Preaching And You Were Sleeping
By Clarence Devadass
Preaching And You Were SleepingFeb 05, 2022
5th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Spreading Your Nets for the Lord
Jesus is inviting us to cast our nets in a way that spreads the values of the kingdom that Jesus came to establish. The net that we put out must offer true, abundant, and eternal life – the life of the kingdom of God. The nets that we put out may only reach a few people but if we can strive unceasingly to inspire them and others with the values of the kingdom, then we haul in an abundant catch, neither for ourselves nor for our Church, but for the Lord.
4th Sunday of Advent: Being Vessels of God's Word
Mary was called “full of grace” because she became the “vessel” to bring Christ into the world. We too must open ourselves to be the vessel to bring God to the world, to one another – becoming a vessel of God’s grace by allowing the Holy Spirit to work through us, with us and in us. However, in order to be God’s vessel, we need to empty ourselves sin, pride, apathy, unforgiveness, and allow God’s grace to heal our weaknesses so that we too can be “full of grace”. Filled with God’s grace, just as John was the voice in the wilderness pointing people to Jesus, Advent calls us to become a light unto others and lead others through the “darkness” to the light of Christ.
3rd Sunday of Advent: What Must We Do?
On this 3rd Sunday of Advent, on Gaudete Sunday, we are reminded that this is a time of joy, not only because we are anticipating the celebration of the birth of Christ but because God is already in our midst (Emmanuel – God with us). More than anything, the presence of the Lord in our midst calls us to rejoice and “shout for joy”. However, the joy that we are being reminded of is not one of merriment but one of expectancy and anticipation of the second coming of the Lord.
2nd Sunday of Advent: Prepared and Ready for His Coming
Advent calls us to turn to the Lord in the expectant hope of the coming of His kingdom. Until that time Advent calls us to deepen our spirit of prayer, reflect more deeply on who this historical Jesus is, what he said, how he lived, so that we will truly be prepared to celebrate the nativity of the Lord.
1st Sunday of Advent: Promise of a New Creation
The readings on this First Sunday of Advent, anchored on God’s promise, point to the realities of peace and fulfilment that will be accomplished by God. The promises of the coming of the Son of Man in the Old Testament, and the promise of the second coming in the New Testament, are indeed promises full of hope – a hope that is not deceptive because God tells the prophet Jeremiah, “I will fulfil the promise I made”. In the meantime, let our vigilance be filled with love, because God is pure love.
33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time: Be Prophets of Hope
The reason why we have this Gospel is that we are approaching the end of our liturgical year. Next Sunday is the Solemnity of Christ the King and then we enter into Advent. That is why today the readings direct our attention to the end of time. Many of us are not only curious about the end times but perhaps also fear the end of the world, the end of time. Let us not forget that the end is also a time to be gathered to the Lord with all who have gone before us and those who may come after us.
32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time: Seek God's Approval, Not Human Applause
The world that we live in often glorifies power, authority, titles, and even what connections a person has – things that we can easily use and even misuse to gain the approval of people. The Gospel today reminds us that it is better to have God approve than the world applaud: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by Him” (2 Timothy 2:15). The Gospel today is very clear that God’s approval is not in material blessings but rather in the sacrifices that we make for the kingdom of God.
31st Sunday in Ordinary Time: We Cannot Fake Our Faith
As disciples of Jesus, the “two commandments” that Jesus mentions in the Gospel today cannot be separated. They are a manifestation of the same love and the essence of our Christian discipleship. The key message in the Gospel today is that pious religiosity alone do not make us good Christians. If we love God most, we cannot but will love others best – not easy but not impossible. We cannot be an authentic and #1 disciple of Jesus unless we have both – love God and love neighbour.
30th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Sharing God Experiences in Daily Life
Today as Church, we celebrate World Mission Day and the theme comes from Acts 4:20: We cannot but speak about what we have seen and heard. These words offer us a new vision of what being on mission means. We are only called to speak that which we have ‘seen and heard’ in our own lives – not about the lives and experiences of others. The essence of being a missionary is not founded on leaving home, but the freedom to share how God has been gracious to each one of us.
29th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Jesus, Servant and Saviour
The teaching of Jesus in the Gospel today is diametrically different from what the world considers the word ‘servant’ to mean. In fact, the attitude of being a servant is going to be at the core in the way Jesus presents the path of discipleship. To His disciples, Jesus says, “anyone who wants to become great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be slave to all”.
28th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Removing the Roadblocks to God
Our Gospel this Sunday presents to us the account where “Jesus was setting out on a journey when a man ran up, knelt before Him and put this question to Him, ‘Good master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’” The central part of the gospel today is in Jesus telling His disciples what it means to follow Him. However, the teaching on the cost of being a disciple is enveloped in a teaching about eternal life.
