Thursday, July 20, 2017

Sixteenth Sunday : A: July 23, 2017

     "GOD OF TOLERANCE AND PATIENCE"

First Reading : Wisdom 12: 13, 16-19
Second Reading: Romans 8: 26-27
Gospel Reading: Matthew 13: 24-43

   * First reading is from the book of Wisdom. This passage tells us that God is the only one who has both the knowledge and the power to root out evil as He desires. God's punishment is not His weakness but He wants to bring the godless into repentance. We too need to learn from God who judges with mildness.

   * Second reading is from the letter of St. Paul to Romans. In this passage, Paul expresses the fact that sometimes when we pray, we are not able to express ourselves with appropriate words. Although we do not know how to pray, Holy Spirit helps us and intercedes for us and helps us to find the will of God. He affirms that Holy Spirit enables us to transcend out human nature.

"Parable of the Wheat and Weeds"
Today's Gospel reading is from St. Matthew. In this passage, the parable of the wheat and darnel (weeds) is narrated. Through this parable, Jesus speaks of a real life situation in the world. We know that world is a mixture of good and evil. The question often asked is , how is that God allows both good and evil to co-exist and grow ? Jesus tells us that , it is exactly like a field in which wheat and weeds grow side by side. In the parable, Jesus compares the Kingdom of God to a farmer who has a difficult problem. Although he sowed wheat, the field is filled with both wheat and poisonous weed - darnel, which can be distinguished from wheat plants only when the plants have grown to a certain stage. The farmer's servants are eager to weed out  darnel. But the farmer disagreed. He is worried that while uprooting the weeds, wheat plants too may be damaged. So both are allowed to grow till the harvest time.
It is a fact that, we too are a mix of good and bad - wheat and weeds, light and darkness, sin and grace. God is tolerant and patient with us and allows us to grow. If we turn out to be wheat, we will be loved by God. If we turn out to be weeds, then violent uprooting will take place.
"Even in these high seats, there is both wheat and weeds and among the laity there is wheat and weeds. Let the good tolerate the bad: let the bad change themselves, and imitate the good" - St. Augustine.
"The Church should let dissent grow the orthodoxy until the Lord comes to separate and judge them" - Bishop Wazo of Liege. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Fifteenth Sunday of the Year :A: July 16 , 2017

"FRUITFULNESS OF THE WORD OF GOD"

First Reading: Isaiah 55:10-11
Second Reading: Romans 8: 18-23
Gospel Reading: Matthew 13: 1-23

   * First reading is from the book of Prophet Isaiah. In this passage the Prophet tells us that God cares for the earth by sending rains to make it fruitful. In the same way, He sends His Word so that it may bring forth fruit in our lives. Isaiah assures us that the Word of God will not be empty but will surely accomplish its purpose.

   *Second  reading is from the letter of St. Paul to Romans. In this passage Paul instructs the Christian community in Rome and us that the glory which awaits us in the next life far out weighs all the sufferings of our present times. He further says the whole of creation is waiting for the liberation and glory which will be accomplished through Christ. In Christ we have become adopted sons and daughters and hence receive redemption of our bodies.

              "The Parable of the Sower"
Today's Gospel reading is from St. Matthew. In this passage, we have the parable of the sower. In the parable, Jesus compares the Word of God to the seeds that are sown in a field. In the first instance, some seeds fell into the path ways. In the second, some seeds fell in rocky ground and in the third, some seeds fell on thorny bushes. In all the above three situations, the seeds failed to produce any fruit due to various reasons. But in the final instance, some seeds fell on good soil and they produced fruits: some thirty, some sixty and some even hundred fold.
Jesus told this parable to his hearers to explain to them how the Word of God affects different types of people in the world.
In the second part of the Gospel, Jesus explains the parable to His disciples and highlights four different responses to the Word. Those who hear the word of God and do not understand it, the evil one comes and destroys it - are like the seeds that fell on the road side. Then there are people who hear the Word of God and receives it with joy but when trials and difficulties comes their way, they give up following the Word. These are like seeds that fell on rocky ground and due to lack of depth of soil they soon died. Then the third type of people , they listen to the word of God but cares of the world chokes them and they too do not produce the desired result. They are like the seeds that fell among thorny bushes. Finally, those who hear the word of God, accept it and and put into practice in their daily lives are like seeds that fell on good soil.
The point of the parable echoes the first reading from Prophet Isaiah: that the Word of God is fruitful and will accomplish its purpose. It is worth noting that many great works had very humble beginning like tiny seeds that fell on the ground. 
"It is not always granted to the sower to live to see the harvest. All work that is worth anything is done in faith" - Albert Schweitzer.



