Friday 12 July 2024

Saturday, July 13, 2024 - Homily


Saturday, July 13, 2024 - Do you give up or give in when difficulties come your way? Do you throw up your hands in despair? Will you continue to persevere and trust today?

 To read the texts click on the texts: Isaiah 6:1-8; Mt 10:24-33

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

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

Thursday 11 July 2024

Friday, July 12, 2024 - Homily


Friday, July 12, 2024 When the going gets tough, the tough get going. What do you make of this statement?

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

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

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

Wednesday 10 July 2024

Thursday, July 11, 2024 - Homily


Thursday, July 11, 2024 - How often have you focussed on the result rather than on the action? Will you focus only on the action today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Hosea 11:1-4,8-9; Mt 10:7-15

The text of today, which is part of the Mission Discourse of Matthew contains the instructions for Mission. Three points may be noticed. The first is that mission is not only words but also action. Jesus sends the disciples not only to preach but also to heal. The second is that Jesus provides a strategy for mission which may be summarised in one word namely, DETACHMENT. The call is to detachment from anything, which will hold a person up or prevent him or her from engaging in mission. The third is that Jesus calls the disciples from a detachment even from the outcome of mission. They must not be concerned about the results or the fruits, but simply do what needs to be done.

Often, too much of focus on the results of our actions do not allow us to focus on the action itself. Consequently, our action is neither effective nor efficacious. If we continue to keep in mind that the Kingdom is not ours but His and we are only called to do our best in striving to make this kingdom a reality in the lives of others, then our action will be both effective and efficacious. Detachment even from the results of our action is an indication that we are aware that God is always in control.

Tuesday 9 July 2024

Wednesday, July 9, 2024 - Homily


Wednesday, July 10, 2024 - How would you define “your” mission today? Are you engaging in mission?

To read the texts click on the texts: Hosea 10:1-3,7-8.12; Mt 10:1-7

The text of today is what may be termed as the Introduction to the Mission Discourse of Matthew (10,1- 42). It is only here that the Twelve are called “apostles”. This may be because of the context of the “sending” of the Twelve. Matthew has arranged the list into six pairs of two, by using the conjunction “and” after the first of each pair. The statement of Jesus to “go nowhere among the Gentiles” (10,5b) might seem harsh, but it must be kept in mind that even historically, the disciples were reluctant to go to non-Jews even after the resurrection and it took considerable time for the Church to realise that it had a universal mission. It must also be noted that this Universality is present at the end of the Gospel of Matthew when the risen Jesus commands the disciples to go to “all nations” (28,18-20).

The Mission of the disciples is both to preach and to heal, to say and do, word and action.

Our Mission as disciples of Jesus is not merely a spiritual enterprise and not only to a select view. It is a practical mission, which includes the material, economic and tangible areas of people’s lives, and must include all. As disciples called to Mission we are called to make the world we live in a better place for everyone.

Monday 8 July 2024

Tuesday, July 9, 2024 - Homily


Tuesday, July 9, 2024 - “There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so”. Do you agree with this statement? Why?

 To read the texts click on the texts: Hosea 8:4-7,11-13; Mt 9:32-38

Our text for today includes the final miracle in Matthew’s Miracle Cycle. The response to the same miracle is two-fold. On the one hand, the crowd seeing the miracle are amazed, and speak of their amazement, but on the other, the Pharisees’ the power that Jesus has to Beelzebul. What follows is a summary statement of the words and deeds of Jesus, which is very similar to the summary statement in 4,23 before the Sermon on the Mount. By repeating the summary statement here after the Miracle Cycle, Matthew shows that Jesus is Messiah not only in words (as expressed in the Sermon on the Mount) but also in deeds (as explicated in the Miracle Cycle).

Often the external stimulus is the same for two persons and yet each responds differently. This is an indication that it is not the external stimulus that is causing the response, but the person him/herself. In other words, each of us can decide how we want to respond. We can look at the half-filled or half-empty part of a bottle. We can look at the black spot or at the white wall. It depends on what we want to see and how we see.

