15 Nov. XXXlll Sunday of the Year
Context and Theme
Jesus enters in the temple of Jerusalem and halts the sacrifices being offered there (11:16). The Jewish leaders question him on this (11:28). His response to their questions sparks hot debate. Exiting from the temple, he predicts its destruction (13:2). Four of his disciples, hearing Him, ask him about the time and signs of such a destruction (13:4). Jesus responds to them by narrating about the imminent coming of the Son of man (13:29) and the duties the disciples should be engaging prior to that. He says He also is not sure about the time when this will happen (13:32). Therefore, the disciples are obliged to be always watchful, engaging untiringly in the mission entrusted to them (13:33-37).
1. Jesus says he does not know the time of the coming of the Son of Man. The fact that there are matters that even Jesus does not know should encourage you to live more attentively (13:33). Recognise and acknowledge your ignorance in many areas of life. That will help you to live more humbly and cautiously.
2. Jesus exhorts to learn from the fig tree (13:28). All the daily realities of life carry hidden or explicit lessons for us. You will be successful in life if you can recognise and decode them. So be attentive to all that happens in your life and in those around you. There may be messages for you in them. You need to habituate yourself to ask what message God is bringing you through these.
3.After the persecutions and sufferings, the powers of Nature will be shaken (13:24-25). These are the signs accompanying the coming of the Son of man. Persecutions and natural calamities are negative happenings. But even these are signs of the divine act of His coming. So do not brush aside the negative or painful experiences of your life as insignificant. God can bring about good even from them, or through them.
22 Nov. Feast of
Christ the King
Context and Theme
John depicts the sufferings and death of Jesus Context and Theme as means to reveal His glory. For Him those moments are crucial in the revelation of Jesus as the Son of God. Today’s gospel narrates the trial of Jesus before Pilate. This trial gradually unfolds the Kingship of Jesus.
1. Jesus responds to Pilate’s question, “Are you the king of the Jews?” with another question. “Do you say this on your own, or did someone else tell you this about me?” (18:34). What counts is your personal opinion about Jesus. It is our perception of Jesus that adds meaning to our life; it does not so much matter who actually He is, or what others say He is. Who is Jesus for you? Your discipleship will be qualified by your response to this question.
2. Jesus says His Kingdom is not an earthly one (18:36-37). This is a great realisation. Jesus strives to communicate this insight to each of His disciples. None of us can make this world our permanent dwelling place. Instead, we are called to grow beyond this world and partake in eternal life. So keep this basic truth always in your heart – you have no permanence on this earth because this is not your real homeland. So even while you live here, live with the consciousness of being other worldly. One day you will have to say adieu to everything and everyone and part for the eternal home.
3. When Jesus says His kingdom is not an earthly one, he means to say that He is not an earthly king – a king of the earth and earthly things. This is a decisive and wise learning and those who reach this stage possess an emancipated mental state. It is a state which extends beyond the earth and earthly riches. In fact, that is the real kingship and authority. So, strive to extend your interests and goals beyond earthly gains. Then alone can you share in Jesus’ kingship and become a heir to His Kingdom.
LK 21:25-28, 34-36
29 Nov. 1 Sunday
Context and Theme
The discourses about the end of the world (Lk. 21) come at the end of Jesus’ activities in Jerusalem. This discourse starts with the prophesy about the destruction of the temple (Lk 21:5-6). The disciples are anxious and concerned about the time this is to take place (Lk:21:7). The response Jesus gives to them is simple; be always prepared for the coming of the Son of Man. Jesus explains to them what they should be doing in order that the coming of the Son of Man may not take them by surprise. They have to be prayerfully alert and watchful in order to be saved from all that is going to happen, and appear before the Son of man when He comes (Lk 21:36).
1. Jesus exhorts His disciples to be alert and watchful for the coming of the Son of Man (Lk: 21:20-21), which is also the ushering of the Kingdom of God (21:31). So the coming of the Son of Man and coming of God’s rule is one and the same thing. This is true for your life as well. When Jesus enters your life you come under God’s rule. When you recognise Jesus’ presence in your life and respond to Him you are within God’s Kingdom.
2. The gospel tells us that the anxieties and preoccupations of life render our mind weak (21:34). So, consciously try to get rid of them. The best way to do that is, to acknowledge your total dependence on God. Believe that God is your Father and He will provide all that you require in life. Such a faith can put your heart at ease and peace, undisturbed by any worry or preoccupation.
3. Jesus teaches His disciples to pray constantly and to be watchful. Continuous prayer is the best preparation to welcome the Son of Man. That implies constant awareness of God’s presence in your life and your rapport with Him. Remember, just as a child feels sheltered and secure in the shadow of its mother’s presence and love, your life also is within the circle of God’s presence and constant protection.
06 Dec. ii Sunday Advent
Context and Theme
The gospel of Jesus’ infancy (1:2-2:52) is immediately followed by the preparation for His public life (3:1-4:13). The discourse of John the Baptist is the first incident in this part. Today we have the first part of this discourse (3:1-6). He preaches the baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
1. Caesar, Pilate, Annas and Caiphas are persons belonging to the cadres of authority, (3:12). But the revelation of God comes to John the Baptist (3:3)! Are you a high ranking authority? Do you hold a high position? No such matters count before God. Instead, what is important is whether you keep your heart open to God’s word. When you attune yourself to God’s word your life will gradually be transformed divine as well.
2. John says he is the voice of one crying out in the wilderness. So the voice has an owner. His task is to prepare the way of the Lord (3:4); so he is God’s servant. In other words, John is asserting that God is the author and owner of his life. This is the conviction that should guide you as well. God is the author of your life.
3. The words of Prophet Isaiah are being fulfilled in the life of John the Baptist (3:4). You are also called to fulfill God’s holy will through your life. By doing so, your life becomes divine and thus you fulfill God’s purpose for you.
Dr. Jacob Naluparayil