Friday, October 29, 2010

THE IMPORTANCE OF HUMILITY – OCTOBER 30TH – SATURDAY (Lk 14: 1, 7-11)


1. Jesus teaches a great lesson on humility. Jesus saw how the Pharisees were craving to get the seat of honour in the banquet. Today we usually place the names of the most honoured guests at the plates. However, in Jesus day the highest seat of honour was on the right of the host and the next highest on his left, and so the ranking continued alternating back and forth until the lowest ranked person sat the farthest away from the host.


2. The ambitious person should not sit in a seat that is higher that his position or capability lest a man more honourable enters and replace him. If the ambitious man takes a higher seat, four things are likely to happen.
• He will be displaced.
• He will then find all the other seats taken.
• He will have to take a lower seat.
• He will be embarrassed.


3. Humility (tareinophrosune) means lowliness of mind. It is a word that was coined by Christianity. Before Christ, a humble man was looked upon as a coward: a cringing, unappealing, effeminate type of person. However after Christ, humility was elevated to the most praise-worthy level. When people looked at Christ, they saw the strength of humility through the influence of one who was perfect in meekness and lowliness of heart.


4. The person who exalts himself does at least four things.
• He debases others. He has to treat other as less and lower than himself in order to exalt himself.
• He acts self-sufficient.
• He corrupts morality and justice.
• He lives a life of struggle.


5. We can retain humility by realizing the facts. However much we know, we still know very little compared with the sum total of knowledge. Only when we come across someone who has reached certain degree of perfection in field, we understand our smallness. Many musicians have decided never to appear in public again after hearing a truly great performance.

We see people who try to climb up the ladder to occupy important posts and positions by all means. They are ready to make any compromise to become prominent. It is not the seat/chair that makes a person prominent but the exemplary life that he/she lives makes the seat/chair prominent.

Courtesy
The Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible
William Barclay the New Daily Study Bible

Thursday, October 28, 2010

THE RELGIONISTS AND THEIR ERROR – OCTOBER 29TH – FRIDAY (Lk 14: 1-6)

1. The religionists watched Jesus with critical eyes. The word watched (‘parateroumenoi’) means to observe with a sinister purpose: to look for something wrong, to search for the incorrect, and to watch for error. It means to look with critical and cynical eyes.

2. The man with dropsy was not an invited guest; he just appeared on the scene, we are not sure whether he appeared on his own or the Pharisees made use of him to trap Jesus. In either case, a real failure of the religionists is seen. They did not see the need of the man.

3. The law had its meticulous regulations about Sabbath meals. Of course no food could be cooked on the Sabbath; that would have been to work. All food had to be cooked on the Friday; and if it was necessary to keep it hot, it must be kept hot in such a way that it was not cooked any more. So it is laid down that food to be kept warm for the Sabbath must not be put into ‘oil dregs, manure, salt, chalk or sand, whether moist or dry, nor into straw, grape-skins, flock or vegetables, if these are damp, though it may be if they are dry. It may be, however, put into clothes, amid fruits, pigeons’ feathers and flax tow. No wonder why Pharisees found difficult to understand Jesus.

4. Jesus knew it was the Sabbath, the day when the Jews allowed no work whatsoever. He saw a unique opportunity to teach a much needed truth: the truth that healing and helping a needy man is much more important than religious form and ceremony, than religious ritual and rules.

5. The illustration by Jesus was powerful. A man would set aside his religious rule to help his oxen out of a ditch. His oxen or personal property was quickly put before his religious rule. When it comes to the question of a person in need, we start talking about laws and regulations.

Jesus proves to the Pharisees that they are not really consistent in following the Sabbath laws. They become flexible with the laws when it concerns their personal property. Their purpose of questioning Jesus was not to have a clear perspective about laws but to find fault with Jesus. Once we decide to see something bad in people, we will certainly see only bad in them, for the simple reason the ‘badness’ exists in our eyes. I remember studying about theory of perception, called ‘Self fulfilling prophecy’. The theory states, we approach a person with an idea he/she is nervous; somehow our behavior with that particular person will be different due to our prejudice. Our strange behavior with that person makes him/her a bit nervous. Then we say to ourselves, that our perception about the other was correct.

Courtesy
The Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible
William Barclay the New Daily Study Bible

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

JESUS CHOOSES HIS MEN – OCTOBER 28TH – THURSDAY (Lk 6: 12 – 19)

1. Jesus needs people. He needs men, women, boys and girls who will carry His message of salvation to the world. This passage is a picture of how Jesus goes about choosing people to serve Him.
• He chose them after praying all night
• He chose them from among His disciples
• He chose them to be apostles
• He chose diverse personalities
• He chose them to minister with Him

2. Jesus called His disciples to Him; He called all those had attached themselves to Him. Out of these disciples Jesus chose twelve to serve as His apostles and to join Him in His great mission and ministry. They were to serve with Him in a very , very special way.

3. Jesus chose diverse personalities. There were at least three businessmen: Peter, James and John. One apostle was wealthy: Matthew, the tax collector. One was a political nationalist and an insurrectionist, Simon the Zealot. One was evidently deeply religious: Nathanael. Christ brought a group so diverse in nature under one banner.

4. Jesus knew that the end was coming. Had he lived in a later age he might have written a book which would have carried his teaching all over the world. But living when he did, Jesus chose these men that may be his living books.

5. The minister and teacher of God is to minister to the diseased and brokenhearted of his community and world. In the name and power of Jesus, he is to heal the sick and mend the brokenhearted.

The very first verse of the Gospel is very striking. Jesus spends the whole night in prayer before choosing His apostles. Before every important activity of His life, He spends long hours in prayer. We too spend a lot of time in prayer before accomplishing a huge task. We regularly see the number of students flocking to the Churches and Temples with their petitions before their exams; we also see those who go for job interviews spending time in prayer and likewise many important activities of ours are done only after praying. But to pray daily with certain amount of consistency and regularity calls for deeper conviction and discipline. We are indebted to spend at least a few minutes with the Lord everyday personally. It is not sufficient to run to Him when we are in need and when we are in anxiety, a greater faith is manifested when we run to Him even when do not feel His need.

Courtesy
The Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible
William Barclay The New Daily Study Bible

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

THE RISK OF BEING SHUT OUT – OCTOBER 27TH – WEDNESDAY (Lk 13: 22-30)


1. The Only gate to heaven is narrow. Many will try and fail. They think they know the secret entryway, but they do not. Their way of religious righteousness does not work. They must know Jesus, who is the only way to heaven. They must seek to hear, understand, and practice his word. This is the way of entry. Jesus’ emphasis was on those who fail rather than those who succeed and how they succeed.


2. The safe and secure religious traditionalist of Judaism thought they were guaranteed a place in God’s final kingdom. They thought everyone must submit to their religious rules and regulations to enter the kingdom. This automatically excluded all Gentiles who did not become Jewish proselyte. Now Jesus is opening the gates to them.


3. 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. There are those who think that they will be saved just because they are the members of a society based on Christian principles. They might be enjoying the benefits of the society without personally contributing anything. We cannot live on borrowed goodness.


5. Gnashing (brugmos): grinding; biting in hostility and bitterness and indignation; spitefully snapping the teeth; rage, fury and despair because nothing can be done. A person’s state is permanently determined.


In our day today life we encounter two kinds of people, there are those who are self-sacrificing and generous and there are those who are very utilitarian in nature. People with utilitarian attitude, make use of people, things, circumstance for their own good. They usually target the first category of people who willingly give their time, energy and resource. But once the job is done, the utilitarian just ignore the persons who offered them help. They behave as if they have not seen their donors before. The only time they will recognize their donors is when they want the favour next time. Many people just made use of Jesus for their own benefits. They ate his food, got healed from their sickness, and obtained favours of every kind. Once their job was done they ignored Him and His values. Jesus warns these people that in God’ Kingdom their tricks cannot work anymore. Here the donors will reject these self-centred people.


