22nd OCTOBER 2021

Rich Nathan - Series

FRIDAY, TWENTY NINTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Memorial of Saint John Paul II, Pope

 

Rom 7:18-25;                         Ps 119:66,68,76-77,93-94;                 Lk 12:54-59


 

LIVING AN AUTHENTIC CHRISTIAN LIFE

“You hypocrites!” Imagine saying these words to the faces of a group of people who are considered arbitrators in their society. One needs to have sufficient courage to say these words not only to chastise them but also to exhort them to uphold what they preach. Jesus had this courage and would love his followers to have it as well. Loaned from the Greek word hupokritēs which means ‘actor’, a hypocrite is a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion and acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs.

In today’s gospel, we see Jesus calling the crowds hypocrites for a reason. The people were skilled in interpreting the weather but were unable to interpret the signs of the Messiah’s presence. They refused to accept him as the one, of whom the prophets had foretold for centuries. In their presence, Jesus worked miracles, revealed the rich teaching of the kingdom of God and assured them of salvation. The signs were clearly visible. Because, they refused to acknowledge them, Jesus called them hypocrites. They were not ignorant but were deniers of the truth because they didn’t like what the truth meant for them. They didn’t want to let go of their preconceived ideas and this is why Jesus called them hypocrites (actors) – despite knowing the truth, they acted otherwise. That is the bitter truth of living the Christian faith!

We see Paul in his letter to the Romans, moaning how difficult it is to live an unhypocritical life! To accept Christ means to accept him fully with no strings attached. One cannot say he is a Catholic if he does not have the nerve to stand steadfast in the truth of the Gospel. Today we remember Pope St John Paul II – the steadfast disciple who not only resisted the waves of secularism but also successfully broke the strong forts of communism! Where did he derive the strength from? From living an authentic Christian life.


Response: Teach me your statutes, O Lord.


Copyright ©2021 ©Springs of Living Water  http://springs.carmelmedia.in

21st OCTOBER 2021

Luke 12:49–53 (ESV) - Luke 12:49–53 ESV - “I came to cast fire on… | Biblia

THURSDAY, TWENTY NINTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

 

Rom 6: 19-23;                        Ps 1: 1-4, 6;                Lk 12: 49-53


  

DOES THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST BRING DIVISION?

 

“Do you suppose that I am here to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.” What does Jesus mean by this? The division which Jesus speaks of here has several interesting features. First, there is a division that occurs within the family, in which the closest human bonds are to be found. History has borne testimony to the fact that the gospel divides men and women, husbands and wives, parents and children, for faith in Christ requires a definitive allegiance to him.

Second, there is a polarization which is described, so that it is not “one against one,” or to follow the imagery established by our Lord, “one against four,” but “two against three” and “three against two.” Those who have come to faith in Christ will join together, while those who have rejected Christ will also find a new bond, a new basis for unity, in opposition to Christ. This is how the Pharisees (the right-wing conservatives of that day) and the Sadducees (the liberals) could join together in rejecting Christ and in opposing him, and ultimately in orchestrating (humanly speaking) his death.

Third, there is some allusion to the role of “authority” in this division. The division described out in these verses is all within the family, but it also crosses lines of authority. Fathers have authority over sons, as mothers have authority over daughters. Allegiance to Christ takes precedence over all other authority. Normally, we would expect that the Christian’s faith would enhance his or her obedience to those in authority, as we see the Scriptures teaching (cf. Eph 5:21–6:10), but there will be times when we must obey God rather than men, and in these instances, division will occur, as well as at other times. An unbelieving father will find it difficult to accept when his son now feels his ultimate responsibility is to obey God and to please Him, putting earthly allegiance and duty on a lower level.

 


Response: Blessed the man who has placed his trust in the Lord.


Copyright ©2021 ©Springs of Living Water  http://springs.carmelmedia.in

20th OCTOBER 2021

A Grace-Filled Life - YouTube

WEDNESDAY, TWENTY NINTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

 

Rom 6: 12-18;                        Ps 124: 1-8;                Lk 12: 39-48


      

CALLED TO A GRACE-FLLED LIFE

There is a belief that living in grace solely means following the commandments of the Lord. Such an idea makes one like the rich young man of the gospel (cf. Mt 19:16-30) who left Jesus’ presence with sadness. A grace-filled life is much more profound. It is by grace that we become Christians; it is by grace that we live as Christians. It is a gift that transforms us and makes the Holy Spirit alive and active within us. The gift of grace brings the knowledge, wisdom and strength to choose between good and evil.

