Sunday, July 31, 2011


1.      Jesus’ walking on water is recorded rather as a spectacular instance of his supernatural power, which evokes a suitably awed and theologically loaded response from the disciples (v 33). Behind their reaction lies the OT imagery of God walking on or through the sea (Job 9:8; Ps 77:19; Isa 43:16), a potent symbol of the Creator’s control over the unruly forces of his world.

2.      The fourth watch is a Roman term covering the period 3 A.M to 6 A.M. It indicates that Jesus has spent most of the night in prayer. He now comes to help the disciples who are in difficulty.

3.      It was a popular belief that evil spirits lived in the sea or that those who had drowned haunted the water. The disciples’ irrational fear is met by the familiar voice of Jesus; considering the startling manner of his appearance.

4.      Peter’s address is submissive yet daring. Though perhaps tinged with some doubt he calls Jesus Lord, recognizing that Jesus manifests and participates in God’s rule over all creation. He asks permission to imitate Jesus in walking on the water and that shows his trust in Jesus’ authority.

5.      Peter begins well but soon falters. He cried out, ‘Lord save me’, which reflects Ps 69: 1. Jesus extends his hand and delivers Peter as Yahweh delivered the people of Israel from oppressive slavery (Ex 3: 20).

All of us face wind/storm blowing in our lives; Sometimes it blows against us and sometimes it blows along the same direction and makes our life journey easier. Whatever might be the situation we should never forget that Jesus is always with us. People who are close today might turn out to be our enemies, and people whom we thought to be dangerous might offer us timely help. Let us face our life situations with trust and confidence in God believing firmly that our Lord will catch hold of our hands and will save us from drowning situations.

The Gospel of Matthew – R.T France
Matthew and the Margins – Warren Carter

Friday, July 29, 2011

Feeding the Multitude - Sunday, July 31, 2011 Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Matthew 14: 13 - 21

A few years ago, I lost one of my cousins who was very close to me. His death was quite mysterious, some said it was an accident and a few were of the opinion it was a murder. I went for the funeral, I was very much disturbed, and I did not feel like talking to anyone. All that I wanted was to be in a quiet place all alone by myself. I spent the following week in silence avoiding the company of many. Some of us might have gone through the similar experience. In today’s gospel Jesus is in the similar situation. His cousin John the Baptist was murdered by Herod just to maintain his vanity. He wanted a quiet place to mourn the death of his cousin. It was at this time, the crowd comes in search of Him. They were longing to hear the Messiah’s word which gave them peace and consolation. What is His priority? His personal grief or the people who are in need.  He opts to spend time with the people who came in search of him.

This incident of feeding the large crowd is recorded in all the four gospels and interestingly enough it is mentioned 6 times. In Mark’s gospel the first story says that Jesus nourished 5000 Jewish men on Jewish shore (6: 44), second story says that he fed 4000 including Jews and Gentiles men and women on Gentile shore (8:20). In the gospel of Matthew two stories refer 5000 and 4000 (Mt 14: 21, 15: 38). We do not even know the number of loaves and fish. In Marks’s gospel, first story it is 5 loaves and 2 fish (Mk 6: 38), in the second story it is 7 loaves and few fish (Mk 8: 5, 7). We do not know the nature of bread – Usually they ate white bread, in Gospel of John, Jesus gives barley loaves (Jn 6: 9). But one thing is very much sure that Jesus did feed a large crowd using a little bread and few fish.

Some are of the opinion that Jesus never did this miracle but made sure that everyone shared what they brought. This view is not acceptable from the fact that it is recorded by all the four evangelists. But this does not take away the important theme of this story namely the sharing. Unless we share what we have with others God will not do any wonders in our lives.

Once upon a time, during the days of severe famine, a sage passed through a village. The sage was starving due to hunger. He went and asked the villagers for food. The villagers too suffered due to the famine but they had enough food for themselves. Nobody was willing to share anything with the saintly man and they told him, that they are starving due to the famine. The sage told them that he would teach them the trick of making soup out of stones in order to sustain themselves. The villagers were surprised at this. They have never seen anyone making soup out of stones. He asked them for a kettle and firewood. He took a few stones, washed nicely and put it in the kettle, poured water and started boiling. After sometime, he tasted it and said a little salt and pepper would add the taste. Someone immediately volunteered that he would bring the salt and pepper. He added them and after some time said, if there was a little corn, it would give a better taste. Someone else volunteered to bring the corn. Likewise one brought vegetables, one brought piece of meat. At the end of it the soup was ready. The whole village drank the soup and was delighted. They rewarded the sage for teaching them a rare technique with a few loaves of bread and cheese.

