July 15, 2020 – 15th Week of Ordinary Time

“Seeking to depend and trust more in the Lord, with a childlike faith, so that the Lord may rejoice in us and He – the Wisdom – may reveal Himself more and more to us!”

(Based on Isaiah 10:5-7, 13-16 and Mt 11:25-27 – Wednesday of the 15th Week of Ordinary Time)

A little girl child was to undergo a risky surgery.

She was placed upon the table and the surgeon was about to render her a dose of anaesthesia.
“Before we can make you well, dear, we must put you to sleep”, said the surgeon to the li’l girl.

With a cute smile, she said sweetly, “Oh, if you are going to put me to sleep, I must say my prayers first.”

So she got on her knees and said the child’s prayer.
“Now I can go to sleep,” said the sweet child.

The surgeon, later, testified that this action of the child moved his heart greatly…
… and he himself, prayed, that night, for the first time, in thirty years!

The power of the little child to influence was amazing…
… even on a person who was much older to her!

There is great sincerity and openness in the actions of little children.
There is immense authenticity and truthfulness in the deeds of little ones.

It is this childlike faith and simplicity that finds an expression of appreciation from our Blessed Lord in today’s Gospel.

Jesus says, “I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes” (Mt 11:25)

When we go back to the first book of the Bible – Genesis – and to the Garden of Eden, we encounter the first temptation scene – between the serpent and Eve.

It is interesting to note the words, when the serpent tempts Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit, and Eve puts forth the reason for not eating:

The serpent says, “… God knows well that the moment you eat of it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods who know what is good and what is bad” (Gen 3:6)
The woman saw that the tree was good for food, pleasing to the eyes and desirable for “gaining wisdom” (Gen 3:7)

This then was the first temptation: To Know – seeking for wisdom; seeking for knowledge.

However the Lord says that wisdom is hidden from the wise and the understanding, and instead revealed to the babes, to those childlike.

As Prophet Isaiah declares, the Lord has all power and wisdom: “By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom, for I have understanding…” (Is 10:13)

What makes the Divine Wisdom to hide from the wise and reveal to the childlike instead?

We could consider a couple of reasons….

  1. The wise depend on their own strength; the childlike have a sense of dependency

One of the qualities or rather a condition of little children is their “helplessness”!

Little children are helpless…
… to be taking care of even their basic needs
… to be able to meet their basic emotions

They therefore have a sense of dependency!

  1. The wise have over-confidence in themselves; the childlike trust on others
    Another quality of children is their basic sense of “trust”

They tend to easily trust the others…
… in meeting their needs and in having what they desire
… in being protected and being taken care safely

These two great qualities of the childlike are what helps the Divine wisdom to be revealed to them:

A sense of dependency: Depending on God, the Father in every moment of life

A sense of trust: Trusting in the Lord for every need and believing in His providence

The Gospel of the Day makes us to examine our own lives and check the level of childlike qualities that we possess…

Do I possess a sense of Dependency on the Lord…
… or is my reliance only on my own self-worth and abilities?

Do I possess a sense of Trust in the Lord…
… or do I fall into constant anxieties and apprehensions?

May we seek to depend and trust more in the Lord, with a childlike faith, so that the Lord may rejoice in us and He – the Wisdom – may reveal Himself more and more to us!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Children learn to speak by hearing their mother talk, and stammering forth their childish sounds in imitation

And so if we cleave to the Saviour in meditation, listening to His words, watching His actions and intentions…

… we shall learn in time, through His Grace, to speak, act and will like Himself!”

July 14, 2020 – 15th Week of Ordinary Time

“Examining our lives and making the necessary changes, in order to live a holier life!”

(Based on Isaiah 7:1-9 and Mt 11:20-24 – Tuesday of the 15th Week of Ordinary Time)

There is an incident in the life of Queen Victoria.

As a queen, she enjoyed many luxuries and comforts.

She too, however, had to go through many family problems, especially, concerns as a grandmother.

One of her grandsons was highly reckless in the usage and spending of money.

Once, as his birthday was approaching, the grandson wrote to his grandmother, Queen Victoria, reminding her of his approaching birthday.

He cleverly suggested that “money would be the best and the most acceptable birthday gift”.

In reply, the Queen Grandmother wrote back a “letter of advice”- in her own hand – sternly reproving the young boy for his life of extravagance and urging him on the practice of economy.

However, the young boy’s reply to this letter, staggered her:
“Dear Grandma,” said the letter, “thank you for your kind letter of advice.

I have just sold the same letter for five pounds!”

The young grandson spared no efforts to even “auction and sell” the prized ‘letter of advice’ of the Queen, and got for himself some extra money!!

The young fellow wasted away every chance that was offered to him, to live a good life.

Instead, the privileges that were offered to him were converted to opportunities for indulging in more and more occasions of sin!