Sunday 7 July 2024

Monday, July 8, 2024 - Homily


Monday, July 8, 2024 - On a scale of 1 to 10 where would you mark your faith? Why?

To read the texts click on the texts: Hosea 2:16-18,21-22; Mt 9:18-26

In the text of today, which Matthew has taken from Mark, the sandwich construction is maintained. This means that the first incident is interrupted by the narration of another incident complete in itself, and after this the first incident is resumed and completed. The story that is inserted into the story of raising the ruler’s daughter is the story of the healing of a woman with a hemorrhage. While Mark gives us the name of the leader of the synagogue, Jairus (Mark 5,22), Matthew omits his name. Matthew also omits a number of Marcan details namely Jesus’ question about who touched him and the disciples response, the fear of the woman about being found out and her falling down before Jesus. In Matthew it is very clear that the woman is healed not by a magic touch but by faith. While in Mark, the messengers come to inform Jairus about his daughter’s death, this whole scene is absent in Matthew, because in Matthew, the girl is already dead when the ruler comes to him. This has the effect of the ruler professing resurrection faith in his entreaty.

In Matthew, the story becomes a confessional statement of faith in the power of the resurrected Jesus.

In the first few days or even weeks of a terminal illness, the person who is ill continues to hope that he/she will get well. As time goes by and the healing does not occur, soon hope begins to dim. Finally the person gives up and gives in. The woman’s attitude in the story of today is calling each of us to perseverance, hope and faith and to develop an attitude of never giving up. That we must cultivate such an attitude is made clearer when we realise that Jesus could raise even those whom others gave up for dead.

Saturday 6 July 2024

Sunday, July 7, 2024 - Homily


Sunday, July 7, 2024 - Be careful of saying “I know”. You may miss the Messiah.

 To read the texts click on the texts: Ezek 2:2-5;2 Cor 12:7-10; Mk 6:1-6

When I go to a place where I am not known, the first question I am often asked is “Father, where are you from?” I reply to this question not in words, but by pointing my thumb and looking upwards at the sky. The person who asks the question will look at my thumb and glance upwards and then respond, “Father, we have all come from heaven, but where are you from?” My response is to continue to point upwards without saying a word. One important reason why I do this is because of what we hear in the Gospel text of today.

The Jesus, who has come to his hometown, is a Jesus who has been mighty in word and deed. He is a Jesus who has exorcised a demon, healed numerous people including a leper, a paralytic, and a man with a withered arm. He is a Jesus who has calmed a storm, healed a woman with a hemorrhage and even raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead. He is also a Jesus who has spoken mightily through his word and revealed in simple language that even the unlettered can understand the secret of the kingdom of God. Yet, when he comes to his hometown, instead of being welcomed like the mighty prophet that he has shown himself to be, the people respond with disbelief.

This is, first of all, because they “know”. They “know” who Jesus is.  They “know” where he comes from and what he is capable of. They cannot believe that this man, who is one of them, can be capable of all that he has done. They refuse to believe. This is made explicit in the statement, “… and they took offence at him”.

Their negative response to Jesus had a tremendous impact on Jesus and on them. While, on the one hand, they rendered Jesus incapable, on the other hand, they missed out on all the graces they could have received if only they had remained open to the revelation that he was making. Thus, Jesus “could do not mighty work there”. However, this did not completely immobilize or paralyze Jesus. He continued to go to places where he was needed and taught.

A similar situation is addressed in the first reading of today. Ezekiel is asked to go to his own people and address them. He is to alert them of the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple if they continue to live as they do. He is warned, however, that they are stubborn and impudent. He is warned that they are rude, disrespectful, and closed. Yet, the message has to be communicated and when it has, they will know what they have missed if they refuse to hear.