Courtesy
Holman’s New Testament Commentary
The Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible
William Barclay the New Daily Study Bible

Monday, October 25, 2010

WHAT GOD'S KINGDOM IS LIKE – OCTOBER 26TH TUESDAY (Lk 13: 18-21)


1. Some say the birds are those in the world who find their lodging in the kingdom – the kingdom (The Church) that had so small a beginning but is now growing into a world movement. Many in the world believers and non-believers alike have found help and safely under its branches. A great empire is said to be like birds who lodge under its shadow.


2. The mustard plant of Palestine was very different from the mustard plant which we know in our places. To be strictly accurate, the mustard seed is not the smallest seed of the cypress tree, for instance is still smaller; but in the Middle East it was proverbial for smallness. It grows to be great bush, a bush as large as a tree. Its characteristics were loftiness, expansion and prominence.


3. It is the fact of history that the greatest things must always begin with the smallest beginnings.

• An idea which may well change civilization begins with one person.

• A witness must begin with the single person.

• A reformation begins with one person.


4. This was one of the most personal parables Jesus ever spoke. His disciples must have been in despair. How would they believe that their little band could win and change the whole world? Yet with Jesus, an invincible force entered the world. It is an encouragement to us in our personal lives and in our ministry. No matter how small we may begin, we must continue on. If we continue, our lives and efforts will grow.


5. Parable of the Leaven or Yeast: The whole point of the parable lies in one thing – the transforming power of the leaven. Leaven changed the character of a whole baking. Unleavened bread is like a water biscuit, hard, dry, unappetizing and uninteresting; bread baked with leaven is soft and porous and spongy, tasty and good to eat.


The introduction of the leaven causes a transformation in the dough. The coming of the kingdom causes transformation in life. Let us make a positive impact on the people we meet. We are called to be like the mustard seed and the yeast. Our lives should positively influence people and bring hope in their lives. As the people belonging to the kingdom we should not consciously work on our popularity rather we should help other to become popular in the eyes of God.


Courtesy

The Preacher’s Outline and the Sermon Bible

William Barclay’s Commentary

Saturday, October 23, 2010

PHARISEE AND THE TAX COLLECTOR – OCTOBER 24TH – 30TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (Lk 18: 9-14)



The language and content show that the parable belongs to an early Palestinian tradition. Two men living in Jerusalem, the temple is on high ground, with valley to the south, east and west. To pray they go to the temple at the hour of prayer, that is at 3 pm. With himself he stood, to be understood as something like, ‘He took up a prominent position and said this prayer.

He mentions two works which he is not obliged to perform. The law prescribes only one annual fast, namely on the Day of Atonement; he fasts voluntarily twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays, probably interceding for people’s sin. He pays tithes to everything he buys, although corn, new wine and oil should already have been tithed by the producer.

Tax collectors were on a level with robbers; they possessed no civil rights and were shunned by all respectable people. Beating the breast or more accurately the heart is the expression of deepest contrition. Justified means here ‘blessed with God’s pleasure’. This passage is the only one in Gospels where ‘to justify’ is used in a sense similar to that in which Paul uses. The passage shows that the Pauline doctrine of justification is rooted in the teaching of Jesus.

To its first hearers the parable must have seemed shocking and incomprehensible. A prayer very similar to that of the Pharisee has come down to us from the 1st Century in the Talmud; ‘I thank thee, O Lord, my God, that thou hast given me my lot with those who sit in the house of learning, and not with those who sit at the street corners…… What was the fault with this prayer?

Tax Collector’s prayer is an outburst of despair. How is he going to put things right? He has to repay all those whom he cheated. Not only his situation, even his cry for mercy is hopeless. Why God heard his prayer and rejected the Pharisee’s prayer? That is God’s decision. God accepts the despairing, hopeless sinner and rejects the self-righteous.

The Pharisee was like a cup which was already full and therefore nothing more could go inside him, whereas the tax collector came as an empty vessel and went away filled with God’s graces. To receive Lord’s mercy and graces we need to have certain openness and humility which the Pharisee did not have.

Courtesy
Rediscovering the Parables – Joachim Jeremias
Gospel According to Luke – John L. Mckenzie

Friday, October 22, 2010

THE NEED FOR ALL TO REPENT – OCTOBER 23RD – SATURDAY (Lk 13: 1-9)


1. Some shared with Jesus the latest news of a horrible massacre. Pilate had attacked some Galileans in the midst of their worship in the temple and slaughtered them. The crowd was being harsh and making a very harsh judgment on these Galileans. They thought that their fate was due to their sins. They saw everything as the fulfillment of what Jesus was preaching all these days.


2. Jesus clearly refuted their thoughts. He warned them of the same fate and did not really approve their understanding of the tragedy. Jesus did not connect suffering with sin. He narrated another story to make them understand that sin alone is not the cause for the suffering. If that is the case, all of us should be constantly suffering due to our sins.


3. People must bear fruit or else they shall perish. Jesus wanted to drive home the need for repentance by sharing the parable of a man’s seeking fruit. The man represents God; the vineyard keeper represents Christ; the vineyard represents either the world or Israel.



4. The fig tree was greatly privileged. It was planted in the vineyard. It had the same soil, nourishment, rain and sun from heaven. This is true of all persons who are born in nations where the gospel is freely preached. But there is a great responsibility on the part of these privileged ones.


5. Who were the Galileans slaughtered by Pilate? Two suggestions are made about the Galileans. First they were followers of Judas of Galilee who opposed taxation imposed by the Romans (Acts 5:37). Pilate either knew that some of Judas’ followers were in the temple worshipping or mistook some group of Galileans as his followers and slaughtered them. This is much known. Pilate set out to build a new water system in Jerusalem. He need money for that and so insisted that money be taken from temple finances. Galileans were an inflammable people and therefore their protest might have caused this tragedy.


Suffering is part and parcel of life. For the past few days I am hearing a lot of tragic news connected with people whom I knew. There was a case of murder of our staff member, death of my class mate due to bike accident, a death due to cancer and a death due to old age and tomorrow 22nd October is the 5th death anniversary of my own sister who passed away in a tragic accident. Physical separation of people causes us great suffering. We cannot blindly hold the view that sin causes suffering. Suffering has its own salvific value. All that we can ask God is to give us the strength to bear up these sufferings and find a new meaning out of every suffering.

Courtesy
The Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible
William Barclay The New Bible Study Bible

WHILE THERE IS STILL TIME – OCTOBER 22ND – FRIDAY (Lk 12: 54-59)

1. The Jews of Palestine were weather-wise. When they saw the clouds forming in the west, over Mediterranean Sea, they knew rain was on the way. When the south wind blew from the desert they knew the sirocco-like wind was coming. But those who were so wise to read the signs of the sky could not, or would not, read the signs of the times. If they had they would have seen that the kingdom of God was on the way.

2. Jesus uses a vivid illustration concerning the lawsuit. From what He says, the defendant has a bad case which will inevitably go against him. All of us have a bad case in the presence of God and if we are wise we will make our peace with God while there is still time.

