January 25, 2020 – Feast of the conversion of St Paul

“Experience the Sweetness of the Lord and be passionate to give witness to His Love!”

(Based on Acts 22:3-16 and Mt 16:15-18)

A little boy was returning home, with a jar of honey in his hand.

A gentleman, walking behind him, was constantly observing the boy…

… how very often, he would stick his finger inside the jar, and taste a little of the honey.

After noticing this quite a few times, he approached the boy and asked:

“Son, what do you have in that jar”

“Sweet Honey” said the boy

“Honey? Is it sweet?” enquired the man

>> “Yes Sir”

“How sweet is your honey?” asked the man again

>> “Very sweet Sir!”

“You are tasting this so often. So I want to know how much sweet is it?” the man enquired one more time

>> “Very sweet Sir!”

“Well, I don’t understand you!” continued the man, “I am asking you how sweet it is, and you are only saying, it is very sweet! I don’t understand you!”

Finally, the boy lost his patience, and sticking his finger into the honey, he said: “Taste and see for yourself!”

Quite true, isn’t it?

Any description of the sweetness of the honey would not suffice…

… unless one actually experiences it!

So it is with the Lord!

The sweetness of the Lord, however described by others cannot suffice…

… unless one actually experiences it!

Today we celebrate the Feast of one such event of a person, who experienced the Sweetness of the Lord: The Conversion of St Paul.

When we look into the life of St Paul, there are several factors that we can meditate on, and learn from.

One of the very striking aspects is that of the Passion and Zeal of St Paul.

This passion was greatly reflected in all aspects of his life…

… in his preaching and his writings!

… in his dealing with the Gentiles and their cause of faith

… in his aggressiveness against anything that caused scandal and harm to the Church

… in his uncompromising attitude towards anything that endangered his relationship with the Lord!

Some of his writings in the letters reflect this aspect of Passion and Zeal:

>> “Woe to me, if I don’t preach the Gospel” (1 Cor 9:16)

>> “I count everything as a loss for Christ…” (Phil 3:8)

>> “For me to live is to Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil 1:21)

>> “My preaching… was a demonstration of the Spirit and power” ( 1 Cor 2:4)

We need to ask of ourselves:

>> Is my Christian life, filled with passion and zeal?

>> Do I burn with love for God and His Kingdom?

>> Does the Lord and His Will come first, in my life?

It’s easy to often remain on the “theoretical” dimension of Christian life!

>> We can very often have only discussions and deliberations about faith

… but not real prayer or living in the Spirit

>> We can many times have talks being heard or books being read on Christian life

… but not necessarily living the Christian life of virtues and a Sacramental Life

>> We can sometimes enter into doubts about Christianity, to “know more”…

… but not necessarily growing in our relationship with the Lord or loving Him more

The Feast of the Conversion of St Paul is a mighty reminder to all of us…

… to live our Christian lives “passionately and zealously!”

Yes, just as any description of the sweetness of honey would not suffice…

… unless one actually experiences it!

So it is with the Lord!

The sweetness of the Lord, however described by others cannot suffice…

… unless one actually experiences it!

St Paul experienced the “sweetness of the Lord”…

… and he gave his life for the Lord – in passion and in zeal.

What about us?

>> Are we ready to stick our lives into the “jar of God’s honey of love?”

God bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “ Fruits that are very delicate and decays easily like cherries, apricots and strawberries remain good for the whole year, if preserved in sugar or honey

>> So it is with our hearts – though frail and feeble – they are kept safe from the corruption of sin…

… when preserved in the sugar and honey of the incorruptible Flesh and Blood of God!”

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January 24, 2020 – 2nd Week of Ordinary Time, Year 2)

“Learning the Divine Attitude to become more and more gentle, patient and simple!”

(Based on 1 Sam 24:2-20 and Mk 3:13-19 and Feast of St Francis de Sales)

Three different incidents are a told of a person, who was known to struggle with anger…

… yet would deal with it, with a lot of maturity and patience.

