Tuesday of the 14th Week of the Year

Matt 9:32-38

The Compassion of Jesus


Jesus in today’s gospel expresses concern over the crowds that followed Him. “His heart was moved with pity for them for they were troubled and abandoned, like a sheep without a shepherd.” Crowds don’t have any character, they go with the tides of opinion and the currents of varied persuasion. It only needs one prankster, for instance, to shout “FIRE!” inside a packed moviehouse to create pandemonium.

Jesus sees the need for leaders. He elevates the idea of leadership into a form of shepherding. He describes a shepherd, as somebody whose mission is “to cure the sick” physically or spiritually; “to raise the dead” or giving hope to the lost or confused; “to cleanse lepers” living in the margins of society; and to “drive out demons which defines the role of a prophet, a conscience, somebody who speaks out against the evils that torment social structures and our personal lives as well.

In addition, a shepherd does not enrich himself/herself at the expense of the flock: “Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.” St. Augustine must have had this verse in mind when he distinguished two kinds of leaders; those interested in the flock and those interested in the fleece. The genuine leader of course is the one whose heart resides the interests of his/her flock and not the fleece of the flock.

Our gospel text does not refer only to church leaders. The need for laborers in the Lord’s vineyard may refer to any person who leads whether as parent, guardian, politician, manager and superior. May our lives as leaders proclaim that “The kingdom is at hand.” (Fr. Gerry del Pinado, SVD Bible Diary 2004).


In our gospel today, the Lord’s heart was moved with pity. He is just as well addressing us today: “The harvest is great but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.”

Where are they whom the Lord of the harvest could send to his vineyard? When there is such a dearth of candidates for the priesthood, where would we expect them? They will not just come presenting themselves to us from some wonderful corners of the earth. They will not just come from some good families somewhere who are generous enough to offer their son to become a priest.

The reality is that the Lord is calling many young men to become priests, even more than we could ever imagine. And one of them is just probably from your immediate neighborhood or even surely a young man from your family. Yes, someone you know.

Think about what our late Pope John Paul II said once to the youth: “It could not be that God who gave the first impulse to say Yes, will now expect a No for an answer.” (Fr. Jun de Ocampo, SVD Bible Diary 2006).


I am no great boxing fan, but the name Manny Pacquiao seems to make the sport interesting. After defeating the world-renowned Mexican boxer, Eric Morales, Pacquiao came home a new Filipino hero. What is Manny’s secret of success? It is guts and the never-say-die audacity to wrestle with the giants of world boxing.

In the first reading, we find Jacob struggling against an unknown creature until dawn. Jacob later realized that the unknown creature was God. Jacob persevered; he came out victor in the ordeal. He did not fear the mystery and the greatness of the creature. This merited for him the name Israel.

Jacob’s tribulation became an encounter with the divine. Any encounter with human difficulties could be an invitation for us to become greater than ourselves. Pacquiao became famous after fighting a great master in boxing. Jacob was called Israel after persevering against the unknown creature.

Our gospel relates Jesus’ healing of a dumb demoniac. Despite Jesus’ success, the Pharisees still considered His deeds evil. Rejection, being misunderstood was a constant companion in Jesus’ life of service. He wrestled with opposition – a proof of his bravery and deep relationship with God.

The reading ends with the challenge to work in the vineyard of the Lord. A good laborer is one who is willing to persevere against human difficulties and to hold on to one’s faith in God.  Our Lord Jesus Christ is inviting each one of us to become champions in the realm of service amidst obstacles and challenges. (Fr. Loreto Estomo, Jr. SVD Bible Diary 2007)


I was once invited to celebrate Mass with deaf and mute children. I was told that I can have a crash course on sign language before celebrating the Mass. I could not imagine how I would manage to preach without words but only gestures.

In the gospel, Jesus encounters a person who is possessed by a demon. This story belongs to the section of Jesus’ healings and miracles (Matt 8-9) which can be the “praxis,” the action counterpart of his long Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7). Most sicknesses in that culture are believed to be caused by evil spirits. People thought that there are more spirits than human beings and more spirits than are not always benevolent. Today we have better and more scientific reasons why a person is deaf and mute.