3. Since we come across the word penny, it is good to know the information about Jewish coinage in the time of Jesus.
• The lepton, was the smallest coin, and had the least value. It was the widow’s mite (Mk 12: 42)
• The quadrans was worth two lepta (Mt 5: 26)
• The assarion, was worth about four times the value of quadrans (Mt 10:29)
• The denarius was a day’s pay for a working man (Mt 20:2), and was the coin that Good Samaritan left with the innkeeper (Lk 10: 25)
• The drachma was a silver coin worth slightly more than a denarius. It was the coin which the woman lost and searched for (Lk 15:8)
• The didrachma or half-shekel – was worth about two day’s pay. It was the amount of the Temple tax which everyone had to pay. It was for thirty didrachmae about two months wages, that Judas betrayed Jesus.
• The shekel was equal to about four days’ wages, and was the coin found in the fish’s mouth (Mt 17: 27).
• The mina is the coin mentioned in the parable of the pounds (Lk 19: 11-27). It was equal to 100 drachmae; and was therefore the equivalent of about three month’s wages.
• The talent was not so much a coin but a weight of silver. It would take about fifteen years to earn such a sum (Mt 18:24)

4. They knew how to test the weather signs means that they did test them; the question that they knew not to test the signs of the times means that they would just as easily have done so but did not do so. Every means and every aid were given them that they were just as plain as the cloud in the west and the wind from the south. There were the baptism and preaching of John, there was the wonderful person of Jesus, his preaching and his miracles. Yet they knew not how to test these. They knew well enough but would not act on their knowledge.

5. The people knew how these signs were to be interpreted; they only pretended that they did not understand them. They did not make a decision. They refused to be converted; they were determined to continue their old way of life.

Courtesy
The Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible
William Barclay New Daily Study Bible
John L. Mc Kenzie - The Gospel According to St .Luke
Lenski – Interpretation of St. Luke’s Gospel

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I HAVE NOT COME TO BRING PEACE – OCTOBER 21ST – THURSDAY (Lk 12: 49-53)

1. The baptism Jesus here speaks of was the baptism of pain and suffering death – what we call the passion of the Lord. He knew it must all be gone through to bring about the blessed result for which he left his home in heaven; but he looked on to it, nevertheless, with terror and shrinking. He is under pressure,” says Godget, “to enter into this suffering. Therefore he is in haste to get out of it, mournfully impatient to have done with a painful task.” This passage of the discourse of Jesus here has been called a ‘prelude of Gethsemane’

2. The Lucan Jesus has come during the era of Augustan peace, as a sign of peace among human beings; he has not come as the fiery reformer that John once expected. Yet his ministry is now described by him as a source of discord among the very people he came to serve and save. Even in his own family the Lucan Jesus’ career brought a ‘sword’ to pierce his mother’s own soul.

3. If Jesus had not come, the earth would have gone on undisturbed in its sin and guilt until the day of its doom. But he came to take away that sin and guilt by the cross. There was at once division, many refused to have their sin and their guilt removed by the cross. In Matthew’s word there war, men fought the cross, there came to be two hostile camps. Jesus foresaw it. He declared emphatically that this is exactly what he came to give on earth is division. It is better that some accept the cross that that all the earth should perish in its sin.

4. Jesus’ coming would inevitably mean division; in point of fact it did. That was one of the great reasons why the Romans hated Christianity – it tore families in two. Over and over again people had to decide whether they loved better their families or Christ. The essence of Christianity is that loyalty to Christ takes precedence to loyalty to family members.

5. This is the sample of the worst division that Jesus brought, the breaking of intimate family ties. Jesus takes one of the smallest Jewish families which consisted of father, mother, married son and his wife, and one unmarried daughter. According to Oriental custom, the son brings wife to live with him – the daughter who is unmarried, will go to his husband’s house after marriage. Here we can usually see two parties, two against three or three against three. The three young people against the two elders, two men against three women or any other possible combinations among the five.
This gospel passage, make us to question the mission of Jesus. Though we may speak favourably about inter-religious marriages, we still want our sons and daughters to find their life-partners from our own faith to avoid problems in the future. For a Jew to think of following a fellow Jew who claims to be the Son of man is not all that easy. Those people, who dared to follow Jesus, certainly would have undergone family conflicts and divisions within their families. It would have not created peaceful atmosphere for them in the family. But the point to be noted here is, the inner peace which a person experiences as a result of following Jesus surpasses and makes insignificant the peace he/she has lost in the family.
Courtesy
The Interpretation of St. Luke’s Gospel
The Pulpit Commentary
The Sacra Pagina Series
William Barclay the New Study Bible
The Anchor Bible Series

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

THE PARABLE OF FAITHFUL AND UNFAITHFUL MANAGER – OCTOBER 20TH WEDNESDAY (Lk 12: 39-48)


1. Some slaves take advantage of their privilege. They treat the fellow servants with contempt. They indulge in their own vices to gratify their own needs. The master catches one such servant at the unexpected time. With a sudden twist Jesus applies the illustration not to the world of business but to the dedication of discipleship. The one who appeared to hear the word gladly but soon forsook it, to the one who refuses to take up his cross and follow Jesus without worrying about material needs – this one is cut in to two and given an eternal place with the unbelievers.


2. Peter’s question has the answer in verse 1 of this chapter itself. He was surrounded by twelve apostles, seventy disciples and the multitude of crowd. The answer of Jesus is given in his usual manner. He explains more fully so that Peter is able to find his answer and able to find it in a way that is especially necessary for himself. The parable is for all, but let each one look well to himself in the station assigned to him in Master’s house.


3. Life for so many of us is filled with loose ends. There are things undone and things half-done; things put off and things not even attempted. Great men and women have always the sense of a task that must be finished.


4. Jesus says three things about the unfaithful manager
• The unfaithful manager said there is plenty of time. He did not doubt Lord’s coming but only thought he would not come so soon.
• He did his own will, his own thing. He did not take care of the people entrusted under his care

• He was to be judged with the unbelievers and there is no way to escape.

5. The justice that lies back of this fate of the two slaves is made clear by two axiomatic statements, which are universally acted on by men themselves. To everyone whom much is given, much is expected. To the degree he/she has been blessed, to that degree he ought to be grateful,. Much will be required of the gifted servant and even more of the really talented one.

When we work in a group we always see some people working all the time while others do nothing at all. The people who work always do express their difficulty, arising not because of the task itself but by seeing the others who do not even move their fingers. It is true that they should not allow others to take advantage of their generosity but at the same time, it is an indication that the Lord has blessed these people more than the others. If certain tasks can only be done by a few, they should not make a big fuss about the situation rather should do it willingly because it is their obligation for the fact they have received more from the Lord.

Courtesy
The Anchor Bible Series
Interpretation of St. Luke
William Barclay the new Study Bible
The Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible
The Pulpit Commentary


Monday, October 18, 2010

BE VIGILANT – OCTOBER 19TH – TUESDAY (Lk 12: 35-38)

1. Our attitude in life must be that of servants, at once loyal and devoted, whom their employer has left in his house while he is absent at the great wedding feast. The day of his absence passes into evening and evening shades into night and even night wears slowly and tediously away, and still the master of the house comes not back from his festival.

2. The title blessed, when used by our Lord, is ever a very lofty one, and implies some rare and precious virtue in the one to whom this title to honour is given. It seems as though the house master of the parable scarcely expected such true devotion from his servant; so he hastens to reward a rare virtue with equally rare blessedness and honour.

3. Among the Jews at the time of our Lord, the old division of the night into three watches had given place to the ordinary Roman division into four from six to nine, nine to midnight, midnight to three and three to six; for the banquet would certainly not over before the end of the first watch and in the fourth, the day would be breaking. The second and third watches then represent the still and weary hours of night, when to watch is indeed a task of difficulty and painfulness. The delay involves a test of their loyalty.

4. The passage urges disciples to eschatological vigilance and readiness, for in their present condition they all like servants who are expected to carry out their duties in the absence of their master, whose return may occur at any time.

