Tuesday, November 30, 2010


1. The miracle of feeding the thousands was a prediction and foreshadowing of the Eucharist to come. It was so important an event that the story was undoubtedly repeated many times by the faithful until different versions surfaced. Today’s reading show four thousand men and their families being fed, but earlier in chapter 14, Matthew records five thousand men, not counting women and children. This duplication is called a doublet. It stresses the importance of the lesson involved.

2. We read that the large crowd was with Jesus for three days in a relatively deserted area. The food supply was scarce and no doubt individual families had consumed what they had brought. Jesus was moved to pity. Mothers were worried about their children. Youngsters were restless and cranky. The men folk felt obliged to provide for their families.

3. This is the only gift miracle of multiplication in the four gospels as opposed to the first Cana miracle, which is the only gift miracle of transformation. The only one recounted in all four gospels and only one recounted twice. We do have a parallel in the Old Testament. Elisha multiplying the bread (2 Kgs 4: 42-44)

4. Some scholars downplay this scene and claim that there was no miracle, only charitable sharing inspired by the example of Jesus and his disciples. But it is believed to be a genuine miracle.

5. In the feeding of the 4000, the basket that was used was called as sphurides and it was only used by Gentiles. The wonder of this story is that in these healings and in this feeding of the hungry, we see the mercy and the compassion of Jesus going out to the Gentiles. Here is a kind of symbol and foretaste that the bread of God was not to be confined to the Jews; that the Gentiles were also to have their share of him who is the living bread.

Jesus was moved with compassion. Compassion is the highest form of love. It is not merely giving food for the hungry but a display of God’s sensitivity. Jesus becomes a mother and feeds all his children. In all the cultures we have this custom of sharing food with poor and needy on some special occasions. But sometimes we do it for the sake of doing without any manifestation of love. We go out for dinner to some big restaurants paying hundreds of rupees for a single dish, but find it difficult to give some food for the needy. Jesus is teaching us a great lesson on compassion. It is good now and then to think also with our hearts.


A Marginal Jew Series

William Barclays Commentary

Friday, November 12, 2010


Louise Redden, a poorly dressed lady with a look of defeat on her face, walked into a grocery store. She approached the owner of the store in a most humble manner and asked if he would let her charge a few groceries. She softly explained that her husband was very ill and unable to work, they had seven children and they needed food. John Longhouse, the grocer, scoffed at her and requested that she leave his store.

Visualizing the family needs, she said: 'Please, sir! I will bring you the money just as soon as I can." John told her he could not give her credit, as she did not have a charge account at his store. Standing beside the counter was a customer who overheard the
conversation between the two. The customer walked forward and told the grocer that he would stand good for whatever she needed for her family. The grocer said in a very reluctant voice, "Do you have a grocery list?” Louise replied "Yes sir" "O.K." he said, "put your grocery list on the scales and whatever your grocery list weighs, I will give you that amount in groceries."

Louise, hesitated a moment with a bowed head, then she reached into her purse and took out a piece of paper and scribbled something on it. She then laid the piece of paper on the scale carefully with her head still bowed. The eyes of the grocer and the customer showed amazement when the scales went down and stayed down. The grocer staring at the scales, turned slowly to the customer and said begrudgingly, "I can't believe it."
The customer smiled and the grocer started putting the groceries on the other side of the scales. The scale did not balance so he continued to put more and more groceries on them until the scales would hold no more.

The grocer stood there in utter disgust. Finally, he grabbed the piece of paper from the scales and looked at it with greater amazement. It was not a grocery list, it was a prayer which said: "Dear Lord, you know my needs and I am leaving this in your hands."
The grocer gave her the groceries that he had gathered and placed on the scales and stood in stunned silence. Louise thanked him and left the store. The customer handed a fifty-dollar bill to John as he said, "It was worth every penny of it." It was sometime later that John Longhouse discovered the scales were broken; therefore, only God knows how much a prayer weighs.

1. There was the silence of the judge. The judge did not move to help her. His heart was hard and harsh; he had not interest in helping anyone would not benefit his career or fill his pockets.

2. He could not get rid of her. She would not accept silence nor take no for an answer. She kept coming and coming. The judge gave in lest he has to give up this rest.

3. The Old Testament clearly tells us that we ought to be extremely charitable towards three categories of people namely the Orphans, Widows and Strangers. The Judge had the every obligation to grant justice to the widow but he kept ignoring her.

4. God does not always answer the cry of a believer immediately. He knows the right time and He decides when to answer our prayer. We need to persevere in our prayer and need to trust the Lord totally.

