Sun, 11/26/2006 - 00:00

Daniel 7:13-14
Psalm 93
Mark 18: 33-37

This Sunday is the feast of Christ the King. In the Bible a king is a shepherd-king. That is, he is one who cares for, and guards his people. Jesus came to our earth to found God's kingdom. We pray: 'Thy kingdom come'. What is this kingdom? It is a kingdom in which people are on good terms with God and with each other. That is, it is a Kingdom of Peace. (The word 'peace', in Greek 'irene' appears 88 times in the New Testament, and in every book).

In the foundation teaching for the kingdom, in the Sermon on the Mound, Jesus says; 'Blessed are they who work for peace, they shall be called the children of God.'

This is Jesus' challenge to us! Do I work for peace? Do I really want to be on good terms with God, i.e. His child? Do I deeper this relationship of peace through prayer?

If I do,peace of heart will be given - I will be 'blessed.' Do I share this gift with others? Do I work for peace in my own family, in my work-place, in my school, in my neighborhood, in Japan, in the world?

To work for peace one must forget self. In St. Franeis' Prayer for Peace we pray; 'Lord grant that I may console others, rather than be condoled myself, that I may understand others rather than be understood myself, that I may show love rather than be loved myself.' That is the way to forget self and work for peace.

Blessed are they who work for peace, they shall be called the children of God.

Index of sermons

Sun, 11/19/2006 - 00:00

Daniel 12:1-3
Psalm 16
Mark 13: 24-32

Among the styles of writing in the 73 books of the Bible is apocalyptic literature. Today's readings from Daniel and Mark 13 are such. We moderns find this style hard to understand. If we take it literally we miss the message. This style is full of imagery, quite like a dream. In ancient times apocalyptic literature had one aim - to encourage and give hope to those who were persecuted and suffering. So rather then be put off by the style of writing let us concentrate on this message of hope from God. He says: I give you hope in your suffering.

What is the foundation of this hope? It is based on God's solemn promise given to us in the Bible: "Fear not, I am with you always. I will protect you." So with a realization of that comforting promise we can say as in today's Psalm 16 v.8:"Lord. I will always look to you as you stand beside me and protect me from fear.

Here is a parable from my own experience. In summer I am really healthy, but when winter comes I catch a cold which goes into bronchitis (kikanshi-en) and sometimes pneumonia (hai-en). So I am confined to bed with a temperature. In parable language I feel as if I am in a dark prison cell, shackled hands and feet by manacles. But in this prison there is a window - I can see the blue sky, clouds, and a ray of sunshine penetrates. In other words getting back to reality, in my emptiness I feel somehow a ray of hope. In the vacuumed of my heart I hear the echoes of Jesus' words in the Bible: "Fear not! I am with you. Come to me you who are heavily burdened." I am sinking like Peter but Jesus stretches out His hand and holds me up. This is HOPE.

During this "Bible Week" let us open our Bibles and taste this hope.

Index of sermons

Sun, 11/12/2006 - 00:00

I Kings 17: 10-16
Psalm 146
Mark 12: 38-44

The word "widow"is repeated 6 times in today's readings. In the Bible, the word "widow" (and orphan) have special meanings. They are representatives of All poor people who are used as cheap labor, and can not get justice in the courts. They realize that no human being is there to support them. They have only God who they can trust to care for them, because He has promised it.

We moderns are called to be "poor in spirit", and so be blessed as the Contemporary Version translates Jesus' words "God blesses people who depend on Him. They belong to the Kingdom of Heaven" (Mattt,.5:3)

In the first reading and the Gospel, we have 2 widows who have just such trust in God that He cares for them. In the Gospel the poor widow has only 2 copper coins left in the whole world - all that she has between her and seeming starvation. Should she put one coin in the temple collection box for God and one for herself? No! she puts both in, because she trusts that God will look after her.

Please do not get side - tracked by taking this literally. What we are challenged to do is to examine what we value most. For example: in 24 hours (i.e.1,440 minutes) how many minutes of prayer do I give to God? Is my prayer time only a one coin offering to God?

Here is a suggestion for prayer: My God, I am your child. You really love and care for me. Thank you. I trust you and put my whole life in your hands - my family life, my time, my convenience, my work, my study, my recreation with friends and family, my health, my goods. You have promised to care for me - I trust you.

