REFLECTION CAPSULES as a BOOK

“REFLECTION CAPSULES” – Daily Reflections based on the Gospel is available as a book (paperback). Kindly contact me to place orders (Fr Jijo Jose Manjackal MSFS – WhatsApp/Telegram/Signal/SMS: (+91) 8050573289)

• MORE THAN a regular Bible Diary! This book can be used to access Reflections through the Liturgical Year

• 840 pages with 400 Reflections/Homilies
• Over 225 Themes and nearly 500 anecdotes and stories
• Useful in studying the Gospels, in preparing homilies, recollections, talks, community and family prayers and for motivational sessions


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REFLECTION CAPSULE – July 31, 2021: Saturday

“Living with purpose and a holy determination – all for the Greater Glory of God!”

(Based on Lev 25:1-17 and Mt 14:1-12 – Saturday of the 17th Week in Ordinary Time)

The Mammoth Cave National Park, in central Kentucky, is a U.S. National Park.

It encompasses portions of the Mammoth Cave, the longest cave system known in the world.

In these caves, one can see enormous pillars which have been formed by the steady dropping of water from the roof of the cavern.

This masonry – formed of solid rock – made by the slow and silent process of nature, is a true marvel…

A single drop of water, finds its way from the surface down through the roof of the cave, and deposits its sediment
Another follows it and still another…
… each adding its imperceptible contribution, until the icicle of stone begins to grow
… ultimately reaching the pillar which likewise has been forming on the bottom of the cave.

These become a massive pillar – brilliant and classic.

This process is so similar that which occurs in our hearts…

Each thought, that awakens for a moment, sinks into the soul – just as each little drop of water, with its limestone deposit…
… makes its contribution to the pillar in the cave.

Other thoughts follow and yet others…
… raising within our hearts, pillars of purpose, that form our character.

Think nobler, and our character will mould into being noble…

Think wicked, and our character will decay into being evil…

What is the thought-pattern that we nurture in our lives?

The Gospel of the Day makes a dramatic presentation of two opposing characters – one of them holy and the other evil – John the Baptist and Herod the Tetrarch…
… which were formed as a result of the accumulation of contrasting deposits of thoughts and feelings.

The Gospel passage is a “flashback” passage which recounts the visually-disturbing incident of the ‘beheading of John the Baptist’.

The increasing popularity of Jesus caused Herod the Tetrarch, the ruler of the land, to come face-to-face with his guilty conscience.

Truth is always very powerful!
It can, silently, yet very authoritatively…
… challenge faulty lives
… prick guilty consciences
… confront culpable actions

Herod bore the guilt of having killed John the Baptist, who was the voice of the Truth.

He knew that he had done something extremely wicked and merciless
He knew that he had acted in opposition to truth, to honesty and to sincerity.

Therefore, the rising fame of the Lord – whom he misunderstood as John – drove him to despair over that brutal act of the killing of the Baptist.

The constant exposition to wicked thoughts and evil inclinations had caused his life to become a pillar of guilt-filled feelings!

Think wicked, and our character will decay into being evil…!

On the other hand, was the righteous life of John the Baptist.

He was born with a sense of purpose – of being a voice to the Truth.

He maintained this goal by always living in sincerity – fearless and courageous.
To this end, he even valiantly shed his blood!

The constant nurturing of holy purposes and sacred acts had caused his life to become a pillar of a purpose-filled existence!

Think nobler, and our character will mould into being noble…

What is the thought-pattern that we nurture in our lives?
Is my life a Pillar…
… of guilt-filled feelings – formed by deposits of wickedness, evil and sin?

OR

Is my life a Pillar…
… of a purpose-filled existence – formed by deposits of holy determination and sanctified lives?

Today, we specially also seek the intercession, and be inspired by St Ignatius of Loyola, the Founder of the “Society of Jesus” (Jesuits), on his Feast Day.

His motto: Ad majorem Dei gloriam (“for the greater glory of God”) – is a great challenge and an inspiration for all of us.

May his prayer echo in our hearts:
“O my God, teach me to be generous!

Teach me to serve you as I should…
… to give without counting the cost,
… to fight without fear of being wounded,
… to work without seeking rest,
… to labour without expecting any reward,

But the knowledge that I am doing Your Most Holy Will.”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE AGONY AT GETHSEMANE

The cup of the New Covenant, which Jesus anticipated when He offered Himself at the Last Supper, is afterwards accepted by Him from His Father’s Hands in His agony in the garden at Gethsemane…
… making Himself “obedient unto death”.
Jesus prays: “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me…!”
Thus He expresses the horror that death represented for His human nature.
Like ours, His human nature is destined for eternal life; but unlike ours, it is perfectly exempt from sin, the cause of death.
Above all, His human nature has been assumed by the Divine person of the “Author of life”, the “Living One”.

By accepting in His human will that the Father’s Will be done, He accepts His Death as redemptive, for “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree.” (Cf. CCC # 612)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – July 30, 2021: Friday

“Never being bogged down by melancholic and debasing tones; instead, ‘pursuing our dreams and mission’ to fulfil the plans that God envisions for our life!”

(Lev 23:1,4-11,15-16,27 and Mt 13:54-58 – Friday of the 17th Week in Ordinary Time)

“What, sir?
You would make a ship sail against the wind and currents by lighting a bonfire under her decks?

I pray you excuse me.

I have no time to listen to such nonsense.”

  • These are the infamous words of Napoléon Bonaparte, the emperor of France…
    … as he reacted to Robert Fulton’s proposal for a steamboat, in the 18th century.

[Robert Fulton was an American engineer and inventor who is widely credited with developing the world’s first commercially successful steamboat (named as the ‘North River Steamboat’ or ‘Clermont’)

The success of his steamboat transformed the transportation and travel industries, and speeded up the Industrial Revolution.]

The initial proposal by Robert Fulton to Napoleon, however, had failed to create an impression on the powerful emperor…
… and it led to his rejection and rebuff, with the words: “What, sir?”

Life so often rings in such clatters of rejection and negativity.

Do we get bogged down by such melancholic and debasing tones?

Or can we continue to “pursue our dreams and mission” and fulfil the plans that God envisions for our life?

Undoubtedly, rejection is a sure companion in the life of a Christian, who is uncompromising and unwavering in one’s faith.

Despite this, are we ready to do the Will of God, and be His Faithful Followers?

The Gospel of the Day narrates a painful incident of “rejection” that our Blessed Lord encountered in His life, at the hands of His own country people (Mt 13: 54-58)

It is interesting to note, how the people of the hometown sought to justify their rejection of Jesus, by rationalizing their attitude…

Using 6 questions (6= A Biblical symbolic number which often stands for imperfection!)…
… the people of the hometown, revealed their clogged minds and closed hearts.

