Tuesday, September 28, 2010


1. John alone mentions Nathanael. However, the other three gospels mention a disciple that John does not, Bartholomew. These two names probably refer to the same person. It is thought that Nathanael was a man’s first name and Bartholomew was a man’s second name. He is described as a person who is honest in his frankness (unlike Jacob in Gen 27: 35-37) without lies.

2. Nazareth: The town was an obscure village in Galilee. Galilee bordered Gentile or heathen nations; therefore it was sometimes called Galilee or the Gentiles. The Jews were so deeply prejudiced against the Gentiles that they considered anyone or anything touched by a Gentile to be unclean in the sight of God. Nazareth was despised by the Jews because it was on the border of Gentile country and was so commercially touched by Gentiles. It was despised by the Romans because its citizens were conquered people.

3. Fig Tree: In Palestine the fig tree stood for peace, security, rest and worship (1Kings 4:25; Mic 4:4) Very often a man would seek solitude and worship under his fig tree. No doubt this is what Nathanael had been doing. When Jesus told him that He had seen him under his fig tree, He was telling Nathanael that He knew everything about him, even the deepest longings of his heart. Jesus knew Nathanael’s despair and sense of hopelessness; He knew his longing for peace and release and freedom. That was enough to cause Nathanael to give his life to Jesus forever.

4. Several steps are taken here, which deserve to be carefully followed
1. The mediation and testimony of a friend.
2. The invitation to a personal interview with Jesus, accepted as readily it was wisely suggested
3. The evident insight possessed by Jesus into human character. He needed not that any man should tell him; He knew immediately what was the character of him, who was introduced to him.
4. The revelation of the man’s heart to himself by the authority of the Divine Rabbi. Others standing by could not fathom all the depths of this interview and conversation.
5. Jesus knew all; Nathanael felt the omniscience of Being he now began to understand.

5. I saw you under the fig tree – The earliest sight of Nathanael cannot be called a miracle in the Johnannine sense of miracles being “signs” but it generates a response in Nathanael that recognizes that something miraculous is happening.

We were fortunate to listen to Rt. Rev. Dominic Jala the Archbishop of Shillong, who preached the monthly recollection for us yesterday. He was talking about the significance of the sense of the sacred. In the name of improvisation of liturgy and growth we have lost this sense of the sacred and try to limit God only to the level of immanence forgetting the transcendental aspect of Him. This same attitude is also found in the way we treat fellow human beings and the nature, we have Nathanael who was able to immediately identity thy sacredness in Jesus and was able to give him totally to the Lord. This was possible mainly because he was well disposed by his prayers and meditation. We need to be aware of the sacred realties around, and for that we need to maintain our own sacredness by way of prayer, disciplined life and proper disposition.

The Pulpit Commentary
The New Holman’s Commentary
Sacra Pagina Series
The Preacher’s Outline and the Sermon Bible.


1. He sent messengers to prepare for his arrival. Unlike the twelve who were sent out to preach and to heal, these emissaries are a sort of advance party of scouts who prepare places of hospitality for the guests.

2. What is so significant about Jerusalem? Very simply, it was in Jerusalem that Jesus was to die for the salvation of men and be received up, that is ascend into heaven. It was in Jerusalem that He secured salvation for man through His death, resurrection, and ascension.

3. Jesus was rejected by Samaritans, Why? Because He was heading for Jerusalem, going to a place they despised. The Jews were unacceptable to them; therefore, they would have nothing to do with Jesus if He were going to minister in Jerusalem. Jerusalem had its own worship and priests, and the Samaritans had theirs. If Jesus would be theirs alone, they would gladly receive Him; if not, then He was not welcomed in their circles.

4. Fire to fall from heaven: A clear reference in 2 kg 1: 10 when Elijah threatens fire to fall on his enemies and then delivers on the promise. James and John went to practice similar vengeance on their opponents. Jesus teaches lesson on tolerance. Abraham Lincoln once asked about his cordiality with enemies noted “Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends”

5. Jesus rebuking the disciples: Jesus is deriving a lesson for all the Christians ‘You do not know of what spirit you are and these’ and we should not forget his words ‘for the son of man did not come to destroy souls but to save them’. James and John were guilty of the very same error that the Samaritans had just committed. They were full of bitterness, wrath and vengeance, reacting against the Jews and Jesus. They wanted to destroy the Samaritans because the Samaritans were not willing to worship and live as James and John wished.