Once we are ready to share our resources with the needy, God will surely multiply it. It is the not only with the food but also with our talents and gifts.

Jesus was moved with compassion looking at this crowd. It was his compassion that made him to do this miracle. We have a similar miracle recorded in Old Testament. Elisha multiplies 20 barley loaves to 100 peoples and there were left over. (2 Kgs 4: 42-44), Elijah helps the widow by multiplying handful of flour and a little oil in the jar which lasts for one year (1 Kgs 17: 7-16). This miracle also prefigures Jesus’ giving himself in the Eucharist in the form of bread and wine.

Jesus teaches us some practical lessons.
The disciples ask the Lord to send away the crowd to buy food for themselves. Several times we wish to dictate to Almighty God what we think he should do for us. But Jesus does not take in their suggestion. He asks them to feed the crowd.  God knows what is best for us and therefore we need to humbly accept His will in our life as did our Blessed mother.

Jesus orders the crowd and makes them to sit down on the grass. He does not want people to rush and fight for the food. Yes it is true that Jesus was moved with compassion but that does not mean he tolerated indiscipline. He expected people to obey his orders. They should have some regulations in their lives. This aspect of God, we conveniently forget. Real love is not allowing our beloved to do anything he/she wants but facilitating the good of the beloved by also being strict and firm when the situation demands. We can think for ourselves, how we eat our food.

Jesus took the 5 loaves and two fish, looked up to heaven, thanked the Almighty and then gave it to the disciples to distribute it. Often times as soon as we get food, we start eating. How many of us do pray before and after eating? Should we not be thankful to God for providing us with daily food?

After feeding 5000 men excluding women and children there were 12 baskets remaining. In Jewish cultures men and women do not sit together and eat in public. Usually children eat with women. Why did Jesus ask them to gather up the remains? He did not want the crowd to waste food. These twelve baskets of food would feed several others poor people. Sometimes in our abundance we become very careless. Jesus does not want the crowd to waste food.

In today’s gospel Jesus teaches us important lessons for our lives. The little sharing of the boy ended in a big miracle. The more we share with others the more we get from the Lord. Today being Sunday, we all would like to eat good food with our family members. Let us not forget to feed at least one poor man or woman today. If we fail in this small act we will make Jesus sad today. When He is so generous with us, why should we be so stingy? Let us also not forget the practical lessons say good manners, Jesus taught us today.

Monday, July 25, 2011


1.  Those who wished to follow Jesus should not merely satisfy themselves from what they read and hear from the Scripture. The levels of understanding differ from person to person. They should go in for deeper study to understand God’s word.

2. This is the only one of Matthew’s three sowing parables where Jesus identified who the sower is. Here the sower is the son of man, God’s seeds represent the sons of the kingdom, and field represents the world. The Son of Man is no less that the king himself who plants and grows kingdom citizens in his world at his discretion.

3. The gathering and burning of the weeds represent the gathering of all men and women out of his kingdom for judgment. It may be seem that the sinner escapes the consequences of it in this world but it cannot be carried on in the next. 

4. By tradition Joachim and Anne are considered to be the names of the parents of Mary, the Mother of God. We have no historical evidence, however, of any elements of their lives, including their names. Any stories about Mary's father and mother come to us through legend and tradition.

5. We get the oldest story from a document called the Gospel of James, though in no way should this document be trusted to be factual, historical, or the Word of God. The legend told in this document says that after years of childlessness, an angel appeared to tell Anne and Joachim that they would have a child. Anne promised to dedicate this child to God (much the way that Samuel was dedicated by his mother Hannah -- Anne -- in 1 Kings).

As Christians all of us have the obligation to preach the word of God. When we preach the word of God we should be careful not to give our own interpretation and water down the message of Christ. We should try to understand the context in which the text was written and then give it to people matching to today’s context. This needs a deeper study on scripture, personal time with the Lord and most of all the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. If one of the elements is missing we might fail to give God’s word convincingly to the people.