1. The first incident is of stray man who walked through the streets, and was trying to ‘do him in’ – trying to harm the person.

This person however, would tell him:

“I am told you wish me harm. I can promise you that even if you had put out one of my eyes, I would still look kindly upon you with the other!”

2. The second incident is when he would be insulted by a certain high official and he was asked, why he did not lose his temper. He would admit and say:

“At that time and many other times, I was seething with anger like water in a pot, boiling over the fire; but that by the Grace of God, even if the violent efforts to resist such passion endangered my life…

… I would not let myself go!”

3. The third incident would be when the person would be instigated to lose temper and to speak badly to a young man. This would be his reaction to the same:

“What did you want me to do in the matter?

…I did what I could to arm myself with an anger that was not sinful. I took my heart in my two hands, but I did not have the courage to dress him down.

>> To tell you the truth, I was afraid of losing in a quarter of an hour this little bit of liquid of gentleness…

… which I have attempted to gather for twenty-two years, drop by drop like dew in the vessel of my puny heart!”

All these three incidents would be occasions when a person – like any of us – in the normal circumstance would have got angry and lost patience.

>> However, this person, with the Grace of God remained calm and composed.

This person is St Francis de Sales – known as the Gentleman Saint…

… whose feast we celebrate today.

His life is a great inspiration to all of us…

… as he would allow himself to be moulded by the Grace of God and his honest efforts to grow in virtue and holiness.

Even though he had a disposition towards losing patience, St Francis de Sales would allow God’s Mighty Love to transform him towards gentleness and kindness…

… and “to repay evil not with evil, but to do good to people”!

The First Reading of the Day (1 Sam 24:2-20) is a marvelous exhortation on the need to “repay evil not with evil, but with good!”

David and his men are in the Desert of En Gedi.

>> It is a wild place of cliffs, caves, wilderness and of springs.

Saul – along with nearly three thousand chosen people – who was in search of David to have him killed…

… goes into a cave to relieve himself.

David gets an opportunity to kill Saul, who had in fact, come to kill him!

Here was a neat chance to take revenge and settle scores.

David would even be instigated by his fellow men:

“The men of David said to him, “Here is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘I will give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it seems good to you.” (1 Sam 24:4)

David, however, would deny “doing evil for evil!”

>> Instead, he follows the Divine Strategy of “doing good, even in the face of evil!”

He spares the life of Saul – who is the anointed of the Lord – and even goes on to make an oath of not harming him!

Here is David following the great Divine Strategy, and invites and inspires us to follow the same:

“Doing evil for evil is bad!”

Doing nothing for evil is better!

Doing good for evil is best!”

The Gospel of the Day (Mk 3:13-19) presents Jesus Who moves about with His Ministry of “failing to stop in the face of evil, and continuing to do good!”

Jesus, in the midst of a ministry, of people rejecting him, and failing to accept His words…

… refuses to give in to failure or to stop doing the good.

>> Instead, “He responds to evil, by doing good” and establishes a band of twelve chosen ones…

… who are to join Him and continue His Noble Mission of “doing good, even in the face of evil!”

The twelve disciples who are chosen (Mk 3:13-19) would be schooled in the Discipleship of the Lord…

… to “leave everything and adopt the Divine Strategy of ‘doing good, even in the face of evil’”

We are invited to grow into Christians who display the Love and Mercy of God to people…

… by a life of gentleness and patience!

>> David would beautifully display this dimension by sparing the life of Saul and giving us the great lesson of “respect and honour” that is due to all the anointed and consecrated ones!

>> Jesus, remarkably responds to hostile and antagonistic situations in His Ministry by establishing a “group of people who would be invited to become agents of the Lord’s Mercy and Compassion!”

>> St Francis de Sales, wonderfully overcame his weaknesses in order to grow in the virtues of gentleness, kindness and love of God, and to be known as “the Gentleman Saint!”