5. The Oriental dress consisted of a long, loose, flowing robe. This was in the way, when quick action became necessary and was either laid aside altogether as when the witnesses against Stephen laid down their clothes at Saul’s feet while they proceeded to stone this martyr or was girded up by a belt about the waist as when the Israelites ate their first Passover in haste, ready for instant- departure from Egypt. So when they were travelling men girded up their loins and men who were serving at table where quick movement was necessary also did so.

Many of us might have had this experience of visiting families. If we enter certain houses without the prior information, we see a sort of reaction mixed with surprise and embarrassment from the hosts. They feel embarrassed if the house is not in order. They somehow put us in a better place, tell the father of the family to keep us occupied and meanwhile the mother tries to put some order in the house. Some may even say, ‘You could have told us early, we might have prepared everything”. Jesus tells us that He would do such a thing. If we know that the guest is going to come, we somehow arrange everything and give the guest an impression that the house is neat and tide always. Jesus does not want a temporary preparation but wants us to maintain the order in our lives throughout.
Courtesy
The Holman New testament Commentary
The Pulpit Commentary
The Anchor Bible Commentary
Interpretation of St. Luke

Saturday, October 16, 2010

SIN AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT – OCTOBER 16TH – SATURDAY (Lk 12: 8-12)


1. Fear: Fear of human beings is a terrible thing. It is a subject that needs to be looked at closely. Jesus said that fear can cost a person his eternal destiny, even if the person is a friend, a follower, of His. Fear causes several things in a person
· It causes a person to become disturbed within heart and mind: the loss of peace
· It causes a person to lose fervor: the loss of commitment
· It causes a person to be either sidetracked from or to give up what he knows to be God’s will: the loss of mission and the meaning of purpose.

2. Why we need not fear human beings?
· Human beings can only kill the body, not the soul. Their power is limited; they can go no further. They cannot touch a person’s soul or life.
· They can send us out of the world not out of heaven.
· When we face death, we are merely transferred from this world, from the physical dimension of being, into the next world, the heavenly or spiritual dimension of being.

3. When we for a long time refuse to use any part of the body it atrophies. Charles Darwin tells how when he was a young man, he loved poetry and music; but he so devoted himself to biology that he completely neglected them. As a consequence in his later life, poetry meant nothing to him and music was just a noise. Just so, we can lose the faculty of recognizing God. By repeatedly refusing God’s word, by repeatedly shutting our eyes we can come to a stage when we cannot recognize him when we see him. This is what happened to the Pharisees and Scribes. Any of us can become a victim to it.

4. What exactly is this sin against the Holy Spirit?
· Attributing the divine power to the power of the evil spirit – E.g. Stating that Jesus casts the demons by his association with Satan.
· Patristic interpreters – blaspheming against Son of Man come from non-believers, whereas blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the result of apostasy.
· Sin against the Son of man – rejection by contemporary Jews in Palestine who will be given an opportunity after resurrection and outpouring of Spirit.
· Non acceptance of the testimony which the Holy Spirit will put into the mouth of the disciples.
· Total rejection of God- a mentality which obstinately sets the mind against the spirit of God – without which God’s forgiveness cannot be accorded to the person.

5. God is to be trusted in the hour of trial, trusted for the strength to bear whatever man/woman may do to us. This does not mean we should not be praying and thinking but it means that God is to be trusted for the defense. There is a reason for this. Only Good knows the heart of the persecutors and any others who are present. Thus, He alone knows what needs to be said to touch their hearts or else to serve as a witness against them in the future.

Even God cannot save us without our cooperation for the simple reason He respects our freedom. Unfortunately some of us reach this stage and remain closed to God. One of the symptoms of this sorry state is the individualistic tendency. People with this tendency tend to think all that what they do is perfect. They never listen to others, never function as a group, never sacrifice their comforts and never recognize the presence of the other. People with this attitude lose the meaning and beauty of human life. This is already a foretaste of the consequence of the sin against the Holy Spirit. We need to allow ourselves to be filled with the spirit and once we give that freedom to the Spirit, everything else would be taken care of.


Courtesy
The Anchor Bible Commentary
The Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible
William Barclay the New Daily Study Bible Series

THINGS PEOPLE SHOULD FEAR – OCTOBER 15TH FRIDAY (Lk 12: 1-7)


1. Hidden things: Does God hide? The answer is yes, truly, “thou art a God that hidest thyself.” He hides his own glory, that we may not be dazzled thereby; he hides the bliss of the beatified, that we may not be discontented thereby. Like as a father hides from his children many things which they will better learn a little later on, or had better make out for themselves, so God hides many things from us for the very same reasons. But he has so hidden treasures of truth and wisdom from us, that we have every possible inducement to search for them, and full capacity to find them.


2. Everything that hypocrisy tries to hide and cover up shall be exposed with absolute certainty. In this life the secret of hypocrisies are not always exposed; but the day is coming when God shall judge ‘the secrets of people’ before the whole universe.


3. Crowds pushed, shoved, kicked and trampled to get near Jesus. Ignoring them and thus illustrating his independence from them, Jesus turned to teach his disciples. They must make up their minds. Did they want to please the prominent religious authorities of their day, or would they display their trust in God? To please the Pharisee, a person had to pretend to please God while living a self sufficient life of pride in self and contempt for others. This was hypocrisy – a dangerous hypocrisy. Like yeast it gradually worked its way through all a person’s life and relationships.


4. Think not of the most powerful force on earth. Think of the weakest thing on earth. Can anything be weaker or less significant than a few birds worth may be two cents? Literally they are worth two small coins, each of which is not worth one sixteenth of a denarius. A denarius was the ordinary wage for a full day’s work by a day labourer. Look at God, He knows every one of the sparrows and cares for the daily needs of each one. He cares for us in this world and the world to come.


5. Life on this earth is not what is important. Eternity should be our focus. Anything or anyone whose power is limited to this world deserves no attention. The one with power to determine your eternal destination deserves your focus. That is very limiting. God alone has authority over eternity. So fear God and ignore everyone else.


Today a lot of courses are given on event management. We call an event successful only when the minutest details are taken care. The people who attend such events go contented because they feel that they were given sufficient importance. When Jesus tells us that even our hairs are counted, it makes us feel how important we are in the eyes of God. Our existence on this earth has not happened by chance but by careful planning of God. Should we not feel ashamed when we begin to worry on the negativities of life?

Courtesy
Holman New testament Commentary
The Pulpit Commentary
The Anchor Bible Commentary
Interpretation on St. Luke

SIN OF THE LEGALISTS – OCTOBER 14TH – THURDAY (Lk 11: 47-54)


1. Zechariah – killed between the altar and the sanctuary: A priest called Zechariah was struck dead in the court of the house of the Lord, according to 2 Chr 24: 20-22. He is not the prophet Zechariah son of Barachiah. The point to be noted is that the contemporary generations’ sanguinary rejection of Jesus and his emissaries places it in a line with previous such rejections.

2. The sayings about “building the tomb of the prophets” or killing and persecuting the apostles and prophets” fit precisely within the journey of the Prophet towards Jerusalem and his own death. Jesus had now made the conflict open; the narrative takes on a new integrity. The rage and watchfulness of the opponents had now smoldered into a lingering grudge and the fixed intention to trap their foe.

3. Having celebrated the ancestral prophetic murders and participated in killing Christian prophets and apostles, this generation could take credit for it all. They were responsible for killing all the prophets since the creation of the world. What an accomplishment! They could read their history in the Bible beginning with Abel in Gen 4, the Bible’s first book, clear through to the killing of Zechariah in 2 Chronicles 24: 21, the Hebrew Bibles’ last book.

4. The experts of the law reinterpreted, over interpreted and misinterpreted the law that the key to know about God. They tried to burden the people. When the laity tried open the door, find the necessary knowledge and enter God’s kingdom, the legal experts hindered them.

