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Saturday, 30 September 2017

Audio reflections of Sunday, October 1, 2017

To hear the Audio reflections of Sunday, October 1, 2017 click HERE

Sunday, October 1, 2017 - Not words, but deeds

To read the texts click on the texts: Ez. 18:25-28; Phil.2:1-11; Mt 21:28-32

A priest friend was telling me how during the time of heavy rains in his town because of which many people lost a lot of their belongings, he made an appeal during his Sunday homily for people to come and help him reach out to those who were affected by the rains. When he asked people to raise their hands to indicate if they would come, about 70% of the 500 people present raised their hands. He fixed the following Saturday as the day on which they would go out to help. When the day came, five people turned up. They said, but did not do. They had words but no action.

There is an intimate connection between all three readings of today. In the reading from Ezekiel, the prophet calls the people to realize that it is not God’s ways that are unfair but their own. He asks the people to grow up and accept responsibility for their actions and not lay the blame on God’s door. It is not God who punishes or condemns, but punishment is the consequence or result of a person’s wrong doing. The ones who persist in their evil ways condemn themselves. Ezekiel’s portrayal is of a generous and forgiving God who wants everyone to come back to him. Anyone who turns back to God will be accepted and forgiven.

This theme of acceptance and forgiveness is affirmed by Matthew in the Gospel text. At the end of the parable of the two sons he says that those who turn to God after renouncing their former evil ways will indeed be saved. This turning to God has be a turning that is shown in action and not mere words.

It is important to understand the immediate context. It is placed in the Gospel almost immediately after Jesus has entered the temple in Jerusalem and “cleansed” it. This action leads the chief priests and elders of the people to question Jesus’ authority. It is in this context that the parable is told and the audience continues to be the chief priests and the elders. It brings out powerfully the fact that these who just questioned Jesus’ authority are themselves rejecting the kingdom.

The first son initially refuses his father’s request. It was culturally unacceptable, so afterwards he does go and do what his father asks. Thus his initial refusal is followed by eventual obedience. The second son not only agrees to go but also reinforces this agreement by addressing his father as “Lord”. However, he does not go and his initial agreement is followed by eventual disobedience. Though the answer to Jesus’ question as to which son did the will of the father is obvious and the Jewish leaders answer correctly. What shocks and offends them is the application that Jesus makes. They are compared with the son who was ready with words and even words of respect, but with what remained mere empty words. Though God spoke to them through the Law and numerous prophets, they had merely heard and not obeyed. The tax collectors and prostitutes on the other hand, who are likened to the first son, are the ones who are entering the kingdom and receiving salvation because they dared to do so, even though they may have initially refused to listen.

The second reading from Philippians provides the Christological foundation of such conversion. Jesus himself is the model of the truly obedient son, who says yes to his Father in the most radical and action oriented way. His actions match his words. There is no dichotomy. In this he goes one better than the first son in not only doing but also saying. The initial verses of the hymn explode with verbs of action. Jesus did not grasp at equality with God; he emptied himself; he took on the form of a slave; he came in human likeness; he was obedient to the point of enduring the ignominy of death in one of the most shameful of ways: on a cross. This is the attitude that true followers of Jesus are challenged to adopt. In the second half of the hymn, the verbs then shift. God becomes now the actor or doer exalting Jesus and giving him a name above every name. Doing the will of the Father, for Jesus, was more than simply a matter of words; it is always a matter of deeds. Appropriate and relevant action, accompanying the words, is the way of a true disciple of Jesus.


The repentance that today’s texts call for is a radical change of heart, mind and vision that is seen in denying self and reaching out to everyone in need. It is true that there will be times when, like the first son, we may say an initial “I will not”, but when we dare to look at the example of Christ that continues to shine brightly before us, we are challenged to imitate him and have that same mind and heart. We are called to realize, like him, that if we dare to open ourselves to obedience, even though it might not seen at first glance as the best option, we too like him will conquer death and be that example which the world so badly needs today.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Audio reflections of Saturday, October 30, 2017

To hear the Audio reflections of Saturday, October 30, 2017 click HERE

Saturday, September 30, 2017 - Does it make sense to proclaim a “Suffering Messiah” today? How will you do it if it does?

To read the texts click on the texts: Zech 2:5-9,14-15; Lk 9:43-45

The second Passion prediction in the Gospel, which is our text for today, follows immediately after Jesus’ mighty work in exorcising the demon in the previous scene. It is only in Luke that Jesus announces his passion and death while “all were marvelling at everything he did.” Only Luke adds the phrase, “Let these words sink into your ears;” in order to bring out the gravity of the pronouncement. 

He abbreviates the Passion prediction of Mark, so that his passion prediction simply has “the Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men.” Through this shortening, Luke focuses on Jesus’ “being handed over” or “delivered”, and omits any reference to Jesus’ death and resurrection. Like in Mark, here too the disciples’ are not able to understand. However, Luke gives a reason for this, namely “it was concealed from them”, though he does not say by whom.