The Gospel of the day presents Jesus condemning such an “unrepentant” and “arrogant” attitude of some cities, in amending their ways and in turning back to the Lord.

Jesus raises a cry of sigh, “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done to you, had been in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long back” (Mt 11:21)
“And you, Capernaum! Will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades” (Mt 11: 23)

These three towns – Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum – had a unique common feature.

These three were called as the “Orthodox Triangle”.

These towns consisted of “traditional” Jews – Jews who took the Law of Moses very seriously!
• They had a benefit of a “faith that was traditional and deep-rooted”

These towns also consisted of “privileged” people – people who had the great privilege of being witnesses to many miracles, events, preaching and deeds of the Lord Jesus.
• They had the privilege of a “faith that was encouraged and boosted by the wonderful deeds of Jesus”

In spite of these great opportunities and advantages that were offered to them, the people in these towns “failed” to live a life of repentance!

And this is what the Lord condemns them for…

They had the benefit of a traditional faith…
… but it did not move their lives to be lived in holiness!

They had the privilege of a faith that was nourished and encouraged…
… but it did not make them to purge their lives of sin and seek to live worthily in the presence of God!

The people of these towns wasted away every chance that was offered to them, to live a good life.

Instead, the privileges that were offered to them were converted to occasions for indulging in more and more opportunities for sin!

Is my life also resembling these three towns?

I may be a “traditional” Christian…
… having ‘inherited’ my faith in the Lord from my family and my background
… having heard and even practising many acts of faith and devotion

I may also be an “encouraged” Christian…
… having got many opportunities to hear and witness the powerful works of the Lord through many talks, retreats, miracles, sacraments etc
… having the privilege of constantly encountering the living presence of the Lord in the lives of many people.

But do these factors get “personalized” and make me “to live a life of holiness and repentance”?
• I may boast that I am a Christian by birth
• I may claim that I am doing many great works in the ministry of the Lord
• I may assert that I have experienced many miraculous Divine interventions in life

But do all these make me to “repent” of my sins and help me seek to “live a life of sanctity”?

The message of the Gospel is clear: “Repent, and believe, in the Lord!”

The faith-inputs that I receive, ought to, first and foremost, cause a transformation in my life – seeking God’s Will at all times and remaining firm to avoid any occasions of sin.

Through Prophet Isaiah, God offers His assurance of strength and grace to us:
‘Take heed, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint…” (Is 7:4)

The Lord through today’s Gospel is writing a “letter of advice to us” – to examine our lives and to make the necessary changes, in order to live a holier life.

Are we going to take serious heed to this “letter of advice” and make suitable changes?
… or are we going to “auction and sell off” this “letter of advice” and nullify the loving message of the Gospel?

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS* – “This loving repentance is usually practiced by frequent aspirations or elevations of the Heart to God…

… after the example of the ancient penitents!”

July 13, 2020 – 15th Week of Ordinary Time

“Driving away all fears and embracing the Cross as our Christian Lifestyle!”

(Based on Isaiah 1:11-17 and Mt 10:34-11:1 – Monday of the 15th Week of Ordinary Time)

Every society or organization or a way of life draws up rules and regulations…
… to which its members have to promise obedience.

A faithful commitment to these guidelines will help for the true growth of the society and help the members to genuinely enjoy all the rights and privileges.

Christianity as a Life Style, also has its Rules and Regulations and it demands Commitment!

The Cross forms part of this Basic Rule of Christianity.

The ‘modern’ Christian however, is often afraid and oppose this dimension of Christianity: The Cross!

Bishop Fulton Sheen presents before us this mentality which is fast catching up in our world…

It is termed as Staurophobia… The Fear of the Cross!

The Gospel of the Day is a presentation of the Message of the Cross…
… an invitation to follow the Crucified Christ
… a challenge to faithfully carry the crosses of our life.

Jesus says, “He who does not take his cross and follow me, is not worthy of Me” (Mt 10: 38)

Our Blessed Lord loves to jolt static minds and the inert understandings..

He doesn’t promise cushy comforts…
… He demands Commitment to the Cross!

Those who choose Christianity as a Life Style, ought to be…

Losers of oneself
Be carriers of the Cross
And then Follow Him!

Christianity, as a Life Style, has the Cross as its Basic Rule and it demands Commitment!

But the very mention of the word “Cross”, sometimes puts people off…

“Not again the Cross”
“Enough of pain and suffering”
“We go to Church to relax and be comforted; not simply to hear of the Passion &Anguish of the Suffering Jesus on the Cross; we only prefer the Glorious & Victorious Christ”
“Stop being pessimistic with Sin & Repentance…. Just be optimistic with Joy & Salvation!”

These are often, the “happening” buzz phrases and popular opinions…even in our religious environs.