Jesus has vested the disciples with power and no doubt about it, but James and John ran the risk of misusing their power. Their plea might apparently sound justified but Jesus taught them that end cannot justify the means. Samaritans have rejected Jesus but they have reasons for that. People with power should not decide the fate of the powerless. Let us leave all the judgment to God and start practicing Charity which alone is expected from us the Christians.

The Preacher’s Outline and the Sermon Bible
The International Commentary on the NT
Sacra Pagina Series
William Barclay’s Commentary.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


A stooped old man and a lively young man happened to meet one day. The young man bragged to the old timer, “Why don’t you walk straight like me? That’s no way to grow old. It’s all a matter of habit-at least that’s what I am told

The old man gave him a look of pity and said, “My dear young friend, have you ever examined a grain field and noticed which heads are bent and which ones stand up straight? If you take a good look as harvest time draws near, you will notice that the heads which are empty are standing tall and high. But the heads that make a good harvest are the ones that are filled and bending low”

The young man heard those words and passed by, slowly bowing his head. No doubt he pondered many a day on what the old man had said.

1. As long as the Twelve thought of Jesus’ kingdom as an earthly kingdom it was inevitable that they should be in competition for the highest places in it. In the eight century the Venerable Bede suggested that this particular quarrel arose because Jesus had taken Peter, John and James up into the mountain top with him and the others were jealous.

2. Jesus knew what was going on in their hearts. He brought a child to sit beside him; that would be the seat of highest honour. He went on to say that whoever received a little child, received him; and whoever received him, received God. What did he mean? The Twelve were the chosen instruments of Jesus; but this child occupied no place of honour and held no official position. Jesus was saying, ‘If you are prepared to spend your lives serving, helping, loving people who, in the eyes of the world, do not matter at all, you are serving me and serving God.

3. There is the desire for prestige. Many people work for human recognition, not for God. When we work for God, prestige will be the last thing that enters into our mind, for we will know that even our best is not good enough for him

4. There is a desire for place. If we are given a task or a position or an office in the Church, we should regard it not as an honour but as a responsibility. There are those who serve within the Church, not thinking really of those they serve, but thinking of themselves.

5. There is a desire for prominence. Many people will serve or give so long as their service and their generosity are known and they are thanked and praised. It is Jesus’ own instruction that we should not let let our left hand know what our right hand is doing.

We are living in a time where we are compelled to outsmart the other. Humility is the last virtue we can think of and we do not find it any more relevant. Humility is not exactly hiding the fact that you are capable of doing something but a proper exercise of your abilities and talents with right attitude. Pride and Jealousy is a clear indication that we are no more humble. Jesus is asking us to become humble and commands us to fight against pride. God will decide which rank or what post to give us. The best way to become great is to climb high the ladder of virtues, in which the first step is the virtue of humility.

William Barclay – The New Daily Study Bible
The Next 500 hundred Stories

Friday, September 24, 2010


1. We need to understand what went before to make the meaning out of this gospel passage. The famous Transfiguration takes place on the Mountain and Jesus comes down with His three prominent disciples. Down there, there is a big crowd gathered and a man with his son affected by epilepsy waits for Jesus with frustration. The disciples tried casting out the demon which was believed to be real cause of the disease. But they could not succeed in exorcism. Jesus rebukes them all for their lack of faith and heals the boy.

2. This is when, the crowd marvels at His power. The whole crowd looked for the Messiah to take the reins of power against their oppressors Romans. But Jesus talks something out of place here and puts off the disciples. They did not want to hear about the death of the Messiah here but Jesus chose to speak about His death here.

3. Jesus reminds His disciples constantly about his Death. Reminder actually has a salvific role. We as human beings tend to forget the purpose for which we are here on earth. We need constant reminder of the goal of our existence. Reminders put us in perspective. Reminder initiates the great cause of renewal. The Retreats we make, the examination of conscience we do are some of the examples of reminders. Jesus after every big even reminds the disciples not to lose their track.

4. When we are in the peak of glory or when we are in a happy situation, we generally do not talk about death. We will never tolerate someone who speaks about death in a marriage function or any other happy events. It actually creates discomfort and irritation and this is what Jesus does after every major event.

5. Jesus knows the purpose for which he took the human flesh and came to the earth. Most often we do not know the purpose of our living. We think that we are living for our own cause and just give some space to God in our lives. We should not forget that we are living here not for our purpose but for the purpose of God. (From the book The Purpose Driven Life) Jesus knows why He came to the world, not to seek human glory but to die on the cross to reconcile humanity with God.