Index of sermons

Sun, 11/05/2006 - 00:00

Scripture: The Responsorial
Psalm 18

Every country has poem and songs. Often the words in poems are used symbolically. ? a concrete word is used to express an abstract concept.

Matsuo Basho, the famous Japanese haiku poet often had a theme that emphasizes the spiritual and the wonder of Nature above material things. He calls on his readers to be quiet and consider one's human destiny.

For example:

At and old pond
A frog leaps
Sound of splash

One message is : Be still, hear nature's tiny sounds ? and they are so transitory.

The Bible, especially in the Psalms uses concrete imagery to teach an abstract truth. Such a truth is: God protects me.

In Psalm 18 this is truth which we call God's Providence is expressed:

O God! You are my rock ? that is, you are a solid foundation to build my life on

O God! You are my fortress I that is you protect me from evil

O God! You are my shield ? you save me from the spears of attacking evil

O God! You are the rock where I take refuge.

This last invocation has an interesting background. In Israel in King David's time there was a small rock-rabbit. Its enemy was especially the eagle or hawk. One rock-rabbit would stand watch and if an eagle was about would cry out and all would escape to the cracks between the rocks and so be safe. (in Hokkaido there is just such a rabbit called naki-usagi.)

The message is: God protects each of us. He is interested in us. He cares for us. He accepts us as we are. In a word: He loves us.

What is our response: We trust Him.

Lord! Into your hands I give my life.

This week let us ponder these concrete images to more deeply realize a wonderful truth.

Index of sermons

Sun, 10/29/2006 - 00:00

Scripture Readings:
Jeremiah 31:7-9
Hebrews 5:1-6
Mark 10:46-52

Jesus is alive today and lives amongst us. ( We need eyes of faith!) The Gospels are not scenes just of 2,000 years ago. We meet the same Jesus today. So let us meet a Jesus who is alive in today's Gospel. Let us recreate the scene.

Jericho is a green town in the midst of desert. On the sandy side-walk sits a blind man, Bartimaeus, begging for live. Then he hears a commotion far off. "What is the noise?" he asks . "It is Jesus of Nazareth." Bartimaeus hears the name "Jesus" and cries from the depth of his suffering heart: "Jesus, have mercy on me!" "Be quiet, you are a nuisance" he is told. Despite the warning he cries louder: "Jesus, have mercy on me."

Bartimaeus' suffering was blindness. He cried out to the Lord Jesus with trust. Make this scene your own. You are Bartimaeus. What is your suffering, what is your worry, what is your own hurt right NOW. THAT is the raw material of the Scriptures. People with problem in the Bible, never suppress those problems, they tell them to the Lord in detail, and with hope and trust cry out to the Lord. "Come to me you who are worn-out and loaded down with problem, I will refresh you" says Jesus in a living voice.

"Caste your worries on to the Lord, He is looking after you" says St.Peter (1 Peter 5:7). Let us cry out to the Lord in prayer.

There is a tradition in the Church, especially the Eastern Church to use Bartimaeus' prayer in what is called the Jesus Prayer. "Jesus, have mercy on me" is said quietly prayed slowly. over and over. Try it!

Index of sermons

Sun, 10/22/2006 - 00:00

Scripture Readings:
Wisdom 7:7-11
Mark 10:17-27

In the first reading God said to young King Solomon in a dream; Choose what you want most ? power, wealth, long life? Solomon replies: My request to you my God is for wisdom ? riches are as nothing. Wisdom in the Bible is different from human book learning. True wisdom is a gift from God that enables us to choose what is Really worthwhile and also guides us in ordinary daily life. For example The women who skillfully sewed Aaron's vestements had wisdom; The carpenters who made the Ark box so well had wisdom. That is, God's wisdom can guide our ordinary events of everyday life. But God's wisdom is most needed in the big choices of life. What is the priority in my life ? material goods, beauty, my job? Or is it God? This is the choice of the man in the Gospel today. It is a basic choice. St.Augustine, after tasting wealth, honor and Fame, said:My God! I can not taste peace of heart until I rest in you.

Material goods are not evil in themselves ? of course not. What the Challenge Jesus gives us today is, what emphasis do I put on them? What are my priorities? How do I spend my time? Material goods And honor do not satisfy those basic yearnings of my heart ? ONLY God can do that.

