Friday, December 17, 2010

GENEALOGY OF JESUS – DECEMBER 17TH – FRIDAY (Mt 1: 1-17)


A genealogy is the account or record of the descent of a person, group, or tribe from an ancestor. A genealogy may be segmented (taking account of several figures within a single generation) or linear (moving from one generation to the next by means of a single figure in each generation.) Genealogies are more statements about relationships in recent times than records motivated by historical curiosity. The interpreter must look to the present function of genealogy in the domestic, political – legal or religious sphere.


The function of this Genealogy is to trace Jesus’ descent back to David and Abraham. That Jesus the Christ came at the right time is suggested by the threefold sequence of 14 generations.

  • From Abraham to David
  • From David to Babylonian captivity
  • From the Babylonian exile to Jesus the Christ.

When we go through the genealogy, we come across the names of women like Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba and Mother Mary. The common element found in all these women is the irregularity of their marriage. We cannot place Mary along with the other women. We should not also forget that God chooses not the best, but simple and humble persons to reveal Himself. It is not our efficiency that counts before the Lord but our availability and fidelity.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

WHO IS GREATER THAN JOHN THE BAPTIST? - DECEMBER 16TH – THURSDAY (Lk 7: 24-30)


1. As soon as the disciples of John were gone, Jesus turned His attention to the crowd. This was necessary, for the people had heard all that had happened. Some thought John had wavered in his faith. This brought in a lot of confusion amidst the people. If this kind of questioning got started, it would affect not only the crowd but also those who had already believed. Thus Jesus begins to address the issue. The least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John the Baptist – This cannot mean that he was not a saved man. John in his prison was not in such close touch with Jesus as was these ones. He was not an immediate participant or even direct witness. Also he was not to see Calvary or to experience Pentecost.


All of us are privileged to have been born in this world after the incarnation. It does not mean that Jesus’ presence was not there before the incarnation. As Christians we are all the more privileged to be the followers of Christ. We are given this privilege which many of the Prophets longed to have. We are living in the Messianic times. Every day we meet this Messiah in the Eucharist. We are not only seeing Him, not only hearing Him but also eating Him. Thus we are bestowed with too many privileges. This naturally calls for greater responsibility on our part in being true and faithful disciples of the Lord.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

JOHN THE BAPTIST’S DOUBT – DECEMBER 15TH – WEDNESDAY (Lk 7: 19-23)


So John summoned two of his disciples 19 and sent them to the Lord to ask, "Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?" 20 When the men had come to him, they said, "John the Baptist has sent us to you to ask, 'Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?'" 21 Jesus had just then cured many people of diseases, plagues, and evil spirits, and had given sight to many who were blind. 22 And he answered them, "Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them. 23 And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me."


The fact that John sends messengers to Jesus proves John’s faith in Jesus. This answers those who think that John had lost confidence in Jesus and doubted as our modern doubt with disbelief. John’s doubt was of an altogether different kind; it was induced by a difficulty that his faith met. It was a doubt that was due to faith. Jesus was to do all the great Messianic works, first those of grace (3: 3-6) and then those of judgement (3:9). Thus John believed, preached and expected the Messiah. But as Jesus went on with his work, this seemed to be nothing but grace without one single act of judgement.

When things do not go according to our expectation it naturally gives rise to doubt. John the Baptist who rightly acknowledged the Messiah and His mission, has a little doubt now. The doubt does not weaken his faith but only strengthens it. He goes in for clarification through his disciples. Our faith should not be a blind faith. We need to be educated in our faith. We should ask several questions and try to understand the mystery of God. Of course when our reason fails, the faith takes over. Doubts unsolved or not-clarified can strain our relationship with God as well with our fellow human beings.

Monday, December 13, 2010

THE PARABLE OF TWO SONS – DECEMBER 14th – TUESDAY (Mt 21: 28-32)




28 "What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work in the vineyard today.' 29 He answered, 'I will not'; but later he changed his mind and went. 30 The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, 'I go, sir'; but he did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.


The Father represents God. The first son represents the tax collectors and prostitutes, those who were lax in the law but came to obey God through John’s ministry; the second son represents the chief priests and the elders, those who despite their religious profession disobeyed God, by not believing John.


The reply of the first child comes as a shock; it is blunt and rude reply without a trace of respect. Everything he knew about the Father and about his obligation towards that Father and about his unnatural and wicked action in treating his Father as he had done, led him to regret his shameful action. The Father talks to the second son in the same way he talked to the first. The response was emphatic ‘I’ with the implication to be sure. His readiness takes away our breath. But the action that follows reflects most of our character.


Jesus does not add a third child, one that said ‘yes’ and then worked as it should. He leaves it to us to supply the third child. None of the two sons actually manifested the ideal attitude though the first son was appreciated for his action. We are called to be saying ‘yes’ emphatically and do the work of the Lord immediately.


