28th Week, Tuesday, Oct 13

Galatians 5:1-6 / Luke 11:37-41

 Paul talks about faith: Faith must be accompanied by love. 

One of the things many adults remember from their high school chemistry course is that litmus paper turns red when placed in a solution of acid. In other words, red-colored litmus paper is a sure sign that acid is present. Paul says that love performs a similar function when it comes to true Christian faith. Love is a sure sign that the Christian faith is present. In other words, if we are loving toward other people, it’s a sure sign that our faith is truly Christian.


How loving are we in our relationships? How seriously do we work at those relationships to keep them growing and developing in the right direction? “I may have all the faith needed to move mountains—but if I have no love, I am nothing.” Corinthians 13:2


Different cultures use different cutlery or eating utensils for eating and serving food. Also, the crockery may differ in shape and size and material. So usually, Western food is eaten with forks and spoons and knives and Chinese food is eaten with chopsticks and bowls. But even if we try to eat steak with chopsticks, it may not be very gracious, but nonetheless, it can be done. Because in the end, it is the food that is to be eaten and not what we use to eat it. The cutlery or the eating utensils and the crockery is not that important in relation to the food. In the gospel, the Pharisee was surprised that Jesus had not first washed before the meal, and obviously the Pharisee showed his disapproval, and Jesus noticed it.

 But Jesus used this occasion to teach about religious observations and customs.  If religious observations and customs do not purify and sanctify, then we are just concerned about the externals. And Jesus also tells us this: Give alms from what you have and then indeed everything will be clean for you. Jesus highlights the act of alms giving, that when done out of love, has the power to purify our hearts. 

As we heard in the 1st reading, what matters is faith that makes its power felt through love. Let our almsgiving be done out of love for God and neighbour, and our hearts will also be cleansed.


Monday of 28th Week

In a rather difficult passage, Paul speaks to us today of freedom: We are born free as Christians, as people of the New Testament. Now that Christ has set us free, we should see to it that we are never enslaved again. Paul himself is a striking example of this “liberating freedom”: he has freed himself from pharisaism and could even take a free stance regarding the other apostles when Christian freedom was at stake. Are we free persons?
Jesus reprimands the Jews for not believing unless they see spectacular signs. But Christ proclaims that faith consists in trust in the word and in the person of the one who is sent. The early Christian community specified further: faith rests in confidence in the risen Christ. The preeminent sign is Jesus Christ himself. We believe not because of this or that wonder or proof but because Jesus makes God visible to us.

Opening Prayer

Lord our God, your Son remained a free person even in the face of death: Life was not taken from him, he gave it in freedom to you and to us, that we might be free people. Keep us free from slavery in any form, from the evil of sin first of all, but also from our own fears and complexes, the pressures of people, the herd spirit, that we may be faithful to the gospel and free for people and for you. This we ask you through Jesus Christ our Lord. 


Slavery made a slow exit from human history. It played a part in American life until the nineteenth century, and there are still parts of the world in our time that live in social oppression. It certainly played a part in Israelite life. In today’s reading Paul takes up the story of Sarah and Hagar. The former was the free woman, the latter a slave girl. But Paul turns the account on its head. And the key players take on exactly the opposite roles. There are two covenants involved, one from Mount Sinai, the other from Jerusalem, from above. The Christian is a child of the heavenly covenant, a child of the free woman, a child of the Abraham of faith. We err indeed if we believe that we have been born into a religion of rules and regulations. We have been born into a community of faith, confident that God has acted on our behalf in his Son. Once a part of that community, we give expression to our gratitude in conduct that renders God’s glory and respects the dignity and worth of every human being. This is the meaning of being a child of the free woman.  Points to Ponder The two sons of Abraham The covenant of law and the covenant of freedom The One greater than Jonah  


 – For the leaders of nations, that they may respect and promote human rights and work relentlessly for justice, happiness and freedom for their people, we pray:

– For the oppressed and the exploited, that they may not take their marginal existence as the will of God, but that they may become conscious that they too are called to be free, we pray:

 – For this community, that we may not shut up ourselves within little prisons of self-interest, but that we may be truly one and free in Christ as a community of service, we pray: 

 Prayer over the Gifts

God our Father, we come before you and offer you our gifts as your free sons and daughters. Give us your Son as our guide that through him we may win the relentless struggle to gain our interior freedom, so that we may be fully human and indeed your sons and daughters reborn free through Jesus Christ our Lord. 


Prayer after Communion

 Lord our God, strangely enough, we are free when we are bound to you as your people. In this Eucharist we have encountered again your Son Jesus Christ. With him, we are willing to be all lifelong apprentices of the freedom to serve and to love. Let him go with us on his road that leads to your land of freedom, for you are our God for ever and ever. 


Born free, we should never become slaves to anyone or anything. Whatever is said today, we are sons and daughters of the Father, and that is a relationship of love, and therefore of freedom. May almighty God keep you free and bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.