthy of being a judge. The widow is introduced as someone who is going repeatedly to the judge for justice. The text does not state the nature of her complaint, nor does it tell us why the judge refused to listen to her for a while (18,3-4). The judge finally relents and decides to grant her justice, because the woman is constantly bothering her and because he does not want to be worn out by her constant petitions.

If one focuses on the judge, then the point of the parable is that if the judge who was unjust could grant the woman justice, then God who is just and judge over all will surely heed the cries of those who call on him.

If on the other hand the focus is on the widow, then the parable calls for persistence in asking and not giving up or giving in.

The final verse of this section ends with a question from the Lucan Jesus about whether he will find faith on earth when he comes. Since Luke introduces the parable as one, which speaks about persistence and constant asking, he may have felt the need to end with the question of faith.

Prayer can and does “change” the mind of God.

Thursday 16 November 2023

Friday, November 17, 2023 - Homily


Friday, November 17, 2023 - How would you fare if God were to judge you at this moment?

To read the texts click on the texts: Wisdom 13:1-9;Lk 17:26-37

This section starts with the examples of the days of Noah and Lot (17,26-29). Just as in the days of Noah and Lot the life of the people at that time proceeded normally and people were going about their daily business until all of a sudden the flood and brimstone and fire respectively destroyed the people, so it will be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed. This means that decisive action is absolutely necessary. There will be no turning back. Lot’s wife who turned into a pillar of salt when she looked back (Genesis 19, 26) is given as an example of the dangers of looking back. When the Son of Man does indeed come, then the choice of those who will be taken and those who will be left will be made. In answer to the disciples’ question, “Where, Lord?” (17,37), Jesus answers with an enigmatic proverb, “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather” (17,37). The point of this proverb here seems to be that just as it is sure that vultures will gather where a corpse is found, as surely will the judgement of the Son of Man fall upon on the wicked.

Decisive action does not mean desperate action. It means steady and regular action. If one is at any given moment in time doing what one is supposed to do, it may be regarded as decisive action. A person engaged in such an activity is always ready.

Wednesday 15 November 2023

Thursday, November 16, 2023 - Homily


Thursday, November 16, 2023 - Instead of focussing too much on the afterlife, will you focus on life here and now?

To read the texts click on the texts: Wisdom 7:22 – 8:1; Lk 17:20-25

The first two verses of this section (17,20-21) are exclusive to Luke though Matthew 24,23 and Mark 13,21 contain part of Luke 17,21. In Luke the Pharisees pose the question about the future coming of the kingdom. In his response, Jesus speaks not of the time when the kingdom will come, but about the very nature of the kingdom. Since the pronoun “you” is plural, Jesus’ saying that the kingdom is “among you” is unlikely to mean that the kingdom is within a group of individuals. Rather it seems to mean that the kingdom is in Jesus who is among them at that time.

The next verse (17,22) begins the discourse of the coming of the Son of Man. There will be a long period when the disciples long to see even a glimpse of their deliverance (one of the days of the Son of Man). Though some will point here and others there, the disciples must not be taken in. When the Son of Man does appear he will be visible to all everywhere. However, before he comes, he will have to endure suffering. The Son of Man who comes will be the Son of Man who has suffered and been rejected.

Obsession with the afterlife does not help us to live fully the life we have here and now. Too many questions about death and what will happen after death result in life passing us by. While as Christians we do believe in the life to come, we are also instructed in many places in the Gospels that the life to come will not be a totally different kind of life, but a life which will continue in a fuller way the present one we have. Our focus therefore ought to be on living this life fully at every moment of every day.

Tuesday 14 November 2023

Wednesday, November 15, 2023 - Homily


Wednesday, November 15, 2023 - How often have you thanked God for the wonder of your life? Will you do that today? How?