Staurophobia – the Fear of the Cross …is creeping stealthily but mightily in our lives…

We like to be Saved…
… but we Fear the Cross of repentance of our Sins

We like to receive Blessings…
… but we Fear the Cross of living an honest life

We like to live a peaceful life…
… but we Fear the Cross of trusting in God’s Providence

We like to be prosperous…
… but we Fear the Cross of being generous and compassionate

We like to be called good…
… but we Fear the Cross of being Faithful to the teachings of Christ

We like to have joy…
… but we Fear the Cross of giving up attachments & belong totally to God

Yes, We often, Fear the Cross…

But Christ – Crucified on the Cross – promises His Choicest Rewards to the ones, who dare to take up the Cross…

They will find Life…
They will be rewarded…
They will find true joy and peace…
…says the Lord.

Prophet Isaiah strongly warns and reminds all of us:
“What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the Lord; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed beasts;
… Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they have become a burden to me, I am weary of bearing them.
… When you spread forth your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood.

Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow!” (Is 1: 11, 13, 15-17)

Have we really accepted Christianity as our Life Style?

Then Let us Embrace the Cross…
Let us drive away the Fear of the Cross

Let Staurophobia (Fear of the Cross) be wilfully banished

Let Staurophilia (Love of the Cross) be willingly accepted!

St Camillus says, “Commitment is doing what you said you would do, after the feeling you said it in, has passed”.

Let us remain committed to the Cross of Christ and celebrate Christianity with conviction!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Think well on it, faithful soul: it is certain that on the Tree of the Cross, the Heart of our Lord Jesus beheld yours, and that He loved it…

… and by His love, obtained for it, all the favors which you have ever received, or will ever receive: among them, your good resolutions!”

July 12, 2020 – 15th Sunday of Ordinary Time

“Growing in the experience of the Power of the Word – to work in unexpected ways, to transform in unknown places and to bear fruits in unexplored areas!”

(Based on Isaiah 55:10-11, Rom 8:18-23 and Mt 13:1-23 – 15th Sunday of Ordinary Time)

A devout woman, once bought a Bible in her native language.

She was very much afraid of her husband who was deadly against God and sent forth atheistic vibrations.

In fear, she would read the Bible in his absence, and would stealthily hide it away from his presence and sight.

One day, however, by mistake, she failed to hide the Holy Book, and her husband saw it on the table.

Without saying anything, the husband opened the pages of the Bible, scanned through some and read a few lines.

As the wife stood, a little away – stunned and trembling- not knowing what he would tell her, the husband said, “Hmmm… This seems to be a good book!”

And it so happened, that every night, the man demanded for That Book when he returned back from office.

A few weeks later, the man suggested his wife that he wished to meet her parents, as for nearly 3 years, he had stayed away from them.

A tremendous and miraculous wonder had taken place.

A woman’s persistent faith had been rewarded…
A man’s heart had been finely melted …
A relationship had been restored…

That’s the power of the Word!

The Word can work in unexpected ways…
The Word can transform in unknown places…
The Word can bear fruits in unexplored areas…

Are we ready to Sow the Word, everywhere, any time?

Are we open to allow the Word to work, anywhere, any time?

The Gospel of the Day is the classic presentation of the power of the Word through the Parable of the Sower and its explanation.

This is a parable that, probably we have read, reflected and meditated several times.

One of the striking messages of this Popular Parable is the “unknown, unexpected and unexplored” manner in which the Word is Sown.

Going through the various places in which the Seed was sown would probably make one to say…
… “Why was it that so much Seed was simply wasted – on the wayside, on the rock, among the thorns – places where there was hardly any possibility of growth?”
… “Why was it that the Sower was so unscientific, so lacking in common sense and so careless in simply broadcasting the precious seeds haphazardly?”

Probably, a logical answer and a reasonable explanation to these questions is to be found in the fact that the Seed has a tremendous power and potential.

And therefore, the Sower ‘takes the risk’ of broadcasting the Seed everywhere.

This then is the challenge that is thrown open to us also…

Can I be a person who is willing to “broadcast” the seed of God’s Word even in the most unfavourable or the most unexpected areas – to people who are hostile, arrogant or even closed?

Can I be a person who does not count the fruits in advance or get discouraged and disappointed at the possible failures in the future; instead boldly sow the Seeds of goodness, kindness and service?

The Sower in the parable has a stand out quality…
… He is lavish in His generosity
… extravagant in His big-heartedness
… and sumptuous in His Kindness!

Though seasoned in His profession of sowing the Seeds, the Sower, bountifully, broadcasts the Seeds on all sorts of soil…

Look closer….

He doesn’t make an account of the number of seeds lost…
He doesn’t tally the wastage that will be incurred…
He doesn’t bill the produce that will result…

He just does one thing… HE SOWS!

