Category Archives: Ordinary Time – B

Ordinary Time B

21 Sunday in ordinary time B – Jos 24, 1-2a.15-17.18b _ Jn 6, 60-69

God is our goalAs students, we were asked; “What will you do, when you are grown up?”. Or “What do you want to achieve in your life?” We have responded differently…
One said: “I want to be a teacher”; a girl said: “I want to be a doctor”; again someone said: “I want to be police officer”…
I too said something, which I can not remember now.
Time has gone and we have already forgotten our desires. But shortly before or after the high school exams, I again started to think about my future and choose another way and became a priest.

Life is like a labyrinth; you have to choose the right way in the right time. You also should ask questions again and again: What should I choose? Which way is important to me? What can make me successful and happy?…

Joshua too asked a question – we hear it in the reading – whether they want to follow the Lord or any another god. He may be the first leader, who asked for the opinion of the people, with regard to their faith.

Joshua and Jesus have similarity in many matters. For example, their names: In the sources, we find that the name Joshua, comes from the Hebrew word `Yehoshua´. In the book of Nehemiah 8, 17, it is even as `YESHUA´- same as the name Jesus. And both names have the meaning: `The Lord saves´.
They are similar not only in their names, but also in many of their deeds.
Joshua could cross the Jordan (Jos 3), could destroy the walls of Jericho with the faith (Jos 6) and on his word, the sun and the moon stood still (Josh 10, 13). Jesus too crossed the Jordan of death and destroyed the powerful walls of evil. He was strong enough to control nature and work supernatural miracles…

Even though these two men were powerful enough, they never exercised their power in the matter of faith. Rather, they gave people their freedom.
Why they gave such a freedom?
It is because, Faith is God’s gift and man should select it with his freedom. Violence and force have no place here. Without a proper faith one can fail and get a wrong concept on Faith. As a result, he gets a false image of God and will give a false testimony. Jesus and Joshua wanted to avoid that. They needed proper believers and not some forced successors.

Because of that Joshua said, “If it does not please you to serve the LORD, decide today whom you will serve…”. But Joshua wanted to follow the Lord and the people too stood together with him.

Jesus too asked his disciples, “Do you also wanted to leave?”, as some left him, due to his hard teachings. Peter replied as normal: “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life”.
We do not know if Peter speaks based on emotion or from his right conviction. Any way this statement reveals some thing important.
It tells us, “Jesus is Lord” and there is no other who can show us the right way. It teaches that, eternal life is the goal of every disciple.

Even as students or as adults, we worry enough about our earthly life and financial future. To follow some goals in life is good and proper.
Just like that, we, the followers of Christ should follow a goal in faith.
We should follow God and live worthy of eternal life.
Yes, that’s also important in this life.
Can we follow these objectives and grow in doing good?
May God bless us all. Amen!

–Thomas Kalathil

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20th Sunday in ordinary time -B – Jn 6, 51-58

Witness with lifeThe first Christians were of one heart and soul. They lived charity and wanted to create a new (order in the) world. Nevertheless, in ancient Rome, they were considered as ‘cannibals” and had to face some allegations. The Church’s history, especially the writings of many church fathers like Athenagoras gives us evidence to it.

Why were they called so?
The Gospel we have heard today was a reason for it.
“Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you”. This statement could have caused such a wrong picture of Christianity. People have taken this expression literally. They have of course observed the behavior of the so-called “Christians” and noticed that they meet regularly to celebrate “Eucharist”. They might have most likely misunderstood this celebration as some idol-worship or sacrifice. For they knew no other kind of sacrifice at that time. They looked at the Christians with a certain skepticism, because the teachings of the apostles about the death and resurrection of Jesus, was also not so simple and understandable for the people. That was similar experience of the disciples of Jesus in the beginning. They really understood the meaning of many expressions of Jesus only after his resurrection.

But a neutral reading of the Gospel will tell us, these expressions had only a symbolical meaning. Because Jesus himself used parables and rhetoric in his teachings. We find it a lot, in the Gospels.

Today, we hear so many criticisms and conspiracies against Christians and the Christian faith. Christ and his teachings are not easy, as it is demanding some courageous steps in our life. That is why his words meet with much resistance in the world.

My dear friends,
to justify Christians, we should not write big books now.
We only want to do one thing:
we should really live as Christians.
Our lives should be a testimony for God’s love and mercy.
Our lives should be a testimony to Christ, who never wish conflict, but a community.
This will help us to weaken the criticism of many people.
May God bless us to be bread for many and to be his good witnesses. Amen!

–Thomas Kalathil

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19th Sunday in Ordinary time_B_ 1King 19, 4-8

Called to Heal“It’s enough for me” … “I do not want to live anymore”…
We might have heard such statements when someone is severely sick or when people see no rays of hope in their life…
Some may end their lives in such depressive thoughts.

But there are some others who do not give up, but seek new ways of existence, when war, poverty and unemployment gobble their lives. Particularly, in these days we see in the media such touching and thought-provoking images of people- refugees, who risk everything for a job and a better life and crossing the obstacles. Yes, in bitter experience people react differently…

The prophet Elijah was an incredibly strong person. He spoke against the injustice of King Ahab and his wife Jezebel. He announced a period of drought in Israel which ‘closed’ the heavens. He gave life to the dead.
Against 450 priests of Baal he showed the power of his God Yahweh and the punished the false prophets with death. Yes, in all his deeds we can find the Spirit of God.
Yes, the man, who announced the word of God without fear, says,
it’s enough; he wanted to die.

The name Elijah means ‘My God is Yahweh’. But in this situation, his own power comes to an end and his self-confidence gets weakened.
He is a symbol of many people in our world, who trust only on their own strength.

By God’s Grace, Elijah defeated this powerlessness.
He feels God even in this tragic situation.
Yes, God sent an angel and he touched Elijah and brought bread and water. he This happens not once, but twice.

In the Gospel we hear about people who despair of Christ and deny him. Although he had done many miracles, he was not accepted as the Son of God, but just as the son of Joseph. But those words could not diminish the confidence of Jesus, because he knew his power comes from the “Father”.
He asserts: “I am the bread of life.”
yes indeed, in these words we feel his great self-confidence and belief.

The readings tell us, even great peoples such as Elijah had to face such emotional experiences. Elijah could but experience the touch of God through the angel and continues to live his call.
Jesus also faces such a situation,
where his faith in Father gave him the strength.

Yes, my dear friends,
fear and despair, discouragement and lack of support may make us weak.
This is common to all.
In such a situation many people end up their lives in drugs and addictions.
Such weak and lost people, need strength and care.
God sends US as His Angels, as His Messengers, with his healing and restorative touch in the world.
Can we follow this path?
Can we encourage such people and help to stand up?
Can we feed their hunger and thirst for recognition and solidarity?
It is the challenge for us today.
May God bless us with the vocation to touch and heal others. Amen!

— Thomas Kalathil

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