Thursday, 15 November 2018
Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time
Psalm 145/146 - He is happy who is helped by Jacob's God.
1st Reading - Philomen 7-20
I am so delighted, and comforted, to know of your love; they tell me, brother, how you have put new heart into the saints. Now, although in Christ I can have no diffidence about telling you to do whatever is your duty, I am appealing to your love instead, reminding you that this is Paul writing, an old man now and, what is more, still a prisoner of Christ Jesus. I am appealing to you for a child of mine, whose father I became while wearing these chains: I mean Onesimus. He was no use to you before, but he will be useful to you now, as he has been to me. I am sending him back to you, and with him - I could say - a part of my own self. I should have liked to keep him with me; he could have been a substitute for you, to help me while I am in the chains that the Good News has brought me. However, I did not want to do anything without your consent; it would have been forcing your act of kindness, which should be spontaneous. I know you have been deprived of Onesimus for a time, but it was only so that you could have him back forever, not as a slave anymore, but something much better than a slave, a dear brother; especially dear to me, but how much more to you, as a blood brother as well as a brother in the Lord. So if all that we have in common means anything to you, welcome him as you would me; but if he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, then let me pay for it. I am writing this in my own handwriting : I, Paul, shall pay it back - I will not add any mention of your own debt to me, which is yourself. Well then, brother, I am counting on you, in the Lord; put new heart into me, in Christ.
Gospel - Luke 17 : 20-25
Asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was to come, Jesus gave them this answer, "The coming of the kingdom of God does not admit of observation and there will be no one to say, "Look here! Look there!" For, you must know, the kingdom of God is among you. He said to his disciples, "A time will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man and will not see it." They will say to you, "Look there! or Look here!" Make no move; do not set off in pursuit; for as the lightning flashing from one part of heaven lights up the other, so will the Son of Man when his day comes. But first he must suffer grievously and be rejected by this generation.
The Pharisees ask Jesus, "when the kingdom of God is to come." Jesus answers that the kingdom of God is already present, and then speaks of the definitive establishment of the kingdom. This would be the day of the Lord, a time of judgment and reward. The knowledge of the time of the day of the Lord is not important. We must not waste our time in looking for signs. What is crucial is to recognize the presence of God's reign already in our midst. We have to give His present reign our full attention now. We have to be ready and prepared., because no one knows the time of His coming. He will come like the thief in the night, when we least expect Him. There won't be time to get ready. We have to be ready.
Give him your full attention, Now
By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail - Benjamin Franklin
Wednesday, 14 November 2018
Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time
Psalm 22/23 - The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
1st Reading - Titus 3 : 1-7
Remind your people that it is their duty to be obedient to the officials and representatives of the government; to be ready to do good at every opportunity; not to go slandering other people or picking quarrels, but to be courteous and polite to to all kinds of people. Remember, there was a time when we were too ignorant, disobedient and misled and enslaved by different passions and luxuries; we lived then in wickedness and ill-will, hating each other and hateful ourselves. But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour for mankind were revealed, it was not because he was concerned with any righteous actions. that we might have done ourselves; it was for no reason except his own compassion that he saved us, by means of the cleansing water of rebirth and by renewing us by the power of the Holy Spirit which he has so generously poured over us through Jesus Christ our Saviour. He did this so that we should be justified by his grace, to become heirs looking forward to inheriting eternal life.
Gospel - Luke 17 : 11-19
On the way to Jerusalem Jesus travelled along the border of Samaria and Galilee. As he entered one of the villages, ten lepers came to meet him. They stood some way off and called to him, "Jesus! Master! Take pity on us." When he saw them he said, "Go and show yourselves to the priests." Now as they were going away they were cleansed. Finding himself cured, one of them turned back praising God at the top of his voice and threw himself at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. The man was a Samaritan. This made Jesus say, "Were not all ten made clean? The other nine, where are they? It seems that no one has come back to give praise to God, except this foreigner." And he said to the man, "Stand up and go on your way. Your faith has saved you."
Jesus heals ten lepers, a group of Jews and Samaritans. They believe in Him because they have heard about His compassion and power to heal. But only one Samaritan comes back praising and thanking God. Our Lord delights in our praises. When we take everything we are given for granted, we are like the nine lepers who do not acknowledge the great things Jesus has done for them. We expect acknowledgment for what we do; why can't we have the same attitude when it comes to God? We must remember to thank God in every situation. "To be grateful is to recognize the love of God in everything He has given us..." (Thomas Merton). As Christians we are also called to be obedient and open to every good enterprise; to avoid idleness and pursue an honest day's work; to have a peaceful attitude, for it brings about peace within oneself and those around us.
Be obedient, be grateful
If there was ever a secret for unleashing God's powerful peace in a situation, it's developing a heart of true thanksgiving - Lysa Terkeurst.
