Thursday, November 16, 2017

Thirty Third Sunday of the Year : A: November 19, 2017

"WELL DONE, GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT"

First Reading: Proverbs 31: 10-13, 19-20. 30-31
Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5: 1-6
Gospel Reading: Matthew 25: 14-30

   * First reading is from the book of Proverbs. This passage gives a description about an ideal wife. She is hard working, a support to the husband and charitable to the poor and the needy. Hence such a person is more precious than any jewels that can be acquired.

   * Second reading is from the first letter of St. Paul to the Thessalonians. In this passage Paul exhorts the Christians in Thessalonika to be always ready for the second coming of the Lord Jesus which will be unexpected and sudden like that of a thief coming at night. He invites them and all of us that as we are children of the light, let us keep awake for the coming of our Master.

"The Parable of the Talents"
Today's Gospel reading is from St. Matthew. In this passage the parable of the talents is narrated. In this parable, there are three servants and each of them is given a certain amount of money by their Master and went for a journey. The first and the second are industrious  where as the third servant is lazy and a man of excuses. On his return, the Master asks for an account of the money he had entrusted with them. The first servant and the second are praised for their hard work and shrewdness. But the third servant is severely chastised for his laziness and lack of resourcefulness.
Jesus told this parable to explain to us how we should make use of our abilities and talents which are God given. It is certainly not about making money or accumulating wealth for oneself. Through this parable, Jesus is telling us about using our precious time and God given gifts to seek the Kingdom of God. We are expected to develop these gifts and grow as humans and children of God. It is by living that we discover our talents and it is by using them that we grow. 
In spite of some negative touch, the parable has a lot of positive and encouraging aspects. Two out of three servants heard those magic words from the Master:"Well done". To all who are doing their best, to live good lives, the Lord is speaking those words of encouragement, "Well done, good and faithful servant". Hence the parable reveals the trust, the confidence and the generosity of God towards each one of us.
"It is more important to be faithful than to be successful" - St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Thirty Second Sunday of the Year :A: November 12,2017

          "BEING WISE AND PRUDENT"

First Reading: Wisdom 6: 12- 16
Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18
Gospel Reading: Matthew 25: 1-19

   * First reading is from the book of Wisdom. In this passage Wisdom is personified and is praised. It also tells us that Wisdom can be found by all those who seek her. Wisdom is discerned by those who love her. Further it adds that those who are worthy of Wisdom will find her.

   * Second reading is from the first letter of St. Paul to Thessalonians. In this passage Paul consoles the people of Thessalonika who were worried about the fate of their loved ones who have died. He assures them that God will raise them up as He raised up Christ. Paul mentions about the second coming of Christ which will be sudden and unexpected. Only those who have been eagerly waiting for Him and preparing themselves to meet Him will have the joy of His presence.

        "The Parable of the Ten Virgins "
Today's Gospel reading is from St. Matthew. In this passage we have the parable that speaks about a marriage celebration where ten virgins went to meet the bridegroom with their lamps as was the custom of that time in Palestine. Out of the ten, five were foolish who did not take extra oil for their lamps. Whereas other five were wise and took extra oil for their lamps. The bridegroom and party arrived late night. When the bridegroom came the foolish one could not light their lamps because they did not have oil with them. As a result they could not join the marriage party. Whereas the wise ones had their lamps lit with the oil they carried along and they joined the marriage party.
This parable warns us that there are certain things in the world which cannot be obtained at the last minute as it happened in the case of the foolish virgins. This parable also tells us that we should keep awake and be ready when the Lord comes into our lives.
Finally the parable tells us that there are certain things which we cannot borrow. The foolish virgins found it impossible to borrow oil when they most needed it. A person cannot borrow a relationship with God. A person cannot borrow a character. He or she must be clothed with it. 
"The oil for our journey to heaven has to be acquired by each one of us"

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Thirty First Sunday of the Year : A: November 5, 2017

             "A LESSON ON HUMILITY"

First Reading : Malachi 1: 14-2:2,8-10
Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 2: 7-9,13
Gospel Reading: Matthew 23: 1-12

   * First reading is from the book of Prophet Malachi. In this passage, Malachi gives a warning to Priests that the Lord God intends to humble and punish the proud priests for their empty piety, for straying from the true path and for spreading false doctrines. The Prophet laments that they have turned away from their God and made void the Covenant of the Lord God. They are condemned for their favouritism and causing distinctions and divisions among the people of God.

