REFLECTION CAPSULES BOOK – Available also on Amazon India

💫 “REFLECTION CAPSULES” – Daily Reflections based on the Gospel is now available as a Book (paperback)
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REFLECTION CAPSULE FOR THE DAY – April 15, 2021: Thursday

“Reviving our hearts to firmly install the Lord as the True Alpha (the beginning) and the True Omega (the end) of all our activities… and our life itself!

(Based on Acts 5:27-33 and Jn 3:31-36 – Thursday of the 2nd Week in Eastertide)

A few days back we celebrated the Easter Vigil.

The Easter Vigil is called as the mother of all vigils.

In the liturgy of the Easter Vigil, a Paschal Candle is prepared.

The priest marks the candle, in the shape of the Cross, Alpha and Omega – the first and the last Greek letters and the present Year, 2021

He uses the following words:
… Christ yesterday and today (on the vertical arm of the cross)
… the Beginning and the End (horizontal arm of the cross)
… the Alpha (alpha above the cross)
… and the Omega (omega below the cross)
… All time belongs to him (numeral 2 in upper left corner of cross)
… and all the ages (numeral 0 in upper right corner of cross)
… To him be glory and power (numeral 2 in lower left corner)
… through every age and for ever. Amen (numeral 1 in lower right corner)

These words declare the Supreme authority and Heavenly glory of Jesus, the Son of God.

However, it can happen so, that at times, in our life…
… such fundamental factors of faith are taken for granted…
… such basic truths of our spiritual life are presumed as known…

Therefore, it is sometimes good take a pause in our spiritual life, and ask ourselves, this fundamental question,

” Am I really trusting and believing in Jesus, as the True Son of God, the One who is all-powerful and Holy”?
“Is my faith and spirituality truly built on the great foundation, that the Lord is the ultimate beginning (Alpha) and the end (Omega) of everything?”

The Gospel of the day is an invitation to make this examination of the basics of our faith and spirituality and to renew our belief and trust in the Lord.

The Gospel passage begins with the verse, “The One who comes from heaven is above all” (Jn 3: 31)

This verse refers to the Divine origin of the Lord.

At the Annunciation, Angel Gabriel had announced to Mother Mary that Her child “will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High” (Lk 1: 32)

This Divinity of the Lord was affirmed by Him through the various works of wonders and great deeds…
… of healing many in afflictions and sicknesses
… of accepting many of the rejected and unwanted
… of strengthening many of the oppressed and the abused
… of preaching many on the need for repentance and striving to enter the Kingdom

• His personality shone with Divinity….
• His character radiated with Holiness…

He become the Way-revealer, the Truth-instiller and the Life-giver.

He is the One “Whom the Father loves” and “to Whom the Father has given everything” (Jn 3:35)

Have we given our lives entirely to Him, who is above all things?

Have we entrusted ourselves entirely to Him, who has been entrusted everything by the Father?

At the Holy Mass, one of the most beautiful prayers is called as the “Doxology”.

In this, we render all the praise to the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit.

“Through Him, With Him, In Him…. O God Almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honour is Yours, forever and ever, Amen!”

It would be good, to make this prayer of the Doxology, our own, in our works and activities.
• This could be a conscious way of acknowledging the Divinity of the Lord in all our activities.
• This could be a meaningful way of saying that the Lord reigns in all our works and deeds.

Let us revive our hearts to firmly install the Lord as the True Alpha(the beginning) and the True Omega (the end) of all our activities… and our life itself!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:

Of all the Divine Attributes, only God’s Omnipotence is named in the Creed
To confess this power has great bearing on our lives.
We believe that His might is universal…
… for God who created everything also rules everything and can do everything.
God’s power is loving, for He is our Father, and mysterious, for only faith can discern it when it “is made perfect in weakness”.
The Holy Scriptures repeatedly confess the universal power of God.
He is called the “Mighty One of Jacob”, the “LORD of hosts”, the “strong and mighty” one.
Nothing is impossible with God, who disposes His works according to His Will.
He is the Lord of the universe, whose order He established…
… and which remains wholly subject to Him and at His disposal.
He is master of history, governing hearts and events in keeping with His will! (Cf. CCC # 268-269)


REFLECTION CAPSULE – April 14, 2021: Wednesday

“Living by the Power of the Cross knowing that God’s Immense Love protects us always and everywhere!”

(Based on Acts 5:17-26 and Jn 3:16-21 – Wednesday of the 2nd Week in Eastertide)

In a particular place, in the medieval ages, there lived a certain monk.

This monk, once, announced that he would be preaching next Sunday evening on “The Love of God.”

It was Sunday evening…
The sun began to set…

As the shadows fell and the light slowly ceased to come in, through the glass-stained windows of that marvellous Church, the congregation gathered, were eagerly waiting…

Their eyes were fixed on the monk who was to preach to them….

In the darkness of the altar, the monk lighted a candle and carried it to the crucifix.

First of all, with the candle, he illumined the crown of thorns on the Crucifix..

Then, the two wounded hands…
Then the marks of the spear wound on His side…

Then, in the hush and silence that fell, the monk blew out the candle and left the Church.

There was nothing else to say!

A beautiful sermon on the “Love of God” had been preached!

The sacrifice of Jesus, on the Cross, reveals the depth of God’s Love.

The price that Jesus paid on the Cross, demonstrates the intensity of God’s Love.