How can I taste this kind of wisdom? Remembering that is totally a Gift from God, spend at least a few minutes a day in silent prayer. Make that vital contact with God and ask Him to guide you with His Wisdom this day in all the things you do. Please try it! It will give you a taste of true peace to your day.

Index of sermons

Sun, 10/08/2006 - 00:00

Scripture Readings:
Genesis 2: 18-24
Mark 10: 2-16

Today's Scripture readings are about marriage.

Some say marriage can be like climbing a mountain. A short encyclopedia has this entry: "Hillary, Edmund: mountaineer from New Zealand. He was the first to climb to the top of Mt.Everest in 1953." But in his autobiography Hillary writes like this: "I was NOT the first to climb Mt. Everest. Tenzing from Nepal and I conquered TOGETHER."

Hillary continues: "At the foot of Everest it was a picnic atmosphere. We had fun and talked together. We could clearly see the top of Everest. Then half way up the climbing got tough. We stopped talking, we noticed each others little faults and had arguments. We could not see the mountain because of fog. Then we came to the final dangerous assault. We attached a life-line between ourselves and had to rely on each other. It took mutual confidence and respect. We put aside our differences. And in the awesomeness of nature we felt hat God was there. Because we strove TOGETHER we reached the peak of Everest."

Hillary continues: "When I look at my married life there are great similarities. In the beginning my wife and I discussed everything together - we had fun - it was like a picnic! Then I got busy with my business and talk became strained - faults stood out. Then we struck the steep bit. We had a crisis -our son died. We overcame the differences and hand in hand we met life together and reached the top. We felt the hand of God with us."

Here I would like to say a word to those who may be separated or divorced. Please, never feel that God has deserted you. On the contrary - He is with you in your suffering and disappointment. Remember the gentle, kind understanding that Jesus showed to the divorced woman at that well in Samaria. He is the same today.

Index of sermons

Sun, 10/01/2006 - 00:00

Scripture Readings:
Numbers. 11:25-29
Mark 9:38-48

In the first Old Testament reading Moses chooses and gifts 70 men. Outside that chosen 70, two men exercise the same gift. "Stop them!" cries Joshua. In the New Testament Gospel Jesus chooses and gifts 12 men. Outside those chosen 12, some are exercising the same gifts. "Stop them!" cries John. Both Moses and Jesus refuse that request.

What are these Scripture scenes saying to us today? The message is this ; do not be exclusive, narrow and prejudiced. On the contrary be open and accepting of people who are different. In fact, show them little kindness - symbolized by a cup of water. This is a big challenge to us today. Let each of us ask ourselves these questions. Do I accept and show kindness to EVERYONE in my family,k school, workplace, church or neighborhood? Do I have a prejudice against someone with a different point of view, different political allegiance, different personality, or different set of values, or a different religion? Am I prejudiced against ALL Muslims because a tiny few are terrorists. Am I prejudiced against ALL Koreans because a tiny few work in pick-pocket gangs? Or a tiny few from North Korea (those few in power) set off missiles or cause kidnappings? AM I conscious of the prevalence of bullying and prejudice in Japan itself? Am I counteracting such prejudice with little kindness?

This is what Jesus calls me to do. The basis for such accepting of people as they are is the wonderful fact that my loving God accepts weak me as I am . Let us return the compliment and accept other in love. " A smile is the beginning of peace" (Mother Teresa)

Index of sermons

Sun, 09/17/2006 - 00:00

Scripture Readings:
Isaiah 50:5-9
Mark 8:27-35

In the Gospel, Jesus asks Peter:"Who do you yourself say I am?" In a living voice (through the Gospel), Jesus asks the same question today of you you and me. Each of us needs to formulate one's own answer from the heart for 2 reasons. (1) for one's own personal faith. If our image of Jesus is hazy, our faith and prayer will be hazy (2) for others - if someone asks you "who is Jesus?" what woud you answer?

For me Jesus is 100% God and at the same time 100% human. He lived for 33 years on earth, but still lives with me today. He walks with me on life's journey. I am never alone. This gives me great encouragement. It gives a taste to life. He is especially with me when I meet sickness and suffering (in other words, He carries this "cross" with me).

