REFLECTION CAPSULES: Volume II

REFLECTION CAPSULES: Volume II – Fr Jijo Jose Manjackal’s Daily Guided Gospel Reflections is now available for shipping in India

• The book contains over 250 pages of Reflections
• Dig deeper into the Church’s Sunday Gospel Readings for the 2022 Liturgical Year
• Reflections cover over 100 Themes decorated with anecdotes and unique literary style
• Use as a tool for personal/family/community Bible study
• Aid to preparing for recollections, talks, homilies

The book carries a Message of Appreciation from His Excellency, Archbishop Rino Fisichella

TO ORDER YOUR OWN COPY, KINDLY PROVIDE DETAILS IN THE LINK BELOW:
https://forms.gle/LMCvoYomKxDX2p288

or you can

EMAIL DETAILS TO: reflectioncapsules@gmail.com

ORDER NOW to avail a 40% discount.

Reflection Capsules – Volume II is available at an Introductory price of INR 200/-
(Currently shipping in India only)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULES – Jan 28, 2023: Saturday

“Avoiding the ‘plank’ of transient assurances and embracing the ‘Rock’ of Everlasting Refuge!”

(Based on Heb 11:1-2, 8-19 and Mk 4:35-41 – Saturday of the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time, Year 1)

A captain of a ship – quite deep rooted in his faith and love for Christ – was addressing a group of teenage boys and girls.

He told them, “My dear young ones! Do not get swayed by your emotions and feelings, in your life of faith.

When you are struggling in the waters of sin, and you try to get closer to hold the hands of Jesus, you know what does the devil do?

He holds out a plank of ‘false feelings and assurances’ and says – ‘Get on to this… and you will feel better!

And when you lose focus from Jesus and step on to that ‘plank,’ he pulls it out…
… and your state of life will be worse than before!

Therefore my friends, remember always…
… Depend not on false feelings. Depend on Your Faith!
… Lose not your focus from Jesus. Allow His Hands to uphold you!

Avoid the plank of transient assurances.
Embrace the Rock of Everlasting Refuge!”

The Gospel of the Day is a beautiful encounter of the disciples experiencing “the waves of struggles”…
… and being reminded to “Embrace the Rock of Everlasting Refuge!”

It’s a very late evening… nearing midnight…
The disciples along with Jesus, who have embarked on a boat, are caught in the midst of a heavy storm.
“A violent squall came up and the waves were breaking over the boat…” (Mk 4: 36)

Some of the disciples were fishermen.

They had been many years at the sea.
They had often suffered the fury and vehemence of nature
They had been greatly used to many storms and tempests at sea.

But this storm seemed to be too fierce and too ferocious.

The disciples feared greatly!
The disciples panicked very much!

With death bells ringing in their ears, and a dreadful end before their eyes…
… the disciples were shocked to see Jesus, unmoved and unperturbed.

The Gospel says that “Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion” (Mk 4:38)

In the moment of their deep anguish and helpless, the disciples cry out:
“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” (Mk 4:38)

The boat could capsize anytime and all of them could be drowned soon…
The storms could lash brutally and the waves could overturn them any moment…
Time was fast running…

But Jesus seemed totally unfazed!
Jesus seemed totally disinterested!

So they cried out to Jesus… Lord, do you not care?!

How many times have we screamed similar words to God:
“Lord, do you not care?”

Lord, do you not care… that my family member is so sick?
Lord, do you not care… that I feel totally alone and miserable in my life?
Lord, do you not care… that my marriage is failing and my family is breaking up?
Lord, do you not care… that am without a job now and the future ahead is so bleak?
Lord, do you not care… that my life seems so meaningless and without any purpose?
Lord, do you not care… that I am plunged to loneliness and abandoned by all my friends?
Lord, do you not care that I encounter only failures, dejection and rejection in my endeavours?

When we look into the Gospel, it is amazing to know whose plan it was, in the first place to make this boat journey…

When we re-read the Gospel passage, we find the answer…

Mk 4:35 says, “On that day, as evening drew near, Jesus said to them, ‘Let us cross over to the other side!’”

Ah…..
Shall we read that again?

… JESUS said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side!”

The idea to go in the boat was not that of the disciples…

The idea to go in the boat was that of JESUS!

The encounter with the storms was not some accident!
The stumbling into the violent waves was not some unlucky thing!

It had a purpose!
It had a meaning!
It had an intention!

For the disciples, it was a moment of terror…
… But the Lord used this terrorizing time to teach them to have faith in Him!

For the disciples, it was a time of immense crisis…
… But the Lord used this critical moment, to teach them to trust in Him!

For the disciples, it was a time of dreadful fear…
… But the Lord used this fearful circumstance, to teach them to believe in Him!

The disciples – who had stepped on the “plank of fear”- were given a lesson: Lose not your focus from Jesus. His Hands will uphold you always!

Our moments of struggle are a time of testing…
Our moments of struggle are a time of learning…
Testing of our genuine faith… learning of deeper trusting!
Testing of our real convictions… learning of profound dependence!

The Lord reminds us of His Sovereignty, as he asked Job, who was going through the sea of sufferings: “Who shut in the sea with doors, when it burst out from the womb?