5. The scribes shut the people off from Scripture. Their interpretation of Scripture was so fantastic that it was impossible for ordinary people to understand it. In their hands Scripture became book of riddles. They did not allow the ordinary people to see the plain meaning in the scripture. The Word of God became the property of the expert and a dark mystery to ordinary people.

Jesus is amidst the conflicts and the method he employs here is that of confrontation. Although there are many ways for conflict resolution, Jesus chooses to confront. Jesus had another easy option, which is nothing but the compromising method which would have fetched him several friends. But he chose not to do that. All of us are peace loving people and in order to avoid conflicts, we choose to compromise in the shelter of being prudent. We cannot go on living a life of compromise. When occasion arises we need to call a spade a spade. We cannot please everyone and embrace everyone. When we stand for justice, we are forced to gain enemies. Situations of this sort should not discourage us because our Lord Himself faced similar situations and stood always for the justice and truth.

Courtesy
Holman New Testament Commentary
Sacra Pagina Series
Anchor Bible Commentary
William Barclay – The New Daily Study Bible

WOE TO YOU – OCTOBER 13TH – WEDNESDAY (Lk 11: 42-46)


1. In Lk 6: 24-26, the woe was issued against the rich, filled and well reputed, In 10: 3 it was spoken against the un converting cities; In 11 42-44 three woes are issued against the Pharisees and the next three verses, three other woes are pronounced against the lawyers.

2. The offering of tenth of one’s produce or possessions to the Lord is recorded in Deut 14: 22-29; Lev 27: 30-33, Mal 3: 8-10. The purpose is expressed in Deut in support of the Levites and the poor in the land, sojourners, orphans and widows.

3. Why did Jesus pronounce woes?
· The first woe contrasts their concern for minutiae and for the building of fences around the law, neglecting what is really important.
· The 2nd woe castigates the Pharisees for Self-aggrandizement.
· The 3rd woe is for not realizing that they are not what they seem to be. They appear to be holy but they deceive others.

4. The lawyer or legal expert, up to this point, had excluded himself and his profession. He was applying all that Jesus was saying to someone else. It never dawned upon him that Jesus could be talking to him! All of a sudden something struck the lawyer’s mind and he felt Jesus included his profession. Jesus did not spare anyone. He was speaking to all who put religion, ritual, ceremony, heritage, and anything else before God.

5. Lawyer: The lawyer’s job is not finished when he points out to the weak in his following that they have sinned and must repent; he must raise his finger to lighten the load, bringing his followers to a lightsome comprehension of God’s law as an expression of God’s love for his people.

Jesus vehemently attacks those who make the law absolute. When we stress too much on the legal issues we forget the persons involved in that. The grain storage issue which became quite controversial can be an example. The Government was scared to make a policy which might become a precedent, and comfortably forgot the suffering people. Rules and Laws are made for human kind not the other way about. We come across people who are strict with themselves but liberal with others, there are some who are strict with themselves and the others, there are some who are liberal with themselves and the others and while there are some who are liberal with themselves and strict with others. The first category would be the ideal, the rest of the two are tolerable while the last category is intolerable. It is against this attitude Jesus issues woes. To which category do we belong to?


Courtesy
The Pulpit Commentary
The Preacher’s Outline and the Sermon Bible
The Anchor Bible Commentary

EXTERNAL VS INTERNAL CLEANLINESS – OCTOBER 12TH TUESDAY (Lk 11: 37-41)


1. The Pharisee who invited Jesus was probably a person interested in Jesus. He wanted to talk personally with Jesus and so he invited him for a meal. Jesus went straight to the food and sat down to eat without washing His hands. This was nothing to do with the cleanliness but ceremonial purity. It was taught that a person’s hand whose had been in contact with the sinful world should wash his/her hands to prevent impurity from entering into his/her body. The Pharisee could not accept this action of Jesus.


2. The Seven Charges against the Religionists
Religionists are ceremonially clean, but inwardly unclean
They obey God in tithing, but ignore in practicing justice and love
They crave for prominence and honour
They mislead others to become unclean and corrupted
They burden people with rules and regulations
They honour the true prophets of God only after killing them
They have taken away the key to the truth about God

3. Religionists cleaned the outside and not the inside. They treated religion like a person who would be washing dishes. The person washed the outside of the cup and platter but left the inside dirty. The heart of the religionist was full of greed and wickedness but they show themselves as righteous people through their externals.

4. No one can establish his own righteousness. He cannot make himself clean enough to approach God; not by works, nor by religious ceremony and worship, nor by cleaning up the outside of his platter of life.

5. God made both the outside and the inside (the heart) of man. Jesus said the outside is not all that is unclean. The inside is also unclean and must be cleansed to become acceptable to God. Not that He calls religionists “foolish people” God made the whole man, heart as well as the body. Everyone has to give God a clean heart and a clean body, a spiritual heart as well as a religious body.

It appears as if the Pharisee is teaching some etiquette to Jesus. I am sure that Jesus would have washed his hands if they were really unclean. Jesus grabs the chance to teach the Pharisee not merely lessons on etiquette but lessons for life. When Jesus talks about internal cleanliness, he does not deny the importance of external cleanliness. Our externals do matter a lot. But care should be taken not to canonize the externals at the expense of internal attitude.

Courtesy
The Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible

SIGN OF JONAH – OCTOBER 11TH MONDAY (Lk 11: 29-32)


1. Sign: This word does not simply mean miracle, since Jesus had already supplied many of them, it must refer to some assurance or authentication that Jesus is truly from God. Around the year AD 45, man called Theudas arose claiming to be the Messiah. He persuaded the people to follow him out to the Jordan with the promise that he would cleave the river in two and give them a pathway through it to the other side. He failed miserably and was dealt severely by the Romans. People expected Jesus to perform some feats of this sort.


2. Evil and Adulterous generation – the term is used as a metaphor to describe infidelity with respect to God. God’s relationship with his people is that of a marriage covenant (Hos 1-3, Is 57:3, Jer 3:9)


3. Sign of Jonah: According to St. Luke, the sign of Jonah is Jesus’ preaching of repentance to the marginalized as Jonah preached to the Pagan people of Nineveh, with reference to death and resurrection. The point in common is return to life after apparent/real death not so much to do with the number of days (three days and night in the belly of the fish and three days in the tomb).


4. The Pagan Ninevites who repented at Jonah’s preaching will condemn people of Jesus’ generation for their failure to repent in response for Jesus’ preaching. They repented even though they were pagans and had a lesser preacher (Jonah)


5. Queen of South: Queen of Sheba (Saba in South West Arabia) came to hear Wisdom of Solomon from a great distance, People of Jesus’ own generation failed to respond to his preaching to them.


Asking for a proof or a sign is a very normal thing. The world is full of signs and miracles which our Lord Jesus performs every moment but we fail to take notice of it. If something bad happens we blame it on God and if something good happens we think, it is by chance. We are in no way different from people who lived in Jesus milieu. When sometimes we see the people of other religions praying in our Churches with deep reverence, it make us bit uncomfortable and Jesus tell us today that the people who have faith in Him irrespective of their religion will be the first ones to taste salvation. It naturally leaves a warning for us Christians who take salvation for granted!


Courtesy

Sacra Pagina Series

Life Application Commentary
William Barclay’s Commentary

TEN LEPERS – OCTOBER 10TH – 28TH SUNDAY – (Lk 17: 11-19)


1. Jesus does nothing but bids them go, as if already cleansed. Could they trust Him sufficiently to make the venture to obey when obedience seemed irrational at the moment in firm persuasion that it would be justified by the event? It was in the act of obedience that they obtained the blessing; it was by assuming that our Lord could not fail that they found Him faithful.


