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Saturday, 24 February 2018

Audio reflections of Sunday, February 25, 2018 the Second Sunday in Lent

To hear the Audio reflections of Sunday, February 25, 2018 the Second Sunday in Lent click HERE

Sunday, February 25, 2018 - Gen 22: 1-2, 9,10-13,15-18; Rom 8:31-34; Mk 9:2-10

Sunday, February 25, 2018 -0 Gen 22: 1-2, 9,10-13,15-18; Rom 8:31-34; Mk 9:2-10


  1. What is the order of the two Old Testament figures who appear on the mountain?

  2. Moses with Elijah
    Elijah with Moses
    I am not sure

  3. What did Abraham finally offer instead of his son?

  4. a goat
    A bull
    A ram

  5. How many letters of Paul to the Church in Rome are found in the Bible

  6. One
    Two
    Three

  7. What was the name of Abraham's son that God asked him to sacrifice?

  8. Isaac
    Ishmael
    Ishbak

  9. How many booths did Peter want to build?

  10. Four
    Three
    Two

  11. According to the promise of God how numerous would the descendants of Abraham be?

  12. A million
    As the stars of heaven
    As the sand which is on the seashore

  13. Where did the Lord ask Abraham to go?

  14. Sinai
    Moriah
    Tabor

  15. What did the voice from heaven say?

  16. This is my beloved Son
    This is my beloved Son; listen to him
    This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased.

  17. Who were the three disciples that Jesus took with him to the mountain?

  18. Peter and James and Andrew
    Peter and James and John
    Peter and James and Philip

  19. What is the message of the readings of today?

  20. When we are willing to give all to God we get more than we can ever expect back from God
    Jesus is as much Son of God is his Passion as he is in his resurrection
    God's love for us is bountiful and unconditional

Thanks for taking the Quiz. I hope it makes the word of God more relevant. Let me know on errolsj@gmail.com. Suggestions are always welcome.

Second Sunday in Lent - February 25, 2018 - Look at the Son


To read the texts click on the texts: Gen 22: 1-2,9,10-13,15-18; Rom 8:31-34; Mk 9:2-10


I still remember that night, eight years ago, when I received a call at 11.45 p.m. I knew immediately that it would be from someone with a very great need or someone in great despair. It was. The father of a young man was calling to tell me that his 23 year old son had just died. He was his only son. The boy was coming home from work when a drunk driver knocked him down and fled the scene. He was taken to hospital but declared dead on arrival. At the funeral Mass the next day, there was not one person in the church who was not moved by tears by the sight of that young man in his coffin. The questions on everyone’s lips were: “How could God…” and “Why”?

I do believe that the answer to our every “How could God…” and “Why” is provided for us in God sending his only son.

The first reading also speaks to us about a father and his only son. Abraham was asked to give up his only son, and this, after being promised that his descendants would be as numerous as the grains of sand on the seashore. How could God, who had made such a promise, expect it to be fulfilled, if Isaac was to be sacrificed? This kind of sacrifice would result in cutting Abraham off from his future. Abraham did not know that God was actually testing him. He heard the command from God as something that he was being called to do. However, he did know that God would provide and find a way. He believed that God could do even what was impossible. This is why his constant response to God was “Here I am”. This willingness and faith of Abraham resulted in God being able to work in and through him. It resulted in the promises of God being fulfilled in the life of Abraham. He did, indeed, become a great nation and his descendants were as numerous as grains of sand on the seashore.

The willingness and faith that Abraham showed was exemplary. However, it pales in comparison with the willingness and faith that Jesus showed when he took up his cross. This is what God commanded Jesus to do and this is what he did. While in Abraham’s case, he was stopped before he could complete the act of offering his son, in the case of Jesus, he had to go the full way to show his obedience to God’s will and fulfil God’s plan for the salvation of the whole world.

We are given a foretaste of this obedience in the scene of the Transfiguration. The figures that appear with Jesus on the mountain are Elijah and Moses. These were prophets who were considered (along with Enoch) as alive in the presence of God. The voice from heaven, after addressing Jesus as beloved son, asks the three disciples who were with Jesus on the mountain to listen to him.  Despite being God’s beloved son, Jesus would have to go to his suffering and death and, only then, enter his glory. There was no other way. Jesus did not simply obey God; he obeyed God because he trusted. He knew that God was in charge and, even in what seemed like defeat and death, there would be victory and new life.

We sometimes tend to think that Jesus is most clearly Son of God only in glory, not in suffering. The transfiguration challenges us to revise our understanding of how God’s presence comes to the world. Even as he stands transfigured, Jesus is aware that the cross is a certainty in his life. He is aware that, though he is beloved son, he will have to suffer and die.  The command to silence, given by Jesus to the disciples, reminds us that glory and suffering cannot be separated.

Yes, Jesus was able to go to the cross in the full knowledge that God would always do what was best for him. He was aware that the God who delivered Elijah and Moses would also deliver him. He was able to go through the cross because he knew that, in and through the cross, he would save the world. That Jesus continues to live today is proof that his faith and confidence in the goodness of God was affirmed and confirmed. It was a proof that Paul experienced when he told the community in Rome that “neither death nor life…. nor anything else in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord”.

The message then, on this second Sunday of Lent, to every one of us, is that God continues to be in charge. He continues to want what is best for each of us at every moment of our life. Even at those times when we cannot see his hand as clearly as we would like, or cannot feel his presence as tangibly as we would want, he is still working for our good. This was confirmed in the life of Abraham, but fulfilled in the most perfect way in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Every time we are tempted to ask “Why” or “How could God….” we have only to look at his Son.

