REFLECTION CAPSULES BOOK – Available also on Amazon India

💫 “REFLECTION CAPSULES” – Daily Reflections based on the Gospel is now available as a Book (paperback)
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REFLECTION CAPSULE – Mar 09, 2021: Tuesday

“Doing away with mathematical countings in pardoning others, knowing that we ourselves have received this favour from the Lord!”

(Based on Dan 3:2, 11-20 and Mt 18:21-35 – Tuesday of the 3rd Week in Lent)

An incident is said of a worker named Richard Weaver (He would later on become a popular preacher of the Word) who was working in a mine.

During the course of the work, unintentionally, he hit a fellow-miner.

The fellow-miner, however lost his cool and retorted: “I feel like giving you a hard smack on your face!”

“Very well”, said Weaver, “If that will do any good, you may do it.”

The man struck him.

Weaver turned to him the other cheek.

The man struck again.

This was repeated five times; and when Weaver presented his cheek for the sixth time, the man turned away, cursing.

Weaver cried after him: “The Lord forgive you, for I do; and the Lord save you!”

The following morning, as work started, this man was the first person that Richard Weaver met.

As Weaver approached him, he burst into tears.

“Oh Richard” he cried as he knelt before him, “do you really forgive me?”

Richard Weaver helped him get up…

As he rose… a changed and transformed man!

That’s the Power of Forgiveness!

The Gospel of the Day presents this Mighty and Power Message of Forgiveness…
… Forgiveness that goes beyond the rules of mathematics!

A common observation that is noticed among many children, is the fear and apprehensions of some subjects in the school or college.

Among these subjects, one which would top the list of subjects which causes tension and undue worry, is certainly, Mathematics!

Many have a fear of this subject which deals with figures and numbers.

Many have an aversion to this subject which deals with digits and numerals.

Well, it’s not known or certain whether Our Lord had any such aversion or fear or apprehension or even dislike for this subject, Mathematics!

But one thing is for certain…
… that the Lord sure loved to keep out Mathematics when dealing with important spiritual dimensions.
… that the Lord indeed would transgress the norms of Mathematics when engaged in vital spiritual aspects.

The Gospel of the Day is an exhibition of this aspect of the Lord going beyond mathematical boundaries in dealing with the beautiful virtue of forgiveness.

The passage begins with the Lord’s chief and one-of-the-first apostles Peter, raising a query to his Master, ” Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” (Mt 18: 21)

It was probably a genuine doubt of Peter, which arose from his own personal experiences.
He must have had some difficulties in forgiving, out of his wavering temperament, perhaps!

But he now puts forward to Jesus a doubt as to what should be the limit of one’s forgiveness.

Peter sought to know the exact boundaries that one must limit oneself, while forgiving.

He wanted clear-cut rules to define the maximum threshold and frontiers of generosity in pardoning.

But the Lord replies firmly, “I say to you, not seven times, but seventy seven times” (Mt 18:22)

The Lord does away with the mathematical rules in forgiveness!
The Lord does not confine to the mathematical stipulations in forgiveness!

“Seventy seven times” would refer a number, unlimited and uncountable!

The frontiers for how many times to forgive are done away with…
The boundaries for how many times to forgive do not hold good…

As the Lord spoke these words to Peter, the apostle would himself have recalled…
“Once beside the sea of Galilee, when I encountered the Holy Master, I realized that I was drowning in the waters of sin… and I had asked pardon from the Lord.
Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man (Lk 5:8)”

These words of the Lord would have again echoed in the ears of Peter, later on, after the resurrection of Jesus….

Once again, beside a Sea… this time, the Sea of Tiberius, Peter experienced the forgiving power of the Lord in accepting back, though he had betrayed Him three times (Jn 21: 15-18)

Many times he had sinned against the Lord…

Many times he had caused pain and ache to the Lord…
Many times he had abandoned and betrayed the Lord…
But every time, the Lord forgave, wholeheartedly!

The Lord was truly the Master, “who practised what He preached”

The Lord was truly the Master, “who forgave unconditionally and without any limits”

This Lord, today seeks to impress on us too, this same attitude of forgiveness.

The teaching on forgiveness, is most certainly easy said than done!

To forgive….especially to forgive repeatedly, is certainly no easy task…

But it would require a deeper experience of the Unconditional Love of the Lord and our own determination, along with His grace, to reach out in forgiveness and pardon to our constantly erring brothers and sisters!

Are we ready to cast away mathematical limitations in forgiving, and extend the mercy of the Lord to others?

Are we ready to do away with mathematical countings in pardoning others, knowing that we ourselves have received this favour from the Lord?

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
PERSEVERANCE IN FAITH AND FAITH AS THE BEGINNING OF ETERNAL LIFE

Faith is an entirely free gift that God makes to man.
We can lose this priceless gift, as St. Paul indicated to St. Timothy: “Wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience…
… by rejecting conscience, certain persons have made shipwreck of their faith.
To live, grow and persevere in the faith until the end we must nourish it with the word of God
We must beg the Lord to increase our faith; it must be “working through charity,” abounding in hope…
… and rooted in the faith of the Church.
Faith makes us taste in advance the light of the beatific vision, the goal of our journey here below. >> Then we shall see God “face to face”, “as He is”.
So faith is already the beginning of eternal life
When we contemplate the blessings of faith even now, as if gazing at a reflection in a mirror…
… it is as if we already possessed the wonderful things which our faith assures us we shall one day enjoy! (CCC # 162-163)


REFLECTION CAPSULE – Mar 08, 2021: Monday

Going to the Lord in our moments of rejection, and seeking solace, healing and consolation from Him!”