In the first reading, Paul invites the Romans, and us, to live in grace. Living in grace is by:

  • Living the commandments: Living differs from following. In following we display an attitude of compulsion, whereas, in living, there is a guiding force, that is, love, which inspires us to willingly choose what the Lords wants from us.

  • Imitating Christ: In true love, the subject becomes like the object loved. If we truly love God, we become images of God’s son, reflections of the life he lived here on earth. To be reflections of Christ is the goal of every Christian.

  • Manifesting the fruits of the Holy Spirit: Just as a man is known by the friends he keeps, so also a man filled with grace is known by the fruits he manifests – a good tree bears good fruit. When we live the commandments and imitate Christ in our daily life, the Holy Spirit inclines us to God in all that we do and say.

What then can we do to become grace-filled? We must be humble to acknowledge that we require God at every moment. We must approach the fountain of grace by partaking in the Holy Eucharist as frequently as possible. We must develop an ardent love for the reading of the word of God. And we must make time daily to pray personally and as a family.

 


Response: Our help is in the name of the Lord.


Copyright ©2021 ©Springs of Living Water  http://springs.carmelmedia.in

19th OCTOBER 2021

Luke 12:35 | Giving God Glory

TUESDAY, TWENTY NINTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

 

Rom 5: 12, 15, 17-21;                        Ps 40: 7-10, 17;                      Lk 12: 35-38


     

BEING VIGILANT IN DISCIPLESHIP

The gospel of today reminds us of our need to be vigilant and prepared, for God’s call comes to us at the most unexpected of times. The Christian life is a choice we have made willingly and consciously. Making such a conscious choice signifies our readiness to follow the Lord. As Jesus exhorts in the parable that the master’s absence should not be a reason for the servant to be slack, so also there cannot be half measures in following Jesus. A disciple needs to put his whole being at the Lord’s disposal; laziness and sluggishness have no place in the life of a disciple.

On the one hand, the parable in the gospel without a doubt points to the eschatological event of the final coming of Lord Jesus in glory to judge the living and the dead. Everyone, therefore, needs to be vigilant and prepared to welcome him. This coming of Jesus is of course an event of joy and not of fear, because we will then be rewarded for our faithfulness. On the other hand, the parable points to the present reality as well. We need to be ready at all times for an encounter with the Lord. If we are beset with doubts and confusion, or are too engrossed in our personal interests and desires, we are bound to miss the Lord when he comes to visit us daily, through various people, situations, and even sufferings.

Thus, the parable today brings out the necessity of being faithful at all times to the divine master. Faithfulness is the hallmark of any lasting relationship, and especially of our relationship with God, for God is always faithful. And, we can be faithful only if we are vigilant in our discipleship at all times. “Watch with the heart, watch with faith, watch with love, watch with charity, watch with good works; … then shall the Bridegroom enfold you in the embrace of His love and bring you into His banquet room, where your lamp can never be extinguished” (St Augustine, ‘Sermon’, 93).


Response: See, I have come, Lord, to do your will.


Copyright ©2021 ©Springs of Living Water  http://springs.carmelmedia.in

18th OCTOBER 2021

E-nklings: Sermon for the Feast of St. Luke, Evangelist: "The Doc is In"


MONDAY, TWENTY NINTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Feast of St Luke, Evangelist

2 Tim 4: 10-17;      Ps 145: 10-13, 17-18;      Lk 10: 1-9


    

WHO IS AN APOSTLE OF CHRIST?

 

Today, on the feast of St Luke, the liturgy proclaims a gospel passage, which presents the essential characteristics of an apostle of Christ. Every Christian is called first to be a disciple, i.e., to follow the Lord, and then an apostle, i.e., to be sent out.

 

• The apostle is, in the first place, one who has been called by the Lord, designated by him, to be sent in his name: it is Jesus who calls whomever he wants to entrust him with a concrete mission! “The lord designated seventy-two others and sent them two by two in front of him to every city and place where he was about to go.”

