HUMBLE THYSELF! LK 14 1, 7-14

One of my fondest memories is that of having Christmas lunch with the brothers in Australia. It was a tradition within our community that we open our home to those who were less fortunate and to share Christmas with us. It was a very joyful occasion and full with food, laughter and celebration. There were many characters that we would invite, those whom you would rather pass by in the street. But it was these simple and humble folk that made it all the more joyous feast that it was. At the end of our celebration they would be fighting over the food to bring home. So much for kindness and sharing and humility!
Jesus teaches us today how we are to act at table when we are invited to a party. To take the lowest place, to sit and eat with the less fortunate. He teaches us the way of hospitality – which a common theme flowing through the Gospel of Luke.
Jesus also teaches us about the grace of humility which seems to have vanished into thin air these days! St Francis of Assisi taught that humility is knowing who God is and knowing who I am. Humility is not […]

By |August 28th, 2016|Daily Scripture|0 Comments

ARE YOU READY. Mtt.25.1-13

I thought it was only the brides that were traditionally late at the wedding! However, in the gospel today, the groom delays his coming. Weddings in the Middle East, as they are anywhere in the world, are the cause of a great celebration, festive and wonderful celebrations of life –and so they should be! In ancient Palestine, as we hear Jesus telling us, the groom could take hours to arrive. Imagine! You are the sponsor at the wedding and two hours later, you are still waiting for the groom or bride to arrive. Would you wait?
In the gospel, Jesus narrates to us that there are 10 bridesmaids waiting to the coming of the groom. Some were wise; others were foolish- why would that be the case? Perhaps the more experienced were used to waiting around. In order for them to be safe, they had extra oil in their lamps – just in case. At midnight, the groom finally arrives. Imagine rising from your sleep and not having any oil. It is late and it seems impossible to buy the extra oil. This becomes a problem because those who have come prepared are the wiser. The others have to go elsewhere. […]

By |August 26th, 2016|Daily Scripture|2 Comments

JESUS CALLS YOU! Jn. 1.45-61

The Church honours the life of St Bartholomew, known in scripture as Nathaniel. The evangelist Philip brings him to Jesus. Nathaniel is under the fig tree, perhaps resting and reading under the shade and protection from the hot sun. His response is typical of the Jews of his time – can anything good come out of Galilee? Jesus affirms this Jewish-ness and Nathaniel, in faith, affirms Jesus as the King of Israel.
The narrative we have in the gospel is typically a call narrative. There is a call or invitation to come and follow. There is a response on the part of the one called, usually a doubt, concern or rejection. There is a response and finally acceptance of the call. In this simple narrative, Philip seeks out Nathaniel and calls him. The response of Nathaniel seems derogatory and offensive. Philip makes the response valid, inviting Nathaniel to come and see. Then there is an acceptance on the part of Nathaniel, who makes the amazing acclamation of faith. Finally, on the part of Jesus there is mission statement. Legend has it that Bartholomew was skinned alive.
Jesus will call us in normal everyday circumstances. Not many of us have the spectacular lightshow […]

By |August 24th, 2016|Daily Scripture|0 Comments

WOE TO THE PHARISEE! Mtt. 23.13-20

I do not think I would have like to have been a Pharisee that day! Jesus is reprimanding and saying some very challenging words to the Pharisees. The Pharisees were a religious group in the time of Jesus, among many others. They were strict in rules and regulations and declared themselves faithful followers of the Law of Moses, the Torah (first five books of the bible). They were very religious people, devout and God fearing. Yet the problem is that they were legal in their living out these rules. Their interpretations were strict and very demanding to follow. Here we see Jesus challenge them for their seemingly outward piety yet legalistic hearts.
Matthew records seven woes given by Jesus to the Pharisees. They make it hard for people to enter the Kingdom of God because of the strict guidelines in adherence to the Law of Moses. They were very zealous in their evangelistic efforts, yet, horrendous to their converts. Jesus challenges their hypocrisy, envy, rigidity and formality.
Externalism and Legalism seem to be the name of the game when it came to the Pharisees. Their interpretation of the Law and its upkeep were legally interpreted by the letter rather than the spirit
I […]

By |August 22nd, 2016|Daily Scripture|0 Comments

WHY INVOKE THE IMAGE OF JONAH? Mt 12:38-42

 

Most scholars agree that there is at least an element of the apocryphal in the story of Jonah and the whale – is it really possible for a whale to consume a person and then spew them out on the shore at a later date? Well, regardless of the veracity of this story, Jesus uses it to make a point during his ministry and the point is precisely to emphasise that no matter how fantastic the story of Jonah and the whale is, even more amazing is the reality the people are experiencing in the in-breaking of the Kingdom of God into their lives through the miracles and preaching of Jesus.