5. We should pray for our needs not for our wants. God will always give us our needs. Most of the times we pray for our ‘wants’ and that is the reason we do not get the desired answer from the Lord.

We pray the good Lord to enlighten our hearts and minds to make prayer as an integral part of our lives.

The Preacher’s Outline and the Sermon Bible

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


1. The Kingdom of God does not come with an outward, dramatic, thunderous show. It does not come in such a way that people say, “Here it is! Or there it is!” It comes with a silent, pervasive influence. It is coming and its coming will permeate the whole world, but its coming is to be silent, not showy.

2. The kingdom of God is within us and works in human hearts. It is to produce not new things, but new people. It is not a revolution in material things that we are to look for, but a revolution in the hearts of men and women.

3. The kingdom of God is among us. That would refer to Jesus himself. He was the very embodiment of the kingdom, and they did not recognize him. It was as if he said, ‘the whole offer and secret of God are here and you will not accept them.’

4. It is the closeness of His presence through the great trials and troubles of life that causes the believer to ache for heaven. God does infuse a deep desire for heaven into the heart of the genuine believer, and He does it often. Such a consciousness of God’s presence causes the genuine believer to long and ache for God’s presence all the time.

5. The day cannot come until some things happen first. This was, of course a reference to the Lord’s death. Before the kingdom of God could ever come to earth, He had to suffer and die. It was His death that would make it possible for His kingdom to come to earth.

We are living in God’s kingdom. Every kingdom is built at the cost of huge bloodshed. The kingdom of God is also is realized only when Jesus Christ the son of God shed his blood for the sake of all of us. But we do not get a default membership in this kingdom. Everyone who wants to be part of this kingdom should take an oath to live with heart and mind of Christ the King. Our King Jesus is the model and we become members when we try to imitate our King who manifested his power and glory in humility, service and love.

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

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I’ve heard of hearts unkind
Kind deeds with coldness still returning
Alas, the gratitude of men
Hath left me oftener mourning
William Wordsworth

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 or 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.

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

Monday, November 8, 2010


1. This is the first Passover since Jesus assumed his ministry. The festival lasted seven days. Its crowning glory was the eating of the roasted lamb by a party numerous enough to consume it together with the bitter herbs. Every Jew of 12 years was supposed to attend this festival. The hour has come for Jesus to step forth publicly before his nation. His first great public act would take place in the capital, in the Temple itself.

2. There were four courts in the temple, about the sanctuary proper, that the priests, that of the men towards east, that of the women and around these three, there was an exterior court called the court of the Gentiles, since Gentiles were permitted to enter in. It was here the business was in full swing. There were flocks and cattle and the whole place was filled with stench and filth. There eyes of the money lenders were twinkling with lust and greed for gain. This was the state of God’s house.

3. The Son cleanses his Father’s house with the lash of the scourge. No halfway measures, no gradual and gentle correction will do in a matter as flagrant as this. Tender souls have imagined that Jesus only menaced with the scourge, al least that he struck only the animals. But there is no reason to believe this. Jesus only manifests the right anger.

4. During the entire procedure, Jesus never lost his self-control, if he had, he would have sinned. Even in circumstances like this the Messiah exhibits his perfect control over his actions.

5. If the object of Jesus’ zeal was only these merchants and these bankers, Jesus would sink to the level of our modern reformers who try to mend the leaking ship by repairing the rigging. The temple was the very heart of Jewish people. On the score of the law alone he corrects the open abuse, so that the gospel with its loftier motive may follow.

When God appeared to Moses in the burning bush, he warned him to remove his sandals because the place was holy. Holy people, holy places and holy objects should not be treated without respect. Due to too much of rationalization we are slowly losing the sense of the sacred. Very few of us enter the Churches without sandals, and now we have so many reasons to justify it too. In the name of convenience there are many other practices which have become irrelevant today. Jesus is telling us to retain this sense of sacred and asks us all to have a proper disposition towards objects, places and persons set apart for God.

An Interpretation on St Luke’s Gospel
The Pulpit Commentary

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


1. When Jesus said this he was on the road to Jerusalem. He knew that he was on his way to the cross; the crowds who were with him thought that he was on his way to an empire. That’s why he spoke to them like this. In the most vivid way possible he told them that those who followed him were not on the way to worldly power and glory but must be ready for loyalty which would sacrifice the dearest things in life.

2. We must not take his words with cold and unimaginative literalness. The language of the Middle East is always as vivid as the human mind can make it. When Jesus tells us to hate our nearest and dearest, he does not mean that literally. He means that no love in life can compare with the love we must bear to him.