 

• The apostle, therefore, having been called by the Lord, is also one who completely depends on him. “Do not carry a purse, or haversack, or sandals, and do not stop to greet anyone along the way.” This prohibition of Jesus to his disciples indicates, above all, that they must leave in his hands what is most essential for living; the Lord, who dresses the lilies of the fields and feeds the birds of the air, wants his disciple to seek, in the first place, the kingdom of heaven and “not to be wondering what you will eat and drink, and not be anxious: the pagans of this world seek out all these things, but your Father knows that you need them.”

 

• Furthermore, the apostle is the one who prepares the way for the Lord, announcing his peace, healing the sick and thus expressing the coming of the kingdom. The apostle’s task is, therefore, central in the Church and for the life of the Church, because the future acceptance of the Master among men depends on it.

 

The best witness that the feast of an evangelist can offer us, the feast of one who has narrated the Good News, is to make us more aware of the apostolic-evangelizing dimension of our Christian life.

 


Response: Your saints, O Lord, make known the glory of your reign.


Copyright ©2021 ©Springs of Living Water  http://springs.carmelmedia.in

17th OCTOBER 2021

chirstian service – till Christ is formed

SUNDAY, TWENTY NINTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

 

Is 53:10-11;    Ps 33:4-5,18-20,22;    Heb 4:14-16;  Mk 10:35-45


    

SUFFERING IS VITAL FOR TRUE DISCIPLESHIP

 

The First reading from the Prophet Isaiah depicts a ‘Suffering Servant’ whose fidelity to God’s call will be redemptive and yet personally painful. This reading, which also appears on Palm Sunday talks about this ‘Servant’ who would suffer for being God’s servant. The servant song predicts directly the Messiah, Christ.

Let us reflect today on what it means to be a true disciple of Jesus. To understand the gospel passage of today, it is necessary to remember that, in the verses immediately preceding it (Mk 10:32-34), Jesus predicted his passion, death and resurrection in Jerusalem. It is, then, immediately following the announcement of suffering, that the disciples James and John seek privileged positions of honour. It is also significant that James and John approach Jesus twice in their request. First, they ask the Lord to grant them whatever they ask of him and then they ask for selfish pursuits.

Faith is always distorted when we try to convince God to do what we want rather than seek his will for our lives so we can do what he wants. At this point in Mark’s gospel, Jesus has drawn close to Jerusalem, and his journey is almost at an end. We see in the question of James and John that the disciples have much to learn before their journey of discipleship is completed. In particular, they still have not yet learned the proper relationship of faith and the disposition of servanthood that will allow them to bear the cross with Jesus. Disciples are to follow the Lord’s lead and not try to lead the Lord where they want. We can be tempted in our faith to approach God in the same way that James and John approached Jesus.

The remedy Jesus offers for ambition is that of faithfulness even in suffering. He asks James and John if they can drink the cup he is to drink and be baptized in the baptism he is to experience. That is the ultimate question of discipleship. It teaches the disciples that greatness is not found in the selfish pursuit of honourable positions or privileged status, but rather in the ability to faithfully endure hardship and suffering for the sake of Christ. The Old Testament uses the image of a cup as a symbol of suffering and wrath (cf. Jer 25:15-29, Ps 75:8, Is 51:17, 22). Jesus will drink of this cup at the Last Supper and in the Garden of Gethsemane.

To drink from the cup of Jesus, then, is to share in our Lord’s very suffering on Calvary rendered present to us in the Eucharist. This symbol of suffering is further developed because James and John asked to be placed, one at Jesus’ left and the other at Jesus’ right, when our Lord enters his kingdom. What they did not realize is that the kingship of Jesus is established on the cross of Calvary, and in the Gospel of Mark, we are told that two thieves were placed “one on his right and one on his left’’ (15:27). The lesson of this teaching is clear: greatness for Christian disciples is in the ability to share in the cross of Christ. Jesus is asking James and John the fundamental question of discipleship: Can they follow him in his suffering and not just in his glory? They approached the Lord with a desire for greatness and Jesus taught them the standard of true greatness: greatness is not based on where they sit but on how closely they can remain to the Lord in times of suffering and persecution.