How many of us can be like that?

Do we sow good deeds…
… when a loss is bound to happen as per human calculations?

Do we sow honesty and truthfulness…
… even if birds of injustice devour all our good intentions?

Do we sow good initiatives…
… even if there is no reward and all our endeavours are being choked?

Do we sow a kind word…
… even if we know that bad words will scorch our pure purpose?

Do we sow a loving action…
… even though the reaction is always tepid and cold and even adverse?

Do we sow help and co-operation…
… in spite of the fact that no one will appreciate our good works?

Do we sow a forgiving smile & a reconciling gesture…
… though we’re deeply hurt and even wounded?

Do we sow an attitude of deep trust & confidence…
… although things are totally topsy-turvy in life?

The Sower, in the Parable, however, continues to Sow…..

The Book of Isaiah 55: 11 says, “… My Word that goes out from My Mouth: It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

We need to submit ourselves to this mysterious power and strength of God’s Power…
… and be willing to “sow them” generously…
… to all
… at all times!

St Paul reminds us that the Lord is in total charge of the world and we need to place our hope and trust in His Omnipotent power…
… “for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the Will of Him who subjected it in hope…” (Rom 8:20)

May we grow in the experience of the Power of the Word…
… to work in unexpected ways
… to transform in unknown places
… and to bear fruits in unexplored areas

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Meditate upon and read holy things; for the Word of God is chaste…

… and makes those also chaste, that delight in It!”

July 11, 2020 – 14th Week of Ordinary Time

“Becoming aware of how valued and treasured we are to the Lord, as He repeatedly tells us: ‘YOU ARE WORTH MUCH MORE…!’”

(Based on Is 6:1-8 and Mt 10:24-33 – Saturday of the 14th Week of Ordinary Time)

How BIG a God do we have?

It is said that…
You can tell the size of your God by looking at the size of your ‘List of Worries’.

The longer your list, the smaller your God!

Every morning we are to rise to a brand-new day…
… with immense potentials, loads of blessings, bundles of hope and treasures of aspirations…

But somehow, many of us, fall into the trap of losing these precious possibilities…
… and allow our worries, tensions, troubles, difficulties and anxieties to overpower us…

St. Francis of Assisi says, “By the anxieties and worries of this life, Satan tries to dull man’s heart and make a dwelling for himself there.”

The Lord today, through the Gospel, makes a fervent invitation: To Trust in His Divine
Providence and His Ever-Beloved Goodness.

Jesus says: “But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows….” (Mt 10:30-31)

Can we hear those words of the Lord once again…?
He is not lying…
He is not flattering…
He is not indulging in heaping empty phrases…

He means it…!

“You Are Worth Much!”

The God of Glory, the Lord of Sabaoth (hosts/armies), the Light of the world…
The Creator of the Entire nature, The One who can destroy both body and soul…
… This Great One, today, looks into our eyes….… and tells us with sincere love: “YOU ARE WORTH MUCH MORE…!”

Jesus seeks to cast off fear from His followers by showing them the preciousness and value of their lives… and how much important they are to Him.

For this, He presents an interesting example:

“And even the hairs of your head are all counted.” (Mt 10:30)

Many of us – looking at our self in the mirror – often worry at the diminishing number of hairs on our head!

The more hairs that fall away, the greater is the anxiety level!

But the Lord, holding us close to Himself, assures us, “My child, why are you so worried about life! Even the hairs of your head are counted and known to me!

You are dearly precious to me!”

Our Blessed Lord also cites the example of a little sparrow and reminds us:
“So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows!” (Mt 10:31)

Yes, the Lord repeatedly tells us: “YOU ARE WORTH MUCH MORE…!”

Can these words of our Beloved Lord, enter into the depths of our hearts?

Can we savour the sweetness and greatness, the immensity and grandeur of these words?

It’s easy of course, to write reflections, to preach sermons, to proclaim orations, to list out bombastic adjectives on this topic…

But at the end of the day, it all boils down to simply this:
“Am I accepting myself as really the one who is much worthy and dear to the Lord”?

Do I believe in the God, who believes in me?

Sure, we feel ourselves little before God

We see ourselves as unworthy of the Splendid Holiness and Awesome Majesty of God…

But, let us also see how God looks at each one of us….

Let us become aware of how valued and treasured we are to the Lord!

We need to hear the words of Prophet Isaiah to “allow the Lord to touch our lives” (Is. 6:7)

Of course, at the end of this reflection, our list of worries, still, remains the same…
But, let’s realize that we have a much much bigger God than our long list of worries!

A God, who silently thunders in the depths of our hearts…
… assuring His protection: “You are worth much more…”

Are we listening?

St Padre Pio says: “Even if the world were to capsize…
… if everything were to become dark, hazy, tumultuous…
…God would still be with us!”

