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

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✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULES – June 26, 2022: Sunday

“Taking the resolute decision to walk the hard way!”

(Based on 1 Kings 19:16-21, Gal 5:1, 13-18 and Lk 9:51-62 – 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C)

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I?
I took the one less travelled by,

And that has made all the difference.”

These well-acclaimed and much-celebrated lyrical words…
… from the poem “The Road not taken” by Robert Frost highlight the importance of making critical choices in life.

It is our choices that show who we are, far more than our abilities.

It is our choices that determines our success in life, far more than our talents.
The attitude of our life determines the altitude of our life!

The Gospel of Day takes pride in presenting a determined Jesus, who has made a choice-for-life in moving towards the mission of His life.
“When the days for His being taken up were fulfilled, He resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem” (Lk 9:51)

The Gospel of St Luke presents the whole ministry of Jesus as a linear journey…
… a movement from Galilee to Jerusalem.

All the events and actions of Jesus are oriented towards Jerusalem.

This verse – Luke 9:51 – signifies a mega shift in the earthly ministry of Jesus.

Jesus leaves the northern area of Israel called as Galilee and moves ahead to the southern area of Israel called as Judea.

Just as the Israelites had the Exodus Event, which marked the beginning of their salvation as a nation…
… Jesus too will have the Exodus Event which culminates in Jerusalem, which will mark the beginning of the salvation of the whole world!

This verse – Luke 9:51 – marks the beginning of the Exodus Event in the life of Jesus.

The verse reads, “… He RESOLUTELY determined to journey to Jerusalem”

The Greek word used for “resolutely” is Sterizo.

Sterizo is a strong word, which means…
… to strengthen and to establish
… to stand firm with one’s decision.

Jesus makes this strong resolution – Sterizo – To embrace the vision and plan of God.
Jesus makes this strong resolution – Sterizo – To be obedient to the Will of His Father.

Jerusalem was the place where he was to suffer and die.

He was fully determined to go and would not be dissuaded;
He went cheerfully and courageously though He knew the things that should befall Him.

The Road to Jerusalem was to be marched resolutely by Jesus!

All of us walk the Road to Jerusalem…

Life…
… with its hard challenges and unexpected troubles
… with its spiritual difficulties and luring temptations
… with its doses of unforgiveness and bad temperaments
… with its continual showers of unpleasantness and irritations
… with its allurements to bad habits and hard-to-give up pleasures

Is indeed a Road to Jerusalem!

But unless we make a strong resolute decision to walk through this Jerusalem Road, salvation and victory and happiness can never be ours!

When Jesus decided to go ahead with resoluteness in His decision, He met with rejection!
“…they would not welcome Him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem” (Lk 9:53)

The Jews and the Samaritans were much at loggerheads with each other.

As we see in Jn 4:20, the great controversy between the Jews and the Samaritans was about the place of worship – whether it was Jerusalem or whether it was Mount Gerizim.

So bitter was the altercation between them that the Jews would have no dealings with the Samaritans, nor they with them (Jn. 4:9).

This is the reality of the world.

When one makes a determined decision for life, one is faced with many challenges.
When one makes a strong resolution for life, one is faced with many oppositions.

Like the disciples, James and John, very often, the answer to this rejection is sought in the form of vengeance and violence and wrath.

It is the easier way.
It is the more simpler way.
… but it is a destructive way!

Jesus answers this rejection with a better and a powerful weapon: self-sacrifice.

The Son of Man came not to destroy, but to save through a call to repentance.

It is the hard way.
It is a the more tough way.
… but it is a saving way!

The answer to life’s problems is not in reacting, but in being pro-active!

Jesus in the Gospel today invites each one of us to have a resolute determination in walking the Road to Jerusalem.

It’s easy to pick up shortcuts and easy roads to find success in life.

But it takes a resolute decision to walk the hard way…

The Grace of God will strengthen and boost us in this hard path…

As the Psalmist says, “It is You, O Lord, Who are my portion!” (Cf. Ps 16:5)

The Holy Bible is a witness to this great saga of great people who have walked this hard path…
… including Jesus.

Two roads diverge at every moment in our life

A road of the easy…and the road of the hard…

Which one shall we travel by?

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE MYSTAGOGY OF THE CELEBRATION OF BAPTISM

Baptism signifies and actually brings about death to sin and entry into the life of the Most Holy Trinity through configuration to the Paschal mystery of Christ.
Baptism is performed in the most expressive way by triple immersion in the baptismal water.

However, from ancient times it has also been able to be conferred by pouring the water three times over the candidate’s head. (CCC #1239)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULES – June 25, 2022: Saturday

“Consecrating our lives to the maternal care of our Blessed Mother Mary and finding consolation and comfort in Her Immaculate Heart!”

(Based on the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of our Blessed Mother)

There is a well-known incident in the life of St Francis de Sales…

During the period from December 1586 to January 1587, St Francis underwent a terrible crisis, a temptation, a trial.

There were several causes:

His natural tendency to anxiety
The problem of predestination (a Calvinist position which says that God has determined the eternal destiny of every human being. He has chosen some to eternal life and foreordained others to everlasting punishment) keenly discussed in theological circles in those days.
A mystical dimension to the trial: an unselfish, pure love of God and total surrender to Him, in which lay the answer to his problems as he was being tempted to despair of his salvation.

One day in January 1587, St Francis went into the church of St. Etienne des Grès.

He went to the chapel of our Lady and knelt down in front of the statue.

He was inspired to make an unconditional surrender of his salvation to God, using the words:
“O God, Just Judge and Merciful Father, at least in this life will I love You, if it is not given to me to love You in life everlasting”.

Then he saw there a card with the prayer – The Memorare: “Remember, O Most Gracious Virgin Mary…”

He took it and earnestly prayed it.

He was instantly healed.

The temptation vanished.

Strength and confidence returned to him.

He consecrated himself to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and decided to dedicate his life to God with a vow of chastity.

The Gentleman Saint, St Francis de Sales found consolation and encouragement by dwelling on the Immaculate Heart of our Blessed Mother Mary, and consecrated himself to Her maternal care.

Today, on the Feast Day of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, we too are invited to admire and venerate the deep love and affection of our Blessed Mother…
… and to seek Her help and intercession to lead a life in closer union with the Lord.

The Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Blessed Mary is celebrated on the following day of the Feast of the Sacred Heart of the Lord.

Jesus in a vision to Lucia (one of the Fatima visionaries) said: “I want My Church to…put the devotion to this Immaculate Heart beside the devotion to My Sacred Heart.”

Lucia would also say: ““The work of our redemption began at the moment when the Word descended from Heaven in order to assume a human body in the womb of Mary.

From that moment, and for the next nine months, the Blood of Christ was the Blood of Mary, taken from Her Immaculate Heart; the Heart of Christ was beating in unison with the Heart of Mary!”

Both these devotions are intricately linked.

The Catechism of the Church says:
“Mary’s role in the Church is inseparable from her union with Christ and flows directly from it.” (CCC # 964)

“This union of the mother with the Son in the work of salvation is made manifest from the time of Christ’s virginal conception up to his death”. (CCC #1172)

Saint Alphonsus Ligouri tells us, “After the love which we Jesus Christ, we must give the chief place in our heart to the love of His Mother Mary.”

It was in 1942, in the context of the devastating Second World War, that Pope Pius XII consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

St Luke gives a glimpse into this Blessed Heart of our Mother, when he testifies that “… Jesus’ Mother kept all these things in Her Heart” (Lk 2: 51b)

  1. What does the Immaculate Heart of our Blessed Mother teach us?

The Immaculate Heart of Mary teaches us that “everything in life is not understood”.
Mother Mary had to face a lot of hardships and struggles in life

Right from the moment of the Annunciation
… to the misunderstandings about her marital life
… the hardships at the time of the birth of Her Child
… the grievances and tribulations in the events post-birth and care of the Child
… the loss of Her Spouse, Joseph
… the misunderstandings that Her Little Babe had to face in His ministry
… the cruel death meted out to Her Beloved Child

With all these great troubles of life, we still find that Mother Mary remained trustful and obedient.

  1. The Immaculate Heart of Mary teaches us that “sorrow and pain are an integral part of everyone’s life”

The Heart of our Blessed Mother faced a lot of pain and agonies…
… sacrificing of a promising life ahead, for the sake of giving birth to God’s Child
… facing crisis in the family and possibilities of misunderstanding with her to-be-husband Joseph
… uncertainty during and after the birth of the Child
… living life as a widow and alone with Her Son away in a risky mission
… undergoing the deepest pain of seeing One’s Own Child facing a harrowing death

  1. The Immaculate Heart of Mary teaches us that “being focused on doing God’s Will brings the greatest joy and happiness”
    The Heart of our Blessed Mother was ever focused on doing God’s Will.

Just as Her Son would tell later on in life, “My food is to do the Will of the One who sent me” (Jn 4:34), Mary also would sustain Her life on doing the Will of the Father at all times.

This would therefore turn out to be the source of strength and joy, even in the midst of the deep pain that Her Heart underwent.

The Immaculate Heart of our Blessed Mother is a model and example and inspiration for all of us too….

Do I realise that “not everything in life can be understood”; yet life is still worth living and making it beautiful for others and for God?

Do I accept that “pains and problems” are part and parcel of life; yet, holding on to the Father’s Hands will assure us of a spiritual joy and heavenly peace?

Do I seek to constantly seek and do God’s Will in my life, and be committed and faithful to the tasks that are entrusted to me, as part of my vocation?

Saint Louis de Montfort beautifully reminds us: “If you put all the love of the mothers into one heart it still would not equal the love of the Heart of Mary for her children.” –

Let us consecrate our lives to the maternal care of our Blessed Mother Mary and find consolation and comfort in Her Immaculate Heart!

Immaculate Heart of Mary, may we rest in You!

Happy Feast of the Immaculate Heart of our Blessed Mamma!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE MYSTAGOGY OF THE CELEBRATION

The baptismal water is consecrated by a prayer of epiclesis (either at this moment or at the Easter Vigil).
The Church asks God that through his Son the power of the Holy Spirit may be sent upon the water…

… so that those who will be baptized in it may be “born of water and the Spirit” (CCC #1238)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULES – June 24, 2022: Friday

“As we gaze at the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we are reminded: ‘This Heart of Mine, is just for you! Can you also give me your heart…?”

(Based on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus)

A youngster who was pretty desperate in life – contemplating even of terminating his life – exasperated and lost, was passing along the streets, when he heard the Church bells ringing for the Angelus at noontime.

Something in him, made him go inside the Church.

As he went in, he saw a large statue of Jesus…
… with the Sacred Heart of Jesus prominently displayed

And underneath the statue were written words…
… beautiful words that would bring him much consolation, hope and joy

So much so, that he would take a resolution to amend his life and to live with greater hope and joy!

The words were as follows:
“As you look into My Heart… remember always, these words:

There is an Eye that never sleeps, even beneath the wing of night
… just for you!
There is a Ear that never shuts, even when sink the beams of light
… just for you!
There is an Arm that never tires, even when human strength gives way
… just for you!
There is a Love that never fails, even when earthly loves decay
… just for you!
And… there is a Heart that never stops beating, even when trials of life lash you hard
… just for you!

This Heart of Mine… is just for you!

Can you also give me your life…?
… and tell me, “LORD, JUST FOR YOU!”

Today on this Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we contemplate in adoration and meditation on the Heart of our Blessed Lord – pierced and broken and shared – in love for each one of us…
… as He tells us, “This Heart of Mine… is just for you!”

Love, by its nature, gives away…

The Sacred Heart of our Blessed Lord – which is deep-rooted in Mercy and Compassion – bears wounds and patches that are symbolic of His Passionate Love for all of us!

In the year 1673, Our Blessed Lord appeared to St. Margaret Mary and made her rest her head upon His Heart; and during which He revealed to her the wonders of His love.

He revealed to her, His Sacred Heart, and requested her to establish the Feast of the Sacred Heart – the Friday after the Corpus Christi, the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ- to make reparation for sins that offend His Sacred Heart.

In her vision, she saw His wounded heart, on fire with love, saying, “Behold this Heart which has loved men so much and has received such little love in return.”