Often in our lives we tend to forget the meaning of true discipleship, wandering of on the road of greatness, the road of position and possession, the road of being served. Look at Jesus; he listens to James and John. He does not get upset or angry. His patience is indeed infinite, also towards us. He tells them: “You do not know what you are asking.” In a way, he excuses them, while at the same time reproaches them: “You do not realize that you have gone off the road.” Immediately after this, the other ten apostles will show by their indignant reaction to the sons of Zebedee how much all of them were tempted to go off the road. Our discipleship with Christ depends on our acts and not on our words. The Lord is inviting us to put into practice the gospel we hear today


Response: May your merciful love be upon us, as we hope in you, O Lord.


Copyright ©2021 ©Springs of Living Water  http://springs.carmelmedia.in

16th OCTOBER 2021

How Does 'Christ Live in Me' (Galatians 2:20)? - YouTube

SATURDAY, TWENTY EIGHTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Memorial of Bl. Augustine Thevaraparambil, Priest

 

Rom 4:13,16-18;                    Ps 105:6-9,42-43;                   Lk 12: 8-12


   

SIN AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT

 

However great our particular sin may be, we must not make it greater by imagining that Jesus cannot forgive us. “The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sins” (1 Jn 1:7). Hence, to think that he would refuse to forgive some sins is a great sin in itself. And so, Jesus says, “He who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.” (Lk 12:10). Those who blaspheme against the Holy Spirit are those who ascribe the Holy Spirit’s activity to a demonic agency and not to divine mercy.

But what if one were to repent of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? Is there no forgiveness for the person who repents of this sin? It would seem that the nature of this sin is such that one does not repent of it, because those who commit it and persist in it, do consider themselves sinning and don’t want God’s forgiveness. They are like the Pharisees who knew in their hearts that Jesus was driving out devils by divine power, but still maintained that he was doing it by the power of the devil, “for they had said ‘He has an unclean spirit’” (Mk 3:30). In this attitude lies the sin against the Holy Spirit, attributing to Satan, the good works performed by God Himself. Their eyes were so tightly closed to the light that for them the light had become darkness and good become evil. If someone refuses the light, where else can they hope to receive illumination from?

We are living in a world where for some people demonic activities are more important than divine activities, such that when they face problems, they seek recourse first in ‘witchdoctors’ – people who use the power of the evil spirits to perform extraordinary works. Such people will never feel that blaspheming God is a sin. Their conscience becomes so dead that they consciously choose to live a life of darkness rather than light. We are called to be people of the light. We must let our light shine so that more people can see it and accept the adoption of God the Father in Jesus Christ his son.


Response: The Lord remembers his covenant forever.


Copyright ©2021 ©Springs of Living Water  http://springs.carmelmedia.in

15th OCTOBER 2021

Following the Breadcrumbs of St. Teresa of Avila - Little With Great Love


FRIDAY, TWENTY EIGHTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Memorial of Saint Teresa of Avila, Virgin and Doctor of the Church 

 

Rom 4: 1-8;                Ps 32: 1-2, 5, 11;                    Lk 12: 1-7


   

TRANSPARENT IN FAITH

 

The whole theme of St Paul, especially in the letter to the Romans, is, ‘Faith alone puts us at right with God and brings us salvation’. In the first reading, Paul puts before us the example of Abraham’s faith. Abraham responded to God’s call and did what was humanly impossible. He put his faith in God, manifesting his obedience, trust and acceptance to the call. He trusted in the fidelity of God and in the assurance of his word and in his promise. For us in the New Testament, to believe is to accept Jesus Christ and his good news and thereby to change one’s heart.

 

Today’s Gospel reveals that Jesus desires to see in us, his followers, a total acceptance of the truth about ourselves. Whatever may be the challenges we face in life, what we truly are before God is what matters. We must accept the truth about ourselves and not try to appear before others better than what we really are; that is, we are called to be transparent, sincere, genuine. Jesus tells us to be fearless in the face of persecution in proclaiming the Gospel. God’s loving care for each one of us is great, and to respond to that love we must be ready to make any sacrifice.

 

Today we celebrate the feast of St Teresa of Avila – reformer and doctor of the Church. A woman of prayer, she reached the heights of the mystical experience. But she was also a practical, loving and approachable friend to all. She described prayer as an intimate friendship with God. First, she began by reforming herself from within and then tried to teach others to do the same. The whole teaching of Teresian spirituality is to go deeper into the soul where God dwells, in its very centre and to strive to grow in relationship with him there day by day surrendering our wills to his will. For this, Teresa recommends the practice of virtues without which one cannot grow in prayer

 


Response: You are a hiding place for me; you surround me with cries of deliverance.