As He was in the Gospel 2,000 years ago so He is today at Naim Jesus felt sadness with the widowed mother. When Peter failed Jesus understood and accepted human fraility and failure. He was so approachable, so easy to talk to. Jesus is the same today as he was in Gospel times.

That is my Jesus, that is my God.

But like Zachaeus up the tree, Iam still seeking to meet Jesus in an ever deeper way.

Index of sermons

Sun, 09/03/2006 - 00:00

Scripture Readings:
Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-8
James: 1:17-27
Mark: 7:1-23

I was baptized at 3 weeks old and brought up in a Catholic home. We prayed as a family every night. I took being a Chrisitan for granted. Then I came to Japan and met so many people with sad, empty hearts. It was only then did I come to realize how truly blessed I am to be a Chirstian. Why? For me, one answer is a line in today's first reading: "Our God is near when we call upon Him"(Deut 4:7)

Our God is near to me, He loves me; He is kind, approachable; He understands my human fraility and accepts me as I am. That is a wonderful truth for daily living.

But even more! Our God became human in Jesus. Our God has experienced our humanity, so He becomes even more approachable. He says: "Come to me you who labour and burdened. I will refresh you."

Approaching God in prayer is absolutely essential for a Christian. Getting in touch daily with the God who cares for us can give a new taste to daily life.

Let us expell from our hearts any idea that God is a strict punishing God who only wants to deal with people who are perfect (no one is!). He wants us as we are. What is going on in our hearts now is the raw material of prayer. Let us pour out our hearts to Him - He is near.

Prayer must not just be empty words but must come from the heart - we must mean them. (Gospel reading.) Prayer leads to being kind to others especially the "little one" of the world (St James.)

Index of sermons

Sun, 08/27/2006 - 00:00

Scripture Readings:
Joshua 24:1-2, 15-18
Gospel: John 6: 60-69
Ephesians: 5:21-32

The Bible has an eternal present tense. I mean this: things that happened 2,000-3,000 years ago are just as relevant today. For example, we humans get so used to a way of doing something that we forget the very purpose of the action.

In today's first reading Joshua has led his people into the promised land. They have settled and become moderately prosperous after the tough 40 years desert life. In the desert they were faithful to the one true God, but now that they are comfortable, they tend to forget Him - i.e. they have become used to Him!

Joshua gathers all the 12 tribes and challenges the people. "Whom do you choose? The god of wealth (Baal) or the one true God?" Reflecting on the ways the one true God had loved and cared for them in the past, they replied: "We choose the one true God."

See what I mean by the eternal present tense? That same challenge is given to us moderns today.

In the Gospel Jesus put some very challenging teachings to the people - that He was God, sent by the Father; that He gave Himself as food in the Eucharist (Holy Communion). Many people said; "These teachings are impossible to accept. We are leaving you." Jesus turned to the 12 disciples and said: "Will you leave too? Whom do you choose?" Peter as spokesman reflects that Jesus gives life, meaning, peace of heart, and replied "We choose you. Who else could we go to?" We need to again and again say from our hearts: "Jesus, I choose you".

Index of sermons

Sun, 08/20/2006 - 00:00

Scripture Readings:
Luke 1;39-56 (Esp.Mary's hymn which is full of Covenant Promise)

One of the titles given to Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is : Daughter of the Covenant.

The Covenant is God's solemn promise to each of us: "I am with you. I will protect you."

Mary trusted this promise all her days, especially during her times of suffering, such as:

  • How to tell Joseph she was pregnant by the power of the Holly Spirit,
  • Just before her delivery, hearing "No room at this inn!",
  • The sudden escape by night into Egypt (what an upheaval!)
  • Hearing and seeing Jesus' relatives and friends reject him at Nazareth. Then they tried to throw him over a cliff,
  • Seeing her Son die bit by bit on the Cross. A child's suffering, irrespective of age, becomes a mother's suffering.

Mary could only trust that God knows best. She trusted Him. With her son Jesus, as a daughter of the Covenant, she prayed Psalm 31:"Father! Into your hands, I give my life."

Trust during the sufferings of life got Mary safely to life's find destination - Heaven. It works that way for us too! Mary, please pray for us, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Index of sermons

Tue, 08/15/2006 - 00:00

Scripture Readings:
Luke 1;39-56 (Esp.Mary's hymn which is full of Covenant Promise)

One of the titles given to Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is : Daughter of the Covenant.

