Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Prayer Group Meeting Talk on Luke 19

Since the end of March, all my prayer group meetings have been online via Zoom. I started a prayer group in April 1994. The prayer groups are dedicated to foster the message of Our Lady of Fatima and Devotion to Divine Mercy.

Currently, the Chinese prayer group is meeting online every Sunday at 7:15 pm (Pacific Time) and the English prayer group meets every Monday at 7 pm (Pacific Time). Our meeting is about one hour 45 minutes with Night Prayer, Rosary (with guided meditations), Talk on Bible & Spiritual Life, Chaplet of Divine Mercy, and Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.    

If you are interested to join, please register with me by email at fatheranthonyho@gmail.com I am going to add your email to our email list, and you are going to receive meeting reminders with Zoom link and a weekly review email. 



Below are the audio recordings of our Bible studies on Luke 19. I would like to invite those who were not able to join and those who want to review the talks to listen to the audio recordings of the Bible studies:

In English (recorded on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021):


In Cantonese (recorded on Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021):


Here is the website with audio recordings of Bible studies and Sunday homilies:


Here are some highlights of our Bible study on Luke 19:

The conversion of Zacchaeus (19:1–10)

Many lessons flow from this episode. Firstly, that our Lord looks for us, no matter what situation we find or place ourselves in. Zacchaeus was a tax collector working for the Roman authorities; because of this, and because these collectors abused their position, they were despised by the people. “[Our Lord] chooses a chief tax collector: who can despair when such a man obtains grace?” (St Ambrose, Expositio Evangelii secundum Lucam, ad loc.).

We can learn, too, from Zacchaeus’ attitude. From the way he behaves, the reader can sense that it was on account of something more than curiosity that he “ran on ahead” and climbed into a sycamore tree (v. 4). Perhaps that was why Jesus called out to him. Our search for God should be like that of Zacchaeus: we should not care what people may think. “Convince yourself that there is no such thing as ridicule for whoever is doing what is best” (St Josemaría Escrivá, The Way, 392).

Finally, there is the way Zacchaeus responds to grace. By resolving to restore fourfold anything he has wrongly appropriated, he fulfils the Law of Moses (see Ex 21:36); and, in addition, he gives away half his property: “Let the rich learn”, St Ambrose comments, “that evil does not consist in having wealth, but in not putting it to good use; for just as riches are an obstacle to evil people, they are also a means of virtue for good people” (Expositio Evangelium secundum Lucam, ad loc.).

The Navarre Bible: New Testament. (2008). (p. 328). Dublin; New York: Four Courts Press; Scepter Publishers.

Theology of the cross. St. Augustine compares the tree that Zacchaeus climbed to Jesus’ cross: “Climb the tree on which Jesus hung for you, and you will see Jesus.” This thought can be developed further. Whereas Jesus hung on the tree because he was crucified (23:33), Jesus told Zacchaeus to come down from the tree (19:5). In effect, the sinner is replaced by the Savior. This is the substitution accomplished by Jesus (Catechism 615). He died on the cross in our place, giving us salvation (19:9), which by grace we can begin to experience today (19:9; 23:43), and which reaches its fullness in the glory of eternal life.

Shepherds like Jesus. The suggested homily in the Rite of Ordination of priests concludes with an exhortation about priestly ministry that echoes Jesus’ words: “Keep always before your eyes the example of the Good Shepherd … who came to seek out and save what was lost.”

Gadenz, P. T. (2018). The Gospel of Luke. (P. S. Williamson & M. Healy, Eds.) (p. 317). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic: A Division of Baker Publishing Group.]

Behold here the three steps of his conversion: 1. an ardent desire of seeing Jesus; 2. the honourable reception he gave him in his house; 3. the complete restitution of all ill-acquired property.

Haydock, G. L. (1859). Haydock’s Catholic Bible Commentary (Lk 19:2). New York: Edward Dunigan and Brother.

Parable of the pounds (19:11–27) 

Jesus tells this parable to correct the idea people had of a Messiah who would immediately set up in glory and power the Kingdom of God (see v. 11). He tells them that he will come as King and Judge; his disciples should pay no heed to the enemies of the Kingdom (v. 14) but, rather, concentrate on developing the inheritance they have received. If we appreciate the treasures God has given us (life, the gift of faith, grace), we will strive to make them bear fruit—by performing our duties, by working hard and doing apostolate. 