It was on June 11, 1899, Pope Leo XIII solemnly consecrated the whole of humankind to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The Gospel of John describes how the Heart of our Blessed Lord was pierced with a lance, on Mount Calvary: “But one soldier thrust his lance into His side, and immediately blood and water flowed out” (Jn 19: 34)

The Catholic tradition identifies the water as the symbol of Baptism and the Blood as the symbol of the Holy Eucharist.

The Water symbolizes purification.
The Blood symbolizes atonement.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus is today one of the most recognizable symbols of the Christian faith.

The picture consists of the Heart, with the wound of the lance in its side, a crown of thorns about it, a cross above it and flames surrounding it.

This Sacred Heart of Jesus represents not only His physical heart but His love for all humankind.

Lk 15:3-7 displays this beautiful Heart of the Good Shepherd, Who goes in search of the lost one!

This Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of the Lord teaches us many things…
a. It teaches us the immense love that the Lord possesses for each one of us, personally.

Have I experienced the tremendous love that the Lord has for me?

I may feel low. I may consider myself to be not very good.
I may think that my life is just not worth living or that my past has ruined my life very badly.

Even with all these things, am I convinced that “Jesus still loves me”, and that He will take me through, by the power of His love?

b. It teaches us the pain and the agony that the Lord still undergoes as a result of our sin and the sins of the world

Do I realize that a sinful life brings tears to the Lord and causes more wounds to the Precious Heart of the Lord?

There is nothing that pains the Lord more than sin.

It was for our salvation that He shed even the last drop of His blood.
He not just wants, but insists and demands and commands us to live in holiness.

Do I give heed to this “passionate and sincere” call of the Lord to live our lives in sanctity and accordance with God’s Will in my life?

c. It teaches us the need to be part of the process of redemption that Christ has won for us and to be shareholders in His mission of bringing God’s love to all

Do I become aware that Christ is calling me to be part of His redemptive work of salvation?

Christ still suffers and undergoes pains. From the Cross, He cried, “I thirst” (Jn 19: 28)

He desires that people who have known and experienced His love become effective agents of bringing His love to others.

By a life of sacrifices (tiny or great… little or huge), by simple acts of love, compassion and mercy and by greater participation in the Sacramental Life of the Church…
… the love of the Sacred Heart can be brought to many more people.

Am I willing to take up this responsibility that the Lord is handing on to us?

The Heart of the Lord is pierced, broken and shared for each one of us.

In the Holy Eucharist, we have the privilege to receive this greatest treasure.
In turn, we are to break our hearts and share it with others, to bring the love and compassion of the Lord to the world.

May this Solemnity of the Precious Symbol of True Love stir the flames of God’s Love in our hearts and inspire us to set ablaze the world on fire, with His Love and Compassion!

Sacred Heart of Jesus, may we ever remain close to You!

With St Francis de Sales, the Doctor of Love, let us pray:
“May Thy Heart dwell always in our hearts!
May Thy Blood ever flow in the veins of our souls!
O Sun of our hearts,
Thou givest life to all things by the rays of Thy Goodness!
I will not go until Thy Heart has strengthened me, O Lord Jesus!
May the Heart of Jesus be the king of my heart!
Blessed be God. Amen.”

As we gaze at the Sacred Heart, we are reminded:
“This Heart of Mine… is just for you! Can you also give me your heart…?
… and tell me, “LORD, JUST FOR YOU!”

Happy Feast of the Most Blessed Heart of the Lord!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE MYSTAGOGY OF THE CELEBRATION

The proclamation of the Word of God enlightens the candidates and the assembly with the revealed truth and elicits the response of faith, which is inseparable from Baptism.
Indeed Baptism is “the sacrament of faith” in a particular way, since it is the sacramental entry into the life of faith.
Since Baptism signifies liberation from sin and from its instigator the devil, one or more exorcisms are pronounced over the candidate.
The celebrant then anoints him with the oil of catechumens, or lays his hands on him, and he explicitly renounces Satan.

Thus prepared, he is able to confess the faith of the Church, to which he will be “entrusted” by Baptism. (CCC #1236-1237)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULE – June 23, 2022: Thursday

“Reinforcing hope and courage to everyone!”

(Based on the Solemnity of the Nativity of St John the Baptist)

There was a school system in a large city that had a program, to help children keep up with their school assignments…
… during the time when the children were admitted for sicknesses.


One day a teacher who was assigned to this program, received a call asking her to visit a particular child.

She took the child’s name and room number and had a short talk with the child’s regular class teacher.
“We’re studying about words in his class now – nouns and adverbs,” the class teacher said, “and I’d be grateful if you could help him understand them so he doesn’t fall too far behind.”


The hospital-program teacher went to see the boy that afternoon.

The boy had met with a bad accident, been badly burnt and was in great pain.

Upset at the sight of the boy, she stammered as she told him, “I’ve been sent by your school to help you with nouns and adverbs.”

When she left after teaching, she felt she hadn’t accomplished much.


But the next day, a nurse asked her, “What did you do to that boy?”

The teacher felt she must have done something wrong and began to apologize.

“No, no,” said the nurse. “You don’t know what I mean. We’ve been worried about that little boy, but ever since yesterday, you met him, his whole attitude has changed.

He’s fighting back, responding to treatment…
>> It’s as though he’s decided to live!”


Two weeks later, the boy explained that he had completely given up hope until the teacher arrived.

Everything changed when he came to a simple realization which he expressed it this way:
“They wouldn’t send a teacher to teach about words, and work on ‘nouns and adverbs’ with a dying boy, would they?”


The gesture of teaching about “words” reinforced hope and courage to that dying boy!

Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear.
>> If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today!


The Feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist comes with this great message of “hope!”

The Gospel presents the beautiful incident of the birth and naming of St John the Baptist.


The birth of John the Baptist is the pivot around which the history of our faith turns.
>> He was the last prophet of the Old Covenant – and the first of the New Covenant.


One of the highlighting aspects of the birth of John the Baptist is the message that “hope is not to be lost, even in the midst of extreme barrenness!”

The Gospel of St Luke says that “Elizabeth and Zechariah, both were advanced in years”, but they had no child; Elizabeth was barren” (Lk 1: 7)


Elizabeth’s barrenness was also symbolic of the barrenness of the land, of the world and of the entire humanity…

Wickedness had caused creation to be incapable of nurturing and sustaining life
Sin had rendered human beings infertile, to bear God’s grace and live in holiness


But God…
… is the God of hope
… the God of fulfilling every promise
… and the God of surprises!