2. Those who frankly believe are not all ready to praise. Those who diligently pray do not all praise. These ten men that were lepers all prayed. Poor and feeble as their voices had become through disease, yet they lifted them up in prayer and united in crying. They all joined in the litany, “Lord have mercy on us” But when they came to the Te Deum, Magnifying and praising God, only one of them took up the note.


3. A prayer is recognition of our dependence upon God amid the darkness and uncertainties of the future, so thankfulness is recognition of our indebtedness to Him for the blessings of the past. Gratitude can work, can suffer and can persevere; but one thing, gratitude cannot do, it cannot bring in a person a feeling that it has done enough. It cannot in this world lie down with a sense that it has really paid off its debt to the Redeemer.


4. Leprosy was the most terrible disease in the day of Jesus; it was greatly feared. It was disfiguring and sometimes fatal. In the Bible, leprosy is a type of sin. The leper himself was considered utterly unclean- physically and spiritually. He could not approach within six feet of any person including family members. The person with such an infectious disease must wear torn clothes, let his hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of his face and cry out, Unclean, Unclean!


5. We are not told, but one crucial factor is known. This man, the grateful and thankful leper, was the man who received assurance of being cleansed and of having his sins forgiven. The others did not. Gratitude and praise bring assurance to the heart. They stir Christ to speak to the human heart, giving assurance of acceptance and cleansing.

We are dependent on so many people for our day today living. From the time we begin the day, till we retire to bed, several people come into our lives. But unfortunately we take things for granted. The early breakfast our mothers prepare, the fees our fathers pay in the schools and colleges, the drivers who drive the buses, the people who smile at us, the office boys who serve coffee for us, the teachers who slog the whole day to teach are taken for granted. Most of us are fast in acknowledging the big favours we receive but hundreds of small favours go unnoticed and unrecognized. This is also because of the utilitarian attitude we have. We tend to make use of people for our own good. Do we not often resemble the other nine lepers? Jesus gives us a chance to change.


Courtesy
Great texts of the Bible
The Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible

MOTHER OF JESUS BEING PRAISED – OCTOBER 9TH SATURDAY (Lk 11: 27-28)


1. A woman in the audience interrupted. She pronounced a blessing on Jesus’ mother for bringing him into the world so he could do all the good he was doing. Jesus turns his attention from his mother and the woman who may have expected some blessing. He focuses the attention not on the physical family but on those who inhabit God’s kingdom.


2. How many women have blessed the holy Virgin, and desired to be such a mother as she was of what hinders them? Christ has made for us a wide way of this happiness and not only women, but men may tread it- the way of obedience; this is what makes such a mother not much the pain of giving birth. The prediction in Magnificat is already being fulfilled here.


3. There is something even more blessed than the earthly relationships to which she was alluding and to that something all, if they pleased might attain.


4. Something very impressive is present in Jesus, but to be impressed is not enough. What counts is committed response to the message that Jesus brings.


5. We should never think that Jesus is putting down our Blessed Mother, rather he is throwing open the invitation for all the mankind to partake in the blessing our Blessed Mother received. Had the woman said these words to Mary, I am sure she would have shed the tears of joy. What more a mother expects from her son?


In Thirukural, the great Tamil Poet Thiruvalluvar has this to say, the joy a mother experiences when she hears from someone praising her son/daughter on account of their wisdom and exemplary life, is much more than the joy she experiences at the moment of her giving birth to the same son/daughter. I remember a few months ago, when someone came and told me these same words after my short talk in a Retreat centre, I was overjoyed and immediately told my Mom about it too. But what made me to think was, it is much easier to get praises and appreciations from people on account of our teaching skills, preaching skills, talents etc but what ultimately counts is whether we can make people to say these same words seeing our personal lives.


Courtesy
The Holman’s Commentary
The Interpretation of St. Luke

SON OF GOD IS BEING ASSOCIATED WITH THE DEMON – OCTOBER 8TH FRIDAY (Lk 11: 15-26)


1. The accusation seems to have been whispered among the people by the Pharisee emissaries from the capital; the words of the charge were evidently not addressed to Jesus. These men could not deny the reality of the work of healing, so they tried to suggest that the great Healer had dealings with some great evil angel. It derives ultimately from the Canaanite God Baal.
2. Through this argument Jesus assumes the existence of a kingdom of evil, armed and thoroughly organized to carry out its dread purposes. He concedes, too in language which admits of no questioning the existence of a chief of this evil confederacy. Throughout his reply, the Master, while carefully bearing in mind the ability and still, it is not thinkable that the prince of evil would fight against himself, which he would be doing if he put such mighty weapons into Jesus’ hands.
3. Jesus as son of God knew their hearts. This is one divine attribute he maintained even as he limited himself to become human. Their logic was faulty. A King did not fight his own army, or the entire war would be lost. A family feud brings ruin for all in the family. Satan would never use his power to exorcise demons for the demons were a major part of his forces.
4. Jesus told another parable to show that defeating Satan and casting out demons is not the point of life. You must do more than get rid of the bad. The demon cast out does not remain inactive. We should not be contented with casting our demons but must fill it with Christ’s words, his life.
5. People think that if they had a spectacular sign, then all would believe and two things would happen. 1. There would be no abuse, ridicule, or persecution by friends or neighbours or anyone else. 2. The whole world would be converted. The Kingdom of God would come to earth and there would be plenty for everyone. There would be no need to protect what one has nor to fear the selfish and self-centred, seeking to control his own life. People would still disbelieve and distrust God and would still choose to do what he desired instead of God’s will.

Absence of evil does not necessarily mean the presence of good. We tend to think that way because we are taught to think always between two extremes. In the sacrament of reconciliation we wash out all the stains of sin with the detergent of grace, but that alone is not sufficient. We need to fill our lives with a lot of good deeds. When we leave our hearts empty, the vacuum that is left has the every possibility to attract the evil in stronger way. The best thing is to fill it with Christ and His values.


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

Saturday, October 9, 2010

ASK AND YOU WILL RECEIVE – OCTOBER 7TH – THURSDAY (Lk 11: 5-13)


1. Prayer demonstrates how deeply we trust God and how much we love and depend upon Him. A person who really trusts God – who really knows that what he asks is going to be received – will bring more and more to God. He will come to God in prayer more and more. But the person who is not quite sure about receiving, will only occasionally come, usually only in emergencies. God easily sees how much we really love and trust Him by our prayer life.

2. Travelers often journeyed late in the evening to avoid the heat of the midday sun. In Jesus’ story just such a traveler had arrived towards midnight at this friend’s house. In the Middle East hospitality is a sacred duty. But unfortunately in the villages only enough for the day’s needs was baked. This puts the householder in an embarrassing situation, and he has to meet the sacred obligation of hospitality at all cost.


3. The poorer Palestinian house consisted of one room with only one little window. Families were large and they slept close together for warmth. For one to rise was inevitable to disturb the whole family. Further it was the custom to bring the livestock, the hens and cocks and the goats, into the house at night.


4. Jesus is not telling us to batter at God’s door until we finally compel him to give us what we need but to tell us, ‘if a churlish and unwilling householder can in the end be coerced by friend’s shameless persistence into giving him what he needs, how much more will God who is a loving Father supply all his children’s needs?


5. If we do not receive what we pray for, it is not because God grudgingly refuses to give it but because he has some better thing for us. There are no such things as unanswered prayer. The answer given may not be the answer we desired or expected; but even when it is a refusal it is the answer of the love and the wisdom of God.


In our daily encounter with people, we regularly disturb others and get disturbed by others too. One of the usually moments we get irritated is when someone disturbs us in our sleep. We tend to curse people and we do not feel like doing charity in those moments. Here comes Jesus who asks us to ask Him unceasingly. He is ever ready to grant our petitions but unfortunately we are asleep and we are not willing to open the doors of our hearts to come in and do the needful.