Tuesday, 13 November 2018
Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time
Psalm 36/37 - The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
1st Reading - Titus 2 : 1-8, 11-14
It is for you to preach the behaviour which goes with healthy doctrine. The older men should be reserved, dignified, moderate, sound in faith and love and constancy. Similarly, the older women should behave as though they were religious, with no scandal mongering and no habitual wine drinking - they are to be teachers of the right behaviour and show the younger women how they should love their husbands and love their children, how they are to be sensible and chaste, and how to work in their homes, and be gentle, and do as their husbands tell them, so that the message of God is never disgraced. In the same way, you have got to persuade the younger men to be moderate and in everything you do make yourself an example to them of working for good: when you are teaching, be an example to them in your sincerity and earnestness and in keeping all that you say so wholesome that nobody can make objections to it; and then any opponent will be at a loss, with no accusation to make against us. You see, God's grace has been revealed, and it has made salvation possible for the whole human race and taught us that what we have to do is to give up everything that does not lead to God, and all our worldly ambitions; we must be self restrained and live good and religious lives here in this present world, while we are waiting in hope for the blessing which will come in the appearing of the glory of our great God and saviour Christ Jesus. He sacrificed himself for us in order to set us free from all wickedness and to purify a people so that it could be his very own and would have no ambition except to do good.
Gospel - Luke 17 : 7-10
Jesus said to his disciples: 'Which of you with a servant ploughing or minding sheep, would say to him when he returned from the fields, "Come and have your meal immediately?" Would he not be more likely to say, "Get my supper laid; make yourself tidy and wait on me while I eat and drink. You can eat and drink yourself afterwards?" Must he be grateful to the servant for doing what he was told? So with you: when you have done all you have been told to do, say, "We are merely servants: we have done no more than our duty."
Each one of us has a role to play with faithfulness and sincerity. Servants must attend to their master's needs first and fulfill their duties expecting no reward, for they are only doing what they are supposed to do. In the same way, servants of the Lord should not expect a reward for their service, but correct observance will deserve God's reward. Servants of the Lord are also called to be good family examples and right citizens. Faithful service is the basic requirement of following the Master. Immoral ways are a barrier to receiving God's grace. We must seek our happiness in the Lord and He will give us our hearts' desire's. Matthew 6 : 33 asks us to Strive first for the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.
Service to the Lord is our duty
Whatever you do, think not of yourself, but of God - Saint Vincent Ferrer.
Monday, 12 November 2018
Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time
Psalm 23/24 - Such are the ones who seek Your face, O Lord!
1st Reading - Titus 1 : 1-9
From Paul, servant of God, an apostle of Jesus Christ to bring those whom God has chosen to faith and to the knowledge of the truth that leads to true religion; and to give them the hope of eternal life that was promised so long ago by God. He does not lie and so, at the appointed time, he revealed his decision, and, by the command of God our Saviour, I have been commissioned to proclaim it. To Titus, true child of mine in the faith that we share. wishing you grace and peace from God the Father and from Christ Jesus our Saviour: The reason I left you behind in Crete was for you to get everything organised and appoint elders in every town, in the way that I told you: that is, each of them must be a man of irreproachable character; he must have not been married more than once, and his children must be believers and not uncontrollable or liable to be charged with disorderly conduct. Since, as president, he will be God's representative, he must be irreproachable: never an arrogant or hot-tempered man, nor a heavy-drinker or violent, nor out to make money; but a man who is hospitable and a friend of all that is good; sensible, moral, devout and self-controlled; and he must have a firm grasp of the unchanging message of the tradition, so that he can be counted on for both expounding the sound doctrine and refuting those who argue against it.
Gospel - Luke 17 : 1-6
Jesus said to his disciples, 'Obstacles are sure to come, but alas for the one who provides them! It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone put round his neck than that he should lead astray a single one of these little ones. Watch yourselves! If your brother does something wrong, reprove him and if he is sorry, forgive him. And if he wrongs you seven times a day and seven times comes back to you and says, "I am sorry," you must forgive him. The apostles said to the Lord, 'Increase our faith.' The Lord replied, 'Were your faith the size of a mustard seed you could say to this mulberry tree, "Be uprooted and planted in the sea," and it would obey you.'
Jesus says that, with Satan's interference and misuse of human freedom, there will be stumbling blocks to faith and Christian discipleship. The image of the millstone means that it would be better to die than be the cause of another's failure. The one who blocks another's way has to be corrected as an act of love. Jesus encourages correction and forgiveness 'seven times' which means every time. Servants of the Lord should be strict as well as gentle with the Word of God. They should be strong witnesses and love what is good. We are called to bring back those who have strayed, and to bring unity among the faithful. The good seen in us will convince those who stray to come back. This is what Saint Josaphat, a Polish archbishop and martyr whose body is still incorrupt, worked for: to bring straying Christians back to the Church.
May we bring back those who stray
Let the Church always be a place of mercy and hope where everyone is welcomed, loved and forgiven - Pope Francis.
Sunday, 11 November 2018
Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Psalm 145/146 - My soul, give praise to the Lord!
1st Reading - 1 Kings 17 : 10-16
Elijah the Prophet went to Sidon. And when he reached the city gate, there was a widow gathering sticks; addressing her he said, 'Please bring a little water in a vessel for me to drink.' She was setting off to bring it when he called after her. 'Please,' he said, 'bring me a scrap of bread in your hand.' 'As the Lord your God lives,' she replied, 'I have no baked bread, but only a handful of meal in a jar and a little oil in a jug; I am just gathering a stick or two to go and prepare this for myself and my son to eat,and then we shall die.' But Elijah said to her, 'Do not be afraid, go and do as you have said; but first make a little scone of it for me and bring it to me, and then make some for yourself and for your son. For, thus the Lord speaks, the God of Israel: "Jar of meal shall not be spent, jug of oil shall not be emptied, before the day when the Lord sends rain on the face of the earth." The woman went and did as Elijah told her and they ate the food, she, himself and her son. The jar of meal was not spent nor the jug of oil was emptied, just as the Lord had foretold through Elijah.