(Based on 2 Kings 5:1-15 and Lk 4:24-30 – Monday of the 3rd Week in Lent)

One of the most painful words in perhaps the whole of dictionary is the word … “Rejection”

And this is perhaps one word, that has been experienced in life, by most of us…( if not by all).

Most of us have felt the sting of rejection…
Most of us can recollect instances and situations of rejection even now…
Most of feel a twinge within ourselves when we hear this word ‘rejection’…

The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus, our Master undergoing the painful experience of ‘rejection’.

The background of the Gospel passage of the day is that Jesus is in the Synagogue at Nazareth at the beginning of His ministry.

Being handed over the Scripture from the book of Isaiah, Jesus spoke of the fulfilment of the text that was read:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor….” (Lk 4:18)

The Graciousness of His words and the Eloquence of His speech attracted the audience to Himself.

The first impression was surely a wonderful impression…
… but as time would prove, it is not always the best and lasting impression.

When He began to teach the people of how God has brought His salvation and the message of hope to not just the Jews, but the Gentiles also, murmurs of rejection began to crop up.

The message of straight talk to the heart, which affected their inner lives, caused uneasiness to His listeners.
The delivery of the truth which had a direct bearing upon their lives and attitudes, caused edginess to arise among His listeners.

And so, there happened a “conversion”…
…. a conversion, not for the good, but for the bad!

They were converted from having a good opinion of Jesus to forming a detestable view on Him

They were converted from nodding their heads in approval to shaking their heads and clenching their fists in refutation and denial.

How true a picture is this of many a human nature….

We appreciate those persons who speak what I wish to speak…
… but deny those who speak against us, even if they speak the truth!

We encourage those people who harp the same tune that we wish to hear…
… but terribly denounce those who play the melody for a genuine transformation!

The Lord was rejected!

And He Himself testified to this naked reality, “No prophet is accepted in his own native place” (Lk 4: 24)

The Gospel of John presents this reality in a more dramatic manner, “He came to His own and His own rejected Him!” (Jn 1:11)

Rejection is a part of each of our lives…

And the rejection is much greater and true, when one stands for the Truth and the Virtues of the Gospel!

We get rejected…
… by our friends who don’t approve when we seek to live a holier lives…
… by the society which is unable to appreciate those wanting a sanctified life…

But the Lord assures us.. “In all your rejection, look up to me!”
“There was no one who was rejected as I was…
I was rejected when I was born….
I was rejected when I lived…
I was rejected when I died….”
“Are you also going to reject me… I, who have risen from the dead?”

[Some of us who use the mobile phones in the dictionary mode, (especially the older version – and not the smartphones), would have experienced this simple fact…

When one types the word “rejected” in the dictionary mode, in the older version of the mobile phone, it appears as “selected”…
Try it if you wish….]

The same is true when we type in the word “rejected” in the Divine mode…. before the Lord!
He converts every “reject” to a “select”…

He converts our rejection to a selection for grace and sanctification
He converts our rejection to a selection for purification and strengthening.

Our lives have suffered much pain and our hearts are a canvas of much agony of rejection.

But the Lord today invites us to go to Him and seek solace, healing and consolation from Him.

He who was rejected, is the Lord of acceptance!

He who was rejected, is the Saviour of hope!
He who was rejected, is the God of healing!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
THE NECESSITY OF FAITH AND PERSERVING IN FAITH

Believing in Jesus Christ and in the One who sent him for our salvation is necessary for obtaining that salvation.
Since without faith it is impossible to please (God) and to attain to the fellowship of his sons…
… therefore without faith, no one has ever attained justification
… nor will anyone obtain eternal life – but he who endures to the end!
Faith is an entirely free gift that God makes to man.
We can lose this priceless gift, as St. Paul indicated to St. Timothy: “Wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience.
By rejecting conscience, certain persons have made shipwreck of their faith.
To live, grow and persevere in the faith until the end we must nourish it with the word of God…
… we must beg the Lord to increase our faith
… it must be working through charity, abounding in hope, and rooted in the faith of the Church! (CCC # 161-162)


REFLECTION CAPSULE – Mar 07, 2021: Sunday

(Based on Exod 20:1-17, 1 Cor 1:22-25 and Jn 2:13-25 – 3rd Sunday of Lent, Year B)

This story is told in a particular kingdom, wherein a famous Christian artist – known for his paintings and art…
… once drew a beautiful painting of Christ Crucified – with the caption – “The King reigns on the Throne of the Cross. Is He reigning also on the throne of your lives?”

This painting was gifted to the king on his birthday, with a grand unveiling ceremony…
… with a request by the painter, to place the painting in a prominent place in the palace.

Seeing the painting, many of the court officials including the ministers were dumbfounded and bewildered…
… along with being apprehensive on what would be the reaction of the king.

