1 Oct (Based on Feast of St Therese of Child Jesus)

Here is a creative invitation letter….

“Almighty God, Creator of Heaven and earth, Sovereign Ruler of the World…
… and the Most Glorious Virgin Mary, Queen and Princess of the heavenly Court…

… wish to invite you to the wedding of their Divine Son Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, to Mademoiselle Thérèse Martin…

… now Lady and Princess of the kingdoms brought as dowry by her Divine Spouse, namely, the Childhood of Jesus and His Passion, of nobility being the Child Jesus and the Holy Face.

Monsieur Louis Martin, proprietor and owner of the domains of suffering and humiliation…
… and Madame Martin, princess and lady of honour of the heavenly court…

… wish to invite you to the wedding of their daughter Thérèse to Jesus, the Word of God, second person of the Blessed Trinity…

… who, through the operation of the Holy Spirit, became man and was born of the Virgin Mary!

Being unable to invite you to assist at the nuptial blessing which was bestowed on them on the mountain of Carmel (the heavenly court being alone admitted there)…
… they beg you, nonetheless…

… to be present at the return from the wedding which will take place tomorrow, on the day of Eternity…

… to which Jesus, the Son of God, will come on the clouds of Heaven to judge the living and the dead.

(The hour being still uncertain, you are invited to hold yourselves in readiness and to watch.)”

This was the letter written by St Theresa of Child Jesus, in the days of preparation of her Final Commitment to Jesus, in the consecrated life.

A letter…
… highly simply, yet deeply concentrated in mysticism and spirituality
… highly childlike, yet reverberating with immense love and passion for the Lord

Today, as we celebrate the Feast of this Amazingly Passionate lover of the Lord – St Therese of Child Jesus (St Therese of Liseux)

She is a saint…
… little in structure and deeds, but gigantic in her love of the Lord!
… unnoticed and unseen, but tremendously revered and loved for her way of love!

We live in an age that relishes and appreciates insights related to growth, maturity, accountability and responsibility.

>> There is a love to hear “high” theology…
>> There is a craze to talk “systematic” thoughts…
>> There is an interest to discuss “complex” spiritualities..

Not that these are bad or not to be promoted…but these “mature” talks ought not to take one away from the basic aim of true spirituality: Love God and Loving Neighbour!

There is a tendency that these “advanced” talks get jammed with only peripheral talks & fails to translate into true action & deeds.
>> It is here, that our Little Saint of the Day invites us to find a new freshness and sparkle in Spirituality.

> She is the Little Saint who dared to love the Big God!
> She is the Big Saint who presents to us the Little Way!

This Little Way of the Big Li’l Saint resonates with the Gospel of the Day when Jesus invites and declares that unless one becomes like a little child, one cannot enter the Kingdom of God.

For a child, everything is big!
>> The toys that one plays..the food that one eats..the houses that one sees…
>> Even the ones who take care… And especially, the ones closes to the child..probably, the parents….are very big too!

… They mean everything for the Child.
… They signify the ultimate for the Child.

This is the child-likeness to which The Little Flower grew.
> Her child-likeness has God as the Centre of her world…

>> God means everything for this Little Saint.
>> God signifies the ultimate for this Little Saint!

She saw herself as ‘a child’ but energized by God who directed her journey in faith.

> Her child-likeness does not promote childishness or immaturity or passivity.
>> Her child-likeness encourages deeper trust and maturity and enthusiasm.

This spirituality of the Little Way sounds too simple….and too little..
> But in fact and in practise, is a highly challenging one…

… Is God the centre of my world, when I get drunk with a sinful and immoral life?

… Is God the centre of my world, when I get over dependant on my material riches?

… Is God the centre of my world, when I bank upon my own wisdom in my works?

… Is God the centre of my world, when I insist on doing my will, over the Will of God?

Little Therese of Child Jesus, the Little Saint is also the Big Saint of Love!

The Little lover of God invites us…
… to adorn all our words with love
… to embrace all our actions with love
… to beautify all our thoughts with love

>> It could be speaking with friends…interacting with fellow workers…discussing some business matters..enjoying with family members..

>> It could be doing household works…handling massive finances…studying various subjects…performing some spiritual activites…

>> It could be thinking some philosophical views…reflecting about some people…considering about some situations…imagining some circumstances…dreaming some visions….