To read the texts click on the texts: Wisdom 6:1-11;Lk 17:11-19

The miracle of the healing of ten lepers is found only in the Gospel of Luke. The mention of Samaria at the beginning of this miracle story prepares us for the Samaritan who gave thanks at the end. Lepers were not `llowed to live within the city limits and had to live outside (Numbers 5,2-3). They also had to cry out that they were unclean when anyone approached them (Leviticus 13,45-46). This is why Luke has the lepers in this story stand at a distance (17,12) and call out in unison addressing Jesus as Master, which only disciples do in the Gospel of Luke. Their cry for mercy would ordinarily have been a cry for alms, but in this case, it seems to be for much more. When Jesus sees them, he issues a command that they go and show themselves to the priests and as they obeyed this command, they were made clean. It is interesting to note that the healing here takes place after they obey Jesus’ command. One of the ten on realising that he was healed began to praise God and his action of falling prostrate at Jesus’ feet is an indication that he recognised God as acting in and through Jesus. Though ten were made clean, only one of them and that too a Samaritan who was despised by the Jews and regarded as an outcast and foreigner has returned to thank God. The faith of the man here is shown not before but after his healing. This results in the man receiving not just healing, but salvation.

Gratitude does not come naturally to many of us. Before the favour can be done for us, we are willing to do anything for the person who can do us that favour. However, often once the favour has been done, we forget to thank. While the person concerned might not expect any thanks from us, it is our responsibility to acknowledge our gratitude by our thanks.

Monday 13 November 2023

Tuesday, November 14, 2023 - Homily


Tuesday, November 14, 2023 - Do you constantly expect thanks and praise for all the good that you do? Will you perform one act today without any expectation whatever?

To read the texts click on the texts: Wisdom 2:23 – 3:9;  Lk 17:7-10

These verses are exclusive to Luke and contain a parable. In the first part of the parable the disciples are cast in the role of the master through Jesus’ question, “Will any of you who has a servant…” (17,7). No one would expect a master to ask a servant to sit at table and serve him, rather the servant would be expected even after he has come from the field, to get the master’s supper ready and serve the master. Moreover, the servant will not be thanked simply because he has done what was required of him. At the end of the parable and in the relationship with God, the disciples are cast in the roles of servants. They must realise that like the servant of the parable they will also have to do all that is required of them and not expect any thanks because they have only done what was expected of them.

Very few of us regard that we have been given the thanks due to us already in the service that we have been allowed to provide. We wait for further thanks and commendations. It is not only spiritual but also prudent and practical to do what we are doing and expect no thanks at all. If it does come we accept it in all humility, whereas if it does not come we are not disappointed.

Sunday 12 November 2023

Monday, November 13, 2023 - Homily


Monday, November 13, 2023 - Do your words and actions build up rather than pull down? Will you speak an enhancing word today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Wisdom 1:1-7; Lk 17:1-6

There are three units in this section. The first concerns being a cause of scandal (17,1-2), the second is on forgiveness (17,3-4) and the third is on faith (17,5-6). This section is addressed to the disciples.

Since we are living in a sinful world, occasions for sin will continue to be present, but humans cause these and the one who is the cause for such an occasion must accept responsibility. In a striking metaphor in 18,2 about a millstone being hung around the neck of the one who causes scandal and he/she being cast into the sea, the Lucan Jesus makes the point that the one who is responsible for causing the scandal will not be able to escape the consequences of his/her action. Since this is a warning addressed to the disciples, the term “little ones” in this context must be interpreted as those who are just beginning to believe and so will need all the help that they can get to enhance their faith. These must not be scandalised.

The next unit concerns forgiveness, but also speaks of rebuking the one who commits sin. This has to with not turning a blind eye to the faults of others but challenging them to rise higher. It is a matter of “carefrontation” rather than confrontation, since it speaks also of forgiveness that must be granted if the offender repents. In order to drive home the point of forgiveness, the nest verse (17,6) is the command of Jesus to forgive repeatedly even seven times in a day.