But the king arose from his throne…
… commanded that his throne be removed from the regular place.

And holding up the spectacular painting, the king placed it right in the place where his throne was – the most prominent place in the palace – as he announced:
“There is no greater King than the Lord Himself! He deserves the most prominent place – in our hearts, in this kingdom and in this palace!”

Realization of the greatness of the Lord and giving Him His due honour and priority in our lives…
… is indeed one of the most vital aspect of our life

And this top prioritization alone can ensure the upholding of the “Sense of the Sacred” in our lives!

God is Holy.

And all matters pertaining to God, has a “Sense of the Sacred.”

Worship becomes meaningful, when one becomes aware of this Sense of the Sacred.

Preaching becomes powerful, when one is convinced of this Sense of the Sacred.
Liturgy becomes heart-touching, when one acknowledges this Sense of the Sacred.

Today we need to make an examination…

Is my Worship of God becoming merely external, and losing its inner values?
Is my Liturgy more a ritualistic and obligatory exercise, than truly an experiential one?
Is my Preaching of God reduced to great talks, but devoid of conviction and passion?

If the answer to any of the above questions is a Yes…
… then we are perhaps losing the Sense of the Sacred.

The Gospel of the day presents a classic case of this loss of the Sacred Sense.

The Temple of Jerusalem is desecrated by a loss of the Sacred Sense and Jesus seeks to restore it by cleansing the temple.
“In the temple, Jesus found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables.

Making a whip of cords, He drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.” (Jn 2:14-15)

The Jerusalem Temple was very dear to the faith of the people of Israel.

Worshipping in this temple was the ultimate for the Israelites, in their honouring of God.

At the Passover, Jews from around the world came to the temple to sacrifice to the Lord (Ex. 12:1-28; Lev 23:4-8).

It was highly impractical to bring sacrificial animals long distances.

So they were made available in the Jerusalem Temple!

Most Jews also paid the temple tax during the Passover.
Since, they came from various places and bore pagan Roman seals, money-changers were there in the temple, to convert the Roman coinage into appropriate currency.

Pagan symbols on Roman money made it unacceptable for Yahweh’s house.

Where there is money, corruption slowly creeps in…!

Pilgrims had to pay exorbitant rates to change money, and sellers exploited those in poverty, overcharging for the poor man’s offering of pigeons and doves (Lev. 5:7).

To make things worse, these merchants set up shop in the Court of the Gentiles, making it useless as a place of prayer due to the hustle and bustle of the buying and the selling of goods.

Though not inherently evil, these practices became occasions for sin.

What started for a noble cause, led to immense corruption.
There began the loss of the “Sense of the Sacred”…

And this is so true in our own lives…

The beginning of the loss of the Sense of the Sacred begins with trivial things.

I allow little delays and some relaxations in my prayer life…

And suddenly, I find no excitement in spending time in prayer.

I allow laxity and silence and indifference in my relationships…

And suddenly, I find no meaning in many of my relations…

I allow unpreparedness and disinterest to walk into my celebration and participation of Mass…

And suddenly, I find not meaning in the Holy Eucharist.

The loss of the Sense of the Sacred happens in a very subtle and quiet way.

And unless, we remain vigilant and careful, we can lose our way in spiritual warfare.

It is this reminder and warning that the Lord delivers today, by cleansing the Jerusalem Temple

“Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” (Jn 2:16b)

Today we have converted many of the places into “marketplaces”…

Today we have badly defiled the “Sense of the Sacred” in many places…

Cinemas and movies have a heavy stench of vulgarity and indecency.

They rob the society of its ethical culture and moral innocence.

Posters, hoardings and advertisements have become mediums of immorality and offensiveness

They rob its viewers of their principles and convictions in life.

The Internet and new media are badly misused to become snares of promoting life-threatening and life-abusing activities.

They rob its users of their proper purposes & instead addict them to many compulsions & cravings which are hard to be given up.

Families and communities often become places lacking in genuine love, unity and peace

They rob one of the chance to grow in a spirit of sharing and understanding.

Our bodies are often manipulated with many addictions, improper practices and ungodly behaviours.

They rob the person of the purity and holiness that is engraved deep within.

The Cleansing of the Jerusalem Temple is a strong reminder for us, to check the areas and the manner in which we have lost the Sense of the Sacred…

We complain that the world is becoming more materialistic and less spiritual.
We complain that the Church is becoming more “worldly” and less inspiring.

One of the root problems lies in the fact, that we perhaps losing the “Sense of the Sacred”

Unless I am in awe of the God who has created this beautiful and majestic world, I will continue to abuse and misuse the world.
Unless I am in wonder of the God who has gifted the Church with life-saving sacraments, I will continue to blame the Church and lose precious graces that I can obtain through her.

Let us revive the “Sense of the Sacred”.

Let us cleanse anything which diminishes this “Sense of the Sacred”
Let us become a people who radiate with joy and enthusiasm this “Sense of the Sacred”

Yes, let us enthrone and accord the Lord – the King of kings and the Lord of lords – the most prominent place in our hearts, in our lives and in our families!