I remember the exercise we, some Salesians, under the leadership of Fr. Antony Christy SDB, conducted in the Youth Pasch last year in Ennore (Chennai). We made a coffin and placed it in a separate place and set the whole place like a funeral house. There were writhes, candles, incense, garland etc. We did not say anything to the youngster but took them one by one and made them to lie in the coffin for some time. It was a dark place and in front we placed a blackboard in which we wrote this question “If you were to die today, would you be happy for the life you have lived so far? One by one they were brought and at the end of this scaring session, all of them unanimously said that they got a new orientation towards their life. Our life is project which we are supposed to submit to the Lord on the day of our death. Some of us might have started doing our project well, while others might be waiting for the last minute. But the problem is, we are not sure of the date of our submission and therefore it is better to keep working on our projects everyday and be prepared to submit when it is asked by the Lord.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

WHO AM I ? SEPTEMBER 24TH - FRIDAY (Lk 9: 18-22)

1. Jesus has a short evaluation with his disciples. He wanted to know what people think about him. Some think that He is John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah etc. By identifying Jesus with Elijah the prince among the prophets, the greatness of Jesus is revealed. He is considered as the forerunner of the Messiah.

2. Each Gospel has its own version of the saying of Peter
· You are the Messiah, the son of the living God (Mt)
· You are the Messiah (Mk)
· The Messiah of God (Lk)
Messiah in Hebrew, Christ in Greek means the same ‘the Anointed one’

3. Christ must be a personal discovery. Christianity always consists in knowing Jesus not merely knowing about Jesus.

4. Peter’s confession is the foundation of the church. There are a lot of debates on the meaning of this declarative statement. “You are Peter (petros) and on this rock (petra) I will build my church. No matter how a person interprets, this was a great piece of complement to St. Peter.

5. A note on Church: Church (ekklesia) means to call out a gathering, an assembly. It is God who calls together and gathers His church. His church is the body of people called out from the world by Him. They are His body of people sanctified or set apart by Him to form the church of the living God.
· The church is Christ’s not human beings’
· ‘I will build’ Christ builds the Church
· The gates of Hades will not overcome it, Christ Himself protects the Church.

Who do men say that I am? Who is Jesus for me?
To the artist, he is the one altogether lovely (Song of songs, 5,15)
To the architecht, the chief corner stone (I Pet.2, 6)
To the astronomer, sun of righteousness (Malachy, 4,2)
To the banker, hidden treasure (Mt 13, 44)
To the builder, one foundation (Is.26,16)
To the carpenter, door (Jn. 10, 7)
To the doctor, great physician (Jer.8, 22)
To the educator, great teacher (Jn. 3, 2)
To the engineer, new and living way (Hb.10, 20)
To the farmer, sower and Lord of harvest (Lk, 10, 2)
To the florist, rose of Sharon (song of songs (2, 1)
To the geologist, rock of ages ( I Cor.10, 4)
To the horticulturist, (True Vine, Jn.15,1)
To the judge, only righteous judge of men (Tim.4,8)
To the juror, Faithful and true witness (Revel.3, 14)
To the jeweller, Pearl of great price (Mt.13, 46)
To the lawyer, counsellor, lawgiver, true advocate (Is.9, 6)
To the newspaper man, he is tidings of great joy (Lk,2,10)
To the oculist, light to the eyes (Prov.29, 13)
To the philanthropist, unspeakable gift (2 Cor,9.15)
To the philosopher, Wisdom of God (ICor.9, 24)
To the preacher, Word of God (Rev.19, 13)
To the sculptor, living stone (I Pt.2, 4)
To the servant, good master (Mt.23, 8-10)
To the statesman, desire of the Nations (Haggai, 2. 7)
To the student, Incarnate Truth (I Jn.5, 6)
To the theologian, author and finisher of faith (Hb, 12,2)
To the toiler, giver of rest (Mt.11, 28)
To the sinner, Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (Jn.1, 29)
(From 101 more Hymn stories by Kenneth W. Osbeck)

1. Keys are the emblems of authority and this language was addressed to Peter because of the Power that was to be conferred on him. He was to organize, toil, and manage the affairs of kingdom as the Head, of course not absolutely but under Christ the Head. Among the Jews when a scribe was admitted to his office a key was given to him as the symbol of duty he was expected to perform. Christ reproved the Rabbis and Pharisees of his day for having taken away the key of knowledge and for shutting up the kingdom of Heaven against people i.e. try to lock good people out.

2. Peter great shall be the authority of your decisions, that unlike those of the ordinary schools or Rabbis whatsoever you shall declare lawful shall be held lawful, whatsoever you shall declare unlawful shall be held unlawful in the highest tribunal in heaven.