2nd Reading - Hebrews 9 : 24-28
It is not as though Christ had entered a man-made sanctuary which was only modelled on the real one; but it was heaven itself, so that he could appear in the actual presence of God on our behalf. And he does not have to offer himself again and again, like the high priest going into the sanctuary year after year with the blood that is not his own, or else he would have to suffer over and over again since the world began. Instead of that, he has made his appearance once and for all, now at the end of the last age, to do away with sin by sacrificing himself. Since men only die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, too, offers himself only once to take the faults of many on himself, and when he appears a second time, it will not be to deal with sin but to reward with salvation those who are waiting for him.
Gospel - Mark 12 : 38-44
In his teaching Jesus said, 'Beware of the scribes who like to walk about in long robes, to be greeted obsequiously in the market squares, to take the front seats in the synagogues and the places of honour at banquets; these are the men who swallow the property of widows, while making a show of lengthy prayers. The more severe will be the sentence they receive.' He sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the treasury, and many of the rich put in a great deal. A poor widow came and put in two small coins, the equivalent of a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, 'I tell you solemnly, this poor widow has put more in than all who have contributed to the treasury; for they have all put in money they had over, but she from the little she had she put everything she possessed, all she had to live on.'
Elijah speaks to the widow with confidence in the Lord. The widow shares the meal with Elijah, all that she has, and she is blessed with the miracle of multiplication of oil and flour, an act of Lord's power through Elijah. The widow in the Gospel too gives all that she has. Both widows trust and believe in God, who is our Provider. They have no doubt or fear. God's faithfulness goes on from generation to generation. We need to trust God completely in all we do. Saint Francis Xavier Cabrini says, "Blessed is the soul who trusts in Jesus, because He is Lavish in His promises and generous in giving His graces and treasures." Luke 6 : 38 tells us, "Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put in your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you."
Our God provides generously
The more you abandon to God the care of all temporal things, the more He will take care to provide all your wants. But if... you try to supply all your needs, Providence will allow you to continue to do just that... for God will reprove you for your lack of faith in reliance on self - Saint Jean Baptiste de la Salle.
Saturday, 10 November 2018
Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time
Psalm 111/112 - Happy the one who fears the Lord.
1st Reading - Philippians 4 : 10-19
It is a great joy to me, in the Lord, that at last you have shown some concern for me again; though of course you were concerned before, and only lacked an opportunity. I am not talking about shortage of money: I have learnt to manage on whatever I have, I know how to be poor and I know how to be rich too. I have been through my initiation and now I am ready for anything anywhere: full stomach or empty stomach, poverty or plenty. There is nothing I cannot master with the help of the One who gives me strength. All the same, it was good of you to share with me in my hardships. In the early days of the Good News, as you people of Philippi well know, when I left Macedonia, no other church helped me with gifts of money. You were the only ones; and twice since my stay in Thessalonika you have sent me what I needed. It is not your gift that I value; what is valuable to me is the interest that is mounting up in your account. Now for the time being I have everything that I need or more: I am fully provided now that I have received from Epaphroditus the offering that you sent, a sweet fragrance - the sacrifice that God accepts and finds pleasing. In return my God will fulfill all your needs, in Christ Jesus, as lavishly as only God can.
Gospel - Luke 16 : 9-15
Jesus said to his disciples: 'I tell you this: use money, tainted as it is, to win you friends, and thus make sure that when it fails you, they will welcome you into the tents of eternity. The man who can be trusted in little things can be trusted in great; the man who is dishonest in little things will be dishonest in great. If then you cannot be trusted with money, that tainted thing, who will trust you with genuine riches? And if you cannot be trusted with what is not yours, who will give you what is your very own? No servant can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or treat the first with respect and the second with scorn. You cannot be the slave both of God and the money.' The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and laughed at him. He said to them, 'You are the very ones who pass yourselves off as virtuous in people's sight, but God knows your hearts. For what is thought highly of by men is loathsome in the sight of God.
Jesus urges His disciples to be generous with money because it doesn't last beyond death and we can't take it with us beyond the grave. There are ways by which one's wealth can be used for good. The more wealth we have, the more generous we can be. Charity or large-heartedness covers a multitude of sins. When we use it wisely to help the poor and for other good works we are being good stewards of wealth. The way one uses a little money is evidence of how one will use much (parable of the talents). But wealth could be a curse too, for it tempts us towards power, attachment to possessions, self-indulgence, and taking advantage of others. Followers of Jesus must not become enslaved by wealth; we must use it for God's purposes. If we cannot handle worldly wealth with generosity, we cannot be entrusted with the wealth that lasts forever.
Use money for God's purposes
Honour the Lord with what goods you have and with the first fruits of all your returns; then your barns will be filled with wheat, your vats overflowing with new wine. (Proverbs 3 : 9-19).
Friday, 09 November 2018
Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time
Psalm 45/46 - The waters of a river give joy to God's city, the holy place where the Most High dwells.
