Dec 9 (Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of our Blessed Mother)

A priest went to visit a violent criminal who was condemned to death…

… hoping to prepare his soul to die well.

But the man wouldn’t even talk to him.

The priest pleaded and begged him to get reconciled with God…

… but the man’s heart was highly closed!

Finally, as a last resort, the priest entrusted himself to the Blessed Virgin Mary and then said to the criminal, “Before I leave, will you grant me one little favor?”

The man, with an intention to get rid of the bothersome priest, said he would.

“Let us then,” the priest responded, “Say one Hail Mary.”

So, together they began to pray that simple prayer…

… “Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with You…”

But they hadn’t even got through the first sentence when the criminal turned pale…

… and his voice started to shake.

The priest to continued the Hail Mary…

… and as he finished tears started to flow from the man’s face, and he fell on his knees at the priest’s feet.

As soon as the prayer was done, the man asked to make confession.

He then confessed his sins with a great sense of repentance!

The words, “Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with you…”

… had ignited the spark of repentance in him!

Yes, that’s the power of the intercession of Mother Mary!

>> She is the refuge of sinners

Her life of Faithfulness to God’s Grace, is an inspiration to all of us…

… to live an Immaculate and Holy Life!

Today, we celebrate the Solemn Feast of the beginning of the faithful life of the Most Beautiful and Loved Creation of God: The Feast of the Immaculate Conception of our Blessed Mother.

Sin is part of every human life.

St Paul testifies to this fact when he says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23)

By themselves, human beings are incapable of freeing themselves from sin.

Therefore…

… Everyone needs a Saviour

… Everyone needs a Redeemer

But God, in His infinite wisdom had thought of the most excellent way of redeeming humanity.

>> Salvation was to be accomplished not through any magical power

>> Salvation was to be brought about not through some superhuman force

Rather, the salvation of humanity was to be won by a Human Himself – the most perfect Human.

>> This perfect Human deserved and required the most sinless of all wombs for being born

>> This perfect Human demanded and necessitated the most immaculate of all lives to be nurtured

Thus, God in His perfect wisdom, applied the Grace of Redemption and Salvation to the One He had chosen – Mary of Nazareth.

Therefore…

>> Mary is the first recipient of the Redemption of Christ!

>> Mary is the first fruit of the Salvation, won by Christ!

This is the story of the Immaculate Conception of Mother Mary.

The Holy Scripture testifies to this Immaculate nature of our Blessed Mother through the words of Angel Gabriel to Her, “Hail, FULL of Grace!” (Lk 1:28)

Thus, the Immaculate Conception of our Blessed Mother points to Her sinlessness, Her being full of Grace, Her perfection in holiness and Her absolute adherence to the Will of God.

But, hey…

… wait a moment!

>> Are not all these things pointing to Mary simply being somebody “too-special” and almost like she being “supernatural”?

>> Are not all these things telling us that Mary was simply just “not like us” and we can never ever achieve or even aspire to be what She was?

Well… Undoubtedly, Mary lived a life that was “too-special” and a life that was “supernatural” in holiness.

But we need to bring to our mind a very vital aspect…

Though the birth of being sinless, was a gift granted to Her…

… the fact of remaining sinless all through Her life, was Her choice!

Though the birth of being full of grace, was a gift bestowed on Her…

… the fact of remaining always in the Grace of God, was Her choice!

Though the birth of being perfect in holiness, was a gift endowed on Her…

… the fact of remaining holy, was Her choice!

Like any other human person, She too…

… went through the crises of life

… faced humiliation and rejection in life

… had to face the rock of uncertainty and doubts of life

But, it was Her radical choice for God and Her absolute preference to the Will of God, that made Her to remain Immaculate all through Her Life.

“Yes, Lord… Thy Will be done” (Lk 1:38) was a chorus that She sang in all the moments of life!

Today, on this Feast day, this our Blessed Mother invites and exhorts us, also…

… to make a choice for God, always, and lead a sinless life

… to always opt for God alone, at all times, and being immaculate in life

… to unswervingly be faithful to God’s Will, and thus seek to be perfect in life

The challenge is great… the efforts required are radical.