May we always offer an optimistic answer to the question:
“The King reigns on the Throne of the Cross. Is He reigning also on the throne of your lives?”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
THE FREEDOM OF FAITH

To be human, “man’s response to God by faith must be free…
… and therefore, nobody is to be forced to embrace the faith against his will.
The act of faith is of its very nature a free act. God calls men to serve him in spirit and in truth.
Consequently they are bound to him in conscience, but not coerced!
This fact received its fullest manifestation in Christ Jesus. Indeed, Christ invited people to faith and conversion, but never coerced them…
… “For he bore witness to the truth but refused to use force to impose it on those who spoke against it. His kingdom grows by the love with which Christ, lifted up on the cross, draws men to Himself! (CCC # 160)


REFLECTION CAPSULE – Mar 06, 2021: Saturday

“Running into the embrace of the Merciful Father, with a sincere repentance and contrition of heart, and pledging to live for Him, and with Him!”

(Based on Mic 7:14-15, 18-20 and Lk 15:1-3, 11-32 – Saturday of the 2nd Week in Lent)

Charles Dickens – an English writer and a social critic – is known to be one of the greatest novelists of all times.

He has created some of the world’s best-known fictional characters and his works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime; by the 20th century, critics and scholars had recognised him as a literary genius.

His novels and short stories are still widely read today.

Someone asked Charles Dickens once, what was the best short story in the English language.

Without any hesitation, came his reply: “The Prodigal Son!”

The Gospel of the Day is the beautiful rendition of this classic: “The Prodigal Son!”

This Parable of the Prodigal Son(s) – is the beautiful exposition of the Unconditionally True Love of the Heavenly Father to each of His beloved children!

The Parable of the Prodigal Son(s) is surely one of the most popular, the most loved and the most touching parables of Jesus.

This parable has three main characters and we could view any of them as playing the main role in the story:

  1. The Prodigal Son – Younger son

He went away from the love of his father

Inheritance was given to children only after the death of the father

In asking the inheritance, therefore, alluded to the fact that the prodigal son considered his father to be dead!

But having spent his life in useless living, he realised the emptiness and vacuum that filled his heart.

And so he decided to turn back… and go to his father

  1. The Prodigal Son – Elder Son
    He remained the faithful “servant” of the house

But when he saw, that his brother – who had wasted away the inheritance, was received with so much warmth, his temper rose!

He couldn’t digest the fact that his brother who lived a “wasted life” was honoured….
… whereas he was never given the chance to “enjoy with his friends”

The context of the parable is Jesus speaking to the “Pharisees and scribes” who were “complaining that Jesus always accepted sinners” (Lk 15: 1-2)

In this context, the character of the Elder Son portrayed the attitude of the Pharisees and Scribes.

  1. The Loving Father
    Beyond these two characters of the two prodigal sons – the younger and the elder – towers high the Image of the Father – the Father who loved and accepted his lost sons!

He suffered a deep pain when his younger son went away

He underwent immense pain waiting for the son to come back
He went through moments of dilemma when his elder son was opposing the welcome of the younger one

Yet through all this, the Character of the Father towers high!

He is the Father of Mercies – Who accepts all, just as they are
He is the Father of Love – Who loves everyone, unconditionally
He is the Father of Compassion – Who receives all to His loving embrace

In our life, often as children – like the Prodigal Son(s) – we go away.

We try to do something good…
… but our life turns into a mess!

Our student life gets messed up with lack of commitment and failures

Our marriage hits the rocks with misunderstandings and lack of acceptance
Our family life gets into a crisis with lack of unity and peace of mind

We feel our life is all in a mess…

We find ourselves lost, frustrated and upset!

But in all such situations, we need to look up…
… and see how the Loving Father is waiting to embrace us… And love us!

As Prophet Micah very beautifully reminds us:
“Who is a God like thee, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance?

He does not retain his anger for ever because he delights in steadfast love.
He will again have compassion upon us, he will tread our iniquities under foot.
… Thou wilt cast all our sins into the depths of the sea!” (Mic 5:18-19)

Yes, the Merciful Father is waiting for each one of us…
… Whatever be the mess, that my life may be in!

Let us run into His embrace of Love…
… with a sincere repentance and contrition of heart
And pledge to live for Him, and with Him!
For you, forever!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
FAITH AND SCIENCE
Though faith is above reason, there can never be any real discrepancy between faith and reason.

Since the same God who reveals mysteries and infuses faith has bestowed the light of reason on the human mind, God cannot deny Himself, nor can Truth ever contradict truth.
Consequently, methodical research in all branches of knowledge – provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws – can never conflict with the faith…
… because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God.
The humble and persevering investigator of the secrets of nature is being led, as it were, by the hand of God in spite of himself, for it is God, the conserver of all things, who made them what they are. (CCC # 159)


REFLECTION CAPSULE – Mar 05, 2021: Friday

“Doing away with any ’personal agenda or selfish motives’ and instead, making the Lord as the Centre of our Lives!”

(Based on Gen 37:3-4,12-13,17-28 and Mt 21:33-43, 45-46 – Friday of the 2nd Week in Lent)

An incident is said about a former American astronaut who took over as the President of a major airline.

He determined to make the airline’s service the best in the industry.
He sought ‘commitment to work’, by all the employees in all the departments.