When one’s heart is rooted in unbelief and is closed to the truth…
… things of the Divine appear to be hostile!

And so the Lord declares a naked truth: “A prophet is not without honour, except in his own country or his own house!” (Mt 13: 57)

Jesus, indeed became the “Sign of Contradiction!”
… the Prince of Peace, begins to be seen as a cause of division and despise
… the Healer of Souls, begins to be seen as a cause of disagreement and discord!
… the Comforter of Hearts, begins to be seen as a cause of disturbance and distress

Anyone who seeks to follow Jesus – the “Sign of Contradiction” – the Epitome of Truth and Honesty…
… is sure to face the same experience!

Every true Christian, because of one’s convictions in the Eternal Values of Uncompromising Truth and with the Desire to do the Will of God, is sure to face…
… rejection from the people, because one’s ways challenge the lethargic lifestyle of others!
… dejection from the society, because one’s way of living poses a threat the corruption around!

But despite this “rejection”, can we still continue to hold on the Lord, the “Sign of Contradiction?”

Life so often rings in clatters of rejection and negativity.

We can either be disturbed and feel downcast by them…
… or be ready to buckle ourselves up with greater courage!

We can either blame all those situations and curse life…
… or we can be thankful for those moments, which provides us a chance for “more blessings!”

Yes, we need to remember always:

Rejection isn’t what happens to us…
… but how we interpret what happens to us!”

Situations and people around us may often question our dreams, aspirations and hopes with the question: “What, Sir?”

Let us, however, never allow ourselves to be bogged down by such melancholic and debasing tones
… instead, let us “pursue our dreams and mission” and fulfil the plans that God envisions in our life!

Let us re-dedicate our love and commitment to the Sacred Heart of Jesus…
… as we pray for greater dedication to the Will of God!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
AT THE LAST SUPPER JESUS ANTICIPATED THE FREE OFFERING OF HIS LIFE

Jesus gave the supreme expression of his free offering of himself at the meal shared with the twelve Apostles “on the night he was betrayed”.
On the eve of his Passion, while still free, Jesus transformed this Last Supper with the apostles into the memorial of his voluntary offering to the Father for the salvation of men:
“This is my body which is given for you.”
“This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
The Eucharist that Christ institutes at that moment will be the memorial of his sacrifice.
Jesus includes the apostles in his own offering and bids them perpetuate it.

By doing so, the Lord institutes his apostles as priests of the New Covenant: “For their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth. (Cf. CCC # 610-611)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – July 29, 2021: Thursday

“Being inspired by St Martha to honour to the Lord with a life of faith and strong belief!”

(Based on the Feast of St Martha)

Lord of all pots and pans and things, since I’ve no time to be
A saint by doing lovely things, or watching late with Thee,
Or dreaming in the dawnlight, or storming heaven’s gates,
Make me a saint by getting meals, and washing up the plates.


Although I must have Martha’s hands, I have a Mary mind;
And when I black the boots and shoes, Thy sandals, Lord, I find.
I think of how they trod the earth, what time I scrub the floor;
Accept this meditation, Lord, I haven’t time for more.


Warm all the kitchen with Thy love, and light it with Thy peace;
Forgive me all my worrying, and make my grumbling cease.
Thou Who didst love to give men food, in room, or by the sea,
Accept this service that I do —- I do it unto Thee.

This poem called as “Prayer Hymn” by Cecily R Hallack is found on the preface page of a book entitled “Devotions for Women at Home” by Martha Meister Kiely, 1959.

(This poem is also called as “Kitchen Prayer” attributed to Klara Carlotta Munkres)

The world is fast-paced.

Some of us are always on the move
Some of us are always on our feet

From very early dawn to very late dusk…
… we’re frenzied with activities & works & efforts & exertions.

Life gives us ample excuses to get busy, isn’t it?

Our cultures sometimes even measures our worth by how busy we are…
… determines our significance by how much we accomplish…
… assesses our importance by how well we meet the expectations of others!

We are often under the yoke of proving to be ‘Somebody’ by what “we do”…
… than by who “we are!”

In this busy dizzy frenzied life…
… the Church today celebrates the Feast of St Martha and teaches us beautiful life examples to grow in holiness.

The moment St Martha is mentioned, our minds immediately paint a picture of a working lady, in the kitchen…

Perhaps a little irritated and vexed, that she alone has to do the serving for Jesus, the Guest.

She is also considered, often, in low tones, in comparison to her sister, Mary.

But on this her feast, we shall try to look closer into the life of this Saint…
… who sadly often remains touted only as an irritated and perplexed kitchen-lady…

And instead learn some important lessons from this Lovely Saint, for our Spiritual Life:

  1. The Hospitable Martha
    The first images of Martha is of one who loved to serve and attend to the needs of the Lord.

Jesus found a home and a resting place in this house of Bethany (Lk 10:38)

  1. The Worried Martha
    This popular image of Martha is a reality in this down-to-earth Saint. She is naturally worried, that she is left alone in serving the Divine Lord.

She even tends to demand the Lord to ask her sister, Mary to help her (Lk 10:40)

  1. The Loved Martha
    The Apostle of Love, St John, describes Martha as “the one who was loved by the Lord” (Jn 11:5)
  2. The Sorrowful Martha
    At the death of her brother Lazarus, Martha expresses deep sorrow and grief.

Her simple humanness comes to the light once again. (Jn 11:19)

  1. The Trustful Martha
    Though her brother died, the coming of Jesus to her home, was a great occasion for Martha to express her trust and confidence that the Lord can work wonders and great signs. (Jn 11:22)
  2. The Believing Martha
    Martha rose to the occasion when Jesus demands an expression of faith…

Parallel to Peter’s Faith Confession (Mt 16:16), Martha articulates her belief & conviction (Jn 11:27)

  1. The Bold Martha
    An often overlooked fact is that Jesus was often under the ire of the Pharisees and the Elders of the Law – some of them even plotting to kill this “emerging Reformer and Restorer” of the Law.

Jesus was at a constant risk to His life.

And yet, the Bold Martha is courageous and daring to accept the Lord into her home and to render him a shelter and a safe haven.

St Martha serves an inspiration to us, involved in much work and yet seeking to find a home in the heart of the Lord…

St Martha becomes a model to us…

Having human frailties and weakness…
… and yet wanting to tread the path of Holiness.

St Martha proves to be an example to us who gets discouraged by worries and brokenness in life…
… and yet wanting to honour to the Lord with a life of faith and strong belief.

The key is … “To Pay Attention to the Lord”

St Martha perhaps..
… had one Missed Call from the Lord: ” Martha Martha, you are anxious about many things” (Lk 10:41)….