>> But we are not left alone in this “pursuit of holiness” (1 Cor 9:24)

Our Blessed Mamma – the Beautiful Lady in blue and white – grace in holiness and immaculate in love – holds our hands and tells us:

“My Little Child, I am with you!

I love you, and together, we shall walk in this exciting path of Holiness…

… towards My Son and Your Brother…

… towards Our Saviour Jesus!”

Yes, may we give heed to the loving call of our Blessed Mother

>> And be fervent and zealous to lead a holier life, pleasing to God…

… as we pray, “Hail Mary, Full of Grace, the Lord is with You…!”

Happy Feast of our Immaculate Mamma!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “”Our Lady and Holy Mistress alone was exempt from this evil [of being conceived in sin].

>> She who was to conceive God first in her heart and in her spirit…

… before conceiving him in her chaste womb!”

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Dec 8 (Mt 3:1-12)

It was December in the year 1903.

After several attempts, the Wright brothers – achieved success in getting their “flying machine” off the land.

They were very much thrilled!

They telegraphed this message Katherine, their sister, informing her of the great invention:

“We have actually flown 120 feet! Will be home for Christmas”

The sister was also super-excited.

She rushed to the editor of the local newspaper, to share the great news and showed him the telegraph message.

The editor glanced at the message and said:

“How nice! So the boys will be home for Christmas!”

Oops…

The Editor had completely missed the big news, isn’t it?

The big news was that “man had flown for the first time in history!!”

>> But he totally “missed the point”!

How often is this our experience too in life – Missing the Important Points and settling for lower ones!

We often fail to give attention to the most important things of life…

… instead, we get carried away by some other less priorities of life!

>> Isn’t it?

Something similar had happened to the  people of Israel as well…

>> God had promised them of the coming of the Messiah…

… but they “missed the point”..

… and thus, failed to recognise the Saviour He came!

God had promised that Prophet Elijah of old would return…

… but they “missed the point”…

… and thus, failed to recognize the Prophet when he came!

This is what John the Baptist in today’s Gospel will point out…

… that people “missed the important points” in life!

>> And so he calls them “to repent” and come back to realise and recognize the priorities of life!

John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, had come, preaching the message of repentance and conversion of heart (Mt 3:1)

The Gospel of St Matthew says that John the Baptist…

… wore a clothing made of camel’s hair

… had a leather belt around his waist

… had food of locusts and wild honey (Mt 3: 4)

This appearance was very similar to that of Elijah, the Prophet  (2 Kings 1:8)

But in their encounter with John the Baptist, the people failed to recognise him as the Elijah “who was to come”

>> They “missed the point”!

And thus John the Baptist came to be …

… rejected

… derided

… finally killed!

Jesus also will echo this aspect when He will tell later in His ministry:

“I tell you, Elijah has already come and they did not recognise him; but did to him, whatever they pleased” (Mt 17: 12)

John the Baptist realised that the people were “missing the point” with respect to…

… having a false hope in their patriarchal faith

… understanding the law and the prophets

That’s why, he tells the people – quoting the patriarch Abraham and the prophet Isaiah – …

… “Do not presume to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father'” (Mt 3:9a)

… “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight His paths” (Mt 3: 3b)

The people of Israel had perhaps taken for granted…

… that their great heritage – consisting of great patriarchs like Abraham and Isaac and Jacob – would be credited to them, for their salvation!

… that the oracles of the prophets – like Isaiah – did not apply to their life and they could go on living a life as they pleased!

But John the Baptist…

>> The fearless prophet

>> The unassuming forerunner

>> The uncompromising martyr

… would challenge them with the Kingdom ‘ringtone’: “Repent!” (Mt 3:2)

All his life would be an echo of this Kingdom Ringtone – “Repent”

… “Repent” – for you have “missed the point” of living as per the commandments of the Lord

… “Repent” – for you have “missed the point” in failing to recognise the Truth and Power of the Lord

… “Repent” – for you have “missed the point” by giving priority to your own whims and fancies of life

Many times in our life, we too “miss the point” in our encounter with the Lord…

>> He gives His Beautiful Word to us…

… but we fail to be encouraged by It and live by It

>> He makes many wonderful promises of assurance and guidance…

…  but we fail to live a life of trust and confidence

>> He offers Himself wonderfully in the Sacraments, especially Confession and Holy Eucharist…

… but we fail to derive the necessary fruits from Them

Today, the Gospel invites us, to look at God’s Promises, God’s Word’s and God’s Will…

… and discover the true purpose of it in our lives.