It is this love of God that Jesus spells out, when He says to Nicodemus, in today’s Gospel, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him, should not perish, but may have eternal life…” (Jn 3:16)

This verse, John 3:16 has some of the most unique credits….
… it is perhaps one of the most favourite verses of the entire Bible
… it is perhaps one of the most known verses of the entire Bible

In seven phrases, this verse, reveals the gist and the core of the entire Good News…
… For God: The Great Lord and the Creator of the entire universe
… so loved the world: The Great Purpose of God
… that He gave His only Son: The Great Sacrifice
… that whoever: The Great Open Invitation
… believes in Him: The Great Condition
… should not perish: The Great Desire
… but may have eternal life: The Great Promise

Jesus was teaching Nicodemus that the heart of God’s love would be revealed in the sacrifice and death of His Beloved Son, on the Cross.

The Cross is not for condemnation…
The Cross is not for judgment…

The Cross is for salvation… the Cross is for hope!

To the one who believes and trusts in this power of the Cross, there is hope and salvation.

To the one who rejects and refuses this power of the Cross, judgment and condemnation is self-inflicted and self-imposed.

God doesn’t want to condemn
… He only wants to redeem.

God doesn’t desire to judge
… He only wants to save.

The disciples of Jesus, after the Resurrection and by the Power of the Holy Spirit, experienced the depth of God’s Love

And this experience of the Immensity of God’s Love impelled them to give witness to Jesus, even in the midst of harsh torture and suffering – so much so, that their persecutors marvelled at their courage and conviction:

“Look, the men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people!” (Acts 5:25)

The Cross of the Lord invites us today…
… to be faithful to the salvation won by the Lord, always
… to seek the grace to live a life in the light, always
… to make efforts to walk the path of truth, always

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
THE DIVINE WORKS AND THE TRINITARIAN MISSIONS

Being a work at once common and personal, the whole Divine economy makes known both what is proper to the Divine Persons, and their One Divine Nature.
Hence the whole Christian life is a communion with each of the Divine Persons, without in any way separating them.
Everyone who glorifies the Father does so through the Son in the Holy Spirit…
… everyone who follows Christ does so because the Father draws him and the Spirit moves him!
The ultimate end of the whole divine economy is the entry of God’s creatures into the perfect unity of the Blessed Trinity.
But even now we are called to be a dwelling for the Most Holy Trinity: “If a man loves me”, says the Lord, “he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our home with him” (Cf. CCC # 259-260)


REFLECTION CAPSULE – April 12, 2021: Monday

“Being ready and willing to give ourselves entirely to the Lord – to the Spirit of God – and allow Him to ‘make us anew and renewed’”

(Based on Acts 4:23-31 and Jn 3:1-8 – Monday of the 2nd Week in Eastertide)

A businessman, once, wanted to sell his vast old castle along with his property.

The massive building had, however, been empty for months and needed many repairs.

Uninhabited for many years, and been prone to many thieves, vandals and natural calamities, there was a lot of damage to the building.

Doors had been damaged

Windows had been smashed
The interiors were badly damaged

As he showed a prospective buyer the building and the property, this businessman took pains to explain that he would replace the broken windows, bring in the engineering crew to correct any structural damage and clean out the garbage.

But the one who came to buy had other plans. “Forget about the repairs,” the buyer said without giving heed to what the businessman was saying.

“When I buy this place, I’m going to build something completely different. I am not interested in the building alone; I want the entire site!”

The businessman was worried about the many repairs he had to do before he undertook the deal. But the one who came to buy was interested more in the land – the site itself – than the building and the minor repair works.

Something similar happens when we seek to hand over the property of our lives to God.

We, get perplexed and worried over the many little aspects

But the Lord is interested in our entire life

He demands a total transformation.

He requires a complete conversion.

This is what the Gospel of the Day also points to – “No one can enter the Kingdom of God, without being born of the water and the spirit” (Jn 3:5)

Jesus is in conversation with Nicodemus.
Nicodemus was a Pharisee, a ruler of the Jews.

The Gospel is particular to point out that “he came to Jesus at night” (Jn 3:2)

Nicodemus finds three mentions in the Gospel of St John.

One, in this meeting with the Lord. (Jn 3: 1ff)

The second, in discussion with the chief priests and Pharisees who were discussing the origins of Jesus, the Messiah (Jn 7: 45-52)
The third, at the burial of Jesus, along with Joseph of Arimathea (Jn 19: 38-41)

In all these three occasions, we find an element of darkness that is associated

It was in the darkness of a night when Nicodemus first came to meet Jesus…
Second, Nicodemus was in a discussion of darkness that made plans to eliminate Jesus
Third, Nicodemus buries the body of Jesus in the darkness of nature and human folly

Darkness would seek to get associated with Nicodemus every time…

But Jesus, the light of the world, invited Nicodemus to move to the light
… “those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God” (Jn 3:21)

Jesus invites Nicodemus to experience and live the Truth…
… that one needs to be born from above to see the Kingdom of God
… that one needs to be born of the water and the spirit to enter the Kingdom of God

The same invitation is rendered to each one of us.

We too may often be finding ourselves in the “darkness”…

But Jesus, the Light of the world invites us to embrace Him wholly and to undergo a complete transformation.