When I made the clouds its garment, and thick darkness its swaddling band, and prescribed bounds for it, and set bars and doors…” (Job 38: 8-10)

When life takes us through the “waves of sin and struggle,” let us not get fascinated by the devil’s allurement to step on the plank of “false feelings and assurances”

Instead let us avoid the plank of transient assurances…
… and “embrace the Rock of Everlasting Refuge!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE ANOINTING OF THE SICK – SACRAMENT OF THE SICK

From ancient times in the liturgical traditions of both East and West, we have testimonies to the practice of anointings of the sick with blessed oil.
Over the centuries, the Anointing of the Sick was conferred more and more exclusively on those at the point of death.
Because of this it received the name “Extreme Unction.”

Notwithstanding this evolution, the liturgy has never failed to beg the Lord that the sick person may recover his health if it would be conducive to his salvation. (CCC #1512)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULES – Jan 27, 2023: Friday

“Joyfully exclaiming the Awesomeness of God and His Splendour!”

(Based on Heb 10:32-39 and Mk 4:26-34 – Friday of the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time, Year 1)

A family was visiting an art museum.

As they went around with much amazement, excitement and wonder, they came to a famous painting titled “Wheatfield under clouded sky”

This painting was by Vincent Willem van Gogh – a Dutch painter – who posthumously became one of the most famous and influential figures in the history of Western art.

He had created about 2,100 artworks, including around 860 oil paintings, include those of landscapes, still lives, portraits and self-portraits

As the children gazed in admiration at this classical painting, the mother of the family, exclaimed:
“If this work of art, that portrays the beauty of nature, makes us acclaim so much…
… how much more is the Beauty, Power and Goodness of the God Who has created all of this nature!”

And with a great sense of gratitude and appreciation to the Awesomeness of God, she went on to say:
“God writes with a pen that never blots…
… speaks with a tongue that never slips
… and acts with a hand that never fails!”

Yes, our God is an awesome God!

And the entire world – all of nature – beautifully sings forth the glory and splendour of God, Who is in total charge!

The Gospel of Day is a beautiful narration of Jesus, using an example from nature, to teach about the Glory and Splendour of God.

All through His teaching ministry, Jesus used different examples, metaphors and symbols to explain about the Kingdom of God.

Today, Jesus speaks about a man who scatters seeds on the land.

Without his awareness there is a growth.
“…and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how” (Mk 4:27)

One of the most tender ideas that this parable presents is that there are many things in life that are not understood and yet, it turns out to be beautiful!

The seed that grows, unnoticed and unseen, is a sign of the Kingdom of God.

The seed takes root.
The seed sprouts.
The seed grows.

But HOW this takes place, is unknown and unseen…

The effect of the growth is seen, but the process of the growth is unknown!

The result of the progress is observed, but the manner of the progress is hidden!

In John 3:8, we read, “The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes… so it is with everyone born of the Spirit”

The movement of the Spirit of God is gentle and mild!
The growth of God’s Kingdom is hidden and concealed!

This points to the tremendous fact that God is in total charge and control!
…that God is in perfect sovereignty and power!
…that God is in total dominion and management!

We are sometimes people prone to a lot of strategies and planning.

When things don’t turn out the way we have planned, we get worried and anxious.
When situations don’t fall in line with what we envisaged, we get tensed and upset!
But, today God tells… I am in total control!

When my life seems to be in a complete mess and nothing is understood by us…

God says, “I am in total control”

When circumstances around me go haywire and I lose control of things…

God says, “I am in total control”

When conditions are highly worse and it seems to be the end of the world for me…

God says, “I am in total control”

This is not to say that we need to have a passive and lethargic attitude to life.

This is not to say that we need to have a casual and a lazy mentality in life.
This is not even to say that we should not have plans and strategies in our life
But this is a great reminder to know and realise that God is the Ultimate Master!

There are no accidents… no “by chance” happenings…
… for a Christian.

Everything finds its place, in the Permissive Will of the Lord!

Do I trust in Him to lead through the dark moments into light?

Do I believe in Him to lead through the depressing moments into joy?
Do I have faith in Him to lead through the confusing moments to clarity?

Let us enjoy the silent working of the Spirit within us, and be part of the
… unseen, yet dynamic..
… silent, yet spectacular…
growth of the Kingdom of God!

As we gaze at the “large canvas of miracles” that we experience every day, every moment of our life…
… let us joyfully exclaim the Awesomeness of God and His Splendour, by confessing:
“God writes with a pen that never blots…
… speaks with a tongue that never slips
… and acts with a hand that never fails!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE ANOINTING OF THE SICK – SACRAMENT OF THE SICK

The Church believes and confesses that among the seven sacraments there is one especially intended to strengthen those who are being tried by illness, the Anointing of the Sick
This sacred anointing of the sick was instituted by Christ our Lord as a true and proper sacrament of the New Testament

It is alluded to indeed by Mark, but is recommended to the faithful and promulgated by James the apostle and brother of the Lord. (CCC #1511)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULES – Jan 26, 2023: Thursday

“Avoiding all ‘lame’ excuses and wholeheartedly accepting the Mission Mandate of the Lord, inspired by the example of St Timothy and St Titus!”

(Based on Titus 1:1-5 and Lk 10:1-9 – Feast of Saints Timothy and Titus, Bishops)

A lady – affected much with polio – and able to walk with just one leg approached a visa desk to go to the missions in the land of Africa.