This is more true as we prepare for Christmas…

CHRIST is the BIG POINT of Christmas

But perhaps…

… we “miss the point” by giving much priority to only external decorations and festivities

… we “miss the point” by forwarding Advent greetings, but failing to practise them ourselves

… we “miss the point”  by commercialising this whole season, and failing to dare to grow spiritually

>> Yes, let us dare not “miss Him”!

May we prepare our hearts to receive His Word as He wishes, in our life…

… and seek to live, in total accord with Him!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “See, this divine lover is at the gate.

>> He does not merely knock, but He remains there knocking.

>> He calls to the soul!”

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Dec 7 (Mt 9:35 – 10:1, 5-8)

One of the exciting things in life, which many of us have gone through, is learning a bicycle.

These days, bicycles come with a special set of training wheels that are attached to the back wheels.

>> The two little wheels attached to the back wheel are there to help provide balance and confidence to the rider.

But many of us, would have also learnt the bicycle in the old-fashioned way…the parent or a friend who ran alongside the one learning, until the rider got under way.

This person, who would be accompanying, would most often say three things, while learning this art of cycling…

1. Always keep the eye on the road…

…to keep the focus

2. Don’t lean to the left or the right side…

… to have proper balance

3. Remember, I am always there with you…

… to feel the confidence and trust

These three principles would help the person to learn quick this art of cycling.

The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus sending out the Twelve…to learn the Art of Mission…

Like the art of cycling…the Apostles are also given some basic principles…

…the principle to keep focus

… the principle to have a proper balance

… the principle of confidence and trust

The ministry of Jesus had gained a lot of popularity.

>> There were crowds of people following Him…

>> There were multitudes of persons attracted to Him…

The Heart of the Lord is moved in empathy for these people.

>> The Gospel says, “When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Mt 9:36)

The ministry of Jesus had also gained a lot of opposition.

> Many of the religious leaders were greatly taken aback by the raw authoritative power of Jesus

> Many of the Scribes and Pharisees were greatly offended by the blunt and open challenges by Jesus

> Many of the local and family people were greatly scandalized by the boldness and courage of Jesus

But as the saying goes… “Challenges are what makes life interesting, and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful!”

Though opposition and challenges were raging hard against the ministry of Jesus…

… He remained courageous and determined.

And so, He chose the Twelve…

… who would be with Him and to be sent out (Mk 3:14)

The Twelve were to be His extension – of His Teachings, of His Works

And so, He not only chooses the Twelve…but He also sends them on a mission

A mission…

…with an authority over unclean spirits

…to proclaim the Kingdom of God

… to preach repentance and peace

In this art of mission, the Lord gives a few instructions and principles…

… and “also gave authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness” (Mt 10:1)

The Twelve were to learn…

… to keep focus on the preaching of repentance and bringing healing to people

… to have a proper balance by not getting discouraged in the face of any sort of rejection

…  to have confidence and trust in the Lord Who was with them to provide what they needed

Each of us, by virtue of our following Christ, is a missionary…

>> Am I focussing on preaching only His Gospel and living only His life….

…or do I get distracted with other agenda and motives?

>> Am I having the proper balance in living the Christian life even though I face many pressures…

…or do I lose the balance and fall into the pits of lethargy, disappointments and laxity?

>> Am I having the confidence and the trust in the Lord and bank on Him at every turn of life…

… or do I experience perplexities of anxiety, despair and despondency?

The art of missions is exciting.

>> We may feel a little afraid at times…

>> We may sometimes even fall..

But we only need to follow some of the basic principles, coupled with His Grace…

… to be focussed on the Lord alone

… to be balanced in prayer and faithfulness

… to be trusting and being confident in His awesome power

And when we embark on this art of mission…

…Just like a caring parent, who is happy to see one’s child cycling confidently…

…our Heavenly Father will also look at us with much happiness and joy and be proud of us!