The Navarre Bible: New Testament. (2008). (p. 329). Dublin; New York: Four Courts Press; Scepter Publishers.


Jesus is not going to act as a political Messias and start a revolution in order to seat himself on the throne of Israel. He is the King, but he is going on a long journey in order to receive royal investiture from his Father. His true disciples will be loyal to him during his absence. He will return: let them be ready for that event.

Ginns, R. (1953). The Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Luke. In B. Orchard & E. F. Sutcliffe (Eds.), A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture (p. 962). Toronto; New York; Edinburgh: Thomas Nelson.


The chief lessons to be learnt from this parable are as follows:
1. Faith alone does not suffice for salvation, which must be won by good works.
2. At the judgment every Christian will have to give an account of the use he has made of his natural and supernatural gifts. The slothful servant was called wicked and was condemned, simply because he left undone that which he ought to have done.
3. God is our Lord and Master, and we are His servants. He is a most gracious Lord, for He gives His servants more and more grace as they need it, and rewards them with everlasting happiness.
Almsgiving. The poor are God’s bankers. Alms are a safe investment and bring in the highest interest, for God rewards them with an eternal recompense.
Application. Everything you have is a gift of God, and a talent committed to your charge. Even your good works are not your own, because without God’s grace you can do nothing. Only your sins are quite your own and your own work. Do not therefore boast of your understanding, memory &c., but be humble, and remember that you will one day have to give an account of them. “And what hast thou that thou hast not received? And if thou hast received, why dost thou glory as if thou hadst not received it?” (1 Cor. 4:7.) Make a resolution not to say one word to-day in your own praise.

Knecht, F. J. (1910). A Practical Commentary on Holy Scripture (p. 625). London; St. Louis, MO: B. Herder.

Parables Revisited

One reason why Luke’s central section (9:51–19:44) is so long is that it contains so many parables. Parables have a different function than other kinds of passages. In the parables, the action of the main story—for example, Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem—pauses as we hear not a story about Jesus (e.g., some miracle he performed) but a story that Jesus himself tells. In the parables, Luke in a sense allows Jesus to speak to his readers directly, teaching them and persuading them to follow him. Readers thus find themselves in the same situation as the characters in the Gospel who are “listening to him speak” (19:11). In other parts of the Gospel, readers are typically in a privileged position with respect to the characters; in other words, they know more. For example, when the shepherds hear the message of the angel regarding Jesus’ identity, readers are not surprised, because Luke has already told them what the angel Gabriel said to Mary. However, in the parables, which are stories within a story, readers to a large extent know just as much—or as little—as the characters in the Gospel. Indeed, Luke does not explain the parables’ surprising turns, thus allowing the readers to experience their shock effect. Parables therefore pose a challenge, inviting readers to reflect on their meaning, leading to growth in understanding and to a deeper commitment as disciples of Jesus.

Gadenz, P. T. (2018). The Gospel of Luke. (P. S. Williamson & M. Healy, Eds.) (p. 322). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic: A Division of Baker Publishing Group.


The Messiah enters the Holy City (19:28–40)

Liturgical Coming of the Lord

“Blessed is he / who comes in the name of the Lord” (Ps 118:26). At Mass, the chant “Holy, Holy, Holy” (Sanctus) sung at the beginning of the Eucharistic Prayer includes, since at least the sixth century, these words of Psalm 118 that were addressed to Jesus as he approached Jerusalem (Luke 19:38; see 13:35; Catechism 559). Pope Benedict XVI explains the theological significance:

Just as the Lord entered the Holy City that day on a donkey, so too the Church saw him coming again and again in the humble form of bread and wine. The Church greets the Lord in the Holy Eucharist as the one who is coming now, the one who has entered into her midst. At the same time, she greets him as the one who continues to come, the one who leads us toward his coming. As pilgrims, we go up to him; as a pilgrim, he comes to us and takes us up with him in his “ascent” to the Cross and Resurrection, to the definitive Jerusalem.

Gadenz, P. T. (2018). The Gospel of Luke. (P. S. Williamson & M. Healy, Eds.) (p. 325). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic: A Division of Baker Publishing Group.
Luke 19: 38
Inserts ‘peace in heaven and glory on high’, which recalls the song of the angels, 2:14; the angelic prediction is near fulfilment.