One day, as the new president walked through a particular department, he saw an employee resting…
… with his feet on a desk, while the telephone on the desk rang continuously. .

“What are you doing? Aren’t you going to answer that phone?” the boss demanded.

“This isn’t my department, Am here, just to relax!” answered the employee, with a total indifference!
(He had not recognized his new boss, and so chose to answer with apathy!)
“I work in the maintenance department”, he went on to say.

“Not anymore!” snapped the president, “You no longer will work in my company!”

The President, with his liking for “committed work” and “achieving excellence”…
… made sure there was no room for “people with lack of commitment and zeal!”

As Christians, we are all co-workers of the Project Kingdom!

Do we work with commitment?
… or are we often found to be people of indifference, “lacking commitment and zeal?”

The Gospel of the Day is a strong message to examine one’s level of commitment to the Kingdom of God…
… exhorting to do away with any “personal agenda” or “selfish motives”

The Gospel presents to us the very volatile and conscience-wrenching parable of the Wicked Tenants.

The tenants were entrusted the vineyard by the Master…
… with much hope and expectation.

They were expected to provide the produce in the season.

However, the tenants quite miserably let down the hopes of the Master!

Filled with much pride and arrogance…
… they inflicted harm on all the servants who came on behalf of the Master

They even made an attack on the “own of the Master” – the Master’s Son!

A sense of total rigidity, pride and casualness caused these tenants to abhor the Master!

What about us?
How is our attitude to our Lord – the Master of our lives?

We may feel that we don’t abhor or despise the Will of the Lord in our life – to this extent, as these tenants.

But let us realise…

Every time, we reject the voice of the Lord, and seek to do as our wills lure us…
Every time, remain in stubbornness to pursue our wrong habits and evil tendencies…
Every time, we cause pain to the other by our words of rash judgement and condemnation…
… we are failing to obey the Master and denying His role as a Master in our life!

As Christians, we are indeed co-workers of the Project Kingdom!

The Master has entrusted the vineyard to us
… our homes, our places of work, our neighbourhood, our families and communities…
…. the people we meet daily, the problems we encounter constantly, the situations we are challenged with…

These are “our vineyard!”

Do we work with commitment?

Or are we often found to be people of indifference, “lacking commitment and zeal?”

Let us never have to hear from Our Master, “Not anymore! You no longer will work in my company!”
Instead…
… let us do away with any “personal agenda” or “selfish motives” as the workers of the Vineyard…
And seek to be impressed by the personality of Jesus…
… making Him the Centre of our Lives!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
FAITH IS CERTAIN, AND FAITH SEEKS UNDERSTANDING

Faith is more certain than all human knowledge, because it is founded on the very Word of God, Who cannot lie.
To be sure, revealed truths can seem obscure to human reason and experience…
… but “the certainty that the Divine Light gives, is greater than that which the light of natural reason gives.
It is intrinsic to faith that a believer desires to know better the One in whom he has put his faith, and to understand better what He has revealed.
A more penetrating knowledge will in turn call forth a greater faith, increasingly set afire by love. >> The grace of faith opens “the eyes of your hearts” to a lively understanding of the contents of Revelation…
… of the totality of God’s plan and the mysteries of faith, of their connection with each other and with Christ, the centre of the revealed mystery.
In the words of St. Augustine, “I believe, in order to understand; and I understand, the better to believe. (CCC # 156)


REFLECTION CAPSULE FOR THE DAY – Mar 04, 2021: Thursday

“Seeking to be more other-centred and heaven-oriented!”

(Based on Jer 17:5-10 and Lk 16:19-31 – Thursday of the 2nd Week in Lent)

Schindler’s List is a 1993 American epic historical period drama film, which received 7 Oscar awards.

This movie is based in the true story of a Catholic businessman, Oskar Schindler, who lived in Poland during the 2nd world war.

After a life of initial notoriety, in which he made a lot of money, by betraying his own people…
… Schindler, later realized the horrors of the Nazi rule.

He began to use his wealth and influence…
… in order to save his fellow Jews from the holocaust.

By the end of the war, he was reduced to having very little money

But in the process, had managed to save hundreds of Jews from being killed.

The last scene of the movie depicts, Schindler being thanked by the people whom he had saved.

But suddenly, Schindler began to weep!

Looking around at the people who were rescued, he exclaimed: “I could have done so much more!”

Holding up his gold watch, he moaned, “This could have bought someone’s freedom!”

He wished that he could have started sooner in helping people, so that many more could have been rescued!

His self-centredness had caused failure in saving many more people!

It was an agonizing experience of the negative effects of “indifference in life” and the “sin of omission!”

We need to examine our life and check:

Am I a person who misses out on doing the good we can?
Do I fail to reach out the needy, even though I am able?
Has self-centredness became a way of life for me?

The Gospel of the Day is a powerful message to look deeper into these aspects of our life…
… and seek to be more other-centred and heaven-oriented!

The parable of the rich man… “who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day”
… and of Lazarus, “a poor man, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores”
… is a remarkable story that challenges us to get out of our “zones of comfort and indifference!”

The ways of the world constantly allure us…
… to be “dressed in purple linen and fine clothes” (Lk 16:19) and to be self-centred: “Just go about with our business and don’t consider other’s needs”
… to be “dining sumptuously” (Lk 16:19) and to look to only one’s own comforts and needs: “Live and let live. I don’t need to care about others, when I have my own cares to be attended to!”