What is needed is to let the Spirit of God work in ways that He wants

We need to have complete openness to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit.
We need to have total docility to the promptings of the Holy Spirit…
We need to allow the Spirit of God, “the Wind [to] blow where it wills…’’ (Jn 3: 8)

When the early Church went through moments of persecution and hardships, they allowed themselves to be guided and led by the Power of the Holy Spirit.

Offering their struggles, they prayed to the Lord; and they were filled with the Holy Spirit
“And now, Lord, look at their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.

When they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness!” (Acts 4:29-31)

Yes, when we make a complete offering of our lives to the Lord…
… we are filled with Power and Courage!

The Lord seeks the complete property of our lives.

We may be worried about the complications in which a transformation is possible
We may be thinking, how can I, with so many complications in life, have a true conversion

But the One who comes to occupy our lives has other plans…
He says “When I occupy your life, I’m going to build something completely different.

I am not interested in the externals; I want the entire soul
… the whole life!”

Are we ready and willing to give ourselves entirely to the Lord – to the Spirit of God – and allow Him to “make us anew and renewed”?

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
DOGMA OF THE HOLY TRINITY

The Trinity is One.
We do not confess three Gods, but one God in three persons, the “consubstantial Trinity”.
The Divine Persons do not share the one divinity among themselves but each of them is God whole and entire: “The Father is that which the Son is, the Son that which the Father is, the Father and the Son that which the Holy Spirit is, i.e. by nature one God.”
The divine Persons are really distinct from one another.
They are distinct from one another in their relations of origin: “It is the Father who generates, the Son who is begotten, and the Holy Spirit who proceeds.” The Divine Unity is Triune.
The divine persons are relative to one another. Because it does not divide the divine unity, the real distinction of the persons from one another resides solely in the relationships which relate them to one another.
Because of that unity the Father is wholly in the Son and wholly in the Holy Spirit; the Son is wholly in the Father and wholly in the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit is wholly in the Father and wholly in the Son.” (Cf. CCC #253-255)


REFLECTION CAPSULE – April 11, 2021: Sunday

“Trusting in the Mercy of God – our greatest refuge and hope!”

(Based on the Feast of the Divine Mercy)

A little boy came back home very happy after his catechism classes.

The mother, seeing the boy, unusually overjoyed, asked him, “Why are you so happy today?”

The boy replied: “Mamma, am so happy today because God shares in my weakness!”

“What weakness,” asked the curious mother.

“God is also poor at Maths, Mamma… just like me” said the boy, “the teacher taught us the story
of God who leaves 99 sheep in the wilderness, and goes after one sheep that was lost!

So poor is God at Maths!”

And to that, the Mother, with a big smile replied: “Oh yeah! Thank the Lord for His Weakness
in Math!

It’s this Weakness that is our greatest refuge and hope – we call it His Mercy!”

Yes, the Weakness of the Lord in Maths can be called as His Mercy!

And it’s His Mercy that is our greatest refuge and hope!

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Divine Mercy of Jesus – commemorating His deep love for us in His Passion, Death and Resurrection…
… and celebrating His immense compassion and longing for each and every soul.

The Gospel of the Day is another Resurrection account of the Risen Lord to His Apostles.

Thomas was not with the group on the previous occasion that the Lord appeared to His chosen ones.

And so when the Lord makes His appearance, He specially calls out on Thomas, to experience and believe in His Risen Body:

“Then He said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving but believe” (Jn 20:27)

Jesus came to the world to “save and seek the lost” (Lk 19:10)

Thomas, the Apostle was lost…
… was lost in doubts over the reports and talks about the Resurrection of the Lord
… was lost within himself on whether he could trust the words of his companions, who often had wavered, even in the past, over many matters
… was lost in missing out a chance to encounter His Master, since he had stayed away from the community.

But the Good Shepherd now comes in search of this “lost” sheep..
And this sheep, submits to the mercy and compassion of the Shepherd…
“My Lord and my God” (Jn 20:28) were the confessing words of Thomas to Jesus, His Master.

The Lord displays His wonderful mercy to Thomas, the “lost” sheep, who was willing to be found.
The Lord manifests His compassionate mercy, to Thomas, His “chosen” one, who was ready to humble himself before the Lord.

The Lord displays His Willingness…
… to avoid the “maths of keeping count of failures” and being unforgiving!
… to keep aside the common style of “calculating one’s weaknesses” and being judgmental!

This then is the great lesson that we can learn ….
The Lord is willing to be found, by those who seek Him

The Lord is waiting to be experienced, by those who want Him
The Lord is wanting to be encountered, by those who long for Him

The Mercy Sunday is a wonderful invitation to plunge ourselves in the ocean of the Lord’s mercy and compassion.

Thomas sought to touch the Lord… but the Lord Himself touched his heart!

We seek the Lord…
… but the Lord seeks much more to come into our lives.

We long for the Lord…
… but the Lord longs much more strongly for our souls.

We search for the Lord…
… but the Lord searches much more to embrace us in love.

This Feast of the Mercy Sunday also is a beautiful reminder and invitation to experience the love and mercy of the Lord, in the two treasures that Holy Mother the Church constantly offers – the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

The Image of the Divine Mercy also points to these two Sacraments…

The pale ray stands for the Water which makes souls righteous – The Sacrament of Reconciliation
The red ray stands for the Blood which is the life of souls – The Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist

In the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist… the mercy of Lord waits on us…
… to receive Him more frequently
… to live Him more in our lives
… to honour Him more often

In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the mercy of the Lord longs for us…
… to accept His offer of life and blessings
… to receive us back, with all our sins washed away
… to go back to His embrace of sanctity by living a holy life

The priests of the Lord are reminded, on this day, of this powerful duty and task that they need to faithfully ensure… towards the celebration of the Holy Mass and the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

These are the two powerful channels through which the mercy of the Lord flows and the priests alone are chosen and entrusted to handle these Sacraments of grace and mercy!