In any case, his healing draws two opposite reactions: “The crowds were amazed” (v. 33) and the Pharisees said: “By the prince of demons he casts out demons,” (v. 34). They do not deny Jesus’ power to heal, however they attribute this power to Satan.  It shows that anyone can heal; anybody can be an exorcist; even the demon can be a healer. But where this power is coming from and what kind of motivation the healer has, seem to be the criteria for an authentic healing. For Jesus, the source of this ministry is God (Matt 9:8) and the motivation is compassion (“Moved with pity” Matt 9:36).

What was the last time I was “moved with pity” to help an unfamiliar person” (Fr. Randolf Flores, SVD Bible Diary 2009)


One time there was this lector who was asked to read this text. Having poor eyesight, he said: “”Wow to you Chorazin! Wow to you, Bethsaida!” After the service, he was corrected by a churchgoer: “Excuse me, sir. It’s not ‘Wow to you’ but ‘Woe to you.’ Realizing his mistake, the lector said: “Oh! I’m sorry for that. “Wow to you for correcting me; woe to me for my mistake.” Jesus must have said woes  around 30 times in the Gospels (other translations, Alas! Ph! Or in Tagalog, Sawimpalad! Or Kawawa ka!). in the Old Testament , the expression belongs to the language of lament – verbal complaint to God. Jesus laments over these unrepentant cities. Two of these cities were dear to Him – Bethsaida was the hometown of Philip, Andrew and Peter; Capernaum became his second hometown. Chorazin, once a beautiful city in front of the Sea of Galilee, was just a few kilometers away from these two cities. Jesus referred to do “mighty deeds” (miracles) in these three cities. He refused to do the same in his very own native place of Nazareth (Mt. 13:58). But the people failed to respond correctly to Jesus’ miracles. They could have been impressed by the miracles, enchanted by them and “wowed” Jesus for such magical performances but for him these were incorrect responses. What was lacking in them was “repentance” (Greek, metanoia, see Mt 11:20-21).

How many times in our lives have we experienced Jesus’ mighty deeds? Most of us can say that one time or another we felt that God made miracles for us. Have we also correct response? (Fr. Randolf Flores SVD Bible Diary 2014)


July 12, 2016 Tuesday

‘BLESSED’, said Jesus in his opening speech on the Mount. His audience was taken aback when he declared blessed (repeated seven times) those considered unfortunate: the poor, the mourning, the hungry and the persecuted. Blessedness therefore can be attained in any state of life. Jesus’ goal is for everyone who follows him to live a blessed life.

WOE (repeated seven times) is the opposite of BLESSED. Jesus condemned the religious leaders saying, “Woe to you” because of their hypocrisy. In today’s Gospel, Jesus said “Woe to you” to Chorazin and Bethsaida – Jewish cities situated at the northern end of Genesareth Lake. Also condemned was Capernaum, the city where Jesus grew up. In these places, Jesus preached the Kingdom accompanied by his “mighty deeds,” his miracles. Unfortunately, despite their privilege, they neither changed their lives nor repented from their wrongdoings.

God is doing wonders in our lives every day. Are we aware of all his blessings? Are they helping us to change our lives? At the Final Judgment, Jesus will gather all nations and separate people from one another. On his right will be “those blessed by the Father” on his left “those who are cursed into the eternal re”. On which side will we be? Metanoia is not only a change of heart but a change of attentiveness, especially for others. (Fr. Xene Sanchez, SVD | Congo, Africa Bible Diary 2016)



NOISY DEVILS (Ps 95:8, Matt 9:32): one of our children here at the EDSA Shrine approached me and said, “Father, can you please advise my mother to lessen her talking inside the house. She has become a compulsive talker and no one else gets to talk when she is around.”  One day, this very talkative mother was trying to relate intimately with her child. She said to her child, “When I die, will you allow your daddy to get married again?” and this child said, “Maybe.” What kind of stepmother would you like to have? And she answered: “I want a stepmother who is deaf and dumb.”

It is very difficult to talk when everybody talks. It is even more difficult to listen when there are so many intrusive voices.

The first reading and the responsorial psalm carry a common word which ought to be characteristic of this Lenten season: LISTEN. It is very easy to listen when everything is quiet or when everybody is mute. We can listen attentively.

In the gospel, the devil maybe mute, but not all devils are mute. Most of the devils distract us from the things that really matter. The devils of our modern age are telling us that we must be more aggressive and assertive. We must be more prosperous and prove and fulfill ourselves. Because these loud devils are telling us to be so, we are tempted to say to ourselves that we must really prosper and assert ourselves. And because of the persistent and loud voices of the devils of our age, we can sometimes play deaf to the cry of the poor saying to us, “Help us!”