Courtesy
William Barclay’s Commentary
Sacra Pagina Series
The Preachers Outline and Sermon Bible

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

OUR FATHER- OCTOBER 6TH – WEDNESDAY (Lk 11: 1-4)


It was the regular custom for a Rabbi to teach his disciples a simple prayer which they might habitually use. John had done that for his disciples, and now Jesus’ disciples came asking him to do the same for them. The prayer begins by calling God ‘Father’. The very first word tells us that in prayer we are not coming to someone out of whom gifts have to be unwillingly extracted, but to a father who delights to supply his children’s needs.


The three we petitions presupposes eschatological expectation a. Sustenance for the day (heavenly banquet), b. Forgiveness of sins (involves judgment) c. Divine protection in eschatological testing (dangerous struggle with Satan).

This prayer is considered the shortened version of Eighteen Benediction of Jews which consists of 3 introductory praises, 12 petitions for personal and communal needs and 3 concluding praises.

The specific words which Jesus used are not any more sacred than request we might make expressing the same kids of desires to the Father; we should seek to learn to pray like Jesus not merely what Jesus prayed.

The pattern of meaningful prayer is to begin by majority on the person and nature of God and His kingdom interests, coming to the personal requests and needs only secondarily.



Our Father : Should be prayed in fellowship with other believers (Communitarian)
Hallowed be thy name: ‘Hallowed’ means to sanctify - make holy; we should come before God with an attitude of reverence for God’s perfection.
Your kingdom come thy will be done: God’s kingdom is not completely fulfilled on the earth – therefore the task of spreading of God’s kingdom around the world is given to the Church and the kingdom servants.
On Earth as in Heaven: There is no sin and rebellion in heaven; hindrances are present only on earth.
Give us today our daily bread: During Jesus’ time most of the people lived ‘hand to mouth existence! This phrase befits all the lowly and the marginalized.
Forgive us our debts: One does not gain forgiveness by forgiving but a person evidences his or her own forgiveness by forgiving others.
Lead us not into Temptation: Forgiveness is curative spiritual medicine and this request is the preventive medicine {Preventive system of Don Bosco}- we should pray regularly for specific spiritual dangers of which we are aware.



We pray this prayer number of times without realizing it is the compendium of all the types of prayers like prayer of praise and thanksgiving, prayer of petition and prayer of penance! These are not the empty phrases but phrases that give an orientation to all our lives. To pray the Lord’s Prayer requires an act of faith, hope and love. In order to pray it, as Tertullian noted, we must profess faith in God as Father despite His silence, His remoteness and our overwhelming environment of suffering.


Courtesy
Sacra Pagina Series
Holman New Testament Commentaries
Introduction to New Testament – Raymond Brown

Monday, October 4, 2010

"YOU ARE ANXIOUS AND TROUBLED ABOUT MANY THINGS; ONE THING IS NEEDFUL" – OCTOBER 5TH – TUESDAY (Lk 10: 38-42)


1. Two temperaments: There are some natures which are essentially passive whose power is in their receptivity and whose chief ministry is in their presence. Their lives pronounce benedictions just as the activities of other confer benefactions.


2. Mary had done all that she thought necessary for comfort and decency; and she valued her Guest enough to desire to get something out of His visit than mere pleasure of seeing Him eat or the gratification of having Him praise her viands.


3. The contrast drawn here is not between two types of character, one of which is held to be inferior to the other. Jesus would not want all his Marthas to become Marys and all His Marys, Marthas. The only thing to keep in mind is Christ should be first everywhere


4. Doing and Being: Neither sister could fill the other’s place. Martha would have made a most fidgeting Mary and Mary a most unconcerned Martha. The one was a perfect head of the house and the other was the heart of the home. It is easier to do than to be. We have a strong an impulse towards doing and we take pleasure in doing almost by a necessity of our nature. The life of being is higher than the life of doing.


5. First things first: Union with God is the only thing needful for eternal happiness and unless that union is attained already here, we do not have surety that we will attain it life after.


When giving a gift to our beloved it is not the cost of the gift that matters but that of the expression of love. The costlier gift which is given without real concern may have a high market value but not the real value. Martha wants to make Jesus feel at home but she failed to perceive the real need of the guest. This guest does not come to feast but to share his unconditional love. Mary was quite prudent in discerning what was the best and Jesus appreciates her choice. A lot of interpretations can be given between contemplation and action but it is always good to have a balance without shutting one aspect completely.


Courtesy

Great texts of the Bible

Sacra Pagina Series

The Preacher’s Outline and sermon Bible

Sunday, October 3, 2010

THE PARABLE OF THE GOOD SAMARITAN – OCTOBER 4TH – MONDAY (Lk 10: 25-37)


1. The lawyer who questioned Jesus was not keen on seeking truth but was wanting to trip Jesus. But Jesus gives an answer which the lawyer never expected.
First the law has the answer to eternal life. If a man wishes eternal life, he must look into the law of God.
Second, love God supremely. Loving God is alive and active, not dead and inactive. We are therefore, to maintain a personal relationship with God that is alive and active.
Third, love your neighbour as yourself. Love is not known without showing it. The modern and relevant saint Don Bosco has told us, ‘it is not enough that you love the young but make the young feel that you really love them’

2. There was a traveler who was foolish and irresponsible. He was foolish because he traveled the road between Jerusalem and Jericho that was known for its danger. It was about twenty one miles in distance, in a wild country, a rugged, corky pass much of the way. It was a favorite habitat for marauding thieves, so much so it was a called the Way of Blood. How many are foolish and reckless in life, exposing and destroying their bodies and souls by walking where they should not dare to walk?

3. There was a priest who placed his religious work and ceremony before the welfare of the man. The priest was probably hurrying to meet his evening religious duties. The trip was a day’s journey, and he would have to rush to make it. There is also a religious rule that made a person unclean for seven days which would disqualify the priest from offering sacrifices in the temple. The priest is not willing to sacrifice his primary work and privilege for the sake of this man.There was the Levite who placed safety before compassion. The Levite touched with enough feeling to walk over and look upon the man. He did not dare to help him perhaps of the fear of being identified with the robbers or may be scared of the robbers themselves.

The good Samaritan placed compassion before everything else. He kept aside his prejudice and opinion. He generously gave his time, energy and money
· The injured man was a Jew. The Good Samaritan and the Jew were of different races – who hated and despised each other.
· He gave went to him, reached out personally to help. He bandaged his wounds, poured oil and wine into these wounds; gave of his own goods. He set on his own donkey sacrificing his own comforts. He provided room and basic necessities and finally He took care of him personally.
· He saw to it that continued compassion and care was given. Two silver coins amounted to somewhere between twenty four to forty eight days of room and board, a considerable sum. He was ready even to pay more.

5. Who are these Samaritan? The Samaritans were mongrel or half-Jews, a mixed breed by birth. What had happened was this. Around 720 BC, the king of Assyria had captured the ten tribes of Israel and deported a large number of the people, scattering them throughout Media. He then took people from all over the Assyrian empire and transplanted them into Samaria to repopulate the land. The result was only natural. Intermarriage took place and the people became a mixed breed, a breed including the transplanted people, the weak of the land who had been left behind and the outcast and irreligious who had intermarried with the original Samaritans. The fact of a mixed breed, of course, infuriated the strict Jews who held to a pure race.

We have read, heard and enacted this parable umpteen number of times and that could be one of the reasons why many fail to reflect on this parable sufficiently. We always think that we know the content and the meaning of the parable and seldom listen to it when it is read during the liturgical service. It is one of the most relevant parables for today. How many times we have seen people meeting with the road accident and keep asking our help? There are still many good Samaritans who are ready to take risks but several of us, just become passive spectators. Charity involves a lot of risk. The two silver coins spent by the Good Samaritan could have been used to buy provision for a month for his family. He knew he was taking a big risk and he did take. How many of us are ready to take risks for the sake of our needy brethren?