It is not easy for us to give up control. Moat of us like to be in control of every situation so that we do not need to depend on someone else. These verses are calling us to understand that this is not always possible or even necessary. There may be times when we need to give up control and especially to God acting through humans if we are to be faithful to his will.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Audio Reflections of Friday, September 29, 2017 the feast of the Archangels

To hear the Audio Reflections of Friday, September 29, 2017 the feast of the Archangels click HERE

Friday, September 29, 2017 - ARCHANGELS MICHAEL, GABRIEL AND RAPHAEL

To read the texts click on the texts: Dan 7:9-10,13-14; Rev12:7-12; Jn 1:47-51

The three Archangels Michael (Who is as God? or Who is like God?), Gabriel (Strength of God) and Raphael (God heals) are the only angels named in Sacred Scripture. However, ancient apocryphal literature mentions others beside these three, but the names are spurious.

Archangel Michael is invoked for protection against evil and regarded as a Champion of God’s people. Gabriel is mentioned four times in the Bible. Of these the most significant are in the New Testament when he makes the announcement of the birth of john the Baptist and Jesus to Zechariah and Mary respectively. Raphael is mentioned in the Book of Tobit and is the one who heals Tobias’ blindness. Raphael is not mentioned in the New Testament, but is invoked for healing and acts of mercy.

The choice of the Gospel reading from John is because of the mention of angels in the last verse of the text. Though having an opinion about where the Messiah would come from, Nathanael remains open to another revelation. Though skeptical, he is willing to be convinced. Jesus addresses Nathanael as an “Israelite” which signifies his faithfulness to the law and is used here in a positive sense. He is without guile because though he has questions and even doubts, he is open and receptive and willing to learn. Jesus’ intimate knowledge of Nathanael and the revelation that he makes to him leads to a transformation in Nathanael and he comes to faith. He responds to Jesus with a confession and though he begins with Rabbi, he moves on to recognizing Jesus as Son of God and King of Israel.

However, Jesus responds by pointing out to Nathanael that this is only the beginning of the revelation that Jesus makes. If he continues to remain open he will experience even greater things. By means of a double “Amen”, Jesus points out to Nathanael and to others there that he will be the bridge between heaven and earth. Through the phrase “you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” (Jn 1:51) which combines images from the descent of the Son of Man as narrated by Daniel (7:13) and the ladder of Jacob’s dream in Genesis (28:12), Jesus states that Jacob’s ladder is replaced by the Son of Man. He will be that place and person in whom the earthly and divine encounter each other. He as Son of man will make God known. The Son of Man becomes the place where the earthly and the heavenly, divine and human, temporal and eternal meet.


When looked at from this angle, the feast of the Archangels is saying to us that our God is not merely in the heavens. Our God is not merely a God who has created the world and left it to its own design. Rather our God is a God who is intimately connected to the world and present to and in it. Our God is a God who is concerned about our world and ever willing to lend a hand whenever any one of us requires it.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Audio reflections of Thursday, October 28, 2017

To hear the Audio reflections of Thursday, October 28, 2017 click HERE

Thursday, September 28, 2017 - You know a great deal about Jesus, but do you really know him? When did you last meet him personally?

To read the texts click on the texts: Hag 1:1-8; Lk 9:7-9

This text (9:7-9) forms the meat of the sandwich formed by the sending out of the Twelve (9:1-6) and their return (9:10-17). In a sandwich construction, an event is begun, interrupted by another event and the first event is continued and completed. 

In this instance, the disciples are sent on mission (9:1-6), the return is interrupted by the question of Herod (9:7-9) and the event of the sending out of the disciples is continued and completed by their return (9:10-17). In such a construction, the first and the third events throw light on the event in the middle or the meat of the sandwich. The first and third events narrate the sending and successful return, and it is in this light that the question of Herod, “Who is this?” which is the second event or in the centre, must be read. 

Herod’s desire to see Jesus foreshadows coming events. When Herod did meet Jesus, his desire to see Jesus was fulfilled, but he wanted only to see Jesus perform a sign. He never really grasped the answer to his own question. Though John the Baptist has been beheaded and Jesus will also be killed, yet the violence of the wicked will be no match for God’s grace. The success of the disciples’ in mission is only a shadow of the success that Jesus will experience in mission.


The intention behind wanting to meet Jesus is extremely important. If one’s approach is curiosity that will be the level at which one will see him. If one’s approach is faith, then one will encounter him as he is.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Audio reflections of Wednesday, September 27, 2017

To hear the Audio reflections of Wednesday, September 27, 2017 click HERE

Wednesday, September 27, 2017 - What does mission mean for you today? How and where will you proclaim it?

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

This passage may be seen as the culmination of the entire section Lk. 7:1 – 8:56. In this section, we were shown the nature of Jesus’ Kingdom mission. The Twelve now share in that same mission. 