Yes, We need to…
…Listen …Trust …Walk!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “With the single exception of sin…

… anxiety is the greatest evil that can happen to a soul!”

July 10, 2020 – 14th Week of Ordinary Time

“May we be bold in facing humiliations, in suffering persecutions and in undergoing pain, for the Sake of Christ, who showed us the Way to Glory through the path of persecution!”

(Based on Hos 14:1-9 and Mt 10:16-23 – Friday of the 14th Week of Ordinary Time)

Teilhard de Chardin, a French Priest, Theologian and Philosopher describes three categories of people who climb a difficult mountain peak….

  1. The Pessimists – (the ones who give up easily):

They regret having ventured to undertake the arduous task of climbing the huge mountain.

  1. The Hedonists – (the ones who remain passive and just enjoy)

They are satisfied with just some scenic views on the way and cease the journey, with simple trifles, unwilling to take the risk to go ahead…

  1. The Enthusiasts – (the ones who seek to conquer the mountains)

They are the real mountaineers, who keep their eyes fixed on the peaks and never give up, till they reach their goal!

The road to being a Disciple of Christ, is indeed climbing a Mountain peak….

Which category of mountain climbers are we going to be?

  1. The Pessimists (the ones who give up easily)?

Regretting to being a Christian and thus living a life of sin and indifference

  1. The Hedonists (the ones who remain passive and just enjoy)?

Resigning to the fact that somehow I need to be a Christian, due to societal pressures, and thus live in casualness, negligence and lethargy.


  1. The Enthusiasts (the ones who seek to conquer the mountains)?

Real Christians who keep their eyes fixed on the Crucified Saviour and never give up, marching forward towards the goal of salvation!

The Gospel of the Day is a presentation of the challenges that are to be encountered by every follower of Christ…
… the one who wishes to walk with Jesus on the way of the Cross
… the one who wishes to scale the mountain of holiness and sanctity

When we read through the Gospels, we observe that our Lord Jesus and His teachings remained unfazed, in the midst of glamour and sensations…

They are simple and yet deeply challenging and radical!

The Lord does not offer a Comfortable Carpet of Roses to stroll….

He presents a Challenging Pathway of Thorns to tread!

“Everyone will hate you, because of ME!” (Mt 10:22a)

These are the fierce & fervent words of the Lord.

Yes, the Master, Himself was persecuted and hated!

He was the Epitome of Love…
… and yet He was badly hated, persecuted and tortured…

What had He ever done to be hated?

Being Meek and Humble of Heart…
… touching lives with Healing and Forgiveness…?

Being a Gospel of Love to all…
… even to the Enemies…?

Being a Symbol of Pardon and Forgiveness…
… even to those who persecuted and killed Him…?

Being an Emblem of Truth…
… in the midst of diluted ideologies & hypocritical ritualism…?

Being an Ornament of Joy and Hope…
… to the broken-hearted, the sinful and the rejected…?

Did he deserve to be hated?

Yet, He was!

He was hated… mocked at… rejected… finally even arrested, scourged and killed!

And this our Blessed Master says…Even You too!

Even you too, My Followers, will be hated and will be persecuted!

The path ahead sounds dangerous, right?

The mountain climbing seems to be not as easy as thought, right?

But relax…!

The road does not end with persecutions…

The verse of Jesus does not end in calamity…

He goes on to say: “… but whoever endures to the end will be saved!” (Mt 10: 22b)

Yeah.. That’s great good news!

The Way of Jesus is surely laden with persecutions…
….but it is also filled with much joy, satisfaction, true peace
…and finally rewarded with Eternal Life!

We only need to persevere……till the end!

The Mountain Peak of Salvation is High….

But the Lord beckons to each one of us!

He also reminds us through Prophet Hosea, “Return to Your God Yahweh, O Israel!” (Hos 14:2)

Let us give heed to the words of St Benedict:
“Prefer nothing whatever to Christ….and he will bring us all together to everlasting life!”

May we be bold in facing humiliations, in suffering persecutions, in undergoing pain…
… all for the Sake of Christ, who showed us the Way to Glory through the Path of Persecution!

Let’s keep on moving… let’s keep climbing… let’s keep the Faith!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “You must choose.

Is it better that there should be thorns in your garden in order to have roses…

… or that there should be no roses in your garden, in order to have no thorns?”

July 9, 2020 – 14th Week of Ordinary Time

“Let the experience of the ‘Divine tug’ keep us moving forward and to depend on Divine Presence for strength in life!”

(Based on Hos 11: 1,3-4,8c-9 and Mt 10:7-15 – Thursday of the 14th Week of Ordinary Time)

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 your kite is?
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, authorized and named His Twelve Apostles, Jesus sends them ahead of Him, to the places of mission.

