Showing posts with label Gospel Readings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gospel Readings. Show all posts

Monday, July 11, 2011


As Christians, we have heard the term, "Gospel" numerous times.  We probably know that the biblical books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John consititute the 4 Gospels.  Have you ever wondered the meaning of Gospel?

One meaning of Gospel is, 'the teachings of Jesus and the apostles.'

It also means that 'God loves you.'

It originated from god + spell, god (good) + spell (to tell).

God has a purpose for your life, and He wants you to have a meaningful life.  He wants you to experience His love by living our life 'His way' rather than 'our way.' God sent His only son, Jesus Christ into this world to show and teach us 'His way' of living, and 'His love; towards us.

Through Jesus, we can certainly see the right path to lead and the epitome of love. That is the Gospel.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Gospel Reading Nov 21

Today's Gospel reading was about Archangel Gabriel appearing in front of St. Mary and proclaiming that that she would become the mother of Jesus Christ the Son of God. Despite being a virgin, Mary would miraculously conceive a child who would be called the Son of God. This is the begining of the Christmas story.

The first words that Gabriel spoke to Mary 'Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.' are very important words. 'Highly favoured' means 'God's holy grace is upon you' and is a divine blessing from God - something that would have never normally been said to a peasant girl like Mary! She would have been very scared by this and that is why Gabriel said 'Do not be afraid'.

Mary would have been very surprised with the Gabriel saying that the Holy Spirit would be in her, because in the old Jewish stories, only the very important people had the Holy Spirit come into them. Mary was probably about 14 to 16 years of age when Gabriel visited her.  This was a very common age for young women to be engaged and marry in biblical times.

St. Mary is considered the most blessed woman in mankind, because she got the opportunity to be in the role of God's mother. Anybody would have loved to be in that role.  However, St. Mary had to endure tremendous hardships being in that role.

Being practical, we cannot expect Angel Gabriel appearing to us everyday.  Instead, in today's world, there are few women who are blessed by the Holy Spirit.  Such women continue to let this be a man’s world and continue to provide a bower of bliss at home. Those women have a twinkle in their eyes, and it's visible in their actions.  Her greatest career is to help her family and to start her children off in the right direction. Women should be reminded that they can have just as much pride saying, "Look, I stayed home, and I have raised my children." I don’t think women can do any better than that. That’s even more important than winning the Nobel Prize. The women who stay at home endure great hardships juggling home chores, kids' education, cooking, cleaning, shopping, etc., with no time to take care of themselves.  These are the 'blessed women' of our times, and lord is certainly with them.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Gospel Reading Nov 14

This Sunday, our church remembers the Annunciation to Zachariah, about the birth of 'John the Baptist.'  The passage is St.Luke1:5-25.

When angel Gabriel announced the birth, Zechariah can’t believe it. He’s in disbelief, and asks, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.”

Here we see Zachariah, a priest, standing inside the temple of God and disbelieving God's own angel.

Let's ask ourselves, "Aren't we a little like Zechariah at times?" As Christians, we have trouble believing what the Lord is telling us. We don’t trust God as we ought to, and we have to take matters into our own hands. We want to walk our own way.  We find the message of God boring and not worthy of much attention. How like Zechariah we are!


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Lectionary 2010

Bible readings for the year 2010 - Old and New Testament Readings can be found here.

This pdf document contains the entire lectionary of the orthodox church for 2010.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Gospel Reading Nov 29

Gospel reading for today is St. Luke 1: 39 - 56

39  At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea,

40  where she entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth.

41  When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

42  In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!

43  But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

44  As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.

45  Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!"

46  And Mary said:
     "My soul glorifies the Lord
47  and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48  for he has been mindful
      of the humble state of his servant.
   From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49  for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
      holy is his name.
50  His mercy extends to those who fear him,
      from generation to generation.
51  He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
      he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52  He has brought down rulers from their thrones
      but has lifted up the humble.
53  He has filled the hungry with good things
      but has sent the rich away empty.
54  He has helped his servant Israel,
      remembering to be merciful
55  to Abraham and his descendants forever,
      even as he said to our fathers."

56  Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.

St. Luke in his gospel gives a prominent position for women in his writings, and hence records this event.