She had been greatly influenced by the call of the Lord in the Gospels, to “be a missionary” and so decided to give her life totally for the missions.

The visa officer – himself a Christian – after reviewing and verifying her documents, had one last question to be ask, before giving the approval: “Can you give me a convincing answer as to why, with just one leg, you are taking up this risky mission journey?”

The lady, with a grin replied: “Well, I don’t find those with two legs going!”

The visa request was immediately granted!

Zeal for missions… zeal for reaching out in help and service
… is a task entrusted to every Christian.

Do we wholeheartedly accept this responsibility…
… or do we make ‘lame’ excuses and avoid this mandate?

Today, the Church celebrates the Feast of St Timothy and St Titus…
… Bishops in the early Church and close companions of St Paul

  1. St Timothy…
    … (came from Lystra in present-day Turkey) was the son of a Jewish mother and a non-Jewish father

After St. Paul’s visit to Timothy’s home region of Lycaonia, around the year 51, the young man joined the apostle and accompanied him in his travels.

St Paul later sent him to Thessalonica to help the Church during a period of persecution.

Later, they came together in Corinth, and Timothy accompanied Paul on many of his missionary travels.

Around the year 64, Timothy became the first bishop of the Church of Ephesus.

In the year 93 AD, during his leadership of the Church in Ephesus, he took a stand against the worship of idols and was consequently killed by a mob.

St. John retreated to Ephesus before eventually dying on the island of Patmos, and that the Virgin Mary followed John to Ephesus, living in a house above the town.

It is also quite possible, that St. Timothy – being the Bishop of Ephesus – also had interactions with Mother Mary and St John, who had (as many scholars say and many writings testify) spent their last years in Ephesus.

St Timothy therefore would have drunk from the deepest wells of the Christian tradition – hearing about the life of Christ from the lips of the most important witnesses of His Life and Death!

  1. St Titus…
    … was born into a pagan family – is said to have studied Greek philosophy and poetry in his early years. >> He pursued a life of virtue, and purportedly had a prophetic dream that caused him to begin reading the Hebrew Scriptures.

According to tradition, Titus journeyed to Jerusalem and witnessed the preaching of Christ during the Lord’s ministry on earth….
… only later, however – after the conversion of St. Paul and the beginning of his ministry – did Titus receive baptism from the apostle, who called the pagan convert his “true child in our common faith.”

St Titus accompanied Paul to the Apostolic Council of Jerusalem during the year 51, and was later sent to the Corinthian Church on two occasions.
After the end of Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome, the apostle ordained Titus as the Bishop of Crete…
… He is credited with leading the Church of Crete, overturning paganism and promoting the faith through his prayers and preaching.

These two great saints teach us important lessons on living as a follower of Christ…
… Christ reminds and exhorts every one of us: “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest. Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves…” (Lk 10:2-3)

Being ready to face any challenge or opposition in being a witness to the Gospel
St Timothy and St Titus had to face innumerable opposition – from within community, from the persecutors around, in their mission journeys etc
… yet to remained firm and faithful to their mission mandate

Are we ready to brave every challenge to be a Courageous witness of the Gospel in our own life situations?

Are we ready to depend on the Lord for everything?
Are we ready to give heed to the words of the Lord to his missionary apostles,

As we are told, “Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road.” (Lk 10:4)…
… we are reminded on the need to avoid reliance on material dimensions of life; instead to have our dependence totally on the Lord!

St Timothy and St Titus experienced the fruits of this “total dependence” in their ministries!

Can we let go of our various attachments and trust deeper in the Providence of the Lord?

Untiring zeal and passion for the Kingdom
St Timothy and St Titus accompanied St Paul in his missionary journeys…
… and learnt the “art of passionate zeal for missions” in imitation of Christ

Are we ready to be enrolled into the school of Jesus, the Greatest Missionary and learn from him the “art of passionate zeal for missions?”

Zeal for missions… zeal for reaching out in help and service
… is indeed a task entrusted to every Christian.

God has blessed us immensely with many good things…
… and it is our duty to put all these blessings and graces for the Glory of the Lord

Do we wholeheartedly accept this responsibility…
… or do we make ‘lame’ excuses and avoid this mandate?

May the missionary zeal of St Timothy and St Titus inspire us…
… and help us to “rekindle the gift of God that is within…” (Cf. 2 Tim 1:6)

Happy Feast of St Timothy and St Titus!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE ANOINTING OF THE SICK – A SACRAMENT OF THE SICK

The Apostolic Constitution Sacram unctionem infirmorum, following upon the Second Vatican Council, established that henceforth, in the Roman Rite, the following be observed:
The sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is given to those who are seriously ill by anointing them on the forehead and hands with duly blessed oil – pressed from olives or from other plants – saying, only once:

“Through this holy anointing may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit. May the Lord who frees you from sin save you and raise you up.” (CCC #1513)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULES – Jan 25, 2023: Wednesday

“Being ready to stick our lives into the ‘jar of God’s honey of love!’”

(Based on Acts 22:3-16 and Mk 16:15-18 – Feast of the Conversion of St Paul)

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

A gentleman, walking behind him, was constantly observing the boy…
… how very often, he would stick his finger inside the jar, and taste a little of the honey.