Thursday, July 6, 2017

Fourteenth Sunday : A: July 9, 2017

"JESUS' INVITATION TO REST A WHILE"

First Reading: Zechariah 9: 9-10
Second Reading : Roman 8: 9, 11-13
Gospel Reading : Matthew 11: 25-30

   * First reading is from the book of Prophet Zechariah. In this passage, the Prophet urges people to rejoice because their promised Messianic Leader is coming. The Messiah will not come as a proud warrior , but he is full of humility. He is victorious but peace loving. He is triumphant but humble. This prophecy finds its fulfillment in Jesus.

   * Second reading is from the letter of St. Paul to Romans. In this passage, Paul tells the Christian community in Rome and all of us that we have the Holy Spirit living in us. He further adds that authentic Christian life is lived in union with the Spirit of Christ and results in fullness of  life. Whereas a sinful and sensual life is a living death and results in the destruction of life.

"Come to Me All Who Labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you Rest"
Today's Gospel reading is from St. Matthew. In this passage, Jesus openly invites everyone who is humble, gentle and overburdened. There are very few of us who can say that we are not burdened. Jesus is the embodiment of the Heavenly Father's goodness and all those who follow Him will find true rest and reassurance.
"Come to me" is a great invitation from the Lord. This invitation of Jesus is open to everyone in different ages and to all classes in the Society. To all people who are overburdened - the working, struggling , oppressed, those who do manual works or mental works - to all Jesus offers true rest. No matter who we are and what we do, we all get weakened, tired and enfeebled. Rest is a universal need: we need physical, mental and spiritual rest. Jesus is ready to give us that rest. -
"Lord you have made our hearts for you and they are restless until they rest in you" - St. Augustine.
"We find rest in those we love, and we provide a resting place in ourselves for those who love us" - St. Bernard of Clairvaux.
"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other" - St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta. 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Thirteenth Sunday : A: 2nd July 2017

     "GOD REWARDS A GRACEFUL GIVER"

First Reading: 2 Kings 4: 8-11, 14-16
Second Reading: Romans 6: 3-4, 8-11
Gospel Reading: Matthew 10: 37-42

   * First reading is from the second book of the Kings. This passage describes the hospitality of a woman of Shunem . When Prophet Elisha passed through Shunem, the woman recognized him as a man of God and gave him food . She also made arrangements for his comfortable stay in her home during his visits. God rewarded her generosity with the promise of a son whom she was waiting for.

   * Second reading is from the letter of St. Paul to Romans. In this passage, Paul explains to the Christian community in Rome about the meaning of baptism in the Lord Jesus. To be baptized means that through the grace and power of the risen Lord we are dead to sin and live to holiness.

"He who Receives You Receives Me"
Today's Gospel reading is from St. Matthew. First part of the Gospel speaks about the necessity of following Christ even to the point of death. The second part of the Gospel speaks about the virtue of hospitality in the life of a follower of Christ.
Jesus' demands from his would be followers is rather harsh. He demands threefold renunciation from them. 
1. He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me.
2. He who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
3. He who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me
Certainly, we need to love our parents, children and near and dear ones . But Jesus makes it absolutely clear that this love of others and of oneself should not be at the cost of loving God. Love of God should take precedence over all our other priorities.
Jesus also promised His disciples that hospitality given to them by any one will be suitably rewarded (even if that be a glass of cold water).

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Twelveth Sunday of the Year : A : June 25, 2017

             "FEARLESS DISCIPLESHIP"

First Reading : Jeremiah 20: 10-13
Second Reading: Romans 5: 12-15
Gospel Reading Matthew 10: 26-33

   * First reading is from the book of Prophet Jeremiah. In this passage Jeremiah expresses his anguish and pain. Even when surrounded by enemies and faced with terror from every side, Jeremiah places his total trust in the Lord God. The Prophet is convinced that the Lord God is on his side.

   * Second reading is from the letter of St.Paul to Romans. In this passage, Apostle Paul explains to the Christians in Rome that sin and death came through Adam the first man. However, freedom and life came through Jesus Christ the second Adam. 