Mary is credited with the words, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear."  We see here that Mary is extremely joyful to bear the son of God.  It is indeed a great privilege to be the mother of the son of God, and the title is quite a powerful one.  With great poser comes vast responsibility as well. Later, we see that Mary had to pay a huge price when her son is crucified on the cross.  God gave her the power to undergo that pain as well.

Here, we see that Mary goes to visit Elizabeth with faith, to see what the Angel about Elizabeth was true.  The essence of this reading is faith.  As soon as Mary enters Elizabeth's house, she notices Elizabeth bearing little 'John the Baptist'.  John the Baptist is said to have received the Holy Spirit even before birth.

Just like we discussed in our last class, Holy Spirit is the one who reveals truth and wisdom to us.  We should submit ourselves and seek the presence of Holy Spirit in our everyday lives.  The presence of Holy Spirit within us, in our lives provides us with great joy and knowledge - something worth experiencing.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Gospel Reading Nov 22

St. Luke 1: 26 - 38.

26  In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee,

27  to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary.

28  The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."

29  Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.

30  But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.

31  You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.

32  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David,

33  and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."

34  "How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"

35  The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.

36  Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month.

37  For nothing is impossible with God."

38  "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.

This gospel reading is a familiar one for all of us.  Angel Gabriel visits virgin Mary and announces God's plan to her.  Mary is about to get married to Joseph at that time.  Mary humbles herself to God's plan despite all the consequences she may have to deal with.  She believes in God, and admits to the angel that she is the Lord's servant.

Angels are God's messengers sent to do God's task.  Many times, we encounter situations which we know are right, but when we think about the society, our friends, or the aftermath, we seldom do not go on that path. In such situations, trust in God and do the right thing.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Gospel Reading Nov 15

Luke 1:5-25

5  In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron.

6  Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commandments and regulations blamelessly.

7  But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren; and they were both well along in years.

8  Once when Zechariah's division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God,

9  he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense.

10  And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.

11  Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense.

12  When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear.

13  But the angel said to him: "Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John.

14  He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth,

15  for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth.

16  Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God.

17  And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."

18  Zechariah asked the angel, "How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years."

19  The angel answered, "I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news.

20  And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time."

21  Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple.

22  When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak.

23  When his time of service was completed, he returned home.

24  After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion.

25  "The Lord has done this for me," she said. "In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people."

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Gospel reading Nov 1

Gospel reading for Nov 1 is from St. Matthew 16: 13 - 23.

13  When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?"

14  They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets."

15  "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"

16  Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

17  Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.

18  And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

19  I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

20  Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.

Jesus Predicts His Death

21  From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

22  Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. "Never, Lord!" he said. "This shall never happen to you!"

23  Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."

At the time of this occurrence,  Jesus had established himself as a well known figure among the people of Israel.  Jesus had performed several miracles and healed many.  Towards the beginning of this chapter, the Pharisites and Sadduches are asking for a sign from heaven.  Some people were saying Jesus was a prophet, some compared him with John the Baptist, while others said that He carries the spirit of Elijah.

Jesus understands that people have various thoughts about Him.  That's when He turns to Peter and asks him, what he thought.  Peter said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."  Jesus is impressed by Peter's answer and said that God Himself provided that wisdom to Peter to understand about Jesus.

God is the source of all wisdom.  Any subject we learn, any research we do, any quest in search of truth, all leads us towards God.  The path may be long and narrow, but that's where it ultimately takes us to.  We can see God behind everything that is being revealed to us.  Some call it intelligence, others call it wisdom.  Holy Spirit is the source of wisdom and intelligence.  There are prayers for Holy Spirit, but many of us are not even aware of it.  Most of us, we know about God, the father, and Jesus Christ, the son.

Jesus is impressed about Peter's wisdom and hence choses to build His church on this wisdom.  He then hands over the keys of the kingdom of heaven.  This is what is referred to as Peter guarding the pearly gates.  There are twelve gates and each gate is believed to be made of single pearl.

Having handed over the keys of the heaven to Peter, Jesus is getting ready to suffer and die at the hands of the humans.  Just like how we prevents our loved ones from danger and humiliation, Peter out of love and care is trying to talk Jesus out from bearing this cross.