Friday, 23 February 2018

Audio Reflections of Saturday, February 24, 2018

To hear the Audio Reflections of Saturday, February 24, 2018 click HERE

Saturday, February 24, 2018 - Mic 7:14-15, 18-20; Lk 15:1-3, 11-32

Saturday, February 24, 2018 - Mic 7:14-15, 18-20; Lk 15; 1-3, 11-32


  1. Who murmured about Jesus' table fellowship?

  2. The Pharisees and Chief priests
    The tax collectors and sinners
    The Pharisees and scribes

  3. In which other Gospel is the parable of the Prodigal Father found?

  4. Matthew
    Mark
    No other Gospel

  5. Where does Micah want the people of God to feed?

  6. Mount Olive
    Bashan and Gilead
    Ur of the Chaldeans

  7. Where does Micah say God will cast our sins?

  8. Into sheol
    Into the depths of the sea
    Into the other world

  9. Which son in the parable asked for his share of property?

  10. The elder
    The younger
    I do not know

  11. What did the father ask the servants to do for the younger son?

  12. Lay the red carpet out for him
    Put a ring on his hand and shoes on his feet
    Ask him why he had come back

  13. What job was the son given in the far country?

  14. To till the fields
    To feed swine
    To dig and plant

  15. To whom will the Lord show faithfulness?

  16. Jacob and Isaac
    Jacob and Abraham
    Abraham and Isaac

  17. Where was the elder son when his brother returned?

  18. In the market place
    In the field
    With his friends

  19. What is the message of the readings of today?

  20. Our God is a loving and forgiving God
    We must be aware of the times we behave like the elder son.
    Our God is a Prodigal Father because he is prodigal with his love.

Thanks for taking the Quiz. I hope it makes the word of God more relevant. Let me know on errolsj@gmail.com. Suggestions are always welcome.

Saturday, February 24, 2018 - What names do you use to address God? What does this tell you about your relationship? God has FORGIVEN YOU, have you FORGIVEN YOURSELF/OTHERS?

To read the texts click on the texts: Mic 7:14-15, 18-20; Lk 15;:1-3, 11-32

The setting for the Parable of the Prodigal son (more correctly called “The Prodigal father”) is the same as at the beginning of Chapter 15 and concerns the murmuring of the Pharisees and scribes because Jesus eats with “tax collectors and sinners.”

Direct taxes (poll tax, land tax) were collected by tax collectors employed by the Romans, while tolls, tariffs, and customs fees were collected at toll houses by toll collectors, the group that appears frequently in the Gospels and is not entirely accurately identified as “tax collectors.” Toll collectors paid in advance for the right to collect tolls, so the system was open to abuse and corruption. The toll collectors were often not natives of the area where they worked, and their wealth and collusion with the Roman oppressors made them targets of scorn.

Those designated as “sinners” by the Pharisees would have included not only persons who broke the moral laws but also those who did not maintain the ritual purity practiced by the Pharisees. The scandal was that Jesus received such outcasts, shared table fellowship with them, and even played host to them.

The beginning of the Parable which speaks of “two sons” indicates that the focus is on their relationship to the Father and not to each other as “brothers”. The demand of the younger son is disrespectful and irregular. There is no rationale here. He was breaking family ties and treating his father as if he were already dead. The father divides his life among them. As soon as the younger son receives his share, there is a progressive estrangement. He goes into a far away country which indicates gentile land and mismanages the money given to him. He spends it all on loose living. His descent into poverty and deprivation is swift. He descends as low as to agree to work for a gentile and in a gentile land. Swine were an abomination to Jews, and they were prohibited from raising swine anywhere. The man who would dare to breed swine was considered cursed.  Human beings even ate carob pods, which were used as animal fodder, in times of famine. This is an indication of the complete destitution of the younger son. He comes to his senses when he is at the depth of his degradation and in the midst of mire and filth.

There are four parts to the speech that the younger son prepares
1.   An address – “Father”
2.   A confession – “I have sinned”
3.   Contrition – “I am no longer worthy”
4.   A Petition – “treat me as one of your hired servants.
The journey begins with coming to himself and ends with his going to his Father. It means learning to say ABBA again, putting one’s whole trust in the heavenly Father, returning to the Father’s house and the Father’s arms. That the younger son is serious about his return is shown in his action. He gets up from the mire and begins the return to his father.

The father’s response is mind boggling. While the son is still a long way off, he runs to meet him. In the first century it was considered undignified for grown men to run. The father sets aside respect and dignity. His only focus is his son. The son begins his speech but is not allowed to complete it. The father interrupts his son even before he can finish. He gives instructions to his servants for a robe, ring and sandals all of which indicate that the son is given back his original place as son. The call to kill the fatted calf is a sign that the return of the son is to be regarded as a time of celebration. The dead son has come alive, the lost son has been found.

Even as the celebration is on, the elder son is introduced. When he is informed about the reason for the celebration, he sulks and refuses to enter the house. Like in the case of his younger son, the father goes to meet his elder son. However, while he does not have to plead with the younger son, he does so with the elder son. The elder son does not address his father as “Father”, nor does he refer to his brother as “brother”. He argues his case on the grounds of merit and what he thinks he rightfully deserves. Even as he does this, he points to the failings of the younger son. What then is the point of being good?

In his response to the elder son, the father first addresses his son as “Son” though he was not addressed as “Father” and also reminds him that the younger son is also his brother. Reconciliation for the younger son meant reconciliation with his father, but for the elder son it means reconciliation with his brother. There is thus both the vertical dimension and the horizontal dimension of reconciliation.