There are two dangers that the readings of today warn us about. The first is that of our familiarity with the Lord. Since we may be cradle Christians, we may tend to think we know everything about the Lord and thus, set limits on what he can and cannot do. This danger is pointed out to Paul in the second reading of today in which God instructs him to let God be God. He is a human and must trust that God’s weakness is stronger than his strength and that God’s foolishness is wiser than his wisdom. Paul realizes this and therefore can boast about his weakness because he trusts in God’s strength.

The second danger that we are warned about today is Stereotyping. Stereotyping people is common among many today. We stereotype on the basis of country, state, religion, and caste. We tend to categorize people on these bases and so, prejudge them much like the people of Jesus’ hometown did. We lump all of one kind together and look at them with prejudiced and jaundiced eyes. We do not give them a chance to reveal their uniqueness, because once we “know” where they are from, we think we “know” all there is to know about them. We close our minds and eyes and ears and refuse to see and hear. We refuse to change our opinion because of what we already “know”. “They are always like that”, “they will never change”, and “what else can you expect from them” are some of the responses which reflect this closed attitude. This kind of attitude leads to a loss on both sides. We lose out on the individuality of the person we have judged and he or she is not allowed to be the person that he or she is because “We know”.  Be careful of saying “I know”. You may miss the Messiah.

Friday 5 July 2024

July 6, 2024 - Homily


Saturday, July 6, 2024 - How often have you made rules and regulations ends in themselves? What will you do about it today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Amos 9:11-15; Mt 9:14-17

The question about fasting is raised here by the disciples of John the Baptist. Jesus’ first response is that the wedding guests do not fast during the wedding. In other words the time of Jesus is considered as a time of celebration, it is the time of the presence of the Kingdom of God. The second and third responses are about the new cloth and old garment and about new wine in old wine skins. The point here seems to be that both have their place in appropriate settings and must not be mixed up. Fasting does have a place in spirituality, but must not be made an end it itself.

It is possible that even our good actions might take a hold of us and so become ends in themselves. There is only one end: God and all else that we do even if it is good can never be an end. We must use them as means to reach God. This means that if something helps me, I use it, if it hinders me I give it up.

Thursday 4 July 2024

Friday, July 5, 2024 - Homily


Friday, July 5, 2024 - Is your “usual” way of looking a “negative or pessimistic” way? Will you look at persons, things and events positively today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Amos 8:4-6,9-12; Mt 9:9-13

The text of today 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.

Wednesday 3 July 2024

Thursday, July 4, 2024 - Homily


Wednesday, July 3, 2024 - Homiy


Thursday, July 4, 2024 - Do you believe that God has forgiven you all your sins? Will you now extend the same forgiveness to at least one person whom you find it difficult to forgive?

To read the texts click on the texts: Amos 7:1-10; Mt 9:1-8

The miracle of the healing of the paralytic who was let down from the roof which forms our text for today is found also in Mark (2, 1-12) and Luke (5,17-26). Matthew has omitted some details from Mark and thus shortened his narrative. Through these omissions, Matthew allows the reader to focus exclusively on Jesus and his words. It is unusual that Jesus does not respond to the paralytic’s immediate need but first forgives him his sins. The healing of the man is done later and only as demonstration of the fact that Jesus has power and authority to forgive sin, because the scribes consider Jesus’ pronouncement of forgiveness of sins as blasphemy. Since Jesus heals by the power of God, he can forgive sins by the same power. In Matthew, the crowd does not praise God for the miracle like they do in Mark and Luke, but for the authority to forgive sins attributed not only to Jesus but to human beings (“such authority to human beings” – Mt 9,8).

Most doctors today are convinced that there is an intimate connection between negative feelings and especially unforgiveness and physical ailments and advice a positive attitude and forgiving and letting go, for quicker healing. If we persist in our unforgiveness, we will continue to have a variety of ailments and sometimes no amount of external medicine will help at all. Forgive it is good for health.

