Saturday, August 21, 2010


1. Jesus declared that entry into the kingdom can never be automatic but is the result and the reward of a struggle. ‘Keep on striving to enter,’ he said. The word for striving is the word from which the English word agony is derived. The struggle to enter in must be so intense that it can be described as an agony of soul and spirit.

2. The Jews took it for granted that their salvation is assured just because they were born Jews. They always believed that Yahweh would never desert them in spite of their infidelity to the covenant. They did not learn the lesson from both their exiles (One by Assyrians 722 BC and one by Babylonians 587 BC).

3. We run a certain danger. It is easy to think that, once we have made a commitment of ourselves to Jesus Christ, we have reached the end of the road and can, as it were, sit back as if we had achieved our goal. There is no such finality in the Christian life. We must always be going forward or necessarily we go backwards.

4. The defence of these people was, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ There are those who think that just because they are members of a society based on Christian principles all is well. They might be enjoying the fruits won by their hardworking predecessors. What have we done to preserve and develop it? We cannot live on borrowed goodness.

5. There will be surprises in the kingdom of God. Those who are very prominent in this world may have to be very humble in the next; those whom no one notices here may have real significance in the world to come. The standards of heaven are not the standards of earth.

Taking things for granted is one of the evils of today. We take for granted several things like the natural resources, mother’s love, school education etc. Slowly we are becoming people with no gratitude. God has given us several gifts which we do not deserve yet we fail to acknowledge the greatness of God. Let us learn to be grateful to God and to our neighbours in acknowledging every little thing we receive. This will naturally help us to pass through the narrow gate and reach Jesus.

William Barclay the New Daily Study Bible

Friday, August 20, 2010


1. It is good to recall the events that went before to understand this passage before. It was still Tuesday of Jesus’ last week on earth. On Sunday, two days before, he was escorted by thousands of people who proclaimed Him to be the Messiah. On Monday he had cast out the money changers and those who were doing business in the temple and thus took upon Himself the right and authority to teach and heal within the temple. If People rally round Him as the Messiah and rise up against the Romans, the Romans would blame the Jewish leadership for not maintaining order consequently would be removing those leaders from the office. Christ was the threat to their position, power, wealth and security. They were forced to discredit Jesus before the people.

2. In this particular passage, Jesus spoke to the crowd and to the disciples, not to the religionists, not to the Pharisees and Scribes. There are at least four reasons why Christ warned the crowd and disciples.

· Everyone needs to know what is true and what is false in religion.

· Everyone needs to have the hypocrisy and sin of religion exposed.

· Everyone needs to be warned against following the error of religion. Just being religious is not enough.

· Everyone needs to have his false ideas about Christ corrected.

3. Jesus is condemning false religion and teachers, but not the truth. False teachers can and do teach some truth. The truth is to be obeyed no matter who teaches it. The truth and our duty to obey it are not invalidated just because a hypocrite teachers it.

4. False religion is a religion of show and display.

· They changed their appearance, dress and clothing to draw attention to themselves.

· They loved the positions of honour, special seats and places of recognition. They are those who love the restricted neighbourhoods and clubs and the preferred lists.

· They love the titles that honoured and exalted them. They title was simply ‘Rabbi’ which meant teacher or master.

5. There is nothing wrong with living holy and godly lives, with being religious, but it is wrong to draw attention to oneself instead of to the Lord. We should not overdo or remake our outward being just to draw attention to ourselves.

Spirituality is heavily based on the attitude of an individual. A person seeks religion and spirituality for various reasons. Sometimes it can also be used as a tool to get a good name in the society. A man, who appears to be very pious, spiritual and deeply religious in the eyes of the society, could be in reality an arrogant and suspicious person towards his wife and children. A true religious person will not reflect any sign of hypocrisy. Therefore we should not only try to be genuinely spiritual but also should be able to distinguish the false teacher from the good one. All of us seek attention and need attention from others but care should be taken not to make that as the only priority.


The Preacher’s Outline and the Sermon Bible

William Barclay the New Daily Study Bible

Thursday, August 19, 2010


1. Christ has already conquered the Sadducees and silenced them through his mind-blowing answers. All three attempts to discredit Him had failed. Now the Pharisees were threatened and felt insecure at the growing popularity of Jesus. They met together to plan and plot again.

2. The Pharisees now chose from among their body one who was most brilliant and well versed in the law, a lawyer or a scribe. However there was something brilliant about this lawyer that the others did not know. Apparently his heart had been touched by Christ. There are two indications for this.

· First Mark tells us that the man was present when Christ was debating with the Sadducees (Mk 12:28) and he noticed that Jesus had given them a good answer.

