REFLECTION CAPSULE FOR THE DAY – Jan 25, 2021: Monday

“May the zeal and passion of St Paul inspire all of us to live in total dependency on the Lord!”

(Based on the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul)

A 7 year old boy came to his grandfather after his catechism classes and asked him:
“Grandpa, today our teacher taught us about St Paul. Let me therefore ask you a question…

From which animal did St Paul fall down on the way to Damascus? I will give you 3 options: Camel or Donkey or Horse?”

The grandfather, looked at the boy: “Oh my boy! I am not sure which animal he fell from, because I doubt if the Bible says that.

But in my opinion he fell from the ‘height of self-righteousness!’”

Quite true, isn’t it?

St Paul indeed had a fall…
… a fall from his “self-righteous” attitude…
… and rose up to a new lifestyle: “Total dependence on the Lord!”

This is the beautiful story of the conversion of St Paul…
… arguably one of the greatest missionaries of the Church!

[[The Bible, in fact, doesn’t mention any animal. The incident, however does highlight that it was noon time.

Catholic author Dr. Taylor Marshall refers in his book: “The Catholic Perspective on Paul” on the view that every day at noon, pious Jewish men recited prayers while standing on their feet and facing toward Jerusalem (cf. Dan. 6:10-11). It could be possible that Saul, the zealous Pharisee that he was, observed midday prayer on that day as he travelled along the road to Damascus. This would have meant that he was likely standing erect and facing south to Jerusalem when he was blinded by the light of Christ and fell to the ground!)]]

On this Feast of the Conversion 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)
“My preaching… was a demonstration of the Spirit and power” (1 Cor 2:4)

We need to ask of 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 often remain on the “theoretical” dimension of Christian life!

Many times we have many discussions and deliberations about faith
… but don’t involve ourselves in spending time in prayer daily or living a life in the Holy Spirit and being guided by His Presence

Many times we hear many Christian talks or read many books on Christian life
… but hardly make efforts to grow in the Christian virtues or to improve our Sacramental Life

Many times we nurture doubts about Christianity, to “know more”…
… but fail to humble ourselves, to grow in our relationship with the Lord and 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!”

And this passion and zeal can come only if we allow ourselves, to be thrown down from the ‘height of self-righteousness’

St Paul had to experience this “falling down”

His self-righteousness had caused him…
… to persecute everyone who professed Christ and to eliminate them!
… to be blinded to Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life!

Therefore, “a fall from the height of self-righteousness” was necessary…
… so that he could rise to a new lifestyle: “Total dependence on the Lord!”

And so, with much confidence, he would declare later in his life: “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil 1:21)

In our lives, we also will experience many moments of “falls”…
… troubles, hardships, rejection, misunderstandings, humiliations

But let us not be discouraged
… Rather, “rise up” in all such situations to “totally depend on the Lord!”

May the zeal and passion of St Paul inspire all of us to live in total dependency on the Lord.

May we give deeper heed to his words of exhortation to each one of us:
“If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy…
… make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. >> Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus!” (Phil 2:1-5)


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
JESUS CHRIST AS THE CULMINATION OF THE DIVINE PEDAGOGY OF REVELATION
The divine plan of Revelation is realized simultaneously “by deeds and words which are intrinsically bound up with each other” and shed light on each another.

It involves a specific divine pedagogy: God communicates himself to man gradually.
He prepares him to welcome by stages the supernatural Revelation…

… that is to culminate in the person and mission of the incarnate Word, Jesus Christ!” (CCC #53)

REFLECTION CAPSULE FOR THE DAY – January 24, 2021 – Sunday

“As a disciple of Christ – like St Francis de Sales – to ‘resolutely respond to the charismatic call of the Lord!’”

(Based on Jon 3:1-5, 10, 1 Cor 7:29-31 and Mk 1:14-20 – 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B)

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.

  1. 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!”
  2. 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!”
  3. 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 “resolutely respond to the charismatic call of the Lord”…
… inviting him to live in holiness and sanctity!