Ginns, R. (1953). The Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Luke. In B. Orchard & E. F. Sutcliffe (Eds.), A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture (p. 963). Toronto; New York; Edinburgh: Thomas Nelson.
Luke 19:40
At the crucifixion of our Redeemer, when his friends were silent through fear, the very stones and rocks spoke in his defence. Immediately after he expired, the earth was moved, the rocks split, and the monuments of the dead opened. V. Bede.

Haydock, G. L. (1859). Haydock’s Catholic Bible Commentary (Lk 19:40). New York: Edward Dunigan and Brother.

Jesus weeps over Jerusalem (19:41–44)

Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, was able to see in the events surrounding his son’s birth the “visit” of God and his Messiah to his people (see 1:68, 78); but Jerusalem, which has witnessed so many signs worked by Jesus, has failed to acknowledge him for what he is (vv. 42, 44).... We, too, are each of us visited by Jesus; he comes as our Saviour and teaches us through the Church’s preaching; he grants us forgiveness and grace through the sacraments. If we are faithful and attentive to his word, we can ensure that our Lord has not come in vain. 

The Navarre Bible: New Testament. (2008). (pp. 331–332). Dublin; New York: Four Courts Press; Scepter Publishers.

Our Saviour is said to have wept six times, during his life on earth: 1st, At his birth, according to many holy doctors; 2ndly, at his circumcision, according to S. Bernard and others; 3rdly, when he raised Lazarus to life, as is related in S. John, c. 11; 4thly, in his entry into Jerusalem, described in this place; 5thly, during his agony in the garden, just before his apprehension, when, as S. Luke remarks, (C. 22) his sweat was as drops of blood trickling down upon the ground; and 6thly, during his passion, when he often wept, on account of his great distress of mind, occasioned principally by the knowledge he had of the grievousness of men’s sins, and the bad use they would make of the redemption he was, through so many sufferings, procuring for them. Dionysius.

Haydock, G. L. (1859). Haydock’s Catholic Bible Commentary (Lk 19:41). New York: Edward Dunigan and Brother.

Just men have daily occasion to bewail, like our blessed Redeemer, the blindness of the wicked, unable to see, through their own perversity, the miserable state of their souls, and the imminent danger they are every moment exposed to, of losing themselves for ever. Of these, Solomon cries out; (Prov. 2:13They leave the right way, and walk through dark ways. We ought to imitate this compassion of our blessed Redeemer; and, as he wept over the calamities of the unfortunate Jerusalem, though determined on his destruction; so we ought to bewail the sins not only of our friends, but likewise of our enemies, and daily offer up our prayers for their conversion. D. Dionysius.

Haydock, G. L. (1859). Haydock’s Catholic Bible Commentary (Lk 19:42). New York: Edward Dunigan and Brother.

Jesus in the temple (19:45–48)

Jesus’ cleansing of the temple is a reminder of the respect due to the House of the Lord. Christian temples that house the Blessed Eucharist are worthy of even greater reverence.

The Navarre Bible: New Testament. (2008). (p. 332). Dublin; New York: Four Courts Press; Scepter Publishers.


Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Holy Wounds Rosary & Prayer Group Meeting Talk on Luke 18


Lord Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner!
My Jesus, pardon and mercy, through the merits of Your Holy Wounds!

Since the end of March, all my prayer group meetings have been online via Zoom. I started a prayer group in April 1994. The prayer groups are dedicated to foster the message of Our Lady of Fatima and Devotion to Divine Mercy.

Currently, the Chinese prayer group is meeting online every Sunday at 7:15 pm (Pacific Time) and the English prayer group meets every Monday at 7 pm (Pacific Time). Our meeting is about one hour 45 minutes with Night Prayer, Rosary (with guided meditations), Talk on Bible & Spiritual Life, Chaplet of Divine Mercy, and Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.    

If you are interested to join, please register with me by email at fatheranthonyho@gmail.com I am going to add your email to our email list, and you are going to receive meeting reminders with Zoom link and a weekly review email. 



Below are the audio recordings of our Bible studies on Luke 18. I would like to invite those who were not able to join and those who want to review the talks to listen to the audio recordings of the Bible studies:

In English (recorded on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021):


In Cantonese (recorded on Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021):


Here is the website with audio recordings of Bible studies and Sunday homilies:


Here are some highlights of our Bible study on Luke 18:

Three stories reveal three aspects of prayer: humility, perseverance, and trust. 

Prayer is the lifting up of our minds and hearts to God.