Much of the fascination of this parable lies in its ability to resonate with our life experiences: adolescent rebellion; alienation from family; the appeal of the new and foreign; the consequences of foolish living; the warmth of home remembered; the experience of self-encounter, awakening, and repentance; the joy of reunion; the power of forgiveness; the dynamics of “brotherly love” that leads to one brother’s departure and the other’s indignation; and the contrast between relationships based on merit and relationships based on faithful love.

Unfortunately, we usually learn to demand our rights before we learn to value our relationships. The younger son was acting within his rights, but he was destroying his closest relationships in the process. How many times a week will a parent hear one child say to another, “This is mine. Give it to me”? Children quickly learn to demand their rights, but it often takes much longer for them to learn how to maintain relationships. Governments and law courts defend our civil rights, but how do we learn to defend our civil and familial relationships?

From a distance, the “far country” can be very appealing. Young people leave home for fast living. Spouses move out to form liaisons with exciting new partners. The glow that surrounds the far country is a mirage, however. Home never looks as good as when it is remembered from the far country.

The journey home begins with coming to oneself. That means that the most difficult step is the first one. The younger son had to face himself in the swine pen of his own making before he faced his father on the road. Pride can keep us from admitting our mistakes; self-esteem may require us to take decisive action to set right the things we have done wrong.

Although the opportunity to restore relationships and remedy wrongs begins with coming to oneself, it requires more. We must go to the person we have wronged. Was the younger son just seeking to improve his situation, or was he seeking reconciliation with his father? The direct confession in his interior monologue confirms the sincerity of his intent. Neither the younger son’s pride nor his shame mattered as much as his need to restore his relationship to his father. He did not ask for his filial privileges to be restored. He did not even ask for forgiveness. He merely stated his confession. When the prodigal son came to himself, he came to his father. . . .

The temptation a parent faces is to allow the child’s separation to become reciprocal. If the child separates from the parent, the parent may be tempted to respond in kind. The parable’s model of parental love insists, however, that no matter what the son/daughter has done he/she is still son/daughter. When no one else would even give the prodigal something to eat, the father runs to him and accepts him back. Love requires no confession and no restitution. The joyful celebration begins as soon as the father recognized the son’s profile on the horizon.

Insofar as we may see God’s love reflected in the response of the waiting father, the parable reassures all who would confess, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you.” The father runs to meet his son even before the son can voice his confession, and the father’s response is far more receptive than the son had dared even to imagine. The father’s celebration conveys the joy in heaven. The picture is one of sheer grace. No penance is required; it is enough that the son has come home.

If this is the picture of God’s joy in receiving a sinner coming home, then it can also give assurance of God’s love to those who face death wondering how God will receive them. In the end we all return home as sinners, so Jesus’ parable invites us to trust that God’s goodness and mercy will be at least as great as that of a loving human father.

The elder brother represents all of us who think we can make it on our own, all of us who might be proud of the kind of lives we live. Here is the contrast between those who want to live by justice and merit and those who must ask for grace. The parable shows that those who would live by merit can never know the joy of grace. We cannot share in the Father’s grace if we demand that he deal with us according to what we deserve. Sharing in God’s grace requires that we join in the celebration when others are recipients of that grace also. Part of the fellowship with Christ is receiving and rejoicing with others who do not deserve our forgiveness or God’s grace. Each person is of such value to God, however, that none is excluded from God’s grace. Neither should we withhold our forgiveness.

The parable leaves us with the question of whether the elder brother joined the celebration. Did he go in and welcome his brother home, or did he stay outside pouting and feeling wronged? The parable ends there because that is the decision each of us must make. If we go in, we accept grace as the Father’s rule for life in the family.

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Audio Reflections of Friday, February 23, 2018

To hear the Audio Reflections of Friday, February 23, 2018 click HERE

Friday, February 23, 2018 - Ezek 18:21-28; Mt 5:20-26

Friday, February 23, 2018 - Ezek 18:21-28; Mt 5:20-26


  1. From which discourse of Jesus in Matthew is the Gospel text taken?

  2. The Parable Discourse
    The Sermon on the Mount
    The Mission Discourse

  3. Which emotion does Jesus speak about in the Gospel text of today?

  4. Revenge
    Anger
    Jealousy

  5. What is the consequence of the wicked turning from their sins?

  6. They will be punished
    They will live
    They will be blessed

  7. How many discourses does the Gospel of Matthew contain?

  8. Thre
    Four
    Five

  9. From which prophet is the first reading of today taken?

  10. Jeremiah
    Ezekiel
    Isaiah

  11. Whose righteousness must the righteousness of the disciples exceed?

  12. The Pharisees
    The Scribes
    The Scribes and Pharisees

  13. Which house does the Lord address in the first reading?

  14. The house of Jerusalem
    The house of Israel
    The house of Judah

  15. What is the message of the Gospel text of today?

  16. There is ony a D which separates Anger from Danger
    Anger against anyone destroys the person who is angry
    A moment of anger can ruin years of goodwill

Thanks for taking the Quiz. I hope it makes the word of God more relevant. Let me know on errolsj@gmail.com. Suggestions are always welcome.

Friday, February 23, 2018 - How many times did you get angry yesterday? Will you attempt to make it one less time today?


To read the texts click on the texts: Ezek 18:21-28; Mt 5:20-26
 
The righteousness of the disciples of Jesus must exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees whose standard of religious piety and practice was high. These of course did what they did only to be seen by people and to show off their piety. The disciples are called not merely to avoid being hypocritical.