Holman’s New Testament Commentary
The Pulpit Commentary
William Barclay’s Commentary

WHAT WILL I GET? – 25TH JULY – MONDAY – MT: 20: 20-28

  1. The natural human concern with status and importance is clearly one of the most fundamental instinct which must be unlearned by those who belong to God’s kingdom.
  2. Whether the mother herself misguided by pride in her sons, made the request or from the personal ambition of the two disciples, the request was made with the brother’s full consent.
  3. This story is also an indication that there were people other than the twelve travelling with the Lord during his ministry. The mother of the sons of Zebedee will be named among the women at the cross) 27: 56), and is presented there as one of ‘many women who had followed Jesus from Galilee and looked after him (27: 55)
  4. The place on the king’s right is traditionally that of highest honour and authority, but where two people are concerned that on the left is necessarily also included without any sense of inferiority (2 Kgs 22: 19). But true nature of Jesus’ kingship is such that they are ready to be crucified along with him one on the right and the other on the left.
  5. Servant here means to be subservient, dependent on the master, owned, lacking any self-determination, at the mercy of their owner, expected to obey, powerless, with few legal rights, beaten, alienated from any legitimated social existence, without honour, despised by the elite etc.
Many a times we are utilitarian in our approach. Our relationships, our dealings, our membership in the Church and other institutions have ulterior motive. ‘What will I get out of it?’ The moment we get what we wanted we just ignore the people as if we had nothing to do with them. Even for following Jesus there could be wrong motives. If we keep only our personal salvation or personal sanctification as the central focus we could be actually using Jesus for our benefit. We need to develop communitarian approach in our dealings. We ought to respect people for what they are not for what they have.
The Gospel of Matthew – R.T France
Matthew and the Margins – Warren Carter

Saturday, July 23, 2011

July 24, 2011 Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Mt 13:44-52 or 13:44-46

Alexander, after conquering many kingdoms, was returning home. On the way, he fell ill and it took him to his death bed. With death staring him in his face, Alexander realized how his conquests, his great army, his sharp sword and all his wealth were of no use.

He now longed to reach home to see his mother’s face and bid her adieu. But, he had to accept the fact that his sinking health would not permit him to reach his distant homeland. So, the mighty conqueror lay prostrate and pale, helplessly waiting to breathe his last. He called his generals and said, “I will depart from this world soon, I have three wishes, please carry them out without fail.” With tears flowing down their cheeks, the generals agreed to abide by their king’s last wishes.

“My first desire is that”, said Alexander, “My physicians alone must carry my coffin.” After a pause, he continued, “Secondly, I desire that when my coffin is being carried to the grave, the path leading to the graveyard be strewn with gold, silver and precious stones which I have collected in my treasury”. The king felt exhausted after saying this. He took a minute’s rest and continued. My third and last wish is that both my hands be kept dangling out of my coffin”.
The people who had gathered there wondered at the king’s strange wishes. But no one dared bring the question to their lips. Alexander’s favorite general kissed his hand and pressed them to his heart. “O king, we assure you that all your wishes will be fulfilled. But tell us why do you make such strange wishes?” At this Alexander took a deep breath and said: “I would like the world to know of the three lessons I have just learnt.

I want my physicians to carry my coffin because people should realize that No doctor on this earth can really cure anybody. They are powerless and cannot save a person from the clutches of death. So let not people take life for granted.
The second wish of strewing gold, silver and other riches on the path to the graveyard is to tell people that not even a fraction of gold will come with me. I spent all my life with the greed for power, earning riches but cannot take anything with me. Let people realize that it is a sheer waste of time to chase wealth.
And about my third wish of having my hands dangling out of the coffin, I wish my people to know that I came empty handed into this world and empty handed I go out of this world”. With these words, the king closed his eyes. Soon he let death conquer him and breathed his last.
The man who wanted to conquer the whole world realized the smallness of earthly realities only in his death bed. Death revealed to him the true treasure.

What is the treasure? 
Treasure is not something like a 100 rupees note we find on the road, it is a huge quantity of money, gold, silver or any other precious stones buried under the earth. People did not have banks or ATM cards those days and so they followed this method to preserve their properties. Due the wars and sudden death of the person, several treasures were left buried.  If a person finds a treasure, it means he has found lifetime means for his living and therefore he tries to buy the land at any cost. Too much of interest also might arouse suspicion in the mind of the owner and so it has to be done skillfully. Treasure is not something one earns by hard work but inherits it by luck.