Are we ready to cycle our way, with our Heavenly Father, in this exciting art of Mission?

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “The same everlasting Father who cares for you today will care for you tomorrow and every day.

>> Either he will shield you from suffering or give you unfailing strength to bear it.

Be at peace then…

… and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginings

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Dec 6 (Mt 9:27-31)

A little child, during a forest expedition, was asked by his father to get across a letter urgently to the village.

The father pointed over a trail, over which the boy had never gone.

“But Father” protested the child, “I have never been through this way.

I do not even see the path that will reach our village.

Will it be reasonable for me to travel along this path? ”

“Do you see the trail” replied the father, “as far as that big tree down there?”

The boy replied, “Oh, yes, I do see that far”

“Well” continued the father, “when you get there by the tree, you will see the trail a little further ahead; and so on, until you get within sight of the houses of our village.

Just have faith in me and obey my words!”

This is the journey of our Christian life…

… where the element of faith has to take over the aspect of seeing!

… where the element of obedience has to take over the aspect of rationality!

The Gospel of the Day is a beautiful exposition into these insights, which are highly essential for our life as a Disciple of Christ and a Missionary of His Kingdom.

The Gospel passage under consideration is the healing of the two blind men in the Gospel of St Matthew (Mt 9: 27-31)

One of the strange aspects that we could notice in this incident is what happens after the healing has taken place.

St Matthew says that, after their eyes were opened, “Jesus sternly charged them, ‘See that no one knows it'” (Mt 9:30)

>> He forbids the two men from making his fame known to others.

The Greek word that is used here for “sternly charged” is very interesting and revealing.

St Mathew uses the word, “embrimaomai”.

>> “Embri-mao-mai” literally means to snort with anger/displeasure (like a horse)!

In other words, Jesus “roared with rage” when He ordered the men to not proclaim about Him.

Why did Jesus adopt such an “angry stance”?

The Jewish people were longing for a Messiah who would save them from the pagan Roman Rulers.

>> Their understanding of the Messiah was purely from a temporal perspective – a prince who would wage a war and destroy the Roman enemies

If it was known outside that the Messiah, the much-awaited King had arrived, many Jews would undoubtedly seek to enthrone Him.

>> They would make efforts to usher in a physical kingdom with a violent expulsion of the Roman rulers!

We see such a tendency on many occasions in the Gospels, but more explicitly after the multiplication of the loaves in the Gospel of St John

>> “Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry Him off to make Him King, He withdrew to the mountain alone” (Jn 6:15)

But, such a move would have jeopardized the Mission of the Lord!

>> He came not to be a king as any other king…

… rather He, the King of kings, came to reign over the hearts and lives of people!

>> He came not to be someone who would merely rescue from material oppression…

… rather, He came to be the Saviour who would free the world from sin and every bondage!

It is also to be seen that the two blind men addressed Jesus as “the Son of David” (Mt 9:27b)

>> This was the first time, in the Gospel of St Matthew, that Jesus was proclaimed by someone as “Son of David”

“Son of David” clearly pointed that Jesus was the Messiah.

>> The two blind men were confessing that Jesus is the Messiah!

Therefore, if the two men, excited and overjoyed as they were, with their miraculous healing, had gone around proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah…

… there was a grave danger, that the people would be instigated to a rebellion against the Romans

(Such an explanation is also supported by the fact that while healing or performing wonders among the Gentiles, Jesus did not forbid them.

>> The Gentiles, unlike the Jews, did not have any Messianic expectation as such.

For eg: After healing the Gerasene demoniac, Jesus tells him, “Go home to your family and announce to them, all that the Lord in His pity has done for you” –  Mk 5:19)

There is also another point of consideration…

Jesus was the Perfect Physician.

He knew that the blind, when healed, cannot be exposed to the light, all on a sudden.

>> The exposure to the Light has to be gradual.

Jesus, the doctor-par-excellance and the Light of the World (Jn 9:5) knew, that there was great danger, if these spiritually blind would try to immediately go and spread about their experience with the Light

>> The Light would only end up harming them and also those to whom they preached!