After noticing this quite a few times, he approached the boy and asked:
“Son, what do you have in that jar”

“Sweet Honey” said the boy

“Honey? Is it sweet?” enquired the man

“Yes Sir”

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

“Very sweet Sir!”

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

“Very sweet Sir!”

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

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

Quite true, isn’t it?

Any description of the sweetness of the honey would not suffice…
… unless one actually experiences it!

So it is with the Lord!

The sweetness of the Lord, however described by others cannot suffice…
… unless one actually experiences it!

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

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

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

This passion was greatly reflected in all aspects of his life…
… in his preaching and his writings!
… in his dealing with the Gentiles and their cause of faith
… in his aggressiveness against anything that caused scandal and harm to the Church
… in his uncompromising attitude towards anything that endangered his relationship with the Lord!

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

“Woe to me, if I don’t preach the Gospel” (1 Cor 9:16)
“I count everything as a loss for Christ…” (Phil 3:8)
“For me to live is to Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil 1:21)
“My preaching… was a demonstration of the Spirit and power” ( 1 Cor 2:4)

We need to ask ourselves:

Is my Christian life, filled with passion and zeal?
Do I burn with love for God and His Kingdom?
Does the Lord and His Will come first, in my life?

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

We can very often have only discussions and deliberations about faith
… but not real prayer or living in the Spirit

We can many times have talks being heard or books being read on Christian life
… but not necessarily living the Christian life of virtues and a Sacramental Life

We can sometimes enter into doubts about Christianity, to “know more”…
… but not necessarily growing in our relationship with the Lord or loving Him more

The Feast of the Conversion of St Paul is a mighty reminder to all of us…
… to live our Christian lives “passionately and zealously!”

Yes, just as any description of the sweetness of honey would not suffice…
… unless one actually experiences it!

So it is with the Lord!

The sweetness of the Lord, however described by others cannot suffice…
… unless one actually experiences it!

St Paul experienced the “sweetness of the Lord”…
… and he gave his life for the Lord – in passion and in zeal.

What about us?

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

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE ANOINTING OF THE SICK – A SACRAMENT OF THE SICK

From ancient times in the liturgical traditions of both East and West, we have testimonies to the practice of anointings of the sick with blessed oil.
Over the centuries the Anointing of the Sick was conferred more and more exclusively on those at the point of death. >> Because of this it received the name “Extreme Unction.”

Notwithstanding this evolution, the liturgy has never failed to beg the Lord that the sick person may recover his health, if it would be conducive to his salvation. (CCC #1512)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULES – Jan 24, 2023: Tuesday

“Holding firm in doing the Will of the Lord and thus being assured of His Presence with us, always!”

(Based on Heb 10:1-10 and Mk 3:31-35– Tuesday of the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time, Year 1 – Feast of St Francis de Sales)

Three different incidents are a told of a person, who was known to struggle with impatience, anger and exasperation…
… yet would deal with it, with a lot of maturity and patience.

The first incident is of stray man who walked through the streets, and was trying to ‘do him in’ – trying to harm the person.
This person however, would tell him:
“I am told you wish me harm. I can promise you that even if you had put out one of my eyes, I would still look kindly upon you with the other!”

The second incident is when he would be insulted by a certain high official and he was asked, why he did not lose his temper. He would admit and say:
“At that time and many other times, I was seething with anger like water in a pot, boiling over the fire; but that by the Grace of God, even if the violent efforts to resist such passion endangered my life…
… I would not let myself go!”

The third incident would be when the person would be instigated to lose temper and to speak badly to a young man. This would be his reaction to the same:
“What did you want me to do in the matter?
… I did what I could to arm myself with an anger that was not sinful. I took my heart in my two hands, but I did not have the courage to dress him down.

To tell you the truth, I was afraid of losing in a quarter of an hour this little bit of liquid of gentleness…
… which I have attempted to gather for twenty-two years, drop by drop like dew in the vessel of my puny heart!”

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

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

He was willing to “live in holiness and sanctity”…
… and to always seek and go God’s Will.

This person is St Francis de Sales – known as the Gentleman Saint…
… whose feast is celebrated on January 24th.

His life is a great inspiration to all of us…
… as he would allow himself to be moulded by the Grace of God
… and with honest efforts, would grow in virtue and holiness.

He allowed the Mighty Presence of the Lord to “take possession of his heart” and was willing to “let go of everything” that prevented him from being a disciple of Christ!

What about our Christian Life?

Is it centered on seeking and doing the Will of God, at every moment, in every situation?

The Gospel of the Day is a narrative of Jesus displaying His conviction and commitment on the most vital dimension of the Kingdom of God: Doing God’s Will.

Jesus was in the thick of His ministry.

The place was packed with people sitting on the floor, in the passage-way, around the doors and windows, craving to listen to what Jesus was speaking.

It’s at that time that His family members arrived.

His family couldn’t get through to Him

So they send a message in, and it passed from one person to person: “Tell him that his mother and brothers are outside looking for him” (Mk 3: 32)

The message finally reached Jesus.