The wisdom of Solomon is not apocryphal and it drew visits from royalty coming from east and west. The wisdom of God is being manifest in the words of Jesus in a way that is far greater than through Solomon. Fort example, Jesus actually speaks the forgiveness of sins of those who repent. The forgiveness of sins is part of the wisdom of God for our salvation. Yes, I say wisdom, because only through the reasoning of God could anyone have arrived at the plan of salvation that Jesus implements. […]

By |July 18th, 2016|Daily Scripture|0 Comments

LIVING A TRULY BALANCED LIFE Lk 10:38-42

It is important when we reflect upon this story of Jesus’ encounter with Mary and Martha that we remember to place it in context. Jesus is not telling us that serving a visitor in one’s home is a bad thing to do. He is simply saying that there is a time to serve and a time to just sit and reflect upon life. We need to find the right balance between the two! I think we all know at least one person who tends to hide behind busyness in order to avoid having to relate to the people in his or her life. This is what Jesus is addressing. We must find time in our lives to serve those around us; we must also find the time to simply be with them and to enjoy one another’s company. This is the essence of human relationships.

We live in a world that rewards activism and industriousness to the point that we tend to forget about the need for silence. I was reading a book the other day and one of the points it was making is that, generally speaking, people today lack silence in their lives and thus are unable to reflect […]

By |July 17th, 2016|Daily Scripture|0 Comments

… NOT QUENCHING A SMOULDERING WICK Mt 12:14-21

I love the concept of a smouldering wick! We have all experienced the struggle to keep a candle alive when it seems that it just does not want to burn. This is a great image of faith in a person struggling to believe for one reason or another. One of the challenges we face as Christians is to be on the lookout for those in our community who are struggling. Sometimes people simple lose their faith or slip out of the faith community unnoticed because we do not have a great enough sense of care for those in our midst who are fighting for their faith.

Perhaps we might argue that we too are struggling to maintain our faith in an ever more hostile world, but that is not a good enough answer! In fact, even more so should we be on the lookout for others suffering the same struggles as we are in order to help them or be inspired by their perseverance in their struggles.

In the Gospels Jesus seems to be drawn to the ‘little ones’ (anawim) and their concerns are never too small for him to take the time to address them. We need to imitate this concern […]

By |July 16th, 2016|Daily Scripture|0 Comments

IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Gn 3: 9-15. 20 Today is a Holy Day of Obligation in the Philippines as today is one of the patronal feasts of the Philippines. Yes, it does seem that we are celebrating a feast that ascribes to Mary an unfair advantage, but she would still have had to deal with temptation like the rest of us, perhaps even more so as I am sure the Devil would have worked very hard to deflect her from her destiny to become the Mother of God.

Mary, pray for me so that I might have the single-mindedness of heart you had for the will of God. Help me to be inspired by your purity of love and so grow in holiness today.

Eph 1: 3-6. 11-12 The first three chapters of the Letter to the Ephesians proclaim the wonder and glory of God and his plan of salvation. Each one of us has a part to play in this plan. God has assigned a job to us all. Are we going to be faithful enough to complete it or will he have to find an alternative way to get our job done? God does not ask anyone else to do what Mary did […]

By |December 8th, 2015|Daily Scripture|0 Comments
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Why was Jesus a Carpenter?

Carpentry is a very strange profession. A carpenter will take a tree and intentionally destroy its natural beauty. The carpenter will hack away at the trunk of the tree, removing its defensive layer through the use of axes, saws and chisels. In fact, if you did not understand what the carpenter was doing, you would think that this person simply delighted in doing violence to a piece of wood.

But it is through this violent action that the inner beauty of the wood is revealed. A master craftsman not only shapes the wood for a useful purpose, they also allows the true colour and grain of the wood to be seen.

At this point we need to ask the question, was it purely an accident that Jesus was a carpenter? Was it simply a random chance that the saviour of the world would take on this profession or was God trying to reveal something about how he works with his people?

The scriptures often describe the purifying work that God does through the image of refining Gold or cleaning dirty clothing. But maybe the best image is the image of a carpenter. It can often be hard to understand what God is doing […]

By |October 16th, 2015|The Call|0 Comments

BUILT TO LAST Lk 6:43-49

The other day I was walking along a beach in Zambales and I saw a house being built right at the high tide mark on the beach. It struck me as quite a silly place to build a house because, not only would the waves of a storm threaten its foundations, it was also built right beside the bank of a stream that emptied into the sea which was already causing erosion problems with the foundations on that side of the house. I very much doubt that the house will survive too many typhoon seasons!

Sometimes it seems that we do not make sensible decisions about where and how to build our houses. This is not only the case with houses, but it also seems to ring true regarding the foundation of our spiritual lives as well. Too often as a priest I come across people who have built their spirituality around a particular experience, or set of experiences, that are slowly fading away and taking their faith with it. The only way to build a faith that will endure the test of time is to build it upon a solid commitment to Jesus! Without this it will be destined to […]

By |September 12th, 2015|Daily Scripture|0 Comments