The Gospel of the day begins with the phrase, “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 pictured with a limited understanding…
Preaching or proclamation that 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 realize that the Lord alone can provide all the graces, strength and courage for the mission!

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

Prophet Hosea beautifully depicts the affectionate love of the Lord for each one of us – represented by the nation Israel…

“When Israel was a child, I loved him, out of Egypt I called my son.
Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, I took them up in my arms…
… I led them with cords of compassion, with the bands of love, and I became to them as one…!” (Hos 11:1-4)

Yes, it is an 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!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Love renders the charm of what we love so pleasing…

… our minds never tire of reflecting on it!”

July 8, 2020 – 14th Week of Ordinary Time

“Let us co-operate with Our Strange Master, Who calls us to ‘Dare to be Different!’”

(Based on Hos 10:1-3,7-8,12 and Mt 10:1-7 – Wednesday of the 14th Week of Ordinary Time)

Jesus is strange!

And he loves to do strange things!

“Dare to be different” is a call which echoes very much through the corporate sector today, and also in many areas of our life!

And Jesus, certainly, is a model and an example for each one of us, in this ‘Daring to be Different’!

And this strange and daring Jesus – Who loves to do things differently –
…throws up a classic example for this, in today’s Gospel Reading, by choosing The Twelve…

Twelve strange persons to be His Daring disciples.

We could have a short litany of adjectives to describe or portray these Twelve…
Let’s get set with a mini-dictionary:

Ordinary, Mundane, Shy, Absent-minded, Introvert, Prejudiced, Inhibited…
Hated by society, Craver of power, Zealous in quick actions, Betraying Characters…
Sceptics, Unsteady Temperaments, Cynical….
The list is long, right?

Maybe, some of us, also very much possess these characters and traits!

Is it True?

But, with all these varied personalities and natures, Jesus, the Daring Master, chose His twelve, having these characters…!

The Lord loves to transform and change…

He changed the water into wine…
He transformed a few loaves of bread and fish as food for thousands…
He changed the raging sea to calmness and serenity…
He transformed sicknesses in people to good health and new vigour…
He changed the static and inhuman view of the Law to a dynamic and loving perception…

Yes, the Lord loves to transform and change…

And this Lord, who loves to transform and change, also worked wonders with the Twelve!

These Twelve, with their varied personalities and characters, were handed on the Charge to continue the Gigantic Task of their Daring Master: “To be the Ambassadors of the Kingdom of God”

To be with Him and to be sent out
To have authority over unclean spirits and drive them out
To cure every disease and illness and to preach!

These chosen lights were to cast their rays over the rest of humanity, in all nations.

Are we also hearing the Call of the Lord, to be the Ambassadors of His Kingdom, in the place where we are, in the state of life, that we are in?

Let us not be worried about our nature or temperament or character or weaknesses.

Yes, the Lord is strange…
… and He loves to do strange things

He is CRAZY over us!

The Lord also loves…
… to transform and to change

He is Willing to TRANSFORM us!

The only thing that He needs from us… is Our Consent.. Our Willingness…our Openness!

Let no negative feelings come in the way of this Deep Desire of the Lord…

Like the Israelites in Hosea 10:1…
… Let us not boast on our prosperity or our richness
… Let our hearts not remain divided in our loyalty

Let us instead plough a new ground…seeking the Lord…

The Kingdom of God is a vineyard…
… it needs labourers!

The Kingdom of God is a net…
… it needs fishermen!

The Kingdom of God is a field…
… it needs sowers and reapers!

The Kingdom of God is a flock…
… it needs shepherds!

Yes, the Lord is calling… the Lord is desiring… the Lord is wanting…

Are we hearing?

Let this not remain a Missed Call!

Let’s pick up, and answer…
… and Co-operate with the Strange Master, Who calls us to “Dare to be Different”!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – The Lord asks for your heart.

Give it such as it is!

Are we not aware that everything that is remitted into His Divine Hands is converted to good?

July 7, 2020 – 14th Week of Ordinary Time

“Recognizing, acknowledging and thanking the Power of God in life!”

(Based on Hos 8:4-7, 11-14 and Mt 9:32-38 – Tuesday of the 14th Week of Ordinary Time)

A commonly heard story goes thus….

A small town had been “dry” for years.

i.e. ‘without any bars or consumption of alcohol’.

But some of the business people, decided to build a bar in that town.

The local Christian group were however alarmed and concerned at this latest development

They decided that they would have an all-night prayer to ask God to intervene.

Work on the construction of the bar, progressed right up till the week before opening…
…. when lightning struck the bar and it burned to the ground!

The owners of the bar, enraged, filed a case against the prayer group – to sue them in court.