These verses may be termed as the Mission Discourse according to Luke. Though Luke has taken much material from the Mission Discourse of Mark (see Mk. 6:6b-13), he has also made changes, which bring out his meaning of mission more clearly. 

Before Jesus instructs his disciples on how they must go about their mission, he gives them not only authority as in Mark, but power and authority. This power and authority is given not only over the unclean spirits as in Mark, but over all demons and to cure diseases. Only in Luke are they also sent to “preach the Kingdom of God”. This indicates that for Luke, mission is inclusive and includes both doing as well as saying, both action as well as word.

Besides power and authority, Jesus also gives the disciples a strategy for mission. This may be summed up as detachment from things (take nothing for your journey), persons (stay there and from there depart) and from events (and wherever they do not receive you, when you leave shake off the dust from your feet). Dependence ought to be only on the Providence of God. The rejection shown Jesus is also in store for those sent by Jesus. The last verse in today’s text, underscores the disciples’ obedience to the commands of Jesus by reiterating the principal features of mission: preaching the good news and healing the sick. That mission is universal is made clear in the last word, “everywhere”.


As missionaries today, we are called to continue to the Mission inaugurated by Jesus and put into motion by his first disciples. It is a mission, which includes every aspect of life and involves all persons. This means that we are called not to be part-time missionaries or disciples, but on mission always and everywhere. 

Monday, 25 September 2017

Audio Reflections of Tuesday, September 26, 2017

To hear the Audio Reflections of Tuesday, September 26, 2017 click HERE

Tuesday, September 26, 2017 - Would Jesus point to you as a member of his family? Why?

To read the texts click on the texts: Ezra 6:7-8,12,14-20; Lk 8:19-21

Though this text, which concerns the mother and brothers of Jesus, is found also in Mark 3:21-22 and 3:31-35 and Matthew 12:46-50, Luke narrates it quite differently from both. 

In Mark 3:33 and Matthew 12:48 Jesus asks who his mother and brothers are. In Luke, however, Jesus does not ask this question, but says simply when told that his mother and brothers desire to see him, that his mother and brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it. 

Luke thus gives a positive thrust to the scene unlike Mark and Matthew. It might be said that while in Mark and Matthew Jesus seems to reject his physical family and choose instead the crowd (so Mark) or his disciples (so Matthew), in Luke he does not do so. This means that though family relations with Jesus are not based on physical relations but on the word of God, his physical family does indeed hear the word of God and acts on it.


We might possess the name Christian because of our baptism, but this does not necessarily mean that we belong to the family of Jesus. In order to belong what is also necessary is putting into action what Jesus has taught.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Audio Reflections of Monday, September 25, 2017

To hear the Audio Reflections of Monday, September 25, 2017 click HERE

Monday, September 25, 2017 - What is the Good News according to you? Will you share it with others today? How?

To read the texts click on the texts:Ezra 1:1-6; Lk 8:16-18

These verses in Luke are a commentary on the Parable of the Sower, which in Luke appears in 8:5-8. 

Just as a farmer sows the seed so that all of it may bear fruit, so also a lamp is lit so that it may give light. Like seed is sown not to be trampled on, eaten by birds, to wither or to be chocked, so a lamp is lit not to be hid under a jar or under a bed. 

Knowledge of the kingdom is not esoteric or secret, reserved for a particular group alone, but must be made known to all. It is knowledge, which must be shared openly with others. It is indeed the Good News, since it is a communication of love, and therefore it must not only be heard, but also experienced. By adding, “Then pay attention to how you listen”, the Lucan Jesus reminds listeners that they can choose and control how they will listen to the word of God. A total openness to the word of God results in an appropriate response to it.


Hearing is an active process. It calls for a commitment. Those who are open to that word are like a lamp, which gives light to all. An attentive hearing of the word of God can result in the transformation of one’s life and the living out of that word can lead to transformation in the lives of others.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Sunday, September 24, 2017 - Are you good because of fear of punishment or hope of reward or are you good because it is good to be good?

To read the texts click on the texts: Is 55:6-9;Phil 1:20-24,27; Mt 20:1-16

The parable of the labourers in the vineyard, who are paid the same wages for unequal work, is exclusive to the Gospel of Matthew. Many are of the opinion that the original parable ended at 20:13 or 20:14a, and what follows from 20:14b–16 or 20:14-16 are Matthean additions. The parable narrates how the landowner himself goes to the market to hire labourers at different hours and even at the eleventh hour. While the first group of workers is told explicitly that they will be paid the day’s wage which was one denarius, while the others are told that they would be paid whatever is right. When the time for payment arrives the focus is on the groups hired first and last, with the last being paid before all the other. They are paid one denarius, which is the day’s wage. The last are also paid what the landowner agreed with them. Since the parable does not speak about the amount work done by each group or say that those who were hired at the eleventh hour did as much work as those who were hired in the morning, it leaves the reader stunned. This ending upsets and challenges conventional values. The point that Jesus seems to make in the parable is that the tax collectors and sinners will be given the same status as those who have obeyed the law.