But the Christian way of life is a challenge to this “rich man’s style of living”

There can be no excuse given to us…
… if we miss out on doing the good we can!
… if we fail to reach out the needy, even though we are able!
… if self-centredness has become a way of life for us!

Time is short…
… and our life is limited!

Let us begin today, with no further delay…

To do the good we can…
… in the best way we can!
… to all the people we are able!
… in every situation that is possible!

Let our lives be totally offered to the Lord, Who alone is the source of every goodness and mercy.

In the words of Prophet Jeremiah:
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD.

He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green…
… and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit!” (Jer 17:7-8)

Let us seek to be more other-centred and heaven-oriented!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:

What moves us to believe is not the fact that revealed truths appear as true and intelligible in the light of our natural reason
We believe “because of the authority of God himself who reveals them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived”.
So that the submission of our faith might nevertheless be in accordance with reason…
… God willed that external proofs of his Revelation should be joined to the internal helps of the Holy Spirit.
Thus the miracles of Christ and the saints, prophecies, the Church’s growth and holiness, and Her fruitfulness and stability “are the most certain signs of divine Revelation…
… adapted to the intelligence of all”; they are “motives of credibility” (motiva credibilitatis), which show that the assent of faith is “by no means a blind impulse of the mind!” (CCC # 156)


REFLECTION CAPSULE – Mar 03, 2021: Wednesday

“Daring to follow the path of humility and making a choice for the Cross!”

(Based on Jer 18:18-20 and Mt 20:17-28 – Wednesday of the 2nd Week in Lent)

A rich businessman had grown greatly in his endeavours.

He became greatly possessed with acquiring more wealth and seeking for greater power.

His sole intention in life was to find ways and means to gain more wealth (by hook or crook; by honest or corrupt ways!) and capture more positions of power.

Though a Christian…
… he cared hardly for his family
… he bothered least about his faith

One day, while sitting in his posh office, pondering on ways to augment his wealth and prestige in the society…
… his eyes went towards the Crucifix that was placed on his table.

Looking from the place where he was sitting, he could see…
… The Crucifix and a Chair that was placed opposite him.

And suddenly a thought came across his mind:
“What is more important for you in life?

Cross or Chair?”

This thought stuck him badly.

Being greatly disturbed… he sought to ward off that idea from his mind.

But it kept disturbing him…. “Cross or Chair… Cross or Chair!”

Well, it’s not known whether that incident changed his life.

But this question is placed before each of us:
“What is more important for you in life?

Cross or Chair?”

The Gospel of the Day is the incident of the mother of the sons of Zebedee aspiring to obtain a place of honour for her children..
… through which, Jesus poses this question of supreme importance to us as well:
“What is more important for you in life?

Cross or Chair?”

This incident is sandwiched between two important instructions by Jesus…

  1. His master plan of establishing the Kingdom: His Passion, Death and Resurrection
  2. His master technique to allow access to the Kingdom: The way of Humility
  3. His master plan of establishing the Kingdom: His Passion, Death and Resurrection
    Jesus predicts about His sufferings to His disciples (Mt 20: 17-19)

It was clearly His way of telling His chosen ones, that His Kingdom is not to be one that accords prime importance to power and position…
… instead it was about obedience and self-giving.

  1. His master technique to allow access to the Kingdom: The way of Humility
    Jesus further teaches His disciples that the key to enter the Kingdom is the way of humility (Mt 20: 26-28)

It was clearly a reminder as well as a warning, that His Kingdom is not reserved for the powerful or the mighty…
… instead it is to be given to those of meek heart and lowly self.

It’s in between these two powerful “Kingdom” teachings, that we have the incident of the mother of the sons of Zebedee seeking for a place of honour for her children (Mt 20: 20-24)

The incident showed that they had quite badly misunderstood Jesus…

They mistook His master plan of establishing the Kingdom as being “through force and power and might!”
They mistook His master technique to allow access to the Kingdom as being “the way of Supremacy!”

But Jesus shatters this misconception by posing a master question: “Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?” (Mt 20: 22)

“Drinking the Cup” for Jesus meant the Master Plan of His Passion, Death and Resurrection
“Drinking the Cup” for Jesus meant the Master Technique of the way of Humility

This incident is a reminder and warning for each of us as well:

  1. Are we willing to be in accord with the Lord’s master plan of establishing the Kingdom: His Passion, Death and Resurrection?
  2. Are we ready to practise the Lord’s master technique to allow access to the Kingdom: The way of Humility?

Jesus clearly poses this question of supreme importance:
“What is more important for you in life?

Cross or Chair?”

Very often we settle down to sit on the “Chair”…
… the ‘chair’ of comfort and relaxation
… the ‘chair’ of lethargy and indifference
… the ‘chair’ of materialism and individualism

But the Lord challenges us to carry the “Cross”…
… the ‘Cross’ of responsibility and commitment
… the ‘Cross’ of witnessing to the Lord and trusting in Him
… the ‘Cross’ of serving the deprived and being sensitive to the need of the other

The way of the Christian is none but the Way of the Cross.