The Covenant is God's solemn promise to each of us: "I am with you. I will protect you."

Mary trusted this promise all her days, especially during her times of suffering, such as:

  • How to tell Joseph she was pregnant by the power of the Holly Spirit,
  • Just before her delivery, hearing "No room at this inn!",
  • The sudden escape by night into Egypt (what an upheaval!)
  • Hearing and seeing Jesus' relatives and friends reject him at Nazareth. Then they tried to throw him over a cliff,
  • Seeing her Son die bit by bit on the Cross. A child's suffering, irrespective of age, becomes a mother's suffering.

Mary could only trust that God knows best. She trusted Him. With her son Jesus, as a daughter of the Covenant, she prayed Psalm 31:"Father! Into your hands, I give my life."

Trust during the sufferings of life got Mary safely to life's find destination - Heaven. It works that way for us too! Mary, please pray for us, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Index of sermons

Sun, 08/06/2006 - 00:00

Scripture Readings:
2 Peter 1: 16-19
Mark 9: 2-10 (Transfiguration)
Mark 14: 32-42 (Agony in Garden)

Let us take two scenes in Jesus' life. The first is when Jesus is high on Mr.Thabor and is transfigured. (This means Jesus was bathed in light and glory). Peter, James and John, 3 disciples, were with him. On the mountain Jesus shows that He is God.

The second scene is Jesus suffering mental torture in the Garden of Gethsemane. He is on the plane - it is dark. Peter, James and John were with him. Here Jesus shows us that He is truly human. Put these two scenes together and we come to know who Jesus is. He is 100% God and 100% human As st.Paul says in 2 Philippians; Jesus put aside his god head and emptied himself to become truly human.

This may sound a distant theological truth, but actually it has a great influence on our daily prayer. In prayer we take to God our joys and sorrows, our failures, our sufferings, the decisions we have to make etc.etc. - but we can got to Him with confidence because we know He himself has actually experienced the human condition. He is so approachable, so understanding. He says: "Come to me, all you who labour and are heavily burdened, and I will refresh you" Let's go to Him.

P.S. 61 years ago a tremendous light came over Hiroshima - it brought death. 2,000 years ago a great light shone from Jesus - it brings life.

Index of sermons

Sun, 07/30/2006 - 00:00

Scripture Readings:
2 Kings 4: 42-44
Psalm 145
Ephesians 4:1-6
John 6:1-15

Generosity is the theme of today's readings - of God and among ourselves. In the 1st reading God supplies food for 100 and there is plenty left over. In the Gospel Jesus supplies food for 5,000 men (and at least 5,000 more women) and there were 12 hampers left over. This overflow, these "left over" are a symbolic biblical way of saying: "God is always generous". God does not give the minimum necessary help, strength or just enough blessings; He gives a surplus. God is generous. Let us ponder prayerfully God's way of working - i.e. his overflowing generosity. Such prayerful reflection will lead us to trust God and put our future life in His Hands. He will care for us. God is generous. And now let us ponder the generosity of the little boy in the Gospel. The crowd were in the dessert, no food, no shops. But this little boy had brought his lunch box. He could have kept it just for himself. But no! he was generous. He offered it to Jesus; he trusted Him. Jesus used the young lad's generosity to multiply food for the whole crowd, using His power as God, i.e., a miracle. God helped people through this boy's generosity. God works this way in the world today. And 12 baskets of food were left over! God is indeed generous - still today. Ask yourself: Am I generous or am I stingy? Do I trust god's generosity? Do I share? Read 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 - this is sharing in practice and its effects.

Index of sermons

Sun, 07/23/2006 - 00:00

Scripture Readings:
Jeremiah 23:1-6
Psalm 23 (The Lord is my Shepard)
Ephesians 2:13-18
Mark 6:30-34

In today's Gospel Jesus invites us : "Come away with me to a place apart."
That is : Let us pray quietly together.
Quiet prayer is a tradition in almost every religion.
Shinto shrines are usually among trees; Buddhism has Zen.
But in today's society with its emphasis on material goods silence is not valued - we are not doing anything when silent! We have TV, PC's cellphones, i-pod, internet - often these can be noises that inhibit silence - they make static in the heart.