The final section begins with a plea to Jesus to increase their faith. This is an indication that faith is not static but dynamic and continues to grow. It also means that the Lord can give the grace required for faith to grow. In his response Jesus challenges them to reflect on whether they have faith at all. It is not a matter of little or great faith, but faith per se. If the faith of the disciples was even as small as a grain of mustard seed they could achieve the impossible.

Saturday 11 November 2023

Sunday, November 12, 2023 - Homily


Sunday, November 12, 2023 - Will the lamp of your life have enough oil to welcome the Lord when he comes?

To read the texts click on the texts: Wis 6:12-16; 1 Thess 4:13-18; Mt 25:1-13

The themes of wisdom and preparedness dominate the readings of today. If the first reading is a description of what wisdom is, where she may be found and the consequences of finding her, the Gospel reading of today narrates in practical terms who the wise person is.

Wisdom according to the first reading of today does not hide herself, but continues to make herself available to all who seek her. One who does indeed find her will act prudently and so be free from all kinds of tensions, worries and lack of preparedness. The wise person will be ready at all times and every time.

The parable of the ten bridesmaids narrates graphically the consequences of acting wisely and foolishly. It has no parallel in the Synoptics and is special to the Gospel of Matthew. We are told right at the beginning of the parable that five of the bridesmaids were foolish and five were wise. This is because we cannot tell this just be looking at them. All ten have come to the wedding; all ten have their lamps burning; all ten presumably have on their gowns. The readiness is what distinguishes the wise from the foolish. Five are ready for the delay and five are not. Five have enough oil for the wedding to start whenever the bridegroom arrives; the foolish ones have only enough oil for their own timetable. The point is not so much falling asleep, but readiness at the hour when one is tested. It is thus, not being called that is important but being tested, not the lamp but the oil, not membership in the church but deeds.

For Matthew, “watching” does not mean that one lives in constant fear of missing the time. Instead, “watching” means following the command of Jesus in such constant, complete, and undivided obedience that it is all right to sleep until the time of the Parousia (the second coming of the Lord), because one is always ready and need not change at the last minute. In short, the uncertain time of the parousia becomes completely immaterial for those who always do the will of the Father. Such a person is not concerned about the delay of the bridegroom. Such a person is not worried about the time of the coming. Such a person even though asleep is still ready.

This readiness is possible because of the promise and example of Jesus as narrated by Paul in the second reading of today. We are sure of victory because Jesus has conquered death once for all. For us as believers, salvation is assured and thus our task is to be concerned not with times and seasons but watchfulness and readiness. If we are so ready, the time and season will not matter because of the promise of the Lord.

The texts of toady are therefore calling us to watchful readiness. No one knows the hour when the Lord will decide to come. Delay can be interpreted to mean that the Lord is allowing us the time to get ready and prepare ourselves for his coming, whenever that may be.

It is easy to be good for a day if goodness is seen only as a means to an end. It is easy to be merciful for a day if mercy is seen only as a means to an end. However, if we see goodness and mercy and everything that is positive as an end in itself, then it is possible to be good and merciful and positive always. We are called then to be like the wise ones with our lamps always burning so that we will then be able to welcome the Lord whenever he comes.

Friday 10 November 2023

Saturday, November 11, 2023 - Homily


Saturday, November 11, 2023 - Will you do all that you do today to the best of your ability?

To read the texts click on the texts: Romans 16:3-9,16,22-27; Lk 16:9-15

These verses are found only in the Gospel of Luke and continue what was begun in 16,1-8, but also make a new beginning with the phrase, “and I tell you” in 16,9. The disciples are called to use wealth to make friends. If they use their wealth to help others, they can be assured that they would be welcomed into their homes when their wealth is all used up. The person who is faithful in little will also be faithful in much. However, one who is unfaithful in little will also be unfaithful in much. And, if a person is not able to manage honestly that which is given in trust he/she will surely not be given what actually belongs to him/her. If that person cannot be faithful with worldly wealth that has been entrusted to their care by God, how can God give them their treasure in heaven? While wealth must be used, it must never be allowed to control a person or use him/her. Wealth must be at the service of human beings not be served by them. God alone is the one to be served.