What are our treasures?
All of us are looking for treasures in our lives. For some of us it is the relationship that we establish, for some it is a person whom they love most, for some it is their family, for some it is money, power, wealth so on and so forth. People living in cities like Bangalore to own a house is equal to the finding of treasure. Today every square foot of land itself is a treasure leave alone the treasure buried beneath it.  There is nothing wrong in it but should we not search for the treasure which is eternal?

There are several examples of people who hunted for earthly treasures but finally realized that the real treasure is Jesus Christ. St Paul thought Jewish tradition was his treasure, St. Augustine thought worldly life was the real treasure, why go so far, we might know several people who were drunkards and drug addicts but have become people completely transformed after a retreat. The reason was simple. They found out the real treasure.
We are all so lucky you know, because we are born as Catholics. The very fact that you and I are Catholics we are given access to the greatest treasure called Jesus Christ.  We need not go in search of this treasure. Our faith, Our God, Sacraments, Scripture, Catholic tradition and Christian community all these form part of the treasure. It is not hidden from us. It is given freely to us. But are we aware of it?

We should value the treasure?
You give an option to a child and ask him/her to choose between 5 rupee coin and a 2 rupee coin, most of them will choose the latter because, it is bigger than the 5 rupee coin. If you tie a puppy using a gold chain, is it going to be aware of its worth? If we do not know the value of treasure, having treasure with us is useless. We need to be educated about the value of a treasure. Though we may have the greatest treasure in the person of Jesus Christ who nourishes us with his word and bread, we may not realize the worth of it. You might own the best of gadgets but without knowing to operate it, it is useless. What is the use of owning a Ferrari without knowing to drive it. Several times, we have the Bible with us, we attend mass, listen to sermons, participate in liturgy but we seldom realize the worth of it.

Money, wealth, pleasure, possession may give us security but the fact that our life is short and one day we need to leave behind all these, tells us how secure we are really. Whether you own a multi storey building or live on a platform, at the deathbed all become equal. We know all these and we are well aware of this situation, but still we go behind these temporary treasures.

We should not stop at acquiring the treasure but need to make full use of it. We need to begin our deeper search within our faith. There are so many things left unexplored in our faith. We need to begin our inward journey and allow Jesus to become part of us. Christianity is not a religion which promotes only personal sanctity, it is also communitarian. We have the responsibility to share this treasure with others.
A woman came out of her house and saw 3 old men with long white beards sitting in her front yard. She did not recognize them. She said “I don’t think I know you, but you must be hungry. Please come in and have something to eat.” “Is the man of the house home?”, they asked. “No”, she said. “He’s out.”
“Then we cannot come in”, they replied. In the evening when her husband came home, she told him what had happened.
“Go tell them I am home and invite them in!” The woman went out and invited the men in. “We do not go into a House together,” they replied. “Why is that?” she wanted to know. One of the old men explained: “His name is Wealth,” he said pointing to one of his friends, and said pointing to another one, “He is Success, and I am Love.” Then he added, “Now go in and discuss with your husband which one of you want in your home.” The woman went in and told her husband what was said.
Her husband was overjoyed. “How nice!!”, he said. “Since that is the case, let us invite Wealth. Let him come and fill our home with wealth!”
His wife disagreed. “My dear, why don’t we invite Success?” Their daughter-in-law was listening from the other corner of the house. She jumped in with her own suggestion: “Would it not be better to invite Love? Our home will then be filled with love!”
“Let us heed our daughter-in-law’s advice,” said the husband to his wife. “Go out and invite Love to be our guest.” The woman went out and asked the 3 old men, “Which one of you is Love? Please come in and be our guest.” Love got up and started walking toward the house. The other 2 also got up and followed him. Surprised, the lady asked Wealth and Success: “I only invited Love, Why are you coming in?”
The old men replied together: “If you had invited Wealth or Success, the other two of us would’ve stayed out, but since you invited Love, wherever He goes, we go with him. Wherever there is Love, there is also Wealth and Success!”

Yes, living a life filled with love is a true sign that we have inherited the true possession. Christ is love and love is what makes us Christians and therefore we are called to love God who is the true treasure and thus reach to our needy and marginalized neighbours.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Matthew 13:10-17 10 Then the disciples came and asked him, "Why do you speak to them in parables?" 11 He answered, "To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For to those who have, more will be given, and they will have abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 13 The reason I speak to them in parables is that 'seeing they do not perceive, and hearing they do not listen, nor do they understand.' 14 With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah that says: 'You will indeed listen, but never understand, and you will indeed look, but never perceive. 15 For this people's heart has grown dull, and their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; so that they might not look with their eyes, and listen with their ears, and understand with their heart and turn-- and I would heal them.' 16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. 17 Truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.