"Fear Not , You are of more Value than many Sparrows"
Today's Gospel reading is from St. Matthew. In this passage,Jesus invites His disciples to be fearless witnesses to His message. Jesus gave several reasons for being fearless when faced with opposition.
1. Message of Jesus is not to be hidden , but to be proclaimed openly on the house tops.
2. Not to be afraid of those who kill the body but be afraid of the one who can kill the soul.
3. Even a tiny sparrow is taken care by God. We are of more value than many sparrows. If so, we should realize that God is in control of our lives and nothing happens without His knowledge.
4. Those who acknowledge Christ openly, will be acknowledged by the heavenly Father. Hence fearless witnessing to Christ will bring eternal reward.
Jesus invitation to be witnesses; needs great faith, courage and radical commitment. But He does not want His disciples to be members of a cowardly Church or a faithless community. He wants us to stand up for our faith.
" My job seems to be to go around picking up insults and corpses" -Late Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador 
" I really fear that most of those who call themselves Christians would go on almost as they do, if they believed Christianity to be nothing more than a fable"  Late Cardinal Newman. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Feast of Corpus Christi Sunday : A: June 18, 2017

"JESUS THE LIVING BREAD FROM HEAVEN"

First Reading : Deuteronomy 8: 2-3,14-16
Second Reading; 1 Corinthians 10: 16-17
Gospel Reading: John 6: 51-58

   * First reading is from the book of Deuteronomy. In this passage Moses reminds the people of ;Israel to acknowledge God's saving power which accompanied them during their journey to the promised land. He exhorts them to remember that they are God's own people who need to nourish themselves on His Word. However God tested them ;in the wilderness and made them feel hungry so that they might know that word of God is more important than perishable food.

   *Second reading is from the first letter of St.Paul to the Corinthians. In this passage, Paul explains to the Corinthian community how the participation in the Eucharistic celebration can become a source of strength to the Christian solidarity and oneness. As food and drink nourish  the body so the Eucharist nourishes us spiritually. As a result of receiving Holy Communion, an intimate union between Christ and the recipient takes place.

"Life Giving Jesus in the Eucharist"
Today's Gospel reading is from St. John Chapter 6. which has elaborate passages on the Eucharist. In this passage, Jesus explains to His disciples and followers that to be part of Him, it is essential that they eat His body and drink His blood. Jesus is the living bread which alone gives eternal life. Hearing this teaching of Jesus, many of the Jews who followed Him, took offense and no longer followed Him. Because for a Jew to eat the body and drink the blood of another person was totally unacceptable and unthinkable.
Yet Jesus persisted with this teaching on Eucharist. Jesus later ratified His teaching on Eucharist by offering His body and blood to His disciples at the last supper. The feast of Corpus Christi recalls to our mind all that Jesus did to give His own  life for us, especially the offer of His body and blood signify the totality of self gift. The celebration of the Eucharist implies serious challenges and obligations for every Christian. More than mere participation, it implies that a Christ like life is necessary.
"God dwells in our midst, in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar' - St; Maxmillian Kolbe. 
"And just as He appeared before the holy Apostles in true flesh, so now He has us see Him in the sacred bread" - St. Francis of Assisi.
"In each of our lives Jesus comes as the bread of life - to be eaten , to be consumed by us. This is how He loves us " St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Feast of Most Holy Trinity Sunday :A : June 11,2017

"GOD THE FATHER, GOD THE SON, GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT"

First Reading: Exodus 34: 4-6 8-9
Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 13: 11-13
Gospel Reading: John 3: 16-18

   * First reading is from the Book of Exodus. This passage describes how Moses went of Mount Sinai and met the Lord God. The Lord God forgave the people of Israel their sin of idolatory and revealed Himself to Moses on the mountain, as a God of kindness and compassion and as the one who is faithful to His covenant. Moses accepted God's covenant and asked forgiveness and mercy for the sins of the people of Israel.

   * Second reading is from the second letter of St.Paul to Corinthians. In this passage, Paul in his concluding remarks exhorts the Corinthian community to live in peace , harmony and love. It also contains a Trinitarian blessing for the people. This blessing is used in the liturgy of the Church. Thus Paul emphasis the importance of Holy Trinity in our lives.

"The Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity"
Today's Gospel reading is from St. John. This passage speaks of God's love for humankind and the promise of eternal life to the one who believes in the Son of God. Jesus before He left this world, promised His disciples that He would send the Spirit of Truth to guide them to all truth. God spoke to us through His Son. God continues to speak to us through the Holy Spirit.
The Trinitarian God points to a community of love. The Most Holy Trinity actulises as Creative love of the Father, Redemptive love of the Son and the Sanctifying love of the Holy Spirit. Hence the Most Holy Trinity is not a puzzle but a relationship of LOVE. In God the Father we recognize the one in whom we live and move and have our being. In God the Son we recognize the one who is the Way, the Truth and Life. In God the Holy Spirit, we recognize the one who helps us to pray and one who guides us in our life journey.
To understand the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity, one God and three persons is not a easy. We need divine help to go into the depth of the mystery.
1. The Most Holy Trinity is a Mystery.
2. God's unending love for humankind is expressed through this mystery of the Most Holy Trinity.