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

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

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Thursday, February 22, 2018 - The Chair of St. Peter - 1 Peter 5:1-4; Mt 16:13-19

Thursday, February 22, 2018 - The Chair of St. Peter - 1 Peter 5:1-4; Mt 16:13-16


  1. In which other Gospels did Jesus ask the question about his identity?

  2. Mark and John
    Mark and Luke
    Luke and John

  3. Besides John the Baptist, who are the other prophets named in the peoples answer?

  4. Elijah and Elisha
    Elijah and Jeremiah
    Elijah and Ezekiel

  5. From which letter of Peter s the first reading of today taken?

  6. Second
    First
    Third

  7. In which district did Jesus ask his disciples the question about his identity?

  8. Galilee
    Caesare′a Philippi
    Capernaum

  9. What does the feast of the Chair of St. Peter mean?

  10. The ones in charge must lead by serving
    Authority in the Church is for service
    The builder of the Church is Christ

  11. What will the elders gain when the Chief Shepherd appears?

  12. The ability to work miracles
    The unfading crown of glory
    Great riches

  13. What will the Lord build on Peter the rock

  14. His kingdom
    His Church
    His empire

  15. Who answered the question of Jesus on behalf of the disciples?

  16. Simon
    Simon Peter
    Peter

  17. What was Peter's answer according to Matthew?

  18. You are the Christ of God
    You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.
    You are the Christ

  19. What is the message of the readings of today?

  20. Jesus continues to choose sinners to lead his Church
    We are all sinners. It is the grace of God that cleanses us
    Without God's grace we are nothing

Thanks for taking the Quiz. I hope it makes the word of God more relevant. Let me know on errolsj@gmail.com. Suggestions are always welcome.

Thursday, February 22, 2018 - The Chair of St. Peter - If Jesus were to ask you the question he asked the disciples, what would your response be?


To read the texts click on the texts: 1 Peter 5:1-4; Mt 16:13-19



The Chair of St. Peter is a feast which celebrates the Lord’s choice of Peter to be the servant-leader of the Church. The choice of Peter is indicative of what the Church is. On the one hand Peter was over zealous, brash, impulsive, spontaneous and ready to die for the Lord, while on the other he would deny the Lord and run away when trouble arose. The Church as a whole has been like Peter. Yet, this is whom the Lord chooses and continues to choose, broken men and women called to heal a broken world.

The Gospel text chosen for the feast is popularly known as “Peter’s Confession”. The question of Jesus concerning his identity is not because he wanted to be informed about people’s opinion of him, but to draw a contrast between people’s answers and the answer of the disciples. Matthew is the only evangelist who adds Jeremiah to the answers of the people. Some think that Matthew has done so because of Jeremiah’s association with the fall of Jerusalem. Others think that Jeremiah is mentioned because of his prophecy of the new covenant.

After hearing through the disciples what the people have to say about his identity, Jesus asks the disciples the same question. The “you” is plural and therefore addressed to all disciples. It is also emphatic. Simon Peter answers on behalf of the group. Matthew adds “the Son of the living God” to Mark’s “Christ”. Only in Matthew does Jesus respond directly to Peter. Peter is not blessed because of a personal achievement, but because of the gift he received from God. Jesus names Peter as rock, the one who holds the keys and the one who binds and looses. Rock here stands for foundation, and though Peter is the foundation, Jesus is the builder. The holder of keys was one who had authority to teach and the one who binds and looses is the one who had authority to interpret authoritatively. The reason for ordering them to tell no one is to reinforce the idea that the community founded by Jesus is distinct from Israel who rejected Jesus.

The feast of today invites us to reflect on two aspects in the Church. The first of these is that authority in the Church does not mean domination but always service. The model of this service is Jesus and it is him that we must imitate. The second is that even as we are broken ourselves and sinners, we are called to heal the world. This is because like in Peter’s case so in ours, it was not his merit that made him the leader of the Church, it was the grace of God which worked in him despite his sin.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Audio Reflections of Wednesday, February 21, 2018

To hear the Audio Reflections of Wednesday, February 21, 2018 click HERE

Wednesday, February 21, 2018 - Jon 3:1-10; Lk 11:29-32

Wednesday, February 21, 2018 - Jon 3:1-10; Lk 11:29-32


  1. Which queen is mentioned in the Gospel text of today?

  2. The North (Israel)
    The South (Sheba)
    I do not know

  3. Which Gospel mentions Jonah being in the belly of the whale?

  4. Mark
    Luke
    Matthew

  5. Which king did the queen come to see?

  6. David
    Solomon
    Saul

  7. To which city was Jonah sent?

  8. Gamorrrah
    Sodom
    Nineveh

  9. How large was the city of Nineveh?

  10. Tow days journey in breadth
    Three days journey in breadth
    One days journey in breadth

  11. How many days did Jonah predict before Nineveh would be destroyed?

  12. Fifty
    Forty
    Thirty

  13. How did the king respond to the preaching of Jonah?

  14. He was angry with Jonah
    he arose from his throne, removed his robe, and covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.
    He was angry with God

  15. Why did the queen come to meet the king according to the Gospel text?

  16. To take a tour of his kingdom
    To hear the wisdom of Solomon
    To see his riches

  17. Why did Jesus call the generation an evil generation?

  18. Because they were sinners
    Because they demanded a sign
    Because they did not care about their neighbour

  19. What is the message of the readings of today?

  20. All the signs needed are given in Jesus
    Repentance means a new mind and a new heart
    Repentance must come from within

Thanks for taking the Quiz. I hope it makes the word of God more relevant. Let me know on errolsj@gmail.com. Suggestions are always welcome.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018 - What sign are you seeking from the Lord? Will you believe in His love even without this sign?