Let the readings of the Day and the Saint of the Day – St Francis de Sales – inspire and help all of us to become “His Missionaries of Mercy and Compassion” in the world…

… by living the simple virtues of gentleness, patience and simplicity!

May the following popular quotes of the Gentleman Saint – St Francis de Sales – inspire and strengthen us:

>> “Bloom where you are planted”

>> “Be what you are and be at its best”

>> “I have made a pact with my tongue… not to speak, when my heart is troubled!”

>> “A spoonful of honey attracts more bees than a barrel of vinegar”

>> “Be patient with all things; but first of all, with yourself!”

>> “Praying daily for half an hour is essential, except when you are busy… in those times, an hour!”

Wish you all a very Happy Feast of St Francis De Sales!

>> With joy and love, let us proclaim with him, “Vive Jesus…Live Jesus!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “God takes pleasure to see you take your little steps…

… and like a good father who holds his child by the hand, He will accommodate His steps to yours and will be content to go no faster than you.

>> Why do you worry?”

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January 23, 2020 – 2nd Week of Ordinary Time, Year 2

“Being attracted to the Presence of the Lord, to become more and more like Him!”

(Based on 1 Sam 18: 6-9, 37, 19:1-7 and Mk 3:7-12)

A magnet is an object made of certain materials which creates a magnetic field around itself.

>> This magnetic field causes objects of certain properties to attract to itself…

The closer the objects are to the magnet, the stronger they are pulled to the attracting force.

Another interesting thing is that…

… objects attached to the magnet, over a certain period of time, themselves become magnetized and are able to attract other things to itself.

Divine Love constantly invites us to be attracted to Divine qualities…

… and to radiate the same in our lives.

The First Reading of the Day (1 Sam 18: 6-9, 37, 19:1-7) presents contrasting characteristics…

… the negative condition of jealousy: displayed by Saul, the king

… the positive quality of appreciation: radiated by Jonathon, his son

Saul is unable to digest the fact that the people sing higher praises of David and felt envious of his rising popularity:

“Saul was very angry, for this saying displeased him. He said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands; what more can he have but the kingdom? So Saul eyed David from that day on.” (1 Sam 18:8-9)

Jonathon, his son, however displayed a lot of maturity and exuded a sense of goodness and appreciation

>> “Jonathan spoke well of David to his father Saul, saying to him, “The king should not sin against his servant David, because he has not sinned against you, and because his deeds have been of good service to you” (1 Sam 19:4)

Jonathan had responded positively to Divine Love, Which constantly invited him to be attracted to Divine qualities…

… and to radiate the same in his life.

The Gospel of the Day (Mk 3:7-12) is this wonderful presentation of Jesus Who radiates Divine qualities….

… and attracts many to by His Charismatic personality – like a magnet!

St Mark beautifully presents this attractive power of the Lord through the words:

“A large number of people followed from Galilee and from Judea.

Hearing what He was doing, a large number of people came to Him also from Jerusalem, from Idumea, from beyond the Jordan and from the neighbourhood of Tyre and Sidon” (Mk 3: 7-8)

The popularity of the Lord was spreading far and wide…

>> His power over sin had many to look up to Him…

>> His authoritative teaching was astonishing to many…

>> His dominance over evil spirits was awe-inspiring for many…

>> His amazing healing power had caused a stir among people…

Like a magnet, the Lord was attracting many to Himself!

>> Like a magnet, the Lord was pulling variety of people to Himself!

The magnetic and charming power of the Lord attracts us too..

… But do we remain willing to get attracted to this amazing force?

The Living Presence of the Lord in our midst is in the Holy Eucharist.

>> The Holy Eucharist is the powerful magnet that can pull and attract many!

The tragedy in our life is that very often, this “magnetic” Eucharistic presence remains abandoned and forsaken!

It’s a pity that the Living Lord is hardly visited in the Blessed Sacrament!