· Secondly at the conclusion of his own discussion Jesus said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God” Mk.12:34). This indicates that the lawyer had been in deep thought about Christ and was under conviction.

3. The Pharisees were trying to turn the people against Jesus. People differed as to what the greatest commandment was. Some believed that it had to do with circumcision, others with sacrifices, and still others with the Sabbath. The Pharisees hoped that by stating His opinion, Christ would disturb the people who held a position different from His. He would thereby lose their following.

4. Love is human beings’ chief duty. Every human being is responsible to maintain a loving relationship with God. Very practically, loving God involves the very same factors that loving a person involves.

· A loving relationship involves commitment and loyalty. True love does not allow lustful behavior with others.

· A loving relationship involves trust and respect for the person loved. One should love the other person, just for who he/she is.

· A loving relationship involves the giving and surrendering of oneself. The drive is to give oneself to surrender oneself to the other not to conquer others.

· A loving relationship involves knowing and sharing. The desire is to know and to share, learning, growing, working, and serving ever so closely together.

5. Love with all your ‘Heart, Soul and Mind’

· Heart: the seat of people’s affection and will. The heart attaches and focuses our will and devotion. The heart causes us to devote ourselves to either good or bad things. Christ says we are to love God “with all our heart” We are to focus our heart, our affection and our will upon God.

· Soul: (psuche): the seat of peoples’ breath and life or consciousness which distinguishes human from other beings. We are to love God with all the breath and consciousness all the life and awareness, we have.

· Mind: the seat of reasoning and understanding. God has given intellectual powers to human beings. He/she thinks, reasons, and understands. Christ says that our minds and thoughts are to be centered upon God.

As many of us would agree, the most used and misused word is love. The beautiful phrase ‘I love you’ is used by people for both nobler purpose and for one’s selfish motives. It is always good to take inspiration from Thomas Aquinas who defined love as ‘wanting the good of the others’. God had blessed this world with this great virtue. Globalization, terrorism, violence, Caste system etc are not the most serious problems of today. These are only the symptoms of a serious problem or a killer disease. The virus that causes this disease is the culture of ‘Lack of Love’ If we love someone sincerely we will not exploit them, we tend to be gentle and caring with them, we will not discriminate our beloved. We live in a world which is promoting anti-love culture. Slowly we are becoming narcissistic in our approach. This is reflected in our day today life. Let us be the carriers of love which is possible only when we are nested in Christ’s love which is nested in Father’s love through the Holy Spirit.


The Preacher’s Outline and the Sermon Bible

William Barclay – The New Daily Study Bible

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


  1. The parable has both an historical and personal meaning. God has prepared a Great Marriage Feast for His Son and His true followers. The intimate relationship between Christ and His Church are often compared to a marriage. The covenant of faith is like a covenant of marriage. When a person believes, Christ promises an eternal relationship with Himself. The relationship or union is forever and once and for all.

  1. God invited Israel but they rejected.
  1. The words “who have been invited” refer to the fact that Israel had already been invited. From the very beginning, even from the time of Abraham God had invited Israel to the great feast of His Son.
  2. The servant “sent” with this particular invitation are those who lived during the time of Christ like John the Baptist, the 12 apostles, the 70 disciples to prepare the people for the coming of Christ.

  1. Why did the people refuse the first invitation?

A person…

· Can be too busy

· Can set aside the invitation to accept later

· Can be committed to something else

· Can not care enough for the King

· Can prefer some other festivity

· Can wish to show personal dislike

· Can not trust, not believe, that the King will actually have a feast

· Can dislike the son.

  1. After the second invitation being rejected, this invitation is given to all. This is what is meant by the word ‘street corners of the world’. God’s servants are to go out on the street corners of the world, inviting any and all to the Great Wedding Feast of His Son. God’s invitation is no longer just to the few. It is universal: to the Jew and Gentile, rich and poor, the high and low, the free and slave, the moral and immoral, the religious and irreligious.

  1. God calls and invites many, but few are chosen. Christ had said this before. In the context of this parable there were several calls to God to the Great Feast of His Son.
    • There was God’s call to the Jews, but few responded
    • There is God’s call to the Gentiles, but few are responding
    • There is God’s call to all those who enter in, but few wear the wedding clothes. The only clothes they have is that of hypocrisy and false profession.

Jesus’ call is so very precious that has to be respected. He gives us dignity and honour and therefore it is our duty to honour Him too. Many of us reject His call everyday whenever we fail to listen to his voice. All of us as Christians through our baptism are privileged to attend this Great banquet but it also calls for certain responsibility on our part. We can disrespect and dishonour Him by our improper dispositions. Should we not beware of the consequences?