From the barrenness of Elizabeth emerged the forerunner of the One who is Life!

From the barrenness of the world, God gave rise to the Fountain of hope and trust!


The entire life of St John – through the key events – is a spectacular reminder of this great virtue of “hope”…

A. The conception of John
Even when there is barrenness all around, we need to “hope” in God who is able to work miracles and give us life and joy!

B. The naming of John
Even when there are many worldly voices that seek to distract us from the ways that God wishes for us, we need to “hope” in God and follow whatever He wills, so as to find glory and joy in Him!

C. The life of John in the desert
Even when life takes us through the deserts of emptiness, dangers, hardships and misery, we need to “hope” in God who has a definite plan and purpose for our life!

D. The beheading of John
Even when we become victims of cruelty, exploitation, wickedness and inhumanness, we need to “hope” in God by living a life of truth, courage, convictions and valour!


The Church celebrates the Nativity of only three persons, in her liturgical calendar…
>> Jesus -“Hope” Himself
>> Mother Mary – the Mother of “Hope”
>> John the Baptist – the symbol of “Hope”


We are invited to have our lives truly rooted in “hope” and become beacons of spreading this “hope and trust” to others.

There are many who are sick in our world.
>> There are many who are burnt by the fires of afflictions and at the point of death
>> There are many who have lost all faith in life and give themselves up to despair and dejection.

Our gestures of teaching about “The Word – Jesus” can reinforce hope and courage to those dying…
… in sin, in affliction, in depression, in loneliness.


Wish you a Happy Feast of the Nativity of the “symbol of Hope” – St John the Baptist.
>> May Jesus our “Hope” and Blessed Mamma, our “Mother of Hope” strengthen us!


God Bless! Live Jesus!

——————————–
📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE MYSTAGOGY OF THE CELEBRATION OF BAPTISM
>> The sign of the cross, on the threshold of the celebration, marks with the imprint of Christ…
… the one who is going to belong to him and signifies the grace of the redemption Christ won for us by his cross. (CCC # 1235)
——————————–

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULE – June 22, 2022: Wednesday

“Giving heed to the Cry of the Lord: BEWARE!”

(Based on 2 Kgs 22:8-13; 23:1-3 and Mt 7:15-20 – Wednesday of the 12th Week in Ordinary Time, Year 2)

Joseph Grimaldi was an English actor, comedian and dancer, who became a very popular English entertainer in the 18th century.

This celebrated clown, used to go through phases of depression.


Once he went to a physician to obtain a cure for his depressed spirit.

The physician however, did not know who the patient was…
… and thought, he only needed a little amusement
He failed to realise that this man was a comedian himself.

So the physician said to him, “I think one of the best solutions for you is…
… go down the town, and there is a person named Grimaldi.
Hear his amusements… and am sure, you will be out of your depression!”

“But, doctor,” was the grim answer that came back, “I am Grimaldi!”


Even though he was a person who was able to make all others happy…
… within himself, Grimaldi failed to experience inner joy and peace of mind.

Does it happen with us as well…?

Externally things seem to be good and fine…
… but perhaps, internally we are experiencing pain and brokenness!

Exteriorly, maybe we have fair amount of money, luxuries and comfort…
… but perhaps, interiorly, we fail to have a sense of true joy and peace of mind


We are invited today to shun off every external “mask or façade” and truly bear fruits of peace, joy and love!


The Gospel of the Day is a stern admonition by Jesus on the need “to become aware of any such spiritual deception and pretence” that can ruin our Christian Faith.

The world is fraught with a lot of dangers.

There are physical, social, emotional, environmental, intellectual, occupational dangers etc.


Most of the time, we are aware of these dangers…
And we take means and measures…
… to be protected from them
… and to keep ourselves free from harm.

But there is also another very important area to which, many of us…
… either remain ignorant
… or don’t pay much attention
… or take it very lightly

They are “Spiritual Dangers”


Today, the Gospel discusses one of the most powerful Spiritual Dangers: DECEPTION!

The power of this danger lies in the fact that it is…
… very “subtle”
… very “tricky”
… and apparently appears to be highly “good”!

Jesus cautions: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Mt 7:15)


The Lord begins today’s Gospel with the word, “BEWARE”!

This is a strong word that is used in Greek – “prosecho”

“pros” means ‘before’
“echo” means ‘hold’
Thus, “prosecho” means “hold before”!

BEWARE – Prosecho – means…
… to hold one’s mind back from
… never to expose one’s mind

Jesus in the previous verses had given an invitation to walk along the narrow gate…

“Enter through the narrow gate…” (Mt 7:13)

In this striving to “enter through” to the gate of life…
… Jesus issues a strict warning to be aware of the false prophets who would misguide and lead astray

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing…” (Mt 7: 15)

In Palestine, the most dangerous enemy of the sheep was the wolf!

It was a natural enemy, roaming the hills…

It would wait for a flock of sheep
At the precise moment, it would come out of its place of hiding
And snatch the sheep and rip it to shreds!

The sheep would be totally defenceless against such prowling wolves!

The Lord presents this imagery to His followers – His sheep: Of being aware of such “sheep-clothed” wolves!


We have in the world, today…

Many religious philosophies
Varied spiritual methods
A number of attractive theological views
… which present Religion in a very alluring, charming and pleasant way!
… which presents Christianity as a bed of roses – cosy, comfy and casual!

But let us give heed to the Cry of the Lord: BEWARE!


Let us not bleed away our precious spiritual life and our Christian Faith!

Are we a seeking a Life…
… without the Cross and the Crucified Lord?

Are we fascinated to a Prosperity Gospel which glorifies richness & success & good social life…
… but nothing on repentance, virtuous life & inner holiness?

Are we attracted to “fiery preachers” and “awesome praise and worship” which appears good…
… but are deprived of the Real Sacramental Presence found only in the Catholic Church?


Let us also BEWARE and examine…

The books we read…
The talks we engage in…
The jokes we indulge in…
The habits we occupy ourselves with…
The music and the songs we delight in…

Are they all worthy of being “Christian”…
… or are they deceptively and subtly leading us away from the innocence and honesty of Christian Life?