Copyright ©2021 ©Springs of Living Water  http://springs.carmelmedia.in

14th OCTOBER 2021

Justification before God Is by Faith Alone, Completely Apart from Works,  Romans 3:26 – Grace Evangelical Society

THURSDAY, TWENTY EIGHTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

 

Rom 3: 21-30;                        Ps 130: 1-6;                Lk 11: 47-54


   

JUSTIFICATION – A GRATUITOUS GIFT

 

Today’s first reading is to be understood in the context of the condemnation of the entire sinful human race found in St Paul’s letter to Romans (1:18–3:20). After which, we see a dramatic shift from condemnation to justification (3:21). Justification is the complete opposite of condemnation. The first time the word “justification” or “justified” appears in the letter (3:24) is in “being justified as a gift by his grace.” To this point, everything in this letter has been the preparation for this extraordinary truth of justification.

Amidst many points Paul makes two aspects stand out. The first is that justification is apart from the law. It means that the righteousness we desperately need cannot come by our attempt to keep the law. This righteousness cannot be achieved by our keeping the Ten Commandments. There is no way by our efforts that we can meet the high mark that God requires to enter into heaven. We are not going to be measured against the morality of other people but the perfection of God.

Second, Paul says that righteousness is a gift, “Being justified as a gift by his grace.” We must remember the difference between wages and a gift. Wages are that for which one works hard, one earns, and can rightfully claim. On the other hand, a gift is freely given and is solely based upon the generosity of the giver. God gives his righteousness freely to those who have done nothing to work for it. They have no merit of their own, no basis by which to make any claim on his perfect righteousness. They are weak, fallen sinners who have done nothing to work for it. They have done nothing to deserve it. On the contrary, they, in their life, have done everything to deserve condemnation. But God freely gives an undeserved gift. He gives his righteousness as a free gift, because someone else (Jesus Christ) has already paid for it, in full. Therefore, justification is a gratuitous gift.

 


Response: For with the Lord there is mercy, in him is plentiful redemption.


Copyright ©2021 ©Springs of Living Water  http://springs.carmelmedia.in

13th OCTOBER 2021

7 Things People Are Judging You For Without Your Realizing It - Pyrus Blog


WEDNESDAY, TWENTY EIGHTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

 

Rom 2: 1-11; Ps 62: 2-3, 6-7, 9;                   Lk 11: 42-46


  

IN JUDGING OTHERS, WE CONDEMN OURSELVES

 

St Paul in the passage from his letter to Romans today gives us a wonderful glimpse on how and why we judge others. There is one thing which we all can admit and that is ‘we are all judgmental’ as it is a part of human nature. But the interesting fact is that because it is our nature, it necessarily need not be of help to us all the time. Paul addresses those who pharisaically believe themselves to be righteous and privileged to judge others. It is truly an illusion to believe that you are righteous and therefore are in a position to judge others. In external, material things it happens that if we see someone making a mistake, we have the impression that instead of him we would do better, even in things in which we may not be competent. This happens in the moral, spiritual field as well. Seeing an unfair action taken, we think that, in the same situation, we would do the right thing. But this is not true because we, with our faults, would perhaps avoid the mistake the person made but would make others.

 

Paul confronts those who judge with this reality of their own imperfection, saying: “You who judge, do the same things.” When we judge others, selfishness and pride separate us from them. Doing good consists in placing oneself with others, not in separating ourselves from them. He who pretends to be good and separates himself from others, for this very reason he is not good; on the contrary, he is more evil than the one who sins but places himself in humility and simplicity before God. Hence, Paul says: “You are inexcusable, you who judge others, because in judging them you condemn yourself.” We must all stand together before the mercy of God: it is the only way to salvation. It is necessary to accept the grace of God, which is offered to all; sinners and righteous must accept God’s grace together. We are all forgiven sinners and no one can separate himself from others by judging them if he wants to please God.

 


Response: O Lord, you repay each man according to his deeds.


Copyright ©2021 ©Springs of Living Water  http://springs.carmelmedia.in