Tuesday 2 July 2024

Wednesday, July 3, 2024 - St. Thomas, Apostle of India - Will one person be 'believing' today because you have made Jesus known to him/her?

To read the texts click on the texts: Acts 10:24-35; Heb 1:2-3; Jn 20:24-29

Thomas the Apostle, also called Didymus (meaning "Twin," as does "Thomas" in Aramaic") was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He was perhaps the only Apostle who went outside the Roman Empire to preach the Gospel. He is also believed to have crossed the largest area, which includes the Parthian Empire and India.

The text chosen for the Feast of St. Thomas from the Gospel is often mistakenly referred to as that of “Doubting Thomas”. However, that is a misnomer. Jesus does not use the word doubt in these verses. Rather, Jesus chides Thomas for being unbelieving. The story focuses on the grounds of faith. Thomas seeks tangible proof which the disciples are unable to provide. Jesus provides this for Thomas and in so doing asks him to move from unbelief to faith.

Thomas does not touch the hands and side of Jesus as Jesus invites him to do, but responds with the highest acclamation or title for Jesus anywhere in the New Testament. Thomas sees God fully revealed in Jesus. This is why Jesus is for Thomas “My Lord and my God!”

The Beatitude or blessing pronounced by Jesus on future generations’ states that having seen Jesus is not a prerequisite for faith. One must first believe in order to see.

Monday 1 July 2024

Tuesday, July 2, 2024 - Homily


Tuesday, July 2, 2024 - Have the “storms” of your life sometimes overwhelmed you? Will you believe that with Jesus in the boat of your life these can be controlled?

To read the texts click on the texts: Amos 3:1-8;4:11-12; Mt 8:23-27

The miracle in our text for today known sometimes as the Calming of The Storm is found also in Mark (4,35-41) and Luke (8,22-25). It is only Matthew, however, who emphasises that the disciples “followed Jesus into the boat”. The miracle is not only a nature miracle but also a story told to indicate that Jesus has control over the storms of life itself. In Matthew the “storm” indicates the stormy experience of the community (represented by the disciples in the boat) who follow Jesus. While in Mark the cry is one of distress (“Teacher do you not care if we perish?”), in Matthew, it is a liturgical-sounding cry for help (Save, Lord; we are perishing). In both Mark and Luke the reprimand about “little faith” is after Jesus has calmed the storm, whereas in Matthew, the reprimand precedes the calming. This is an indication that “faith” is primary, and if the disciples had the faith needed, they would not be agitated.

We may sometimes get disturbed and agitated when thigs do not happen the way we expect them to or when we are faced with a difficult situation. At times like the disciples in the Gospel of Mark we may accuse Jesus of not being concerned about our plight and at other times like the disciples in the Gospel of Matthew we may plead with him to come to our aid. No matter which approach we may use, we need to remember that he will let nothing happen to us that is not part of his plan and will. We have to continue to do what is required of as and confidently leave the rest to him.

Sunday 30 June 2024

Monday, July 1, 2024 - Homily


Monday, July 1, 2024 - What excuses have you been giving to the call to follow Jesus? What will you do about them today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Amos 2:6-10,13-16; Mt 8:18-22

Today’s text follows immediately after the first three miracles of Matthew’s Miracle Cycle. In the first three miracles, the disciples are not mentioned at all and the focus is solely on the authority of Jesus. The text of today and the miracles that follow emphasise discipleship. The scribe who addresses Jesus in the text of today is clearly not a disciple because of the term he uses to address Jesus, namely “Teacher”. In Matthew, only disciples address Jesus as Lord. The scribe is informed through Jesus’ response that firstly Jesus is the one who will take the initiative to call and secondly that his priorities need to be changed. The life to which Jesus calls will need a reversal of priorities. To the second disciple, Jesus’ response seems hard and brusque. Some interpret this to mean that the spiritually dead must be left to bury the physically dead. However, the point is that absolutely nothing can come in the way of Jesus’ call.