To read the texts click on the texts: Jon3:1-10; Lk 11:29-32

Jesus’ debate with the crowd following the exorcism of the demon that made a man mute (11:14-16) continues. 

One of the challenges posed by some in the crowd was to demand from Jesus a sign from heaven. The response of Jesus is not to give in to their demand for a sign. A similar saying is also found in Matthew (12:38-42) which indicates that both Matthew and Luke have taken it from the “Q” source {Mark also has the episode of the demand for a sign and Jesus’ response (Mk 8:11-12), but it is much shorter and does not have the details found in both Matthew and Luke}. However, Luke has so formulated the response of Jesus, that it forms an inclusion. It begins and ends with Jonah. Through this, Luke has associated Jonah’s preaching with Solomon’s wisdom. Since Luke makes this association, for him the sign of Jonah was not Jonah’s being in the belly of the whale for three days and three nights (Mt 12:40), but the call to repentance that Jonah preached. As the people of Nineveh repented after the call by Jonah, so Jesus calls the crowd to repentance after his proclamation. The Queen of Sheba, or the Queen of the South, journeyed from her kingdom in southwest Arabia to test the reports she had heard of Solomon’s wisdom (1 Kgs 10:1-13; 2 Chr 9:1-12). When she had tested Solomon with “hard questions” (1 Kgs 10:1), she was convinced of the wisdom God had given to him and blessed the Lord who had set Solomon on the throne of Israel (1 Kgs 10:9). At the judgement, therefore, she also would rise to condemn that wicked generation because they had one who was greater than Solomon, and they did not hear him.

Jesus thus refuses to give the crowds any other sign, because any demand for a sign meant that they have not understood what Jesus was about, and what his mission was. Jesus also knew that for those who believe, no sign is necessary, whereas for those who do not, no sign is sufficient.

The call to repentance is a call to look at everything in a new light. The old is past, the new has come with the coming of Jesus. If one persists in the old way of looking which is a way of finding God only in miraculous and spectacular events, one will miss him. Now he can be found in all things and all things can be found in him.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Audio Reflections of Tuesday, February 20, 2018

To hear the Audio Reflections of Tuesday, February 20, 2018 click HERE

Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - Isa 55:10-11; Mt 6:7-15

Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - Isa 55:10-11; Mt 6:7-15


  1. What does the address of God as father mean?

  2. That God is closer to us that we are to ourselves
    That Jesus was conditioned by his time and so used patriarchal language
    That there is an intimacy between God and us

  3. In which other Gospel is a version of the Lord's also found?

  4. Matk
    Luke
    John

  5. What is the last petition in the Lord's prayer in Matthew?

  6. God's kingdom
    Forgiveness
    Daily bread

  7. From which prophet is the first reading of today taken?

  8. Amos
    Isaiah
    Jeremiah

  9. How you would summarise the Lord's prayer?

  10. A prayer in which God is at the centre
    Petitionary prayer
    A prayer of dependence

  11. Which group does Jesus say only heap up empty phrases?

  12. The Pharisees
    The Gentiles
    The Scribes

  13. To what is the rain and snow compared in the first reading of today?

  14. The people
    The prophet
    The word of God

  15. In which Gospel is the version of the Lord's prayer longer?

  16. Longer in Matthew when compared with John
    Longer in Matthew when compared with Mark
    Longer in Matthew when compared with Luke

  17. In which discourse in Matthew is the Lord's prayer found?

  18. The Community Discourse
    The Sermon on the Mount
    The Mission Discourse

  19. What is the message of the readings of today?

  20. We are dependent on God for everything
    The Lord's prayer is not merely a prayer it is a way of life
    God in primary. All else is secondary

Thanks for taking the Quiz. I hope it makes the word of God more relevant. You are welcome to send me feedback on errolsj@gmail.com

Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - How will you acknowledge your dependence on God today? Is there someone who you think has hurt you whom you have not yet forgiven? Will you forgive that person today?


To read the texts click on the texts: Isa55:10-11; Mt 6:7-15

The three chapters beginning from 5:1 and ending at 7:29 contain one of the most famous discourses of Matthew known as “The Sermon on the Mount”.

It is important to have a brief background of the Sermon in order to appreciate fully each separate text within it. The first point that we note about the Sermon on the Mount is that it is the first of the five great discourses in the Gospel of Matthew. Each of these five ends with the phrase, “and when Jesus had finished…” (7:28; 11:1; 13:53; 19:1; 26:1). It begins by showing Jesus as a Rabbi teaching ex-cathedra (5:1) and ends by showing Jesus as the Messianic prophet addressing the crowds (7:28).

The second point that must be kept in mind is that the Sermon is a composition of Matthew. An analysis of similar texts in the Gospels of Mark and Luke indicate that many verses found here in Matthew are found in Mark and Luke in different contexts. This does not mean that Jesus did not say these words. It means that Matthew has put them together in this manner.
The third point is the theme, which will determine how one will interpret the Sermon as a whole. Most are agreed that the theme of the Sermon is found in 5:17-20, in which Jesus speaks about having come not to abolish but to fulfill the Law and Prophets, and issues a challenge to those listening to let their “righteousness” be greater than that of the scribes and Pharisees in order to enter the kingdom.