And therefore, “Jesus sternly charged them, ‘See that no one knows it'” (Mt 9:30)

What do these things entail for us?

A very important principle as Missionary of Christ and His Kingdom is implied here:

>> “Go only when we are sent to and to whom we are sent to”

This is one of the important basics of any publicly ministry of the Kingdom!

We need to know and realize…

>> The Mission belongs not to me… the Mission belongs to the Lord

>> The works and ministry are not my initiatives… they are solely entrusted to me by the Lord

It is His Work… It is His Ministry… it is His Mission!

>> We are to be His active instruments… We are to be His lively tools… We are to be His dynamic channels!

This realization is highly essential for an effective and faithful Missionary life.

Such a realization, therefore,  directly implies the necessity of Faith and Obedience!

Yes, our life as a missionary ought to be one..

… where the element of faith has to take over the aspect of seeing!

… where the element of obedience has to take over the aspect of rationality!

May our Blessed Lord touch and open our eyes, to “see the trail” that is on ahead of us, in our journey of faith…

… and may hearken to His Words, “Just have Faith in Me and Obey My words!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Don’t get upset with your imperfections. >> Surrender to the Power of God’s Love…

… which is greater than our weakness!”

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Dec 5 (Mt 7:21,24-27)

A Christian who was converted from Judaism was sharing his testimony.

As he shared his views on various preachers whom he had met during the course of conversion, he made a comment:

“The sermons of some preachers used to be magnificent…

…  but their life would be so inconsistent and incompatible to what they spoke from the pulpit!

This would make me think about these preachers in my mind in the following way:

‘When they were at the pulpit, I wished they would never leave it!

>> But when they were out of the pulpit, I wished they would never enter it again!”

That’s why, when I decided to become a Christian, I took a resolution:

‘My Halakah (Jewish term to describe one’s way of “walking”) should always follow my Haggadah (Jewish term to describe ‘the teaching”)!

What about us?

>> “Does our Halakah follow our Haggadah?”

Life judges us, on the basis of how well does our preaching and practicing co-ordinate & complement each other.

>> Life challenges us to bridge the gap between the two essentials of life – one’s talking and one’s walking the talk!

The Gospel of the Day is an invitation to reflect on the words of Jesus:

“Not everyone who calls me Lord, Lord, shall enter the Kingdom of heaven, but he who does the Will of My Father, Who is in heaven” (Mt 7:21)

Our Christian Life is often an experience…

… where we find many professing the faith, but failing to practise!

How often does this situation arise in our own lives and situations too…

We pledge ourselves at trendy events, for the cause of the poor…but we fail to help…

>> Many other people remain quite unnoticed…but become forerunners for the cause of the poor!

We make a big show and be popular as a helpful person…but we fail in some genuine needs..

>> Many other people remain quite unnoticed…but are present with their full force to render help!

We make many resolutions on new year days or birthdays…but fail to materialize them…

>> Many other people remain quite unnoticed…but are able to make many amendments and changes!

We make many promises to the Lord during feast days or novena times…but fail to live up…

>> Many other people remain quite unnoticed…but render much love to the Lord through the year!

We all experience this “I will do”…but “I did not do” experiences in life.

>> Am I also part of this category of “Nominal” Christians?

On the personal Faith Level, this trend is seen more distinctly and vividly…

>> People claim themselves to be Catholics…

… but appear in church only on grand feast days!

>> People appreciate the Catholic teaching…

… but support moral laws which go directly against!

>> People assert having dedicated their lives to God…

… but fail to find time for God and prayer!

>> People declare loving God above all…

… but fail to reject pleasures which hurts and pains Him!

>> People profess and make vows to God…

… but neglect to even try to keep up those promises!

But the Lord clearly declares, on Who will enter the Kingdom of Heaven: “he does the Will of my Father“

Therefore, the proposition is clear:

>> It is not pompous words that will grant life, but carrying out the Will of the Father!

>> It is not fancy talk that will confer true happiness, but practising the Will of the Father!

>> It is not flowery language that will accord blessings, but fulfilling the Will of the Father!

How are we to observe the Will of the Father?