The additions by Matthew stress the jealousy and envy of those who were hired in the morning. The objection is not to what they have received but about the fact that the others have received as much as they, which they regard as unfair. The difference is that they have received what is theirs through their hard work and effort; the others have received what they have because of the landowner’s generosity.


If one can identify with the group who complains, then it is time that one checks one’s motivation whenever one does good, because if one does not, one will continue to get frustrated at what one sees happening around one. Is the work that you do reward in itself? Or do you expect another reward?

Friday, 22 September 2017

Audio Reflections of Saturday, September 23, 2017

To hear the Audio Reflections of Saturday, September 23, 2017 click HERE

Saturday, September 23, 2017 - Do I usually focus more on the reaping than on the sowing? Do I focus more on the result than on the action? Do I focus more on the future than on the present?

To read the texts click on the texts: 1 Tim 6:13-16; Lk 8:4-15

The text of today combines both the Parable of the Sower (8:5-8) and the allegory (8:11-15) {in an allegory, every element in the story is given a meaning. So, the seed is regarded as the word of God, those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved, and so on}. Though it is true that the Sower disappears from the scene after he is first mentioned, and the seed takes centre stage, the parable is really one of contrast between the beginning and the middle, and the end. Thus, the Sower (whom the end will affect) is still an important figure in the parable. Since many have confused the allegory with the Parable, the meaning of the parable may have been missed. In this reflection we will focus on the Parable.

The farmer would sow along “the path”, because according to research done on the agricultural practices in Palestine at the time of Jesus, the practice was to sow seeds first and then plough it into the ground. Sowing on “rocky ground” is not surprising because the underlying limestone, thinly covered with soil, barely showed above the surface until the ploughshare jarred against it. Sowing among “thorns” is also understandable, because this too will be ploughed up. Though the ploughing of the three kinds of soil above will be done, it will result in a loss, because in none of them will the seed grow. It will seem that seventy-five percent of the effort is lost. While most of the parable focuses on “sowing”, in the last verse it is already “harvest time”. The abnormal, exaggerated tripling, of the harvest’s yield (thirty, sixty, a hundredfold) symbolises the overflowing of divine fullness., surpassing all human measure and expectations (A tenfold harvest counted as a good harvest and a yield of seven and a half as an average one).

To human eyes much of the labour seems futile and fruitless, resulting in repeated failure, but Jesus is full of joyful confidence; he knows that God has made a beginning, bringing with it a harvest of reward beyond all asking or conceiving. In spite of every failure and opposition, from hopeless beginnings, God brings forth the triumphant end, which he has promised.

1.   Do I usually focus more on the reaping than on the sowing? Do I focus more on the result than on the action? Do I focus more on the future than on the present?

2.   How do I react when most of my effort seems to be in vain? Do I throw up my hands in despair? Do I give up? Do I get despondent? Or do I carry on despite all odds? Do I continue to persevere? Do I keep on keeping on?

3.   How attached am I to the result of my action? Can I plunge into the din of battle and leave my heart at the feet of the Lord?

4.   Write down your response to this statement of St. Ignatius – “WHEN YOU WORK, WORK AS IF EVERYTHING DEPENDS ONLY ON YOU. WHEN YOU PRAY, PRAY AS IF EVERYTHING DEPENDS ONLY ON GOD.”


5.   Do you sometimes act as the “General Manager of the Universe”? Will you resign from that position today?

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Audio Reflections of Friday, September 22, 2017

To hear the Audio Reflections of Friday, September 22, 2017 click HERE

Friday, September 22, 2017 - Does the plight of others affect me at all? What do I do about it?

To read the texts click on the texts: 1 Tim 6:6-12; Lk 8:1-3

This is a text that is exclusive to the Gospel of Luke and is about the women who ministered to Jesus during his ministry. It begins by presenting Jesus as an itinerant preacher going through the cities and villages in order to proclaim the good news of the kingdom.

Luke often mentions a corresponding female or group whenever he mentions a male. He does this first in the example of Zechariah and Elizabeth, and then in the examples of Joseph and Mary, Simeon and Anna. Here too, after Luke has mentioned the Twelve, he mentions women. Mary Magdalene is identified at the one from whom seven demons had gone out and Joanna as the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza and these two appear also in 24:10 in the episode of the empty tomb. Susanna the third woman named here does not appear elsewhere in the Gospel. These and other women provided for Jesus out of their resources.


The striking point about this text is the fact that the disciples were women. At a time when a woman was looked down upon and her place in society was pre-determined, it is quite amazing to note that these became followers of Jesus and even provided for him. This is an indication of the openness that Jesus possessed and of his freedom from all kinds of constraints.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Audio Reflections of Thursday, September 21, 2017

To hear the Audio Reflections of Thursday, September 21, 2017 click HERE

Thursday, September 21, 2017 - St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist - Matthew wrote a Gospel to share his experience of Jesus. What will you do to share your experience of Jesus?