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!

The Gospel of the Day presents the beautiful incident of the call of the first disciples – Simon, Andrew, James and John – by the Sea of Galilee.

This call narrative is a mighty reminder of two important aspects of our Christian life and vocation: The charismatic call of the Lord and the resolute response needed from us!

  1. Jesus is constantly seeking us (The charismatic call of the Lord)

Very often, we only consider the aspect of “we seeking the Lord”

But this Gospel beautifully reminds us: God searches and seeks for us…
… much much more, than we do!
“And passing along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw…” (Mk 1:16)

The eyes of the Lord are constantly
… searching for us
… striving for us
… seeking for us

  1. His call requires a free response from us (The resolute response needed from us)
    At the words of the Lord, “Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men” (Mk 1:17)…
    … Simon and Andrew, “immediately [they] left their nets and followed Him!” (Mk 1:18)

“And immediately he called them [John and James]; and they left their father Zeb′edee in the boat with the hired servants, and followed Him” (Mk 1:20)

The disciples – drawn to the Charismatic Call of the Lord….
… with a free will, chose to follow the Lord

They had risks… They had uncertainties…. They had possibilities of failures before them!
Yet…
… yet, they “trusted in the Divine Call” and followed the Lord

Yes, the life of being a Disciple of Christ requires us to “resolutely respond to the charismatic call of the Lord”…
… and allow the Mighty Presence of the Lord to “take possession of our hearts”
… and be willing to “let go of everything” that prevents us from being a disciple of Christ!

Let this beautiful Gospel inspire and help all of us – like St Francis de Sales – to become “His Missionaries of Mercy and Compassion” in the world…
… by living the simple virtues of gentleness, patience and simplicity!

On this Feast Day, may the following popular quotes of the Gentleman Saint – St Francis de Sales (SFS) – inspire and strengthen us:

“Bloom where you are planted”
“Be what you are and be at its best”
“I have made a pact with my tongue… not to speak, when my heart is troubled!”
“A spoonful of honey attracts more bees than a barrel of vinegar”
“Be patient with all things; but first of all, with yourself!”
“Praying daily for half an hour is essential, except when you are busy… in those times, an hour!”

Wish you all a very Happy Feast of St Francis De Sales!

With joy and love, let us proclaim with him: “VIVE JESUS… Live Jesus!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
GOD REVEALS HIS “PLAN OF LOVING GOODNESS”

It pleased God, in His goodness and wisdom, to reveal Himself and to make known the mystery of his will.
His will is that men should have access to the Father, through Christ – the Word made flesh – in the Holy Spirit, and thus become sharers in the divine nature.
God, who “dwells in unapproachable light,” wants to communicate His Own Divine Life to the men He freely created…
… in order to adopt them as his sons in his only-begotten Son.
By revealing Himself, God wishes to make them capable of responding to Him…

… and of knowing Him and of loving Him far beyond their own natural capacity! (CCC #51,52)

REFLECTION CAPSULE FOR THE DAY – Jan 23 2021: Saturday

“Be people who are filled with ‘enthusiasm’ – being IN GOD!”

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

“Enthusiasm” is a word that is very commonly used.

It is interesting to know the root meaning of this word.

“Enthusiasm” is derived from two Greek words – “en” and “theos”

“En” means IN
“Theos” means GOD

“En-theos” means being “In God”

Enthusiasm therefore points to the fact of…
… someone being “possessed by God”
… someone who is mad with the works of God

The Gospel of the Day is a narrative of a Man Who is deeply enthusiastic… IN GOD…
… 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!

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:
“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?”

Yes, let us be people filled with “enthusiasm”… being IN GOD….
… someone being “possessed by God”
… someone who is mad with the works of God

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
GOD REVEALS HIMSELF

It pleased God, in his goodness and wisdom, to reveal himself and to make known the mystery of his will.
His will was that men should have access to the Father, through Christ, the Word made flesh, in the Holy Spirit…

… and thus become sharers in the divine nature!”