The mountain is a “theological topos” in the Gospel of Matthew (Luke’s Sermon is from “a level place” see Lk 6:17) and therefore means much more than simply a geographical location. Matthew does not name the mountain, but by choosing it as the place from where Jesus delivers the Sermon, he probably wants to portray Jesus as the New Moses delivering the New Law from a New Mountain. While Jesus in the Gospel of Luke “stands” and delivers the Sermon (Lk 6:17), in Matthew, Jesus sits down. This is the posture that the Jewish Rabbis adopted when communicating a teaching of importance or connected with the Law. In Luke the crowd is addressed from the beginning of the Sermon and addressed directly, “Blessed are you poor…” (Lk 6:20), but in Matthew, it is the “disciples” who come to Jesus and whom he begins to teach.

The section on Prayer begins in 6:5 and Jesus contrasts the prayer of his disciples with the prayer of hypocrites who like to be seen by all and also Gentile prayer which heaps words upon words and may also mean a prayer made to many “gods” to placate them. This kind of prayer is only for self gratification or to receive favours. The prayer of the disciple is to God who is Father and who knows what they need even before they can ask. Thus, prayer is not simply to place the petition before God who is all knowing but primarily to acknowledge dependence on God for everything.

What follows this contrast is the prayer that Jesus teaches his disciples and which is commonly known as the "Our Father". However, a better term for this would be "The Lord's Prayer". The reason for this is because there are two versions of the same prayer. The other is found in Lk. 11:2-4. There, the pronoun "Our" is missing and the prayer begins simply with "Father". In Matthew this prayer is at the very centre of the Sermon and must be read with that fact in mind. It begins with an address and then goes on to make two sets of three petitions. The address of God as “Father” brings out the intimacy of the relationship that disciples and God share. The pronoun “Our” here indicates that God is not merely the father of individual believers but of the community as a whole and therefore all in the believing community are brothers and sisters.

The opening petitions indicate that prayer does not begin with one’s needs, but with the glory and honour due to God. God’s name is and will be honoured by all men and women, since God as revealed by Jesus is primarily a God of mercy, forgiveness and unconditional love. The kingdom of God has come in Jesus and is also in the future when God will be all and in all. This is a situation in which God will show himself to be king as he has done in the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus. As Jesus constantly did God’s will, so it will continue to be done both in heaven and on earth. It is only when God’s will is done rather than one’s own that there can be true and lasting peace and harmony.

Despite petitioning God for something as stupendous as the kingdom, the disciple also acknowledges dependence on God for something as regular and ordinary as bread. God’s forgiveness is unconditional and without any merit on the part of the disciples. However, in order to receive this forgiveness which God gives graciously and gratuitously, the disciple will have to remove from his/her heart any unforgiveness, resentment, bitterness or anger that might be present there. The prayer ends with a final petition that God, who always leads the people, will not bring them into a time of testing, when the pressure might be so great as to overcome faith itself, but that he will save them from the ultimate power of evil.

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

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Audio Reflections of Monday, February 19, 2018

To hear the the Audio Reflections of Monday, February 19, 2018 click HERE

Monday, February 19, 2018 - Lev 19:1-2,11-18; Mt 25:31-46

Monday, February 19, 2018 - Lev 19:1-2,11-18; Mt 25:31-46


  1. Which is the third book in the Pentateuch?

  2. Numbers
    Deuteronomy
    Leviticus

  3. How will the righteous respond to the Lord's invitation?

  4. They will jump with joy
    Lord, when did we....?
    They will be proud of their accomplishments

  5. On which side will the goats be placed?

  6. The centre
    The left
    The right

  7. Through whom does the Lord address the congregation of Israel in the first reading?

  8. Aaron
    Moses
    Joshua

  9. Who will be gathered before the Son of Man when he comes in glory?

  10. All the nations
    The righteous
    Sinners

  11. From which discourse in Matthew is the reading of today taken?

  12. The Community Discourse
    The Mission Discourse
    The Eschatological Discourse

  13. To what are the righteous invited in the Gospel text of today?

  14. A life of leisure
    The Kingdom prepared before the foundation of the world
    Food and drink

  15. On which side will the sheep be placed?

  16. The left
    The right
    The centre

  17. How many Chapters does the Gospel of Matthew contain?

  18. Twenty six
    Twenty eight
    Twenty four

  19. What is the message of the Gospel text of today?

  20. Good deeds must be done with no expectation whatever
    Act selflessly
    Be good because it is good to be good

Thanks for taking the Quiz. I hope it makes the word of God more relevant

Monday, January 19, 2018 - Will the life of one person be better today because of you?


To read the texts click on the texts: Lev19:1-2,11-18; Mt 25:31-46

The Gospel text of today is a passage about the "kingdom" of God, about all those who are kin to God, and, therefore, who are kin to each other. We are each of us kin to one another. We are all indeed one. The deepest expression of this truth, on this side of life, is a spirituality in which there is no split between our devotion and our deed; no split between mystery and commandment; no split between piety and ethics and no split between being and doing. Like mystery and commandment, interwoven as they are, Jesus is one with the hungry and the thirsty, is one with the stranger and the prisoner, and is one with the naked and the sick. To care for these, is to care for Jesus. To care for them is to reach back into the very essence of life and to touch the God who takes shape in the hungry, in the thirsty, in the naked, in the sick, in the stranger, in the prisoner. "And then the king will answer them, 'Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these, who are members of my family, you did it to me.'" The text, thus, is not so much about the condemnation of God, as it is really about the universal vision of the love of God, about the very scope of God's love in Jesus for the whole world. Jesus remains the model of unconditional and eternal love. This was shown in the most powerful of ways by Jesus himself, when in total obedience to the Father, he dared to spread his arms on the Cross in total surrender of self. Therefore, God raised him.