There are often times in life when we have to bear the hardships for the benefit of others.  Some people have to suffer in order for many others to enjoy the fruits. The Holy Spirit showers the blessing of wisdom over some of us.  To be called as a rock of faith and love is one of the best compliments a person can receive.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Gospel reading Oct 25

Gospel reading for October 24 is from St. Luke 18: 18 - 27.

18  A certain ruler asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

19  "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good—except God alone.

20  You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.'[a]"

21  "All these I have kept since I was a boy," he said.

22  When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

23  When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth.

24  Jesus looked at him and said, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!

25  Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

26  Those who heard this asked, "Who then can be saved?"

27  Jesus replied, "What is impossible with men is possible with God."

This is the story of the rich ruler who wanted to follow Jesus.  Despite having rich and fame, this man felt that he still was missing something in life - peace and happiness.  All the wealth and fame he acquired so far, could not buy him peace and happiness, and hence he approached Jesus.

However, the answer he heard from Jesus was quite disappointing.  Jesus asked the rich ruler to give up everything he possessed.  The rich ruler was unable to give himself 'whole heartedly' to God.  He still had his mind on his treasures that he possesed and was quite unwilling to part from those treasures.  The great master, Jesus, teaches us here that it is worth giving up our treasures to receive God, and thus welcome peace and happiness into our lives.

Giving up something is always difficult.  Some people give up money, some give up their time, some give up things during lent, and others in varying capacities.  Most of the times, we humans do not want to give up things that we like, due to the fear of losing it.  The more we like something, the harder it is for us to give up.  If we are willing to sacrifice something, or give up something by being generous, God blesses us with spiritual joy that far outweighs what we gave up.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Gospel Reading Oct 18

Gospel reading for Oct 18 is from Matthew 23: 1 - 12

1  Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples:

2  "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat.

3  So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.

4  They tie up heavy loads and put them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.

5  "Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long;

6  They love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues;

7  They love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them 'Rabbi.'

8  "But you are not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you have only one Master and you are all brothers.

9  And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.

10  Nor are you to be called 'teacher,' for you have one Teacher, the Christ.

11  The greatest among you will be your servant.

12  For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

Here Jesus is criticizing the priests.  We can see Jesus being quite harsh during His criticism.  According to Jesus, the priests do not do what they teach.  Instead, Jesus teaches us an important lesson here: listen to all they tell us.  That means, when the priest is preaching the scripture, listen to it.  However, do not look at priests as role models to lead your life.

The priests make up rules for ordinary people, which they themselves do not follow.  The rules are so heavy for ordinary people to bear.  Whatever the priests to, they do it as a "show off" to the public.  They are careful about their appearance, their image in the society,  and the honor they receive because of their title.

Things have not changed a bit in the past 2,000 years. If we look around us, we still are dealing with the same set of problems even now. However we lean a great lesson here.

Finally, He teaches us to humble ourselves in the service for others.  Those who humble themselves will be exalted, according to the great master Jesus Christ.  It is quite difficult to humble ourselves at times, but we should trust and believe in our Lord, that whatever he promises us is true.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Gospel Reading Oct 11

Gospel reading for Oct 11 is from Luke 16: 9 - 18.

9  I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.

10 "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.

11  So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?

12  And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else's property, who will give you property of your own?

13  "No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."

14  The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus.

15  He said to them, "You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God's sight.

16  "The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it.

17  It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law.

18 "Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Gospel Reading Oct 4

Gospel reading for October 4th is St. Mark 2: 23 - 28.  

23 One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain.

24 The Pharisees said to him, "Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?"

25 He answered, "Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need?

26 In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions."

27 Then he said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.

28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath."

We can see here the ministry of Jesus being under close scrutiny by other religious leaders.  One particular area of interest is the observance of Sabbath.

I have a Jewish neighbor and he tells me how strict the Jewish fasting is. Recently, they celebrated the Jewish New Year, Yom Kippur.  They are not even supposed to look into the mirror, get dressed up, or eat anything all day.  All they are supposed to do is pray at the synagogue.
The leaders are criticizing the disciples for picking grains on Sabbath.  Jesus replies, ""The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath."