The path of the Christian can be none but the Path of Humility.

Let us give heed to the words of St Louise de Marillac (the patroness of the parentless and of social workers):
“If humility, simplicity and charity which produce support, are well established in you…
… your community will be made up of as many saints as there are persons!”

Yes, let us dare to follow the path of humility…
… and seek to positively answer to the question that Jesus poses to each of us:
“What is more important for you in life?

Cross or Chair?”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
FAITH IS A GRACE AND A HUMAN ACT
Faith is a gift of God, a supernatural virtue infused by Him.

Before this faith can be exercised, man must have the grace of God to move and assist him; he must have the interior helps of the Holy Spirit, who moves the heart and converts it to God, who opens the eyes of the mind and ‘makes it easy for all to accept and believe the truth.
Believing is possible only by grace and the interior helps of the Holy Spirit…
… but it is no less true that believing is an authentically human act.
Trusting in God and cleaving to the truths He has revealed, is contrary neither to human freedom nor to human reason.
Even in human relations it is not contrary to our dignity to believe what other persons tell us about themselves and their intentions, or to trust their promises (for example, when a man and a woman marry) to share a communion of life with one another. If this is so, still less is it contrary to our dignity to “yield by faith the full submission of… intellect and will to God who reveals”…
… and to share in an interior communion with Him
In faith, the human intellect and will co-operate with divine grace: “Believing is an act of the intellect assenting to the divine truth by command of the will moved by God through grace.” (CCC # 153-155)


REFLECTION CAPSULE – Mar 02, 2021: Tuesday

“Practising the virtue of humility and avoid falling into the dungeon of pride and conceit!”

(Based on Isa 1:10, 16-20 and Mt 23:1-12 – Tuesday of the 2nd Week in Lent)

There is an incident mentioned in the life of St Francis de Sales.

A short time before his death, St Francis was asked by a nun from the Visitation Convent, to mention what virtue he would specially wish the sisters to cultivate.

The saint, being unable to converse, owing to his extreme sickness, asked for a piece of paper to write.

On this piece of paper, the Gentleman Saint wrote one word: “Humility”!

This saint who lived this virtue, considered humility as the most essential virtue for a genuine Christian living.

The saint who preached and practised love, exhorted humility as the primary virtue for growth in holiness.

The one who lacks humility begins to proclaim one’s own glory and draw attention to oneself.

The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus highlighting this lack of humility among the religious leaders of His time…
… and putting forward a warning to be wary of the danger of falling into the dungeon of pride and conceit.

The Lord in all His teachings loves to get to the core of true human living and makes it a point to emphasize on all such inner values.

In the 23rd Chapter of St Matthew, Jesus makes a long condemnation of the “proud” actions and “conceited” devotions of the Pharisees and the Scribes.

Jesus says, “The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach, but do not practise” (Mt 23: 2-3)

Jesus lashes out strongly at the self-attention seeking attitude of these religious leaders.

They would tie heavy burdens on others… but would themselves not move a finger to move them
They would widen their phylacteries and even lengthen their tassels.
They would love to be seated on places of honour in the synagogues and banquets.
They would seek to be called with great salutations and titles in the public places.
They would perform many works before others… but all to be seen by other people.

What were Phylacteries?

Phylacteries were small cube-shaped “leather cases” that was worn on foreheads and arms. In these cases, were the Scripture verses (Ex 13: 1-10, 11-16 and Dt 6: 4-9; 11: 13-21)

The Exodus verses were about how God brought His people out of slavery in Egypt, and about the celebration of the Passover.

The Deuteronomy verses were about loving God wholly – with one’s heart, mind, and spirit.

The tassels (fringes) on the robes were to be a constant reminder of God’s commandments (Num 15: 38-41).

Each time the one who wore noticed the tassel, he was to ask himself if he were sincerely living God’s law in the world.

However, by making their phylacteries and tassels extra-long, the Pharisees and the Scribes were putting on a show of great religiosity, of being spiritually more superior than others.

The purpose of these external signs were to be great reminders of the wonders of God Yahweh and their own commitment to the Lord.

But this purpose was lost…
… and it was replaced with a self-show!

The one who lacks humility begins to proclaim one’s own glory and draw attention to oneself.

The Pharisees and Scribes were losing the virtue of humility…
… and instead were drowning in the murky waters of pride!

This danger can be reality for anyone of us too, in our lives…

And so the Lord cautions us…

Am I making my practise of Christianity as a mere tool for a higher social status and some cheap material benefits?

Am I losing out on cultivating true and honest devotion and instead settling for a “showy” and “external” facade of pious practices?

The Lord invites us to grow in the virtue of Humility.