27th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Let The "Little Ones" Come To Me
The teaching of Jesus on marriage in the Gospel today is meant to be an inspiring ideal for couples to give their best and seek to live their married life with generosity and intimate love. However, a simple reality check also shows that many fail from the inspiring ideal. In such situations, one has to remember that the Church makes room for everyone, especially those who struggle to live that ideal just like how all of us are trying to live the ideal but often fall short.
26th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Let's Not Be Obstacles to God's Love & Mercy
Our Gospel this Sunday somewhat continues the theme of acceptance and inclusion that we heard last Sunday. Jesus once again is going to use this opportunity to help the disciples think differently. Since the kingdom of God is open to all, Jesus will point out to them that it is important the kingdom of God be extended to all and it is not important who does it. In other words, all of us are called to be an extension of that kingdom that Jesus came to establish and not be obstacles to it.
25th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Love Never Excludes Anyone
The Gospel today clearly reminds us that anyone who wants to be Jesus’ disciple and even be "the greatest" in the kingdom of God must find that greatness in the service of those in any form of need. We are at the crosswords in so many fronts in the life of the Church today and the greatest service that all of us can offer is love. Love is the greatest force that God has given us and it is a force that transforms lives.
24th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Who Do You Say I Am?
The Gospel today presents somewhat an “opinion poll” and it is founded on two key questions that Jesus puts to His disciples: firstly, who do people say I am? And secondly, who do you say I am? Jesus asks the disciples what people are saying about Him; who do they think He is. The question is by no means a self-serving one but rather it seeks to discover how Jesus’ words, actions and even miracles are being perceived by the people.
23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time: Receive His Word & Proclaim His Word
Just as God calls us to hear the gospel with open minds and hearts, we must also step forward willingly to speak that message through our lives, be it in prayer or a testimony. Let us remember what the priest says at a child’s baptism, “The Lord Jesus made the deaf hear and the dumb speak. May He soon touch your ears to receive His Word, and your mouth to proclaim His faith, to the praise and glory of God the Father.”
22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time: Faith is a Relationship, Not a Set of Rules
Jesus’ contention with the Pharisees and scribes was that they were convinced that their rigorous observance of the clear and well-defined norms had given them the sense that they had done their duty and thus have secured God’s approval. It is clear from the Gospel today that Jesus refuses a religion that speaks of relations with God and us in terms of merely obedience and obligations. The only obligation seems to be the openness to love.
21st Sunday in Ordinary Time: Are You Going To Leave Too?
All of us, at some point in our lives, may have experienced disillusionment with either God or the teachings of the Church. It is quite normal to be conflicted between popular world views and what the Church teaches. In the midst of a far from perfect Church that we have, God is inviting us to affirm and reaffirm daily our own faith. It is true that faith in Jesus is not something that comes easily or naturally. We have to accept that faith is a grace given by God.
Solemnity of the Assumption: Give Thanks With A Grateful Heart
Looking towards Mary and celebrating this solemnity in the midst of a pandemic invites us to look at two focal points in this hymn: firstly, God’s promise and secondly, our sense of gratitude. In the Book of Psalms, we read, “The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does” (Ps 145:13). When God makes a promise, it’s backed with more than just good intentions and wishful thinking. God is giving us His absolutely trustworthy Word. Mary is a perfect example of gratitude. In expressing this through a hymn, she shows us how we should thank God for His mercy and grace. She magnifies God’s name by giving Him praise and offering Him worship. Though we are experiencing pain and suffering, Mary comes to us today with her hymn of praise inviting us to refocus on God with gratitude.
19th Sunday in Ordinary Time: From Disillusionment to Surrendering to God
The teaching on the ‘bread of life’ which comes after the feeding of the multitude, has more to do with the identity of Jesus rather than the Eucharist itself. Today, we hear Jesus say again, as He did in last week's Gospel, that He is the bread of life. but Jesus adds that He is the living bread.
18th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Lord, Quench Our Thirst and Satisfy Our Hunger
We need to fix our eyes on the central mystery of our faith – the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. At this time, every question, problem, concern, and confusion, can only find meaning in the person of Jesus Christ – let us not lose our way to Him. Jesus reminds us “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never be hungry; he who believes in me will never thirst.”
17th Sunday in Ordinary Time: The Little We Offer, God Makes Aplenty
Except for the Resurrection, the multiplication of loaves is the only miracle told in all four Gospels (Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:31-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:5-15). It is possible that we are being reminded not only of Jesus’ ability to perform such great miracles but that the breaking of bread and the feeding of the multitude for future generations must be modelled on the generosity of God, when the followers of Jesus must seek to break open their hearts with generosity and love towards others.