In our day today lives we see people who are rude in their outward behavior but actually have a kind heart and the vice-versa. I remember, one of my friends who is hot tempered but has a very kind heart. He once compared himself to a Jackfruit which is hard outside but very sweet inside. There are also people who speak sweet words externally but can be extremely harmful. Therefore we should not form our perceptions and opinions about people basing on the externals. It is true that the externals are sometimes the pointers of the real individual but need not be always. Let us ask the Lord to give us the grace to live a life which is not hypocritical.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

THE QUESTIONING OF THE MESSIAH’S POWER – DECEMBER 13TH – MONDAY (Mt 21: 23-27)


A quick reading of this section is an eye-opener into the great tragedy and problem with self-righteousness and unbelief. Christ was forceful, very forceful in attacking self-righteousness and unbelief. He delivered a sustained attack. Leaving no doubt that a person who continues in self-righteousness, is unworthy of God’s kingdom.

The Lord’s questioners immediately knew their predicament. If they replied that John’s ministry was of God, then Christ would ask them why they did not believe John’s testimony about the Messiah. If they replied that John’s ministry was from men, they would arouse the people against themselves, for the people believed strongly that John was a true prophet.

The disciples of Christ need to be also prudent and shrewd. They should know what to talk, when to talk and where to talk. When people who are not in favour of you, enter into dialogue with you, the disciples should be very sharp in understanding their motive. Innocence is a virtue but not ignorance.


Friday, December 10, 2010

IS JOHN THE BAPTIST ELIJAH? DECEMBER 11th – SATURDAY (Mt 17: 9-13)


The Jews believed that Elijah would return as forerunner of the Messianic age (Mal 4:5; Lk 1:17) There was a debate in the early Church around the question. If Jesus is the Messiah why has Elijah not come?

· Jesus is here represented as saying that Elijah has come, not in reincarnation, but in striking likeness of the flesh and in verity of the spirit.

· John dressed like Elijah, lived in the desert as Elijah had lived, and defied Herod and Herodias as Elijah has defied Ahab and Elijah.

Why did Elijah not restore all things according to promise? Why had the golden age not come?

Men did not see in John the prophet of God, and in heedlessness they slew him. Mankind has a certain freedom, and darkly abuses it. The golden age cannot be forced upon them, for then it would not be fold but only a gilded coercion. The golden age comes only through golden souls. Elijah awakens and Christ renews; Elijah arouses penitence and Christ forgives if the people see and believe but they will not see.

All of us do have expectations and when the expectation is not fulfilled we are disappointed. It is good to have expectations but we should not expect things to happen in the exact way we expect. We should be ready to expect the unexpected. People of Israel rightly expected the Messiah and the forerunner but the way they expected the coming of these two was not the way God intended. This happens to all of us even today. There is nothing wrong to have expectations but to expect something in the way we want may lead to discouragement and disappointed.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

WHO IS GREATER THAN JOHN THE BAPTIST? - DECEMBER 9TH – THURSDAY (Mt 11: 11-15)


John was praised not merely because, he arrived in fulfillment of prophecy, but also of the marvelous manner in which this forerunner had fulfilled his task.

· He clearly mentioned or announced the arrival of Messiah directing the people’s attention to that Great one ‘Look the lamb of God who is taking away the sin of the world (Jn 1: 29)

· He emphasized ‘repentance’ as the only way to enter the Messiah’s kingdom.

· It is the duty of the herald to recede to the background when one whom he has introduced comes fully in to the scene-playing the second fiddle.


All of us are privileged to have been born in this world after the incarnation. It does not mean that Jesus’ presence was not there before the incarnation. As Christians we are all the more privileged to be the followers of Christ. We are given the privilege which many of the Prophets longed to have. We are living in the Messianic times. Every day we meet this Messiah in the Eucharist. We are not only seeing Him, not only hearing Him but also eating Him. Thus we are bestowed with too many privileges. This naturally calls for greater responsibility on our part in being true and faithful disciples of the Lord.

THE FEAST OF IMMACULATE CONCEPTION – DECEMBER 8TH – WEDNESDAY (Lk 1: 26-38)


Ineffabilis Deus - The Immaculate Conception - Apostolic Constitution issued by Pope Pius IX on 8 December 1854

"We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful."


Many Popes approved confraternities, congregations and religious communities founded in honor of the Immaculate Conception, monasteries, hospitals, altars, or churches; they praised persons who vowed to uphold with all their ability the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God. Besides, it afforded the greatest joy to ordain that the Feast of the Conception should be celebrated in every church with the very same honor as the Feast of the Nativity; that it should be celebrated with an octave by the whole Church; that it should be reverently and generally observed as a holy day of obligation.

Christian holiness is embodied in Mary and must be realized in the Church. It is God’s transforming presence which must become fruitful in life and work. The scanty biblical data would not be sufficient as a basis for systematic ethics and spirituality but Mary is transparent, filled with the mystery of God. When people pray before her image they enter into God’s presence. The feast of Immaculate Conception is one of the greatest solemnities in the Church. Mary’s holiness is the hope and model for all of us. Let us surrender totally to our Mother by seeking protection under her powerful mantle. Let us ask our Blessed mother to intercede for us to keep ourselves pure and holy.