… Whatever be our words..or actions…or thoughts….let them be embellished in LOVE!

The Little Way…  Sounds simple, but not so simple in practise, right?

Yet, there is much simplicity…cos God remains at the centre of every effort and attempt!

> There is much sentimentality, no doubt.
> There is much simplicity, no doubt.

But with or without all those feelings, the Little Way simply tells us to have God at the Centre of Everything…and do all in Love!

Love demands a fidelity in the countless mundane ‘little’ things of daily life
> The Little Way doesn’t eliminate Heroism, rather it’s brought within the reach of the poor.

The rains of love ought to shower every aspect of ordinary everyday life.

The Little Flower dares to throw “petals” at the Loving Lord…
> These petals even considered “worthless petals” by the world – a little sacrifice, a gentle smile, a kind word, an appreciative action!

Sometimes, these “worthless petals” are nothing more than a faithful effort.

But this fact of “having tried”, a good will “to do good”…. all these petals please the Lord!

Let us join the Little Saint to tread the Little Way.
>> She promised to “shower roses” on the way to those who dare…

As a child, let us hold the hands of this Li’l Big Saint to love deeper the Big Big God of Love!

Lets live Love to give Love!
>> Lets live Jesus to give Jesus!

Happy Feast of the Beautiful Little Flower!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

30 Sep (Based on Lk 9:56-62)

There is a non-fictional self-help book by Napoleon Hill named ‘Think and grow rich’.

There is a lovely story in this book, which goes thus….

A long while ago, a great warrior faced a situation which made it necessary for him to make a decision which insured his success on the battlefield.

He was about to send his armies against a powerful foe, whose men outnumbered his own.

He loaded his soldiers into boats, sailed to the enemy’s country, unloaded soldiers and equipment, then gave the order to “burn the ships” that had carried them.

Addressing his men before the first battle, he said, “You see the boats going up in smoke!

That means that we cannot leave these shores alive unless we win!

We now have no choice—we win, or we perish!”

History says that they won the battle!

Any person who wishes to find success in any undertaking much be willing to “burn his ships” and to cut off all sources of turning back…

Only thus, can one be sure of maintaining a “burning desire” to win!

The Gospel of the Day highlights on this aspect of making a complete commitment to the cause of the Kingdom of God and being prepared to face any challenges in being faithful to this dedication!

Jesus says, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God” (Lk 9: 62)

Our Blessed Lord speaks of three areas of “giving-up” in our Christian life…

1. The “Giving-Up” of personal security

The Lord says, “Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head” ( Lk 9: 58)

The life of Jesus was characterised by a lack of personal security.

>> It is to this life of “poverty” that our Blessed Lord invites each one of us too….
… in the sense of knowing that our Loving Father will provide for us, with our genuine co-operation
… in the sense of not being anxious or over-worried over the concerns of life
… in the sense of depending on the Lord for the necessities of life

2. The “Giving-Up” of personal gains

The Lord says, “Let the dead bury the dead” (Lk 9: 60)

This was in response to the man who said, “let me go first and bury my father”.

This statement was a common way of saying, “Let me wait until I receive my inheritance from my father!”

It was an excuse of “economics and finance” that the man was trying to furnish, to evade the Kingdom responsibility!

>> Jesus calls us to a life of “obedience” to his Will…
… in the sense of letting go of personal gains and profits for His sake
… in the sense of curbing our selfish wantings and cravings

3.  The “Giving-Up” of personal relationships

The Lord says, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God” (Lk 9: 62)

This was in response to the man who said, “I will follow you Lord, but first let me say farewell to my home”

>> Jesus calls us to a life of being “chaste” to His Divine Love…
… in the sense of prioritizing Him above all other relations
… in the sense of giving the Lord the first place in life

We ought to have a “burning desire” as the missionaries of the Kingdom, to spread God’s Word and make Him loved more!

Martin Luther King Jr. said:
“Consider that people are like tea bags.
They don’t know their own strength until they get into hot water”

It is essential, therefore that we “burn our ships” of comfort and personal wishes, so that we can be better imitators of Him, Who demands that we be zealous in our journey towards perfection.

May we seek the intercession of St Jerome, whose feast we celebrate today, who would say:
“Good, better, best.
Never let it rest.
‘Til your good is better and your better is best.”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

29 Sep (Based on Feast of the Archangels)

The Church professes and proclaims Her faith in God which is encapsulated in the Nicene Creed.