Thursday 9 November 2023

Friday, November 10, 2023 - Homily


Friday, November 10, 2023 -If you were told that you have only one more day before the Lord called you to himself, what three decisions would you make?

To read the texts click on the texts: Rom15:14-21; Lk 16:1-8

The text of today contains a parable found only in the Gospel of Luke and which is often titled as the Parable of the Dishonest Steward. In the Parable, the steward is about to be dismissed because of charges against him of squandering his master’s property. Since he does not want to have to do manual labour or beg after his dismissal, he responds to the crisis in his life by taking the decision of reducing the debtor’s debts. The amounts mentioned are all large, and indicates commercial rather than household transactions. By the reduction of the debts, he gains the favour of his master’s debtors, which will stand him in good stead in the future. It is not clear whether the steward acted dishonestly through this action, because some presume that he was foregoing his own commission or acting righteously by excluding the interest prohibited by Deut 23,19-20. Despite this, however, most prefer the interpretation that the steward continued to be dishonest and arbitrarily reduced the amounts of the debts. By doing this, the steward casts an aura of goodness on his master and also provides for his own future. The point of the parable of the parable is not so much honesty or dishonesty, but a call to cast caution aside, seize the opportunity and make provisions for the future before God. The kingdom is here.

Wednesday 8 November 2023

Thursday, November 9, 2023 - Homily


Thursday, November 9, 2023- Dedication of the Lateran Basilica - We are each and as a whole part of CHURCH

To read the texts click on the texts: Ez 47:1-2,8-9,12; 1 Cor 3:9-11,16-17;Jn 2:13-22

The Basilica of St John Lateran is the cathedral of Rome, the cathedra, or Chair, at which the Bishop of Rome, the Pope, presides. In order to express devotion and unity of all Catholics to the successor of Peter, the Church commemorates the dedication of the Lateran Basilica. Since the Pope presides in charity over the universal Church, the Lateran Basilica is affectionately called the "mother and head of all the churches of Rome and the world".

When the Cathedral in Milan was finished, in the vast throng of people assembled for the dedication, a little girl cried out in childish glee, as she pointed to it: I helped build that. One of the guards challenged her: “What? Show me what you did.” The girl replied, “I carried the lunch box for my father, while he worked there.” The cathedral, the Church the Basilica is not primarily a building but the people of God. Each of us and all of us help build up the Church.

It is interesting but mainly revealing that the gospel reading chosen for this feast in which we celebrate the Lateran Basilica would be Jesus cleansing the Temple. Much like the Temple was a significant and symbolic building for the Jewish people the Lateran Basilica serves in this capacity for us.

The first Christians gathered to pray in private homes. To be a Christian was for the first three hundred years after the Resurrection of Christ a crime of treason against the Roman state. Therefore, believers would meet secretly to hear the Gospel and break the bread. Today's feast commemorates the end of those many long years of terrible persecutions and martyrdom and the dedication of the Christians' first public place of worship.

While this was a welcome change for the first Christian community, it also began to soon struggle with a dilemma. The source of Jesus' power is found in weakness and poverty. While being an underground church this was easy to accept. Now, being accepted by the state, Christianity's power began to be aligned with fame and fortune, buildings and property, prestige and status. The church began to take on the political structure of the Roman state. Officials began to be identified by secular titles such as “prince of the church" (Cardinal) and "lord" (Bishop).While it is advantageous to have a place to worship and also advantageous to have a structure to maintain a sense of order, both, however, can also prevent us from encountering God by presenting an image of God that is quite different from the one that Jesus presented and revealed.

Writing during the period of Exile, the prophet Ezekiel dreamed of returning to his home in Israel and especially to the Temple. The vision narrated in the first reading of today is of water flowing from the Temple giving abundant life to the valley below, even to the arid, lifeless region around the Dead Sea. However, at the time of Jesus, this life giving water had dried up and the temple was no longer what it ought to have been.