1. The fact that the disciples received an interpretation of the parable explains their privileged position.

2. The truth about the kingdom of heaven is ‘secret’, and is perceived only by those to whom it is given. The experience of the others has already been predicted in Isaiah’s terrible prophecy about people who are unable to grasp the truth and to respond and find healing.

3. We should not think that the parables are given in order that some people may not understand which concludes that God has chosen some people to be enlightened and has deliberately left others in the dark. We should focus on the positive blessing of God’s gift of knowledge to a few who will proclaim it to the others.

4. Modern thought is likely to find the causes for people’s failure to absorb God’s word in psychology, environment, formative influences and the like but in the ancient world they were likely to be seen in more personal terms.

5. Where there are insiders and outsiders it is always possible for an outsider to become an insider. The object of Jesus’ proclamation of the kingdom of heaven was that people should repent and become insiders.

We are living in a noisy world where internal as well as external silence has become very rare. We are preoccupied with so many things that our hearts and minds are unsettled to concentrate on God’s word. We hear the word of God so many times, we come to meet Jesus in the Eucharist at least once a week, but have we managed to hear the word of God? Have we seen Christ or at least experienced Him once?


The Gospel of Matthew – R.T France

Matthew and the Margins – Warren Carter

Monday, July 18, 2011


Matthew 12:46 - 13:1   46 While he was still speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers were standing outside, wanting to speak to him.  47 Someone told him, "Look, your mother and your brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you."  48 But to the one who had told him this, Jesus replied, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?"  49 And pointing to his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers!  50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother." 
1.      This passage though begins with Jesus’ mother and brothers, is not really about them. Those who follow Jesus should commit themselves to do the will of the Father and therefore make their priorities clear. Those who denounce their earthly families for Christ’s sake are promised a hundred fold more brothers, sisters, parents and children.

2.      Jesus Challenges the conventional patriarchal household based on kinship and centered on the husband/father/master. He redefines the household as centered on Him and committed to God’s will.

3.      The new household is not based on birth, ethnicity, or gender; it is open to anyone who commits to Jesus and obeys his teaching of God’s will.

4.      The use of brothers and sisters, which specifically includes women, indicates that the term disciple must be understood expansively not exclusively.

5.      The inclusion of the word sister shows that there were women among Jesus’ disciples at this stage, even if not among the Twelve; they remain otherwise invisible in the narrative of Jesus’ ministry.

This is a good lesson for those of us who commit themselves for Christ and yet get attached to their own kith and kin to such an extent that we forget Christ and His mission. Let us pray to Christ that we may slowly shed our identity as individual belonging to a particular state, caste, culture and language and begin to put on Christ as our new identity.


Matthew 12:38-42   38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him, "Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you."  39 But he answered them, "An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.  40 For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so for three days and three nights the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth.  41 The people of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the proclamation of Jonah, and see, something greater than Jonah is here!  42 The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to listen to the wisdom of Solomon, and see, something greater than Solomon is here!
1.      Jesus’ response is not very accommodating. The only sigh he offers is cryptic and worst, is still set in the future so that it can be of no help to them now.
2.      Moses in the expectation that his God given authority would be challenged was given miracles to perform (Ex 4: 1-9, 29-31), Gideon requested and received a sign to confirm God’s promise (Judg 6: 36-40), Elijah called down fire from heaven (1 Kgs 18: 36-39); Ahaz and Hezehiah were offered signs to authenticate Isaiah’s prophecies (Is 7: 10-14). Jesus dismissed their request because of their attitude.
3.      Jesus knows that a spectacular sign will be given to the people in His Resurrection. But He is sure, attitude of these stubborn people are not going to be better even after His resurrection.
4.      The common motif that runs in Jesus and Jonah story is that both were miraculously released from death. In Jonah’s case it is virtual death whereas in Jesus case it actual death.
5.      Jesus gives the example of the Gentile woman Sheba who showed her receptivity to God’s purposes. She took a great effort to listen to Solomon. Here in front of the unbelievers there is a person who does not only teach wisdom but embodies it.
When people ask too many questions and proofs, it is a clear sign that they are not willing to accept the teaching. Jesus has been performing innumerable signs but still they want more. Faith is not the outcome of our experiments and verifications but an attitude of surrendering oneself to the Divine. Once our mind blocks the incoming grace of God through a technique called ‘Prejudice’ we will remain too far from redemption.