To read the texts click on the texts: Eph 4:1-7,11-13; Mt9:9-13

Most scholars hold today that the Gospel of Matthew was written after Mark. Matthew’s Gospel was the one that was used most often in the early Church and so it has been placed before Mark in the Bible. It is known as the Ecclesial Gospel or the Gospel of the Church. One reason for this is that Matthew’s thesis seems to be that since Israel for whom Jesus came rejected Jesus as Messiah, the Church has become now the new and true Israel. Also Matthew is the only one of the four Evangelists who uses the word “Ekklesia” translated “Church” in his Gospel (16:18;18:17). There is however, throughout the Gospel the tension between Particularism on the one hand and Universalism on the other. The Jesus of the Gospel of Matthew is sent “only to the lost sheep of Israel” (15:24; see also 10:6) and the same Jesus can tell Israel “the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing the fruits of it” (21:43).

Matthew’s Gospel begins with the genealogy of Jesus, which goes back to Abraham. Joseph is not called the father of Jesus but the husband of Mary (1:16) since Matthew is clear that Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus. The birth of Jesus is then narrated, followed by the visit of the wise men to Bethlehem and Herod’s plan to kill Jesus. This leads the family to go to Egypt where they remain till Herod’s death and then return to Nazareth. The birth, flight into Egypt and return to Nazareth all fulfil scripture. Matthew then goes on to narrate the Baptism of Jesus by John and Jesus’ temptations and his overcoming them. Jesus then begins his public ministry in Galilee after calling the first four disciples. Unlike Mark, which is a story, Matthew intersperses his narrative with long discourses. The first of these is the Sermon on the Mount (5:1-7,29). There are four other discourses in the Gospel. These are The Mission Discourse (10:1-11:1), The parable Discourse (13:1-53), The Community Discourse (18:1-19:1) and the Eschatological Discourse (24:1-26:1). Each of these discourses ends in a similar manner with the words, “and when Jesus had finished (7:28; 11:1; 13:53; 19:1; 26:1). This is also Matthew’s way of focussing on the teaching of Jesus and giving it as much if not more importance that the deeds of Jesus. Like in Mark, Jesus enters Jerusalem triumphantly, but soon encounters opposition, which grows and leads to his arrest, passion and death. The Gospel ends with accounts of the resurrection appearances of Jesus to his disciples and what is known as the Great Commission, in which the disciples are commanded to go to all nations and make disciples of them and assured of the presence of the ever present Lord to whom all authority in heaven and earth has been given (28:16-20).

The text chosen for the feast 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.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Audio Reflections of Wednesday, September 20, 2017

To hear the Audio Reflections of Wednesday, September 20, 2017 click HERE

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 - Will you dance to the tune of the Lord or are you dancing your own dance?

To read the texts click on the texts: 1 Tim 3:14-16; Lk 7:31-35

The point of these sayings of Jesus is to bring out the failure of the crowd to respond to the invitation of John and Jesus. Though John and Jesus are different from each other and went about their ministries differently, the people accepted neither. John lived a very austere life and indulged in no excesses at all, but he was not accepted. Rather he was labelled as a wild man. Jesus on the hand lived quite openly and freely due to this was labelled as a glutton and drunkard.


Many of us are so concerned about what people say about us that we sometimes live our lives based on their opinions. The text of today teaches us that you cannot please everybody every time. There are some who will neither join in the dance nor in the mourning, but sit on the fence and criticise. It is best to leave these alone and do what one believes one ought to do.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Audio Reflections of Tuesday, September 19, 2017

To hear the Audio Reflections of Tuesday, September 19, 2017 click HERE

Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - If God were to call you to himself now, what are the three things you would regret not having done? Will you do them today?

To read the texts click on the texts: 1 Tim 3:1-13; Lk 7:11-17

The miracle of the raising the widow’s son at Nain is a miracle that is found only in the Gospel of Luke. If the centurion’s servant healed in 7:1-10 was ill and at the point of death, the son of the widow in this story is already dead. There are many similarities between this story and that of Elijah’s raising the widow’s son in 1 Kings 17:10.17-24. Luke emphasises that the son was the widow’s “only son” (7:12). Luke also states that when Jesus saw the widow, he had compassion for her.. Jesus raises the boy quite simply with an authoritative command. The crowd responds by regarding Jesus as a prophet and by affirming that God has been favourable to his people through the deed that Jesus had just done.


The scripture offers many instances where men and women of faith ask for help, and are granted it, even though under normal experiences they might have gone on for the rest of their lives with sin or weakness or sickness or oppression. 

Does prayer change anything? Again and again the scripture teaches that it does indeed. God can and does intervene in the normal running of his universe. We see just such an instance in this passage. 