1st Reading - Ezekiel 47 : 1-2, 8-9, 12
The angel brought me back to the entrance of the Temple, where a stream came out from under the Temple threshold and flowed eastwards, since the Temple faced east. The water flowed from under the right side of the Temple, south of the altar. He took me out by the north gate, and led me right round outside as far as the outer east gate where the water flowed out on the right-hand side. He said, 'This water flows east down to the Arabah and to the sea; and flowing into the sea it makes its waters wholesome. Wherever the river flows, all living creatures teeming in it will live. Fish will be very plentiful, for wherever the water goes it brings health, and life teems wherever the water flows. Along the river, on either bank, will grow every kind of fruit tree with leaves that never wither and fruit that never fails; they will bear new fruit every month, because this water comes from the sanctuary. And their fruit will be good to eat and the leaves medicinal.
2nd Reading - 1 Corinthians 3 : 9-11, 16-17
You are God's building. By the grace God gave me, I succeeded as an architect and laid the foundations, on which someone else is doing the building. Everyone doing the building must work carefully. For the foundation, nobody can lay any other than the one which has already been laid, that is Jesus Christ. Didn't you realize that you were God's temple and that the Spirit of God was living among you? If anybody should destroy the temple of God, God will destroy him, because the temple of God is sacred; and you are that temple.
Gospel - John 2 : 13-22
Just before the Jewish Passover Jesus went up to Jerusalem, and in the Temple he found people settling cattle and sheep and pigeons, and the money changers sitting at their counters there. Making a whip out of some cord, he drove them all out of the Temple, cattle and sheep as well, scattered the money changer's coins, knocked their tables over and said to them, 'Take all this out of here and stop turning my Father's house into a market.' Then his disciples remembered the words of scripture: Zeal for your house will devour me. The Jews intervened and said, 'What sign can you show us to justify what you have done?' Jesus answered, 'Destroy this sanctuary, and in three days I will raise it up.' The Jews replied, 'It has taken forty six years to build this sanctuary: are you going to raise it up in three days?' But he was speaking of the sanctuary that was His body, and when Jesus rose from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the scripture and the words he had said.
In the synoptic Gospels, Jesus, quoting Isaiah 56:7, "My house shall be called a house of prayer." claims the temple to be His Father's house. Quoting Jeremiah 7:11, He adds, "You have made it a den of thieves." Money changing, meant for the benefit of pilgrims who don't have the right coins to buy animals for sacrifice, has gone too far and has obscured the true purpose of the temple, which is prayer and worship. Jesus' strict action can surprise us. He then refers to Himself as the sanctuary of God, but it is only after His resurrection, when the temple of His body is destroyed and raised up, that the disciples understand His prophecy. Ezekiel's vision is shows the continuous deepening of of spiritual life and blessings that flow from God's temple. We are reminded by St. Paul (1 Cor 3:17) that we too are temples of God and therefore our bodies are also sacred.
The Temple of God is Sacred
I know your lives are busy. I know that you have much to do. But I make you a promise that if you go to the house of the Lord, you will be blessed; life will be better for you - Gordon B. Hinckley.
Thursday, 08 November 2018
Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time
Psalm 104/105 - Let the hearts that seek the Lord rejoice.
1st Reading - Philippians 3 : 3-8
We are the real people of the circumcision, we who worship in accordance with the Spirit of God; we have our own glory from Christ Jesus without having to rely on a physical operation. If it came to relying on physical evidence, I should be fully qualified myself. Take any man who thinks he can rely on what is physical: I am even better qualified. I was born of the race of Israel and of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrew parents, and I was circumcised when I was eight days old. As for the law, I was a Pharisee; as for working with religion, I was a persecutor of the Church; as far as the Law can make you perfect, I was faultless. But because of Christ, I have come to consider all these advantages that I had as disadvantages. Not only that, but I believe nothing can happen that will outweigh the supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.
Gospel - Luke 15 : 1-10
The tax collectors and the sinners were all seeking the company of Jesus to hear what he had to say, and the Pharisees and the scribes complained. 'This man', they said, 'welcomes sinners and eats with them'. So he spoke this parable to them: 'What man among you with a hundred sheep, losing one, would not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the missing one till he found it? And when he found it, would he not joyfully take it on his shoulders and then, when he got home, call together his friends and neighbours? "Rejoice with me," he would say. "I have found my sheep that was lost." In the same way, I tell you, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner than over ninety-nine virtuous men who have no need for repentance. Or again, what woman with ten drachmas would not, if she lost one, light the lamp and sweep out the house and search thoroughly till she found it? And then, when she found it, call together her friends and neighbours? "Rejoice with me," she would say, "I have found the drachma I lost." In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing among the angels of God over one repentant sinner.'
In a culture where tax collectors are despised and sinners are shunned, Jesus offers teachings that encourage the rejected who come to Him. His response to wayward people strongly contrasts with that of the spiritually blind, disapproving religious leaders who give people the wrong idea about God. Jesus shows in each parable that God is our Father who goes to great lengths to restore a sinner to Himself. God loves and pursues sinners as the 'Hound of Heaven' and rejoices when they turn back to Him and away from their sins. Jesus mingles with sinners, who are the people that most need to hear of God's love for them. Our mission, like that of Jesus, is to love people and draw to God those who don't know about God's loving heart. We must reflect Jesus' concern and compassion, seeking out the lost and rejoicing with heaven over every repentant sinner.
Loving the last, the least and the lost
The devil strains every nerve to secure the souls which belongs to Christ. We should not grudge our toil in wrestling them from Satan and giving them back to God - Saint Sebastian.
Wednesday, 07 November 2018
Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time
Psalm 26/27 - The Lord is my light and my help.