St. Paul explains how we should set about trying to do the Father’s will:

“Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 2:5)

Like Christ…

… when we dare to be merciful and compassionate, we can do the Father’s Will

… when we prioritize other’s interests over selfish ones, we can do the Father’s Will

… when we empty ourselves and became obedient, we can do the Father’s Will

It is not only good news “proclaimed” but good news “practiced”…

… that will win others  to the glorious freedom of forgiveness of sins!

Let us examine sincerely in this Season of Advent…

… and wherever needed, amend our lives

May we have the courage to take and practise the resolution:

‘My Halakah (one’s way of “walking”) should always follow my Haggadah (“the teaching”)

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Grace is never wanting.

>> God always gives sufficient Grace to whoever is willing to receive it!”

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Dec 4 (Mt 15:29-37)

Picnics are a time of great fun and enjoyment.

>> They enrich relationships, nurture relaxation and foster a spirit of joy and peace.

Most of us have been part of picnics…

… either from schools/parishes / as a family / as a community / as a group of friends.

A picnic becomes an occasion to share… to care…

… and to also dare to know each other more.

The Gospel of the Day is a lovely occasion of a Picnic…

… A picnic with Jesus.

A picnic basically has some essential elements…

1. A nice location

2. Joyful interactions

3. Good food

4. A sense of satisfaction and contentment

Our picnic with Jesus in today’s Gospel passage has all these elements.

Come…let’s join Jesus…

… in this wonderful time of a picnic.

1. A nice location:

The mood of a picnic is very often regulated by the choice of the place we make.

>> It should be something exciting, something scenic and something to involve ourselves in.

The location that Jesus chooses for this picnic is a Mountain (Mt 15:29)

A mountain is certainly an exciting place…

… a scenic location and moves our hearts to get involved in its beauty.

The mountain was one of the favourite places of the Lord.

>> This high altitude place was where Jesus could strengthen His attitude towards His mission.

>> He would spend hours of the night in communion with His Father on the mountains.

And so, He invites us to join with Him on the mountains…

… To relax in His love and to experience the coolness of His presence.

… To raise our thoughts to higher levels and overcome the worldly concerns.

2. Joyful interactions:

Great crowds came to Him, having with them the lame, the blind, the deformed, the mute and many others. They placed them at His feet and He cured them (Mt 15:30)

The picnic with Jesus, on the mountain, becomes an occasion of cure and restoration.

On the mountain, Jesus becomes a fountain of healing and the source of joy.

3. Good food

Food is one of the best parts of a picnic.

>> And the Lord lavishes abundant food to all those who were there with Him on the mountain.

Then, He took the seven loaves and the fish, gave thanks, broke the loaves and gave them to His disciples, who in turn, gave them to the crowds  (Mt 15:36)

It seemed to be a situation of starvation and hunger.

>> But the Lord converts this grim situation into an occasion of contentment and blessing.

His compassionate love overflows into a lavish multiplication of the loaves and the fish!

4. A sense of satisfaction and contentment:

Every picnic ideally should end on a note of great fulfilment and bliss.

The picnic with Jesus on the mountain, where He healed a lot of people, spoke His Life-giving words and blessed them with abundant food, becomes moments of happiness.

“They all ate and were satisfied…” (Lk 15:37)

It had been a lovely time for the people in this picnic with the Lord.

>> They had the picnic…

… in a nice scenic location of the mountain

… with many joyful interactions with Jesus, who healed and cured many.

… with good food, in lavishness, provided by the Lord Himself.

… with a great sense of satisfaction and deep fulfilment.

The Lord invites us to join with Him in a picnic with Him…

> To go to the mountain of prayer and intimacy with the Lord.

> To have joyful interactions with Him and receive His spiritual, emotional and physical healings.

> To be blessed with the good food of His Holy Eucharist and His nourishing Word.

> To have a great satisfaction in being filled with immense peace and serenity.

Let us enjoy the picnic with the Lord & make our lives a beautiful one…

… to share… to care

>> And to also dare to know the Lord more and to help each other more.

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Oppose vigorously any tendency to sadness. You must persevere.

>> By means of sorrow the enemy tries to make us weary of good works.