But the next time onwards…she was ready to answer…!

As St Paul says, “Whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17)…
… let us glorify the Lord by our lives!

Happy Feast of St Martha!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
“THE LAMB WHO TAKES AWAY THE SIN OF THE WORLD”

After agreeing to baptize him along with the sinners, John the Baptist looked at Jesus and pointed him out as the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”.
By doing so, he reveals that Jesus is at the same time the suffering Servant who silently allows Himself to be led to the slaughter and who bears the sin of the multitudes, and also the Paschal Lamb, the symbol of Israel’s redemption at the first Passover.
Christ’s whole life expresses His mission: “to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
By embracing in His Human Heart the Father’s love for men, Jesus “loved them to the end”, for “greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
In suffering and death, His humanity became the free and perfect instrument of his divine love which desires the salvation of men.
Indeed, out of love for his Father and for men, whom the Father wants to save, Jesus freely accepted his Passion and death: “No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.”

Hence the sovereign freedom of God’s Son as he went out to his death. (Cf. CCC # 608-609)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – July 28, 2021: Wednesday

“Being inspired by St Alphonsa to seek and treasure the Pearl of Great Price!”

(Based on Exod 34:29-35 and Mt 13:44-46 – Wednesday of the 17th Week in Ordinary Time)

“Dear Father, as my good Lord Jesus loves me so very much, I sincerely desire to remain on this sick bed and suffer not only this…
… but anything else besides, even to the end of the world.

I feel now that God has intended my life to be an oblation, a sacrifice of suffering”

  • These are the bold and beautiful words of St Alphonsa – whose feast we celebrate today – to her spiritual director

St Alphonsa, the first Indian born canonised saint, had offered her life so much to God…
… that she could with conviction say: “I have abandoned myself to the Lord fully; let Him do to me as it pleases Him!”

This simple yet brave Saint had discovered “the Pearl of Great Price” in her life…
.. and to “never be afraid of taking the risk of giving up everything, in order to gain that which is priceless!”

Have we discovered “the Pearl of Great Price?”

The Gospel of the Day are the twin parables of Jesus about the Kingdom of God being compared to a “priceless fortune” being discovered.

A man finding a treasure in a field (Mt 13: 44-45)
A merchant finding a pearl of great price (Mt 13:46)

One of the common thought-pattern exhibited in both these parables is the following factor:
“The risk of giving up everything, in order to gain that which is priceless!”

The man on finding the treasure in the field…
… takes the risk of selling everything, in order to buy the treasure, which was priceless

The merchant on finding the precious pearl…
… takes the risk of selling all that he had, in order to possess the pearl, which was priceless.

The pages of the Bible narrate this pattern: “The risk of giving up everything, in order to gain that which is priceless!”…
… St Joseph risks listening to the voice of the Angel, and taking Mary as his wife – in order to provide a home for the Son of God – a priceless responsibility!
… St Peter risks giving up his boats and fishing nets – in order to follow Jesus – a priceless vocation!
… Zacheaus risks inviting Jesus into his home and doing away with his riches – in order to obtain salvation – a priceless reward!
… St Paul risks doing away with his former ways of persecuting Christianity and preaching to the Gentiles, instead – in order to win many souls- a priceless way of life!

“Nothing worthwhile is ever achieved playing it safe, and sticking to the familiarity of the known!”

Are we ready to take this risk…?
… risk doing away with our sinful ways, in order to live a new life in Christ?
… risk giving up some undue attachments, in order to allow the Lord to possess our hearts?
… risk removing some unwelcome addictions, in order to allow the Spirit of God to work in us?

Jesus, the Priceless Fortune deserves our best!

Let us “never be afraid of taking the risk of giving up everything, in order to gain that which is Priceless!”

On this day of the Feast of St Alphonsa, let us seek her intercession and be inspired by her “great life that consisted many little and simple acts of love and charity!”

Let her prayer be ours too:
“O Lord Jesus, hide me in the Wound of Your Sacred Heart.
Free me from my desire to be loved and esteemed.

Guard me from my evil attempts to win fame and honor.
Make me humble till I become a small spark in the flame of Love in Your Sacred Heart.

Grant me the grace to forget myself and all worldly things.
Jesus, sweet beyond words, convert all worldly consolations into bitterness for me.

O my Jesus, Sun of Justice, enlighten my intellect and mind with Your Sacred Rays.
Purify my heart, consume me with burning love for You, and make me one with You!”

Happy Feast of St Alphonsa!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
CHRIST OFFERED HIMSELF TO HIS FATHER FOR OUR SINS

The Son of God, who came down “from heaven, not to do (his) own will, but the will of him who sent (him)”, said on coming into the world, “Lo, I have come to do your will, O God.”
By that Will, we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all
From the first moment of his Incarnation the Son embraces the Father’s plan of divine salvation in His redemptive mission: “My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work.”
The sacrifice of Jesus “for the sins of the whole world” expresses His loving communion with the Father. “The Father loves me, because I lay down my life”, said the Lord, “(for) I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father.”
The desire to embrace His Father’s plan of redeeming love inspired Jesus’ whole life, for his redemptive passion was the very reason for his Incarnation.
And so he asked, “and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, for this purpose I have come to this hour.”
And again, “Shall I not drink the cup which the Father has given me?”

From the cross, just before “It is finished”, he said, “I thirst.” (Cf. CCC # 606-607)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – July 27, 2021: Tuesday

“Having recourse to the Awesome and Ultimate Power of God, and being strengthened in our lives!”

(Based on Exo 33:7-11, 34:5-9, 28 and Mt 13:36-43 – Tuesday of the 17th Week in Ordinary Time)

One of the very famous hymns in Malayalam, composed by Sadhu Kochukunju Upadesi (1883 –1945 – preacher, poet and composer) goes thus:
“Dukhathinde paana paathram
Karthav yende kayyil thannal
Sandoshathodh adhu vaangi
Hallelujah paadidunne….”

Translated as…

“If my Lord offers a chalice
Full of worries into my hands,
I will accept it with pleasure
And sing ‘Hallelujah’ with thanks.

My father will never offer
Anything that is harmful I’m sure.
He may give me moments of pain
Still He loves me beyond measure!”

The hymn pays glorious tribute to the Immense Love of the Lord…
… despite the seemingly tough and troublesome moments that we go through in life.

The spirit of this hymn was beautifully lived and celebrated by St Alphonsa, the first woman of Indian origin to be canonised…
… whose feast is celebrated on July 28 (tomorrow)

Life often takes us through…
… trials of struggle and pain
… situations of agony and abandonment
… occasions of evil encounters and malicious moments!