Are they in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves?

Yes, we need to Beware!!


We need to examine:

Am I really on the watch, with respect to my spiritual life…
… or I am, exposing myself to the deceptive techniques of satan?

Jesus said: “By their fruits, you will know them…” (Mt 7:16)

Gal 5:22 says “The fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control!”

In all our actions… and with respect to all peoples…
… let us weigh their truthfulness in the light of these “Fruits of the Holy Spirit”
… let us check their reliability by the yardstick of these “Fruits of the Holy Spirit”


The world will often resort to “deception and pretence” to suit its needs and wants…

The world will often take recourse to “deception and pretence” to rob spiritual resources…
But, as Christians, we need to be aware, as well as be on our guard, constantly…
… preserving our innocence
… and keeping alight our light of faith!


Let us realise that no amount of external goodness, money, luxuries or comfort…
… can “vaccinate” us from pain and brokenness!

It’s only when we allow the Presence of the Lord to heal us…
It’s only when we allow the Love of the Lord to infill our hearts…
>> That we can experience true peace and joy!


Let’s pray therefore: “O Lord, you know that there are so many moments when I externally need to make others happy and put up a smiling face…
… even though I am broken and depressed within

I pray, at this moment…
… that Your Tender Mercy may heal, strengthen and renew me
… so that I truly become an Icon of Love and Peace in the world
I believe that by the Power of Your Love, I can truly become a joyful person, Amen!”


God Bless! Live Jesus!

——————————–
📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
CHRISTIAN INITIATION
>> The meaning and grace of the sacrament of Baptism are clearly seen in the rites of its celebration.
>> By following the gestures and words of this celebration with attentive participation, the faithful are initiated into the riches this sacrament signifies and actually brings about in each newly baptized person. (CCC # 1234)
——————————–

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULE – June 21, 2022: Tuesday

“Making a choice – remembering that it’s only the Divine that can sustain us!”

(Based on 2 Kgs 19:9b-11, 14-21, 31-35a, 36 and Mt 7:6, 12-14 – Tuesday of the 12th Week in Ordinary Time, Year 2)

A man once came to a crossroad, which had a church on one side, and a golf-park on the other.

At the crossroad was an interesting sign board.

It read…
MAKE A CHOICE!
Would you – like Lot – look at the greenery and be attracted to spend time there?
… or would you, like Abraham, be ready to walk in, to have an encounter with the Divine?

The greens may attract you…allure you… and entertain you
… but remember, its only the Divine that can sustain you!

Life indeed attracts us with many things that can allure and entertain us

But Christian Life demands that we make a choice – for God and His Virtues
… a choice to enter by the “narrow gate”

Jesus says, “Enter by the narrow gate… for the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Mt 7: 13-14)

The Sermon on the Mount continues with Jesus presenting the wonderful message of the Kingdom of God and its radical requirements.

One of the key aspects in the Sermon on the Mount is the demand made on the part of the disciple to “make a choice”
• One has to radically “make a choice” for the Kingdom of God.
• One has to stay committed to this “choice” that is taken and live it to the fullness.

It is this “choice” that will determine whether our entry to eternity…
… eternal condemnation – is through the “wide gate” or
… eternal life – is through the “narrow gate”.

Jesus says that it is easy to pass through the wide gate…
• All those who choose not to live in accordance to the Gospel values
• All those who are content to make life “merry” and just “live life to the max”
• All those who fail to respond to God’s Grace and deny having a life in Him

But this will lead to doom and condemnation!

To pass through the narrow gate is hard…
• All those who make a choice to live according to the teachings of the Lord
• All those who boldly seek to proclaim the Kingdom by their faithful and holy lives
• All those who constantly hold on to the Lord despite hardships and difficulties in life

But this will lead to joy and eternal life!

As we stand at the crossroads of our life, let’s make a choice, remembering…
… The “greens of worldly pleasures” may attract us …allure us… and entertain us
But, it’s only the Divine that can sustain us!

MAKE A CHOICE!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
CHRISTIAN INITIATION

From the time of the apostles, becoming a Christian has been accomplished by a journey and initiation in several stages.
This journey can be covered rapidly or slowly, but certain essential elements will always have to be present: proclamation of the Word, acceptance of the Gospel entailing conversion, profession of faith, Baptism itself, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and admission to Eucharistic communion.
This initiation has varied greatly through the centuries according to circumstances.
In the first centuries of the Church, Christian initiation saw considerable development.
A long period of catechumenate included a series of preparatory rites, which were liturgical landmarks along the path of catechumenal preparation and culminated in the celebration of the sacraments of Christian initiation.
Where infant Baptism has become the form in which this sacrament is usually celebrated, it has become a single act encapsulating the preparatory stages of Christian initiation in a very abridged way. >> By its very nature infant Baptism requires a post-baptismal catechumenate.
Not only is there a need for instruction after Baptism, but also for the necessary flowering of baptismal grace in personal growth.
The catechism has its proper place here.
The second Vatican Council restored for the Latin Church “the catechumenate for adults, comprising several distinct steps.”
The rites for these stages are to be found in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA).
The Council also gives permission that: “In mission countries, in addition to what is furnished by the Christian tradition, those elements of initiation rites may be admitted which are already in use among some peoples insofar as they can be adapted to the Christian ritual.”
Today in all the rites, Latin and Eastern, the Christian initiation of adults begins with their entry into the catechumenate and reaches its culmination in a single celebration of the three sacraments of initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist.

In the Eastern rites the Christian initiation of infants also begins with Baptism followed immediately by Confirmation and the Eucharist, while in the Roman rite it is followed by years of catechesis before being completed later by Confirmation and the Eucharist, the summit of their Christian initiation. (CCC # 1229-1233)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULES – June 20, 2022: Monday

“Seeking to purify our lives, rather than indulging in mud-slinging on others!”

(Based on 2 Kings 17:5-8 and Mt 7:1-5b – Monday of the 12th Week in Ordinary Time, Year 2)

A story is told of an elderly man who, during his evening walk, was surprised to see, a man hoeing his garden (=digging and loosening the mud)…
… while sitting in a chair!

“What laziness!” thought the elderly man.

But suddenly he saw, leaning against the chair…
… a pair of crutches.

The man was at work despite his handicap!