The Nicene Creed begins with the proclamation, “We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE.”

>> The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls “angels” is a truth of faith!

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Three Archangels – St Michael, St Gabriel and St Raphael.

Archangels are one of the nine choirs of angels. (cf. Eph 1:21, Col 1:16)
In ascending order, the choirs or classes are 1) Angels, 2) Archangels, 3) Principalities, 4) Powers, 5) Virtues, 6) Dominations, 7) Thrones, 8) Cherubim, and 9) Seraphim.

The Feast of the Three Archangels – St Michael, St Gabriel and St Raphael is an opportunity to learn more about them and to grow in deeper devotion and fondness for them.

St. Michael
>> The name of the archangel Michael means, in Hebrew, “Who is like unto God?”

St Michael is known as “the prince of the heavenly host.”
He is usually pictured as a strong warrior, dressed in armour.

St Michael makes an appearance in the Bible on four occasions:
> In Dan 10:13 and in Dan 12:1, he appears as the special guardian of the people of Israel.
> In Jude 9, he appears in a dispute with the Devil.
> In Rev 12:7-9, he fights against Satan and his evil forces.

What does St Michael teach us?
… St Michael teaches us to depend on the power of God in our battle against the forces of Satan
… St Michael teaches us to guard ourselves against the disguises and snares of evil forces.
… St Michael teaches us to become a guard and protector of our fellow brothers and sisters.

St Gabriel
>> The name of the archangel Gabriel means, in Hebrew, “God is my strength”
St Gabriel is known as a “messenger of God”
He is usually pictured announcing something and sometimes with a lily or a sceptre.

St Gabriel makes an appearance three times in the Bible:

> In Dan 8:15–26 and  9:21–27, he appears to Daniel to explain his visions
> In Lk 1:11-38, he appears to Zechariah and Mary to deliver the good news from God

… St Gabriel invites us to listen to God’s voice and inspirations through various sources.
… St Gabriel invites us to find courage in situations of fear, by trusting in God’s Providence.
… St Gabriel invites us to be open to surprises and wonders the Lord works in our lives.

St Raphael
>> The name of the archangel Raphael means, in Hebrew, “God has healed?”

St Raphael is known as “a wonderful helper and fellow traveller”
He is usually pictured walking with a young boy, sometimes carrying a staff.

> St Raphael makes many appearance in the Book of Tobit in the Bible:
> St Raphael appears disguised in human form as the travelling companion of Tobias, the son of Tobit.

… St Raphael inspires us to discover God as the healing balm in our afflictions and hardships.
… St Raphael inspires us to walk boldly with God in all the terrains and valleys and paths of life.
… St Raphael inspires us to trust in God in seemingly hopeless and impossible hurdles of life.

Let the celebration of this Feast of the Three Archangels – St Michael, St Gabriel and St Raphael help us to grow in our love for our heavenly friends.

>> The Lord wants us to grow in holiness.
>> The Lord wants us to be protected in His care.
>> The Lord wants to be fearless in being His beloved Child.

May the Archangels help us in this our journey of life.

Happy Feast of the Holy Archangels!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

28 Sep (Based on Lk 9:46-50)

A little boy once came to his Daddy, one night.
He confessed a mistake that he had done during the course of the day.

Then kneeling at Daddy’s feet, the child, with hands folded, prayed with tears:
“Dear God, make me a man – like Daddy – wise and strong.
I know You can!”

This innocent gesture touched the father very much.
 He had a profound realisation of his deep limitations and the child’s high expectations

Then when the child had slept, the father knelt beside his bed.

Confessing his sins, and praying with a low-bowed head, made this prayer:
“O God, make me a child – like my sweet child here – pure, guileless, trusting in You with a faith sincere.

I know You can!”

We all grow up in life – physically, socially, psychologically etc..

But sometimes this “growing up” fails to preserve the “growth” that is already witnessed in little children – openness, sincerity, trust and spontaneity.

Can we dare, as adults, to “grow” into being a Child?

The Gospel of the Day is an elegant presentation by Jesus on the “necessary attitude” that is required for a valid entry into the Kingdom of Heaven: a child-like nature.

Jesus says,  “Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me; for the least among all of you is the greatest.” (Lk 9: 47)

In the Gospel of Mathew, we read, “Truly I say to you, unless you turn and become like little children, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven” (Mt 18: 3)

One of the grave dangers in the process of “growing- up” is the tendency to lose our “natural child-like” traits.