Courtesy
The Preacher’s Outline and the Sermon Bible

Saturday, October 2, 2010

UNDERSTANDING FAITH – OCTOBER 3RD - 27TH SUNDAY (Lk 17: 5-10)


1 . The disciples came to him and asked him to give them such an increased measure of faith as would enable them to play better the difficult and responsible part he had assigned them. They evidently felt their weakness deeply, but a stronger faithwould supply them with new strength; they world then be guided to form a wiser and gentler judgment of others.


2 . The Lord signifies that a very slight real faith, which he compares to the mustard seed, that smallest of grains would be of power sufficient to accomplish what seemed to them impossible. In other words, he says, “If you have any real faith at all, you will be able to win the victory over yourself necessary for a perpetual loving judgment of others; ‘sycamine’ tree is not the sycamore tree but black mulberry.


3 . A small measure of real faith was sufficient to teach them that God would give them strength enough to keep themselves from committing this offence against love and charity of which he warned them so solemnly but they prayed for more.They are asking for faith which would exclude all uncertainty and doubt. They were looking for the crown of labour before their work was done, for the wreathe of the conqueror before they had fought the battle.


4 . Genuine faith is what is needed, not great faith. The stress is not quantity, not on how much faith a person has. It is not a matter of increasing faith; it is a matter of possessing and having faith. It is a matter of genuine faith. The very smallest amount of genuine faith, a faith as small as a mustard seed, can do the impossible. Nothing is impossible to him who has faith that is genuine, even if the faith is the smallest amount possible.


5 . The believer is to serve and obey the commandments of God until all the work is done. He is to feed the cattle and plough the fields, then in the evening he is to serve the household by feeding and waiting on the tables. Ploughing and feeding are tough work, requiring a sound and disciplined body and spirit. Those who serve the Lord should be like the servants available to Him round the clock.


God keeps revealing Himself to us in different ways and in a very definitive way He has reveled Himself through His only son Jesus Christ. The one and only way we ought to respond to His revelation is by our Faith. Faith is not just a blind belief but a belief that comes from our convictions. When we lose our faith, we lose the meaning of our life and finally lose everything. This Faith is not just our response but a response moved by grace. There is nothing wrong in asking God to increaseour faith but we should not ask for making difficult things easier but to leap in tot he darkness with certain certainty that God will hold us safe.


Courtesy
The Interpretation of Luke’s Gospel
The Pulpit Commentary
Preacher’s Outline and the Sermon Bible

THE CONDITIONS FOR GREATNESS – OCTOBER 2ND – SATURDAY (FEAST OF GUARDIAN ANGELS


1 . All of us struggle for position and power and that should not surprise us. Every humanbeing longs for some recognition, prestige, authority, position, money, esteem and somephysical satisfaction. There is nothing wrong in these needs. They are quite legitimate.But men allow their hearts to be overtaken with selfishness and begin to want moreand more to the point of lusting and consuming and hoarding. They become prideful,covetous, worldly, ambitious, envious and hurtful even to the point of destroying andkilling.


2 . The reasons why the disciples asked the question• They sensed the Christ was about to set up His kingdom, that He was about toassume His throne, they were looking forward to become chiefs of stage in Hiskingdom• They had seen three of them honoured in special ways. This caused rivalry,jealousy, and envy among them.


3 . Christ gave a living demonstration of greatness. The child whom he called was notan infant, for he was personally called to come to Christ. The child trusted Christenough to respond and did what Christ requested (submission, humility and obedience)


4 . Another condition required to follow Christ is humility• The child had given up what it was doing. Whatever it was that was occupying itsthought and time, it walked straight to Christ.• The child obeyed Christ. Obedience always demands humility, a humbling ofoneself in order to whatever another asks.• The child overcame feelings it had in order to respond to Christ. It did not botherabout the twelve men surrounding Christ and did not hesitate to go near Christ.


5 . People fear humility. They feel that humility is a sign of weakness and cowardice. Theyfear humility will make them the object of contempt and abuse. They fear humility maycause them to be passed over, but the opposite is true. Humility leads a person to realizehis/her full potential. It leads to better and more healthy relationships and to a strongerand more productive community and world.


The line that divides between inferiority complex and superiority complex is very tricky.If you say I can do, people will brand you as a person with superiority complex and ifyou say I can’t they will brand you as a person with inferiority complex. The properself esteem lies somewhere in the middle (virtue lies in the middle). To teach this greatlesson Jesus employs the example of children who just do what they feel like withoutany inhibitions. The moment we act on situation without having any hidden agendas and manifest sensitivity towards others we naturally become humble persons. Humility is not just to say ‘I can’t, it is not to say ‘only I can’

Courtesy

The Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible

JESUS SENDS THE SEVENTY DISCIPLES –SEPTEMBER 30TH- THURSDAY (Lk 10: 1-12)


Jesus had accumulated a great number of disciples when he now sends “seventy others,” besides the twelve. A few text ready seventy “and two” and both numbers have been regarded as being symbolical. He commissioned 35 pairs because he wanted the work done quickly.


Jesus does not say field is large that is to till and to sow His vision regards only the harvest. By the harvest Jesus means all those in whom the work of God’s grace succeeds. Like a great ripe field of grain they stand before the eyes of Jesus and need only to be gathered on. Our prayers for more workers do not save the harvest or a part of it. Our prayers join God’s concern for the harvest and makes us one mind, heart and will with Jesus. He does not tell the seventy to go out and get workers. This mistake had often been made, and workers are brought in that God never called. All that we are to do is “to beg” this of God and we know that this is His will, and he will hear our request.


Lambs among the wolves: Lambs are the disciples who have lost all viciousness that is due to sin and wickedness. Wolves characterize the world of men as being viciously wicked. As lambs they have no defence against wolves. But this shows that their only protector is Jesus – Jesus could never abandon them.


Strict rules: Carrying the minimum involves the dismissal of all care about bodily needs. He who sends them out will provide for in all respects. They are to learn complete trust. Jesus forbids them to even salute anyone on the way. The assumption that Jesus gave this order because the Orientals greeting is longer is not correct. They were the introduction to conversations and thus would cause delay on the road. The work has to be done with promptness because the time was short.


Jesus tells the disciples to eat whatever the people can afford even when they are poor; Most of the cities had mixed population Jews and to Gentiles lived together. The messengers are not to hesitate in regard to eating the food that is served them, much less to refuse it. We also have the responsibility to heal their sickness. They will take nothing from that city that refused them, not even the friendly dust that struck to them from walking through the streets of the city and adhered to their feet. Right before the people they are to say, “We are shaking it off for you, that this dust may testify that the messengers were here, they had to leave because you refused them and their message.”


Recently my friend was talking about a young priest who went for a house visit along with him. As in most cases the family served a good meal with variety of dishes. The young priest without showing any sign of sensitivity asked for the dish which he preferred and showed signs that he was not happy with the dishes they set out on the Table. The family felt embarrassed and they could not provide for him the dish he wanted. In spite of taking pains in preparing variety of dishes and spending so much of money on that, all that they received was disappointment and embarrassment. I do not think that the family would invite him again for a dinner. Sometimes as disciples we forget the mandate we have received from the Lord. We add on our needs to such an extent that we find it hard even to move from one place to another. As messengers of Christ every Christian’s visit to a family should bring joy, hope and peace to the family members, which requires the proper understanding of the meaning of discipleship.

Courtesy
The Pulpit Commentary
The Interpreter’s Bible Commentary