Monday, December 6, 2010

THE LOST SHEEP – DECEMBER 7TH THURSDAY (Mt 18: 12-14)


The sheep is attracted by something out ‘in the wilderness. What the sheep sees is more attractive and appealing. It tempts and seduces it. It is aimless. The sheep does not know it is losing its way. It refuses to heed the warnings of the shepherd and the example of the other sheep. It is not attached enough to the shepherd or to other sheep. It does not think the shepherd will take care and see that there is satisfying food. The lost sheep was sought. The shepherd left ninety-nine to seek the one lost sheep. It was the one that needed to be sought. It was this sheep that needed the attention of the shepherd and was to occupy the time, energy and effort of the shepherd. When he found the sheep, he embraced the sheep and carried it over his shoulders.


The experience of being lost is a terrible thing that could happen to anyone. Nobody loses one’s way purposely but it could happen due to our lack of prudence and carelessness. We can take risks in certain places where there are no dangers even if we get lost, but certain places could be very dangerous not merely to body but also to our souls. It is better to be with the fold than to take unhealthy risks. If we feel that we are lost totally, we can always shout out Lord’s name. The Lord who desperately searches his lost sheep will surely come for rescue and will restore our lost hope.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

THE HEIGHT OF FAITH – DECEMBER 6TH – MONDAY (Lk 5: 17-26)


The paralytic man had sought the help of his friends, and they were all seeking the help of Jesus. The man was unable to help himself, to secure forgiveness and wholeness by himself. The friends of the paralytic persisted enormous difficulty. They did not give up. They went around to the side or back of the house and climbed up to the roof with the bed of the man. They removed some of the roof and used ropes to lower the man’s bed below, right before the feet of Jesus. They were desperate, their need was great and they were helpless without Jesus. Such a spirit touched the Lord and it still touches Him today.


When a group of people manifest their profound faith by their perseverance we see another group of people who were keen on finding fault with Jesus. The attitude of the Pharisees clearly shows that human beings have the capacity to find fault even in the most perfect Being, the Son of God. We sometimes form part of the first group and several other times we form part of the second group. It is rather easy to find fault, (after all they were sitting comfortably inside the house) but difficult to find the Messiah in faith (they had to literally break open the roof to enter the house). To which group do we all belong to?

Friday, December 3, 2010

TWO BLIND MEN HEALED – DECEMBER 3RD – FRIDAY (Mt 9: 27-31)


The two men were blind but they had the inner vision of faith. Faith is more precious than sight; it perceives the things unseen, the eternal verities of the spiritual world. Jesus passed on in silence, absorbed, it seemed in holy meditation. He seemed not to hear them. He entered the house. Blind though they were, they found the way, they came to him into the house. Their perseverance is a lesson for all of us. He touched their eyes and healed them, the touch was to heal them only if their faith was real; ‘according to your faith be it unto you’.

We often see people flocking to the Churches, Temples, Mosques to receive some favours from the Almighty. The faith with which some of the people who are in need come to the Churches is quite impressive. People are ready to do any amount of penance to obtain favour from God. But what happens once their prayers are heard. Quite a few times people become ungrateful to the Lord. As long as the blind men wanted favour from Jesus they did not mind any obstacle, they displayed a splendid faith. But after receiving the favour, they clearly disobey the Lord. Jesus asks them to keep everything as a secret but the contrary takes place. Does it not resonate with our attitude as well? ‘Obedience is better than Sacrifice’

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

THE WISE BUILDER – DECEMBER 2ND – THURSDAY (Mt 7: 21, 24-27)


The wise builder faces a storm. There have always been storms in life, and there always will be. The wise man is not exempt from the storms because he builds an excellent house. In fact, the major reason for building a solid house is to assure that he will be able to weather all storms. It rains ‘on the righteous and the unrighteous’. Secondly, Jesus demanded that people should listen. One of the great difficulties which face us today is the simple fact that people often do not know what Jesus said or what the Church teaches. People often have a quite mistaken notion of what Jesus said and of what the Church teaches. The first step to Christian life is simply to give Jesus Christ to be heard. But it should not stop just with hearing and listening but we need to strive hard to put the teachings into practice.

Gone are those days when people were ignorant of things. We are living in an information revolutionary age. Knowing is not an issue but the real issue is doing. We all know what is to be done and what is to be avoided. We all know how we would be judged on the final day and criterion for the judgment is also known to us. We all know where God likes to dwell when it is a choice between the rich and the poor. In spite of knowing everything we live as if we are ignorant of things. We even know what it means to put all these teaching into practice. It demands discipline and that is what we lack today. Let us ask the Lord to make us disciplined in all the aspects.