REFLECTION CAPSULE FOR THE DAY – Jan 22 2021: Friday

“Allowing ourselves to be in the Hands of The Great Artist, so that He can ornament our life with His Golden Graces!”

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

A beautiful story is told about a village that was known for it fragile, expensive porcelain – especially it’s urns (= tall, rounded vases).

It is said that when each ern was finished, there would be one last step…
… the artist would deliberately break the urn
… and put it back

But there was something special in this putting back…
… The artist would put it back using gold filigree (= delicate ornamental work).

Thus, the urn – which would have been else ordinary – was transformed to a precious and priceless work of art!

Yes… What was considered as finished, wasn’t…
… until it was broken!

Is there brokenness in your life today?

Do you feel you are just “ordinary?”

Then allow yourself to be in the Hands of The Great Artist…
… And He will ornament your life with His Golden Graces!

What seems “ordinary” becomes special in the presence of the Lord!

Yes, God’s ways are truly far different from the way of human beings!

The Gospel of the Day is a testimony to this beautiful fact, when Jesus makes a choice of His disciples.

“Jesus went up to the mountain, and called to Him those whom He desired, and they came to Him” (Mk 3:13)

Another translation would read, “…and summoned to Him those whom He wanted…”

The disciples were called because Jesus desired them!

The disciples were summoned because Jesus wanted them!

This style of choice is indeed strange and queer, isn’t it?

Here is Project Kingdom at hand…
… and Jesus chooses not the best, but the ordinary!

Jesus is out to usher in a Kingdom of healing and many divine works…

But Jesus chooses some mundane fishermen for this task!

Jesus is out to usher in a Kingdom of love and detachment…

But Jesus chooses some doubtful personalities like tax collectors and lover of money!

Jesus is out to usher in a Kingdom of Divine love and peace…

But Jesus chooses some nationalists and zealots!

Yes, God’s ways are truly far different from the way of human beings!

God’s style is exceedingly distinct from the style of human beings!

God makes His choice on the Single Principle of Love!

God makes His choice on the Sole Rule of Love!

You and Me – as Christians – followers of Christ – are also called and chosen!

What was the reason for it?

What was the criteria for God choosing us?

Nothing exceptional in us…

Nothing spectacular in us…

But simply and purely, His exceptional and spectacular love has chosen us!

He chose us simply because He wanted to choose us!

He selected us simply because He wanted to select us!

Sounds crazy? Sounds weird?

Well… God’s love and choices are indeed crazy and weird!

But they are also full of wisdom and Divine Providence!

Yes, we are called into existence in love, by the One who loves us deeply!

This sole factor can and should be the impelling and encouraging force in our lives!

In moments, when we feel that we are unwanted and unloved…

Know and realise, that God has chosen us…in love!

In moments when we feel unequipped and disarmed to undertake some duties and tasks…

Know and realise, that God has chosen us…in love!

In moments, when we are broken into despair and rejected into helplessness and loneliness…

Know and realise, that God has chosen us…in love!

In moments, when meaning to life is found missing and the future looks too hazy and clouded…

Know and realise, that God has chosen us…in love!

It may be easy for me to write reflections on God’s love…

It may be not too hard a task for me to preach on God’s love…

But deep within… can we know and experience, for sure.. that God’s Love encompasses us!

He simply loves us!

He simply loves to lavish His affections on us!

There can be no greater personal revelation for me than to know and experience that I am loved and chosen by God!

There can be no greater personal satisfaction and happiness for me, than to live and be passionate about this deep, personal and intimate love and choice of God!

Today, let us renew our commitment and zeal to this Love of the Lord!

He is calling us once again… in love..
… to be His disciples
… to be close to Him
… to be part of His Project Kingdom
… to be partakers of His mission in this world

There will be moments when we feel…
… broken and wounded
… ordinary and neglected
… not useful and rejected

But like the urn – in the hand of the artist…
… let’s realise that we would put back using gold filigree!