Yet, in all such moments, the call of the Gospel is to remain firm in faith and hope – trusting in the Providence and Power of the Lord.

The Gospel of the Day is an exposition by the Lord on this crucial Reality of our lives, by the explanation of the Parable of the Weeds.

It’s noteworthy to know some interesting facts about this parable…

Sowing weeds in someone else’s field, was a way take revenge on the other and to express one’s hatred and anger!
Something similar to today, people…
… breaking the glass of the houses of those whom they don’t like
… disfiguring the walls of the house of the people whom they hate

The weeds that Jesus speaks of in the parable, were highly similar to the wheat that was sown.

It was almost impossible to distinguish the two, in their initial stages.

Seeking to pull up the weeds would definitely destroy the wheat plant
This was because, their roots would get inter-twined.

Any attempt to pull up the weeds, would also cause harm to the good plant.

It is in the light of these points, that our “doubt and perplexity” about the Parable of the Wheat and Weeds grows:

“Why does evil exist in a world that was created good?”

This is where the Lord challenges every Christian to understand…
… that some mysteries in life cannot be fully understood…
… but are to be boldly lived!
… that some struggles in life cannot be totally eliminated…
… but are to be bravely challenged!
…. that some problems in life cannot be completely solved…

But are to be fearlessly encountered!

As we take time to digest this fact, let us also spare a thought for the seed of wheat that was sown by the Sower.

For the Sower, the Seed of Wheat was priceless… special…!

He had sown it with a lot of love, care and affection.

And so, He would do everything in His power, to make sure, that He loses nothing of it, in the attempt to get rid of the weeds.

The Sower is God.

And the Bible, throughout, speaks about how the seed that is sown – the wheat – is precious to God…
… the lost sheep is passionately sought until it is found (Lk 15: 1-7)
… the lost coin is ardently searched till it is found (Lk 15: 8-10)
… the leftover pieces of loaves are devoutly gathered up (Mt 14:20)
… the rejected short man, hiding on the tree, is assigned a new chapter in life (Lk 19: 1-10)
… the nearly-stoned woman, caught in the act of adultery, is given new life (Jn 8: 1-11)
… the impulsive fisherman, called as the rock, and who denied three times, is accepted back (Jn 21: 15-19)

We are the precious Wheat.

Jesus opens our hearts and minds to have a “realistic understanding” of life.

We need to be patient with ourselves and with others…
… in dealing with sin and with evil tendencies

Of course, as humans, we do many times…
… bite our teeth in anger, glaring at the inhumanness in our society and the world
… lose our cool, in finding ourselves to be imperfect and sinful even after years of trying
… go mad, in encountering silly disputes and indifferences in our families & communities
… have our blood boiling, seeing the various scandals and shameful incidents in the Church

But the Lord says… “Hold On”….

Surely, we have our emotions and feelings when we come across unjust situations..
But the Lord says:
“Do your best…and leave the rest to Me!

Aim for perfection… but give not into despair because of devastations!”

This certainly is no excuse for us to deny our duty and responsibility…
… and even the obligation to seek to avoid wickedness and dissuade evil practices.

But we may never find ourselves in PERFECT elimination of evil and sinful behaviours…
… either in our personal life, or societal life or even in the life of the church.

The Lord, the Final and the Supreme Judge, will make sure, that “Good finally triumphs over the evil!”

“The Son of Man will send His angels, and they will collect out of His Kingdom, all who cause others to sin and evildoers…
… the Righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of Their Father!” (Mt 13: 41, 43).

As the national motto of India says: “Satyam eva jayate” (Truth alone triumphs!”)

Let us have recourse to the Awesome and Ultimate Power of God, and be strengthened in our lives…
… knowing and trusting that He will ultimately cause “Everything for our good” (Rom 8:28)

In all moments of trials and struggles, let us be loyal to the Gospel by remaining firm in faith and hope – trusting in the Providence and Power of the Lord.

Let us seek the intercession and be inspired by St Alphonsa, as we too sing:
“Dukhathinde paana paathram, Karthav yende kayyil thannaal…”

“If my Lord offers a chalice, full of worries into my hands,
I will accept it with pleasure, and sing ‘Hallelujah’ with thanks.

My father will never offer, anything that is harmful I’m sure.
He may give me moments of pain, Still He loves me beyond measure!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
GOD TAKES THE INITIATIVE OF UNIVERSAL REDEEMING LOVE

By giving up His Own Son for our sins, God manifests that His plan for us is one of Benevolent Love, prior to any merit on our part:
“In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins.”
God “shows His love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.”
At the end of the parable of the lost sheep, Jesus recalled that God’s love excludes no one: “So it is not the Will of your Father Who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.”
He affirms that He came “to give His Life as a ransom for many” – this last term is not restrictive, but contrasts the whole of humanity with the unique person of the Redeemer Who hands Himself over to save us.
The Church, following the apostles, teaches that Christ died for all men without exception: “There is not, never has been, and never will be a single human being for whom Christ did not suffer!” (Cf. CCC # 604-605)


REFLECTION CAPSULE – July 26, 2021: Monday

“Responding to God’s Great Graces and reaching out to the world with hope and faith and love like the little couple of ‘St Anne and Joachim!’”

(Based on the Feast of the Saint Ann and Joachim – parents of our Blessed Mother Mary)

All of us at some time or the other, have come across Family pictures…
… the one bearing many generations of family members

The grandfather and grandmother… with their sons and daughters and their spouses and their little children etc.

Perhaps, some of us, ourselves, have such family portraits or pictures with us.
Every such Family Photo gives a nostalgic feel….

Those are not mere printed papers….
They contain legacies…. they are filled with memories…..

They give a glimpse of the past: struggles, disappointments, mistakes, events hard to acknowledge….

They give an inkling to the future: love, laughter, hope, blessings…
They are a witness to the present: unity, fellowship, brokenness, anger….

A Family Photo also reveals… the Presence of the Higher Power – God…
… Who has worked in unknown yet amazing ways.

His presence is very much seen in many of our family situations.

Hard situations converted to moments of grace
Tough times transformed to strengthening situations

A Family Photo has it all…..

Today we gaze at the Family Photo of our Beloved Saviour.

We specially recall and cherish the Blessings of God, bestowed on the privileged Grandparents of Jesus & the Parents of Blessed Mother Mary…
… St Anne and St Joachim.

Hardly anything is known about Saint Ann and Saint Joachim.

Their photos are blurred and hazy
They’re absent in the Bible.

There are stories and legends that have come down to us through the ages and tradition.

Though we don’t know many details about the life of this couple, we can firmly assume a few things:

They were simple people of great hope looking for the Coming of the Messiah…
Their faith in God was the guiding force of their lives!