That made the elderly person to think to himself: “How true is the saying: Judge a tree from its fruit, not from its leaves!”

So often it happens that we place people on a trial – as in a court – and judged according to our standards and our human yardsticks….
… Perhaps, most of them would be been condemned and convicted.

But seldom have we realised that there could always be “another side to the story that I am seeing!”

The Gospel of the Day is a teaching on this tendency of human beings to judge – hastily and impulsively – which very often turns out to be rash and reckless

Jesus says, “Do not judge!” (Mt 7:1)

We need to clarify what does the word JUDGE mean…

The jury makes judgments.
Schools make judgments on students.
Companies make judgments on candidates in an interview or in cases of promotion/demotion.

All these may not constitute the judgment that Jesus means.

Judging, in the sense of Jesus, is condemning!

It is to have a negative and pessimistic attitude to human beings and condemning and rejecting them outright and absolutely!!

We could consider “Judge not” from three aspects:

  1. We are unworthy to pass a final judgment on any person or situation
    We need to let God be God and as human beings, we need to know our limitations.

Not everything is known to us – therefore, leave the matters “which tempt us to judge” to the Mercy of God!

  1. We are not to judge the motives of other people
    Human beings see only the external…
    … God sees the heart of the person!
  2. We are not to be petty faultfinders:
    We need to cease having a “microscopic vision”, in order to scan and scrutinize the faults and weaknesses of others.

In the light of today’s Gospel, we need to examine certain aspects of our life…

Do I…
… maximize the sins and faults of others and minimize mine?
… come to quick, hasty and negative conclusions?
… pass critical stories to other?
… have a strong bias to find others guilty?
… be too harsh even when speaking the truth?
… dilute an unkind remark by saying, “I was only joking.”
… say something critical and then trying to cover it up?

Even after this examination, if there is a tendency to judge, then there is one person we can be critical of…
… our own selves!

Yes, let us be judging our actions, our behaviours, our thoughts…
…. and seek to purify our lives, rather than indulging in mud-slinging on others!

The Lord constantly reminds us: “Turn from your evil ways and keep my commandments and my statutes…
… in accordance with all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets.” (2 Kings 17:13)

When we look into the lives of people…
… and feel to judge them

Let us consciously tell ourselves: There could always be “another side to the story that I am seeing!”

Yes… Judge a tree from its fruit, not from its leaves!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
BAPTISM IN THE CHURCH

From the very day of Pentecost the Church has celebrated and administered holy Baptism.
Indeed St. Peter declares to the crowd astounded by his preaching: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
The apostles and their collaborators offer Baptism to anyone who believed in Jesus: Jews, the God-fearing, pagans
Always, Baptism is seen as connected with faith: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household,” St. Paul declared to his jailer in Philippi; and the narrative continues, the jailer “was baptized at once, with all his family.”
According to the Apostle Paul, the believer enters through Baptism into communion with Christ’s death, is buried with him, and rises with Him: Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
The baptized have “put on Christ.”
Through the Holy Spirit, Baptism is a bath that purifies, justifies, and sanctifies.
Hence Baptism is a bath of water in which the “imperishable seed” of the Word of God produces its life-giving effect.

St. Augustine says of Baptism: “The word is brought to the material element, and it becomes a sacrament. (CCC #12256-1228)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULES – June 19, 2022: Sunday

“May the Holy Eucharist become the greatest strength and support of our lives!”

(Based on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi – the Body and Blood of Christ)

An incident is told of a seminarian who was guiding a group of tourists in St Peter’s Basilica, Vatican.

These tourists were quite clueless about the Catholic Faith…
… and so paid great interest to what was being told by the seminarian-guide.

The seminarian had explained with great care about the masterpieces of art, sculpture and architecture in this magnificent basilica.

Finally, he concluded the tour of the Basilica at the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament in the Basilica…
…. and tried to quickly explain What It was.

One of the elderly persons in the group who had paid a special attention to all the details said:
“Pardon me! Would you please explain What is This ‘Blessed Sacrament’?”

The seminarian did.

At the end of it, the man, falling on his knees, exclaimed: “Ah! If this is so, then this Chapel where God Truly Lives, is the greater work than any other art in this entire Basilica!”

Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is indeed the Most Important Treasure in this world.

Have we discovered this Spectacular Truth?
Are we passionate about this Awesome Gift?

The Solemnity of the Great Feast of the Corpus Christi – the Body and Blood of Jesus, today…
… is given to us, to deepen our devotion to the Lord in the Eucharist and intensify our longing and thirst for Him!

The Holy Eucharist – the Body and Blood of Jesus – is the greatest treasure that the Church offers to Her children…

Yet, the Holy Eucharist sometimes, also becomes the great barrier for people to misunderstand and misinterpret the Church.

The same was true even in the time of Jesus.

The mention of His Body and Blood caused great division, misunderstanding and led to the misinterpretation of Jesus.

The narrative of the multiplication of loaves in the Gospel of St. Luke (Cf. Lk 9:11b-17) shows the Compassionate Heart of our Blessed Lord.

In the Gospel of St. John, after having provided physical nourishment for the crowd (Jn 7:5-15), Jesus had declared Himself as “The Bread of Life” (Jn 6: 35).

The Greek word that is used for “bread” is “artos”. This “artos”….
… refers to food composed of flour mixed with water and baked.
… also refers to food of any kind or food in general.

As “bread” or “food” is essential for the physical life
… Jesus as “the bread of life” is required for the spiritual life!

Without bread, physical life would perish….
… Without Jesus, the bread, spiritual life would perish!

On this great Feast day, there are questions that arise before us

  1. What is my belief and understanding of this most Treasured Gift of the Holy Eucharist – “the source and summit of Christian Life”
    … Do I believe with conviction that Jesus is truly present in the Blessed Eucharist?
    … Do I celebrate and participate in the Holy Mass with this Divine Fervour?
  2. What is the effect that this Sacrament of Total Self-giving on me?
    … Does the reception of Jesus – the Love Incarnate, make me in turn to be more loving towards others and do I make deliberate choices to extend love to all?
    … Does the sacrifice of the Holy Eucharist impel me also to make sacrifices – even tiny, insignificant, unnoticed – for the cause and good of others?
  3. What is my contribution in spreading the good news of the Holy Eucharist to others?
    … Am I being a person who radiates the love of the Eucharist to others, by my conscious efforts to be respectful, reverent and devoted in the Chapel or Church and also become aware of the Lord’s Presence, when passing by Churches or handling Sacred objects?
    … Do I tell other people about this exciting, real presence of God in the Holy Eucharist – especially the sick, the suffering and those in distress, that they may experience the real healing presence of the Lord?