The Gospel of Matthew – R.T France
Matthew and the Margins – Warren Carter 

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Matthew 12:7-8 But if you had known what this means, 'I desire mercy and not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath." 
1.      Sabbath –: the word means rest, cessation of labour. The seventh day of every week is celebrated as Sabbath (Saturday). It was the day Israel celebrated by resting and doing absolutely no work. It was based upon the seventh day when God rested following His six days of creation (Gen 2: 2-3). There was no Sabbath from creation until Moses. It was instituted under the leadership of Moses and thus it became a part of Israel’s law.

2.      The hungry traveler was entitled to do just what the disciples were doing, as long as only the hands were used to pluck the ears of corn, and not a sickle. Therefore it cannot be called as stealing. The Scribes and Pharisees accused the disciples not because they ate the grains but ate it on a Sabbath day.

3.      On a Sabbath day a person is forbidden to work. Under this category there are 39 basic actions which were not allowed on Sabbath. This includes reaping, winnowing, threshing and preparing a meal.

4.      By plucking the corn they were guilty of reaping, by rubbing it in their hands they were guilty of threshing; by separating the grain and the chaff they were guilty of preparing a meal on the Sabbath day.

5.      Human needs take precedence over religious tradition and ritual. David broke the law not to indulge a lust but to meet a genuine need. Human need and compassion should be given preference over religious ceremonies.
It is not uncommon to see some people who dump huge amount of money as sacrifice offered to God, but will be very reluctant to even give some coins to the poor beggars. It is possible for us to love God and fail to love our neighbours and the vice versa. True devotion should be manifested in our love for God coupled with our compassion to the needy.
William Barclay the New Daily Study Bible
The Preacher’s Outline and the Sermon Bible

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Matthew 11:28 - 12:1   28 "Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." 

A man came upon a little boy carrying a still smaller boy, who was lame, upon his back. ‘That’s a heavy burden for you to carry,’ said the man. ‘That’s no a burden,’ came the answer. ‘That’s my little brother’ The burden which is given in love and carried in love is always light.
1.    Jesus’ invitation is to those who are exhausted with the search for the truth. The Greeks have said: ‘It is difficult to find God, and, when you have found him, it is impossible to tell anyone else about it. It is Jesus’ claim that the weary search for God ends in Jesus himself.
2.    To the Jews, religion was a thing of endless rules. People lived their lives in a forest of regulations which dictated every action. They must listen to the voice which says ‘You shall not’ forever.
3.      In Palestine, ox-yokes were made of wood. The ox was brought, and the measurement was taken carefully. The yoke was then roughed out and they brought back the ox and have the yoke tried on. The yoke was tailor-made to fit the ox. They did not want to hurt the neck of the patient animal.
4.      There was a legend that says Jesus made the best yokes in all Galilee. Being a carpenter by profession, Jesus surely would know about yokes.
5.      Every human being has his/her yoke, which he/she has to carry during the earthly journey. From birth he/she learns from others how to live and how to do his/her task. The only master who can teach and assure true rest (of body, mind and spirit) is Christ and the only yoke that really fits and proves to be easy is the yoke of Christ.

One of the reasons why Christianity remains unique is the challenges it poses. Jesus did not promise comfortable and cozy life. He was frank in stating the difficulties that would come along as we follow Him. The moment we experience His love, our yokes (sufferings, challenges, persecution etc) becomes light. It is not an easy job for the mother to carry the child for nine months. She does not act as if there are no inconveniences during her pregnancy period. But what makes her to carry the child is the love that she has for her child and the hope she places in the child.