It’s indeed the greatest privilege…and the same time, the most sacred duty and function for a Priest.

Therefore…

The priests have a bounden responsibility, to be always ready for these sacraments…
The priests have a bounden task, to be always willing to administer these sacraments…
The priests have a bounden duty, to be always open to allow God’s mercy to flow through them

Let this Feast of the Mercy Sunday…
… be a day to re-consecrate ourselves to the Mercy of the Lord.
… be a day to re-commit ourselves to showing mercy and compassion to all the people in our lives.

The Mercy of God is indeed the story of His Willingness to let aside all mathematical calculations…
… in extending His Love to all of us!
Yes, the Weakness of the Lord in Maths can be called as His Mercy!

And it’s His Mercy that is our greatest refuge and hope!

With love in our hearts, let us cry out, “My Lord and my God” and with hope in the mercies of God, let us sing, “Jesus, I trust in You!”

Let us seek to live as Missionaries of Mercy!

May our Blessed Mamma, the Compassionate Mother of Mercy, always intercede for us!

Happy Feast of the Mercy of God!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
THE HOLY TRINITY IN THE TEACHING OF THE FAITH

From the beginning, the revealed truth of the Holy Trinity has been at the very root of the Church’s living faith, principally by means of Baptism.
It finds its expression in the rule of baptismal faith, formulated in the preaching, catechesis and prayer of the Church. Such formulations are already found in the apostolic writings, such as this salutation taken up in the Eucharistic liturgy: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”
During the first centuries the Church sought to clarify her Trinitarian faith…
… both to deepen her own understanding of the faith
… and to defend it against the errors that were deforming it.
This clarification was the work of the early councils, aided by the theological work of the Church Fathers and sustained by the Christian people’s sense of the faith.
In order to articulate the dogma of the Trinity, the Church had to develop her own terminology with the help of certain notions of philosophical origin: “substance”, “person” or “hypostasis”, “relation” and so on.
In doing this, she did not submit the faith to human wisdom, but gave a new and unprecedented meaning to these terms…
… which from then on would be used to signify an ineffable mystery, “infinitely beyond all that we can humanly understand” (Cf. CCC #249-251)


REFLECTION CAPSULE – April 10, 2021: Saturday

“Placing our hands in the Hands of the Lord, and taking up His task of being the Proclaimers and Witnesses of His Resurrection to the world with an assurance of the Lord: ‘…I will be with you
… and above all, I trust You!’”

(Based on Acts 4:13-21 and Mk 16: 9-15)

One of the familiar kids’ stories, known to many of us is that of Jesus, after His ascension, going back to the heavens. There was a lot of excitement in heaven, in having Jesus back to the heavenly realms.

The many little angels gathered around the Lord and asked His experience of being on the earth.

Then one of the angels put forward this question to Jesus, “Dear Lord, you have done such a lot of good on the earth. You have sown the seeds of your Kingdom in the hearts of so many people.

But I have a genuine doubt
… To continue this your excellent work, you have appointed only 12 persons.

And most of those 12 are not very skilled or very able-bodied.

How do you think, your mission will continue?
How do you think this minuscule number of personnel can to spread Your Word?”

The Lord looked at the angel, with a deep reflective look; then with a gentle and hopeful smile, He said, “Yes, I know that they are only a few. I know that they are not very talented or highly capable.

Yet, I will be with them…

And above all, I trust them!”

These words echoed in the heavens
… “I will be with them
… and above all, I trust them!

The Lord indeed trusts in His chosen ones to continue His mission on the earth.

The Gospel of the Day recounts the mandate given to the Apostles by Jesus, the Master, to spread His Gospel to the entire nations: “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation” (Mk 16:15)

We are on the last day of the Easter Octave – the eighth day.

Over the last seven days, we have meditated on the various Resurrection accounts from the various Gospel narratives.

The encounter by Mary Magdalene, being called by her name (Jn 20: 11-18)
The encounter by Mary Magdalene, being called by her name (Jn 20: 11-18)
The encounter by Mary of Magdalene calling her by name (Jn 20: 11-18)
The encounter of the two disciples with the Risen Lord at the breaking of bread (Lk 24: 13-
35)
The encounter of the Apostles with the Risen Lord in the closed room (Lk 24: 35-48)
The encounter of the Apostles with the Risen Lord by the Sea of Tiberias (Jn 21: 1-14)

Today, in the Gospel of St Mark, we have a sort of summary of the many Resurrection narratives, closing with the mission mandate of the Lord, to “go into all the world” and reach out the saving Word of the Lord.

In all these various Resurrection narratives that are mentioned in today’s Gospel…
… one common element is seen: A mention of unbelief or uncertainty of the disciples.

When Mary Magdalene saw the Lord and reported this to the disciples…
… “but when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it” (Mk 16:11)

When the two disciples on the way to Emmaus spoke of the Risen Lord’s appearance to them, “they did not believe them” either (Mk 16: 13)
… but later the Lord appeared to the disciples themselves and “rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart because they had not believed…” (Mk 16: 14, NABRE)

The disciples found it hard to accept and believe in the Resurrection of the Lord.