A child is someone who is born with many inherent qualities.

But in the process of “becoming an adult”, we abandon many of those.

This ‘abandonment’ could be because…
… of the upbringing in the society or the culture we live
… or the various experiences that we go through as we grow up

As a child, we would be free to express our emotions
… but as we grow up, we tend to hold them up all within (only to burst out one day!)

As a child, we would trust and depend easily on those who care for us
.. but as we grow up, we become fearful or disbelieving towards those same persons

As a child, we would be eased to live in the present moment, enjoying and relaxing
… but as we grow up, we fall into the trap of the past and cringed with the fear of the future.

The Lord invites us to have a “renewal of our minds” and to retrieve back the ‘lost’ child-like faith and trust.

It takes courage and dare to make efforts to let go of our “matured egoistic” tendencies in order to depend more on our Heavenly Father.

The process usually is encountered by resistance…
• Why should I depend on someone… I am mature enough to think for myself
• Why should I become humble… I have my own desires to be satisfied to

These could be some of the thought-patterns that one stumbles into, in giving heed to the call of the Lord to ” be like a child”.

Our Lord Himself is the greatest model and example in learning to have a “child-like” faith…

St Paul tells in his letter to the Philippians, ” ..though He was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God, a thing to be grasped. Rather, He emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave…. becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2: 6-8)

May we be privileged to be graced with the gift of being “like children” and thus be able to firmly trust and relax in the arms of our Caring and Loving Heavenly Father and live a life of humility and trust!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

27 Sep (Based on Mk 9:38-43,45,47-48)

There is an extremely deceptive way, in which Eskimos in the North Pole kills an animal..especially a wolf…

The Eskimo coats a very-sharp knife with animal blood & allows it to freeze.

>> Then he adds another layer of blood & another & another – until the blade is completely concealed by frozen blood.

Next, the hunter fixes this blood-coated knife in the ground with the enticing sharp edge of the blade upwards.

When a wolf follows his sensitive nose to the source of the scent, he begins to lick it, tasting the fresh, frozen blood.
>> Then he licks faster, more & more voraciously, lapping the blood until the knife edge is almost bare.

So great becomes his craving for blood that…
… the wolf is mysteriously unaware of the naked blade on his own tongue
… nor does he recognize the instant at which his thirst is being satisfied by its OWN warm blood.

Unknowingly, his life leaks away…as his craving for the tempting blood increases….!

The Result?
>> A Dead wolf!!
All from the suicidal blade -…..caused by the great and cunning technique of Deception!

Is not the effect of sin in our lives following a similar style?

>> Like the bear, we are attracted to Sin – something which “looks” pleasurable, which “appears” good and which “seems” nice

But the danger that lurks behind these “deceptive” looks are not taken into consideration.

We continue to take pleasure in the “blood” of sinful pleasures and tempting enticements.

But we fail to realise that “slowly getting used to sin and sinful ways”, our life is being drained out and we are inching towards our death.

The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus making a strong exhortation on the dangers posed by Sin and the intense need to overcome anything that comes on the way of holiness.

Jesus says, “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off…
If your foot causes you to sin, cut it off…
If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it off..” (Mk 9: 43-47)

These are very strong and powerful words of our Blessed Lord.

Our Lord came to the World as a Saviour – to redeem the world from sin.

>> It is sin that causes seperation of human beings from God.

Therefore the Lord clearly asks to us make choices and radical decisions to let go of anything that can cause us to sin or move away from His Holy Will.

We need to examine our lives and check…
… My hands:
> Do I engage in activities which are uncharitable and which causes pains and hurts to others?
> Do I fail to extend my hand to those in need and those whose lives can be bettered by my helping hand?

… My feet:
> Do I stray away into paths of immorality, injustice and indifference?
> Do I fail to direct my ways on the path of righteous living, holy conduct and true worship?

… My eyes:
> Do I direct my eyes into things which are unbecoming of my way of life and with an intention to fulfil my sinful inner cravings? > Do I move way from seeing the suffering and miseries in the world and become closed to discover the spark of Divinity in the other?

Jesus wishes that our Christian lives, not become a scandal or a stumbling block to the other…
… Rather, He desires that we be honest to our calling as a Christian..
… and walk firmly and with courage, in the path of perfection with Him and towards Him!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

26 Sep (Based on Lk 9:43-45)

“Julius Caesar” is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare.