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

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Matthew 11:25-27   25 At that time Jesus said, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants;  26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.  27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
1.      Just as Israel was wrongly secure in its status before God, as against the Gentiles, so the wise and the powerful failed to recognize that God formed the children, and the meek.
2.      God favours the weak, not the arrogant. Before the Lord of heavens and earth, human wisdom and power is nothing, so no one can protest if it was the Father’s purpose to hide these things from wise (Eg Father revealing Jesus’ son ship to Peter Mt: 16: 17)
3.      Jesus stands in contrast to the so called wise and learned. Jesus alone is in a position to declare exactly what God is like. Unlike the other sages Jesus gets revelation directly from the father.
4.      Little children are exalted precisely because they do not rely on their own resources, are open to receive the revelation.
5.      Scholar Plummer has this to say, ‘The heart, not the head, is the home of the gospel.’ It is not the cleverness which shuts out, it is pride. It is not stupidity which admits, it is humility. People may be wise as Solomon; but if they have not the simplicity, the trust, the innocence of the childlike heart, they shut themselves out.

For past three months, I had the privilege of going for Easter blessings to different families. One thing that struck me very much invariably was the deep and profound faith of the simple people. They do not know much of theology or philosophy, but they experience God’s loving providence and care everyday in their life. Sometimes we rationalize our faith too much that we fall under the category of practical atheists and thus fail to identify the Lord in our day today activities.

The New International Commenatry of the New Testament – R.T. France
The Gospel of Matthew – A Socio –Rhetorical Commentary – Craig S. Kerner

Monday, July 11, 2011


Matthew 11:21  "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
1.      Chorazin – Bethsaida:  Jesus did many ‘miracles’ or works in these cities, yet there is no record of the miracles or works. We must always remember that what we have in the Bible is only a small number of miracles and mighty works that Christ did. As John says, if every one of Jesus’ activity was written down even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.
2.      Chorazin was probably a town an hour’s journey north of Capernaum; Bethsaida was a fishing village on the west bank of Jordan, just as the river entered the northern end of the lake. Clearly the most tremendous things happened in these towns, and yet we have no account of them whatever.
3.      Jesus is not actually cursing the village but it is an expression of a sorrowful pity at the hardness of the heart of these people. These cities did not attack Jesus Christ; it was a sin of indifference.
4.      It was the sin of the people who forgot the responsibilities of privilege. To the cities of Galilee had been given a privilege which had never come to Tyre and Sidon or Sodom and Gomorrah, for the cities of Galilee had actually seen and heard Jesus.
5.      The greater the privileges have been, the greater is our condemnation if we fail to shoulder the responsibilities and accept the obligations which these privileges bring with them.

The last son in the family whom the mother loves so much, had become an addict to alcohol. The mother had shown him more affection and care than the rest of her children. She had high hopes and dreams for her son. But when the son grew up, due to his bad company, became an addict to drinks and brought shame to the whole family. I had a chat with the mother during a family visit. She was in tears, she occasionally reproached her son, but it was all expression of wounded love. Thought the son had abandoned her love, the mother still continues to love her son. Jesus is in a similar situation. Several times we behave like the people of Chorazin and Bethsaida; We have the greatest privilege of partaking in the Eucharist. If we do not realize the worth of it, we all can easily incur a curse. Let us be aware.

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

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Matthew 10:31 - 11:1 31 So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.  32 "Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; 33 but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven.  34 "Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.  35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;  36 and one's foes will be members of one's own household.  37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;  38 and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me.  39 Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.  40 "Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.  41 Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet's reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous;  42 and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple-- truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward."  Matthew 11:1 Now when Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and proclaim his message in their cities.

1.      Christian commitment may separate friends and loved ones. Jesus is not encouraging disobedience to parents or conflicts at home, rather he was sharing that his presence demands a decision, because some will follow others will not.

2.      As we take up our cross and follow him, different values, morals, goods will set us apart from the goal. Do not neglect your family but remember that your commitment to God is even more important than they are. God should be our first priority.

3.      Christ calls us to a higher mission than to find comfort and tranquility in this life. Love of a family is a law of God but even this love can be self-serving and used as an excuse not to serve God or do his will.

4.      The more we love this life’s rewards (leisure, power, popularity, financial security) the more we will discover how empty they really are. The best way to enjoy life is to loosen our greedy grasp on earthly rewards so that we can be free to follow Christ.

5.      Gospel of peace first brings warfare into the soul. It cuts through old habits. It opposes daily sins. It sets up a new standard at variance with what was loved in the past.

As followers of Christ, if we get only praises and appreciations all the time, we should start analyzing our conduct to see whether we are really faithful to Christ. We could be sometimes making several compromises to have an ease and comfortable life. Jesus does not want followers who live on compromises but want disciples who live with convictions.

The Pulpit Commentary
Life Application Study Bible