1st Reading - Philippians 2 : 12-18
My dear friends, continue to do so as I tell you, as you always have; not only as you did when I was there with you, but even more now that I am no longer there; and work for your salvation 'in fear and trembling'. It is God, for his own loving purpose, who puts both the will and the action into you. Do all that has to be done without complaining or arguing and then you will be innocent and genuine, perfect children of God among a deceitful and underhand brood, and you will shine in the world like bright stars because you are offering it the word of life. This would give me something to be proud of for the Day of Christ, and would mean that I had not run in the race and exhausted myself for nothing. And then, if my blood has to be shed as part of your own sacrifice and offering - which is your faith - I shall still be happy and rejoice with all of you, and you must be just as happy and rejoice with me.
Gospel - Luke 14 : 25-33
Great crowds accompanied Jesus on the way and he turned and spoke to them. 'If any man comes to me without hating his father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, yes, and his own life too, he cannot be my disciple. And indeed, which of you here, intending to build a tower, would not first sit down and work out the cost to see if he had enough to complete it? Otherwise, if he laid the foundation and then found himself unable to finish the work, the onlookers would all start making fun of him and saying, "Here is a man who started to build but unable to finish." Or again, what king marching to war against another king would not first sit down and consider whether with ten thousand men he could stand up to the other who advanced against him with twenty thousand? If not, then while the other king was still a long way off, he would send envoys to sue for peace. So in the same way, none of you can be my disciple unless he gives up all his possessions.
Jesus tells us the meaning of discipleship; being totally detached from possessions and attached only to Him. Discipleship means relationship and commitment to Jesus, who must be the focus, passion and goal of all who seek Him. It means following Him, suffering with Him, carrying the cross, bearing pain and persecution, and sharing His fate of rejection by the world. To follow Jesus means to rely totally on Him. Earthly attachments, like family, friends or possessions, must not deter one's pursuit of God's kingdom. When we take up the cross, we need to finish what we start. In His example, Jesus mentions a building that cannot be completed and has to be abandoned. Jesus' next image is different: the king marching to war against a stronger enemy prudently sues for peace, since God is more powerful than Satan. We must be on the side of God rather than have Him as the stronger enemy.
No earthly pleasures, no kingdoms of this world can benefit me in any way. I prefer death in Jesus Christ to power over the farthest limits of the earth. He who died in place of us is the one object of my quest. He who rose for our sake's is my one desire - St. Ignatius of Antioch.
Tuesday, 06 November 2018
Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time
Psalm 21/22 - You are my praise, O Lord, in the great assembly.
1st Reading - Philippians 2 : 5-11
In your minds you must be the same as Christ Jesus; His state was divine, yet he did not cling to his equality with God but emptied himself to assume the condition of a slave, and became as men are; and being as all men are, he was humbler yet, even to accepting death, death on a cross. But God raised him high and gave him the name above all other names so that all beings in the heavens, on earth and in the underworld, should bend the knee at the name of Jesus and that every tongue should acclaim Jesus Christ as Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Gospel - Luke 14 : 15-24
One of those gathered round the table said to Jesus, 'Happy the one who will be at the feast in the kingdom of God!' But he said to him, 'There was a man who gave a great banquet, and he invited a large number of people. When the time for the banquet came, he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited. "Come along: everything is ready now." But all alike started to make excuses. The first said, 'I have bought a piece of land and must go and see it. Please accept my apologies.' Another said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen and am on my way to try them out. Please accept my apologies.' Yet another said, 'I have just got married and so am unable to come.' The servant returned and reported this to his master. Then the householder, in a rage, said to his servant, 'Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in here the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.' "Sir," said the servant, "your orders have been carried out and there is still room." Then the master said to his servant, "Go to the open roads and the hedgerows and force people to come in to make sure my house is full; because, I tell you, not one of those who were invited shall have a taste of my banquet."
The man who looks forward to dining in the kingdom of God perhaps thinks that only Jews will be part of that kingdom. To teach him, and others like him, Jesus tells the story of a man who plans a great banquet, and invites the wealthy, influential, important people like religious leaders, scholars of the law, and those in whose lives blessings is most apparent. These lamely excuse themselves, giving priority to other things, and so miss the great opportunity of receiving God's blessing. The invited guests signify the Jewish nation for whom the banquet (kingdom) is prepared. They have no valid reason to reject Jesus but every reason to accept Him as their promised Messiah. Those who have chosen to reject Christ will never taste the joy of heaven. In a great reversal, those who are open to obtain God's blessings are the poor, outcasts, and sinners - the very ones the Pharisees consider unclean.
The humble shall be exalted
Humility, true humility, isn't putting yourself down. It's recognizing that you owe everything to God. It's stepping into your destiny based not on who you are or what you can do, but on who God is and what He can do through you - Stephen Furtick, How God uses broken people to do big things.
Monday, 05 November 2018
Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time
Psalm 130/131 - Keep my soul in peace before You, O Lord.
1st Reading - Philippians 2 : 1-4
If our life in Christ means anything to you, if love can persuade at all, or the Spirit that we have in common, or any tenderness and sympathy, then be united in your convictions and united in your love, with a common purpose and a common mind. That is the one thing that would make me completely happy. There must be no competition among you, no conceit; but everybody is to be self-effacing. Always consider the other person to be better than yourself, so that nobody thinks of his own interests first but everybody thinks of other people's interests instead.