3. Before a person begins to follow Christ, Christ wants that person to think about it. He wants the person to be sure, absolutely sure. Can he afford to follow through; does he have what it takes to build the tower (life)? We should not take up a false profession.
The world will mock and charge true believers as hypocrites
Prospective believers will turn sour
Believer themselves will get discouraged

4. The second parable is about the king at war. The defending king had to sit down and think long and hard about his resources and the consequences. He has to take into account the loss of life and property even if he did win. The king has to decide whether to fight against or to surrender.

5. The cost of discipleship.
Discipleship costs
One’s heart: total devotion and commitment.
One’s mind: being permeated and controlled by Christ.
One’s eyes: watching what he looks at.
One’s ears: watching what he listens to.
One’s hands: watching what he touches and picks up.
One’s feet: watching where he goes.
One’s mouth: watching what he eats, drinks and says.
One’s desires: watching, controlling and changing his urges and desires.
One’s energy: committing his strength, initiative and will to Christ
Ones effort and work: dedicating and centering all in Christ, using his efforts and work in the cause of Christ.

All of us are called to follow Jesus according to the vocation given to us by our Lord. Some are more specifically called to follow Him by becoming Priests and Religious. Jesus tells us clearly to discern well before we say our final yes to the Lord. Discernment is not choosing what we like, or what we feel attracted to but to do the will of God. We can do the will of God, only when we spend time with the Lord in prayer and listen to Him. If the discernment is done properly, we will find happiness and fulfillment in our vocation.

The Preacher’s Outline and the Sermon Bible
William Barclay the New Bible Series

Monday, November 1, 2010

ALL SOULS DAY – NOVEMBER 2ND – TUESDAY (Lk 23: 44-46, 50, 52-53; 23: 1-6)

1. There was a great darkness when Jesus died. It was as if the sun itself could not bear to look upon the deed that had been done. The world becomes a dark place indeed wherever people seek to banish Christ. The Temple veil was torn in two. This was the veil which hid the Holy of Holies, the place where dwelt the very presence of God, the place where no man might ever enter except the high priest, and he only once a year, on the great Day of Atonement. The birth, life and death of Jesus tore apart the veil which had concealed God.

2. Jesus died with a prayer on his lips, ‘Father into your hand I commit my spirit.’ That is Psalm 31: 5 with one word added – Father. That verse was the prayer every Jewish mother taught her child to say last thing at night. Just as we were taught, maybe, to say, ‘This night I lay me down to sleep,’ Jesus made it even lovelier for he began it with the word Father. Even on a cross Jesus died like a child falling asleep in his father’s arms.

3. It was the custom that the bodies of criminals were not buried at all but left to the dogs and vultures to dispose of; but Joseph of Arimathea saved the body of Jesus from that indignity. There was not much time left that day. Jesus was crucified on the Friday; the Jewish Sabbath is our Saturday. But the Jewish Sabbath had begins at 6 pm. That is to say by Friday at 6 pm the Sabbath had begun. That is why the women had only time to see where the body was laid and go home and prepare their spices and ointments from it and do no more, for after 6 pm all work became illegal. Joseph risked the disfavor and discipline of the Sanhedrin. He did not fear the loss of position, prestige, promotion, acceptance, popularity, friends, job, income, livelihood etc.

4. The Jewish Sabbath, our Saturday, is the last day of the week and commemorates the rest of God after the work of creation. The Christian Sunday is the first day of the week and commemorates the resurrection of Jesus. On this first day Christian Sunday the women went to the tomb in order to carry out the last offices of love for the dear dead and to embalm Jesus’ body with their spices.

5. The angels reminded the women that Jesus had foretold His death and resurrection (Lk 18: 31-34). The followers of Jesus had always been confused about the prophecy of His death and resurrection. They would not accept his words literally and did not take his predictions seriously.

Today, all of us except a very few, would visit the nearby cemeteries. As we gaze at the cemeteries, we get a lot of insights about our own life. Today we cannot think of buying a piece of land, for we know that every square feet is sold for a very high price and inspite of that people are busy in purchasing plots, lands for their future. When we think that one day we had to confine our body within a few square feet approximately 18 sq ft, it scares us and we do not wish to think about it further. As we pray for the dead in general and for our beloved ones in particular, let us remember that our life is too short and futile. It is high time for us to purchase plots in the kingdom of God and legal procedures for doing so, is clearly given in the Gospel. Let’s hurry and book the plots.

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