The reasons for and the ways of prayer can be summed up by A-R-T-S: “A” for adoration, “R” for reparation, “T” for thanksgiving, and “S” for supplication. In short, we pray because God is God and we are we.

Prayer can be divided into public or private; it can also be divided into mental or vocal.
Some of the important vocal prayers are: the sign of the Cross, Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, and the Creed.

We should cultivate a personal prayer life that includes: morning and evening prayers, spiritual reading, rosaries, meditations, and visits to the Blessed Sacrament.

In the Gospels, Jesus teaches us that we should not only pray much but also pray well. 
The qualities of good prayer can be summed up by P-A-T-H: “P” for perseverance, “A” for attention, “T” for trust, and “H” for humility.

“How to pray? This is a simple matter. I would say: Pray any way you like, so long as you do pray.” —St. John Paul II

Persevering prayer. Parable of the unjust judge (Luke 18:1–8)

A man can pray devoutly whether he is standing in the public square or during a quiet walk; seated at his study desk or while he works at other tasks, he can raise his heart and soul to God” (St John Chrysostom, De Anna, 4, 5)

“He prays without ceasing who prays with good works and works with a prayerful spirit. Only thus can we pray without ceasing as we have been commanded” (Origen, De oratione, 12). 

Parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18:9–14)

Besides constancy, prayer requires humility. That is the message of the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector: “When we pray, do we speak from the height of our pride and will, or ‘out of the depths’ (Ps 130:1) of a humble and contrite heart? He who humbles himself will be exalted; humility is the foundation of prayer. Only when we humbly acknowledge that ‘we do not know how to pray as we ought’ (Rom 8:26), are we ready to receive freely the gift of prayer. ‘Man is a beggar before God’ (St AugustineSermo, 56, 6, 9)” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2559).


Reflection and Application (18:9–14)
Motivated by love. Jesus’ words can serve as an examination of conscience to guard against a self-righteous attitude: “Christians should keep in mind that the value of their good works, fasts, alms, penances, and so on, is not based on quantity and quality so much as on the love of God practiced in them.” True love of God will also find expression in love—not contempt—of neighbor (Luke 10:27–28). Thus Christians will also be careful to avoid falling into the same trap another way—that is, by thanking God that they are not like those self-righteous people!

Gadenz, P. T. (2018). The Gospel of Luke. (P. S. Williamson & M. Healy, Eds.) (pp. 304–305). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic: A Division of Baker Publishing Group.

Jesus blesses the children (Luke 18:15–17)

In the fifth century, Pope Innocent, in a letter to the bishops of northern Africa (including St. Augustine), refers to Jesus’ words here as a “quick argument” for infant baptism: “Allow the children to come to me, and do not keep them away from me” (18:16; parallels in Matt 19:14Mark 10:14).

Gadenz, P. T. (2018). The Gospel of Luke. (P. S. Williamson & M. Healy, Eds.) (p. 306). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic: A Division of Baker Publishing Group.

Reflection and Application (18:15–17)

Accepting the kingdom of God like a child. Appreciation for this Gospel truth has spread through the writings of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, who realized that she “had to remain little” so that Jesus’ arms like an elevator could raise her to heaven, without her having “to climb the rough stairway of perfection.” This little way of spiritual childhood is a solid path to Christian holiness. It involves placing all our trust in God as his little children, surrendering our lives to him but also being bold in asking him for what we need. It also involves doing little things with great love: a ready smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an approachable manner, a welcoming attitude, a simple meal shared with someone who needs company. One strives to carry out the little duties of each day for love of God, even if unnoticed by others. One also bears with the little crosses of each day, embracing them in union with Jesus’ sacrifice.

Gadenz, P. T. (2018). The Gospel of Luke. (P. S. Williamson & M. Healy, Eds.) (p. 307). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic: A Division of Baker Publishing Group.

“Why, then, does he say that children are fit for the Kingdom of heaven? Perhaps because usually they are without malice, nor are they deceptive, nor do they dare to avenge themselves; they have no experience of lust, do not covet riches and are not ambitious. But the virtue of all this does not lie in ignorance of evil, but in its rejection; it does not consist in not being able to sin but rather in not consenting to sin. Therefore, the Lord is not referring to childhood as such, but to the innocence which children have in their simplicity” (St Ambrose, Expositio Evangelii secundum Lucam, ad loc.).

Innocence is protected by nature when little, innocence is acquired by effort when grown up.