Ordinary as we are…
… we can be transformed to being precious and priceless!

Yes… What is considered as finished, isn’t…
… until it is broken!

Let us allow yourselves to be in the Hands of The Great Artist…
… and He will ornament our life with His Golden Graces!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

By natural reason man can know God with certainty, on the basis of his works.
But there is another order of knowledge, which man cannot possibly arrive at by his own powers: the order of Divine Revelation.
Through an utterly free decision, God has revealed Himself and given Himself to man.
This he does by revealing the mystery, His plan of loving goodness…
…. formed from all eternity in Christ, for the benefit of all men.

God has fully revealed this plan by sending us His Beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. (CCC #50)

REFLECTION CAPSULE FOR THE DAY – Jan 22 2021: Friday

“Allowing ourselves to be in the Hands of The Great Artist, so that He can ornament our life with His Golden Graces!”

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

A beautiful story is told about a village that was known for it fragile, expensive porcelain – especially it’s urns (= tall, rounded vases).

It is said that when each ern was finished, there would be one last step…
… the artist would deliberately break the urn
… and put it back

But there was something special in this putting back…
… The artist would put it back using gold filigree (= delicate ornamental work).

Thus, the urn – which would have been else ordinary – was transformed to a precious and priceless work of art!

Yes… What was considered as finished, wasn’t…
… until it was broken!


Is there brokenness in your life today?
>> Do you feel you are just “ordinary?”

Then allow yourself to be in the Hands of The Great Artist…
… And He will ornament your life with His Golden Graces!

What seems “ordinary” becomes special in the presence of the Lord!
>> Yes, God’s ways are truly far different from the way of human beings!


The Gospel of the Day is a testimony to this beautiful fact, when Jesus makes a choice of His disciples.
>> “Jesus went up to the mountain, and called to Him those whom He desired, and they came to Him” (Mk 3:13)


Another translation would read, “…and summoned to Him those whom He wanted…”

The disciples were called because Jesus desired them!
>> The disciples were summoned because Jesus wanted them!


This style of choice is indeed strange and queer, isn’t it?


Here is Project Kingdom at hand…
… and Jesus chooses not the best, but the ordinary!

Jesus is out to usher in a Kingdom of healing and many divine works…
>> But Jesus chooses some mundane fishermen for this task!

Jesus is out to usher in a Kingdom of love and detachment…
>> But Jesus chooses some doubtful personalities like tax collectors and lover of money!

Jesus is out to usher in a Kingdom of Divine love and peace…
>> But Jesus chooses some nationalists and zealots!

Yes, God’s ways are truly far different from the way of human beings!
>> God’s style is exceedingly distinct from the style of human beings!


God makes His choice on the Single Principle of Love!
>> God makes His choice on the Sole Rule of Love!


You and Me – as Christians – followers of Christ – are also called and chosen!

What was the reason for it?
>> What was the criteria for God choosing us?

Nothing exceptional in us…
>> Nothing spectacular in us…

But simply and purely, His exceptional and spectacular love has chosen us!

He chose us simply because He wanted to choose us!
>> He selected us simply because He wanted to select us!


Sounds crazy? Sounds weird?

Well… God’s love and choices are indeed crazy and weird!
>> But they are also full of wisdom and Divine Providence!

Yes, we are called into existence in love, by the One who loves us deeply!


This sole factor can and should be the impelling and encouraging force in our lives!

In moments, when we feel that we are unwanted and unloved…
>> Know and realise, that God has chosen us…in love!

In moments when we feel unequipped and disarmed to undertake some duties and tasks…
>> Know and realise, that God has chosen us…in love!

In moments, when we are broken into despair and rejected into helplessness and loneliness…
>> Know and realise, that God has chosen us…in love!

In moments, when meaning to life is found missing and the future looks too hazy and clouded…
>> Know and realise, that God has chosen us…in love!