Following Jesus on Mission means become an “other-centred” person from being self-centred. It will mean giving up the Ego and placing the other’s need before my own. It may mean giving up what one holds dear and near. It is an unconditional following.

Saturday 29 June 2024

Sunday, June 30, 2024 - Homily


Sunday, June 30, 2024- Persevering Faith

To read the texts click on the texts: Wis1:13-15;2:23-24; 2 Cor 8:7,9,13-15; Mk 5:21-43

“Everyone wants to go to heaven but no one wants to die”. This statement of a wit brings out the fear that many have of death. However, the readings of today though they speak about death, regard death as something that is not to be feared if one believes in a God who is the giver and sustainer of life.

The first reading from the Book of Wisdom makes this point emphatically when it states that death cannot be part of God’s plan because God does not act only to see his work end in corruption. The purpose of creation is not death but life and the natural orientation of all created things is life. This is true especially of humans who alone are created in the image and likeness of God. Death thus is not natural and comes about when one stifles the life that God gives.

That God gives life and sustains it is brought out even more powerfully in the Gospel text of today. Mark uses here what is known as the “sandwich construction”. He introduces the incident about Jairus’ daughter being ill and even at the point of dearth but interrupts it with the cure of the woman with the flow of blood. He then continues the incident of Jairus’ daughter who is now dead, but whom Jesus raises. The reason for the sandwich construction here seems to be to heighten the suspense for the reader. Since Jairus’ daughter is at the “point of death”, Jesus must not tarry but hurry if she is to be saved. Yet, Jesus tarries because he knows that the basic orientation of the human is not death but life and that God’s power over death will prevail. Jesus tarries, confident in the knowledge that he can indeed raise even the dead. Jesus tarries because he knows that he is the giver of life. This gift of life is given not only to Jairus’ daughter but also to the woman with the flow of blood, who though not dead, had reached a stage when she was tempted to give up on life. She had reached the end of her tether and her last hope was the Lord. She was not disappointed. She received healing, she received life.

The Psalmist sings the words that the woman, Jairus and his daughter would have wanted to sing. They have indeed been rescued by the Lord. He has liberated them from all bondage. He has saved them from death.

What is responsible for this turn of events? Is it the power of God alone? Is it God acting of his own accord and solely according to his will? The answer is an emphatic “NO”. It is evident in both the first reading and Gospel that it is faith in God’s life giving and sustaining power and the action of God that is responsible. This is made even clearer in the Gospel when Jesus attributes the healing of the woman to her faith and exhorts Jairus not to fear but to believe.

The force of faith and the power of God become manifest in the life of Christians are narrated by the second reading of today. Indeed, thanks to the power of faith they were able to overcome ethnic and cultural barriers, and express their fraternal charity to others by the concrete action of reaching out to their material needs in imitation of Jesus. It is a faith that manifested itself not only in words but also in action.

The challenge of the readings of today may be summed up in the words “persevering faith”. This means that there may be numerous times when we are faced with death like situations. These are situations when like the woman in the gospel story we have done all that is required of us and there seems to be nothing more that we can do. These are situations when like Jairus we have nowhere to turn. It is at times like these when we may tend to give up and give in. However, like the woman and like Jairus we are called never to do this to ourselves because the God we believe in is a God of everything that is positive, a God who never gives up on us and a God of life. Since he is also a God who gives and does not hold anything back, we who are created in his image and likeness cannot live selfish self-centred lives, but like Paul invites the Corinthians, we too are invited to live faith filled lives, faith which is shown in action.

Friday 28 June 2024

Saturday, June 29, 2024 - Sts. Peter and Paul - Homily


Saturday, June 29, 2024- Saints Peter and Paul - Will you witness to Jesus like Peter and Paul did? How?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday 27 June 2024

Friday, June 28, 2024 - Homily


Friday, June 28, 2024 - In your prayer do you express the confidence that the leper in the story expresses? If no, why not?