The Preacher’s Outline and the Sermon Bible

William Barclay’s Commentary

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


1. This is one of the most meaningful parables in Scripture, yet meaning is sometimes missed. Christ was continuing His discussion of salvation and eternal life. What He now wished to was show the marvelous grace of God in salvation in giving eternal life.

· God’s grace provides work for man – a field to tend

· God’s grace seeks and calls men to work

· God’s grace pays the promised wages at the appointed time, at the end of the day

· God’s justice will reign in paying what He has promised.

2. An employer who asks workers to join his working force meets all kinds of responses.

There are the willing and eager workers. These are always out early, needing and looking for work.

· There are those whom Christ calls idle. They have little if any interest in work at all.

· There are the self-seeking or pleasure workers. These move around, questioning each employer about what kind of work is to be done.

· There are slothful workers. These are just lazy, not interested in a full-day’s work.

· There are the complacent workers, the slow-movers, they sleep late, move slow and are always late in getting to the workplace.

The promise of wage is promised not an amount. The Lord merely said, “I will pay you whatever is right.” A late-comer, the person who does not respond to God until later in life, must simply trust God to be fair and just.

3. There is nothing more tragic in this world than men and women who are unemployed, those whose talents are rusting in idleness because there is nothing for them to do. One great teacher used to say that the saddest words in all Shakespeare’s plays are the words: Othello’s occupation is gone.’ In that market place, men stood waiting because no one had hired them; in his compassion, the master gave them work to do. He could not bear to see them idle.

4. There are people who think that, because they have been members of a Church for a long time, the Church practically belongs to them and they can dictate its policy. Such people resent what seems to them the intrusion of new blood or the rise of a new generation with different plans and different ways.

5. God’s pay is not based on works and energy. It is based on God’s grace and justice, and it is based on God’s concern and care for all. Who would have every thought that the willing and eager workers who immediately responded to the Lord would expose a grumbling, jealous spirit? To prevent His servants from judging and showing preference among themselves, Christ closes His discussion of eternal life and salvation with a strong warning: the last will be first.

At the outset the action of the Master may seem to be not really justifiable. He should not have treated everyone equally. But we should always remember that God’s standard of judgment is totally different from the human standards. God is teaching the great lesson of ‘Righteousness’ to the people who dwelled in self-righteousness. In our work place or in our institutions, whenever someone new comes and gains prominence it creates a sort of bitter feeling for those who were there for sometime. Right from our childhood we have learnt to compare ourselves with others. It is a hard lesson for all us; we should stop comparing ourselves with others simply because God will give us our due and we are not given the authority to judge the others.


The Preacher’s Outline and the Sermon Bible

William Barclay’s Commentary

Monday, August 16, 2010


1. The dangers that face the rich are real and terrible, so the warning must be real and truthful.

· The fact: wealth pulls a person from the kingdom of heaven (v.23)

· The great difficulty illustrated: it is easy for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. (v.24)

· The Shock: who is saved if wealth is not God’s blessing and a blessing of righteousness (v.25)

· The only hope for the rich (v.26)

2. Who are rich? The rich are any of us who have anything beyond what we need. What Christ demands is that we give all that we are and have to meet the needs of those in such desperate need, holding back nothing. We do not take the message of Christ seriously. The evidence of our unbelief is seen in Christ’s insistence that we give all we have to feed the hungry and meet the desperate needs of the world and yet we do not do it.

3. Riches- Camel- Needle: There are various interpretations given to understand this analogy.

· Some have said that the ‘needle’ was a small gate in the wall surrounding Jerusalem, a small gate which sat right beside the large gate. At night the large gate was closed to prevent the enemies from entering the city and the small gate was used by the travelling public. The small gate is said to have been called ‘the Needle’s eye’ because it was so small that it was difficult for even a single person to pass through.

· Others have said that the Greek word Christ used was kamilos (a ship’s rope or cable) not kamelos(camel)

· It is evident that Jesus uses a proverbial saying for an impossibility of some things. The camel was the largest animal among the Jews, so Christ either used a well known proverb or created a new one.