Jesus – the Bread of Life – in the Holy Eucharist…
… eagerly longs for our reception and our adoration

The tragedy in our life, however, 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!
Hardly any say “Hello” to the Lord in the Eucharist!

The Holy Eucharist – the greatest miracle of the world – often remains unnoticed!

We need to come to experience that…

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!

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

Amid daily scuffles and struggles of life, the Holy Eucharist ought to be the strength and support of our lives. The Holy Eucharist may not give us…
… instant answers or solutions in the way we expect.
… us immediate responses and remedies in the manner we want.

But the Holy Eucharist will most certainly…
… strengthen us with grace and power to face the challenges with courage.
… infuse us with a deep and intense authority to defy any difficulties that we meet.
… empower us with immense joy and peace to withstand the storms of life.

Let us grow in the love of the Holy Eucharist, for, as Bishop Fulton Sheen says, “The greatest love story of all time is contained in a tiny white Host!”

And, in turn, may we 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 with the other!

Wish you a very Happy Feast of the Holy Eucharist!

May our Blessed Mamma of the Holy Eucharist, help and intercede for us, to love the Lord more!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
CHRIST’S BAPTISM

In his Passover Christ opened to all men the fountain of Baptism. He had already spoken of his Passion, which he was about to suffer in Jerusalem, as a “Baptism” with which he had to be baptized.
The blood and water that flowed from the pierced side of the crucified Jesus are types of Baptism and the Eucharist, the sacraments of new life.
From then on, it is possible “to be born of water and the Spirit” in order to enter the Kingdom of God.
See where you are baptized, see where Baptism comes from, if not from the cross of Christ, from his death.

There is the whole mystery: he died for you. In him you are redeemed, in him you are saved. (CCC #1225)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULES – June 18, 2022: Saturday

“Firmly pledging loyalty and allegiance to our Loving God and trusting Him at all times!”

(Based on 2 Chron 24:17-25 and Mt 6:24-34 – Saturday of the 11th Week in Ordinary Time)

A top ranked official, was extremely efficient and skilled in all his works.

However, he suffered from constant bouts of ulcer in the mouth, stomach upset and headaches.

Several medications couldn’t solve this problem.

Finally, a close friend of his, who had been away abroad for some years, met him…
… and knowing of his problems, suggested:
“I have the solution for all your physical troubles.

With all your works and responsibilities, you daily take up a lot of tension and worry.

So all that you need to do is…

Choose any one particular day of the week.

Whenever you get a problem that causes you anxiety…

Write it on a piece of paper….
Drop it inside a ‘Worry Box’…
… and then completely forget about it.

This ‘worry box’ is to be opened on that particular day of the week.”

The official tried this method of “writing the anxieties and problems on a paper, dropping it into a ‘worry box’ and opening it only on a Sunday.”

To his surprise, he found that most of the things that had disturbed him over the past six days were already settled.

It would have been useless to have worried about them.

That’s when he realised, his foolishness in being anxious and worried about a lot of things in life…
… things that deserved no attention for worry or anxiety!

And behold, in doing so, he also found his health to be regaining to full force.

Is that not pretty similar in our lives as well?

We often fret and worry about a lot of things in life…
… only to realise, that most of them, do not actually deserve the “anxiety attention and the worry weightage.”

The Gospel of the Day is a beautiful reflection given by Jesus on this nagging factor in our life – anxiety and worry.

The Lord firstly invites us to have a clear conviction regarding our loyalty: to God or to mammon.

He says, “No one can serve two masters… You cannot serve God and mammon” (Mt 6: 24)

We can be faithful and committed to only one of them.

To whom have we pledged our loyalty and allegiance…?

To the True and Living God who alone is worthy of every honour and who alone is able to bless our lives with true joy and happiness….?
… or to false and make-believe effigies of money, wealth and possessions which may give momentary satisfactions but fail miserably in rendering true peace of mind…?

When we have made this pledge and commitment to the Lord, He invites us to “live” this commitment.

One of the strongest signs of “living” this commitment is to “trust” in Him!

And the external sign of “trusting” in Him is to not get into the vice of “anxiety”

Jesus asks this very practical and logical question:
“Can any of you, by worrying, add a single moment to your life-span?” (Mt 6: 27)

All of us…
… surely, as we live our lives have our quota of tensions and troubles.
… without doubt, as we discharge our duties, will have our share of pressures.

But do we let these tensions and troubles and pressures to get converted to needless “worries” and undue “anxieties”?

It is said that “worry is wasting today’s time, to clutter up tomorrow’s opportunities with yesterday’s troubles.”

Worries and anxieties cause us…
… to miss the beautiful gift of the present – Today
… causing blockage in the golden chances awaiting ahead – Tomorrow
… as a result of the cloud of undue pressures and fears of the past – Yesterday

Humans, as we are, stresses and strains are sure to come our way…
… but, does my Christian Faith help me to convert such circumstances to occasions to trust in God deeper and build our faith stronger?

For a person on deep faith, situations of tension are made into moments of seeking God deeper and experiencing His providence.
For a person of higher trust, circumstances of worries are transformed to occasions of cherishing God’s presence and developing an approach of stronger reliance and dependence.

There is no doubt that life will constantly hurl ‘bricks of worry and anxiety’ on us

Discouragements are an easy trap for us to stumble in our life of faith
Anxieties are easy snares to corner us with fretfulness and fear.

But as Christians, we need to be courageous to use these ‘bricks of worry and anxiety’ into castles of “confidence and success!”

The evil one, in life…
… seeks to hamper our desire to seek the Lord and work for His Kingdom
… attempts to tarnish our good intentions to be a messenger of His Kingdom

Do we succumb to those attacks of “anxiety” and “worry”?
… or do we stand firm, in faith and trust, placing our faith in the Lord, entirely?

Worries and anxieties often eat up our life…
… and many of us even suffer physically, spiritually and socially.