To read the texts click on the texts: 2 Kings 25:1-12; Mt 8:1-4

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

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

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

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

Wednesday 26 June 2024

Thursday, June 27, 2024 - Homily


Thursday, June 27, 2024 - Do your actions speak louder than your words?

To read the texts click on the texts:2Kings 24:8-17; Mt 7:21-29

While the Sermon on the Mount began with Jesus calling his disciples to him and sitting down like a Rabbi to begin to teach them (5,1-2), it ends with Jesus addressing the crowds as a prophet (7,29). The last part of the Sermon, which forms our text for today, is about action rather than words. Prophesying in the Lord’s name will be of no help if one is not willing TO DO the will of God. The examples of the one who built his/her house on rock and the one who built his/her house on sand reiterate this point. The Sermon calls everyone to action.

If the foundation of our lives is strong, then what we build on it will also be strong. If we have a strong sense of values and know what our priorities are in life, we can continue to be focussed on what we have to do.

Tuesday 25 June 2024

Wednesday, June 26, 2024 - Homily


Wednesday, June 26, 2024 - Is your being good? What will you do to make it better?

To read the texts click on the texts: 2 Kings 22,8-13; 23,1-3; Mt 7:15-20

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

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

Monday 24 June 2024

Tuesday, June 25, 2024 - Homily


Tuesday, June 25, 2024 - The words that you use to complete this sentence will give you a fairly good idea of how you treat others: People are usually ……………………

To read the texts click on the texts: 2 Kings 19:9-11,14-21,31-36; Mt 7:6,12-14

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

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

Sunday 23 June 2024

Monday, June 24, 2024 - St. John the Baptist - Homily


Monday, June 24, 2024 - Will you speak God’s word to at least one person today?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday 22 June 2024

Sunday, June 23, 2024 - Homily


Sunday, June 23, 2024 - Believing even in the storm that Jesus is with us

To read the texts click on the texts: Job 38:1,8-11; 2 Cor5:14-17; Mk 4:35-41

A Sunday school teacher was trying to get her class to dramatize the story of the Stilling of the Storm. She explained to the children how they should dramatize the roles the disciples, the wind, and even the boat itself. Next she asked each child which character they wanted to be in the play. Each child in turn spoke up. One wanted to be Jesus, another wanted to be Peer, and others wanted to be the disciples. The teacher was taken aback when she came to a small stammering girl at the back of the class, who said, “I would like to be the cushion holding up the head of Jesus.”

While at first we might wonder at the choice of this “passive” role, a deeper reflection will enable us to see that there is a profound wisdom in the choice that this girl made. In the story of the calming of the storm, which is the Gospel text of today, the cushion beside Jesus comes out best. The disciples are agitated, the waves are violent, and the boat is being tossed about. It is Jesus and with him, the cushion on which he rests, that is most serene, calm, and at peace. The reason why Jesus is serene and calm is because he has supreme authority over all of creation including the sea.

This supreme authority of God over all of his creation and especially the sea is brought out magnificently in the first reading of today with the series of questions that God asks Job. The answer to the question about who is really in control might seem obvious to us: God alone. However, it is not as obvious to Job. The reason for this is that everything in Job’s life seems to be going awry. It is not easy for him to understand how God is in control when a lot of things in his life are totally beyond control. He cannot make sense of what is happening to him. He can find no rational explanation for it. In such a situation, how is Job expected to believe that God is still in control? In such a situation, how can Job know that it is God “who shut in the sea with doors” and “prescribed bounds for it”? How can Job be expected to believe that God is still the master of the sea with the ability to stop the waves?