This understanding is important to avoid any kind of misinterpretation that might arise due to a person thinking that it is his/her deeds that earn merit and reward. The righteous who reached out to the least of their brothers and sisters, did so because of the necessity to help, love, serve, visit and feed. They dared to listen to the promptings of the Spirit and responded to these promptings. They did not do what they did for reward. It was not the condition of their good deeds, but its consequences. They did not earn the kingdom but inherited it. Inheritance is determined by the giver not the receiver. The kingdom remains a free gift of God.

Though the unrighteousness also address Jesus as Lord – a title used in Matthew’s Gospel only by those who at least have some faith - it is not enough. Their address remains at the theoretical level and is not translated into action. They did not act because they did not believe that God could hide himself in the poorest of the poor. They did not believe that God could be present in the scum of society and in those who live on the margins. They believed that God could be present only in a beautiful sunset or in the stimulating fragrance of a rose or in the silence of one’s heart. They did not realize that our God had been made visible in Jesus, who taught all who were willing to listen, that God was primarily a God of the poor, and that though he was king, he came only to serve.

The sufferings borne by the least of our brothers and sisters continue to summon and challenge us as Church today. They continue to ask us to dare to be credible and authentic witnesses of the Gospel. They invite us not merely to preach acts of loving kindness but to do them. However, what we need is not merely more action, more doing for the sake of doing. No! What we need is a universal unity of love and togetherness. It is a togetherness that transcends all of our frontiers, the frontiers of our mind and of our heart, the frontiers of our creeds and doctrines, the frontiers of our ideas and concepts. This is a radical call to transcend all of those externals that keep us apart, that keep us separated and split.

The challenge for us today is to forget our own needs for love and happiness and to reach out in love to make someone else happy who may be in greater need. For whatever we do to the least of these needy children of God, these brothers and sisters of Jesus, we do to Jesus Himself.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

To hear the Audio Reflections of Sunday, February 18, 2018 the First Sunday in Lent click HERE

First Sunday in Lent - Gen 9:8-15; 1 Pet 3:18-22;Mk 1:12-15

First Sunday in Lent - Gen 9:8-15; 1 Pet 3:18-22;Mk 1:12-15


  1. How many people were saved from the flood according to Peter?

  2. Twenty
    Ten
    Eight

  3. To which place did Jesus come after John was arrested?

  4. Bethany
    Galilee
    Jerusalem

  5. For how many days was Jesus in the wilderness?

  6. Eight
    Forty
    Sixty

  7. Which is the first book of the Bible?

  8. Genesis
    Exodus
    Numbers

  9. What was the content of the proclamation of Jesus?

  10. If you repent you will be saved
    Repent, and believe in the gospel
    If you wish to be saved be baptised

  11. Who ministered to Jesus after his temptations?

  12. Angels
    Satan
    His disciples

  13. With whom did God make the Covenant in the first reading of today?

  14. Noah
    Abraham
    Isaac

  15. After whose arrest does Jesus start preaching?

  16. Herod
    John the Baptist
    Stephen

  17. What was the sign of the Covenant that God made?

  18. an angel from heaven
    A bow in the cloud
    freedom from the flood

  19. What is the message of the readings of today?

  20. God has forgiven therefore we must repent
    God loves unconditionally
    Jesus means God saves

Thanks for taking the Quiz. I hope it makes the word of God more relevant.

Sunday, February 18, 2018 - Love Encourages New Thoughts


To read the texts click on the texts: Gen 9:8-15;1 Pet 3:18-22;Mk 1:12-15



Lent is a forty-day period of fast and abstinence before Easter. It begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday when we go into Easter. Sundays are not counted, since they commemorate the Resurrection of the Lord. While Lent is actually a translation of the Latin term, quadragesima, which means ‘forty days’ or literally the ‘fortieth day’, it also refers to the spring season. The forty-day period is symbolic of the forty days that Jesus spent in the desert, a detail mentioned by all the synoptic gospels. This is why, in all three years, the Gospel reading on the First Sunday in Lent is about the temptations of Jesus in the desert.

While Matthew and Luke narrate the three temptations in the desert and Jesus’ responses, Mark does not do so. His focus is different. Mark’s narrative of the temptations compares Jesus, who is faithful, with unfaithful Israel. Jesus overcame the temptations when tested for forty days, but Israel succumbed to temptations during their forty year period of testing in the desert. The overcoming of the temptations by Jesus leads to the wilderness being transformed into paradise, the desert being transformed into an oasis and humans being no longer subject to Satan or his rule. However, the overcoming of temptation, with angels ministering to Jesus, is only one part of the story.

The second part – the positive overcoming of temptation – is integral to the story and completes it. Soon after overcoming temptation, Jesus comes into Galilee to proclaim his experience of who God really is. Mark prepares for this revolutionary and radical proclamation through four pointers or indicators. The first of these is a time indicator (proclaiming), and a content indicator (the Good News of God). These serve to clarify the proclamation.

The arrest of John serves to remove him from the story, so that he can make way for Jesus, with whom a new time has begun. Galilee is home for Jesus, a place of acceptance, a place of the proclamation of the kingdom. That Jesus comes “proclaiming” instead of “teaching” indicates that this is the message to be heard by all. The good news that Jesus proclaims is not made up by him, but is the good news of God. It is God who has mandated Jesus to speak these words. This indicator is crucial because it speaks of who God is and how he regards humans who are created in his image and likeness.