The cleansing of the Temple is an incident that is narrated by all four evangelists. However, there are significant differences in the manner in which John narrates it when compared with the Synoptic Gospels. In John, the incident appears at the beginning of the Gospel and immediately after the Cana miracle of turning water into wine, and so sets the stage for the kind of revelation of God that Jesus makes in this Gospel. The temple in Jerusalem was considered the dwelling place of God on earth and a place where people expected to encounter God in prayer and sacrifice. However, as is evident in the actions of Jesus, the Temple had become instead a market place. When one considers that some trade and exchange of Tyrian coins for Roman or Greek coins was absolutely necessary for worship to proceed smoothly, one realizes that this action of Jesus is extremely radical and goes to the root of the meaning of worship and encountering God.

All religious institutional rootedness whether in the form of worship, unjust social systems or repressive religious practices are challenged by this action of Jesus.  Zeal for his Father’s house did indeed consume him when it led to his passion and death at the hands of religious authorities. While he was aware that this would be one of the main actions that would lead to his death, Jesus went even further when he pointed to himself as the new Temple, the new place of worship. In him a person encounters God as never before.

Thus, Christians, being identified with Christ in Baptism, are also temples of God, living temples of the Holy Spirit. Paul reminds the early Christians of the community at Corinth that they are themselves God’s Temple. God, in Christ, dwells in each one. Moreover, the whole community of Christians forms a temple, in which each Christian is a living stone, with Jesus himself as the cornerstone.

It is in the context of these readings that we must ask ourselves what we are really celebrating today. While it is true that the very orderly, stable and universal structure is surely to be celebrated in this feast and we need the certainty and conviction that comes from something that is consistent and bigger than ourselves, we also need to accept the fact that this is not all that the Church is. We also celebrate weakness in today’s feast. First, the weakness and numerous failures of each of us individuals who make up the Church, and also the failures and shortcomings of the Church as a whole. Both are in constant need of cleansing by the head of the Church Jesus Christ who continues to make all things whole.

Tuesday 7 November 2023

Wednesday, November 8, 2023 - Homily


Wednesday, November 8, 2023 - What are the things, which are the persons, which are the events that are preventing you from following? What will do about them today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Romans 13:8-10; Lk 14:25-33

The sayings in these verses are addressed to the large crowds that are following Jesus. Those who wish to follow are asked to consider the cost of that following and to check whether they have it in them to persevere. Three conditions are laid down to following. The first (14,26) is renouncing family ties. This of course does not mean hating family, but means not letting anyone including family come in the way of following. When it comes to a matter of choice, following Jesus must take precedence over family ties.

The second condition (14,27) is carrying one’s cross. While in Luke 9,23 the challenge is to “take up” one’s cross, here it is to carry it. This means that the disciple who intends to follow Jesus must be prepared to fact the same fate as Jesus, which will include rejection, ignominy and even death.

Before the third condition of giving up possessions (14,33), two parables are told to illustrate the folly of failing to consider what following would entail. These parables are found only in Luke’s Gospel. The first (14, 28-30) is about a man who intends to build a tower, but would not do so until he has first counted the cost of doing so. This calculation is done not after he has begun the work, but before he begins it, in order to ensure that he can finish what he has begun. If he does not do, he will be ridiculed. The second parable (14,31-32) is about a king who before he can go to war with another king would first ensure that he has enough soldiers and strength to resist the other. If he realises that he does not have enough, prudence will demand that he not start the war, but instead sue for peace. In the same way anyone who wishes to be a disciple must first count the cost and only on finding that he/she has the strength to persevere, must dare to follow.

The third condition (14,33) is that of giving up possessions or total renunciation. This means that nothing or no one can be allowed to come in the way of following Jesus on mission. If one allows oneself to be restrained by things or persons, one cannot be a disciple in the true sense of the word.

We can come up with numerous excuses why following Jesus today is not easy. However, no matter what they might be, they will still remain excuses. If we are determined to follow and are convinced of his call, excuses cease and following begins.