It may be easy for me to write reflections on God’s love…
>> It may be not too hard a task for me to preach on God’s love…


But deep within… can we know and experience, for sure.. that God’s Love encompasses us!

He simply loves us!
>> He simply loves to lavish His affections on us!

There can be no greater personal revelation for me than to know and experience that I am loved and chosen by God!
>> There can be no greater personal satisfaction and happiness for me, than to live and be passionate about this deep, personal and intimate love and choice of God!


Today, let us renew our commitment and zeal to this Love of the Lord!

He is calling us once again… in love..
… to be His disciples
… to be close to Him
… to be part of His Project Kingdom
… to be partakers of His mission in this world


There will be moments when we feel…
… broken and wounded
… ordinary and neglected
… not useful and rejected

But like the urn – in the hand of the artist…
… let’s realise that we would put back using gold filigree!
>> Ordinary as we are…
… we can be transformed to being precious and priceless!

Yes… What is considered as finished, isn’t…
… until it is broken!


Let us allow yourselves to be in the Hands of The Great Artist…
… and He will ornament our life with His Golden Graces!


God Bless! Live Jesus!


——————————–
Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
>> By natural reason man can know God with certainty, on the basis of his works.
>> But there is another order of knowledge, which man cannot possibly arrive at by his own powers: the order of Divine Revelation.
>> Through an utterly free decision, God has revealed Himself and given Himself to man.
>> This he does by revealing the mystery, His plan of loving goodness…
…. formed from all eternity in Christ, for the benefit of all men.
>> God has fully revealed this plan by sending us His Beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. (CCC #50)
——————————–

REFLECTION CAPSULE FOR THE DAY – Jan 21, 2021: Thursday

“Bringing back the ‘spotlight’ on the essentials of Christian Life!”

(Based on Heb 7:25-8:6 and Mk 3:7-12 – Thursday 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.

It had become infamous for its terrible persecution of the Catholic Faith.

It’s in this horrifying situation, that 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…
It was a decision which perhaps seemed out of senses…

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

St Francis de Sales was convinced, that nothing is greater than “seeking and doing” the Will of God.

He would in fact, later in life, say:
“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.”

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 to the Kingdom of God…
… and his tremendous zeal and passion in doing His Father’s Will!

Jesus was in the thick of His ministry…
… and was attracting a large number of people.

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…

Such fame also brought along with it…
… jealousy and hatred
… animosity among the leaders of the time
… divisions among His followers and His detesters

Yet…
… with all such external fame and popularity
… with all such outer dangers and threats

Jesus remained focus!

Jesus brings to focus the importance…
… to seek and do God’s Will
… to always say YES with respect to the works of the Kingdom!

What is our own attitude and mentality…

Am I concerned more with worldly affairs or do I engage myself more into spiritual realities?
Am I disturbed more by earthly concerns or do I share more the anxiety for spiritual growth?
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 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.

May we seek the mighty intercession of the Gentleman Saint to “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:
SPEAKING OF GOD IN A MEANINGFUL WAY

In speaking about God, our language uses human modes of expression…
… nevertheless it really does attain to God himself, though unable to express him in his infinite simplicity.
Likewise, we must recall that “between Creator and creature, no similitude can be expressed without implying an even greater dissimilitude”…

… and that “concerning God, we cannot grasp what he is, but only what he is not, and how other beings stand in relation to him!” (CCC #43)

REFLECTION CAPSULE FOR THE DAY – 20th January, 2021 – Wednesday

“Allowing the ‘roar’ of Jesus, the Lion to instil in us, the urgency to take necessary 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…

This same Jesus, who is 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.

Today we also specially seek the intercession of St Sebastian and St Fabian, today, on their feast day!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
God transcends all creatures.

We must therefore continually purify our language of everything in it that is limited, imagebound or imperfect…
… if we are not to confuse our image of God –“the inexpressible, the incomprehensible, the invisible, the ungraspable”– with our human representations!

