Apr 1 (Easter Friday – Jn 21:1-14)

     
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 and be single-minded in our love for the Lord.

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Mar 31 (Easter Thursday – Lk 24:35-48)

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:
>>Iit 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!

Mar 30 (Easter Wednesday – Lk 24:13-35)

A common phrase that is often heard or read is…
“Most children walk to school…. but come back home running!”

Fairly true, in many cases, right?

It takes a long walk to reach school… as its often considered as “the not so interesting” part for a child – to study, to be under various rules, to be restricted to a classroom etc

>> But it takes a very short run to reach back home… as it is often considered as “the thrilling” part for a child – to play, to enjoy, to have fun etc…

Our attitudes to activities in life is influenced by our interest for it:
>> The greater the interest…
…  the higher is the enthusiasm in an activity;

>> The lower the interest…
… the lower will be the keenness for a particular work.

The Gospel of the Day presents two disciples who “walk away from home” in disinterest and dejection…. but later “who run towards home” with enthusiasm and passion!

>> The walk away…
…  was a dull tale of being filled with disappointment and confusion…

>> The walk towards…
… is an exciting story of being filled with immense joy and happiness…

The encounter of Jesus to the two disciples on the way to Emmaus is one of the classic Resurrection encounters.
>> This incident appears only in the Gospel of St Luke.

The disciples, who are unnamed, have obviously been shaken up very badly over the incidents over the last one week in Jerusalem.

Like the Apostles, these disciples also would have been badly affected…
>> Their Master, Jesus, in whom they had trusted and they had followed, had to undergo a shameful death – as that of a criminal.

>> It was humiliating…
… to be called as followers of a Criminal…
>> It was abasing…
… to be called to as followers of a Blasphemer…

Added to that, the accounts of some women who had seen the Empty Tomb of the Lord, added to greater shame and confusion.

Life was dealing harshly with them….
>> Gloom had descended into their hearts;
>> Grim had taken over their lives.

And so they “walked” .. disappointed and dejected… away from “home” – Jerusalem – to a village named Emmaus.

But this “walk” in sadness and gloom, was soon to be become a life-transforming event!

>> Moments of hardships often become moments to encounter the deep love of the Lord!
>> Situations of dejections often become situations to experience the immense mercy of God!

Jesus met them, explained the Scriptures to them.. and finally in the house, broke the bread… “and their eyes were opened!” (Lk 24: 30-31)

Their gloom was taken away….
>> Their mourning was converted…
>>> Their sadness was chased away

This experience “had to be shared”… This experience “had to be recounted”…
>> And so these disciples, who had “encountered” the Lord… now “ran”!

The walk away… was a dull tale of being filled with disappointment and confusion…
>> The walk towards… is an exciting story of being filled with immense joy and happiness…

How is our life?
>> Are we merely “walking” through activities and works in life, in dissipation….
Or are we “running” through our duties and responsibilities filled with joy and hope?

>> Are we merely “walking” passively in our spiritual life and our Christian witnessing…
Or are we “running” boldly and enthusiastically, overflowing with happiness and love?

The Lord walks with us… on our every journey, in our every activity…
>> But seldom do we seem Him… seldom do we “feel” His presence!

Those disciples realised this “feeling” of the Lord being with them at the Breaking of the Bread…
>> There lies the key…there lies the open secret…

Realisation of the Presence of the Lord in our lives, is guaranteed and facilitated by a meaningful and honest participation in the Lord’s Body and Blood – at the Holy Eucharist!

The Lord in the Holy Eucharist, calls and invites us…
… to experience Him, to encounter Him… to be transformed by Him!

Let the power of the Lord help us to overcoming our “lethargic and uninterested” walking in spiritual life…
… and instead help us to be filled with a powerful enthusiasm to “run” in His presence and announcing the Good News of His Saving Love to the world!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Mar 29 (Easter Tuesday – Jn 20:11-18)

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

Psalm 56: 8, “O Lord.. You have stored my tears in a bottle”
>> Another translation would read, “…. You have collected my tears in a wineskin”

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

God is a God who…
… is specially 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 deeply, is still lingering around the tomb of the Lord.
She had experienced Divine Love in a great 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 stored my tears in a 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 others, 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 tear 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!

God bless! Live Jesus!

Mar 28 (Easter Monday – Mt 28:8-15)

It seems that in the Greek Orthodox tradition, especially in the medieval ages, there was a very strange custom…

… The day after Easter was devoted to telling jokes!

Yeah.. you read it right…. There was a day set-apart specially, to revel in jokes!

What was the logic or purpose behind it?

It was felt that this custom was in imitation of the cosmic joke that God pulled on Satan in the Resurrection.

Satan considered that the death of Jesus signalled victory for him.
>> The Kingdom of darkness had conquered, so it was felt…
>> The world of misery had overcome all goodness, so it was felt…

But it was God who had the last laugh!
>> God raised Jesus from the dead, and life and salvation became the last words.