They claimed that the prayers of the group was responsible for the destruction of their bar!
They claimed that the people in the church were ultimately responsible for the ruin of the building – either through direct or indirect actions or means.

The prayer group members however appointed a lawyer to defend themselves

They vehemently denied all responsibility or any connection to the building’s devastation in its reply to the court.

The judge after the initial examination of the case stated thus:
“I do not know how I am going to decide.

But no matter how this case ends, one thing is clear:

It appears that we have some bar owners who believe in the power of prayer…
… but an entire praying congregation that does not!”

How true is not this the case, even in our lives?

People who are expected to be having more faith…
… often are seen to live a life of unbelief and distrust in God

People who are “inside” the praying circle and the group of faith…
… often have difficulties to simply trust in the power and workings of God

The Gospel of the Day presents before us an incident where this contrast is brought forth…

A group of people – the Pharisees – who were intellectually deeper in the scriptures and were expected to know more about the Messiah…
…. failed to recognize and acknowledge the Messianic Power of Jesus

The other group of people – simple and ordinary crowds – who followed Jesus and were effortlessly attracted to Him…
… publicly acclaimed and appreciated the mighty deeds of Jesus

The Gospel passage begins with the incident of a man – dumb and demoniac – who was brought to Jesus (Mt 9: 32)

When the demon had been cast out, the dumb man spoke (Mt 9: 33a)

There were two reactions to this same incident: One was of marvel; the other was of contempt!

The crowds – simple and ordinary – who were attracted to Jesus “marvelled and said: ‘Never was anything like this seen in Israel'” (Mt 9:33b)
The Pharisees – knowledgeable and intellectual – who often looked to find loopholes in the ministry of Jesus and trap Him, said: “He casts out demons by the prince of demons” (Mt 9: 34)

The same incident – Jesus healing the dumb and demoniac man – was observed and experienced by two different groups…
…. but they generated contrasting reactions and divergent responses!

One of them marvelled; the other mocked!
One of them had found a reason to praise God; the other found a reason to deride Jesus!

Is this not the case, often, even in our lives too?

Very often is this not the phenomena seen with respect to prayer…?

People who go to Church seem to be believing less in the power and providence of God…
… people who stay away from pious devotions, often acknowledge the influence of the Divine!

People who go regularly to Holy Mass and the Sacraments, often live superficial lives…
… people who stay away, seek to live better and more honestly.

What does this mean?

Not that we should stay away from our pious actions, devotions and our activities of faith
Not that people who don’t display faith have more reasons to live a good life

But these are reminders and alarms from the Lord…
… to examine our life and activities of faith!
… to check whether my prayer life is actually translated to a living trust in God!

Do the prayers that I make and the devotions that I engage in:

Cause me to believe and trust in the providential power of the Lord, knowing that He works out all things for our good…
… or do they just remain mere lip-services and an exercise and custom that I go through, without having any effect on me?

Do the Sacraments that I participate in – especially the Holy Mass and Sacrament of Reconciliation:

Cause me to have a life-transformational experience, every time, and become moments to encounter the Living Lord and His mighty love in my life…
.. or do they become routine rituals and casual ceremonies that I go through, without allowing the Lord to cause any effect or change in me?

Do the sermons that I hear, the reflections that I read and the Bible and other books that I meditate…

Cause me to reflect on my life, examine my conscience and let go a life of sin…
… or do they merely become aids to help me give pointers for ‘powerful’ sermons and feel a sense of external satisfaction, without taking decisions to also live a life of holiness and sanctity?

As Christians…

It is our duty to know more about the Lord and learn deeper about the elements of our faith…
… but we also need to grow in our life of holiness and live the faith in our practical lives

It is our duty to understand Scripture more and know learn about the Church and her teachings…
… but we also need to allow the Scripture ‘to read our lives’ and to help to love, spread and defend the Church and her teachings to others.

Prophet Hosea reminds of the danger of straying away from the ways of the Lord… and invites, to stay closer to the Lord and walk in His ways: “They made kings, but not through Me.

They set up princes, but without my knowledge.
With their silver and gold they made idols for their own destruction.
I have spurned your calf, O Samaria. My anger burns against them. How long will it be till they are pure in Israel?”

Which group of people are we in…

“Knowing theoretically much about the power of God and scriptures” but failing to recognize and acknowledge His power…?
Or simple and ordinary in our faith and belief – seeking to know more about God and scripture – but above all, recognizing, acknowledging and thanking the Power of God in life? (Hos 8:4-5)

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – ” A heart full of love loves the commandments and the more difficult it seems, the more sweet and pleasing they become…

… because it pleases the Beloved and gives Him more honour!”

July 6, 2020 – 14th Week of Ordinary Time

“Experiencing the great healing presence of the Lord and becoming passionate proponents of Him, Who alone can restore life in dead situations!”