Gospel - Luke 14 : 12-14
Jesus said to his host, one of the leading Pharisees, 'When you give a lunch or a dinner, do not ask your friends, brothers, relations or rich neighbours, for fear they repay your courtesy by inviting you in return. No; when you have a party, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; that they cannot pay you back means that you are fortunate, because repayment will be made to you when the virtuous rise again.
Saint Paul in the first reading tells us to be self-effacing and not to compete; to always put other's interests before our own. God is our loving Father and Father to all. Hence our love for Him must translate into active love for one another. In loving others we remain true to our deepest self. With God as our secure foundation we are emboldened to reach out to the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind as Jesus tells us in the Gospel. In doing so, we can be sure that our motives are pure, as we know that they cannot pay us back in this life. There is little virtue in doing good to those who will pay us back. Let us take risks and give of our plenty to those who need it most. We look forward only to a heavenly reward. This proves our faith and trust in God's promises.
God loves a cheerful giver
What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has the eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like - Saint Augustine.
Sunday, 04 November 2018
Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time
Psalm 17/18 - I love you, Lord, my strength
1st Reading - Deuteronomy 6 : 2-6
Moses said to the people: 'If you fear the Lord your God all the days of your life, and if you keep all his laws and commandments which I lay on you, you will have long life, you and your son and your grandson. Listen, then, Israel, keep and observe what will make you prosper and give you great increase, as the Lord God of your fathers has promised you, giving you a land where milk and honey flow. Listen, Israel: ' The Lord our God is the one Lord. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength. Let these words I urge on you today be written on your heart.'
2nd Reading - Hebrews 7 : 23-28
There used to be a great number of priests under the former covenant, because death put an end to each one of them; but this one, Christ, because he remains forever, can never lose his priesthood. It follows, then, that his power to save is utterly certain, since he is living forever to intercede for all who come to God through him. To suit us, the ideal high priest, would have to be holy, innocent, and uncontaminated, beyond the influence of sinners, and raised up above the heavens; one who would not heed to offer sacrifices everyday, as the other high priests do for their own sins and then for those of the people, because he has done this once and for all by offering himself. The Law appoints high priests who are men subject to weakness; but the promise on oath, which came after the Law, appointed the Son who is made perfect forever.
Gospel - Mark 12 : 28-34
One of the scribes came up to Jesus and put a question to him, 'Which is the first of all the commandments?' Jesus replied, 'This is the first; Listen, Israel, the Lord our God is the one Lord, and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your might and with all your strength. The second is this: You must love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these. The scribe said to him, 'Well spoken, Master,; what you have said is true: that he is one and there is no other. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself, this is far more important than any holocaust or sacrifice.' Jesus, seeing how wisely he had spoken, said, 'You are not far from the kingdom of God.' And after that no one dared to question him anymore.
Can we think of a person whom we really look up to; someone for whom we have the highest regard; someone who makes us feel, "How is wish I were more like this person!" Perhaps a brilliant person, leading a simple life, who has never taken advantage of others? Do we have anyone like this in mind? For us Christians, the greatest inspiration is our Lord Jesus Chris, whose goodness is beyond our imagination. As we learn more about Him through His word, we can grow to love Him with all our heart, understanding and strength. People in love are ready to do almost anything for each other. He asks us for His sake to love our neighbour as much as we love ourselves. One who loves God and loves all people in order to please God can integrate love, peace and joy into one's life.
Love God and your neighbour
God teaches us to love by putting some unlovely people around us. It takes no character to love people who are lovely and loving to you - Rick Warren.
Saturday, 03 November 2018
Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
Psalm 41/42 - My soul is thirsting for God, the God of my life.
1st Reading - Philippians 1 : 18-26
Christ is proclaimed; and that makes me happy; and I shall continue being happy, because I know this will help to save me, thanks to your prayers and to the help which will be given to me by the Spirit of Jesus. My one hope and trust is that I shall never have to admit defeat, but that now as always I shall have the courage for Christ to be glorified in my body, whether by my life or by my death. Life to me, of course, is Christ, but then death would bring me something more; but then again, if living in this body means doing work which is having good results - I do not know what I should choose. I caught in this dilemma: I want to be gone and be with Christ, which would be very much the better, but for me to stay alive in this body is a more urgent need for your sake. This weighs with me so much that I feel sure I shall survive and stay with you all, and help you to progress in the faith and even increase your joy in it: and so you will have another reason to give praise to Christ Jesus on my account when I am with you again.
Gospel - Luke 14 : 1, 7-11
Now on a Sabbath day Jesus had gone for a meal to the house of one of the leading Pharisees; and they watched him closely. He then told the guests a parable, because he had noticed how they picked the places of honour. He said this, "When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take your seat in the place of honour. A more distinguished person than you may have been invited, and the person who invited you both may come and say, "Give up your place to this man." And then, to your embarrassment, you would have to go and take the lowest place. No; when you are a guest, make your way to the lowest place and sit there, so that, when your host comes, he may say, "My friend, move up higher." In that way, everyone with you at the table will see you honoured. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the man who humbles himself will be exalted."
Life is a gift from God. We must use our life to work for the glory of God. Though St. Paul longs to be with Christ he also wants to do his part for God's kingdom by living in his body and working for good results. Our duty is to be useful in our community and to spread God's kingdom. In the Gospel, Jesus invites us to take the lowest place at a wedding feast or at any gathering. We leave it to God to decide whether to honour us or humble us. If we seek glory for ourselves we may need to be humbled. Jesus gave us an example by humbling Himself, becoming human and accepting a horrific death to fulfill His Father's will. Seated now at His Father's right hand, He pleads for us. We ask Him for the grace to be more like Him each day so that we can be examples to others.