   * Second reading is from the first letter of St. Paul to Thessalonians. In this passage Paul reminds the Christian community in Thessalonika of his love and care for them and how hard he worked to bring the good news to them. He also gives thanks to God for their openness to his preaching.

"Whoever Humbles Will be Exalted"
Today's Gospel reading is from St. Matthew. In this passage Jesus severely criticizes the religious leaders of that time: Pharisees and Scribes. The teaching of Jesus is relevant for us too. Jesus accused the Scribes and Pharisees regarding their double standards. They were only pretending to be good. But in reality they were not so. They paraded themselves in public and dressed in fancy robes. They said long prayers and kept rules that were man made. But inside they were hollow and empty. They made every effort to show off their importance and false piety.
Jesus was able to see beneath the appearances and see the real person . What joy it was for him to find a genuine person like Nathaniel. But he disliked false people who were only deceiving others and themselves. The moment we try to be what we are not, we become unreal persons. A humble person never tries to be a pretender.
The words of Jesus, "whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted" should ring in our ears and help us to lead  honest and humble lives.
"Many religious people are not saints because they never succeed in being themselves." - Thomas Merton. 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Thirtieth Sunday of the Year:: A: October 29, 2017

     "THE GREATEST COMMANDMENT"

First Reading : Exodus 22: 21-27
Second Reading : 1 Thessalonians 1: 5-10
Gospel Reading: Matthew 22: 34-40

   * First reading is from the book of Exodus. In this passage the Lord God instructs the people of Israel that there should not be any exploitation and discrimination of the weak and the marginalized in the community. The Lord severely warns them  of the consequences, even death if they do any injustice to the weaker members of the community.

   *Second reading is from the first letter of St. Paul to the Thessalonians. In this passage Paul expresses his deep appreciation of the examplary behaviour of the Christians in Thessalonika. They accepted the word of God in pain and affliction but they became examples for all other Christian communities by serving the living and true God.

"Love of God and Love of Neighbour"
Today's Gospel reading is from St. Matthew. This passage speaks about the two great commandments of God: Love of God and Love of neighbour. These two commandments are inseparable as explained by Jesus to a lawyer. When we love God, it should naturally be seen in our daily life through love of our fellow humans. St. John says, "Any one who says, 'I love God and hates his brother' is a liar" (1 Jn.4:20). Hence our love for others must flow from the divine fountain, that is God's love. We are enabled to love others because it was God who loved us first and made us capable of loving others.
Through this teaching of Jesus, we are asked not just to believe in God but to love God. We are asked not just to respect our neighbour but to love our neighbour. Once our life is governed by love of God and of one another, all other laws become irrelevant.
" I wouldn't touch a leper for a thousand pounds, yet I willingly cure him for the love of God". - St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
" If we want to live a life of love of God, we must not fail in our love towards our neighbour" - St. Teresa of Child Jesus.
" I am just a little pencil in the hand of God sending a love letter to the world" - St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta. 
























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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Twenty nineth Sunday of the Year :A: 22nd October , 2017

         "GIVING TO GOD AND CAESAR"

First Reading: Isaiah 45: 1,4-5
Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 1: 1-5
Gospel Reading: Matthew 22: 15-21

   * First reading is from the book of Prophet Isaiah. The context of this passage is that, King Cyrus, the Persian King liberated the people of Israel from their exile in Babylon. The return of the Chosen People from exile is seen not merely as a sign of God's love for His people but of His lordship over all people.

   * Second reading is from the first letter of St.Paul to Thessalonians. This passage contains the opening lines from Paul's first letter to the Christian community at Thessalonika. His love and concern for them shines through this letter and  Paul acknowledges the  success of his preaching to the Holy Spirit. 

"Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's"
Today's Gospel reading is from St. Matthew. This passage contains the question put by Pharisees to Jesus,"Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not". Jesus cleverly answers this question by taking a Roman coin and subsequently asking them about the image and the inscription on the coin. By His answer 'Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's' Jesus explains to us the need to recognize two fold authority namely the secular authority and God's authority. Jesus makes a fine distinction between the two. In most of the countries there is a complete separation between the Church and the State. For Christians, how to live in the world without having a conflict between 'Caesar and God' is the question. There are also so many little 'Caesars' we have to deal with in our daily lives. There is the party, the company, the local club etc. all vying for loyalty. In all these situations we have to acknowledge the legitimate secular authority at the same time keeping God's authority in its place.
"The main problem of the twentieth Century: is it permissible to commit one's conscience to someone else's keeping?" - Solzhenitsyn. 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Twenty Eighth Sunday :A: October 15, 2017