The young man is dead -- his life cut short by sickness perhaps, but death is a "normal" experience in our fallen world. Then Jesus sees a mother's tears, realizes that this widow -- there is no husband and other children mourning beside her -- has lost her only son, and Jesus moved with compassion, and intervenes. 

God doesn't intervene every time we are hurting or have problems, just as loving parents do not or cannot intervene to soften everything for their children. Sometimes we are angry with God for not giving us the answer to prayer that we desire. Sometimes we blame him for not intervening when our loved ones are sick or die. But it is not because God lacks compassion, for Jesus shows us the Father, and Jesus is full of compassion. We are left with the fact that Jesus indicates that the Father will do things as a result of our prayers, because of his compassion, that he will not otherwise do. 

Prayer can appeal to the heart of God to bring about change.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Audio Reflections of Monday, September 18, 2017

To hear the Audio Reflections of Monday, September 18, 2017 click HERE

Monday, September 18, 2017 - Will you keep on keeping on today; even when things might not go the way you plan?

To read the texts click on the texts: 1 Tim 2:1-8; Lk 7:1-10

In the story of today’s Gospel, we will read of a centurion’s response of faith in Jesus. The emphasis in the miracle is given to the power of Jesus’ word. There is a close parallel to this story in Matthew and a more distant parallel in John. In Matthew, the servant is “lying paralysed at home”, whereas in Luke, the “slave is at the point of death”. While in Matthew, it is the centurion himself who comes to make the request of Jesus, in Luke; he sends first a delegation of elders who would have been leaders of the synagogue. They vouch for the merit of his request. 
As Jesus starts for the centurion’s house, a second delegation is sent. This time it is the friends of the centurion. The centurion’s words, “I am not worthy” contrast sharply with the tribute paid to him by the Jewish elders, who testified, “He is worthy”. The effect is to place the centurion in an even better light. The centurion’s words may also convey that he was aware that the Pharisees’ regarded a Gentile’s house as unclean and that a Jew would be defiled by entering his home. He is also confident that Jesus could heal at a distance. Just as he acts by commanding his subordinates, he expects no more than that Jesus would do the same. 

The point of the story is Jesus’ affirmation of the centurion’s faith and not the report of the healing that concludes the story. Luke’s description communicates Jesus’ surprise at the Gentile’s faith, and his approval as well. Where Jesus would have expected to find faith in an Israelite, here he finds it in a Gentile.


There are times when after having tried all available means to solve a problem that we might be facing, we might be tempted to throw up our hands in despair and simply give up. The centurion’s faith is an inspiration to everyone of us that we need to keep on keeping on despite all evidence to the contrary.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Audio Reflections of Sunday, September 17, 2017

To hear the Audio Reflections of Sunday, September 17, 2017 click HERE

Sunday, September 17, 2017 - Forgive, it is good for your health. What would be your position if God kept a grudge against you for every sin you committed? Will you give up all your un-forgiveness today?

To read the texts click on the texts: Sir 27:30-28:7; Rom 14:7-9; Mt18:21-35

The readings of today which are from centuries ago are still as relevant today as they were then. Most doctors today are agreed that harbouring resentment, unforgiveness and similar negative feelings are largely responsible for the ailments we suffer today.

Ben Sirach offers practical wisdom in the first reading of today when he exhorts his listeners to forgive and not hold anger in their hearts. The reason for this is that if one holds the negative, there is no room for the forgiving love of God to enter into one’s heart. When one harbours wrath and anger, one closes heart to receive the forgiveness and acceptance that God keeps giving.

A similar point is made in the conclusion of Matthew’s Community Discourse which is the Gospel text for today. It begins with a question from Peter about the number of times one is expected to forgive. The sevenfold forgiveness that Peter suggests is by no means trivial. Seven is the traditional number of perfection. That Peter suggests forgiving seven times does not mean, therefore, that he wants to grant his brother or sister only a limited forgiveness. Instead, the sense of Peter’s question is: “Is perfect forgiveness expected of me?” Jesus could simply have answered yes, but his answer calls for even more perfection. The most perfect, boundlessly infinite, countlessly repeated forgiveness is demanded of Peter. The answer that Matthew attributes to Jesus cannot be surpassed. In the church Jesus’ rule of radical forgiveness is in effect. The point therefore is not so much about numbers but about forgiveness from the heart. If one has to count the number of times one is forgiving, it means that one is not really forgiving at all.

For Matthew also it is clear that God’s forgiveness can be lost through human unkindness so that one’s earlier guilt returns. The story that follows in 18:23-35 about the king who forgave his servant a debt of ten thousand talents (a talent was more than fifteen years wages of a labourer) and that same servant who would not forgive another servant who owed him a mere hundred denarii (a denarius was the usual day’s wage for a labourer) insists that if one has not genuinely received God’s forgiveness, one cannot forgive others. The servant, who was forgiven his huge debt, had not interiorised the forgiveness he received. He did not let the grace of forgiveness seep into his heart and consequently was not able to appreciate it. This lack of appreciation of grace, lead to his own unforgiving action toward a fellow servant. The response of the king is immediate. He asks for no explanation, but simply labels the forgiven one as evil and treats him as he treated his fellow slave. The parable ends with the hearers being challenged to reflect on how God will deal with each one and of the consequences of unforgiveness.