>> Chapels and Churches often remain empty and forlorn…

>> Very few to visit Jesus to say Hello to Him, in the Eucharist!

We sometimes are reducing ourselves to a generation seeking only after mighty wonders!

>> We sometimes are making ourselves to be a people wanting only fascinating miracles!

>> We sometimes are forming ourselves to be ones who are attracted only to external sensations!

But Eucharist – the greatest wonder and miracle of the world often remains unnoticed!

There is nothing more sublime in this world than the Holy Eucharistic Presence!

>> There is nothing more beautiful than moments spent before the Eucharistic Lord!

>> There is nothing more awesome than an experience of love in the Holy Eucharist!

Am I ready to get attracted and charmed by this magnetic presence of the Holy Eucharist?

>> The Lord waits for us…every moment…every day!

>> The Lord seeks for us…every second…every hour!

We may have different excuses to evade and avoid time before His presence…

>> Maybe too many works and occupations…

>> Maybe a feeling that it is too dry and boring to be with Him…

>> Maybe an attitude that social works suffice and go beyond all such pious devotions…

But no excuse and no theory can give justification to miss the Presence of the Lord!

It is possible that some of us may have the negative condition of jealousy: displayed by Saul

>> But we are invited to imbibe the positive quality of appreciation: radiated by Jonathon!

Jesus is the magnet who can infuse us with power and strength!

>> The more closer we are, the more attracted we be!

>> The more we remain with Him, the more we become like Him!

May the Magnetic Power of the Holy Eucharist be sought more!

>> May the Magnetic Love of the Holy Eucharist be longed more!

And may, we, in turn, become a magnetic Presence of the Lord to others!

… Seeking the Eucharist, to be a Eucharist to the other!

… Loving the Eucharist to break and share oneself to the other!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “The slow pace of our perfection has to be borne with patience…

… provided that on our part we always do whatever we can to continue advancing!”

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January 22, 2020 – 2nd Week of Ordinary Time, Year 2

“Stepping forward in faith, with the Lord at the helm, in the battles of our life!”

(Based on 1 Sam 17: 32-33, 37, 40-51 and Mk 3:1-6)

A popular story with a minor variation goes as follows:

A man fell off a cliff, but managed to grab a branch of a tree on the way down.

The following conversation then proceeded:

“Is anyone up there?”

“I am here. I am the Lord. Do you believe me?”

“Yes, Lord, I believe. I really believe, but I can’t hang on much longer.”

“That’s all right, if you really believe you have nothing to worry about.

>> I will save you. Just let go of the branch.”

After a moment of pause, the many continued and sad:

>> “Is anyone else up there?”

The man failed to depend on the Lord when the “crunch situation” was encountered!

Faith and Trust in the Lord requires us to follow His Word and to be assured that His Providence will take us through!

The First Reading of the Day (1 Sam 17: 32-33, 37, 40-51) is a wonderful story of a young little man who trusted immensely in God in defeating a gigantic enemy…

… the story of God defeating Goliath through the instrumentality of David!

This popular story is a wonderful saga of faith and the Power of Depending on the Lord for everything.

On the other side, this story also teaches us that failure to have the Lord as the strength of life can paralyze and cripple our life with fear and inactivity…

… as we see in the life of Saul.

Saul being the king should have taken the lead to lead the Israelites against the gigantic Goliath

>> But he measured only his human capabilities and strengths in calculating the battle strategy

David however, first counted on the Lord, before gathering together his human skills and expertise!

>> “I cannot walk with these; for I am not used to them.” (1 Sam 17:39)

>> “You come to me with sword and spear and javelin; but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied!” (1 Sam 17:45)

We understand an important truth here:

In our life, we are often on the battlefield, with Satan as the gigantic Goliath…

… challenging us in our faith

… laughing us at our face

>> Do we understand that if we hold on, in faith, it is the Lord Himself Who fights for us?