Monday 6 November 2023

Tuesday, November 7, 2023 - Homily


Tuesday, November 7, 2023 - How have you responded to the invitation that God is constantly issuing?

To read the texts click on the texts: Romans 12:5-16; Lk 14:15-24

The setting for the parable in these verses is the meal introduced in 14,1. It is known as the parable of the great supper or banquet. After the host has sent invitations to those whom he desired to come for his banquet, he sent his servants to call those guests when everything was ready. The guests however began to offer excuse. The first excused himself because he had bought a piece of land which he wanted to go an see. This excuse is absurd, since no one would buy a piece of land without first inspecting it. The second excused himself because he had bought five yoke of oxen, which he had to go and see, which again is absurd for the same reason. These excuse bring out the fact that it is material possessions and their hold on the persons concerned which prevent them for responding to the invitation. The third guest allows family commitments to hinder his response. While such a reason is plausible, it serves to highlight the fact of the total rejection of the host’s invitations. On hearing the excuses through his servants, the host is angry. He now reaches out to the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind. This list is identical to the list mentioned in 14,13 and the ones whom Jesus challenged his host to invite. Since there is more room, a second invitation is sent in order to fill the banquet hall. The point being made by the parable is that many of those who take for granted that their places are reserved will find themselves out of a place and their place taken by those whom they considered unworthy. While the invitation of the host is important to enter the banquet hall, one excludes oneself from it by the choice that one makes.

Procrastination is a sin of many of us. We keep putting off till later what we can and sometimes must do now. To get over this sin one needs to start now and not later.

Sunday 5 November 2023

Monday, November 6, 2023 - Homily


Monday, November 6, 2023 - When was the last time you did an act without expecting anything in return? Will you attempt to do such an act today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Rom 11:29-36; Lk 14:12-14

In the context of the meal to which Jesus was invited and in which he noticed how guests chose places of honour, the Lucan Jesus directs these verses to the host. The challenge in these verses is that the host not invite others in order to gain a private advantage. The four groups that one must not invite (friends, brothers, relatives and rich neighbours) are balanced by the four groups that one must dare to invite (the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind). The point of inviting the latter group is that they will not be able to repay the favour. The reward or repayment for such an act will come from God himself.

If we understand that unconditional love means expecting nothing in return from the person that one loves, then we can understand what Jesus is inviting us to in the text of today. However, many of us like to keep a record of the right that we have done for others so that they might do the same for us. Our relationships are built on barter rather than love.

Saturday 4 November 2023

Sunday, November 5, 2023 - Homily


Sunday, November 5, 2023 - Will you let people hear what you do rather than what you say? How?

To read the texts click on the texts: Mal 1:14-2:2,8,10;  1Th 2:7-9,13; Mt 23:1-12

Three common themes may be seen to run through the first reading and the Gospel text of today. These are the dichotomy between word and action; being a scandal and so causing others to stumble and actions must be performed without expectation of reward.

In the first reading the prophet Malachi speaking on behalf of God, condemns those who say one thing and do another. They attempt to cheat God by keeping for themselves what is good and offering to God what is tainted. This same theme is taken up by Jesus in the Gospel text of today when he condemns the teachers of the law for the gulf between their word and action. Moses’ seat is a metaphorical expression representing the teaching and administrative authority of the synagogue leadership, scribes and Pharisees. Jesus condemns only the practice of the scribes and Pharisees and not their teaching. The Matthean Jesus makes three points. The first is that they say but do not do, the second is that they burden while failing to act themselves and the third is that they act for the wrong reasons: to make an impression on others. “Phylacteries” is the term Matthew uses for the tephillin, which were small leather boxes containing portions of the Torah (Exod 13,1-16; Deut 6,4-9; 11,13-32) strapped to the forehead and arm during the recitation of prayers in literal obedience to Deut 6,8. The “tassels” were attached to the prayer shawls, and the most important seats in the synagogue refer to the place of honour at the front facing the congregation, occupied by teachers and respected leaders. The term “Rabbi” was a title of honour.