The model of forgiveness whom Paul asks us to look to is Jesus. It is he who first showed us the true meaning of forgiveness and also taught us how to forgive in his ministry and especially when on the cross. It is this Jesus for whom we live and die and who remains the only inspiration that we will ever need.

We expect to be forgiven by others when we do them harm and after we have said sorry. Sometimes, if they do not forgive us, we get upset with them. We need to apply the same yardstick to ourselves when others ask for forgiveness from us. The readings of today are explicit that if we have to truly receive the unconditional forgiveness of God then we have first to open our hearts wide to receive this forgiveness. This openness will result in our being able to forgive others who we think have hurt us.


I am fond of saying, “Forgive, it is good for your health”.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Audio Reflections of Saturday, September 16, 2017

To hear the Audio Reflections of Saturday, September 16, 2017 click HERE

Saturday, September 16, 2017 - Will your faith show in action today? How?

To read the texts click on the texts: 1 Tim 1:15-17; Lk 6:43-49

In the last part of the Sermon on The Plain, the Lucan Jesus uses the metaphor of a tree and its fruit, and through it exhorts the listeners not merely “to say”, but rather “to do”. The nature of a tree is known by the fruit it produces, and each tree produces a different kind of fruit. If a person’s heart is good, then what he/she produces will also be good, whereas if a person’s heart is evil, then the deeds of that person will also be evil.


Luke concludes his sermon with an exhortation to do what the Lord says rather then merely to call him Lord. There is no point in merely saying “I believe” if we are not going to show that belief in action. 

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Audio Reflections of Friday, September 15, 2017 the feast of our Lady of Sorrows

To hear the Audio Reflections of Friday, September 15, 2017 the feast of our Lady of Sorrows click HERE

Friday, September 15, 2017 - Our Lady of Sorrows -

To read the texts click on the texts: Heb 5:7-9; Jn 19:25-27; Lk 2:33-35


The title, “Our Lady of Sorrows,” given to our Blessed Mother focuses on her intense suffering and grief during the passion and death of our Lord. Traditionally, this suffering was not limited to the passion and death event; rather, it comprised “the seven dolours” or “seven sorrows” of Mary, which were foretold by the Simeon who proclaimed to Mary, “This child  is destined to be the downfall and the rise of many in Israel, a sign that will be opposed and you yourself shall be pierced with a sword so that the thoughts of many hearts may be laid bare” (Luke 2:34-35). These seven sorrows of our Blessed Mother included the flight of the Holy Family into Egypt; the loss and finding of the child Jesus in the Temple; Mary's meeting of Jesus on His way to Calvary; Mary's standing at the foot of the cross when our Lord was crucified; her holding of Jesus when He was taken down from the cross; and then our Lord's burial. In all, the prophesy of Simeon that a sword would pierce our Blessed Mother's heart was fulfilled in these events. For this reason, Mary is sometimes depicted with her heart exposed and with seven swords piercing it. More importantly, each new suffering was received with the courage, love, and trust that echoed her fiat, “let it be done unto me according to Thy word,” first uttered at the Annunciation.

The readings chosen for the feast are from Hebrews and a choice of either John or Luke. All three readings speak about how Jesus and Mary handled suffering in their lives and how we can learn from them.
The text from Hebrews speaks about the total humanity of Jesus to make abundantly clear that the suffering that Jesus went through was an integral part of his earthly life. Though he was challenged with accepting the Cross and though he prayed that the Cross be taken away, what was more important than that was ‘doing God’s will’. This led to acceptance of the Cross willingly and courageously.

The Gospel text from Luke is Simeon’s second oracle and addressed specifically to Mary.  It prefigures the rejection of Jesus. Not all will receive the salvation that has been prepared, see the light of revelation, or recognize the glory of God in the coming of Jesus. The sword that will pierce Mary’s heart refers to the rejection of her son and to the final rejection on the Cross. Mary’s response is courageous, because she knows like Jesus that God’s will for her son is infinitely better than anything she could hope for.

The scene in the Gospel of John is where four women are named standing by the Cross (his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas and Mary Magdalene). Of these the focus falls on Mary, the mother of Jesus and the beloved disciple who is given charge of the mother of Jesus. While the beloved disciple is indeed a historical figure, he/she can also be anyone who loves Jesus. The command of the Lord to such a disciple, who loves him, is that he/she must also take his mother into their home because she is an integral part of the family of Jesus.