In today's Gospel Jesus gives us this message: For a warm relationship with a loving God, for spiritual health every one of us needs quiet time in prayer. This incidentally will have an effect on our efficiency (because we are doing things with God's help), and our bodily and psychic health.
This week let us make quiet times. Sit, relax your shoulders, neck jaw, hands, feet (consciously one by one), put aside worries, plans, things I have to do. Take a deep breath in and then out. Just relax, then say to yourself: "The Lord Jesus is my kind shepherd. He loves me" Then without word, relax and just taste his love.

The fruit of such prayer is true love for others - the deep compassion of Jesus in today's Gospel. - People with whom you live and work, the suffering people in Java and Lebanon.

Index of sermons

Sun, 07/16/2006 - 00:00

Scripture Reading in our Sunday Mass
Amos: 7:12-15
Psalm: 85
Ephesians: 1:3-14
Mark: 6:7-13

In each Mass we have 4 Scripture readings. This custom has its origin in the Last Supper - the first Mass. Vatican II says: "When the Scriptures are read in Church, Christ himself speaks to us through them" (Lit.1:7)

That is why listening well to the Scriptures is so important - it is the living voice of Jesus to us today.

The Scriptures give us a beautiful balance for living our everyday life. They give us both comfort and challenge. We need both.

What do the Scripture readings of today's Mass say to us? Amos tells us that he has not the qualifications to be a prophet, but God has called him to the work and that is enough. (Let's apply that to our daily lives!)

The reading from St.Paul tells us that God Himself has chosen each of us to be his beloved child - what a privilege!

Do I value it? Do I thank God for the wonderful gift?

The Gospel shows Jesus sending out his 12, telling them not to rely on money or oratory or physical props, but to rely on the power He promises to give them (and us). In the words of Today's Psalm 85, "I will hear what the Lord has to say, a voice that speaks of peace."

Index of sermons

Sun, 07/09/2006 - 00:00

Scripture Reading in our Sunday Mass
2 Corinthians:12:7-10

God became a human being like us in Jesus.

Did He choose a palace to be born in?
No! a stable!
Did He graduate from a famous Jewish university of the time, e.g.. Gamaliel's?
No! He was a carpenter for 30 years.
Did He choose famous people to continue His work?
No! He chose fisherman and a despised tax-collector!
Did He die with people gloriously proclaiming His name and fame?
No! He died as a criminal on a cross!

In other words, God turned the values of this world up side down. Only after all this came the Resurrection to prove that God's values are the more valid.

St.Paul in today's second reading from 2 Corinthians expresses the same principle as applied to our ordinary everyday lives. This is:
Only when we humbly acknowledge to ourselves that we are shot through with human weakness are we able to discover that God comes to our help as strength.
We block His working in us through pride.

Do I accept my human weakness? For some this will be bodily frailty; for some a character weakness; for some temptation; for some failure that brings a furt; for some it can be depression, etc, etc...

St.Paul does not specify his "thorn" or weakness. Every human person, precisely because he/she is human, has his/her own particular "weakness", in the broad biblical sense of the word. It does not mean a weakling.

Do I acknowledge and accept my "weakness" or do I run away from it?
Can I name my weakness?Do I use my weakness as the raw material for my discussing the state of my heart with Jesus - i.e. prayer?
Do I meet God's mercy through my weakness?

Jesus says to Paul, and to each of us today in a living voice;
"My strength is at its most effective when you acknowledge your weakness"
Strength in weakness - what a challenge, what consolation!

It is interesting that the famous psychologist Carl Jung in describing his Principle of Individuation uses this passage of St.Paul. For "thorn" or "weakness" read "shadow". Until we accept our shadow we cannot mature. (cf. "The Way of Individuation" by Yolande Jacobi)

Index of sermons

Sun, 07/02/2006 - 00:00

Scripture Reading in our Sunday Mass
Wisdom 1:13-15, 2:23-24
Psalm: 30
2 Cor. 8:7-15
Mark: 5:21-43

Here are 3 words full of meaning:-

(1) Thoughtfulness: full of thought for another. This involves the heart, it entails forgetting self and feeling for another.
(2) Compassion: a close relative to (1). It literally means suffering (passion) with (com) another. It entails getting into another person's heart and feelings, and feeling the same.
(3) Enliven: putting life, joy, hope, meaning into the life of another.