>> Do we deepen our conviction that our faithfulness will be rewarded by God with the victory shout?

Jesus in the Gospel had to fight the deadly battle with “the hardness of hearts of people!” (Cf. Mk 3:5)

>> Faced with a man who had a withered hand…

… the Lord had to encounter face-to-face with a Goliath – with the face of indifference, unbelief and animosity – in the Pharisees and the Herodians (Cf Mk 3:6)

The man with the withered hand was asked by Jesus to “Come forward” (Cf Mk 3:5)

… to come forward in the battle of life – in faith – to defeat the forces of unbelief!

… to come forward in the war against Satan – in trust – to slay the head of indifference and animosity!

Just as David would “come forward” in faith and trust – totally depending on the Lord’s power…

… we need to step ahead by taking complete refuge in the Divine Providence of the Lord!

We may have our moments when we “hang onto the branches of life” in our moments of struggles and crisis

>> As the Lord invites us to trust in His Word, we need to check if we fail to depend on the Lord when the “crunch situations” are encountered!

Yes, Faith and Trust in the Lord requires us to follow His Word…

… and to be assured that His Providence will take us through!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “There are three things we must do to be at peace: a. Have a pure intention to desire the honor and glory of God in all things

b. Do the little that we can unto that end, following the advice of our spiritual father

c. And leave all the rest to God’s care!”

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Jan 21 (2nd Week of Ordinary Time, Year 2)

“Move towards a spirituality of the heart – seeing the way, God looks at people and the world!”

(Based on 1 Sam 16:1-13 and Mk 2:23-28)

A very popular story is said of a speaker who started off his seminar by holding up a $20 note.

He asked, “Who would like this $20 bill?”

Hands started going up.

He said, “I am going to give this $20 to one of you but first, let me do this.”

>> He proceeded to crumple the dollar bill up.

He then asked, “Who still wants it?”

>> Still the hands were up in the air.

“Well,” he replied, “What if I do this?”

>> And he dropped it on the ground and got it more crumpled and dirty.

“Now who still wants it?”

The hands still continued to go up!

The worth of the money is not in the external aspect…

… but in the internal value!

So much more is the value of a human person…

… whose value is measured by the heart!

God gives this mighty message through the First Reading of the Day (1 Sam 16:1-13) when He reminds Samuel:

“For the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (1 Sam 16:7b)

The passage is about Prophet Samuel being asked by the Lord to anoint one of the sons of Jesse as the successor king to Saul.

Samuel learns an important principle that reigns in the heart of God: External appearances can be deceptive; the real worth of a person is in the value of his heart!

>> “For My Thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My Ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My Ways higher than your ways and My Thoughts than your thoughts” (Is 55:8-9)

God values the love and commitment that a person has in the heart, than at just the external appearances.

>> “… only You know what is in every human heart!” (1 Kings 8:39)

Samuel was under the impression that one of the seven older sons of Jesse would be the future king.

But God always knows to spring a surprise!

>> He would place His Heart on the youngest lad, David – the shepherd boy

… “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong” (1 Cor 1:27)

So often we get carried away by the external appearances.

>> But the Lord invites us to see the way He does: Look at the heart!

David was tending the sheep, when he was called by God

>> His family would have never had a thought like this

>> All the people had totally overlooked him and never considered him as even a “possibility!”

So often it can happen to us, that…

… people don’t mind us

… people overlook us and even put us down

… people make fun of us and we are disgraced often!

But in all such “unlucky” or “unfortunate” or “unfair” situations of life…

… trust in the Lord and know that He loves, accepts and appreciates us, the way we are!

Jesus in the Gospel (Lk 2:23-28) exhorts the people to have a “heart spirituality” than a mere “law fulfilling religion!”

>> Learn to obey God more, not because you are afraid, but because you love Him much!

Let us deepen our conviction that the value of a human person…

… is to be measured by the heart!