The feast of Our Lady of Sorrows is relevant for each of us today. It shows first of all that though Jesus and Mary were constantly doing God’s will, they were not spared from the Cross and the challenges and vicissitudes of life. Second it shows that even in the midst of these challenges we must always remember that God walks ahead of us and will never abandon us. This is why we never give up or give in. Finally, it reminds us that sorrow and the Cross is never the end, but only a step towards resurrection and the fullness of life.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Audio Reflections of Thursday, September 14, 2017 the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross

To hear the Audio Reflections of Thursday, September 14, 2017 the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross click HERE

Thursday, September 14, 2017 - Exaltation of the Cross

To read the texts click on the texts: Num 21:4-9;Phil 2:6-11; Jn 3:13-17

The Exaltation of the Cross is one of the twelve great feasts in the yearly Church cycle. Because the cross is at the heart and centre of all that we as Christians believe, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, the triumph of the cross of Christ over the power of sin and death. The feast usually occurs on a week day. But when it falls on a Sunday as it does this year, it takes precedence over the ordinary Sunday liturgy. And so this feast provides us with another opportunity to reflect on the central mystery of our faith: that the one who was lifted up on the cross in crucifixion has triumphed over the power of sin and death because God highly exalted him.

This feast commemorates two historical events: first, the finding of what was considered the Cross of Christ in the year 326 by the mother of Constantine the Great, St Helen, and second its recovery from Persia in 628.

A story is told of Emperor Heraclius who in the year 628 after making peace with the Persians carried what was considered the Cross on which Jesus hung back to Jerusalem on his shoulders. He was clothed with costly garments and with ornaments of precious stones. But at the entrance to Mt. Calvary a strange incident occurred. Try as hard as he would, he could not go forward. Zacharias, the Bishop of Jerusalem, then said to the astonished monarch: "Consider, O Emperor, that with these triumphal ornaments you are far from resembling Jesus carrying His Cross." The Emperor then put on a penitential garb and continued the journey and carried the Cross into the Church of Holy Wisdom where it was triumphantly exalted. It was then resolved that the Fest of the Triumph or Exaltation of the Cross be celebrated by the Church in all parts of the world.

The Cross -- because of what it represents -- is the most potent and universal symbol of the Christian faith. It is a constant reminder -- and witness -- of Christ's ultimate triumph, His victory over sin and death through His suffering and dying on the Cross. The cross, once a tool of death, has become a means to life, an instrument of our salvation; it gives strength to resist temptation, it gives hope to seek new life and it dispels fear and darkness.

As Christians, we exalt the Cross of Christ as the instrument of our salvation. Adoration of the Cross is, thus, adoration of Jesus Christ, the Son of God who became Man, who suffered and died on the Cross for our redemption from sin and death. The cross represents the One Sacrifice by which Jesus, obedient even unto death, accomplished our salvation. The cross is a symbolic summary of the Passion, Crucifixion, Death and Resurrection of Christ.

In the first reading of today we read of how Moses lifted up the bronze serpent in order to heal and bring wholeness to a broken people. This was God’s way of showing the people that He was primarily a God who wanted to save and redeem and not condemn and destroy. The Church and especially the evangelist John interpreted this lifting of the bronze serpent by Moses as a foreshadowing of the salvation through Jesus when He was lifted up on the Cross. The Triumph of the Cross is the Triumph of Jesus Christ whose love for us and obedience to his Father climaxed with his death on the cross. The deeper meaning of the Cross is presented in The Christological hymn in today's second reading from the Letter of Paul to the Philippians. Jesus emptied himself completely, not just becoming a human being but accepting the worst public death of the society he lived in to demonstrate the extent of the love of God for us. He died making a willing statement of love, filling the world with the love he had for his Father and his Father had for him. We are saved from the horrors of evil, from meaningless lives due to the love of the Lord. Because Jesus died on a cross for us we are able to proclaim to the world: Jesus is Lord. His love made this possible. When we venerate and adore the cross we are saying: Jesus is Lord of our lives.

To the world this act of surrender on the cross was an act of utter humiliation and subjugation and the height of folly. To the world this death on the cross was a wasted life. To the world this death on the cross was a sign of utter defeat. But what the world calls wisdom, God calls foolishness, and what the world calls strength God call weakness. Therefore God highly exalted the crucified one by raising him from the dead. God gave Jesus his own name so that every creature on earth must now call Jesus “Lord.” What human beings did, God contradicted. And so in the weakness and foolishness of the cross we see the wisdom and power of God: Christ crucified. In him and his cross, surrender becomes power, waste becomes gain and death and defeat become victory and new life.


The cross is at the centre of our lives every time we face sickness and death. The cross is at the centre of our lives in frailty and old age. The cross is at the centre of our lives every time we feel utterly alone and abandoned. The Cross is at the centre of our lives every time we are tempted to give in and give up. It is at the centre of our lives every time we are tempted to throw our hands up in despair. It keeps reminding us that only when we embrace the cross in the midst of suffering and abandonment can we understand the power of the resurrection. Only when we have the courage to keep on keeping on can we like Christ become victorious and conquer. Only when we embrace the cross is it possible for God to raise us up and give us new life.