When the long and loud voices of the devils tell us that we must achieve and be rich, sometimes we miss the voices of our loved ones telling us, “Love me and hug me!” Because the voices of the devils of the world are telling us that we must be fulfilled, aggressive and ambitious, we sometimes fail to love ourselves unless we are slim, sexy or unless we have money.

The devil in the gospel was mute but he represented only the minority. Most of the devils are shouting loud and long and we can get distracted.

Let us again say in our hearts our response to the Psalm, “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” Listen to Him. There is already so much talking. Lent is a time for listening. (Socrates Villegas, Jesus in my Heart, pp. 83-84)


TUESDAY OF THE 15TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR A)MATEO 11:20-24. Gihatagan ba nato’g bili ang mga lihok sa Ginoo diha sa atong kinabuhi? Gikasab-an ni Jesus ang katawhan sa Corasin, Betsaida ug Capernaum tungod sa ilang pagbalewala sa mga milagro nga iyang gihimo sa ilang dapit. Nagpadayon sila sa ilang pagkadaotan ug wala sila magpakita og interes nga mobalik sa Dios. Tungod niini, giingnan sila ni Jesus nga mas malooy pa ang Dios sa katawhan sa Tiro, Sidon ug Sodoma kaysa kanila. Matag karon ug unya, adunay mga milagro nga mahitabo sa atong kinabuhi – bata nga mahimugso, trabaho nga madawat, sakit nga maayo, relasyon nga mauli, gugma nga masinati, ug uban pa. Kining tanan gipahiluna sa Dios aron kita magpabilin nga masaligon ug mahigugmaon Kaniya. Ang pangutana karon – nagmapasalamaton ba kita sa Dios ug nagmatarong tungod sa Iyang gugma? Posted by Abet Uy



Monday, July 13, 2015

TUESDAY OF THE 15TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR B) – MATEO 11:20-24. GIHATAGAN BA NATO’G BILI ANG MGA LIHOK SA GINOO DIHA SA ATONG KINABUHI? Gikasab-an ni Hesus ang katawhan sa Corasin, Betsaida ug Capernaum tungod sa ilang paghatag og gamay’ng bili sa mga milagro nga iyang gihimo. Nagpadayon sila sa pagkadaotan ug wala magpakita’g interes nga mobalik sa Dios. Tungod niini, giingnan sila ni Hesus nga mas malooy pa ang Dios sa katawhan sa Tiro, Sidon ug Sodoma kaysa kanila. Matag karon ug unya, adunay mga milagro nga mahitabo sa atong kinabuhi – bata nga mahimugso, trabaho nga madawat, sakit nga maayo, relasyon nga mauli, gugma nga bati-on, ug uban pa. Si Albert Einstein nag-ingon: “There are only two ways to live your life. You can live as if nothing is a miracle or you can live as if everything is a miracle.” Hinaot nga ang ikaduha maoy atong pili-on. Posted by Abet Uy



My Reflection for Tuesday July 15, Saint Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor; Matthew 11:20-24 – Reflection: A man was being bothered by his many sins he would think of his sins every now and then and it always give him guilt of conscience. He had no peace of mind, a friend noticed his uneasy behavior so he was asked what was bothering him. After telling his friend what was bothering him, he was advised to repent from all of his sins through the Sacrament of Confession. So he did and he finally had peace of mind.

The people of Chorazin and Bethsaida were reprimanded by Jesus for they refused to repent from their evil ways. Why do we refuse to repent and why do we love to sin? The reason perhaps is we love the devil one more than Jesus, we love this world more than we love to be eventually in heaven with Jesus. Otherwise if we love Jesus we will repent and this repentance will reach its apex once we submit ourselves to the Sacrament of Confession.

This is who we are, we love to sin yet we don’t want to be in hell but what we don’t know is as we continue to sin we also slowly give our lives to be with the evil one in hell. Are Satan and  hell real? Of course they are! Observe those who continue to sin or who continue to live sinful lives. They may be rich and powerful but the reality is they have no peace of mind often times their family also is in turmoil and the reason of this is their refusal to walk away from sin. Therefore we will be with the evil one and we will feel hell here and now if we will not walk away from sin.