These are also the questions in the minds and hearts of the disciples of Jesus who are in their boat on the Sea of Galilee. The storm rages and threatens. The waters lash the boat. Their lives are in danger. Will Jesus be able to save them? Can he stop the waves? Does he have control over the sea? If he does, why is he asleep? Why does he not do something

When things in our lives go awry, when nothing seems to go the way we plan, when the road ahead is steep and the going is difficult, and when the boats of our lives are being rocked by the waves of uncertainty and insecurity, then it is not easy to continue to believe that God is on our side. It is not easy to trust and to hope. It is not easy to have faith. We, too, continue to ask questions. Sometimes, like the disciples, we even accuse God and Jesus of lack of concern over our plight. We accuse God of not caring enough about us.

Job was able to realize, much later, that God was always in control. Just so, the disciples come to realize that, though Jesus appears to be asleep, apparently doing nothing, he is in fact very active and doing everything. Though he does not seem to them to be concerned over their plight, the truth is that he is very much concerned. The difference, however, is that whereas the disciples given in to agitation, anxiety and fear, Jesus does not.

This concern of the Lord for the whole of humanity was shown in the most perfect of ways on the Cross. This is what Paul speaks about in the second reading of today. Christ’s death is the transformative event for all of life. Nothing is the same after that. The first radical change brought about by the death of Christ is that now those who believe will live no longer for themselves but for others, in and through Christ. However, this is not all. The death of Christ is an event that encompasses and transforms the whole universe.

This is why believers will look at themselves, at others, and at the universe in a new way. The old ways of looking, the doubt, uncertainty, anxiety, insecurity, the lack of faith and, above all, fear, is replaced by the new way. This new way is a way of confidence, surety, faith, and love. No matter how rough the sea, no matter how high the waves, no matter how much the boat is rocked and, no matter how dangerous the way ahead might seem, those who believe in Christ know that he is in the boat and, with a word, he will calm the storm.

Friday 21 June 2024

Saturday, June 22, 2024 - Homily


Saturday, June 22, 2024 - How often do I try to be in two places at the same time or at two times in the same place?

To read the texts click on the texts: 2 Chronicles 24:17-25; Mt 6:24-34

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

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

Thursday 20 June 2024

Friday, June 21, 2024 - Homily


Friday, June 21, 2024 - If you were given the chance to take just ONE THING with you when you die, what would it be?

To read the texts click on the texts: 2 Kings 11:1-4,9-18,20; Mt 6:19-23

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

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

Wednesday 19 June 2024

Thursday, June 20, 2024 - Homily


Thursday, June 20, 2024 - Is there someone who you think has hurt you whom you have not yet forgiven? Will you forgive that person today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Sirach 48:1-14; Mt 6:7-15

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

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

Tuesday 18 June 2024

Wednesday, June 19, 2024 - Homily


Wednesday, June 19, 2024 - How often have you made “means” ends in themselves?

To read the texts click on the texts: 2 Kings 2:1,6-14; Mt 6:1-6,16-18

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

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

Monday 17 June 2024

Tuesday, June 18, 2024 - Homily


Tuesday, June 18, 2024 - How often has the expectation of some “reward” been your motivation for “doing good”? Will you “do good” without any expectation of reward today?

 To read the texts click on the texts: 1 Kings 21:17-29; Mt 5:43-48

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

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

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

Sunday 16 June 2024

Monday, June 17, 2024 - Homily


Monday,. June 17, 2024 - How often have you gone beyond the call of duty? Will you do so today?

To read the texts click on the texts: 1 Kings 21:1-16; Mt 5:38-42

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

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

Saturday 15 June 2024

Sunday, June 16, 2024 - Homily


Sunday, June 16, 2024 - Hope and Confidence

To read the texts click on the texts: Ezek 17:22-24; 2 Cor 5:6-10; Mk 4:26-34

Optimism, hope, confidence and assurance are words that summarise the theme of all three readings of today.