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Gospel Reading Sept 27

The second Sunday after the discovery of the Holy Cross.

St. Matthew 16:5-12

5  When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread.

6  "Be careful," Jesus said to them. "Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees."

7  They discussed this among themselves and said, "It is because we didn't bring any bread."

8  Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, "You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread?

9  Do you still not understand? Don't you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered?

10  Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered?

11  How is it you don't understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees."

12  Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

The reading above takes place right after Jesus miraculously fed over 5,000 people.  Here we also see that the disciples are not able to fully comprehend what their master is saying.  Most of the times, they were thinking about material things, and forgetting Jesus is the son of God, and the miracles he performed.

Leaven, that ferments wheat to make bread, according to the Jews was a sign or symbol of evil influence. Leaven signified anything which rots and corrupts, not just physically but spiritually and morally as well.

Jesus warned his disciples to avoid the way of the Pharisees and Sadducees who sought their own counsels rather than the mind of God. They were blinded by their own arrogance and were unable to recognize the truth and wisdom which Jesus spoke in the name of his Father in heaven.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Beatitudes

The beatitudes, as preached by Jesus Christ are found in Matthew 5: 3-12

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,
for they shall possess the earth.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice,
for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called sons of God.

Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice sake,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

If you want to learn more about the beatitudes, just ask.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Gospel Reading Sept 20

The Gospel reading for tomorrow is St. Luke Chapter 21: 5-28.

5  Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said,

6  "As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down."

7  "Teacher," they asked, "when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?"

8  He replied: "Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am he,' and, 'The time is near.' Do not follow them.

9  When you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away."

10  Then he said to them: "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.

11  There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.

12  "But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name.

13  This will result in your being witnesses to them.

14  But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves.

15  For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.

16  You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death.

17  All men will hate you because of me.

18  But not a hair of your head will perish.

19  By standing firm you will gain life.

20  "When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near.

21  Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city.

22  For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written.

23  How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people.

24  They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

25  "There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea.

26  Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.

27  At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

28  When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."

The sermon talks about the the time when the great desolation should be. By Christian patience we keep possession of our own souls.  Christ talks about the destruction of Jerusalem, and the dispersion of the Jewish nation. He says that even though heaven and earth shall pass away, the words of Jesus shall not pass away. When He comes to judge the world, he will redeem all that are his from their troubles.

We celebrate the festival of the Holy Cross tomorrow.  In class, we'll talk about how it was discovered, in detail.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Gospel Reading Sept 13

Gospel reading for Sunday, September 13th is from St. Luke 11:33-41

33  "No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead he puts it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. 

34  Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness. 

35  See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. 

36  Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be completely lighted, as when the light of a lamp shines on you."

37  When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table. 

38  But the Pharisee, noticing that Jesus did not first wash before the meal, was surprised.

39  Then the Lord said to him, "Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 

40  You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? 

41  But give what is inside the dish to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.

If you recall, we came across this chapter - Luke Ch 11 on Aug 23rd, where Jesus teaches the disciples how to pray; where Our Father.... is narrated.  This reading is the continuation of the same chapter.  

Jesus talks about the light and darkness; tells us that eyes are the light of our own body.  Have you noticed that when you are happy internally, your eyes radiate that energy outward.  On the other hand, when you are sad, your eyes look gloomy and reflect that as well.  While doing a painting, eyes of a person are the most difficult to draw, because they set the tone of that painting.  

In the next part, Jesus talks about internal cleanliness.  We talked about a similar topic in class last Sunday.  We talked about the mind and inner beauty.  

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Gospel Reading Sept 6

The Gospel reading for Sept 6th is St. Matthew 5: 38 - 48. This is an extremely important chapter for christians, because this is where Jesus addresses his followers and provides them with the roadmap to 'christian living'. It is in fact, the most powerful sermon delivered to mankind by the son of God, who practiced what He preached. It is called 'The Sermon on the Mount'. St. Matthew chpater 5 describes it in detail. Here, Jesus delivered something entirely different from what Moses taught the Israelites.