Our human words always fall short of the mystery of God! (CCC 42)

REFLECTION CAPSULE FOR THE DAY – January 19, 2021 – Tuesday

“In situations of ‘barking criticisms,’ continuing to shine as the moon, by drawing our light from Jesus, the Sun of our Life!”

(Based on Heb 6:10-20 and Mk 2:23-28 – Tuesday of the 1st Week in Ordinary Time, Cycle 1)

A common story is told of a judge who had been frequently ridiculed by an arrogant lawyer.

When asked by a friend why he didn’t rebuke his assailant, the judge replied:
“In our town lives a widow who has a dog.

Whenever the moon shines, it goes outside and barks all night.”

Having said that, the magistrate shifted the conversation to another subject.

After sometime, someone asked, “But Judge, you did not complete saying about the dog and the moon…
… What happened thereafter?”

“Oh,” the judge quipped, “the moon went on shining—that’s all.”

In life, we often face situations when criticisms are thrown at us…
… and we come under the scanner of “people’s unfair observations and judgments!”

What is our attitude to such situations of life?

Do we react negatively and thus lose our peace of mind…
… or do we remain firm and patient – trusting in God’s Protection – and being convinced of standing for the truth?

The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus and His disciples coming under the “observant scanner of the Pharisees and the Scribes”…
… and Jesus responding to the situation with conviction in the Truth!

Jesus and His disciples were walking through a field of grain on the Sabbath.

The disciples were hungry and decided to pluck some of the grain. (Mk 2: 23)

The OT law of keeping of the Sabbath in no way prohibited picking a handful of grain to satisfy one’s immediate hunger

In Dt 23:25, God makes a wonderful provision for travellers:
“When you enter your neighbour’s standing grain, then you may pluck the head with your hand, but you shall not put a sickle in your neighbour’s standing grain”

The traditional law however added many rules and regulations.

These traditions were rigid concerning Sabbath observance.

The Talmud – the book of Jewish traditions – has 24 chapters listing various Sabbath laws.

A rabbi would sometimes spend 21/2 years studying one chapter to figure out all the details.
The system had become much oppressive, sometimes even ungodly and unkind.
The safe guarders and protectors of these scrupulous laws were the Scribes and the Pharisees.
And today they are out, to catch hold of Jesus and His disciples.

Their detective eyes are keen to observe the mistakes committed by them.

Their probing eyes are on the look out to get hold of their Sabbath breakages!

Do I sometimes adopt this tendency of the Pharisees and the Scribes…

Being on the constant look out for mistakes of others…
Watching others behaviours to probe faults and failures in them…

It’s interesting that the Scribes and the Pharisees failed to see that they also broke the Sabbath Law!

The Pharisees were following Jesus and His disciples….

This meant walking beyond the stipulated steps prescribed by the Sabbath Law!

But, they conveniently avoid in mentioning this!
They self-justified themselves but accused others of guilt!

They self-approved themselves but blamed others of faults!

Am I a person prone to only find faults and negativity in situations and in others…
… or do I make constructive criticisms and also be a person who genuinely appreciates?

Am I a person constantly bickering about what is lacking and missing in my life…
… or do I rather be a person who is delightful and content with all what God has blessed me?

Am I person who magnifies the weaknesses of others and defames others character…
… or do I be a person who understands others and encourages them to be stronger?

It’s human to chance upon the weaknesses of others…

It’s Divine to accept, understand and encourage them to be better instead!

It’s human to always look into the negative dimensions in a person…

It’s Divine to have a magnanimous heart to look to positives in life!

Life and situations may often go on “barking criticisms” at us…

Let us continue to shine as the moon…
… drawing our light from Jesus, the Sun of our Life!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
SPEAKING ABOUT GOD

In defending the ability of human reason to know God, the Church expresses her confidence in the possibility of speaking about him to all men and with all men, and therefore of dialogue with other religions, with philosophy and science, as well as with unbelievers and atheists.
Since our knowledge of God is limited, our language about him is equally so. We can name God only by taking creatures as our starting point, and in accordance with our limited human ways of knowing and thinking.
All creatures bear a certain resemblance to God, most especially man, created in the image and likeness of God.
The manifold perfections of creatures – their truth, their goodness, their beauty all reflect the infinite perfection of God
.