Jesus will surely want us all to repent and to submit ourselves to the Sacrament of Confession. This is for the reason that Jesus wants us to be cleansed from all of our sins that has been enslaving us for so long. Nevertheless, Jesus also gave us the freedom of choice to do what we want to do in this world.

The choice is ours to make, should we continue to live in the darkness of sin that has been making life so miserable for us? Or we embrace the guiding light of Jesus through HIS offer of repentance.

What is your choice?  Posted by: Marino J. Dasmarinas



Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Reflection for July 12, Tuesday of the Fifteenth Week in OT; Matthew 11:20-24

Reflection: Why do we sin?

We sin because we allow the devil to take control of our lives. Once the devil is in control already sinning becomes an ordinary routine. We don’t anymore have guilt of conscience, we become numb already from the criticism. We even have the temerity to be angry with those who are criticizing us.

So we enjoy sin since it brings us endless earthly gratification. Until we get caught and so we receive our due punishment. But why keep on sinning and why wait until we get caught? Why don’t we stop sinning, permanently walk away from it and embrace the unconditional love of Jesus?

In our gospel reading for today we notice Jesus reproaching the towns of Chorazin and Bethsaida. For they refused to hear God’s call for them to permanently walk away from their sinfulness.

Every now and then God will gently nudge us to remind us that there’s no good with sin. That sinning will bring us nothing but problems and misfortunes. We may enjoy the fruits of our sinfulness but this kind of enjoyment is short lived. Eventually we will be caught and be punished.

Why not walk away from sin and embrace the forgiveness, mercy and love of God? – Marino J. Dasmarinas



THE HOMILY THAT CHANGED ME: “Because they did not repent.” – Matthew 11:20

I sat in the middle pew of the Greenbelt chapel while waiting for my turn to go inside the confessional box. I believe that God brought me there not just to confess but also to listen to the homily.

The priest started to discuss how most people approach sin. He said that most Catholics treat sin like growing a plant. We commit sin, then we confess, then we commit the same sin again, thinking that we can confess it again anyway. I was guilty of this. I was used to telling small lies, not knowing that they can grow to something bigger. I pruned my sin like my favorite plant: lie, confess, lie, confess again. I was only trimming my sin.

His reflection made perfect sense. True repentance only takes place when we decide to totally uproot our sin without any intention of committing it again. Whenever we ask for God’s forgiveness, He looks for a genuine surrender of our hearts to Him. By doing this, we recognize that His strength and grace are sufficient for us to overcome anything. With God’s help, I am able to live a more honest life now.

Friend, go examine your heart. Are you like the people in the Gospel who refused to repent or do you choose to open yourself to the infinite mercy of our God? Pia Angelica Suiza (piasuiza@yahoo.com)

Reflection: What do you need to uproot in your life?

Jesus, in my weakness, I cling to Your mercy. I humbly ask for Your strength to be upon me as I change my ways, O God. Amen.



1ST READING: Those who refuse to live according to the laws of God are eventually crushed. Jerusalem falls partly because of the superiority of the invading armies and partly because there is sin in the nation due to their unholy alliances with pagan nations and their gods. Sin weakens the character of a person or community to the point that it will easily give way to external pressures. Isaiah 7:1-9

GOSPEL: It seems that there will always be people who refuse to surrender to the Gospel and insist on fighting it out on their own. We know that is a bad, even an impossible, course of action to take. We should do our best, through the witness of our lives and whatever other persuasive powers we may have, to try and dissuade people from taking this path. Matthew 11:20-24

think:  Sin weakens the character of a person or community to the point that it will easily give way to external pressures.



A FIRM FAITH: A common denominator in today’s readings is the theme of fear and faith. In the First Reading, fear of the Syro-Ephraimite alliance causes the heart of King Ahaz and the hearts of his people to tremble “as the trees of the forest tremble in the wind.” This is because of their lack of faith in God. King Ahaz lacks faith and courage, despite the prophet Isaiah’s urgings.