4. There are examples of rich persons who did turn to Christ. They serve as excellent examples for the rich to follow in turning to God

· James and John (Mk 1:20)

· Matthew (Mt 9:9-13)

· Zacchaeus (Lk 19:1-10)

· Joseph of Arimathea (Mt 27: 57)

· Nicodemus (Jn 20: 39)

· Lydia (Acts 16: 14-15)

· Manaen, a foster brother of Herod, who was probably wealthy (Acts 13:1)

5. Peter’s question: It would have been very easy for Jesus to dismiss Peter’s question with an impatient rebuke. It was a wrong question. To but it bluntly, Peter was asking: What do we get out of following you? Jesus answers Peter by laying down three great laws of Christian life

· It is always true that those who share Christ’s campaign will share Christ’s victory (positions do not matter but the attitude)

· It is always true that Christians, will receive far more that they ever have to give up; but what they receive is not material possession, but a new fellowship, human and divine.

· God’s standards of judgment are not according human standards.

We might often enter into the illusion thinking that this passage is not for us just because we might be undergoing some financial crisis or difficulties. One might be struggling hard to buy a car to keep up the standard and still can claim that he/she is not rich because of the struggle involved. The term rich is a relative term. If we have all the basic needs fulfilled we are already rich and we have the obligation to reach out the poor and those who are in need. In a sense Christ’s warning is for all of us, and it calls for generosity of heart and willingness to share. This will not easily come to us unless we have the real love for Christ and for our neighbours.


The Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible

William Barclay – The New Daily Study Bible

Sunday, August 15, 2010


1. This man is known as the rich young ruler. He is so called because of the composite picture gleaned from three gospels

  • He was rich (Mt 19:22; Mk 10: 22; Lk 18:23)
  • He was young (Mt 19:20)
  • He was a ruler (Lk 18:18)

He was rare young man among the young people of his time. He was conscientious, responsible and dependable. This is quite obvious from the fact that he had been already placed in a responsible position and made a ruler.

2. Christ has a special love for young people. It is obvious that the rich young man of today’s gospel was drawn to Jesus and felt at ease with him. He trusted Jesus enough to ask him a fundamental question.

3. The young man rejected Christ for three reasons.

  1. Unbelief: he was not willing to entrust his life to Christ. There was some lack of belief that Jesus was really God’s very own son standing before him.
  2. Self-righteousness and pride: his concept of religion was keeping laws and doing good in order to secure God’s acceptance.
  3. Love of the world: he was rich and was unwilling to give up the comfort and possessions he had obtained.

4. If sometimes we think that God does not exist or God is not present in our life, we must ask ourselves the question whether we are observing his commandments. The loss of faith is not so much an intellectual problem but as a question of one’s behaviour.

5. Jesus demanded from the young man, commitment of his whole life to him. Jesus wants that this be done freely and deliberately for man is able to accept or reject the gift Christ offers.

Christ struck at the man’s real problem. The man was failing to love his neighbour as himself, so Christ quoted five of the Ten Commandments, which deals with our relationship with the neighbours. Often times we too make the same mistakes. We give importance to prayer moments but when it comes to the taking care of the needy, we have our apprehensions. We are not given the task to find the way to inherit eternal life; perhaps we all know the way to inherit the eternal life. But when it comes to the question of sacrifice, discipline, and self-denial we take the back seat. Jesus expects more from us let us not stop with the minimum.


The Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible

Words of Eternal Life

Saturday, August 14, 2010


1. I heard from a priest who said that this incident in which Mary goes to help her cousin is the first Eucharistic procession, carrying the Eucharistic Lord in her womb. A fitting adoration is done by Elizabeth and John the Baptist who adored the Lord by leaping in the womb of his mother.

2. The dogma of the Assumption declares that the Blessed Virgin Mary in her whole person that is in body and soul enjoys heavenly glory. Nothing is definite about her manner of departure from this world. Yet, the general view holds that she died, was buried and rose again. Pius XII in the Bull of definition declares that Mary’s body did not suffer corruption in the tomb. God in some mysterious way has taken her body and soul into heaven.

3. Theoteknos, the Bishop of Livias in 6th century has preached a homily on Assumption. “Mary is the second Eve, who has come to undo the disobedience of the first Eve. Finding in the scriptures a unique relation between Jesus and Mary he explains that even in death the mother cannot be separated from her son and he has taken her all holy body, her God bearing body, this body which received God, a body made God like, incorruptible, glowing with divine light and fuel of glory, was carried by the apostles in the company of angels’, interred for a short time in the earth and taken up to heaven in glory with her soul loved by God”.

4. Death is a punishment for sin. Blessed mother should have escaped death due to her sinlessness. But God wanted Mary to resemble Jesus in all things, Jesus died. It was fitting therefore that His mother should also die. Moreover since He wished to provide the just with an example of the precious death that would be theirs, He willed that Blessed Virgin should die a death that was sweet and happy. She was then taken up to heaven with all glory and honour.