The Sermon on the Mount starts off with the 8 beatitiudes and describes how a human being should live his life. An average reader of the Bible can understand it clearly because of it's simple language. The reading for Sunday talks about retaliation and 'love your enemies'.

St. Matthew 5:38 - 48

38 "You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.'

39 But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.

40 And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.

41 If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.

42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

43 "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'

44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?

47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?

48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

When Jesus talks about retaliation, the crowd is amazed because so far, they have been 'taking eye for an eye' and an 'arm for an arm'. Jesus teaches us that we must not return evil for evil, instead seek the good of those who wish us evil. This is what makes a Christian different from others - by treating everyone and even those who hate us, with loving kindness and mercy.

It's almost impossible to even imagine how to love those who hate us. But when we accept God into our lives, when we believe in the love of Holy Spirit, we get the power to forgive and forget. It provides us with the power to overcome revenge, hatred, and hence love our enemies.

Credits: The Holy Bible

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Gospel Reading Aug 30

Gospel reading for Sunday, Aug 3oth, is from Matthew 17:22-27

22 When they came together in Galilee, he said to them, "The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men.

23 They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life." And the disciples were filled with grief.

24 After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax came to Peter and asked, "Doesn't your teacher pay the temple tax?"

25 "Yes, he does," he replied. When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. "What do you think, Simon?" he asked. "From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes—from their own sons or from others?"

26 "From others," Peter answered. "Then the sons are exempt," Jesus said to him.

27 "But so that we may not offend them, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours."

There are two parts for this reading: one is Jesus making a prediction about his death, and the other is about paying temple tax.

The disciples are not able to comprehend what Jesus is taking about his betrayal. This was the second time Jesus talking about His death. The people were seeking an earthly King to be their Messiah.

About the temple tax, the two-drachma tax was being collected by all Israelite male members for the support of the temple - similar to our subscription amount we pay at our church. This question was pointed towards Peter. When Peter said that Jesus would pay the tax, Jesus is making Peter think once again, about who Jesus actuall is - i.e. the son of God Himself.

Now, Jesus knows that those tax collectors would not comprehend who He actually is, and in order to be just like other common law abiding citizens, He asks Peter to go pay that tax amount. There is also a miracle that takes place here. Peter, who usually goes fishing using a net, is asked by Jesus to go fish using a fishing rod. The first fish being caught has a four-drachma coin in it's mouth. We know, while throwing a line, getting a fish itself is a big thing for us - talk about that fish having a coin in it's mouth that's worth paying 2 people's tax amount. Peter uses this coin to pay the taxes of Jesus as well as his.

By doing so, Jesus is teaching us the message that both Jesus and Peter are abiding the temple law. Therefore, we should too.

Source: The Holy Bible

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Gospel Reading Aug 23

Tomorrow, Aug 23rd, is the second Sunday after Ascension of St. Mary. Gospel reading for tomorrow is St. Luke Chapter 11 verses 9 - 20. This is the very chapter wherein the disciples ask Jesus to teach them how to pray, and the Lord's Prayer (Our Father...) is narrated. However, we tend to use the Lord's prayer that is narrated in St. Matthew Chapter 6, which is bit more elaborate.

St. Luke Chapter 11 verses 9 - 20

9 "So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

10 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

11 "Which of you fathers, if your son asks for[a] a fish, will give him a snake instead?

12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?

13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"

14 Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute. When the demon left, the man who had been mute spoke, and the crowd was amazed.

15 But some of them said, "By Beelzebub, the prince of demons, he is driving out demons."

16 Others tested him by asking for a sign from heaven.

17 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: "Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall.

18 If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? I say this because you claim that I drive out demons by Beelzebub.

19 Now if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your followers drive them out? So then, they will be your judges.

20 But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you.

The earlier part ( verses 9 - 13) talks talking about perseverance in Prayer. There, Jesus tells us that if one of us need 3 loaves of bread and go to a friend in the middle of the night, he may not give us when we ask him at first. However, if we keep on asking, asking, asking, and asking he will give us whatever we asked for, due to our persistence. Similarly, we need to keep asking, asking, asking and asking to God - and He will answer our prayers.

Verses 14 onwards talks about Jesus and Beelzebub.

Source: The Holy Bible (New International Version)