In today's Gospel, we meet a woman with a 12 year long discharge of blood. According the severe rules of that era, she was ritually "unclean"; i.e., she could not enter the Temple. Jesus sees into the women's heart wounded with loneliness, hopelessness and rejection. He feels compassion.
Full of gentle thoughtfulness. He says: "My daughter! Your faith has healed you." Jesus enlivens her with new life and hope.
Jesus then proceeds to the home of Jairus whose 12 year old daughter has just died. Jesus says: "Little girl! I tell you get up!" Jesus gives new life to the girl but also enlivens her father and mother. The girl gets up and everyone is overjoyed.
Their joy is so "over", that they seem to forget the girl herself. She has not eaten for days! Jesus so thoughtfully says;
"Give the young girl something to eat."
Jesus says to each of us:"Learn from me" and "I have given you an example - do as I do." Let's face our inner selves and ask these questions:

(1) Am I thoughtful to the needs of others - often unspoken?
(2) Am I sensitive to the hidden heart-wounds of another and suffer with them?
(3) Do I enliven people I meet with joy (a kind smile) with hope (an encouraging word), with self-appreciation (a simple "thank you")?

O Lord! Make me an instrument of your peace.

Index of sermons

Sun, 06/25/2006 - 00:00

Scripture Readings of today's Mass
1.Job 38:1, 8-11
2.Psalm 107
3.Mark 4: 35-41

The keyword in these 3 reading is "storm".
We humans meet many storms in our lives - sickness, suffering, loneliness, relationships gone wrong, bullying, and the list can go on and on!
At such times as these when we have a raging storm in our hearts we often feel that God and his promised presence, help and comfort are absent.
We have gnawing hollowness in our hearts.
Jesus seems to be asleep in our particular boat.
If you feel like that read today's Gospel slowly and thoughtfully.
We may not feel that God is near, but Jesus in today's Scripture says in a living voice: "Fear not, I am with you".
The terrified disciples in the storm shook Jesus and said not very politely: "Jesus, we are sinking in the storm, don't you care for us?!"
Our prayer too will reflect the state of our heart, and will often be a demanding cry of despair - not a very polite cry! Jesus accepts us as we are.
Prayer reflects what is in our own heart.
Today's Gospel is a challenge to trust Jesus' promise: "Fear not! I am always with you".

Index of sermons

Sun, 06/18/2006 - 00:00

Scripture Readings of today's Mass
1. Exodus 24:3-8
2. Psalm 116
3. Hebrews 9:11-15
4. Mark 14:1-26

Today is the feast day of Corpus Christi (Latin for the Body of Christ). It is a very old feast-day in the Church with roots in the 6th century when Irish monk-missionaries re-evangelized Europe (and historians say, re-civilized Europe after the Vandal and Visigoth devastations). The feast was first formalized in Liege, Belgium in 1247 and spread quickly throughout the then Christian world. For example in the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries in towns in England there was a custom on this feast day to have small plays from each guild of craftsmen depicting successive events of the Bible story.

In the four readings of today's Mass the keyword is covenant. Another old English word with the same meaning is testament. And so we have the Old Testament or Covenant Promise and the New Testament or Covenant. The Covenant Promise of God is the underlying theme of the whole Bible.

An ordinary covenant is a mutual promise between two people, nations or tribes. Both make solemn promises. The Jewish People and many other races sealed this covenant with blood. E.g.American Indian chiefs each made a slit in their thumb and the two chiefs pressed thumbs together mixing their blood. In Japan there is the keppan or blood seal. The idea for the Jewish People was that blood represents life. The parties promising say by the blood symbol: I will keep this promise even if I need to shed my life's blood.

God entered human history when He made covenant with Abraham. This was renewed with Moses (1st reading) and renewed again with Jesus (2nd + Gospel reading).

What the Covenant means today in our daily lives is this:- (a) God solemnly promises to care for, protect and guide each one of us. He promises: I will be with you always. (b) We solemnly promise: My God you are beside me always, therefore I promise to trust you. Into your hands I give my life.

The mutual promise of the Covenant can be a gentle but great influence in our daily lives if we let it. Knowing that a loving, forgiving God cares for me is a real life support. One who responds to God's promise can experience a sense of freedom and joy. And that person can have an instinctive urge to share God's blessing with others.

Peace be with you!