Just as the priests at the time of Malachi were responsible for leading other astray because of their scandalous deeds, so the religious leaders at the time of Jesus led people away from rather than to God. People were misled into believing that external worship was all important and that internal worship or worship of the heart was of no consequence. They were given the impression that outward show was all that mattered.

In his teaching to the community of disciples and those who wish to follow him, the Matthean Jesus then goes on to explicate what life in his community means. The fact is that for his community, God is Father and so benevolent, compassionate and kind. Consequently, the community of disciples are brothers and sisters and must live as such. All are equal and if one wants to be superior in any way, this superiority must be shown in service rather than domination. It is Jesus who as Messiah has shown the way forward. In Jesus’ world view, authority is and can only be for service.

Paul understood this, as is evident in his address to the Christian community at Thessalonica. He and his fellow-workers went above and beyond the call of duty when they shared the word of God with them. They were able to see as their reward the privilege of sharing that word and needed nothing in return. If there was to be a reward it was that the Community accepted their proclamation as having been inspired by God and letting it affect their lives in a positive way.

The readings of today are calling for a correlation between our words and our actions. It is easy to say, but difficult to do, it is easy to preach but difficult to practice. The way to ensure that there is a correlation between the two is to first do and then say, or better to let people hear not what we say but what we do. If we do this, then we will inspire others and lead them to God rather than away from him. We will be inspiration and not scandal. They are also calling us realise that our call to live this life is a privilege and honour and that living it, is all the reward we will even need.

Friday 3 November 2023

Saturday, November 4, 2023 - Homily


Saturday, November 4, 2023 - Do you agree with this statement, “Humility is a funny thing, once you think you’ve got it, you’ve lost it”? Why?

To read the texts click on the texts: Romans 11:1-2,11-12,25-29; Lk 14:1,7-11

Since the text of today includes 14,1,which spoke of a Sabbath setting, this text must be seen in that light. The text is set in the context of a meal, and contains instructions on behaviour to guests who were invited. Meals were important social ceremonies, and very little was left to chance. In his instructions, Jesus advocates what may be termed as practical humility, with words from Proverbs 25,6-7. It must be noticed that when the host asks the guest to move down from the place of honour, no term of address, respect or affection is used, whereas when the host invites the guest to move up, the guest is addressed as “friend”. The future tense that is used in 14,11 (“will be humbled”, “will be exalted”) points beyond the immediate situation to the reversal of values that is characteristic of the economy of God’s kingdom. When one realises that God accepts one unconditionally, the result is practical humility.

Thursday 2 November 2023

Friday, November 3, 2023 - Homily


Friday, October 3, 2023 - Do you “try to be good” or do you “do the right thing”?

To read the texts click on the texts: Romans 9:1-5; Lk 14:1-6

The scene described in the Gospel text is the third scene describing a healing on the Sabbath (see 6:6-11; 13:10-17). However, in this scene the setting is a meal rather than in the synagogue. The issue, however, is the same namely whether a person’s needs takes precedence over rules and regulations.

The man in the story suffers from dropsy or edema, which is the abnormal accumulation of fluids in the body. It is a symptom of serious physical problems. Unlike in the previous Sabbath healings, here there is no dialogue with the man (as there was with the woman in 13:12) or questioning by the Pharisees (as there was in 6:8; 13:14). Instead Jesus poses the question of whether one is allowed to heal on the Sabbath. The healing is narrated simply, and hence the focus is removed from it and placed on the second question of Jesus, which is connected with the first. Since there is the mention of “son/child” who has fallen into well, the point seems to be the urgency of the situation and not as in the case of the question asked in 13:15 where the argument is from the lesser to the greater. The silence of Jesus’ opponents to both questions concedes to him the victory. The point has been made; human need even if not urgent takes precedence over rules and regulations.