3. The Jewish scribe kept the treasury of Knowledge. His keys were his powers of reading, understanding and applying the law. He was the expositor of God’s word, the interpreter of God’s mind, the commentator on courses, the teacher of truth that made know to him by God. He loosed men’s minds and wills from any bondage. What the Jewish scribe with the keys of knowledge and truth and duty was to the law, the Church should be to the kingdom of God.

4. We must remember when this great prophecy was spoken in the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, among the most remarkable rock – scenery of the Holy Land, possibly under the shadow of the high red limestone cliff which covers the town. The summit of which was crowned by the white marble temple built by Herod in honour of Augustus. This temple with its blasphemous dedication was an outrage in the eyes of the holy son of God; the temple which he would build was wholly different – most stable and abiding.

5. Peter is called ‘rock’ – Simon is said to have been called Peter. In Greek there is a play of the name Petros and the word Petra (rock). In Aramaic the play is more perfect on kepha – peter/cephas; may not have been a proper but rather a nick name, which perhaps had some connection with Peter’s personal characteristics (Rocky)

Jesus Christ’s most pertinent question is “Who do you say?” All of us have an obligation to answer this question. This should not come from our learning but from our personal experience. If we are answering this question basing on the speculative knowledge we have about Christ, we might be actually answering his first question “Who do people say I am?” Only when we answer the second question rightly we can help others to understand the identity of Jesus. In simple words we need to spend time in prayer with the Lord in order to preach the good news effectively.

The pulpit Commentary
The Great texts of the Bible
Sacra Pagina Series
William Barclay‘s Commentary
Preacher’s outline and Sermon Bible

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


1. The message and ministry of Jesus and His apostles reached even into the halls of government. The impact of the message and ministry reached far and wide during these days.

2. Herod became disturbed. He had murdered John the Baptist and some were saying that Jesus was John the Baptist risen from the dead. He thought he got rid of John’s convicting preaching. Was it possible that John had arisen or that another like John had come on the scene? Herod wished to know.

3. This was Herod Antipas; he was the son of Herod the Great; his mother’s name was Malthace. After his father’s death, he became tetrarch or prince-ruler of Galilee. His first wife was daughter of Aretas, a famous Arabian Sheik. This princess he divorced, and contracted a incestuous and adulterous marriage at once with his niece Herodias, the wife of his half-brother Philip. Philip was not a Sovereign prince, and it was probably from motives of ambition that she deserted Philip.

4. The murder of John had been, Herod knew was strongly condemned by the public voice. Herod actually need not have feared, because Saduceeism and the easy doctrines of Epicurus which did not favour resurrection found favour in the palace. But he was still conscious. The murmur that the great prophet was Elijah disquieted him too. He recalled how Elijah fought with wicked Ahab and Jezebel whose great crime was they too had slain the Lord’s prophets.

5. The desire of Herod to see our Lord was gratified but not then. He saw Him on the day of the crucifixion, when Pilate sent him to Herod for judgment; but that tetrarch, weak and wicked though he was, declined the responsibility of shedding that blood, so he sent him back to the governor (Lk 23: 6-12)

When we read the Story of Herod we get a picture of someone who does not really take a stand in his life. He wavers in his convictions and paints a personality of himself which is characterized by fear and insecurity. People who live a life of compromise cannot but live in constant fear and insecurity. This is a great lesson Jesus teaches us through Herod.

The Death of the Messiah – Raymond E. Brown
The Preacher’s Outline and the Sermon Bible
The Pulpit Commentary

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


1. Heal the sick: It is probable that the early Christians custom alluded to by St. James of anointing the sick with oil arose from our Lord’s direction to these apostles on the occasion of this mission. The practice still continues in the Catholic Church as the sacrament of anointing of the sick. Anointing of the sick with oil was a favourite practice among the ancient Jews (Is 1: 6)

2. Dr. Farrar sums up the various directions of the master to these his first missionaries. The general spirit of the instruction merely is “Go for the in the simplest, humblest manner, with no hindrances to your movements, and in perfect faith; and this as history shows, has always been the method of the most successful missions.

3. Shaking off the dust: This was the symbol of hostility and war; but there was no further outward act to be undertaken. The war was spiritual and the judgment of the rejecters must be left with God.

4. The disciples were not to use miracle to make themselves independent of the hospitality of the people. Christ never used miracle to make life easier for himself; nor did he allow his delegates to do so.