It is interesting to consider the feelings and reactions of the different persons…

The family of Jesus…
….were eager and concerned to get the Lord back home
… were wanting to meet Him and if possible to give Him a break in His ministry

The crowd around Jesus…
… were understandable that the family of the Lord are keen to meet Him
… were expecting Jesus to stop His preaching, to accommodate meeting His kith and kin

It is in such critical moments and crucial situations…
… that the Lord loves to make use, to put across a message…
… that the Lord loves to thrive on, to send forth a teaching…

Jesus uses the arrival of His physical family as an opportunity to teach about His relationship with His spiritual family.

What is most needed…
… is not human relationships
… is not human affairs

Rather, spiritual relations and spiritual affairs!

Jesus brings to focus the importance…
… to seek and do God’s Will
… to become related in the Kingdom.

What is our attitude and mentality…

Am I concerned more with worldly affairs or do I engage myself more into spiritual realities?

Am I obsessed more with worldly gains or do I be zealous for spiritual graces and blessings?

Very often we lose our focus…

Very often we lose sight of the proper track…

The Lord, today, brings back the “spotlight” on the essentials of a Christian Life.

Christian life sometimes gets diluted with too many “social” concerns…
… at the expense of spiritual realities.

Christian life sometimes gets polluted with too many “interdisciplinary” matters…
… at the expense of true faith and teachings.

Christian life sometimes gets ruined with too many “compromising” practices…
… at the expense of Gospel values and standards.

St Francis de Sales, the Doctor of Love, the Gentleman Saint…
… in His book – The Introduction to the Devout Life (a book recommended for all, especially those in family life) clearly enunciates simple and practical tips of how one can grow in devotion and holiness…
… by constantly remaining in the presence of God
… by continually doing the Will of God

Undoubtedly, in doing the Will of God, we will have to…
… we will have to face moments of loneliness, ‘cos we will find ourselves, swimming against the currents of the world

… we will have to encounter hardships and rejections, ‘cos we would become a subject of calumny and mockery, as others may oppose us

… we will have to go through situations of darkness, ‘cos we would find it hard to even have clarity in our life of faith

But in all such situations, the Lord assures us, with the 5 beautiful words: I WILL BE WITH YOU!

When we cherish to be in the Presence of the Lord, strength and courage is bestowed on us!

When we delight to dwell in the Presence of the Lord, power and grace is favoured on us!

As St Francis de Sales teaches us:
“Do everything calmly and peacefully.
Strive to see God in all things without exception, and consent to His will joyously.

Do everything for God, uniting yourself to him in word and deed.”

Let us “seek and do God’s Will” at all times and thus “soar in the skies of sanctity”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE ANOINTING OF THE SICK – A SACRAMENT OF THE SICK

The Church believes and confesses that among the seven sacraments there is one especially intended to strengthen those who are being tried by illness, the Anointing of the Sick:
This sacred anointing of the sick was instituted by Christ our Lord as a true and proper sacrament of the New Testament.

It is alluded to indeed by Mark, but is recommended to the faithful and promulgated by James the apostle and brother of the Lord. (CCC #1511)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULES – Jan 23, 2023: Monday

“Having true spiritual growth and nourishment by pursuing credibility and authenticity!”

(Based on Heb 9:15, 24-28 and Mk 3:22-30 – Monday of the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time, Year 1)

Michelangelo has been one of the greatest artists the world has ever seen.

His notable works of “Pieta”, “David”, “Moses”, “The Last Judgment” have been unparalleled in their beauty and perfection.

Another of his fantastic work has been the Frescoes on the Sistine Chapel Ceiling (in the Vatican)

It is said that as this great artist painted the magnificent frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine chapel – lying on his back for endless hours to finish every detail with great care…
… A friend asked him why he took such pains with figures that would be viewed from a considerable distance.

“After all,” the friend said, “Who will notice whether it is perfect or not?”

The artist who was known for his perfection at all works replied…
… “I will!”

The motivation for perfection in all things, for Michelangelo, was not from outside…
… it was a based on his conviction that he should be “credible and authentic” in all what he does.

Our spiritual life also follows a similar principle: When credibility and authenticity are lacking in a spiritual endeavour, there is very less spiritual growth and nourishment!

It is credibility and authenticity that helps to gain spiritual progress and advancements!

The Gospel of the Day is an exhibition of how true integrity and authority can work tremendous wonders, conversions of heart and transformations of life…
… and how it can also cause some people to “oppose credibility and authenticity” by engaging in calumny and character-assassination!

The Gospel of the Day begins with the statement that…
… “the scribes who had come down from Jerusalem said, ‘He is possessed by Beelzebul and by the prince of demons , He casts out the demons” (Mk 3:22)

One of the reasons why the Scribes were irked by the personality of Jesus was because of the tremendous authority that was displayed by Jesus!
Yes, the amazing factor in the ministry of Jesus was His tremendous authority!

The wondrous aspect in the ministry of Jesus was His awesome integrity!

Elsewhere, in the Gospel of St Mark, we read…

The people “were astonished at his teaching, for He taught as one who had authority…” (Mk 1:22)
“… they were all amazed so that they questioned among themselves…. ‘…with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him” ( Mk 1: 27)

This authority and integrity came…
… through His deep union with His Heavenly Father.
… through His faithfulness to the commands of His heavenly Father
… through His undivided devotion to His Heavenly Father

How authentic, credible and integral are we in our life…
… as a Christian?
… in the family?
… as a consecrated person?