It is one of several plays written by Shakespeare based on true events from Roman history.

The life of Julius Caesar engrossingly proceeds with he placing a great trust in his best friend Brutus.

Brutus, though his closest and most trusted friend, was albeit a misled man.

Therefore, among the conspirators who finally assassinated the Roman leader on March 15, 44 was Brutus as well.

Caesar had not only trusted him, but also favoured Brutus as his own son.

The Roman history tells that Caesar had first resisted the onslaught of his assassins.
But when he saw his beloved Brutus among them, with his dagger draw, the Roman Emperor ceased to struggle and withdraw every attempt of resistance.

He pulled the top part of his robe over the face and asked the infamous question, “Et tu, Brute?”

>> “You too, Brutus?”

… A question which cuts across the marrows of the bones and the pierces the depths of the heart.. to express disgust and contempt of the deadly human vice of betrayal!
… A question which cuts across civilizations and generations.. to show forth the abhorrence and the detestation of the wicked trait of disloyalty!

The Gospel of the Day presents a mighty warning by Jesus on the danger of we becoming betrayers to Him and His Love!

Jesus tells His disciples, ““Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into human hands.” (Lk 9: 44)

Jesus gives a forewarning to His disciples on the sword of betrayal that would be his painful lot.

This betrayal had to be faced on different levels..
… an act of betrayal through a kiss by Judas Iscariot
… acts of denial by Peter, His close disciple
… acts of abandonment by His other disciples
… acts of rejection by the chief priests and elders
… acts of passivity by the people for whom He had served

Today our Lord poses the same question…. Am I betraying Him in my acts and deeds?

Will the Lord have to, calling us by name, ask us, ” Et tu, ……..?”… “You too, ……..?”

>> Do I betray the Lord by failing to avoid occasions of sin and constantly moving away from doing His Will?

>> Do I betray the Lord with my words of unpleasantness, judgemental nature and destructively critical?

>> Do I betray the Lord by being unkind, unforgiving and harbouring grudge by my actions?

>> Do I betray the Lord by causing harm to others and being insincere in my works?

May we ask the grace to remain ever faithful to the Lord and be loyal to His Love and His Kingdom.

Like St Philip Neri, may we too pray:
“Watch me, O Lord, this day; for, abandoned to myself, I shall surely betray thee.”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

25 Sep (Based on Lk 9:18-22)

There is an interesting incident that is reported from the land of Africa.

When the early Africans converted to Christianity, they were extremely earnest and regular, especially in their personal devotions.

Each one of them, would choose a separate spot in the midst of a thicket.
>> In that personal spot, the person would pour out one’s heart to God.
>> It was a moment of deepening one’s relationship with the Lord
>> It was a place of personally strengthening one’s bond with the Saviour

As time passed by, these spots would become well-worn out.
>> The paths had been smoothed

As a result, if any of the converts failed to be regular in personal prayer, it was easily noticeable and clearly evident to the others!

Therefore, they would gently remind the one who was negligent, “Brother/Sister, the grass is growing on your path!!”

“The grass is growing on your path” – became a reminder for the one who was slipping down the path of devotion and prayer, to revive one’s spiritual fervour and zeal.

“Is there grass growing on our paths?”
… is a question that we need to constantly ask ourselves and execute the necessary steps in order to reinforce or to strengthen our personal prayer lives!

The Gospel of the Day present a wonderful depiction of our Blessed Lord – Jesus praying in solitude.

St Luke paints am inspiring image of our Lord when he says, “And it came to pass, as Jesus was praying alone…” (Lk 9: 18)

During His earthly ministry, Jesus had a very strong priority and choice: Finding time to be alone with His Beloved Father, in prayer.

This was especially pointed out by St Luke whose Gospel is called as the “Gospel of Prayer”

>> At the Baptism: “After all people had been baptized and Jesus also had been baptized, and was praying…” (Lk 3: 21)

>> After many healings: ” .. He would withdraw to deserted places to pray” (Lk 5:16)

>> Before choosing the Twelve: “In those days, He departed to the mountains to pray…” (Lk 6: 12)

>> At Transfiguration: “… Jesus took Peter, John and James and went up the mountain to pray…” (Lk 9: 28)

Many are such occasions that St Luke points to drive home the message that Jesus cherished, loved and made time for Personal Prayer.