The rich young man. Christian poverty and renunciation (Luke 18:18–30)

The episode begins with the question put by the rich young man, the same question as was put on another occasion by a lawyer (see 10:25): What must I do to be saved? The difference in Jesus’ replies shows his teaching method: the demands he makes vary depending on the person’s capacity to understand and respond. In the case of the lawyer, Jesus reminded him about practising the commandments of love of God and neighbour; in the case of this man, Jesus confronts him with further challenges.

The Navarre Bible: New Testament. (2008). (p. 326). Dublin; New York: Four Courts Press; Scepter Publishers.


“Sometimes it seems as if we are giving God everything when all we have really given him is the interest or the fruit, and we keep the principal or root for ourselves” (Life, 11, 2).


The King Goes Up to Jerusalem (Luke 18:31–19:44)

The ascent to Jerusalem (18:31) marks the final part of Jesus’ journey (9:51–19:44). As the section on Jesus’ Galilean ministry (4:14–9:50) led up to the confession of Jesus as Messiah (9:20), so now this central section (9:51–19:44) culminates with the acclamation of Jesus as king (19:38). The theme of kingship as well as frequent geographical indications are features of this carefully organized unit. As Jesus begins going up to Jerusalem, he again predicts his death (18:31–34). He passes through Jericho, where his two encounters (18:35–19:10) highlight his kingly role as son of David (18:38–39) who seeks those who are lost (19:10). A parable on kingship falls in the middle of the unit (19:11–28), framed by references to Jerusalem (19:11, 28). Jesus then reaches the Mount of Olives, where in two scenes (19:29–40) he is treated and acclaimed as king (19:35, 38). Arriving at the city, he again predicts its destruction (19:41–44).

Gadenz, P. T. (2018). The Gospel of Luke. (P. S. Williamson & M. Healy, Eds.) (p. 311). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic: A Division of Baker Publishing Group.

Third announcement of the Passion (Luke 18:31–34)

In contrast to the Apostles, who cannot see or understand what Jesus tries to tell them, the blind man near Jericho “sees” and understands who Jesus is—Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me! (Luke 18:38)

Ponessa, J. L., & Manhardt, L. W. (2015). The Gospel of Luke (p. 160). Steubenville, OH: Emmaus Road Publishing.

Curing of the blind man of Jericho (Luke 18:35–43) 

“When a Christian begins to live a good life and to do good works without regard to the judgments of this world, he may suffer the criticism and scorn of half-hearted Christians; but if he perseveres, he will win them over by his perseverance, and those who once scorned and rebuked him will come to greatly esteem him” (St Augustine, Sermones, 88, 18).

"Domine, ut videam!—Lord, that I may see" was a favorite prayer of St Josemaría Escrivá when he was discerning the Will of God

The Navarre Bible: New Testament. (2008). (pp. 324–327). Dublin; New York: Four Courts Press; Scepter Publishers

But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ (Luke 18:13) During the Penitential Rite of the Mass, people would strike their breast three times and pray “through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.”

Kyrie eleison. The pleas for mercy of the blind man and also of the lepers (Luke 17:13) find expression in the penitential act at Mass, in which the faithful pray for mercy, express repentance for their sins, and ask for the help they need to be brought to everlasting life.

Gadenz, P. T. (2018). The Gospel of Luke. (P. S. Williamson & M. Healy, Eds.) (p. 317). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic: A Division of Baker Publishing Group.

God, be merciful to me, a sinner! (Lk 18:13)
Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me! (Lk 18:38)

Luke 18:13 & 38 resulted in "Jesus Prayer"--- Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner!

It is the favorite devotion of the Eastern Churches. 

In the West, we have similar devotions: the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and the Rosary of the Holy Wounds.

The Holy Wounds Rosary is like the Divine Mercy Chaplet:

On the crucifix and first three beads:

O JESUS, Divine Redeemer, be merciful to us and to the whole world. Amen.

STRONG God, holy God, immortal God, have mercy on us and on the whole world. Amen.

GRACE and mercy, O my Jesus, during present dangers; cover us with Thy Precious Blood. Amen.

ETERNAL Father, grant us mercy through the Blood of Jesus Christ, Thine only Son; grant us mercy, we beseech Thee. Amen, Amen, Amen.


The following prayers, composed by Our Lord, are to be said using the Rosary beads.

On the (Our Father) beads:
Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Wounds of Our Lord Jesus Christ to heal the wounds of our souls.