The last verse of the reading from Isaiah (“Unless your faith is firm you shall not be firm!”) is a bridge to the Gospel reading. A certain play of words is noticeable. There are two forms of the same verb, aman, which means “to be firm.” (This is also the root of our word amen.) This verb is used to refer to the house of David whose throne, God has promised, shall stand firm forever. But such a privilege, Isaiah tells Ahaz, requires faith to be effective. Jesus says basically the same thing to Capernaum and the neighboring towns. They have been privileged to witness His miracles, but they have failed to respond with firm faith. So they, just like the house of David, will be liable to judgment.

“God upholds his city for ever,” says our Responsorial Psalm. There is no menace on the part of God. In fact, should there be threats from outside (as from kings assembling for war or from disasters looming), God will still protect and defend the city. Such is the blessing for the one whose faith is firm, who leaves no room for any faintheartedness, doubt or hesitation.

An example for this can very well be St. Bonaventure (1218-1274), our saint for today. Known as the Seraphic Doctor, his was a cheerfulness, serenity and equanimity — stemming from a deep contemplative spirit — which no human consideration could ever shake. Let his “firm faith” inspire and challenge us. Fr. Martin Macasaet, SDB

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: How strong is your faith? Do you easily get shaken when problems and trials confront you?

Lord, make me rooted strongly in You so that I can face the world and all its challenges with equanimity and hope.



GOD’S EVERYDAY MIRACLES – Jesus began to reproach the towns where most of his mighty deeds had been done, since they had not repented. – Matthew 11:20

Ploop! That was a dull sound from an exploding overheated klieg light on top of us. I was oblivious of the incident and kept talking to the event coordinator. Then there was a subdued commotion around us, not wanting to take the attention of those attending the event. Apparently the bulb exploded into hot broken glasses in front of us and around us. The staff then silently picked up the broken particles, which burned the rug where it had landed. These hot pieces were not more than two feet from where we stood! I realized then that something had shielded us from those hot glass pieces. It was a miracle that we were not burned and I thanked my angels for the mantle of protection.

Miracles happen every day and we need to have faith to recognize them. In Matthew 13:57, it says that Jesus did not do mighty deeds in the place where people did not believe Him.

It takes faith to believe in the daily miracles happening in our lives and we thank God for it. Rolly España (rolly@homeliving.com.ph)

Reflection: Miracles are in front of our eyes every single day. Do you see them unfold in your lives?

Father, grant me spiritual eyes to see Your goodness and blessings that You surround me each day.



WHAT DOES IT TAKE? The Gospel today had very strong words from Jesus. He was disturbed by the lack of faith of the people of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum, all Jewish towns. He made a lot of miracles in those places, yet their response was unbelief. He was so upset that He compared them to other places like Tyre, Sidon and Sodom, whose people had repented.

What does it take for us to repent? Do we need to get sick, be out of job, or experience a tragedy before we bend our knees and pray? Do we have to suffer and face death so we can see the hardness of our hearts and blindness of our eyes? Unfortunately this is true for many people. We tend to easily set aside, ignore and forget the Lord when life goes smoothly. In our quest to get ahead, rich, powerful and famous, we succumb to sin.

The people of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum did not appreciate the full import of Jesus’ words and miracles. They failed to recognize and welcome the Messiah, the one they had been waiting for!

I remember the story of a man who was relatively poor and did not finish a degree. He learned how to bake bread and started a bakery business. He got married and supported his family through his business. They were happy and thankful to God. Then his bakery grew big and he was able to grant franchises. He became very rich. With a lot of money, he got into a a lot of vices. Worse, he stopped praying and forgot God. Later, when he realized his mistakes, he came to me for counseling and confession. It was fortunate that he saw the light and was able to recover. He repented, changed his life, and his family was happy again.

We must always be on guard. The devil lurks beside us and strikes at our weakest moment. When we lose focus on God and fail to appreciate His goodness, we will easily be tempted. Let us not stop believing because the devil does not stop tempting. Let us not stop praying because the devil does not stop distracting. And let us not stop being good because the devil never stops at making us bad. Fr. Benny Tuazon

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: When things are going well in your life, do you praise and thank God for all your blessings? Or do you forget Him and  remember to pray only when you are down and out?

Help me to be faithful to You, Lord, no matter what circumstance I am in.



THE CURSE OF INDIFFERENCE – The names of the places mentioned by Jesus in today’s Gospel passage always strike me because I have visited all of them. In Capernaum, I found ruins; I had difficulties to locate Chorazin. Only a small sign near some remnants of walls made me aware that it was here where this city once stood. As to Bethsaida, one climbs a hill that covers the ruins of the place where the Apostles Peter and Andrew were born. Tyre and Sidon were busy harbor cities in Lebanon, and Sodom is now a thriving health spa with hotels where people seek and find healing in the mineral rich waters of the Dead Sea.