5. Church in Homes: The method Christ chose for evangelizing was the method of home evangelism. Note this, for it should speak loudly and clearly to us. The disciple was to carefully investigate and search out a receptive family and home. He was to make that home the centre for ministry.

A note on this method
• It emphasizes the family, making it the very hub of ministry.
• It stresses stability and security. Nothing on earth is to be any more secure and stable than the family.
• It centers preaching and ministering in the community, right where people live and walk. It makes the presence of Christ visible in all in day-to-day living.
• It serves as the center from with the message can move out in an ever-widening circle, spreading from family to family.

We as disciples are given a lot of power and authority by Our Lord Jesus Christ in order to proclaim His good news in a convincing manner. Unfortunately we have not realized the God given potentials may be because of our own lack of faith. By virtue of ministerial priesthood, all the priests are given these powers, but often times many could not exercise these powers due to their unholy life and the faithless life. It will be a real surprise if God does not grant what the disciples ask in His name because God cannot refuse to grant the favours asked for by the people who have committed their whole life for His cause.

The Pulpit Commentary
The Preachers Outline and the Sermon Bible

Monday, September 20, 2010


1. What is so heart-warming and touching is that Matthew shares his own personal conversion in one simple verse, and then he moves on to share how Jesus came to save sinners like him. He does not talk about himself or about the details of his sin and shame, but he lifts up Jesus and the glorious salvation Jesus came to bring. He emphasizes not his own conversion, but the fact the Jesus came to save all tax collectors and sinners such as himself.

2. Matthew was a working man, a very industrious man. He was not a lazy or slothful person. Apparently he was dissatisfied with his profession, but he was working hard. Jesus has no room for the lazy and soft.

3. Matthew entertained Jesus and his sinful friends. The very first thing Matthew did was witness to his friends. He arranged a “great banquet” for Jesus to share with his sinful friends. The witnessing session was apparently very fruitful: “there were many who followed Him” (Mk 2: 15)

4. The self-disciplined and religious are some times the most judgmental and censorious. A judgmental and censorious spirit does more to hurt people than any other single thing. But note what God says: the person who judges and censors others shall be shut out of the Kingdom of God (Ro. 2: 1-3)

5. God’s call is to mercy, not to sacrifice. A person can make sacrifice after sacrifice and gift after gift and still not please God. What God wants first of all is a person’s life. God wants to cleanse the person, making him acceptable for heaven. Once God has the person’s life, He has all he is.

Jesus receives the sinners who are aware of their sinfulness and are ready to mend their lives. Today’s greatest woe is the steady loss of sense of sin among the people. If our conscience gets used to the sins, we actually risk our salvation. Without our cooperation even God cannot save us. Let us be open to God’s word and let us try to keep our conscience delicate by frequenting the sacrament of Reconciliation. This will enable us to rise from our chairs of sinfulness immediately and keep following our Lord till the end.

The Preacher’s Outline and the Sermon Bible

Sunday, September 19, 2010


No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed; rather, he places it on a lamp stand so that those who enter may see the light. For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible, and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light. Take care, then, how you hear. To anyone who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he seems to have will be taken away."

The Covering of Reticence: Many human beings are right at heart, sound in faith, well fitted by their knowledge and intelligence to render essential service; but they are also reserved, so self-contained, so inalienable, lives so much in the inner circle of their non familiar friends, that they are far less forcible and influential than they are capable of being; they are hiding the light of their character under the covering of reserve, instead of setting it on the candlestick of open-heartedness and expressiveness.

The Covering of Resentfulness: Other people are warm-hearted, good natured diligent and devoted in every good work, capable of rendering admirable service; but they are quick- tempered, irascible, ready to take offence; so hasty and resentful that they are shunned when they would otherwise be approached; they hide the light of their character under the vessel of ill temper.

The Covering of self-assertion: Some people are upright, honourable, zealous, resolute, forcible, well fitted to effect great things, but they hide their light, under the bushel of self-assertion; they insist on everything being done in the way they prefer; they make co-operation impossible; they cut their influence in twain by their want of concession.

The Covering of Discourtesy: There are those who are honest and even earnest and hardworking Christians, acting along the lines of holy usefulness; but they cover their character with the vessel of bluntness or ignorance or positive rudeness, instead of putting the light of piety and zeal on the candlestick of courtesy.

As in the case of the parable of talents, those who hide their lighted lamps under the vessel will be deprived of their light forever. People who make the best use of their opportunities will always grow higher and God will continue to bless these persons with many more gifts and opportunities.