Is my life rooted in Prayer?
>> This is a fundamental question that we need to constantly pose to ourselves and be moved by the answers that we get to it.

We complain very often that we don’t find time for prayer..
.. being busy with a number of assignments, duty demands, work schedules!

We tend to say that prayer doesn’t interest us…
… unable to enjoy sometime alone and to be quiet and recollected in the Awesome and Still Presence of the Lord!

We find ample number of excuses to cancel out “prayer” from our timetable of life…
… giving a reason that “God will anyway wait for us” whereas our moments of enjoyment and fun may not come too often!

But our Blessed Lord today invites to seek and cherish “prayer” in our lives.
>> We are called to have a “taste for prayer”!

Spending time with a person whom one loves is certainly not a painful task or an unnecessary task or deed required an extra effort.

>> One loves to be with the person who is loved…
….. to spend quiet moments
….. to speak out one’s heart
….. to expose one’s inner emotions

And this “being with” Our Blessed Lord is “Prayer”!

Let us make efforts to reserve and preserve, at least a few minutes, in personal prayer, to grow in our union with the Lord.

It is only these precious moments of prayer…
… that will help us to deepen our conviction to say that Jesus is the “Messiah of God” (Lk 9: 20)
… that will take us through, with our Crucified Lord (Lk 9: 22), in our moments of struggles and hardships.

“Is there grass growing on our paths…?”
>> the grass of laziness and lethargy
>> the grass of disinterest and indifference
>> the grass of meaninglessness and hopelessness

.. then we need to make smooth these paths  by reviving and reinvigorating our prayer lives!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

24 Sep (Based on Lk 9:7-9)

Fred Bock was one of the most renowned, recognized and respected Christian music composers, arrange, studio musician, organist, pianist, choral director and music publisher.

One of his famous write-ups (read and known to many of us) titled “One Solitary Life” goes thus…

“Born in an obscure village, He was the child of a peasant woman.

He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty years old, and then for three years He travelled around the county, stopping long enough to talk and to listen to people, and help where He could. He never wrote a book,

>> He never had a hit record, He never went to college
>> He never ran for public office
>>  He never had a family or owned a house.
>> He never did any of the things that usually accompany greatness.
>> He had no credentials but Himself.

But when He was only thirty-three years old, the tide of public opinion turned against Him, and His friends rejected Him.
> When He was arrested, very few wanted anything to do with Him.

After the trial, He was executed by the State along with admitted thieves.
> Only because a generous friend offered his own cemetery plot was there any place to bury Him.

This all happened nineteen centuries ago, and yet today He is the leading figure of the human race, and the ultimate example of love.

Now it is no exaggeration to say that all the armies that have ever marched, all the navies that have ever set sail, all the rulers that have ever ruled, all the kings that have ever reigned on this earth, all put together have not affected the life of man on earth like One Solitary Life.”

Undoubtedly, we know on whom is this write- up on…… Jesus, of Nazareth!

>> A Man who was hidden in the shadows of ignorance… yet enjoys the title of being the Most Famous Person in the World!
>> A Man who sought fame from His works… yet enjoys the privilege of being the Most Impressive Person in the World!

Do we know Him?

Do we REALLY know Him?

Or do we, like King Herod, in the Gospel of the Day, end up asking, ” Who then is this about Whom I hear such things?” (Lk 9:9)

When we scan through the pages of the Gospel of St Luke from Chapters 4-9, we find that Jesus was acquiring new heights of fame, popularity and public acclaim.

His words and teachings were…
… ringing in the bells of transformation
… challenging the integrity of the religious leaders and civil authorities
… providing a cushion of hope and encouragement to the lost and the marginalised

His acts of wonders and powers were…
… instilling excitement in the lives of people
… causing the people to have reminiscences of the great prophets of old

As a result the people began to discuss and to say, “John has been raised from the dead; Elijah has appeared; one of the ancient prophets has arisen” (Lk 9:8)

Such rumours, reports and recounts caused a lot of worry for King Herod.

>> The flames of anxiety were scorching his mind…
>> The waves of guilt were drowning his heart…

And therefore, with a highly guilty conscience, in fear and trembling, King Herod puts forward his theory on the Dilemma of this Mysterious Divine Person, ” John I beheaded. Who then is this about Whom I hear such things?” (Lk 9:9)

> The enigmatic personality of Jesus was casting clouds of fear and guilt over King Herod!
> The charismatic work of our Blessed Lord was plunging King Herod into the ocean of haunting and forgettable memories! 