"INVITATION TO THE BANQUET OF THE LORD"

First Reading : Isaiah 25: 6-10
Second Reading: Philippians 4: 12-14, 19-20
Gospel Reading: Matthew 22: 1-14

   * First reading is from the book of Prophet Isaiah. In this passage, Isaiah speaks of a great banquet of all of God's people on the mountain of the Lord. The imagery of the banquet is used to describe the great blessings that God has in store not only for the people of Israel but for all nations. It prefigures the blessings that will be brought about by the messianic kingdom of Jesus.

   * Second reading is from the letter of St. Paul to Philippians. Paul describes his own contentment in all situations of life. While thanking the Christian community at Philippi for supporting him, he expresses his total and unquestioned trust in the Lord Jesus who always strengthened him. 

"The Parable of the Wedding Feast"
Today's Gospel reading is from St. Matthew. In this passage, we have the parable of the wedding feast. It is a rather strange parable . It is about a great wedding feast given by a King. The wedding feast symbolizes the heavenly banquet prepared by God. In the parable, the King invites all types of people for his son's wedding. But not all are responsive to the invitation. We meet four different groups of people in the parable.
1. Those who made light of the King's invitation and did not go for the banquet on different pretexts. They had their own affairs to be busy with, and did not respond to the invitation.
2.Those who treated the King's servants shamefully and killed them.These are the evil forces who do not accept God's kingdom and are trying to do away with it at all cost.
3. Those who are called from the streets and responded to the invitation of the King. These are the people who are from all nations and are willing to accept God's kingdom. God is willing to accept any person to His kingdom without looking at his/her antecedents.
4. Those that refused to wear the wedding garment. These are the people who after accepting the invitation of God are not willing to be part of the privilege they received. It shows their unrepentant way of life.
God is generous in inviting all of us to His banquet. May be we have different reasons to make light of it, totally reject it, or accept it with an open heart. If we accept God's invitation wholeheartedly and unconditionally, we will receive great blessings that only God can dispense. 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Twenty Seventh Sunday : A : October 8, 2017

"THE WICKED AND THE UNFAITHFUL WILL BE PUNISHED"

First Reading: Isaiah 5: 1-7
Second Reading: Philippians 4: 6-9
Gospel Reading: Matthew 21: 33-43

   * First reading is from the book of Prophet Isaiah. In this passage, Isaiah compares Israel to a vineyard which failed to produce desired fruits in spite of  the fact that the vineyard owner (God) lavished his care and attention on it . Sadly, it is destined to become wilderness. Like this vineyard, the Lord God took care of His chosen people Israel with utmost diligence and care. Unfortunately, they produced evil fruits and as a result the Lord God rejected them. 
 
   * Second reading is from St. Paul's letter to Philippians. In this passage, Paul gives examples of the kind of fruits we should produce in the vineyard of the Lord. To enjoy peace that God has promised, in every type of anxiety, we need to turn to God in prayer of thanksgiving and petition. 

"The Parable of Wicked Tenants" 
Today's Gospel reading is from St. Matthew. This is a parable which vividly describes the unfaithfulness and the wickedness of  the chosen people of God. In the parable, the vineyard owner entrusted his vineyard to tenants. He had equipped the vineyard with every facility - hedge,wine press, and a tower - everything which would make their task easy and light. After handing over the vineyard to the tenants, the owner went for a long journey. When he returned and the season for the fruits arrived, the owner sent his servants to get his share of the produce. But these wicked men ill treated them and sent them back empty handed. Later, the owner sent his own beloved son hoping that these men would respect him. Instead, they killed him and took possession of the vineyard. Finally the owner had no option other than to drive these wicked men out of the vineyard and handover the vineyard to other tenants.
Jesus spoke this parable in the context of the unfaithfulness of the chosen people of God, Israel and its leaders. Not only they rejected God but also rejected Jesus the Son of God. This parable has deep significance in our lives too. In spite of God's great love and concern for each of us, we have been unfaithful and wicked. 
The following messages are implied in this parable.
1. The destructive effects of greed and resultant violence against the rights of others.
2. The vineyard is the image of God's people. The question to be asked by us is, are we good/bad tenants?
3.Everyone without fail is finally answerable to the owner (God)