(Based on Hos 2:14, 15b-16, 19-20 and Mt 9:18-26 – Monday of the 14th Week of Ordinary Time)

Here is an excerpt from an autobiography…

“My world had come crashing down!

• The gush of tears would not stop despite the dams of consolation that were constructed for me…
• The flow of grief could not be stilled despite the walls of comfort that were built for me…

I lost the one whom I considered so precious in my life.
She was the treasure of my heart… She was the crown of my life!

Her tender laughter would fill my life with mirth
Her innocent talks would imbibe my heart with happiness

But life is sometimes so cruel… so unjust… so nasty even!

It snatched away from my hands my beloved princess

She was only twelve… small and tender.
She was just about to begin her life.

But why did she have to die so soon?

Was it my mistake?

o Did I care less for her?
o Did I not provide the best facilities for her?

I look at life now… with my dead girl on the bed….and say:
‘I remained faithful in my duties and works, and this is the cruel way you are treating me!”

I look at the Divine now… with my sweet little child lifeless.. and say:
‘I have sought to be honest, and this is the dreadful manner You deal with me!”

But then I heard of a person named Jesus.. who was near the town.

I have heard of He being a mighty prophet… a powerful healer!

I did not believe in His God…
…but I have heard, ‘His God is the God of all nations, of all peoples!’

And so I ran to Him… and beseeched Him: ‘My daughter has just died. But come, lay Your Hand on her, and she will live’.

I did not know how did I get the courage to say those bold words.
But I believe, it was the charisma of that Person, which made me to say those words of immense faith.

I believe there was already a miracle happening in me, by the fact, that I could have that much boldness to say that “God could infuse life to a dead and lifeless situation’!

Indeed, possessing faith and having trust in God is itself a precious miracle of the Lord!

As that Divine Person was on His way to my home, I encountered another miracle…

A woman who had been suffering from haemorrhage for twelve years was healed of her sickness by just touching the tassel of His cloak!

The words of the Master to that suffering woman was amazing, ‘Courage daughter, Your faith has saved you!’

This incident was another miracle for me.

I felt….
• If this woman who was suffering for twelve years could be healed, why not my daughter also who was twelve years…!

• If this woman could be cured by just touching the fringe of his garment, why not my daughter too, if this Great Man lays His hand on her…!

• If this woman could receive new life by placing her trust in Him, why not my daughter too, since I have also come with faith and hope in Him…!

Life, I found is sometimes too cruel… but the more I was trusting in this Man – who now for me was showing the Compassionate Face of God – the greater I was feeling strengthened.

I was reminded of what some people had told me, about what this Man had once declared, ‘Come to Me, all you who labour and are overburdened; and I will give you rest!’

I was giving my burdens to Him… I was giving my labours to Him…

And I was being more and more convinced, that He would take up my burden on Himself and make me light!

We proceeded on our way…. after that shower of consolation that I received on this path of suffering!

As we reached our house, my relatives and well-wishers raised up a mighty tumult….
Wailing for my daughter…. Crying and sharing in our deep grief.

But will I be a bit stupid if I say, that in those moments, though externally I was totally broken and shattered…
… within me, I could experience already, a certain sense of hope, that this Man – whose charism was so much Godly and Divine – would bring my daughter back to life.

I was sad outside… but His Presence made me hopeful inside
I was crying externally…. but His Charm made me encouraged within

And my thoughts got a deeper confirming sign, when I heard Him say to all those were weeping and bitterly crying, “Go away! The girl is not dead but is sleeping!”

We stepped in the room…

The sight of my dead princess was too overwhelming for me!
• My grief once again overpowered me!
• My tears of sadness once again began to drown me!

But I again realised, I had to fix my gaze on that Divine Man in that moment of pain, to find courage and consolation.

• When I took of my eyes from Him, and stared at my situation of grief, I was shattered!
• But when I took off my eyes from the problem, and fixed my eyes on Him, I was consoled!

And then came that moment of absolute wonder and ecstasy…
The best moment of my life!

This Divine Man placed His hand on my precious daughter….
And up she arose!!

Life was restored to a dead situation!
Happiness was reinstated in a grieving circumstance!

My daughter was alive… once again!

• How great is the joy of those who place their trust entirely in this Divine Master!
• How immense is the blessing experienced by those who have faith in this Charismatic Man!

I wish and hope that all peoples of the world may come to experience the great healing presence of this Man…

I also wish and hope that all those who have encountered His Living and Miraculous Touch may become passionate proponents of this Man who alone can restore life in dead situations!”

… This excerpt is taken from an imaginary autobiography titled, “He restores our life!” of the Official, seen in the Gospel of Mt 9: 18-22, whose girl was dead at the age of twelve and was restored back to life.

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “You were never told not to think about your advancement…

… but that you were not to think about it anxiously!”