If we humble ourselves we will be exalted
As gold is tested in fire, so those acceptable to God are tested in the crucible of humiliation - Sirach 2:5
Friday, 02 November 2018
All Souls Day
Psalm 22/23 - The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want. OR Though I walk in the valley of darkness, I fear no evil, for You are with me.
1st Reading - Job 19 : 21-27
Pity me, pity me, you, my friends, for the hand of God has struck me. Why do you hound me down like God, will you never have enough of my flesh? Ah, would that these words of mine were written down. Inscribed on some monument with iron chisel and engraving tool, cut into the rock forever. This i know: that my Avenger lives, and he, the Last, will take his stand on earth. After my waking, he will set me close to him, and from my flesh I shall look on God.He whom I shall see will take my part: these eyes will gaze on him and find him not aloof. My heart within me sinks.
2nd Reading Philippians 3 : 20-21
For us, our homeland is in heaven, and from comes the saviour we are waiting for, the Lord Jesus Christ, and he will transfigure these wretched bodies of ours into copies of his glorious body. He will do that by the same power with which he can subdue the whole universe.
Gospel - Mark 15 : 33-39; 16 : 1-6
When the sixth hour came there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, sabachthani?" which means, "My God, my God, why have you deserted me?" When some of those who stood by heard this, they said, "Listen he is calling on Elijah." Someone ran and soaked a sponge in vinegar and, putting it on a reed, gave him to dink saying, "Wait and see if Elijah will come and take you down." But Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. and the veil of the Temple was torn into two from top to bottom. The centurion who was standing in front of him, had seen how he had died, and he said, "In truth this man was a son of God." When the sabbath was over, Mary of Magdela, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices with which to go and anoint him. And very early in the morning on the first day of the week they went to the tomb, just as the sun was rising. They had been saying to one another, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?" But when they looked they could see that the stone-which was very big-had already been rolled back. On entering they saw a young man in white robe seated on the right side, and they were struck with amazement. But he said to them, "There is no need for alarm, You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified: he has risen and is not here. See, here is the place where they laid him."
We are all pilgrims on this earth and our homeland is in heaven. We are aware that one day, if we have lived positively, done what is right and abstained from evil, we will be able to meet our Beloved in heaven. We are on an inner journey towards a fuller relationship with God, which sustains our spiritual life. In the Gospel, Jesus seeks support from his Father in His dying moments. Nothing is more important to Him than to please His Father, which means fulfilling His Father's wish. After dying for our sins, Jesus rose and now always remains with us with His heart full of love. On this day we remember all of our dear departed, and put our hope in the resurrection, when our bodies will be transformed and we will be privileged to see the Beatific vision. All pain, suffering and tears will be absent there. (Rev 21:4).
Our Homeland is in Heaven
The Holy Souls in Purgatory - they have such power with God! - remember them often in your sacrifices and in your prayers. May you be able to say to them, "My good friends, the souls in purgatory." - The Way.
Thursday, 01 November 2018
All Saints, Solemnity
Psalm 23/24 - Such are the ones who seek Your face, O Lord
1st Reading - Revelation 7 : 2-4, 9-14
I, John, saw another angel rising where the sun rises, carrying the zeal of the living God; he called in a powerful voice to the four angels whose duty was to devastate land and sea, 'Wait before you do any damage to land or at sea or to the trees, until we have put the zeal on the foreheads of the servants of our God,' Then I heard how many were sealed: a hundred and forty four thousand, out of all the tribes of Israel. After that I saw a huge number, impossible to count, of people from every nation, race, tribe and language; they were standing in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb, dressed in white robes and holding palms in their hands. They shouted aloud, 'Victory to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!' And all the angels who were standing in a circle round the throne, surrounding the elders and the four animals, prostrated themselves before the throne, and touched the ground with their foreheads, worshipping God with these words, 'Amen. Praise and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honour and power and strength to our God for ever and ever. Amen.' One of the elders then spoke, and asked me, 'Do you know who these people are, dressed in white robes, and where have they come from?' I answered him, 'You can tell me, my Lord.' Then he said, 'These are the people who have been through the great persecution, and they have washed their robes white again in the blood of the Lamb.'
2nd Reading - 1 John 3 : 1-3
Think of the love that the Father has lavished on us, by letting us be called God's children. My dear people, we are already the children of God but what we are to be in the future has not yet been revealed; all we know is, that when it is revealed we shall be like him because we shall see him as he really is. Surely everyone who entertains this hope must purify himself, must try to be as pure as Christ.
Gospel - Matthew 5 : 1-12
Seeing the crowds, Jesus went up the hill. There he sat down and was joined by his disciples. Then he began to speak. This is what he taught them: 'How happy are the poor in spirit; theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Happy the gentle; they shall have the earth for their heritage. Happy those who mourn; they shall be comforted. Happy those who hunger and thirst for what is right; they shall be satisfied. Happy the merciful; they shall have mercy shown them. Happy the pure in heart; they shall see God. Happy the peacemakers; they shall be called the sons of God.Happy those who are persecuted in the cause of right; theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Happy are you when people abuse you and persecute you and speak all kinds of calumny against you on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.'