16th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Crisis Defines Who We Really Are
The pandemic with all its limitations and challenges provides us also the opportunity to be “Christians” – in the footsteps of Jesus. It is said that ‘moments of crisis define who we truly are and what we truly believe’. We have the time, here and now, to define what we profess with our lips and who we are as disciples of Jesus. Love of God and for neighbour is most evident not when expressions of love are easy, but when they are difficult.
15th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Beacon of Hope in Stormy Seas
Being a disciple of Jesus and more importantly, as evangelisers, we are called to share not only words, ideas, or doctrines, but an experience, our experience of God and of Jesus. There are many people around us who are in need of support in one way or another. It could be food or emotional support and perhaps not all of us are able to do this. But what we can do at a time when God seems either silent or distant? As we are all weathering this storm together, we have the opportunity to be a beacon of hope to those around us.
14th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Finding Home with One Another
If we are one of those who is consistently looking for God in life-transforming or awe-inspiring things, then like the people who were gathered in the synagogue, we will miss the opportunity of seeing God. At this time, our “ordinary” is the situation of the pandemic and there are so many opportunities to meet God through the vulnerable, weak, and needy all around us. Just look around us and we will see them – people needing encouragement or some form of upliftment, a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on, assistance to put food on the table or bills to pay, on the verge of a breakdown or raising the white flag. These are opportunities to meet God and also to bring Christ to others even without using His name.
13th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Rise Up and Rise Above
The healing of the daughter of Jairus and the woman who had suffered from a haemorrhage for twelve years is going to be pivoted on the faith of these people who came to Jesus. To the woman, Jesus says, “your faith has restored you to health”, and to Jairus, “Do not be afraid; only have faith”. “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you” (Deut 31:6).
12th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Lord, do you not care?
At a time like this, it is not easy to let go of our expectations of God and of how we want our lives to move on. It’s much easier to point fingers, cast blame, and even question God Himself. However, the Gospel today gives us that light at the end of the tunnel that we are waiting for. Before falling asleep on the boat, Jesus told His disciples, “Let us cross over to the other side” (Mark 4:35). He “promised” that they would make it across.
Corpus Christi: Where there is love, there is God
The new covenant in the Eucharist that we celebrate, irrespective of whether online or onsite, is being renewed as Jesus’ sign of His affection for each one of us – the gift of Himself on the cross is still alive. At this moment when humanity is fragile confronted by this pandemic, access to the sacraments may be hindered but the access to Christ is never deprived to all to seek Him.
Trinity Sunday: Holy Trinity, Undivided Unity
Even though the Trinity is a concept that is hard to explain even to the believing mind, the Trinity is at the very heart of our faith and prayer. Every prayer begins and ends with calling on the Most Holy Trinity – the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is probably the very first thing that Christian parents teach their children, that is, to make the sign of the cross invoking the Blessed Trinity - the Undived Unity that binds us all.
Pentecost Sunday: Witness, Truth, Glorify, and Love
The promise of the Holy Spirit is not merely for the supernatural gifts that the Spirit brings (sometimes we overplay this aspect of the Advocate) but the promise of the Spirit to us is for witnessing – a demand that our faith puts on us. If we do claim to have real faith, then real faith must be shared! We need to create a culture of witness in our lives, something that many of us shy away from.
Seventh Sunday of Easter: Sent to Witness the Truth
In a digital era, as disciples of Jesus, we have a greater responsibility to bear witness to the truth and not falsehood since we profess Jesus to be “the Way, the Truth and the Life”. We must also become people who live by and bear witness to the Truth – to preserve the unity of the body of Christ.
Sixth Sunday of Easter: God's Language of Love
To be authentic in love means to be able to empathise with others… to be able to experience the joy with and for others but at the same time to be able to feel the pain and struggles of others. To be sacrificial in love simply means to be able to walk the extra mile when it matters the most and not merely provide lip service of criticism and empty promises. To be inclusive in love means everyone is a friend, no matter what their preferred way of life may be and even when we may agree to disagree.
Fifth Sunday of Easter: Remain in Me and Bear Fruit
The Easter life that we are all called to live must be demonstrated in our love for God and for each other through deeds, a sign that we are united to Christ. There is great joy in seeing the love of God manifesting itself through our action for it is Christ who is glorified.