They had been rebuked often by the Lord, during His earthly ministry.
Now they are again chided for their lack of faith, even after His Resurrection.

Despite this less intensity in their belief, the Risen Lord entrusts them with His mission of proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom.

Despite this little strength in their faith, the Risen Lord, hands over to them His task of preaching the Word of God to all the nations.

That’s the trust of the Lord in His disciples.

That’s the faith of the Lord in His chosen ones

It’s His conviction that “I will be with them
… and above all, I trust them”!

Like the disciples, we too may and will have our moments of…
… variations in faith
… slackening in trust
… and slipping in hope

In all this, let us be assured that the Lord, Who has entrusted His task to us, will continue to trust in us, and assures His presence with us.

We are weak…
We are fragile…

The Lord knows these aspects in us, much better than we ourselves.

He knew all this, even of the Apostles.

Yet, He wholly trusted them.
And He wholly trusts us too….

The disciples would grow in the strength of this trust and would become courageous and powerful to give witness to the Risen Lord – even when put through trials and tribulations.

This bold witness even surprised many people, including the religious leaders:
“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and ordinary men, they were amazed and recognized them as companions of Jesus!” (Acts 4:13)

Their conviction would make them to profess the Lord in all what they did:
“But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in God’s sight to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge…
… for we cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard!” (Acts 4:19-20)

Let us place our hands in the hands of the Lord, and take up His task of being the Proclaimers and Witnesses of His Resurrection to the world…
… always being assured that the Lord’s promises, “I will be with you
… and above all, I trust You!”

Happy Easter to all of you!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

The Latin tradition of the Creed confesses that the Spirit “proceeds from the Father and the Son (filioque)”
The Western tradition expresses first the consubstantial communion between Father and Son, by saying that the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son (filioque).
It says this, “legitimately and with good reason”, for the eternal order of the divine persons in their consubstantial communion implies that the Father, as “the principle without principle,”…

… is the first origin of the Spirit, but also that as Father of the only Son, he is, with the Son, the single principle from which the Holy Spirit proceeds. (Cf. CCC #246-248)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – April 08, 2021: Friday

“Putting to effect all the abilities that the good Lord has blessed us with, for His Kingdom, and being focussed on our Crucified Lord to be single-minded in our love for the Lord!”

(Based on Acts 4:1-12 and Jn 21:1-14 – Friday of the Easter Octave)

Every person’s life consists of various strengths, talents, abilities and aptitudes.

These strengths and talents help a person to achieve triumphs in life.
These abilities and aptitudes push the person to climb up higher the ladder of success

However, it is said that “one’s greatest strength can also be the reason for one’s greatest fall!”

Sometimes strengths and abilities themselves can become….
… the reason for great depressions in life
… the gateway to a person to being tempted into false ways
… the entrance for a person to abandon one’s true calling and vocation of life

The Gospel of the Day is a strong picturisation of this aspect with the person of Peter, the prime Apostle of Jesus, in focus.

We are on the last chapter of the Gospel of St John – Chapter Twenty One.

The chapter describes another post-resurrectional account of the appearance of Jesus.

The disciples, have been greatly disturbed and devastated by the death of their Master, Jesus.
Perhaps, all their hopes were crashed…all their aspirations had sunk.

Then, Peter, perhaps filled with greater sorrow than others, makes an important statement, “I am going fishing” (Jn 21:3)

He would have been more sorrowful because the Lord had always accorded a special attention to him.
He would have been more tearful than others because he was the one who had primarily and publicly denied his Master.

And so he takes another lead… this time however, away from the Lord… “to go fishing”

In Mt 4:19, we read that Peter had received the glorious vocation of following the Lord…
“Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”

This was the vocation of Peter…. This was his calling…
… to follow Jesus closely and personally and intimately
… to be a fisher of people, for the Kingdom of God.

But when faced with the greatest crisis of his life, he sought comfort and refuge, in what was probably, humanly speaking, his greatest strength – fishing!

All through his life, Peter was probably living close to the sea.

He knew the depths and the breadth of the waters.

They gave him a great deal of energy.
They filled him with a fresh dose of enthusiasm.

Fishing was his great strength.

Fishing was his way of life.

Fishing was his big asset.

However, at the call of the Lord, Peter had given up this “earthly” asset and strength to embark through “newer” waters of life with the “Great Fisherman of Galilee”

The Lord had given him a “higher” vocation…to become fishers of people.

But now Peter, dejected and depressed, “leaves” this Divine vocation and goes back to his earthly strength and livelihood – fishing.

His strength and ability of fishing had become….
… the reason for great depressions in his spiritual life
… the gateway to being tempted into false ways, leaving the way of the Lord
… the entrance for him, to abandon his true calling and vocation of life of being fishers of people

“One’s greatest strength can also be the reason for one’s greatest fall”!

But once again, the Lord comes to the rescue…
He had called Peter, for the first time, by the Sea of Galilee… by a miraculous catch of fish (Lk 5: 1-11)

He now again calls Peter, by the Sea of Galilee.. by a miraculous catch of fish.
… calls him to renew his commitment and love for the Lord
… calls him to go back to his vocation and give up his life for him
… calls him to leave his “earthly strength” of fishing, and to depend totally on the Lord!