The lives of Saints Joachim and Anne remain shrouded in mystery, lost to history.

But one thing, we know with certainty: The legacy of their daughter, Mary—the Woman entrusted by God the Father to become the Mother of God.

It was their teaching that led Mamma Mary to say Her Fiat – Yes, to God.
It was their upbringing that helped Mamma Mary to stand firm in the midst of unforeseen events.
It was their example that helped Mamma Mary to be strong in the face of immense pain and sufferings!

Yes, God chose two very unlikely individuals – Anne & Joachim – to help in His Plan for the Salvation of the world.

Is God looking at you and me at this moment…..?

Like He chose this insignificant Couple….
… He looks at each of us – in hope and expectation

Let us look at our Family Photo… not just of the blood-related family, but the whole Human Family…

There are many faces dejected…
There are many hearts broken…
There are many souls in sin…
There are many lives shattered…
There are many minds confused…
There are many wills unrepentant…
There are many bodies abused…
There are many characters in filth…

As people of the Kingdom, we need to understand the power of “little things becoming big, with God’s Great Grace!”…
… just like the “grain of mustard seed…” (Cf. Mt 13:31 ff)

The Lord is calling us… like the “little couple” of St Anne and Joachim to reach out to this human family…
… and to fill the world with hope and faith and love!

Pope Benedict XVI says: “Often we are led to believe that sainthood – holiness – is reserved to a few chosen ones

Saintliness, the fullness of Christian life, does not consist in the achievement of extraordinary feats, but in uniting oneself with Christ… in making his disposition… his behaviour… our own!”

Saints Ann and Joachim saw the mighty hand of God at work in their lives.

They heard God’s voice yet wondered how God could possibly use them.

They stepped forth in faith, not knowing where the journey led…

But God rewarded them… with the Beautiful and Precious Daughter… Mary!

Today they gladly rejoice… in being blurred, yet significant characters in the Divine Family Portrait… glittered and ‘halo’ed and dazzling….
… with the Grandeur of Jesus , the King of Kings, their Precious Grandchild….
… and the loveliness of Mary, the Queen of all hearts, their beloved daughter!

Happy Feast of Mamma’s parents to all.

May their Li’l Divine Prince bless us! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
“FOR OUR SAKE GOD MADE HIM TO BE SIN”

Consequently, St. Peter can formulate the apostolic faith in the Divine plan of salvation in this way: “You were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers… with the Precious Blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was destined before the foundation of the world but was made manifest at the end of the times for your sake.”
Man’s sins, following on original sin, are punishable by death.
By sending His own Son in the form of a slave, in the form of a fallen humanity, on account of sin, God “made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Jesus did not experience reprobation as if He himself had sinned.
But in the redeeming love that always united Him to the Father, He assumed us in the state of our waywardness of sin, to the point that He could say in our name from the cross: “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?”
Having thus established him in solidarity with us sinners, God “did not spare His Own Son but gave Him up for us all”, so that we might be “reconciled to God by the Death of His Son. (Cf. CCC # 602-603)


REFLECTION CAPSULE – July 25, 2021: Sunday

“Allowing the Lord to ‘multiply loaves of blessings’ in our life, and to see with the eyes of faith, that such miracles take place daily in our life!”

(Based on 2 Kings 4:42-44, Eph 4:1-6 and Jn 6:1-15 – 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time)

The headmaster of the Catechism School was making a round across the corridors of the classes, when he heard the teacher asking her 2nd Standard (Grade) students:
“Children, what is the meaning of a miracle?”

Curious to know the response, the headmaster stood outside the class for a moment.

He was pleasantly surprised to see a little girl, raising her hand, and replying: “Teacher, a miracle is something that we cannot do, but Jesus can!”

The answer indeed pleased the headmaster.

And as he continued his rounds, he kept thinking to himself:
“So true! The many facts of my life…
… the blessings I enjoy
… the protection I experience
… the faith that I cherish

All these are indeed great miracles, that Jesus does in my life!

Miracle is indeed, something that I can’t do, but Jesus can!”

The Gospels give us many examples of great miracles worked by our Blessed Lord…
… that brought about transformations in the lives of people.

The Gospel of the Day is the beautiful presentation of the miracle of the Multiplication of Loaves.

This is the only miracle, besides the Resurrection of our Blessed Lord, that is mentioned in all the four Gospel accounts

Today we are presented with this account of the multiplication from the eyes of St John, the Evangelist.

The multiplication of the loaves fed a massive crowd.

“Five thousand men” could mean, that including women and children, it would have easily exceeded over twenty thousand people!

This easily was the miracle, according to the Gospels, that Jesus performed with the greatest number of witnesses and participants.

This miracle of the multiplication also reveals some of the finest qualities of Jesus, the Messiah…

  1. His sensitivity to the needs of the people
    While the disciples were just eager to send the crowd away, Jesus reaches out to them in compassion and love.
  2. His ability to effect changes in the mind-set and thinking-pattern
    The disciples could see no way, in that desert to feed the gigantic crowd. They had only question marks before them.
    But Jesus, sheds new light on their minds and helps them find a solution, even in the seemingly impossible situation
  3. His perfect control in a situation of panic
    Though there would have been panic in the minds of the disciples, Jesus impresses upon them the fact, that He is in total charge and in complete control.
    As the Lord and Creator, He knows exactly what is to be done in the moment of crisis and calamity.
  4. His attitude of raising His heart in thanksgiving at every situation
    We read that before the actual multiplication happened, Jesus “took the loaves, and gave thanks…” (Jn 6: 11)

It’s amazing to imagine that situation:
… Thousands and thousands of people, eagerly waiting, hungry and exhausted….
… Having just Five Loaves and the Two Fish – which was scarcely able to meet the hunger of a couple of people…
… Jesus still raises His Heart in thanksgiving and gratitude!

It is tremendous faith that allows a person to raise one’s mind in gratitude, even in the midst of utter poverty, deep need and barren nothingness!

  1. His consciousness to gather the remaining pieces, after the miracle
    The Lord, “Who came save and seek the lost” is also highly mindful of gathering up the remaining broken pieces of the loaves.
    The disciples get trained to become aware of “what is often considered as wasteful” can also become resourceful!

The disciples are reminded that even things that are usually “discarded” and regarded as being “unwanted and useless”, can become sources of strength and nourishment!

This beautiful and unique miracle of the multiplication, is a reminder to each one of us also:

Am I able…
(1) … to be sensitive and responsive to the needs and desires of those around me?

(2) … to see the brighter side of life, with the Grace and strength from God, and rub the fragrance of this positivity onto others in my life?

(3) … to rise above the situations of panic and disturbances, and be calm, knowing that I have a God, who is ultimately in total and perfect control of every situation of turmoil?