How tragic! Places where Jesus preached and worked His miracles have disappeared, while cities looked upon with scorn by biblical writers are flourishing until now.

I think the problem of these condemned cities and of many of us Christians today is indifference to God’s revelation and mighty works. We not only know about Jesus’ miracles and teachings; we know that He underwent terrible sufferings and even death to save us from our sins and to open the gates of heaven for us. And yet, how often do we take all this for granted? How often do we live as if Jesus had not given us clear guidelines, supported by the teachings of the Church?

In November 2014, Pope Francis lamented the existence of so many lukewarm Christians “who look like Christians, but in reality are worldly and mediocre. They take the name but they do not follow the responsibilities of Christian life. ”

The Letter to the Hebrews (2:1-3) has the following passage: “We must pay greater attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it… how can we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” These inspired words of Scripture are intended to wake us up from indifference and help us become more fervent followers of Christ and bring His love into our modern society.Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD

REFLECTION QUESTION: Do you take the teachings of Christ and His sacrificial death for granted?

Lord, heal me from the virus of indifference and make me a zealous follower of You. Amen.



July 15, 2015

Wednesday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time B

Ex 3: 1-6, 9-12, Mt 11: 25-27

Intimacy with Father

One of the most beloved passages in the New Testament is Matthew 11:25-30. In it the Lord summarizes the invitation to discipleship that characterized His earthly ministry, but to understand the invitation of this passage, we need to understand the background. In this passage the Lord was addressing the people of Israel who were burdened and weighed down with the externalism and the legal do’s and don’ts of the Pharisees, and with the consequences—the guilt, frustration, and dissatisfaction that always goes along with legalism. Christ referred to the Scribes and the Pharisees as men who “sit in Moses’ seat.” The Pharisees claimed the authority of Moses as interpreters and teachers of the Law which meant they also demanded that all in Israel who submitted to Moses should also submit to them.

It is in the midst of this religious setting that the Lord makes a very gracious invitation to all who would want to experience the relief, joy, and the blessings of His life through a grace/faith relationship with Him. This is an invitation aimed at all, at the curious and at the convinced to bring them to a place of a deeper level of commitment in which they are to take His yoke and learn from Him as committed disciples.

In presenting Jesus’ Prayer, Mathew invites us to contemplate the heart of the rejected Messiah. It may be true that Jesus’ contemporaries my continue to be indifferent to his message as we have seen in the previous passage or to reject him but he will not stop revealing God’s merciful offer of love and salvation. Jesus addresses God in traditional fashion as ‘Lord of heaven and earth’.  But he calls God ‘Father’, expressing the special intimacy he experience as God’s Son.

Those who think of themselves as ‘wise and intelligent’ have rejected him; not so those who know that they are as infants before the revelation of God. This idea is traditional as seen in Psalms:“The unfolding of your words give light; it imparts understanding to infants” [Ps 119, 130]. These are the poor in spirit addressed in the beatitudes. God’s ‘gracious will’, God’s ‘wisdom’ and God’s ‘saving design’as revealed by Jesus, have been welcomed by them. These are the people who have cried to God in their distress and rejoiced in the response which they have found in Jesus’ words and actions.

Having thanked his Father, Jesus goes on to speak of the intimacy of the communion which he has with him. Jesus’ communion with God goes beyond even that of Moses, for in this especially does Jesus fulfil the law and the prophets. In promising his disciples rest for their souls, Jesus is promising them a share in his communion with God.

In spite of the rejection recorded in the previous passage, Jesus’ offering always remains open, to be received by any who are willing to be humble, like a child. Indeed, the people are ‘harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd’. His compassionate heart goes out to them. He wants to ‘eat and drink’ with them; he wants to be ‘a friend of tax collectors and sinners’.