Authenticity does not mean arrogance…

Credibility does not mean over-confidence…

Integrity does not mean super-importance…

Authenticity, credibility and integrity in the Lord means…
… filled with the power and strength of God’s Spirit
… imbued with a deep passion for the Lord and His Church
… living an honest lifestyle in accordance to God’s Will and teachings

The Gospel of the Day calls us to check and examine…
… is my prayer life and devotion truly authentic and credible?
… is my preaching and spreading of God’s Word filled with His Holy Spirit?
… is my reception of the Sacraments helping me to make an honest effort to be a true Christian?

Let our prayers become a true raising of hearts to God…

Let the receiving of the Sacraments become an honest transformation for life…

Let the spreading of God’s Word become a credible witness to God’s Kingdom….

Jesus is our model and example to be true and honest in life!

Jesus is our ideal and standard to be faithful and committed to our mission!

Let the motivation in seeking for perfection in all things, be based not from outside…
… rather let it be based on the conviction that we should be “credible and authentic” in all what we do!

May our spiritual life follows the principle: Only when credibility and authenticity are pursued, we can have true spiritual growth and nourishment!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE ANOINTING OF THE SICK – CHRIST THE PHYSICIAN

However, the apostolic Church has its own rite for the sick, attested to by St. James:
“Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders [presbyters] of the Church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”

Tradition has recognized in this rite one of the seven sacraments. (CCC #1510)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULES – Jan 21, 2023: Saturday

“Living with deep conviction and trust in the power of the Lord!”

(Based on Heb 9:2-3, 11-14 and Mk 3:20-21 – Saturday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time, Year 1)

It was a tense afternoon in the September of the year 1594.

The Bishop of Geneva in France, had convoked a meeting of all his clergy.

There was an urgent need for priests to go to a place named Chablais.

Chablais was a territory in Geneva, which had been under political and religious siege.

Around fifty priests in this place had been banished.
Many churches had been burnt and devastated.

Chablais had become a place of terror for the Catholic Church.

This city became infamous for its terrible persecution of the Catholic Faith.

In this horrifying situation, the Bishop of the place had called for a meeting…
… to ask for volunteers to go to this place and renew the faith.

But none came forward…

None were willing to risk their lives…

It’s at this point, that there came a gentle yet firm voice:
“My Lord, if you think that I am capable of it, command me, I am ready!”

The voice was of St Francis de Sales.

His own father considered this decision as “utter madness”

Perhaps, the other priests and clergy would have also felt this decision as a “crazy one”

The risk of being driven out, failing in his undertaking and of becoming a laughing stock of the world was great indeed.

But St Francis de Sales stood firm to His decision.

It was a decision which perhaps…
… defied reasons
… seemed out of senses…

But this decision was to become the turning point of a spiritual revolution!

The one who has eyes fixed on one’s goals is indeed a mad person!

The one who is filled with God’s love is indeed an obsessed person!
Mad for one’s aim
… obsessed in love
… passionate about one’s goals!

The Gospel of the Day is also a narrative of the “Mad and Insane” Jesus!

St Mark’s Gospel is pretty straightforward – to the point and blunt in its nature.

The Lord was out to preach and proclaim the Kingdom of Love and Mercy…

Broken lives were mended by the balm of His Holiness
Ruined minds were revived by the power of His teachings
Shattered destinies were made whole by the cure of His touch
Hardened hearts were touched by the softness of His presence
Ruptured consciences were restored by the gentleness of His love

The crowd following had increased
… the popularity ratings had soared!

This however causes a great disturbance and distress in the family of Jesus…
“Again the crowds gathered, making it impossible for them, even to eat.

When His relatives heard of this, they set out to seize Him, for they said, ‘He is out of His mind’ ” (Mk 3: 20-21)

Jesus was labelled as being “out of mind!”

Jesus was tagged as being “insane and mad”
Jesus was branded as being “crazy and odd”

The one who is filled with God’s love is indeed an obsessed person!

The one who has eyes fixed on one’s goals is indeed a mad person!
Obsessed in love
… mad for one’s aim
… passionate about one’s goals!

And Jesus was indeed passionate and highly zealous for His mission…

So much so, that even His own relatives misunderstood and mistook Him.

The Bible and the Church is a gigantic collection of deeds and acts of such people who were “mad” and who took “crazy” decisions in life…

Abraham was “crazy” to have faith in God, to have children, even at the ripe old age of hundred!
Moses was “mad” to trust God to lead a tiny nation from the clutches of the imposing Egyptian empire!
Mother Mary was “crazy” to give up her promising life and instead consent to an Angel to become the Mother of God!
St Peter was “mad” to abandon his career and family to follow Jesus for a ministry of unknown and uncertain future!
St Paul was “crazy” to undergo tremendous sufferings and agonizing troubles for the sake of the spread of the Gospel!
St Francis De Sales was “crazy” and “mad” to undertake risk of going to the Chablais mission and renew the faith of the people!

When one is really passionate towards one’s mission, there is an element of “craziness!”

When one is really zealous about one’s purposes, there is an element of “madness”!