As Christians we are called to be the light of the world. We are expected to give witness to others by our exemplary life. We cannot have our Christian identity hidden and if we keep hiding it for a long time, we cease to be Christians (even what we have will be taken from us)

The Pulpit Commentary
Sacra Pagina Series

Friday, September 17, 2010


A friend once saw Michael Angelo at work on one of his statues. Some time afterwards he saw him again and said seeing so little done. “ Have you been idle since I saw you last?
“By no means” replied the sculptor, “I have retouched this part and polished that; I have softened this feature and brought out that muscle; I have given more expression to this lip, and more energy to this limb.”
“Well Well” said the friend, “all these are trifles”
“It may be so,” replied Angelo; “but recollect that trifles make perfection, and that perfection is no trifle”.

There is a beautiful Rabbinical story, that, when Moses was tending Jethro’s flock in Midian, a kid went astray. He sought it and found it drinking at a spring. “Thou art weary, “he said, and lifted it on his shoulders and carried it home. And God said to him, “Since thou has had pity for a man’s beast, thou shalt be shepherd of Israel, My flock.

1. The Law of Inward growth: The Lord of our nature knew that it was ‘in human being’ to do any act more readily and easily the second time than the first, third than the second. Every disposition, faculty, principle, grows by exercise. This is true in the physical, the mental and also in the spiritual sphere. One who is faithful today will find it a simpler and easier thing to be faithful tomorrow.

2. The Principle of Divine Reward: God blesses uprightness in the very act for He makes the upright man something the better and the stronger for his act of faithfulness. He holds out to faithfulness the promise of a reward in the future. The promise is twofold 1) one of heavenly wealth of the higher order 2) inalienable wealth.

3. Fidelity in small things prepares for and opens the way to a wider sphere of service. Every time that a Christian acts for the sake of Christ that motive is made strong in his soul.

4. Unfaithfulness in the use of money and possessions disqualifies a person from true, heavenly riches. A person may think his life and possessions are his/her own to do with it as he/she wills, but they are not. His/her life and possessions are God’s. God has trusted the person with life and possessions only as long as he/she is on this earth. The holder is only a manger of all he/she is and has. Scripture says that the true heavenly riches and rewards are beyond comprehension
Examples for heavenly riches
· Being adopted as a son of God (Gal 4: 4-7)
· Being made blameless and harmless (Ph 2: 15)
· Being given eternal life (Jn 3: 16)
· Being given a glorious body (Ph 3: 11, 21)

5. No slave can serve two masters: Nowadays, it is quite easy to do two jobs and work for two people, for instance, working in an office by day and as a musician by night. Many people augment their income or find real interest in a spare-time occupation. But a slave had no spare time; every moment of his day, and every ounce of his energy, belonged to his master.

All service ranks the same with God
If now, as formerly He trod
Paradise, His Presence fills
Our earth, each only as God wills
Can Work – God’s puppets best and worst
Are we; there is no last nor first’

Say not “a small event”! Why “small”?
Costs it more pain that this, ye call
A “great event,” should come to pass,
Than that? Untwine me from the mass
Of deeds which make up life, one deed
Power shall fall short in or exceed
Browning (Pippa Passes)

The Great Texts of the Bible
The Pulpit Commentary
William Barclay’s The New Daily Study Bible
The Preacher’s Outline and the Sermon Bible

Thursday, September 16, 2010


1. The parable was taken from an everyday happening. It concerned a sower, a farmer, who went out to sow seed. How many do go out? Of those who do, how many really sow the seed of the word? It is so easy for the minister and believer.
• To sit in the comfort of the home or office and rest and work administratively instead of going out and sowing.
• To visit and care for the flock in their needs instead of going out into the fields to sow.

2. Jesus wanted the open hearts, the persons who were really seeking God, to learn all they could about the secrets or mysteries of the Kingdom of God. Parables required much thought in order to grasp their meaning. A person who really sought after God would seek, strive, think and ask until he could find the meaning to the parable. And then he would chew upon the meaning, drawing all the meaning he could out of the parable so that he could learn everything possible about God.

3. The success of the seed depends upon one thing alone; the condition of the soil (heart) to receive the seed (Word). If the ground (heart) is soft and rich, being full of the right minerals (spiritual qualities) and cleared of all junk and brush, ploughed and turned over, then it is ready to receive the seed.