5. Devotion to Mary as Mother of God began in the second century, with several influential works like Protevangelium of James, supplying details of her life missing from the New Testament. The tradition of her Dormition (In East) or Assumption (later dogma in the West) seems to have began in the fourth or fifth century and to have taken various forms until the idea of her being taken body and soul into heaven became generalized in the ninth century.

As we honour our Blessed Mother and our Mother land India, we should always strive to follow the footsteps of Mary our Mother and the freedom fighters of our country. Mary is the model of an ideal Christian and the freedom fighters are the models of ideal citizens. We are called to be honest citizens and faithful Christians. Today’s feast can be an inspiration for all of us. Happy Feast and Jai Hind!

The Assumption of Mary – Kilian Healey
The glories of Mary – St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori
The pulpit Commentary
Butler’s Saint for the day

Friday, August 13, 2010


1. Christ Having laid his blessing on marriage is blessing the fruits. The mothers were drawn to this holy man who elevated their dignity. They carried them in their arms and they were too young to understand the significance of Christ’ blessings. It was a custom that these infants are taken to the synagogues to receive the blessings from the Rabbis.

2. The Children: They showed certain traits of character.

· Obedience: The children came at their mother’s bidding. Obedience to parents is the root of obedience to God.

· A perception of the attractiveness of Christ: Obedience would bring children with their mothers. But more was wanted to induce them to go up to Christ and permit him to take them in his arms. Pharisees were uncomfortable with children but the children were quite at home.

3. Disciples: The advent of these mothers with their children interrupted a discussion which was very interesting to them. But Christ preferred to turn from a subject which was not so interesting to him to the innocent simplicity of the children.

· We should remove all the hindrance that prevent children from approaching Christ

· All children need Christ’s blessing

· Very young children are old enough to receive His blessing.

4. Love of Children: We should give the children a good place in our arrangements for Christian work. Christ is drawn to the children by natural affinity. Children should be regularly blessed by Christ and the parent should take the initiative.

5. The words of Jesus ‘forbid them not’ was used in the early Church to permit the baptism of the infants.

It is very clear from the gospel that Jesus valued the little children and gave them their due. Unfortunately the name of the Church is being tarnished by the maniac Pedophilia. It is a clear fact that this crime is prevalent in families too. If Jesus scolds the disciples who prevented the little ones from Him, what would be his reaction to this unimaginable crime? What would be his pain when he sees the evils like abortion, female infanticide and other crimes against the innocent? As the disciples of the Lord, we ought to prevent the little ones from all the dangers and should take them safely to Christ to receive His blessings.


The Pulpit Commentary

Sacra Pagina Series

Thursday, August 12, 2010


1. Let not man separate: The man here is the husband not some third party like a judge. In Judaism marriage was a contract, which could be broken by the male partner. Such a case is envisioned in Duet 24: 1

2. Moses command: The Pharisees take Deut 24:1 as the positive commandment, whereas Jesus in 19:8 understood it as merely a concession because of people’s hardness of heart. He contrasts this concession with God’s original will for men and women expressed in the creation story.

3. The third member of the eunuch saying supplies the proper motivation for celibacy – dedication to the kingdom of heaven. For the negative attitude towards the practice of castration see Deut 23:1 Lev 22: 24. The unusual character of this teaching is underscored by the concluding comment “whoever can accept it”

4. Is it lawful? It was common to consult great teachers on points of controversy; but this question was not asked honestly. They were tempting him, seeking to entangle him and bring him in collision with one or the other two great schools.

· Herod Antipas, the ruler himself was living an immoral life.

· The famous Hillel had taught that divorce was allowable for any cause

· Shammai: Divorce is lawful only in the case of adultery. The Lord had taught the strict view of marriage in his sermon on Mount; would he dare to maintain the same doctrine in the dominion of Herod.

5. Jesus talks about those who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of God. We must be quite clear that this is not to be taken literally. Some people like Origen took the text literally and castrated themselves whereas people like Clement of Alexandria come nearer to it. He says: The true eunuch is not he who cannot, but he who will not indulge in fleshly pleasures.’ The world would be a poorer place were it not for those who accept the challenge to travel alone for the sake of the work of Christ.

Today the understanding of marriage, divorce and celibacy is getting newer meanings and newer orientations. The generation of today find difficult to accept the concept of marriage as a life time commitment. When people think that the relationship does not work, they opt for divorce as the easy way out. Live –in relationship is attracting the youth of today as it appear very pragmatic and convenient. To bring back forcefully the message of Jesus Christ would be the challenge for the parents, Church authorities and other responsible adults.


The Pulpit Commentary

Sacra Pagina Series

William Barclay’s Commentary