Yet, King Herod failed to establish a relationship with our Blessed Lord.
> His mind failed to move beyond the realms of wonder and amazement, to wanting a bonding with the Messiah!
> His heart failed to cut across the barriers of doubts and anxiety, to forge a yearning to receive a touch of the Saviour!

Is our life also sadly moving along the same lines, as that of King Herod…?

Is our life of sin and our life of not wanting to take the risk of trusting Him, just like King Herod, causing us to miss out on cherishing a relationship with our Blessed Lord?

To King Herod….
… Jesus only remained a mysterious and stupefying character
… Jesus only remained a person who disturbed his conscience

King Herod was unable to…
… accept Jesus as His Saviour
… accept Jesus as the Lord of his life

We also have surely heard a lot about this wonderful Divine Person named Jesus.
… But has He been able to capture our minds and hearts and do we co-operate with Him to be possessed by His love?

We also have had ample opportunities to grow in our spiritual life and to be receiving a number of teachings on His Divine Word
… But has the Word of God truly become the rule and the guiding principle of our life?

It’s nice to be attracted to the power of God… to praise His wonders.. to be amazed at His awesome deeds.

But its just not enough to remain at this peripheral level.

Our Blessed Lord came…
…. not to simply amaze, but to attend to our sins and failures
… not to simply charm, but to challenge our lethargic lives

He wishes that we truly embrace Him…
… as the Lord of our lives
… as our Personal Saviour and Master

Jesus who lived a “Solitary Life” has made a great impact on the world
>> May our personal life also give testimony to this fact and may we truly radiate the Mighty Presence of Jesus in our lives!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

23 Sep (Based on Lk 9:1-6)

A young man worked in an umbrella factory.

>> It was one of the largest umbrella factories in that area.

One day, with a discouraged heart, he went to his Parish Priest and expressed, “Father, I will have to hunt another job”

The priest was surprised, as he knew that the boy was good at his work.

He enquired, “What is the matter?
Do you have some issues with the company’s management?”

“No, it’s not that” came the reply.

“Does not your factory have enough orders to keep going all the time?” was the next query.

“No, it’s not that, Father” said the boy, “The factory actually has more orders than they can fill”

“Then what is the matter, my Son”, enquired the concerned priest.

“Well, they haven’t enough electricity to keep all the machines going at once.

And my machine has to remain idle for a greater part of the day, and I lose so much of time and pay.

The actual trouble with the factory is that, they have more machinery than power!”

>> The necessary equipments were available for production, but the required electricity was unavailable!

>> The needed machinary was at hand for manufacturing, but the mandatory power was unobtainable!

Does this sort of a tragedy hit our Christian lives as well?

… Am I possessing all the required resources to proclaim the Gospel message, but unfortunately failing to have the most essential aspect of God’s Power within me?

… Am I having all the necessary entities to give witness to Christ’s Teachings, but sadly, unable to be endowed with the most important element of God’s Spirit in me?

Is my Christian life being reduced to a state of “having more machinery, but less Power?”

The Gospel of Day is an exhortation by the Lord on the need to “be endowed with His authority and be filled with His power” in order to have a faithful and committed life as His disciple and His Missionary.

Jesus sends the Twelve on a Mission.

The Gospel of Luke narrates this procedure beautifully with a 2-step strategy..

1. He empowers them from within:  “He summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority…” (Lk 9:1)

2. He exhorts them to be free from outside: He said to them, “Take nothing for your journey…” (Lk 9: 3)

Jesus wishes and makes sure that His disciples are “empowered from within”

>> This is an authority that makes them to be true ambassadors of the Kingdom of God

>> This is a power that causes them to be filled with the divine gifts to conquer evil forces

Jesus also wants and strongly exhorts that His disciples are “to be from from outside”

>> This is a detachment from worldly things and in turn, causes them to be truly dependant of God, the Highest Power

>> This is a freedom from possessions, attachments and links that makes one to be wearied, slackened in spirit and weighed down with anxieties

Each one of us, as Christians, are to be a disciple of the Lord and a Missionary of the Kingdom.