We seek today the intercession of St Agnes of Rome – the thirteen year old girl – who offered her life in martyrdom to the Lord

She knew the worth of her life consisted in the fact that she was deeply loved by the Lord…

… and that her faithfulness to the consecration to the Lord was her strength

And so with deep conviction, she would exclaim:

>> “You may stain your sword with my blood…

… but you will never profane my body that I have consecrated to Christ.”

>> “Christ made my soul beautiful with the jewels of grace and virtue…

… I belong to Him whom the angels serve!”

May the life and words of St Agnes inspire us, as we seek to grow in our “heart spirituality”

… of understanding that we ought to defer judgment on people, by merely look at their externals – and instead, to leave space for the Mercy and Providence of God to reign in life!

… and of deepening the conviction that our worth is in the fact that God loves, accepts and appreciates us, the way we are!

God bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “The King of Glory does not reward His servants according to the dignity of their office…

… but according to the humility and love with which they have exercised it!”

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Jan 20 – 2nd Week of Ordinary Time, Year 2

“Trust the Lord’s Word in complete obedience and be open to the Ways of God”

(Based on 1 Sam 15:16-23 and Mk 2:18-22)

A popular legend is told of a certain king who needed a faithful servant.

Two men were candidates for the office.

The king took both at fixed wages, and his first order was to fill a cane basket with water from a neighboring well…

… saying that he would come in the evening and see their work.

After putting in one or two basketfuls, one man said:

“What is the good of doing this useless work?

As soon as we put the water in one side, it runs out the other.”

The other however, answered:

“But we have our wages, haven’t we?

>> The use is the master’s business, not ours.”

“I am not going to do such fool’s work,” replied the other.

Throwing down his basket, he went away.

The other man continued until he had exhausted the well.

>> Looking down into it he saw something shining – a diamond ring.

“Now I see the use of pouring water into a basket,” he cried, “If the basket had brought up the ring before the well was emptied, it would have been found in the basket.

>> Our work was not useless!”

The obedient servant understood the importance of trusting in the word of the master…

… and he would reap the benefits of gaining the approval of the master!

Christians must believe that their Divine Master knows what is best, and obey His commands…

… and in due time, they will know and understand the worth of the Master’s Word!

Failure to obey the words and commands of the Lord will lead to our downfall…

… and this is highlighted in the First Reading of the Day (1 Sam 15:16-23) through the fall of King Saul.

The reading begins with Samuel reminding Saul of the innumerable favours and blessings He had received from the Lord.

>> “Though you are little in your own eyes, are you not the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel.” (1 Sam 15:17)

Saul was blessed with many blessings and protection from the Lord

>> And these favours therefore demanded a greater faithfulness from Saul!

Each favour from the Lord ought to be a reminder of our Sacred Duty to love Him more!

>> Each blessing from the Lord should be a sign of we being invited to be more faithful to Him!

Saul however, failed to display this obedience and faithfulness to the Lord.

God had commanded him not to retain any of the spoils of the battle that he was to have with the Amalekites…

… Saul would however, not fully obey the Lord in this matter – and would retain the best of the spoils that he got

>> “And the Lord sent you on a mission, and said, ‘Go, utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.’ Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord? Why did you swoop down on the spoil, and do what was evil in the sight of the Lord?” (1 Sam 15:18-19)

Even though Saul apparently had a good intention – to use these spoils as sacrifice to God…

… God was not pleased with him, because what God demands is “an obedient heart than the choicest sacrifice!”

>> “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obedience to the voice of the Lord?

Surely, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.

For rebellion is no less a sin than divination, and stubbornness is like iniquity and idolatry.” (1 Sam 15:22-23)

In the Gospel, we have the Pharisees and the Scribes who question Jesus on the aspect of fasting (Mk 2:18-22)

>> The Pharisees and Scribes were stuck on following their own ways of understanding the ways of God…

.. and failed to have an openness and docility to the Will of God!