The danger that Peter faced in his life can be a danger for us too…

Our greatest strength can also be the reason for our greatest fall!

What is the greatest strength of our lives?
Money? Prestige? Talents? Abilities? Self-Confidence?

Sometimes we find, that the very talents and abilities…. by which we are able to do the works, of the Lord, may themselves, become great snares of temptations…

We, therefore, need to be on the watch always… be on the guard at all times!

Sure, that it is the Lord Himself who has blessed us with various talents.

But all our capabilities, needs to find its source, strength and continuity, in and by the Lord.

May we put to effect all the abilities that the good Lord has blessed us with, for His Kingdom…and may we always be focussed on our Crucified Lord to be single-minded in our love for the Lord.

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
THE FATHER AND THE SON REVEALED BY THE SPIRIT

Before his Passover, Jesus announced the sending of “another Paraclete” (Advocate), the Holy Spirit.
At work since creation, having previously “spoken through the prophets”, the Spirit will now be with and in the disciples, to teach them and guide them “into all the truth”.
The Holy Spirit is thus revealed as another Divine Person with Jesus and the Father.
The eternal origin of the Holy Spirit is revealed in His mission in time.
The Spirit is sent to the apostles and to the Church, both by the Father in the Name of the Son, and by the Son in Person, once He had returned to the Father.

The sending of the person of the Spirit after Jesus’ glorification reveals in its fullness the mystery of the Holy Trinity. (Cf. CCC #243-244)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – April 08, 2021: Thursday

“Growing in love of the Mystery of the Risen Lord, and seeking to live it, more fully and more meaningfully in our lives!”

(Based on Acts 3:11-26 and Lk 24:35-48 – Thursday of the Easter Octave)

It is said that an encounter with a mystery can cause one of the two reactions …

  1. A fervent fear leading to veneration and devotion
  2. A nauseating aversion leading to hatred and abhorrence.

The encounter with a mystery is always something overwhelming:

It causes either a transformation for the good or a change to run away from the truth and reality.

Mysteries are indeed powerful and can be life-transforming!

The Gospel of the Day presents this powerful dimension of the Apostles encountering the Mystery of the Resurrection, in the person of Jesus Christ, the Lord, risen from the dead!

The Resurrection Day of the Lord was perhaps the most baffling, confusing and puzzling day in the lives of the Apostles…

Just a few days back, they had witnessed the horrifying and painful death of their Beloved Master.
In their weakness, and fearing for their life, they had abandoned their Master.

Yet, heart of heart, these disciples would have been tremendously affected, at the loss of the One who had brought new hopes and expectations to their lives.

But now, the strange and surprising reports of the tomb being empty and the Lord appearing to two on the way to Emmaus have confused the poor disciples.

It’s in this state of fear, confusion that Jesus comes in their midst and appears to them.

“But they were startled and terrified and thought they were seeing a ghost” ( Lk 24: 37)

The disciples were face to face with a Mystery – the mystery of Jesus Christ, Resurrected.

And every mystery can cause two reactions…
… a fervent fear leading to veneration and devotion
… or a nauseating aversion leading to hatred and abhorrence.

The disciples were initially filled with a lot of fear and were startled deeply.

But as they slowly were in the presence of the Great Mystery, their hearts began to be filled with joy and holiness…

We are also witnesses to the Great Mystery of the Resurrection

What is our reaction?

Are we filled with fear and fail to live a life of true witnessing?
… Or are we filled with the calm and serenity that the Risen Lord promises?

There is a need to make an honest examination of our lives…

The Mystery of the Risen Lord is about joy and happiness
Do I radiate this joy to others…
… or do others only come across angry faces, irritated behaviour and unpleasant conduct in me?

The Mystery of the Risen Lord is about trust and confidence
Do I display this faith and belief…
… especially when we face many problems and crisis in life, to stand firm in hope?

The Mystery of the Risen Lord is about call to a new way of life…
Do I be courageous to embrace this new way of life in the Risen Lord…
… and be willing to do away with my sinful habits and tendencies to fall away from God’s presence?

The Risen Lord is in our midst, as He was with the Apostles…
… Especially in His Most Holy Eucharist
… Especially in His Holy Word of God.

Let us not be afraid of this Mystery…

Let us not have an aversion towards it…
… rather, let us grow in love of the Mystery of the Risen Lord… and seek to live it, more fully and more meaningfully in our lives.

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
THE FATHER REVEALED BY THE SON

Jesus revealed that God is Father in an unheard-of sense: He is Father not only in being Creator; He is eternally Father by His relationship to His Only Son who, reciprocally, is Son only in relation to His Father
For this reason the apostles confess Jesus to be the Word: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”; as “the image of the invisible God”; as the “radiance of the glory of God and the very stamp of his nature”.
Following this apostolic tradition, the Church confessed at the first ecumenical council at Nicaea that the Son is “consubstantial” with the Father, that is, one only God with Him.
The second ecumenical council, held at Constantinople in 381, kept this expression in its formulation of the Nicene Creed and confessed “the only-begotten Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, light from light, true God from true God, begotten not made, consubstantial with the Father (Cf. CCC #240-242)


REFLECTION CAPSULE – April 07, 2021: Wednesday

“Having our ‘eyes opened’ and ‘seeing the obvious’ in our Life of Faith!”

(Based on Acts 3:1-10 and Lk 24:13-35 – Wednesday of the Easter Octave)

A commonly known incident is told of a customs officer, who observed a truck coming up to the border.