A glimpse of this good news of God is given to us in the first reading in the covenant or promise that makes to Noah. It is a promise that is made after the destruction of the whole world by the flood. God’s promise here is significant, because it is the first promise in the Bible that is to be fulfilled, not only in the lives of the Israelites but, in the lives of all people. The whole of humanity will never again be threatened with destruction. This covenant marked the start of a whole new world and a whole new way of looking at, and dealing with, God. It was completed when God sent his son, not merely to make a new covenant but also, to be the Covenant or Promise for all times and all ages.

This then is the good news that Jesus proclaims from God that, in him, as never before, all people everywhere have been saved. If in the promise made to Noah, the focus was on non-destruction of the human race, in the proclamation of Jesus, the focus is on salvation through love. The core of the proclamation of Jesus is that God has taken the initiative. He has loved first, he has forgiven first, and he has accepted first. The kingdom has come, not because we are worthy or have done something commendable. It has come because, in Jesus, God loves unconditionally. Peter echoes this idea in the second reading of today, when he explicates that this Covenant or Promise made by God was made even when men and women were sinners.

As humans, we have only to respond to that love, forgiveness, and acceptance. This response is done through repentance which never means being sorry. Rather, it means a change of heart, mind, and vision. It is a call to realize that God’s love is given freely, unconditionally and without measure.

Thus, on the first Sunday of Lent, the call is to leave every negative thing. It means a refusal to walk in the path of frustration, anxiety, or despair and to take instead the road of happiness, peace, and joy. It means that, though the road might get steep and the going difficult, we will continue to carry on walking the path, confident in the knowledge that, in Jesus, we are saved, and that sin is overcome by love. The old has gone, the new has indeed come.

Friday, 16 February 2018

Audio Reflections of Saturday, February 17, 2018

To hear the Audio Reflections of Saturday, February 17, 2018 click HERE

Saturday, February 17, 2018 - Isa 58:9-14; Lk 5:27-32

Saturday, February 17, 2018 - Isa 58:9-14; Lk 5:27-32


  1. From which Gospel do we read today?

  2. Luke
    Matthew
    Mark

  3. In which Gospel alone fo we find the miracle of the healing of the blind man in two stages?

  4. Mark
    Matthew
    Luke

  5. What is the tax collector named in the Gospel text of today?

  6. Zacchaeus
    Matthew
    Levi

  7. With whose heritage will the Lord feed the righteous?

  8. Jacob
    Abraham
    Isaac

  9. Who murmured against the disciples of Jesus because they were eating with tax collectors?

  10. The Pharisees and their scribes
    The Pharisees
    The Scribes

  11. Which is the only Gospel which names the tax collector Matthew in this scene?

  12. Matthew
    Mark
    Luke

  13. How bright will the gloom of the righteous be?

  14. As the Sun
    As the noonday
    As the stars

  15. Whom did Jesus say he has come to call?

  16. The righteous
    Sinners
    The chosen ones

  17. Where was the tax collector seated when he was called by Jesus?

  18. The market place
    The tax office
    His home

  19. What is the message of the readings of today?

  20. God chooses whom God wants
    Avoid stereotyping
    Look at everyone as if looking for the first time

Thanks for taking the Quiz. I hope it makes the word of God more relevant. Let me know on errolsj@gmail.com. Suggestions are always welcome.

Saturday, February 17, 2018 - How will you celebrate today your call to be a disciple of Jesus?


To read the texts click on the texts: Isa58:9-14; Lk 5:27-32

The call of Levi the toll collector and his response to that call is the text for today. Toll collectors like Levi was were those individuals who paid the Roman authorities in advance for the right to collect tolls. Since they decided the value of the goods being brought in, they could abuse the system and many did. Due to this also because they were seen as colluding with the Romans, they were despised by the people and made targets of scorn and ridicule. The calling of Levi is a revolutionary act on the part of Jesus. When almost everyone else would have seen Levi as a thief and corrupt individual, Jesus was able to see him as a potential disciple. This is an indication not only of the deep insight into  people that Jesus had but also of God’s grace which is given without any merit on the part of the individual. It is a gift and not earned but gifted.

Levi on his part accepts this call. He leaves “everything” for the privilege of following Jesus. Luke’s Gospel alone mentions the word “everything” to stress the total sacrifice that Levi was called to and made. It is an indication that he left his old way of life behind to take on a new kind of life that Jesus was calling him to. He then arose and followed Jesus. The sequence of the actions of Levi is interesting. He gets up and follows, only after giving up.

Levi then gives a feast in his own house to celebrate his call. The scribes and Pharisees complain about the scandal of sitting at table with tax collectors and sinners. By doing so those who sat at table with them were making themselves unclean, but they were also showing social acceptance of a group that was considered as outcasts. Jesus’ response is in and through a proverb and a statement. It is obvious that the services of a physician are required by those who are sick not be those who are well. The mission of Jesus is very clearly directly to those who need him: the sinners. Repentance is not the condition for following Jesus; it is his purpose for coming into the world. He has come in order that sinners might be transformed.

The call which Jesus made to his disciples and here to Levi is startling brief: “Follow me”. This is because his call was a call to a personal commitment to him. It was not a call to a set of values or principles. It was not a call to any kind of philosophy or theology. It was not a call to a particular political programme. It was a call that had as its base and origin Jesus himself. The only reward that one could expect from such a following was that others would be drawn to Jesus because of one’s own commitment and perseverance.
The call is made here to Levi, who was considered as an outcast and one who was beyond the bounds of God’s mercy. This indicates that no one is excluded from the Mission of Jesus. Everyone has a place, all are called. Like Levi it is important to give up the former way of life and then to get up and follow. This requires God’s grace surely, but also human response.