Each of us are invited to allow the “New Wine of God’s Word” to be filled in the “new wineskin of our minds – in obedience and openness!”

>> We are also warned to not try to patch up the “old garment of our disobedience” with the “new garment of God’s Commandments and Instructions!”

Let us remember, “failure to obey the words and commands of the Lord will lead to our downfall!”

>> Let us always trust that our Divine Master knows what is best…

… and thus obeying His commands, may we be blessed to discover the “shining ring” of God’s Love!

Let us today, seek the intercession of St Sebastian and St Fabian…

… and be inspired by their life of martyrdom, to offer our lives in complete obedience to the Will of God!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “The devil doesn’t fear austerity…

… but holy obedience!”

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Jan 19 (Is 49:3,5-6, 1 Cor 1:1-3 and Jn 1:29-34) 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A

“Listening to God’s Will; Living a Life of Holiness; Letting the light of His Love to shine”

Six year old Johny made a trip to some of the European countries with his parents.

On returning back to the Catechism classes, his teacher asked him about his experiences.

And Johny said, “I loved all the churches in Europe – they are so many and they are so beautiful!

They have so many glass paintings on the windows of these bog churches of many saints!”

On hearing the word, “Saint”, the teacher asked Johny: “So tell me, who is a saint?”

And Johny, recollecting those glass paintings on the Church windows said:

“A saint is someone, who allows the Light of the Lord to pass through!”

That’s a beautiful description of a Saint, isn’t it?

>> One who allows the Light of the Lord to pass through!

The Liturgy of the Day invites each of us to allow the Light of the Lord to pass through…

… and become a light – a witness – of God’s Love to the world!

The First Reading (Is 49:3, 5-6) is one of the Four Servant Songs in the Book of Isaiah, about Jesus, the Messiah. (The other three – Is 42:1-9, 50:4-9, 52:13-53:12).

The Servant is named as Israel (Is 49:3)

>> And elsewhere, the nation of Israel, is called the servant of the Lord (Is 41:8-9, 44:1-2, 21; 45:4; 48:20).

But Israel failed in its vocation.

This title of the “Servant of the Lord” is, however, faithfully lived by Jesus…

… who is shown to be the one faithful Israelite (Mt 12:15-21, Phil 2:6-8).

>> This title is later also given to those who make up God’s reconstituted Israel – all those who follow Jesus!

Each of us are thus invited to be “the light to the nations, that His Salvation may reach to the ends of the earth!” (Cf. Is 49:6)

St Paul beautifully shows this way to be the light to the nations: By doing His Will and living a Holy Life!

>> St Paul understood the depth of his vocation by identifying himself with the Will of God…

… “Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God…” (1 Cor 1:1)

>> He also invites the people of Corinthians to live a sanctified life…

… “to the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints…” (1 Cor 1:2)

When we do the Will of God in our lives and live a holy life, we allow God’s light to shine through us

>> When doing what God wants becomes the first priority for us, we become His Authentic Witnesses!

This is what we find St John the Baptist doing in the Gospel: Following the Will of God, he takes up this mission and duty of “being a light – a witness!”

>> “The next day John saw Jesus coming towards him and declared, ‘Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, “After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.” (Jn 1:29-30)

Jesus would later testify to this fact when He tells about John the Baptist:

“He was a burning and shining lamp…” (Jn 5:35)

Our Christian lives are to be lived…

… by seeking and doing God’s Will!

… by living a holy life!

It is this transparency and openness to the Will of God that will help us to allow the Light of the Lord to pass through…

… and become a light – a witness – of God’s Love to the world!

May our prayer be, like the words of that beautiful hymn to our Blessed Mother:

“Mamma Mary, help me be open

To let the Light shine through me

>> Mamma Mary, teach me obedience,

>> Make me transparent like You!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Faith is like a bright ray of sun light.

>> It enables us to see God in all things…

… as well as all things in God!”

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