Do I have and reflect this “mad” passion and zeal for God’s love?
… by seeking Him in all our works, activities and plans
… by reaching out His love to the needy and the disadvantaged
… by spreading hope, courage and optimism in this broken world

Let us dare to walk and live the path of the Crucified Lord…
… the One who was called mad and insane
… the One who was misunderstood and unaccepted

Because He chose to live and die for His convictions of Love!

Let us not be worried, let us not be anxious
… but trust in our Loving God!

In the words of St Francis De Sales, whose feast we celebrate on the 24th of January:
“God takes pleasure to see you take your little steps; and like a good father who holds his child by the hand, He will accommodate His steps to yours and will be content to go no faster than you.

Why do you worry?”

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

She knew the worth of her life consisted in the fact that she was deeply loved by the Lord…
… and that her faithfulness to the consecration to the Lord was her strength

And so with deep conviction, she would exclaim:
“You may stain your sword with my blood…
… but you will never profane my body that I have consecrated to Christ.”

“Christ made my soul beautiful with the jewels of grace and virtue…
… I belong to Him whom the angels serve!”

May the life and words of St Agnes inspire us, as we seek to grow in our “spirituality of living in love – with gentleness and kindness!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE ANOINTING OF THE SICK – HEAL THE SICK

The Holy Spirit gives to some a special charism of healing so as to make manifest the power of the grace of the risen Lord.
But even the most intense prayers do not always obtain the healing of all illnesses.

Thus St. Paul must learn from the Lord that “my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,” and that the sufferings to be endured can mean that “in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his Body, that is, the Church. (CCC #1508)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULES – Jan 20, 2023: Friday

“Knowing that the waters of gentleness and kindness always find a way to seep through the rocky terrains of tough situations of life!”

(Based on Heb 8:6-13 and Mk 3:13-19 – Friday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time, Year 1)

A hostel warden had fallen into the disagreeable habit of yelling at the boys who were in his charge.

He thought this necessary in order to maintain his authority

Once, he was confined to bed for a week with severe laryngitis (inflammation of the vocal cords)

He could not speak above a whisper…
… and had to run the affairs of the hostel from his bed.

“Do you know,” he confessed afterwards, “I found that the children were far more well-behaved and good-natured when I could only speak to them in a whisper…
… than when I used to shout at them!”

The waters of gentleness and kindness always find a way to seep through the rocky terrains of tough situations of life!

And it is God’s Mighty Love that causes us to act with gentleness and kindness…
… and “to repay evil not with evil, but to do good to people!”

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

Jesus, in the midst of a ministry, of people rejecting him, and failing to accept His words…
… refuses to give in to failure or to stop doing the good.

Instead, “He responds to evil, by doing good” and establishes a band of twelve chosen ones…
… who were to join Him and continue His Noble Mission of “doing good, even in the face of evil!”

The twelve disciples who are chosen (Mk 3:13-19) would be schooled in the Discipleship of the Lord…
… to “leave everything and adopt the Divine Strategy of ‘doing good, even in the face of evil’”

We are invited to grow into Christians who display the Love and Mercy of God to people…
… by a life of gentleness and patience!

We are often placed in situations which are hostile, antogonising and even depressive

How do we respond in such situations?
Can we still hold aloft the light of faith?

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

Let us always remember that the waters of gentleness and kindness always find a way to seep through the rocky terrains of tough situations of life!

And it is God’s Mighty Love that causes us to act with gentleness and kindness…
… and “to repay evil not with evil, but to do good to people!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE ANOINTING OF THE SICK – HEAL THE SICK

The risen Lord renews this mission (“In my name… they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
And confirms it through the signs that the Church performs by invoking his name.

These signs demonstrate in a special way that Jesus is truly “God who saves.” (CCC #1507)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULES – Jan 19, 2023: Thursday

“Becoming a magnetic Presence of the Lord to others by being touched by His Love!”

(Based on Heb 7:25-8:6 and Mk 3:7-12 – Thursday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time, Year 1)

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

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

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

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

The Gospel of the Day is a wonderful exhibition of this Magnetic Presence of Jesus!

St Mark beautifully presents this attractive power of the Lord through the words:
“A large number of people followed from Galilee and from Judea.

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

The popularity of the Lord was spreading far and wide…

His power over sin had many to look up to Him…
His authoritative teaching was astonishing to many…
His dominance over evil spirits was awe-inspiring for many…
His amazing healing power had caused a stir among people…

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

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

The magnetic and charming power of the Lord attracts us too..
… but are we remain willing to get attracted to this amazing force?

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

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

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

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

Chapels and Churches often remain empty and forlorn…
Very few to visit Jesus in the Eucharist!
Hardly any say ‘Hello’ to the Lord in the Eucharist!

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

We sometimes are making ourselves to be a people wanting only fascinating miracles!
We sometimes are forming ourselves to be ones who are attracted only to external sensations!

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

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

There is nothing more beautiful than moments spent before the Eucharistic Lord!
There is nothing more awesome than an experience of love in the Holy Eucharist!

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

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

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

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

Maybe too many works and occupations…
Maybe a feeling that it is too dry and boring to be with Him…
Maybe an attitude that social works suffice and go beyond all such pious devotions…

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

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

The closer we are, the more attracted we be!
The more we remain with Him, the more we become like Him!