Let the words of St Augustine be a challenge as well as a reminder for us:
“It was pride that changed angels into devils;
It is humility that makes men as angels.”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
FAITH- I KNOW WHOM I HAVE BELIEVED

Faith is first of all a personal adherence of man to God. At the same time, and inseparably, it is a free assent to the whole truth that God has revealed. As personal adherence to God and assent to His truth, Christian faith differs from our faith in any human person.
It is right and just to entrust oneself wholly to God and to believe absolutely what he says…
… it would be futile and false to place such faith in a creature.
For a Christian, believing in God cannot be separated from believing in the One he sent, His “Beloved Son”, in whom the Father is “well pleased”; God tells us to listen to him. The Lord himself said to his disciples: “Believe in God, believe also in me.”
We can believe in Jesus Christ because he is himself God, the Word made flesh.
One cannot believe in Jesus Christ without sharing in his Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who reveals to men who Jesus is. For “no one can say “Jesus is Lord”, except by the Holy Spirit!”
We believe in the Holy Spirit because he is God.
The Church never ceases to proclaim her faith in one only God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (CCC # 150-152)


REFLECTION CAPSULE – Mar 01, 2021: Monday

“Giving ourselves entirely to the Lord, especially at Holy Mass, and through the Mass, at all times of the day, to all persons in our life.

(Based on Dan 9:4-10 and Lk 6:36-38 – Monday of the 2nd Week in Lent)

Barter is a system of exchange by which goods or services are directly exchanged for other goods or services without using a medium of exchange, such as money.

This type of exchange was relied upon by early civilizations.
Goods were exchanged for food, tea, weapons, and spices.

The barter system requires the giving of a good (product), to receive an equivalent good.
It is a system which involves the dimension of providing and obtaining, offering and receiving.

The Gospel of the Day calls for a similar barter system…on a Divine realm though…

Giving to God and obtaining His graces and favours.

The Lord, giving His teachings on a practical Christian life, exhorts,”…give and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give, is the measure you get back” (Lk 6:38)

Jesus brings a very concrete example from the market scene, to drive home his point of generously giving.

The context of Jesus is the market in Israel, the middle-east part of the world.

As in many places today, this area witnessed markets that had buyers and sellers engaged in bargaining and negotiating over prices, quality and the amount of things and goods.

When a price was finally set, the customer would offer his container—usually a large bowl or pot or an open vessel—and the seller would use a scoop (measuring spoon) to fill the container.

There would be some interesting steps in this process of measuring the grain for a customer and which Jesus quotes in His approach to giving:

  1. First, the seller would fill the container to the top.
  2. Secondly, he would press the grain down and fill some more.
  3. Thirdly, he would shake the container so the grain would settle and then fill in some more.
  4. Finally, he would fill the container until it overflowed!

The contents of this overflowing container would then be transferred to a pouch or a bag so that the buyer could bring home the contents from the market.

Well, this process could sound a bit strange and weird to us in the modern world.

We live in times, when contents are sold by the weight, and not the volume..
We live in times, when manipulations are done to give as less as possible…

But this is where, Jesus, bringing in the example of the market, invites generosity in giving…

Our giving ought to be measured not by weight, but by volume…and that refers to a far-greater amount of giving!
Our giving ought to, not be curtailed down by clever manipulations…rather is to be done very generously and lavishly!

St Paul in 2 Cor 9:6 would say, “Whoever sows sparingly, will also reap sparingly; whoever reaps bountifully will also reap bountifully”

Our giving ought not to be a calculated effort…rather should be a overflow from the heart!

When we engage is such a lavish and generous giving, God too will shower His abundance, in a similar and much better fashion!
“For the measure you give, will be the measure you get back” (Lk 6:38)

Of course, that is not to say that we are limiting God’s power of giving…

God’s surely showers His gifts lavishly!
God surely pours His blessings overwhelmingly!

But the Lord invites us to be involved in a Divine Barter System…

Give to God, who deserves all, so that we may be prepared to receive His blessings.
Give to God, who is worthy of all, so that we may be blessed to receive His graces.

In the Divine barter system, the advantage is that, we get much more than what we give… we obtain far greater than what we offer!

God’s giving is not to be seen just from material or physical aspects…

In fact, that would just be a very limited and low level of understanding.

God’s gifts are to be understood more from a spiritual perspective:
… Gift of His mercy to live a life in union with Him.
… Gift of His grace to be faithful and more committed.
… Gift of His love to be better human beings and be more charitable.
… Gift of His salvation to enjoy eternal bliss and happiness with Him .

All these gifts will be surely lavished and given… “good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be poured out into our laps!”

The greatest exchange…the Divine barter system.. is seen and experienced in the Holy Eucharist.. at every Holy Mass.

Let us give ourselves entirely to the Lord… especially at Holy Mass and through the Mass, at all times of the day… to all persons in our life…
… especially as we enter into a new month,

Then, in the words of Fulton Sheen, we will be graced to hear the words of the Divine Lord telling us…

You give me your humanity, and I will give you my Divinity!
You give me your time, and I will give you My eternity!
You give me your broken heart, and I will give you Love!
You give me your nothingness, and I will give you My all!

God bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
MARY – “BLESSED IS SHE WHO BELIEVED”
The Virgin Mary most perfectly embodies the obedience of faith.

By faith, Mary welcomes the tidings and promise brought by the angel Gabriel, believing that “with God nothing will be impossible” and so giving her assent: “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be [done] to me according to your word.”
It is for this faith that all generations have called Mary blessed.
Throughout her life and until her last ordeal, when Jesus Her Son died on the Cross, Mary’s faith never wavered.
She never ceased to believe in the fulfilment of God’s Word…
… and so the Church venerates in Mary the purest realization of faith! (CCC # 148-149)