The wary behaviour of the driver caused the customs officer to look at him with suspicion – of smuggling some goods – and he ordered a search of the vehicle.

The officer was pretty sure, that the driver was involved in smuggling something…

But even after a thorough search – of the panels, the bumpers, the wheel cases and other parts of the truck….
… he was unsuccessful!

Not convinced, but due to lack of proof, the customs officer had to wave the driver through.

This happened many times over the years – week after week….

The officer made the driver to go through rigorous searches: full body search, X Rays, Sonar…
… but nothing illicit was ever found!

Finally, the day arrived when the customs officer was to retire.

For one last time, the officer observed the same driver coming in…
… and he asked him: “I know you are a smuggler!
And I also know, very cleverly, you have been deceiving me all these years, and taking some goods beyond this check point.
Today is my last day at work.
So I pray you, to tell me what have you been smuggling all these years.
I promise that I will not tell anyone about it.”

Seeing the insistent pleading of the customs officer, the driver replied, coolly:
“Trucks!”

The customs officer had made a detailed check up of the driver, on several occasions.

But he missed the most obvious good that could have been smuggled: Trucks!

How often can this happen in our lives as well…
… We “miss the most obvious”!

The Gospel of the Day is a beautiful incident to “open our eyes” to see the obvious – the obvious reality of our Faith…
… and thus, to be convinced witnesses of this Good News of the Reality!

The post-Resurrectional narratives today presents before us the incident of our Risen Lord appearing to the two disciples on the way to Emmaus (Lk 24: 13-35).

One of the striking features that this passage presents before us is the human tendency (weakness!) to “miss the obvious!”

The two disciples, who are on the way to Emmaus, had been greatly struck by the incidents that had happened over the last one week in Jerusalem.

This therefore, resulted in them failing to “read the signs of symbols”…

Their Master, Jesus, in Whom they had placed all their hopes, had undergone a cruel death on the Cross (Lk 24:21).
… The CROSS, however, seemed, to them, purely as a sign of humiliation and shame!
This was followed by the report of some women who had seen the empty Tomb of the Lord (Lk 24:22)
… The EMPTY TOMB, however, seemed, to them, purely as a sign of dashed hopes and broken dreams
This confusion was confirmed by some of the other members of the group, but Him they had not met (Lk 24: 24)
… This ABSENCE of JESUS, however, seemed, to them, purely as a sign of a lost prospect and an uncertain future.
As they walked on the way, Jesus explained the Scriptures to them, to open their hearts to what was written about Him (Lk 24: 27)
… The SCRIPTURES, however, seemed, to them, purely as a sign of falling on deaf ears and God’s words being found empty.
As they reached the village, Jesus made movements as if to go on ahead (Lk 24: 28)
… The MOVEMENTS of JESUS, however, seemed, to them, purely a sign of a traveller wanting to move on with His journey

A number of symbols were presented to these disciples…

Cross, Empty Tomb, Absence of Jesus, Scriptures, Movements of Jesus
… but all of them seemed irrelevant and immaterial.
They failed to make an impact!

They MISSED THE OBVIOUS!

That’s when, our Blessed Lord would “open their eyes” by partaking in one of the most important post-resurrectional ‘Expression of His Presence’: The Breaking of Bread!

“He sat down to eat with them, took the bread, and said the blessing; then He broke the bread and gave it to them…
… then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him!” (Lk 24: 30-31)

The ‘Breaking of the Bread’ opened their eyes… and they began to “See the Obvious”

The Cross began to be seen as the Symbol of Victory!
The Empty Tomb began to be seen as the Symbol of God’s Almighty Power!
The Absence of Jesus began to be seen as the Symbol of His Presence amidst the community!
The Scriptures began to be seen as the Symbol of God’s Promises being fulfilled!
The Movements of Jesus began to be seen as the Symbol of the Lord alluring them to invite Him into their hearts and homes!

This incident invites us to also have our “eyes opened” and “see the obvious” in our Faith.

And this experience is deepened by our participation in the “Breaking of the Bread”.

The “Breaking of Bread” is the Holy Eucharist.

This incident of the “Breaking of Bread” contains the elements (Scripture, Prayer, Blessing, Breaking of bread) of the Liturgy of the Eucharist, as stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church…
… “Eucharistic celebration always includes: the proclamation of the Word of God; thanksgiving to God the Father for all his benefits, above all the gift of his Son; the consecration of bread and wine; and participation in the liturgical banquet by receiving the Lord’s body and blood.”

There are moments in our life, when we like the Disciples on the way to Emmaus, walk dejected and disillusioned.
… things seem lost for us and the future holds no good for us
… darkness seem to pervade our every thought

Like those Disciples, we too are given a lot of symbols of God’s Presence…
… but we fail to find meaning in them!

It is therefore the Breaking of the Bread – the Holy Eucharist – that can strengthen our Christian Life and “open our eyes”…
… to “see the obvious”!

May this powerful incident of the Emmaus Experience, help us to resolve and renew a few commitments with respect to the Holy Eucharist…
… to be more eager to participate for the Holy Mass as often as possible
… to never be late for Mass; instead to prepare well, and participate with more enthusiasm
… to seek to spend more time with the Eucharistic Lord and encourage others to do so as well

It is the Eucharist that can help us to know and realize that even in our “saddest walks of life,” the Lord is with us – walking with us, and giving us many signs and symbols of Faith…

And thus, to have our “eyes opened”…
… and “see the obvious” in our Life of Faith!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
REVELATION OF GOD AS TRINITY
In Israel, God is called “Father” inasmuch as he is Creator of the world.
Even more, God is Father because of the covenant and the gift of the law to Israel, “his first-born son.”