4. A brief look on the fate of the seed
• The seed by the path or wayside: the person is present, but he is off to the side, out of the way, not involved. He respects Christ and the preacher and would not miss a service, but he is on the outer circle, paying little attention to the warnings and promises of the Word.
• The seed on the rock: He receives the Word, professes belief in Christ, and makes profession of faith before the world. But he fails to count the cost, to consider the commitment, the self-denial, the sacrifice, the study, the learning, the hours and efforts required. He is only a superficial believer.
• The seed among the thorns: This is the person who receives the Word and honestly tries to live for Christ. But there is one problem, the thorns or worldliness. He is unwilling to cut completely loose from the world. He bears fruit, fruit does appear but it never ripens; it is never able to be plucked. The thorns choke the life out of it.
• The seed on the good ground: Their hearts are noble. They honestly seek to learn to know the truth, spiritually as well as physically. Once the truth is now they hold fast to it. They bear fruit with perseverance and patience.

5. Jesus wanted the truth concealed from closed minds. Closed minds are hardened and unwilling to consider the secrets or mysteries of the Kingdom of God. Sitting there in the audience, they heard and understood the words and the pictures which the words painted. But not all had the disposition to keep their hearts open.

I would like to see the parable from the perspective of the Sower. All of us Christians and in a concrete way the ministers of Christ are asked to do this great job of sowing the Word of God. During the several years of seminary formation and ongoing formation as priests some fail to learn to sow the seeds effectively. Some instead of learning the Scripture, concentrate too much on secular studies and stay wayside, while others learn the Scriptures well but fail to upgrade their knowledge by deeper studies and land up on the rocky areas, some others do their learning part well but fail to seek the inspiration of the Holy Spirit through prayer and contemplation and get choked by thorns of popularity. Only a few succeed to have the efficacy of word and land up in the good soil.

The Preachers Outline and the Sermon Bible


The women supported a preaching ministry. Preaching was Jesus’ business; it was what He came to do His primary call and mission. Right after the banquet, he got up and went about His primary task, that of the preaching and proclaiming the gospel. The point is this: the women supported a solid preaching ministry.

Much of the untold misery and suffering which tormented the old world has been at least alleviated in great measure by the labours of the women of Christianity. Several of these kindly grateful souls here allude to evidently belonged to the wealthy class; some even occupied a high position in the society of that time. It was by their gifts, no doubt, that Jesus and his company was enabled to live during the 30 or more months of the public ministry. He had given up, as had also his companions his earthly occupation, and we know that he deliberately refrained from ever using his miraculous power to supply his daily wants.

In the contemporary Jewish culture of the time of Christ, as well as in many other cultures, the social status of woman was not anything remarkable, nay often it was rather degrading. In this background Christ’s own attitude and dealings with women are surprisingly different. These women disciples provide for His needs out of their own resources. This is an aspect that is not at all mentioned in regard to the men disciples.

A note on these women
Mary Magdalene: She was delivered from seven demons (Lk 8:2); was one of Jesus’ primary financial supporters; was among the women who courageously stood at the cross and was one to whom Jesus appeared after His resurrection (Mt 28:1, Mk 16:1, Jn 20: 11)

Joanna: He husband Herod’s steward, was the court official who looked after the king’s estate and financial interests. Such was the task of the steward. The very nature of his job shows that he had to be most-trusted official (Lk 24: 10)

Susanna: There is no other reference to Susanna. She represents the prominent disciple who is known by everyone but serves in a capacity that few ever notice. But note: she was such a devoted servant in giving, her name is known.

Many Others: These represent the unknown and quiet, but all-important, followers of the Lord. They serve completely in the background, never up front; therefore, they are totally unknown. But note: they are faithful and do serve consistently and faithfully.

They supported Jesus out of devotion. They were grateful for what He had done for them. Each of them had been reached and healed by Jesus. They had received a very special touch from Him and as a result they were helping to support them out of their means.

Jesus teaches a great lesson for all the menfolks who seldom respect women. Women have played a vital role in the life and mission of Jesus. His attitude towards women should be a model for all of us. Women are not objects to be used but persons to be respected and loved. In spite of growing awareness of gender justice there are several instances of harrasments and abuses. Let Jesus Chirst be our model, who recognized their absolute neccessity in his life and mission.


The Preacher’s Outline and the Sermon Bible

The Pulpit Commentary

The Anchor Bible Series

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


1. Reclined at table: They were dining in the Hellenistic manner which was to lounge on one’s side with the feet pointing away from the table. Thus the woman can stand ‘behind him at his feet’. The dinner should have been a festive banquet since reclining was practiced only on such occasions.