Consequently we can name God by taking his creatures “perfections as our starting point, “for from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator!” (CCC 39,40,41)

REFLECTION CAPSULE FOR THE DAY – 18th January, 2021

“Allowing the newness and the novelty of the Lord to sparkle and glitter in our everyday Christian Life!”

(Based on Heb 5:1-10 and Mk 2:18-22 – Monday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time, Year 1)

Most of us are familiar, with the story of that person who bought large new, exquisite flower vase from the market.

This person was excited in possessing this big and wonderful flower vase.

He came home and placed this flower vase in the centre table of the main hall.

He looked at the vase and admired saying, “Wow! This vase looks so pretty”.

But as he kept admiring the beauty of the vase, he realised, that somehow the torn and the rugged carpet beneath, was not matching with this newly bought vase.

So he decided to change the carpet…

Once he did the changing of the carpet, and as he admired the flower vase, he realized…
… the painting on the walls of the house also did not match with the flower vase, and the new purchased carpet!

So there…
… he decided to paint anew the walls as well!

Well…
The entry of the single vase…brought about effective changes in the surrounding!

The love for the beautiful vase prompted the person to make additional changes.

The admiration for the charming vase made the person to bring in extra alterations.

Something similar is to happen, when the Beautiful and Precious Jesus enters into our lives…

The old is to get transformed.. the new is to be ushered in!

The former is to undergo an alteration…the novel is to be welcomed in!

This is what the Lord puts forward in the Gospel of the Day by the examples of the old & new cloak and old & new wine

Our Lord often used examples from daily life to illustrate his parables.

Today, He uses two concepts that would have been readily understood by his listeners:

No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak. (Mk 1:21)
No one pours new wine into old wineskin (Mk 1: 22)

It was a known fact as to what would happen if an unshrunk (new) patch was sewn onto an old garment.

When it was washed, the new patch would shrink and pull away from the garment leaving a bigger tear than before.

In ancient Israel, the grapes were pressed in the winepress and left in the collection vats for a few days.

Fermentation starts immediately on pressing, and this allows the first “tumultuous” (gassy) phase to pass.

Then the fermenting juice was put in clay jars to be stored, or into wineskins if it was to be transported some distance.

When this new wine was placed into a wineskin, it continued to ferment.

So it was essential to put it into a new, flexible, skin that would expand, as the carbon dioxide gas (a by-product of fermentation) was given off.

In Biblical history, these examples illustrate the incompatibility of the old with the new.

The new is Jesus’ message of the Kingdom of God.

The old is the present status of Judaism.

Contextually, what do these examples mean to us today?

We have professed and declared ourselves to be Christians, following the path of Jesus.

Is there a newness and a novelty that I experience and live in my daily life?

Does Jesus Christ really effect any difference in my attitudes and my actions?

For long, perhaps, we have been proud to carry the tag of being a Christian.

But is it not time that Christ really begins to become “REAL” and “LIVING” in my life?

We often “use” Christianity as a bait to obtain concessions, quotas, easy entries for jobs etc…

But does Christianity make me to live the values of the Gospel to root out corruption from the society & within ourselves?

As Christians, we are often portrayed as “forward” people – associated as a culture of posh and sophisticated living, as a “wine-and-cake” people and as “short-dresses-folk!”

These are not to be trademarks of a Real Christian!!

Does being a Christian…
… impel me to forego a sinful life and seek after holiness?
… encourage me to stand for the values of truth and honesty?
… make me to be less materialistic and more focused on things eternal?
… make me shun peer & societal pressures & stand for moral convictions?
… propel me to defy evil tendencies of the world and be firm to the Kingdom values?

The one who is truly living in the Lord, cannot, but alter his/her sinful way of life.

The one who is really professing to be a Christian, cannot, but seek after holiness.