God is also called the Father of the king of Israel. Most especially he is “the Father of the poor”, of the orphaned and the widowed, who are under his loving protection.61
By calling God “Father”, the language of faith indicates two main things…
… that God is the first origin of everything and transcendent authority
… and that he is at the same time goodness and loving care for all his children.
God’s parental tenderness can also be expressed by the image of motherhood, which emphasizes God’s immanence, the intimacy between Creator and creature.
The language of faith thus draws on the human experience of parents…
… who are in a way the first representatives of God for man.
But this experience also tells us that human parents are fallible and can disfigure the face of fatherhood and motherhood.
We ought therefore to recall that God transcends the human distinction between the sexes. He is neither man nor woman: he is God. He also transcends human fatherhood and motherhood, although he is their origin and standard: no one is father as God is Father. (Cf. CCC #238-239)


REFLECTION CAPSULE – April 06, 2021: Tuesday

“Being steadfast and drawing closer to the Lord, despite our tears and pains and sadness…and experiencing the Caring and Intimate Love of the One Who is ‘always with us!’”

(Based on Acts 2:36-41 and Jn 20:11-18 – Tuesday of the Easter Octave)

One of the very beautiful verses in the Bible – not too known though – is from the book of the
Psalms.

Psalm 56: 8, “Thou hast kept count of my tossings; put thou my tears in thy bottle! Are they not in thy book?”

Another translation would read, “…. You have collected my tears in a wineskin.”

This verse speaks volumes of a God who is so intimately related to a person and expresses a very personal and close association.

God is a God Who…
… is especially close to His people in their moments of pain and suffering
… is particularly near to His people in their times of affliction and tribulations.

The Gospel of the Day is a beautiful witness to this loving concern and tender affection of God, expressed by Jesus to Mary Magdalene.

We are still near the tomb of the Lord. Mary Magdalene, the soul who loved the Lord so profoundly, is still lingering around the tomb of the Lord.

She had experienced Divine Love in a significant manner.

Her heart could not fully accept that the Lord who had transformed her life was no more
Her mind could take in the fact that the One whom she loved so deeply had gone away.

And so she kept waiting.

True love always seeks…

True love always seeks to break boundaries, do away with hurdles and cast away any barriers

Finally, when she did encounter Him, her eyes were kept away from recognizing the Lord.

But the Lord did recognize her…
… not just her physical pains, rather also her mental agony and her spiritual longing!

And so He asks her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” (Jn 20:13)

Mary had been incessantly weeping over the loss of her Beloved
Mary had been continuously shedding tears for the Lover of her soul.

However, these tears were not in vain….
… these tears were not lost in futility.

Rather, the Lord was storing them up carefully in a vial… in a bottle… in a wineskin
“[O, Lord… You have] put my tears in your bottle” (Ps 56:8)

And these tears of affection, love and fondness was rewarded by the Lord, by calling her by name, “Mary!” (Jn 20:16)

The sweetness of that voice, calling out her name, wiped away every tear!

Her tears were turned to smiles
… her mourning to comfort
… her brokenness to immense joy!

Today, we are reminded the same…

We may be shedding many tears before the Lord

It could be due to many reasons…
… maybe some personal crisis in life
… maybe some brokenness in the family
… maybe some tragedy or calamity to our closed ones

All these may cause us to have tears – either externally or within the depth of our hearts

Some tears may be seen by others – most will go unnoticed, invisible

Yet, the One who loves us the most – the Lord – is storing up all our tears in His presence

Each one of our tears is precious to the Lord.

Just like Mary Magdalene, who continued to be faithful and longing for the Lord, let us also be steadfast to our God…
… despite our tears and pains and sadness.

This faithfulness to Him will surely win the reward for us
… the reward of our names being called out by the Lord!

St Peter, while addressing the people on Pentecost Day, invited them to experience the healing and merciful love of the Lord…
“Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to Him.’” (Acts 2:38-39)

Let us draw closer to the Lord – in sincerity and repentance – and experience His Caring and Intimate Love of the Lord of Who is “always with us!”

Happy Easter to all of you!

God bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:

The Fathers of the Church distinguish between theology (theologia) and economy (oikonomia). >> “Theology” refers to the mystery of God’s inmost life within the Blessed Trinity…
… and “economy” to all the works by which God reveals himself and communicates his life.
Through the oikonomia, the theologia is revealed to us; but conversely, the theologia illuminates the whole oikonomia.
God’s works reveal Who He is in Himself; the mystery of His inmost Being enlightens our understanding of all His works.
So it is, analogously, among human persons. A person discloses himself in his actions, and the better we know a person, the better we understand his actions.
The Trinity is a mystery of faith in the strict sense, one of the “mysteries that are hidden in God, which can never be known unless they are revealed by God”.
To be sure, God has left traces of his Trinitarian being in his work of creation and in his Revelation throughout the Old Testament. But His inmost Being as Holy Trinity is a mystery that is inaccessible to reason alone…
… or even to Israel’s faith before the Incarnation of God’s Son and the sending of the Holy Spirit. (Cf. CCC #236-237)