(4)… to lift up my heart to the Lord, in thanksgiving, at every moment and situation of life, even when the chips are down or when I pass through the dark tunnels and the deep, despairing valleys life?

(5)… to be aware of the “unwanted” talents in me, the “excess” people of the society and the “discarded” peripherals of the world, and seek to make the best use of them and collect them to be part of the mainframe scene?

We are all invited to allow the Lord to “multiply loaves of blessings” in our life…
… and to see with the eyes of faith, that such miracles take place daily in our life!

Yes…
… the blessings we enjoy
… the protection we experience
… the faith that we cherish

All these are indeed great miracles, that Jesus does in our life!

Miracle is indeed, something that we can’t do, but Jesus can!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
CHRIST’S REDEMPTIVE DEATH IN GOD’S PLAN OF SALVATION

The Scriptures had foretold this divine plan of salvation through the putting to death of “the righteous one, my Servant” as a mystery of universal redemption, that is, as the ransom that would free men from the slavery of sin.
Citing a confession of faith that he himself had “received”, St. Paul professes that “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures.”
In particular Jesus’ Redemptive Death fulfils Isaiah’s prophecy of the suffering Servant.
Indeed Jesus himself explained the meaning of his life and death in the light of God’s suffering Servant.
After His Resurrection, He gave this interpretation of the Scriptures to the disciples at Emmaus, and then to the apostles. (Cf. CCC # 601)


REFLECTION CAPSULE – July 24, 2021: Saturday

“Learning to trust our God Who loves us immeasurably and works out everything in life, for our good!”

(Based on Exo 24:3-8 and Mt 13:24-30 – Saturday of the 16th Week in Ordinary Time)

A person who disdained religion was mocking at an elderly Christian, who was known for his staunch faith.

One day, while conversing, this man who mocked religion, said, “Don’t you think it’s absurd to believe and have faith in God, when you don’t have answers to so many questions of life…

Look at the evil happening all around us
Look at the sufferings that people go through
Do you still think it’s wise enough to have faith in God?”

The elderly person, placing his right hand on the shoulder of the person, with a calm tone replied:
“My Christian life has taught me that trusting in God’s Providence makes every event of the world – even unpleasant – to be seen as meaningful, and worth a lesson”

And he went on to say, “And well, you talk of having faith in God?

How about our own daily experience of trusting in the people around – most of them, whom we don’t even know!

So often we go to a doctor whose name we cannot pronounce and whose degrees we have never verified.

This doctor gives us a prescription which we cannot read.
We take it to a pharmacist we have never met.
He gives us a chemical compound which we do not understand.
Then we go home and take the pill according to the instructions on the bottle.

All this we do – with trust and with sincere faith!

If we can trust each other so much, can’t we trust our God Who loves us immeasurably and works out everything in life, for our good?”

The Gospel of the Day is this invitation by our Blessed Lord to “trust in the Lord” even when life dishes out a number of questions to which we fail to find an answer!

Yes, our Lord reveals His Mind about this baffling and mysterious aspect – the active & dynamic presence of evil in this world!

A couple of days back, we were with the Generous Sower, who was madly liberal in sowing on different types of soil and which had their corresponding results (Mt 13: 1-9)

Today, we are back to the field….

But our deliberation is not on the Sower or the Seeds…
… but on the presence of Weeds among the Wheat (Mt 13:24-30)

These weeds are also called Darnel or Tares.

They weeds have a characteristic of making one feel poisoned with drunkenness, when consumed.

They also have the deceptive characteristic of bearing a close resemblance to Wheat.

In fact, these weeds are also called as False Wheat!

So the enemy in the parable… is a Learned Deceiver!
He sows this deceptive and misleading weed among the innocent and harmless wheat!

But the Lord, the Ultimate Judge gives out a strong, yet strange command:
“Let the weeds not be pulled up, lest the wheat be uprooted with them; let them just grow together until harvest!” (Mt 13:29-30)

Some mysteries in life cannot be fully understood…
… but is to be boldly lived!

Some struggles in life cannot be totally eliminated…
… but is to be bravely challenged!

Some problems in life cannot be completely solved…
but is to be fearlessly encountered!

Here is another hard reality to be digested: “God uses the very wickedness and injustices of evildoers to perfect his Elect.”

The triumph and prosperity of the wicked are short-lived…
…whereas the reward of the Christian who suffers from their wickedness is everlasting.

That’s a hard and unpopular and even impractical statement, right?

But Facts remain facts – we consent or not!

This leads us to a vital aspect of our Practical Christian Living: To be Patient with ourselves and with others…
… in dealing with sin
… with evil tendencies
… with horrifying obsessions
… with unacceptable practices
… with unalterable addictions
… and with abominable disgraces.

Often…
… we bite our teeth in anger glaring at the inhumanness in our society and the world
… we lose our cool in finding ourselves to be imperfect and sinful even after years of trying
… we go mad in encountering silly disputes and indifferences in our families & communities
… we have our blood boiling seeing the various scandals and shameful incidents in the Church

But the Lord says: “Hold On”….

Surely, we have our emotions and feelings when we come across unjust situations..

But the Lord says:
“Do your best…and leave the rest to Me!
Aim for perfection….but give not into despair because of devastations!”

This certainly is no excuse for us to deny our duty and responsibility…
… and even the obligation to seek to avoid wickedness and dissuade evil practices.

But we may never find ourselves in PERFECT elimination of evil and sinful behaviours…
… either in our personal life, or societal life or even in the life of the Church.

The Ultimate Eliminator is the Lord Himself…

The Perfect Vanquisher is the Lord Himself!
The Supreme Conqueror is the Lord Himself!

Are all these too abstract, theoretical & impractical talks?
… NO!

St Paul gives an assurance in Romans 8:26-27:
The Spirit comes to our aid in our weaknesses. He Himself will intercede for us, when we co-operate with Him.”

God, who is all-powerful shares His Omnipotence with us…
… in the Holy Sacraments, in Prayer, in the Bible and in the Church.

Let us have recourse to this power of God, and be strengthened in our lives!

Let us try to do our utmost…
… but let us also permit to encounter disappointments…!

Let us strive for the finest…
… but let us fret not too much over failures and frustrations…!

The Lord knows all

HE sees all
HE has the perfect solution to all.

St Faustina says: “Our sins and weaknesses and miseries are like little sticks, before the burning furnace of the Love of God”.

Let us throw our little sticks into this burning furnace…

Let God be God in our Lives – the Ultimate Judge and Defeater of all evil!”