We are asked to learn from this heart of Jesus not only to find the rest of intimacy with him but he asks his chosen disciples to share this intimacy with everyone who is in need of it as well. For this Jesus invites us to learn from him to be his disciple. He is ‘gentle and humble in heart’. To fulfil this mission, the heart of every Christian is to be transformed into his heart which is noble, generous and large-hearted, hospitable, kind and gentle. At the same time we are reminded of the pleas of God expressed by Isaiah: “I am ready to be sought out by those who did not ask, to be found by those who did not seek me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am,’ to a nation that did not call on my name. I held out my hands all day long to a rebellious people.” –  [Isaiah 65:1-2] Dr. John Ollukaran CMI



Tuesday of the 15th Week in Ordinary

Is 7: 1-9; Mt 11: 20-24

The Sin of Indifference

Jesus cries out laments against the Jewish cities most exposed to his miracles -Chorazin and Bethsaida situated on the lake of Gennesareth. It was while he was sending the disciples away into various parts of Judea, to proclaim, as they passed along, that the kingdom of God was at hand. Reflecting on the ingratitude of those among whom he had performed many wonderful works, without any good result, he broke out into these words. He announced that the time has now come, when he should depart to other cities, having learned, by experience, that the inhabitants of the country were full of obstinacy and of desperate malice. But he says nothing about the doctrine, and reproaches them that his miracles had not led them to repent.

This comparison of Tyre and Sidon which were at that time abhorred for their ungodliness, pride, debauchery, and other vices, was to express a deeper and more painful impression on his Jewish countrymen. The exceedingly corrupt morals and unrestrained debauchery of those cities might be ascribed to their ignorance; for there the voice of God had never been heard, nor had miracles been performed, to warn them to repent. But in these cities of Galilee, there was a display of very hardened obstinacy in despising miracles, of which they had seen a vast number without reaping any advantage. In short, the words of Christ convey that there would have been more hope of reformation from those places in which there was no religion, than is to be seen in Judea itself and the inhabitants of Chorazin and Bethsaida which go beyond those of Tyre and Sidon in malice and incurable contempt of God, especially when people looked upon the inhabitants of Tyre and Sidon as abominable despisers of God.

One interesting fact is that none of the people was there known to have been particularly hostile to Jesus, but their reception was not close to commensurate with their opportunity. Like the biblical prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Amos, Jesus also prophesies woes against those who claim to be God’s people. Capernaum thought of themselves highly similar to that of the king of Babylon in Isaiah 14:14-15, but their standing at the coming judgment would be determined on people’s response to himself and his message.

This narrative warns that God judges people according to the opportunities they have had to respond to his truth. This is not to say that anyone is without some light and therefore escapes punishment, but to say that those who know best-in our day perhaps those who grow up in loving Christian homes-yet reject the truth will be punished most severely (Lk 12:47-48; Rom 2:12-16; 12:19-20; Rev 9:20-21). Those who claim to be God’s people are often the most hardhearted hearers of all. Tyre, Sidon and Sodom would have repented, but God’s people took the signs for granted.

The problem with Korazin and Bethsaida was that they were indifferent.  Is the sin of INDIFFERENCE higher than the murderous, homosexual pervertedness and wickedness of Sodom? Jesus says it is! How will you respond to Jesus? Any sin can be forgiven except for one – the sin of indifference to Christ. Of course Tyre, Sidon and Sodom and its people will have to answer for a lot on the Day of Judgment, but they will not have to answer for being indifference to Jesus and His message and miracles. Dr. John Ollukaran CMI



One Bread, One Body – Reflection for July 14, 2015


“When the child grew, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, who adopted him as her son and called him Moses; for she said, ‘I drew him out of the water.’ ” –Exodus 2:10

Pharaoh’s daughter named Moses. This is very significant because in the Bible, especially in the Old Testament, to name a person means to give them their identity. Thus, the Lord often changes the names of people in the Bible. However, the Lord did not change Moses’ name but let him struggle for most of his life with his identity. After God revealed His own name to Moses, Moses began to discover his identity and the meaning of his name (see Ex 3:14).

Moses’ name provides the key to discovering who we are. Moses’ name means: “I drew him out of the water” (Ex 2:10). We need to know who we are so we can realize that we must let God change who we are. We must admit our human nature is fallen and that we need to be born again of water and the Spirit (Jn 3:5). When we are “drawn out of the waters” of Baptism, the Lord changes who we are and gives us the light to know who we are in Him.

Let us realize that we who have been drawn out of the waters of Baptism have been adopted and named by God the Father. Let’s live our Baptisms, know ourselves, love ourselves, and love our neighbors (see Lk 10:27).