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

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

And may, we, in turn, become a magnetic Presence of the Lord to others!
… Seeking the Eucharist, to be a Eucharist to the other!
… Loving the Eucharist, to break and share oneself to the other!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE ANOINTING OF THE SICK – HEAL THE SICK

Christ invites his disciples to follow him by taking up their cross in their turn.
By following him they acquire a new outlook on illness and the sick.
Jesus associates them with his own life of poverty and service.
He makes them share in his ministry of compassion and healing:

“So they went out and preached that men should repent. And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them. (CCC #1506)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULES – Jan 18, 2023: Wednesday

“Being inspired by Jesus, the ‘Lion’ to instil in us the urgency to take necessary good actions in our life!”

(Based on Heb 7:1-3, 15-17 and Mk 3:1-6 – Wednesday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time, Year 1)

A beautiful Turkish proverb goes thus:
“A lion sleeps in the heart of every brave man!”

This quote is a beautiful reminder to every person to understand the inherent power and capability within every person!

It is this power that can help a person to face every situation of fear…
… FEAR, of course is nothing but, “False Evidence Appearing Real” (F.E.A.R.)

Jesus in His early ministry demonstrated His brave and bold presence by displaying Himself as the Powerful Lion of Judah.

Today the Lion, associated with Mark’s Gospel is set to “roar!”

Yes, Jesus, the Marcan Lion is out to “roar” in the Synagogue!

It’s another Sabbath day…
And Jesus is in the synagogue where there is a man who has a withered hand.

St Mark is particular to mention that the Pharisees were watching him keenly, to observe what Jesus, the healer would do (Mk 3:2)

They did not look, to praise God… they observed in order to pinpoint faults!
They did not seek, to glorify God’s name…they scrutinized in order to defame the Lord!

What a pity when religious leaders become only harsh law-enforcing personnel and fail to administer compassion and love!

What a pity when protectors of the law become too rigid and stubborn to keep the rules that they become perpetuators of a perpetual hypocrisy!

As the Pharisees keep watching what He is going to do, Jesus throws the ball in their court.

The Lord knows the secrets of human hearts!
The Lord gauges the depths of human hypocrisy!

And so Jesus, the Marcan Lion roars and asks, ” Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” ( Mk 3:4)

A basic and a fundamental question was staring on the faces of the Pharisees…

They were people…
… who were staunch to uphold the laws and the rules.
… who would strive to maintain faithfulness to the minutest regulations
… who would raise their voice at any violation of God’s commandments.

Was it love that drove them to do God’s commandments?
Was it pure motives that made them to be zealous for God’s law?
Was it a striving for God’s glory that impelled them to be strict keepers of the rules?

Here was a moment for them to express their intention behind all these things…

Here was a chance to tell the world what was their aim in doing all the obligations…

“But they remained silent” (Mk 3:4b)

What an anti-climax it turned out to be!

They gave the worst possible reply to the life-convicting question: Silence!
It was a deafening silence that was brutally wounding and viciously hurting!

It was a booming silence of their cruel disapproval of Jesus’ healing ministry!
It was a crashing silence exposing their wickedness of heart and duplicity of minds!

And so Jesus, the Lion roars…
“Looking around at them with anger and grieved at their hardness of hearts…” (Mk 3:5)

The inhuman silence of the Pharisees provokes Jesus, the Lion to anger!

The hypocritical hush of the Pharisees instigates Jesus, the Lion to fury!
The dreadful stillness of the Pharisees wounds Jesus, the Lion to grief!

How many of us are similar to this attitude of the Pharisees….?

We see people withered in misery and abjection…

And we assume a dignified silence of inaction and apathy!

We see others withered in sinful situations and evil circumstances…

And we take refuge in a silence of not doing anything to help them, come out of this condition!

We see families, societies and communities withering in disunity and discord…

And we maintain a “clean-image” of silence, instead of doing the unpleasant task of unifying!

We see ourselves withered in corrupt inclinations and errant behaviour…

And we uphold a silence of indifference and lethargy and avoid reformation and renewal!

But the Lord, the great Lion, roars in all such “unfair and debasing” moments of silence!
It angers Him…
It grieves Him…
It provokes Him…
It pains Him…

At the same time, we realise that Jesus – the Lion of Judah – Who “roars” fiercely…
… is also the Gentle Lamb who sacrificed His life for our transformation, renewal and reformation!

ROOARRR!!

The Lion of Judah is “roaring” for a positive and active response from us….
… for a change in our attitude and mentality!
… for a radical transformation in our misery of indifference!

Let the “roar” of Jesus, the Lion instil in us the urgency to take necessary good actions in our life.

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE ANOINTING OF THE SICK – CHRIST THE PHYSICIAN

Moved by so much suffering Christ not only allows Himself to be touched by the sick, but He makes their miseries His own: “He took our infirmities and bore our diseases.”

But He did not heal all the sick.
His healings were signs of the coming of the Kingdom of God.
They announced a more radical healing: the victory over sin and death through his Passover.
On the cross, Christ took upon Himself the whole weight of evil and took away the “sin of the world,” of which illness is only a consequence.

By His passion and death on the cross, Christ has given a new meaning to suffering: it can henceforth configure us to Him and unite us with His redemptive Passion. (CCC #1505)