Let us learn to trust our God Who loves us immeasurably and works out everything in life, for our good!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
CHRIST’S REDEMPTIVE DEATH IN GOD’S PLAN OF SALVATION

Jesus’ violent death was not the result of chance in an unfortunate coincidence of circumstances, but is part of the mystery of God’s plan, as St. Peter explains to the Jews of Jerusalem in his first sermon on Pentecost: “This Jesus (was) delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God.”
This Biblical language does not mean that those who handed him over were merely passive players in a scenario written in advance by God.
To God, all moments of time are present in their immediacy.
When therefore He establishes His eternal plan of “predestination”, He includes in it each person’s free response to His Grace: “In this city, in fact, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.”
For the sake of accomplishing his plan of salvation, God permitted the acts that flowed from their blindness.
He died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures (Cf. CCC # 599-600)


REFLECTION CAPSULE – July 23, 2021: Friday

“Discovering the Bible as a mighty source, containing the immensity of God’s Power and encountering the Lord Himself, ‘Who is the Word – that became flesh and dwells among us?’”

(Based on Exo 20:1-17 and Mt 13:18-23 – Friday of the 16th Week in Ordinary Time)

One of the most famous persons who had been greatly impressed and influenced by the Holy Bible was Mahatma Gandhi.

He once made a statement, which would make all of us…
… to examine deeply our level of love for the scriptures
… to make relevant changes in order to match our lives with the teachings of the Bible

This statement goes thus:
“You Christians look after a document containing enough dynamite to blow all civilisation to pieces, turn the world upside down and bring peace to a battle-torn planet.
But you treat it as though it is nothing more than a piece of literature!”

Now, that indeed is a mightily powerful statement isn’t it?

That’s an intense statement of, on one side, our Sacred Scripture being acknowledged…
… as having tremendous power to transform
… as having remarkable force to bring about changes

And yet, on the other side, We, the caretakers and promoters of the Bible – the Christians – being people…
… who often are seen to be giving less respect and reverence
… who fail to find the worth of the treasure that is in possession!

Well, it is left to each one of us.. to examine, in the light of this statement, whether…
… the Holy Bible has become a constant and regular companion of my life
… the Sacred Scriptures have become a catalyst for effecting personal transformation

The Gospel of the Day is the beautiful explanation, by Jesus, of the Parable of the Sower…
… and through it, a reminder for us to revive our delight in and our dedication to, in living the Word of God.

The famous author Mark Twain once said:
“Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture which they cannot understand;

But as for me, I have always noticed that the passages in Scripture which trouble me most, are those which I do understand.”

The passage in consideration – the explanation of the Parable of the Sower (Mt 13: 18-23) – is surely one which has come very often under our scanner of reflection and meditation.

We almost know each of its elements in detail:
• The Sower sowing the seed
• Some falling on the wayside and birds devouring them
• Some falling on the rock and after a quick sprouting, withering away
• Some falling among the thorns and failing to grow, suffocated by its choke
• Some falling on the good seed and yielding – a thirty, a sixty and a hundred fold

We also have understood its applications in our life

Yet, very often, its implications fail to take root in us and we remain indifferent or casual regarding the Seed – the Precious Word of God!

Today, therefore, the Lord once again seeks to awaken our minds and shake our lethargic minds, in seeking to revive our love and enthusiasm for His Word.

Here are some of the practical pointers for self-introspection, towards this objective…

  1. What is my reading habit with respect to the Bible – God’s Word…?
  2. Have I read the Bible fully, at least once?
    … If YES… why not make efforts to read “the beautiful expressions in God’s love-letters”, once again
    … If NO… why not make a bold step to try to read the Bible fully, at least once.

• One could perhaps, start with some of the easier books/sections of the Bible.. maybe, the New Testament, or the Psalms etc…

Sometimes we might feel too bored or disinterested to pick up the pages of the Old Testament – some passages might seem even disturbing or distressing.

Yet, when we understand that those were some of the societal manners that existed back then…
… and Scriptures were written by human authors, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, in concrete life-situations, we would be able to appreciate them much better

  1. Can I set apart, daily, at least a few minutes to read the Bible?
  2. Can I make genuine efforts to memorize at least a few verses from the Bible?
    • These verses can be invoked in our moments of prayer, in our moments of needing spiritual strength, in our moments of deepening the faith etc.
  3. What is my effort and dedication in putting into practical effect the Bible – God’s Word…?
  4. Am I a person who only simply reads the Bible – without making efforts to understand it, or one who fails to try to put into practice what I learn from God’s Word?
  5. Is my love for the Word of God only finding expression in forwarding ‘Daily Bible Verses’ through social media sites/apps, emails or SMS’S or do I also try to apply and live those verses in my day-to-day activities?

These days, we have access to – especially through the internet and many magazines and books – an innumerable amount of Bible Study material, explanations on the Bible, sermons and reflections etc.

• Do these become a springboard for me to personally learn more and deepen my spiritual bond with the Lord of the Word; or do I only take these, without making any personal reflection and use it for giving sermons, talks etc.

  1. Has the Word become a personal and intimate life-giver for me and do I have a deep thirst to know and grow more in the Word?

Through Prophet Jeremiah, the Lord reminds us to become ‘shepherds after His Own Heart’:
“And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding” (Jer 3:15)
… the Bible is the great source to grow in Knowledge and Understanding of the Lord!

As Christians, we are privileged and prized – to possess the Precious Book of God’s Salvific acts – in the Holy Bible.

As it is said, “The BIBLE contains B(asic) I(nstructions) B(efore) L(eaving) E(arth)”

The Bible…
… is a treasury of immense love
… is a source of unmatched transformative power
… is a supplier of unparalleled strength and grace towards salvation

Let us realise that we have a “Document containing enough dynamite…
… to bring peace to a battle-torn planet!”

Do I treat The Bible just an ordinary piece of literature, a lifeless object to be just decorated (or in some cases, dusted and dirtied) and a book of sacredness but still untouched and unexplored…
… or can I discover It to be the mighty source, containing the immensity of God’s Power and encountering the Lord Himself, “Who is the Word – that became flesh and dwells among us”?