Let Jesus, as a beautiful vase, occupy the greatest presence and authority in my life!

This would certainly mean changing the old carpet of sinfulness and evil habits.
This would certainly mean painting the soiled walls with the new shade of holiness.

May the newness and the novelty of the Lord sparkle and glitter in our everyday Christian Life!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
LIMITATIONS OF HUMAN REASON, AND THE NEED FOR GOD’S REVELATION

In the historical conditions in which he finds himself, however, man experiences many difficulties…
… in coming to know God by the light of reason alone.
This is why man stands in need of being enlightened by God’s revelation, not only about those things that exceed his understanding…

… but also “about those religious and moral truths which of themselves are not beyond the grasp of human reason, so that even in the present condition of the human race, they can be known by all men with ease, with firm certainty and with no admixture of error!”

REFLECTION CAPSULE FOR THE DAY – January 17, 2021: Sunday

“Becoming a people of true acknowledgement and honest encouragement!”

(Based on 1 Sam 3:3-10, 19, 1 Cor 6:13b, 15, 17-20 and Jn 1:35-42 – 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B)

The five fingers of the hand have their own functions and roles.

However, one finger among these five, is often engaged in a pretty notorious activity…

That Finger is …
… the Forefinger or the Index Finger.

And the activity that it is often used for, is…
… Blaming!

The Index finger or also called as the Pointer Finger is often used
… to point to others and accuse them
… to point towards others and blame them
… to point towards others and lay a charge on them

This action is also called as ‘Finger-Pointing’ – the act of casting the blame or assigning the blame for something, to someone else.

We have somehow, consciously or unconsciously, got into a habit of using our Index or the Forefinger to always blame and accuse others and pass on the fault to other people.

The Gospel of the Day, is however, a welcome change to this “sickening” trend of finger-pointing!

We have St John the Baptist who utilizes this action of pointing, not for blaming or accusing… … but rather to point out the Saviour of the World!

He points out, in a majestic style, to Jesus…
… and declares emphatically, ” Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (Jn 1: 29)

He points towards Jesus…
… to make known the One who is the long-awaited Messiah!
… and reveals to the world, the One who is to redeem humanity!
… to proclaim the One, who by His greatness, would grant salvation!

John the Baptist, becomes a witness and a testimony to the world, to reveal Jesus as the Redeemer!

This pointing to the Saviour reveals many inner qualities of St John the Baptist…
a. He displays great humility in acknowledging the greatness of Jesus!
b. He shows forth immense goodness in choosing to play the secondary role!
c. He exhibits nobility by gently shifting the focus and limelight to Jesus, the Saviour!
d. He demonstrates faithfulness to his mission of being the forerunner to the True Messiah!

Our life is sometimes plagued by the “bad tendency” to point to others, only in a negative sense…

We point to others…
… to pass on judgment and condemnation
… to cast feelings of guilt and culpability
… to make public the faults of other people

It’s not that we should refrain from constructive criticism… or correcting others gently… or making the other person aware of their shortcomings.

But can we learn from St John the Baptist, the attitude to point out to others, in order to….
… Instill a sense of encouragement and affirmation
… Acknowledge their valuable and precious presence
… Allow people to notice the good and noble deeds of others

Pointing to others, ought not to be a tool of painful criticism and discouragement…
… rather it must be an action of encouragement and acknowledgement.

Pointing to others, ought not to be a medium of accusation and denunciation…
… rather it must be a means of appreciation and admiration.

Let us become a people of true acknowledgement… and not wasteful blaming.

Let us become a people of honest encouragement…and not critical judgment.
Let us become a people of credible appreciation… and not distasteful denouncing.

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
KNOWING GOD

Our Holy Mother, the Church, holds and teaches that God, the first principle and last end of all things, can be known with certainty from the created world by the natural light of human reason.
Without this capacity, man would not be able to welcome God’s revelation.

Man has this capacity because he is created “in the image of God!” (CCC #36)