But if he sees that we don’t give them up…

… and that being done in spite of his opposition they have become very meritorious

… he will stop troubling us!”

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Dec 3 (Lk 10:1-6 and Feast of St Francis Xavier)

A story is told of a blind boy who was flying a kite.

He enjoyed this pastime along with others of his own age.

A passer-by, knowing him and wanting to mildly tease the blind-fellow, said:

“Hey, boy! Do you know where is your kite?

You don’t know whether it is on the ground or up in the sky, do you?”

“Oh yes,” said the blind lad, “I do know! It is now quite a fair height up in the air.”

“How do you know that?” asked the passer-by, “you surely can’t see it.”

The boy replied, “I can’t see it, it is true, but I can feel the tug of the string!”

The ‘tug’ of the string help the boy to realise the presence of the kite and to sense its height in the air!

The awareness of the presence of the Divine power in our lives, is such…

>> One may not be able to always see the presence of the Divine, but the believer can surely experience its power and strength!

This experience of “the Divine tug of the string” keeps the life of the believer moving forward and helps to depend on the Divine Presence for strength in life.

The Gospel of the Day is an invitation by Jesus to grow deeper in this “awareness and dependence” on Jesus in our life as a missionary of the Kingdom of God.

After having summoned and authorized the disciples, Jesus sends them ahead of Him, to the places of mission.

In the Gospel of Matthew, the same passage beings with the statement, “Preach, as you go…” (Mt 10:7)

Some other translations would read as “As you go, make a proclamation…”

This is such wonderfully practical, and yet at the same time, a phrase that is often overlooked: “Preach, as you go….” / “As you go… make a proclamation”

Preaching or Proclamation in our times, is often picturized with a limited understanding.

Preaching or proclamation is often understood as that which takes place…

… only from the pulpit or during a service in Church

… only in the form of speaking and explaining the Word of God

But the words of the Lord are worth noting:

“Preach, as you go….” / “As you go… make a proclamation”

Preach, as you go about doing your daily duties and activities

>> As you go about your responsibilities and works, make a proclamation

Preach as you go around meeting different people by sharing His love and joy to all

>> As you go about engaging in numerous actions, make a proclamation by sharing His presence

The act of preaching and proclamation of the Kingdom of God is to be reflected in our every action and movement…

… Whatever we do, may it become an act of proclaiming God’s abundant blessings!

… Whatever work we take up, may it become a moment of preaching God’s amazing providence!

Such an act of Preaching and Proclamation makes it mandatory that one grows deeper in the “awareness and dependence” on Jesus in the life as a missionary of the Kingdom of God.

>>The act of proclamation needs the “awareness” that I am continuing the Great Mission work that has Jesus as the “Initiator”, the “Sustainer” and the “Finale”!

>> The act of preaching needs the “dependency” on the Lord to realise that the Lord alone can provide all the graces, strength and courage for the mission!

This is what was epitomized by St Francis Xavier, whose feast we celebrate today.

>> This Patron of the Missions was filled with a tremendous zeal for salvation of souls and contained in him a contagious enthusiasm of giving Christ to all.

One of his testimonial statement, while undertaking missionary activity in Japan, goes thus: “Sometimes I have lost my voice and strength altogether with repeating again and again the Credo and the other forms.”

May we give heed to the words of the Dynamic Missionary Saint…

>> “It is not the actual physical exertion that counts towards a one’s progress, nor the nature of the task, but by the spirit of faith with which it is undertaken”

>> “It is impossible to find a saint who did not take the two P’s seriously: prayer and penance”

… and seek to grow deeper in our missionary commitment!

Yes, one needs to feel the “tug and the pull of the Divine Lord”…when one goes through

… hardships and difficulties in being a missionary of the Kingdom, in hostile situations

… problems and challenges as we seek to live a true Christian life in the modern world

… meaninglessness or emptiness as we go through the ‘deserts’ and ‘darkness’ in life

And it is this experience of “the Divine tug of the string” that keeps the life of the believer moving forward and to depend on the Divine Presence for strength in life!

Happy Feast of St Francis Xavier!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “By turning your eyes on God in meditation…

… your whole soul will be filled with God.

>> Begin all your prayers in the presence of God!”

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