Today we honour all the Saints, who are models and inspirations to us. Some of them carried discipleship to a heroic degree by dying for their faith and principles. Beatitudes mean blessedness or happiness. The Saints are praised by Jesus for being poor in spirit, pure in heart, gentle, merciful, peacemakers, thirsting for righteousness. Do we imitate the Saints virtues? Do we show mercy instead of being harsh? The Saints tried with much success to be like Jesus; like them, let us glorify the Lord in our sisters and brothers, seeing in them the image and likeness of God. Some Saints had to suffer much pain and sorrow but they bore it with patience and fortitude. Some bore the stigmata, some saw visions and received missions and messages. Some Saints bodies will remain incorrupt for centuries. Can we pray to our patron Saint daily and be like him/her as possible?
Sinners can become Saints
Saints dint set to have everyone follow them. Saints set out to follow Jesus, and others followed them in their pursuit of Him - Mark Hart
Wednesday, 31 October 2018
Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
Psalm 144/145 - The Lord is faithful in all His words
1st Reading - Ephesians 6 : 1-9
Children, be obedient to your parents in the Lord - that is your duty. The first commandment that has a promise attached to it is: Honour your father and mother, and the promise is: and you will prosper and have a long life in the land. And parents, never drive your children to resentment but in bringing them up correct them and guide them as the Lord does. Slaves, be obedient to the men who are called your masters in this world, with deep respect and sincere loyalty, as you are obedient to Christ: not only when you are under their eye, as if you had only to please men, but because you are slaves of Christ and wholeheartedly do the will of God. Work hard and willingly, but do it for the sake of the Lord and not for the sake of men. You can be sure that everyone, whether a slave or a free man, will be properly rewarded by the Lord for whatever work he has done well. And those of you who are employers, treat your slaves in the same spirit; do without threats, remembering that they and you have the same Master in heaven and he is not impressed by one person more than by another.
Gospel - Luke 13 : 22-30
Through towns and villages Jesus went teaching, making his way to Jerusalem. Someone said to him, "Sir, will there be only a few saved?" He said to them, "Try your best to enter by the narrow door, because, I tell you, many will try to enter and will not succeed. Once the master of the house has got up and locked the door, you may find yourself knocking on the door, saying, "Lord, open to us," but he will answer, "I do not know where you come from." Then you will find yourself saying, "We once ate and drank in your company; you taught in our streets," but he will reply, "I do not know where you come from. Away from me, all you wicked men!" Then there will be weeping and grinding of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves turned outside. And men from east and west, from north and south, will come to take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. Yes, there are those now last who will be first, and those now first who will be last."
Jesus tells us that salvation is the most dangerous matter to procrastinate about. Our salvation should be a matter of deliberate and sustained effort that governs our every thought, word and action. It requires earnest effort because the door is narrow; we must strive to enter through it. It requires urgent attention because the door will soon be closed. It is now or not at all. It requires careful self-examination because, once the master locks the door, it will be entirely closed. There will be no bargaining or working out a last-minute deal. As the stakes are high and irreversible and the consequences of making a mistake of horrible, we must examine our hearts to ensure we are on the right path and inside the narrow door before it is eternally closed. We need to listen attentively to the word of God and live by it faithfully.
Hell is nothing but the truth known too late
Since life hangs by the thread, even for the youngest and the healthiest among us, we dare not procrastinate about the matter of salvation - Bible.org
Tuesday, 30 October 2018
Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
Psalm 127/128 - O blessed are those who fear the Lord!
1st Reading - Ephesians 5 : 21-33
Give way to one another in obedience to Christ. Wives should regard their husbands, as they regard the Lord, since as Christ is head of the Church and saves the whole body, so is a husband head of his wife; and as the Church submits to Christ, so should wives to their husbands, in everything. Husbands should love their wives just as Christ loved the Church and sacrificed himself for her to make her holy. He made her clean by washing her in water with a form of words, so that when he took her to himself she would be glorious, with no speck no wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and faultless. In the same way, husbands must love their wives as they love their own bodies; for a man to love his wife is for him to love himself. A man never hates his own body, but he feeds it and looks after it; and that is the way Christ treats the Church, because it is his body-and we are his living parts. For this reason, a man must leave his mother and father and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one body. This mystery has many implications; but I am saying it applies to Christ and the Church. To sum up; you too, each one of you, must love his wife as he loves himself; and let every wife respect her husband.
Gospel - Luke 13 : 18-21
Jesus said, 'What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it with? It is like a mustard seed which a man took and threw in his garden: it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air sheltered in its branches.' Another thing he said, 'What shall I compare the kingdom of God with? It is like the yeast a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour till it was leavened all through.
The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed that was planted in the ground. It bursts out of the ground and grows from a seed into a tree, filling the whole world. Life begins to grow in God's garden. Today people 'perch' in its branches and build their homes and families on the principles of Jesus. The kingdom of God is being mixed into the world like yeast being mixed into flour. Once in, it will penetrate the entire batch, causing it to rise and change composition. The Holy Spirit, like yeast, is mixed into a life and something begins to change that life as it permeates and ferments the composition. We begin to see and live life differently. God's kingdom is not something we actually observe coming. It works like a mustard seed growing and filling the entire garden; like the yeast expanding and changing the composition of society.
Let the kingdom of God grow within you
The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is in your midst - Luke 17:20-21