The Lord, our best friend, advises us today:
“Write down your worries and anxieties on a piece of paper… (i.e. speak to me in Prayer!)
… put them into the “worry box”… (i.e. Offer them to My Heart!)
… and open it once a week… (i.e. On a Sunday – the Sabbath Day, set apart for the Lord!)

And you will realise, most of the things that had disturbed over the past six days, were already settled.”

Yes, let us firmly pledge loyalty and allegiance to our Loving God…
… and trusting Him at all times, boldly declare, with hope:
“I seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
CHRIST’S BAPTISM

All the Old Covenant prefigurations find their fulfilment in Christ Jesus.
He begins his public life after having himself baptized by St. John the Baptist in the Jordan.
After His resurrection, Christ gives this mission to his apostles: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
Our Lord voluntarily submitted himself to the baptism of St. John, intended for sinners, in order to “fulfil all righteousness.”
Jesus’ gesture is a manifestation of his self-emptying.

The Spirit who had hovered over the waters of the first creation descended then on the Christ as a prelude of the new creation, and the Father revealed Jesus as his “beloved Son.” (CCC #1223-1224)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULES – June 17, 2022: Friday

“Making a choice for God and His everlasting Kingdom, over the world and its transient riches!”

(Based on 2 Kings 11:1-4, 9-8, 20 and Mt 6:19-23 – Friday of the 11th Week in Ordinary Time)

A priest who knew of a man in his parish, who was greatly attached to wealth, wrote this letter, to him, exhorting him on the need to have God as the Greatest Treasure of his life.

“Dear Jim, I would like to propose to you two examples today – one from the Christian world and the other from the secular world.

Do read through… and I pray that God will help you to make the right choices in life.

The first example is of St Francis de Sales who says that there is a wide difference between having poison and being poisoned.

He tells that all apothecaries (= a person who prepares and sells medicines and drugs) have poisons ready for special uses, but they are not consequently poisoned, because…
… the poison is only in their shop, not in themselves

And so you may possess riches without being poisoned by them, so long as they are in your house or purse only…
…and not in your heart!

The second example is that of King Midas, which I’m sure you are aware of…

This ancient Greek tale tells of a king named Midas who was granted a special wish…
… that whatever he touched would turn to gold!

Excitedly, Midas went about touching all sorts of things, turning them into gold.

Soon Midas became hungry.
He picked up a piece of food, but he couldn’t eat it, for it had turned to gold in his hand!

Midas’ beloved daughter, seeing his dismay, threw her arms about him to comfort him, and, she too turned to gold!

‘The golden touch is no blessing,’ cried Midas and begged for this power to be taken away!

Greed and avarice made King Midas to consider gold as the greatest treasure.

However, life taught him the lesson for true happiness by making him realise the transient nature of worldly treasures.”

The priest concluded the letter with these words: “These two examples are set before you.

Now you need to make a choice: God and His everlasting Kingdom…
… or the world and its transient riches!”

The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus teaching us this great lesson of not being attached to earthly riches…
… and instead, to discover our true treasure in the Lord.

Our Blessed Lord says, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal…” (Mt 6: 19)

Jesus points out to the futility of having our security on earthly goods by citing two similes:
• Moth and rust
• Thieves

Any possession or any wealth on the earth, has to face a danger from both these aspects:
Those which cause damage from within… Those which cause destruction from outside.

Moth and rust cause damage from within…
… they spoil money, render precious things useless and cause irreversible harm to costly goods.

Thieves cause destruction from outside…
… they loot valuable things, threaten lives for acquiring wealth and induce immense tension and worry.

However, the Lord says to place our treasure on things that are eternal and heavenly.

The advantage?

There is to be no fear of destruction: from within or from outside.

Moth and rust cannot affect them… Thieves cannot loot them.

That is why the Lord assures His disciples:
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give you peace” (Jn 14: 27)
“…your hearts will rejoice and no one will take your joy away from you” (Jn 16: 22)

St Paul would later articulate this in his letter to the Romans:
“For I am convinced that neither death, not life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth…
… nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the Love of God in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8: 38)

Jesus assures a treasure and wealth that cannot be either damaged from inside or can be destroyed from outside.
• There is total guarantee in placing our hearts on heavenly treasures.
• There is full assurance in letting our mind set on spiritual wealth.

What do these teachings mean for us?

Am I being forbidden to use wealth?
Am I being discouraged from having money with me?

Jesus goes a step beyond these queries and seeks to check our intentions and our attitude:
“For where your treasure is, there your health also will be” (Mt 6: 21)

• Is my heart constantly set only on worldly treasures and riches…
… and fails to, instead, give the prime place and honour to the Lord and set priorities for Him?

• Is my life constantly only worried about money, properties, gadgets and possessions…
… and fails to, instead, accord the rightful and due place to the Lord and concerns for Him?

Any of us can, at any time, fall into the temptation of having an attitude of avarice and wanting to have only wealth and earthly treasures.

But can I know and realise, that all such external possessions will not be able to assure my true peace and happiness?

Real treasure is to be cherished only by having the Lord as our only true possession!

The greatest joys of life come by clinging on to those realities which have eternal value!

The choice is before us: God and His everlasting Kingdom…
… or the world and its transient riches!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
BAPTISM IN THE ECONOMY OF SALVATION – Prefigurations of Baptism in the Old Covenant

The Church has seen in Noah’s ark a prefiguring of salvation by Baptism, for by it “a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water”: The waters of the great flood, you made a sign of the waters of Baptism, that make an end of sin and a new beginning of goodness.
If water springing up from the earth symbolizes life, the water of the sea is a symbol of death and so can represent the mystery of the cross.
By this symbolism, Baptism signifies communion with Christ’s death.
But above all, the crossing of the Red Sea, literally the liberation of Israel from the slavery of Egypt, announces the liberation wrought by Baptism:
You freed the children of Abraham from the slavery of Pharaoh, bringing them dry-shod through the waters of the Red Sea, to be an image of the people set free in Baptism.
Finally, Baptism is prefigured in the crossing of the Jordan River by which the People of God received the gift of the land promised to Abraham’s descendants, an image of eternal life.

the promise of this blessed inheritance is fulfilled in the New Covenant. (CCC #1219-1222)