This note of confidence and hope begins in the first reading where Ezekiel emphasizes the power of God’s word. God will plant the branch or twig from the mighty cedar so that it will grow and bear fruit. The tree will be so huge that every bird of the air will be able to nest in its branches. This means in other words that every human from every nation will recognize and acknowledge the saving power of God. This is why the text ends with the words “I the Lord have spoken. I will accomplish it”. The power of God is so strong that nothing will be impossible. God does this to assert that God is not indifferent to creation. On the contrary God is constantly involved in the whole creative process and in creation. The great reverser, who brings low the high tree and exalts the low tree, thereby demonstrates that power that transcends every human expectation.

This power of God is evident in the Gospel text of today through the two parables of the seed. Clearly both are about the kingdom and are so simple to understand that it is possible that one might miss the point precisely because of their simplicity. In the first of the two commonly known as the Parable of the seed growing secretly, the sequence of events is of prime importance. A person scatters the seed on the ground, sleeps at night, rises in the day and the seed grows. The one who sows is not involved in the process of growth. The seed grows of itself. This is clearly an indication that it is the work of God and that God is in control. It is God who makes the seed grow once it has been sown. This also means that while the disciples are called to do their bit, they can do only that and no more. No matter how much they try, they cannot hasten the growth. No matter how much they worry, they cannot make the seed grow quicker. Thus the point is that the disciples have to sow and God will make it grow. The disciples have only to do their best and God will do the rest.

The parable of the mustard that follows, points on the one hand to the contrast between small and big, and on the other hand to the fact that it is not merely great trees like oaks and cedars that demonstrate that the kingdom of God has indeed come. The mustard seed though extremely small grows into a large shrub when sown into the ground. Here too the message to disciples is that they must not be anxious or worry about the outcome. They must have the confidence that after they have sown and done all that is required; from small there will be big; from little there will be much. Despite the fact that their efforts sometimes may seem as insignificant and tiny as a mustard seed, the end product will be enormous, simply because God will do what remains to be done.

This is precisely the reason why Paul can have the confidence that he expresses in the second reading of today. He is aware that the present circumstances, which include suffering and affliction, are not the ideal arrangement or the final picture, the goal. Paul therefore adopts the attitude of “indifference” which is not be interpreted as a “don’t care attitude”, laissez faire or a lax attitude, Rather the indifference is a very positive attitude. It is an attitude where because the person concerned knows that he/she can only do so much, does it and leaves the rest to God.

There are moments in our lives when we put in a lot of effort into something and cannot see the fruit of that effort. There are times in our lives when we think that all of our effort is in vain and there are times when we give up and give in because we are more concerned about the outcome or result than about our action. The readings of today warn against such an attitude. They challenge us to do what we are called to do. They also caution us not to jump the gun, but to follow the logical sequence of events. It is sometimes the case that we do not scatter the seed and consequently remain awake at night with useless worry and sleep in the day when we ought to be awake. We first need to sow or scatter the seed for it to take root and germinate. Then we can sleep at night and be awake in the day and the seed will indeed grow.

Friday 14 June 2024

Saturday, June 15, 2024 - Homily


Saturday, June 15, 2024 When you say, “YES” do you mean YES?

To read the texts click on the texts: 1 Kings 19:9,19-21; Mt 5:33-37

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

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

Thursday 13 June 2024

Friday, June 14, 2024 - Homily


Friday, June 14, 2024 - Will you bother less about your “doing” and focus more on your “being”? How?

To read the texts click on the texts: 1 Kings 19:9,11-16; Mt 5:27-32 

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

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

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

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

Wednesday 12 June 2024

Thursday, June 13, 2024 - Homily


Thursday, June 13, 2024 - How many times did you get angry yesterday? Will you attempt to make it one less time today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Kings 18:41-46; Mt 5:20-26

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

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

Tuesday 11 June 2024

Wednesday, June 12, 2024 - Homily


Wednesday, June 12, 2024 - When was the last time you performed an action without any expectation of reward? Will you perform one today?

To read the texts click on the texts:  Kings 18:20-39; Mt 5:17-19 

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

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