Index of sermons

Sun, 06/11/2006 - 00:00

Scripture Reading in our Sunday Mass
1. Deuteronomy 4:32-40
2. Romans 8:14-17
3. Psalm 32
4. Matthew 28:16-20

Today is the feast day of the Trinity. We Christians believe strongly in one God; but we believe just as strongly that within this one God there is Farther, Son and Holy Spirit. The Trinity concerns the inner life of God which we humans cannot grasp - we call this "mystery".

Let us taste the mystery that is the Trinity.
This really can influence our daily lives. In this beautiful teaching of Jesus we are invited to enter into the invigorating warm love of the Tri-one God:-

- whom Jesus taught us to call "Abba", a term that has the intimacy and trust of a small child saying "papa". This is the God who loves us.
- became human we call him "Jesus". He understands human fragility. He accepts us as we are. God is so approachable - he loves us.
- gives us warmth, strength, consolation and guidance. The Spirit stands besides us. The Spirit loves us.

Let us taste this love by pouring out our hearts in prayer to a God who loves us.
Let us share this warm love with others.

Index of sermons

Sun, 05/28/2006 - 00:00

Scripture Reading in our Sunday Mass
Acts 1:1-11
Psalm: 4:1-13
Mark 16:15-20

Today is the feast of Jesus' Ascension.
Please do not think that this feast means that Jesus spent 33 years on this earth and then went back to Heaven, never to be with us again. In truth, this feast means the opposite! BECAUSE he went up to Heaven, the risen Jesus is now living among us - in every country, in every era. He is risen and lives among us. His words are: Behold, I am with you for all time. This means we never walk the path of life alone. We have a friend who says to each of us: Fear not because I am with you. Let each of us go out into our small section of this world and share this good news.

Index of sermons

Sun, 05/21/2006 - 00:00

Scripture Reading in our Sunday Mass
2nd Reading:1 John 4: 7-10
Gospel: John 15:9-17

In this Sunday's Gospel Jesus says to us today in a living voice: "I call you my friend."

St.Augustine in the early 5th century commenting on this text wrote: "What is a friend? A friend is someone who knows everything about me and still accepts me just as I am." This is unconditional love. When we tell a very special close friend all our secrets, we feel this friend will accept me despite my failings, and that as a trusted friend he will treat my confidences as sacred. This is the kind of friend Jesus is to each of us.

In the Old Testament there were special people who talked to God in a familiar manner and were named "a friend of God". They poured out their hearts to God just as they were; they talked to Him intimately. E.g..Abraham (Isaiah 41:8) and Moses (Exodus 33:11). The Book of Wisdom (7:27) and The Book of Sirach (Sirach 6:14-17) have beautiful passages on friends. This is the background for Jesus' New Testament words: "I call you my friend."

Jesus was a friend of Lazarus and his steers Martha and Mary of Bethany. Jesus offers His friendship to ALL of us today.

This close friendship with Jesus effects how we pray. The Doctor of Prayer, St.Teresa of Avila describes prayer as an intimate conversation with Jesus, our friend whom we know loves us.

Do I pray this way?

Am I a friend of God? Do I share this friendship with others?

Index of sermons

Sun, 05/14/2006 - 00:00

Scripture Reading in our Sunday Mass
1: Acts 9:26-31
2: Psalm 21
3: 1 John 3:18-24
4: John 15:1-8

In today's Gospel reading we hear Jesus' famous parable of the vine and the branches. United to Jesus we share his human life but also his divine life is in us. Prayer, Eucharist, Community strengthen this intimacy. But it is important to remember we all share the same life of Jesus - this is what gives us a unity in diversity within our community. That is, we are all different, yet one in Christ.

The first reading from Acts shows the early Christian community in Jerusalem. It was a multi-ethnic community, with different languages and different cultures. There were of course Jews, but also Greeks, Samaritans and peoples from Asia Minor. It was their common life with the Risen Lord Jesus which united them. Here is a message for us in Japan today. Let us each ask ourselves: 'Do I accept people who are different?' St.John in Scripture Reading (3) tells us our love must not be mere talk, but must result in something real and active. Let us be like St.Barnabas in the first reading from Acts. 'Barnabas' is nick-name which means 'Son of Encouragement'. What tremendous name to be given! Am I a son/daughter who encourages others, especially those different from me?

Index of sermons