PRAYER: Father, I revel in being Your adopted child.

PROMISE: “His own who are in bonds He spurns not.” –Ps 69:34

PRAISE: After having two girls, the Hilton family had five baby boys in the next twenty-two years. Continuing to faithfully follow God’s plan for their marriage, they rejoiced greatly when God blessed them with another girl, whom they named after St. Kateri.



Harsh or Rash Judgment?

July 14, 2015 (readings)

Memorial of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, Virgin

Father Shawn Aaron, LC

Matthew 11: 20-24

Jesus began to reproach the towns where most of his mighty deeds had been done, since they had not repented. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. And as for you, Capernaum: Will you be exalted to heaven? You will go down to the netherworld. For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”

Introductory Prayer: God our Father, you are my shelter against the burning heat of the day and the storms of life. I know and I believe that I can count on your help when I stumble, that you will catch me when I fall and guide my steps firmly in faith toward the promise of eternal life.

Petition: Jesus, help me to seek you with a sincere heart.

  1. Blessings and Responsibility:Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more (cf. Luke 12:48). With every blessing comes a degree of responsibility. The mighty deeds worked in these towns were not seen by everyone in Israel, let alone the world. Therefore, those who do see them have a greater responsibility than those who do not. Jesus reproaches them so as to awaken them from their stupor. Since the miracles have not moved them to a deeper faith, then perhaps the reminder that they will one day be answerable to God might. Do I need a similar fear of punishment to drive me from my sins, or am I more focused on pleasing God in the details of my life?
  2. The Goal is Repentance:The goal of all of Jesus’ signs is to bring about a change of heart. Even in the Old Testament, the signs and wonders worked by Yahweh were intended to elicit a response of faith and trust from Israel. The danger for Israel, as for Jesus’ listeners and for us, is to become accustomed to these signs and to demand more signs, thus losing sight of their purpose – a redirection of our life from self-centeredness to Christ-centeredness. Like Herod, we want to be dazzled by Jesus’ miracles, but we do not want to change our lives. Jesus never works a miracle in order to impress, but only to convert a heart back to God or to bring it into deeper union with God.
  3. Reward or Punishment:We can learn a great deal from this strong phrase: Firstly, that we will be judged for our actions and our omissions; secondly, that judgment from God has varying degrees. Since God sees and knows perfectly, the judgment will be objective; those who knew less will be judged less strictly. In other words, Sodom, Tyre and Sidon will indeed be judged, but according to natural law and not according to Christian faith, which they did not have access to at the time. Finally, but not exhaustively, we can deduce that there will be different gradations in heaven and hell according to how well our actions corresponded to what we knew to be true and good. This knowledge should stimulate us to be more generous with God and more centered on things that are above. Our Lord will handsomely reward our smallest good deed.

Conversation with Christ: Dear Lord, open my eyes to the constant workings of your grace in my life. Never allow me to become complacent or to undervalue the tremendous gift of faith in my life. Thank you for reminding me of the importance of my daily decisions. Mother Most Pure, make my heart only for Jesus.

Resolution: Today I will read nos. 1783-1785 from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

© 1980-Present. The Legion of Christ, Incorporated. All rights reserved. Reproduced with Permission of Copyright Owner.



July 12, 2016

REFLECTION: In the gospel the relationship between faith and miracles, mira­cles and faith is a complex one. Maybe we could say two things in this connection.

The first thing is that, ideally spea­king, a strong faith produces miracles. That is why we often see Jesus asking people before he performs a miracle, “Do you believe that I can do this?” (Mt 9:28) or “as you have believed, let this be done to you” (Mt 8:13; 9:29) or affirming “your faith saved you” (Mt 19:22; Lk 17:19).

The second thing to be said is that, after a miracle has been performed, the person of good will should believe on the strength of the miracle itself. This idea is often found in John’s gospel. For example, Jesus says to his skeptical critics, referring to his miracles as “works”: “If you do not believe me, (at least) believe the works” (Jn 10:18).

And in today’s gospel reading we hear Jesus using the same reaso­ning: since he performed so many miracles in Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum, they should have believed in him, at least because of those miracles.

How strong is our own faith in Jesus? Could our faith produce a miracle? Do we need miracles to believe in him?



See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Tuesday of the 14th Week of the Year

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