Fourth Sunday of Easter: Shepherding One Another
For most of us, the image of the Good Shepherd is linked to Jesus’ sympathetic and meek behaviour toward those who have strayed away from His path. The Jesus that we encounter in the Gospel today is not only about “the sheep” listening to the voice of the shepherd. We are the sheep of the Lord; however, let us remind ourselves that we are also His shepherds.
Third Sunday of Easter: Strive for Reconciliation
Jesus’ earliest message as He began His public ministry was repentance (Cf. Mark 1:15), and now the ministry of the disciples of Jesus must be founded on the same. The attraction to the early Church was that it was a community of forgiveness and reconciliation. The “terms and conditions” of being a disciple is to make one another feel welcomed, loved and forgiven.
Divine Mercy Sunday: God Demands Mercy
The Church must be the doorway to God’s mercy and that is why Pope Francis says that “there is no Christianity without mercy. If all our Christianity does not lead us to mercy, we are on the wrong path, because mercy is the only true goal of every spiritual journey. It is one of the most beautiful fruits of charity [love].”
Easter Sunday: Roll Those Stones Away
For the disciples to understand this profound moment, one important thing needed to happen and that is, the stone had to be “moved away from the tomb”. As disciples, if we want to feel and experience the new life offered to us at Easter, each of us must have the “rolled away stone” experience.
Good Friday: Logic of the Cross
The cross is at the centre of our Good Friday celebrations. Though it portrays pain and suffering, it also brings to focus some images of Christ. As we “venerate the cross” let the healing power of the cross of Christ become alive in us. For it is only then that we are able to fully share in Jesus’ greatest act of love – His self-giving for the well-being of humankind.
Holy Thursday: You Will Understand Later
Many of us think that in order to trust, we need to fully understand but the evening before the Passover, Jesus teaches an important lesson not just to His disciples but also to all who call him ‘Master and Lord’ that the path of discipleship involves trusting Jesus now and understanding Him later – not something that many of us are comfortable to do because it involves making ourselves vulnerable.
Palm Sunday: God is in Total Control
"Jesus was not compelled to do it [accept the cross]. He willingly lowered himself in his birth, in his ministry, in his death. No one took his life from him. He freely laid down his own life (Jn 10:18). Others did not have the chance to humble him; he humbled himself.” This truly sets us on the journey to Golgotha with Jesus because He embraced this way of the cross for each of us.
Fifth Sunday of Lent: Dying to Self for God's Glory
Our myopic view sometimes leads us to think that true happiness is only found in worldly pleasure and selfish pursuits. On the contrary, the Gospel today points to the fact that we are made for God, and only God can fill the desires of our hearts. As St. Alphonsus Liguori says: “Nothing can satisfy one whom God does not satisfy.”
Fourth Sunday of Lent: Our Deeper Life and Meaning
God’s purpose in creating and redeeming the world in Christ was to love the world and embrace sinful humanity, and not to condemn it. This is the purposeful incarnation that God intended from the beginning of time - God coming to live amongst us and sanctifying the world with His presence.
Third Sunday of Lent: Being the Temple of God's Spirit
Being “God’s Temple” simply means that by our baptism, we have all been called to "live in a manner worthy of the call you have received" (Ephesians 4:1). It is no longer a “cultic faith” as witnessed in the Temple during the time of Jesus or merely “obedience of faith” (Romans 1:5, 16:26), but rather reliving the life of Christ in our own person in the here and now.
Second Sunday of Lent: Anticipating God's Glory in Lent
Change or conversion can be daunting and fearful because it involves a change of will and change of direction - an intentional turning away from sin and a turning to God through Christ. The very purpose that the Church calls us to conversion in this holy season is to bring us back into the right relationship with God.
First Sunday of Lent: Metanoia - Change My Heart, O God
Our Lenten journey that is accompanied by sacrifices and self-denial must lead us to act with humility, kindness, forgiveness, love, and the faith and courage to do the right thing. Following Jesus more intently during Lent is to make that radical change for God.
Ash Wednesday: Take on Virtues This Lent
With or without ash, today marks the beginning of an important season in the Church’s calendar - the first day of the season of Lent, the forty days set aside to prepare to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time: A Place to Feel Welcomed & Loved
The Church must be the place of God's mercy and love where everyone can feel welcomed, loved, forgiven and encouraged to live according to the good life of the Gospel.
Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Being Conformed Into Christ's Image
Being conformed into Christ’s image is really the goal of the Christian life because you will be the only Bible some people ever read.
Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Seeking the Pathway to Happiness
Jesus, our Teacher not only teaches the way to salvation but He also inspires us to seek that pathway to happiness.
Third Sunday in Ordinary Time: Called to Pattern Our Lives on Jesus
The call of Jesus is not merely to follow or shadow Him but calling us to pattern our lives on Him.