On the (Hail Mary) beads:
My Jesus, pardon and mercy, through the merits of Thy Holy Wounds!

Finish by repeating three times:
Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Wounds of Our Lord Jesus Christ to heal the wounds of our souls.

Here is an article on Sister Marie-Martha Chambon and the instructions and promises of praying the Rosary of the Holy Wounds. 



It is a good devotion to pray for Holy Souls in Purgatory and for sinners. 


Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Prayer Group Meeting Talk on Luke 17

 

Since the end of March, all my prayer group meetings have been online via Zoom. I started a prayer group in April 1994. The prayer groups are dedicated to foster the message of Our Lady of Fatima and Devotion to Divine Mercy.

Currently, the Chinese prayer group is meeting online every Sunday at 7:15 pm (Pacific Time) and the English prayer group meets every Monday at 7 pm (Pacific Time). Our meeting is about one hour 45 minutes with Night Prayer, Rosary (with guided meditations), Talk on Bible & Spiritual Life, Chaplet of Divine Mercy, and Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.    

If you are interested to join, please register with me by email at fatheranthonyho@gmail.com I am going to add your email to our email list, and you are going to receive meeting reminders with Zoom link and a weekly review email. 


Below are the audio recordings of our Bible studies on Luke 17. I would like to invite those who were not able to join and those who want to review the talks to listen to the audio recordings of the Bible studies:



In English (recorded on Monday, December 28, 2020):


In Cantonese (recorded on Sunday, December 27, 2020):


Here is the website with audio recordings of Bible studies and Sunday homilies:


Here are some highlights of our Bible study on Luke 17:

On leading others astray, Forgiving offences, The power of faith, Humble service (Luke 17:1–10)

“Not only should we strive to live a good life, my brothers, but the goodness of our life should also be seen by others. We should be concerned not only with having a clean conscience, but also […] with ensuring that our weaker brothers are not given even the slightest cause for scandal. If we have been given fresh grass to eat and clear water to drink, let us make sure that the weaker sheep do not feed on trampled grass and drink muddied water” (St Augustine, Sermones, 47, 12–14).

A scandal is a stumbling block, something that causes people to fall. 

The process of temptation and falling into sin can be studied and avoided.
• Temptation begins with a subtle invitation to sin. The person knows right from wrong objectively, but begins to waver. Did God really say that? Surely, this one time can’t hurt. I deserve this. I was born this way. I can’t help it.
• Emotions and appetites distort and veil the seriousness of the act. How can it be wrong if it feels so right? Feelings cloud mature judgment and moral principles. A person becomes enchanted with anticipated forbidden pleasure.
• Decision follows. A good conscience enables one to overcome the temptation to sin. A poorly formed conscience or a weak will succumbs to the passions. Now, the decision to sin becomes sin. A man and woman planning to commit adultery but being thwarted have already sinned in their hearts.
• Evil action results. The internal decision to suppress the conscience takes on a visible form, and a sinful action usually follows. The sin of desire on the inside becomes the actual sin, and temptation finds its fulfillment.
• Habitual wrongdoing ensues. Sin never satisfies, but always craves more. Innocence fades and the individual becomes convinced that the sinful life is normal. Repentance and conversion become more remote.
• Bondage by the evil one results. A heart becomes hardened. The person feels driven to sin rather than to virtue. The person now becomes trapped in sin. Only Our Savior can liberate this soul from captivity.
• Choose hell or heaven. Clinging to sin until one’s final breath seals the compact with wickedness forever and evil wins. Rejecting God’s love and mercy on earth plunges the soul into eternal suffering. Only repentance, confession, and conversion can free the soul from darkness and restore it to God’s mercy and love. Heaven awaits repentant sinners.

Ponessa, J. L., & Manhardt, L. W. (2015). The Gospel of Luke (pp. 149–150). Steubenville, OH: Emmaus Road Publishing.

Rebuke sinners and forgive them—Take heed to yourselves; if your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him (Luke 17:3). Confronting sin is not very popular in the contemporary culture of relativism. Who are you to judge? That might be right for you, but never impose your values on me. The only remaining virtue seems to be tolerance, especially the tolerance of sin and evil. But Jesus reiterates what the prophets declared. If I say to the wicked, O wicked man, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way; he shall die in his iniquity, but you will have saved your life (Ezekiel 33:8–9). Confronting sin requires courage.