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

The historical complexity of Jesus’ trial is apparent in the Gospel accounts.
The personal sin of the participants (Judas, the Sanhedrin, Pilate) is known to God alone. Hence we cannot lay responsibility for the trial on the Jews in Jerusalem as a whole, despite the outcry of a manipulated crowd and the global reproaches contained in the apostles’ calls to conversion after Pentecost.
Jesus Himself, in forgiving them on the cross, and Peter in following suit, both accept “the ignorance” of the Jews of Jerusalem and even of their leaders.
Still less can we extend responsibility to other Jews of different times and places, based merely on the crowd’s cry: “His blood be on us and on our children!”, a formula for ratifying a judicial sentence.
As the Church declared at the Second Vatican Council: Neither all Jews indiscriminately at that time, nor Jews today, can be charged with the crimes committed during his Passion – the Jews should not be spoken of as rejected or accursed as if this followed from holy Scripture.
All sinners were the authors of Christ’s Passion
In her Magisterial teaching of the faith and in the witness of her saints, the Church has never forgotten that “sinners were the authors and the ministers of all the sufferings that the divine Redeemer endured.”
Taking into account the fact that our sins affect Christ Himself, the Church does not hesitate to impute to Christians the gravest responsibility for the torments inflicted upon Jesus, a responsibility with which they have all too often burdened the Jews alone
We must regard as guilty all those who continue to relapse into their sins. Since our sins made the Lord Christ suffer the torment of the cross, those who plunge themselves into disorders and crimes crucify the Son of God anew in their hearts (for he is in them) and hold him up to contempt.
It is you who have crucified him and crucify him still, when you delight in your vices and sins. (Cf. CCC # 597-598)


REFLECTION CAPSULE – July 22, 2021: Thursday

“Being inspired by St Mary Magdalene to understand that ‘Love transforms everything!’”

(Based on the Feast of St Mary Magdalene)

A Dutch diamond collector was seeking for a very rare diamond.

A diamond dealer in New York heard of this inquiry and contacted him…
… letting him know that he believed he possessed the diamond he was looking for.

The diamond collector arrived…
… and the dealer had his salesman present the diamond.

The salesman described all the technical aspects of the diamond.

However within minutes, the diamond collector rose his hand and said: “I am sorry! This is not the diamond I am looking for”…
… and began to walk away.

Watching from a distance, the diamond dealer hurriedly intercepted him…
… and he asked him if he could present the diamond again.

Since he had travelled a long distance, the collector agreed to listen once again.

The dealer pulled out the same diamond and started describing his admiration for this particular diamond.

Within minutes they were signing papers, and the diamond was purchased.

As the gentleman was walking out, he asked, what just happened?

Why was it so easy for me to say no to your salesman a little while ago, while with you I purchased the diamond?

The dealer replied: “That salesman is the best in the business.

He knows more about diamonds than anyone, including myself, and I pay him a large salary for his knowledge and expertise.

But I would gladly pay him twice as much if I could put into him something I have which he lacks.

You see, he knows diamonds…
… but I love them!”

Love transforms everything!

Love adds passion in any activity we do.

Today we celebrate the Feast of one such person who deeply loved the Lord – St Mary Magdalene.

The Bible presents St Mary Magdalene as a woman who loved Jesus intensely and passionately.

She teaches us remarkable things for each one of us to Love the Lord deeper:

  1. She Followed Him

Luke 8:2 presents Mary Magdalene as having been cured of seven demons.

Her experience of the Healing of the Lord, made her to Follow Jesus, in His ministry of preaching and healing.

Am I following the Lord?

All have us have, in our life, have experienced the power of the Lord.

But do I truly follow the Lord?

  1. She was Persistent to seek Him

The Death of her Lord had rocked Mary Magdalene…
… and she seeks persistently, in the tomb where Jesus was laid.

Even though she witnessed an empty tomb, her heart longed to see the Saviour….” so she stayed outside the tomb weeping”(Jn 20:11).

Am I persistent to seek the Lord?

I have often had setbacks in my prayer life, work situations & aspirations.

But do I still persevere in looking for the Lord?

  1. She was Single-hearted in her search for Him

In her search for Jesus, whom she misunderstood as a gardener, Mary Magdalene expresses her sincerity and frankness and single-mindedness – “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

She sought no empty phrases or consolations…but the Lord alone!
Nothing and none else could suffice her… but the Lord alone!

Am I single-hearted in my search for the Lord?

I am sometimes content with fleeting pleasures, transitory consolation and momentary comforts in my spiritual life.

Do I rather be single-hearted in my longing for the Lord?

  1. She was enthusiastic about Him

Once she recognized the ordinary gardener as her Precious Master, Mary Magdalene is enthusiastic and fervent about Him.

Nothing could stop her from proclaiming Him.

In the words of St Bernard, “she became an apostle to the Apostles”.

Am I enthusiastic in my life?

As a Christian, I have in me the influencing, the powerful and the salvific good news of the Lord.

Am I enthusiastic in sharing about the Lord to others?

Let us learn from St Mary Magdalene…
… her commitment in following of Jesus
… her persistence in waiting for Jesus, her single-heartedness in searching for Jesus, and her enthusiasm in telling others about Jesus.

St Mary Magdalene…
… is a beautiful model of being a Disciple
… is a wonderful example of being a Divine-Seeker
… is a classic illustration of being a Dispenser of the Good News

St. Mary Magdalene holds a unique place in the history of Jesus.

The One who rose from the grave of death, appeared first to her, who herself experienced a rising from the grave of sin!
She was the first (as per the Gospel accounts) to see Him alive and the first to hear His voice.
She became the first evangelist in Christian history.

She is the Mourner who turned into a Missionary!

Let us passionately love the Lord, like St Mary Magdalene,
… “’cos there isn’t an ocean too deep, a mountain so high it can keep…
… keep us away, away from His love!”

As Christians it is not enough that we “know about Christ”…
… it is more important “to know Christ” and to love Him!

May St Mary Magdalene help us to understand that “Love transforms everything!”

Love adds passion to any activity we do.

Happy Feast of St Mary Magdalene – the Disciple, the Divine-Seeker, the Dispenser of the Good News!

Happy Feast of Tender Love and Mercy to all!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE TRIAL OF JESUS

Among the religious authorities of Jerusalem, not only were the Pharisee Nicodemus and the prominent Joseph of Arimathea both secret disciples of Jesus, but there was also long-standing dissension about him, so much so that St. John says of these authorities on the very eve of Christ’s Passion, “many.. . believed in him”, though very imperfectly.
This is not surprising, if one recalls that on the day after Pentecost “a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith” and “some believers…belonged to the party of the Pharisees”, to the point that St. James could tell St. Paul, “How many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed; and they are all zealous for the Law.”
The religious authorities in Jerusalem were not unanimous about what stance to take towards Jesus.
The Pharisees threatened to excommunicate his followers.
To those who feared that “everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation”, the high priest Caiaphas replied by prophesying: “It is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish.”
The Sanhedrin, having declared Jesus deserving of death as a blasphemer but having lost the right to put anyone to death, hands him over to the Romans, accusing him of political revolt, a charge that puts him in the same category as Barabbas who had been accused of sedition.
The chief priests also threatened Pilate politically so that he would condemn Jesus to death.
Jews are not collectively responsible for Jesus’ death (Cf. CCC # 595-596)