Can I also give heed to the words and message of the Lord…
… to be “empowered from within”
… “to be free from outside”

> I can be “empowered from within”…
… by spending quality time with the Lord, regularly, and renewing my zeal and committment to Him
… by seeking to listen to His voice addressed to us in various situations and people and following His Will … by being obedient to His teachings and following the commandments and requirements of the Commandment of Love

> I can be “free from outside”…
… by letting go – gradually and radically – my self-centered interests and selfish desires
… by realising my limits and growing in awareness of the majestic power of the Lord in my life
… by constantly reviewing my life to check whether I get entangled in worldly ways and unnbecoming lifestyles

Today we celebrate the Feast of Great Saint of our times, St Padre Pio.
>> May His Holy Life spur us on the path of Holiness, giving heed to his words:

“Humility and purity are the wings which carry us to God and make us almost divine.

In all the events of life, you must recognize the Divine will.

Adore and bless it, especially in the things which are the hardest for you.”

>> The strength and glory of the Church goes beyound its majestic cathedrals and finest grandeur – Christ is to be the Head, the Centre and the-All!
>> The beauty and worth of our lives goes beyond the works we do and the riches we possess – Christ is to be the Treasure, the Focus and the Goal!

May we constantly be on the watch to avoid our Christian lives being reduced to a state of “having more machinery, but less Power!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

22 Sep (Based on Lk 8:19-21)

There was a wealthy old man, who on one of his birthdays invited his servants to his house, to receive gifts.

“Which will you have” he asked, addressing the security guard, “the Bible or the thousand-rupee note?”
“I would have taken the Bible, but I cannot read, so I think the money will do me more good” came the reply.

“And you?”, he asked the gardener.

“My poor wife is so ill that I sadly need the money,” responded the gardener.

“You can surely read”, said the old man to the cook, “Will you have the Bible?”

“I can read, Sir” she replied, “but I never get the time. Moreover, the money will fetch me a fine dress”

Finally to the table-boy, the master said, “My boy, will you take this money and replace your old clothes with a new pair of fine dress?”

“Thank you Sir” said the young boy, “but my mother used to read to me the Bible when I was small, at home. I still have good memories of that, and therefore would like to have that Good Book, please.. ”

“God bless you, my boy!” said the old man, “and may your wise choice bring you more riches and blessings”

As the boy received the Bible, and unclasped its covers, a bright gold piece rolled to the floor.

Quickly turning its pages, he found them thickly interleaved with bank notes!

The other servants, discovering the mistake of their worldly desires, hastily departed, in sadness!

The one who makes a choice to live by the Word of God, receives blessings galore – spiritual and material.
… Spiritually, with gifts and graces to love the Lord more and live a life in deeper union with Him
.. Materially, with a grace to be satisfied with the needs of life and trusting on the Providence of God

The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus exhorting to make a choice for God’s Word in one’s life and to tune one’s conduct in accord with the Will of God, in order to be graced and blessed by Him.

One of the primary focusses of Jesus, in His teachings as well in His life, was to shift the focus from the peripherals of life…

Often times, we are deeply prejudiced, limited, caught-up, with the external factors of life.

We are unable to transcend just material dimensions…

This applies to any of the aspects in life…
>> We get stuck with our own customs, cultures, languages, races, castes etc, and fail to move beyond them…
… and see the possibilities of cherishing and nurturing these differences

>> We remain fixated in our own mentalities, conditioned set-ups and set patterns of lifestyles…
… and fail to recognise that life can be greatly celebrated by valuing others opinions and adopting a lifestyle in tune with God’s Will

This principle Jesus also applies to his own material and physical relationships.
>> He defines a new understanding of familial relationship and bonding: A relationship based on those who “hear God’s Word and do It” (Lk 8: 21)

What a wonderful invitation this is, isn’t it?

Jesus says, that we can be part of His family.. be His own…

>> This is a lovely invitation extended to each of us…

Shall we not welcome this invitation with glad hearts and follow the exhortation of the Lord – to Hear His Word and to Live It?”

May we be graced to move beyond the peripherals of life and focus our attention and live our lives towards the higher and important  demands of life.

>>> The Lord’s assurance is with us, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all other things shall be added unto you” (Mt 6: 33)

May we make a choice, not simply for worldly desires… instead choose the “Good Book” of God’s Word and live it in our lives.

God Bless! Live Jesus!