Ponessa, J. L., & Manhardt, L. W. (2015). The Gospel of Luke (p. 150). Steubenville, OH: Emmaus Road Publishing.

“Do not boast unworthily of the fact that you are a son of God: remember the power of grace, and your own poor nature. Do not glory in your service to the Lord: it is no more than your duty. The sun shines, and the moon, and the angels do their duty. […] We should not praise ourselves, nor tempt God’s judgment […]. God’s judgment will come in his good time” (St Ambrose, Expositio Evangelii secundum Lucam, ad loc.).


The Son of Man and the Kingdom of God.   Luke 17:11–18:30

As the journey to Jerusalem continues, Jesus’ teaching focuses on “the kingdom of God,” a phrase that occurs eight times in this unit. The audience includes his disciples (17:22; 18:15, 28) but also Pharisees (17:20), an official (18:18), and others he meets (17:12; 18:15). Jesus teaches using parables (18:1–14) and through a longer speech (17:22–37) that looks to the future coming of the “Son of Man” (17:24, 26, 30). His instruction highlights various conditions for entering the kingdom—in other words, for inheriting eternal life (18:18, 30): faith (17:19; 18:8), humility (18:14, 16–17), and detachment from one’s possessions (18:22, 28–29).

Gadenz, P. T. (2018). The Gospel of Luke. (P. S. Williamson & M. Healy, Eds.) (p. 293). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic: A Division of Baker Publishing Group.

Cure of ten lepers (Luke 17:11–19)

“What better prayer can we think in our mind, or utter with our tongue, or express with our pen than ‘Thanks be to God’? Nothing can be said more briefly than this, or heard more joyfully, or used more faithfully” (St Augustine, Epistolae, 41, 1).

Allegorically. Christ wished to signify that mystical lepers, that is sinners in the New Law, ought to come to the priests that they may be healed by penance, and absolved from the leprosy of sin. “It is not,” says S. Chrysostom, “the duty of the priest, under the New Law, to prove the leprosy, as it was under the Old, but to cleanse and expiate it when proved.” Lib. iii. de Sacerdotio.

Cornelius à Lapide. (1908). The Great Commentary of Cornelius à Lapide: S. Luke’s Gospel. (T. W. Mossman, Trans.) (Fourth Edition, Vol. 4, p. 428). Edinburgh: John Grant.

Reflection and Application (17:11–19)

Gratitude. Am I grateful to God for what he has done in my life? Do I thank (eucharisteō) him in the eucharistic celebration and in eucharistic adoration? Am I grateful to the people God has put in my life? How do I express my gratitude?

Gadenz, P. T. (2018). The Gospel of Luke. (P. S. Williamson & M. Healy, Eds.) (p. 296). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic: A Division of Baker Publishing Group.

The coming of the Kingdom of God, The day of Christ’s coming (Luke 17:20–37)

St Ephrem explains: “in saying this [‘the kingdom of God is in the midst of you’], he was speaking of himself, for he was in our midst when he spoke” (Commentarii in Diatessaron, 18). 

Origen: “Just as he is wisdom itself and righteousness itself and truth itself, so too is he also the kingdom itself (autobasileia).”

St. John Paul II: “Christ not only proclaimed the kingdom, but in him the kingdom itself became present and was fulfilled.… The kingdom of God is not a concept, a doctrine, or a program subject to free interpretation, but it is before all else a person with the face and name of Jesus of Nazareth, the image of the invisible God. If the kingdom is separated from Jesus, it is no longer the kingdom of God which he revealed.”

“When our outward senses are stilled and we rejoice in the presence of God within us and retire from the noise and troubles of this world, then we see the Kingdom of God within us, for as Jesus said, the Kingdom of God is within us” (St John Damascene, Homilia in Transfigurationem Domini, 9). 

“The Doctor of doctors teaches us without the sound of words. I have never heard him speak, and yet I know he is within my soul. Every moment he is guiding and inspiring me, and, just at the moment I need them, ‘lights’ till then unseen are granted me. Most often it is not at prayer that they come but while I go about my daily duties” (St Thérèse of Lisieux, Story of a Soul, 8).

“A true Christian is always ready to appear before God. Because, if he is fighting to live as a man of Christ, he is ready at every moment to fulfill his duty” (St Josemaría Escrivá, Furrow, 875).

The Navarre Bible: New Testament. (2008). (pp. 320–323). Dublin; New York: Four Courts Press; Scepter Publishers.