2. A certain woman: As in the case of the Pharisee, she too is unnamed. In the Western Church traditions, at least since the time of Gregory the Great, Mary of Bethany has been conflated with sinner of Galilee and even with Mary Magdalene. The Greek Church tradition by and large kept these Marys distinct.

3. Known to be a sinner: She is depicted as sinner by the Pharisees and Jesus acknowledges it. No hint is given of the kind of sins that she has committed. Many commentators identify her as the town harlot, guilty of habitual unchastity; but it is at most implied, not being said openly in the text.

4. Love is the proof of pardon: We are not pardoned because we love our Saviour; but we love Him because He has pardoned us. Here the stronger the love, the stronger must be our sense of the amount of sin we have been forgiven. Our love will grow just in proposition to our appreciation of our pardon.

5. Jesus was the One who had the power to forgive sins.
· The woman’s sins were many. Jesus did not overlook her sins, nor the seriousness of them. After all it was her sins and the sins of others that brought about His humiliation, His having to come to this sinful world and to die for the sins of people.
· Self-righteousness sensed the need for little forgiveness; therefore, the self-righteous loved little. They had only a formal, distant relationship with God. The Pharisee’s relationship was cold, having only a small sense of sin and sensing only a little need for forgiveness.

The sinful woman gathers all her courage and enters into the Pharisee’s house to meet our Lord Jesus Christ. Her sins and the shades of guilt was so much that she did not even mind public scorning, but comes to seek the forgiveness of the Lord. When we go to a new place with the address in our hands, we look for that particular street or that particular apartment, ignoring all the others spots and we get a big relief the moment we locate our destination. The same thing happens for this woman whose sole destination was Jesus Christ and therefore the words of the Pharisees and others do not mean much to her. Jesus, who has come to this world searching sinners, presents Himself totally to the needy and shows preference to her than those who do not feel the need of Him

The Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible
The Pulpit Commentary
The Anchor Bible Commentary
Sacra Pagina Series

Monday, September 13, 2010


1. ‘Here is your son’ here is your mother’: In this revelatory formula, the one who speaks is revealing the mystery of the special salvific mission that the one referred to will undertake; thus the son ship and motherhood proclaimed from the cross are of value for God’s plan and are related to what is being accomplished in the elevation of Jesus on the cross.

2. As He looked upon her, He saw that the prediction of Simeon was now fulfilled, ‘A sword shall pierce through thine own heart also’, He had loved her all His life, and His life was never more grateful, more tender, more compassionate than now. He was bearing the burden of a world’s sin and sorrow; yet there was room in His sacred heart for affectionate thoughts of His beloved mother.

3. We cannot but reverentially admire the self forgetfulness of the crucified redeemer: We know that the Lord Jesus was exquisitely sensitive to suffering, Yet even amidst the aguish of body and of mind, which He was then enduring, the Saviour was able to turn away His thoughts from Himself to her who gave Him birth, who had often shared the honour and the trial of His ministry, and who had now, with notable fortitude and sympathy, come to witness his death.

4. In becoming mother of the beloved disciple, Mary is symbolically evocative of Lady Zion who, after the birth pangs, brings forth a new people in joy.

5. The Church Fathers like Athanasius, Ephiphanius and Hilary so interpreted the episode to prove Mary’s perpetual virginity: if she had other sons, Jesus would not have entrusted her to John son of Zebedee.

For the past one week, I had the great privilege to be very close with our Blessed Mother. On her Birthday I was in Shivaji Nagar Basilica from and also on the occasion of the feast of Mother of Mines – Kolar Gold Fields (12th Sep). I had witnessed the thousands of devotees and prayed for them all. The simple faith which people manifested was a great challenge for my own faith. Interestingly enough there were more female folks than male folks. When I saw the Mothers crying loud to the Heavenly mother asking for several intentions, I was deeply moved. Almost all their intentions were for their children and their spouses (other –centred). Since I was present very close to our Blessed Mother’s statue, they all asked me to pray for their intentions and they specified their intentions too. There were mothers who have lost their sons and daughters, there were mothers who suffered misunderstanding, there were mothers who cried due to their insecure situations, and there were mothers who cried for peace in the family. We might not understand their prayers but certainly our Lady will understand their pain. After all she underwent all these pains during her earthly life. No wonder why so much people come and get healed because only those who were wounded know the need and necessity of healing. Let us all go to our Blessed Mother with little more faith and confidence, she will surely send us back with smiling faces.
Our Lady of Sorrow – Pray for us

The Pulpit Commentary
The Anchor Bible Series – Raymond Brown
Sacra Pagina Series