The Resurrection – Jesus’ rising from the dead – was the most spectacular joke that God had pulled on Satan.
>> And this was celebrated, symbolically, with the custom of telling jokes.

Strange it might sound, but there is something worthwhile to reflect in the purpose of this custom…
>> It is a call to celebrate and enjoy God’s magnificent victory over Satan and the powers of darkness.

The Gospel of the Day is the account of the encounter of Jesus with the women, who had come to the tomb of the Lord.

>> At the desert, Satan had sought to make Jesus a fool, by tempting and luring Him through many temptations. (Mt 4: 1-10)
>> During His life, the Lord encountered many occasions, when He was subject to being in humiliating, mocking and testing situations
>> In the Garden of Gethsemane, the Lord once again faced a trying time in battling to embrace God’s Will totally and completely (Lk 22: 41-44)
>> On the Cross, the soldiers and others who persecuted the Lord, mocked and challenged Him to come down from the Cross (Mk 15: 29-32)

At every stage of His Life, our Blessed Lord was put into situations of being the “butt of jokes” and the “laughingstock” and a target for many a trial, tribulations and mockeries.
>> The Crucifixion was meant to be the greatest of all such “agonizing” mockeries!

But…
… Divine Wisdom always finds a way out to triumph!
… Divine Providence always regains the way to victory!
This is the message of the Resurrection.

The women who saw the empty tomb and encountered the Lord, were filled with a holy fear, a tremendous joy and a deep devotion (Mt 28: 8-9)

Divine Wisdom always, has the final laugh in every trial and tribulation!
>> Are we ready to share in the happiness of this “joyful” act of the Lord?

Life may bite us sharply with ensnaring temptations and evil tendencies…
>> Life may make a fool of us with mounting tensions and troubles…
>> Life may put us down badly with uncertainties and doubts…

We may often, find ourselves mocked.
>> We may often, find ourselves ridiculed.

But in all such situations, let us dare to look to our Crucified Lord…
… who Himself underwent painful mocking and unfair scorning…
Yet, had the final laugh, through the Resurrection from the dead!

The Resurrection gives us every reason to rejoice, even in the midst of deadly trials…
>> The Resurrection gives us every cause to be joyful, even in the midst of heavy tribulations…

May the Risen Lord be the reason for us to rejoice and be joyful, thanking Him for the greatest joke ever – the crushing of Satan by the power of the Holy Cross!

Happy Easter to all of you!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Reflection Capsules won’t be sent this Holy Week.

Let this week, be a time…

… to grow in greater personal intimacy in His Word

… with Him in the Holy Eucharist

…. and dwelling with Him near His Holy  Cross.

May we hold the hands of our Blessed Mamma and imitate Her, in seeking the Will of the Lord, always!

 
God Bless! Live Jesus!

For the Holy Week

We have entered into the Most Blessed Week in the Liturgical Calendar – The Holy Week commemorating the Passion, Death and Resurrection of the Lord.

image

>> The Lord came to this world to die.

>> The shadow of His cross was cast on every event of His life.

And now, we are ready to mingle ourselves with those Sacred Moments of commemorating His Cross.

Tomorrow, MONDAY, we have the Gospel wherein Mary anoints the feet of the Lord (Jn 12: 1-11)

We could ponder on some of the aspects…

>> The deep love of Mary
… Least bothered of what others felt.
… Least mindful of her own shame or dignity

All that mattered to her was Jesus and love for Him

Can I grow in my spiritual life, to possess such a unique and undivided love?

>> Danger of piety being covered up under the cloak of materialism, duplicity – Judas.

His focus was moved from”Following the Lord” to “Plotting against the Master”

 
Is my love for the Lord, losing its sheen and getting corrupted with worldliness?

On TUESDAY, we ponder with the Lord in His final discourse to His disciples (Jn 13: 21-33, 36-38)

We could dwell on some of the aspects…

>> The various attitudes towards the Lord, highlighted through the Disciples

John, the beloved disciple, who could remain close to His heart.

Simon Peter, the wavering disciple, genuinely wishing to follow the Lord closely, but failing often due to human limitations.

Judas, the betraying disciple, in whom                   darkness had slowly encompassed and                   the night of sin was being encountered.

Am I growing in my love for the Lord, to be His beloved, or am I still floating on the waters of uncertainty or am I going downhill into spiritual darkness, failing to hold the hand of the Lord?

>> The prime importance needed in preparation to receive the Lord in the Holy Mass.

The Apostles had the privilege to participate in the First Holy Eucharist.

However one of them, received the Lord  with a deliberate and purposeful sin in the heart, which led to bringing death upon himself, at the reception of the life-giving bread.

Do I make the necessary preparations to receive the Lord worthily in Holy Eucharist, growing in awareness of His presence in our hearts throughout the day, and in turn becoming a Eucharist to the needy in the world?

On WEDNESDAY, we reflect on the downfall of Judas (Mt 26: 14-25)

We could contemplate over some aspects…

>> Judas falls into the sin of avarice

One of the greatest dangers in life is that of misuse and attraction to money. The Lord said, “Where thy treasure is, there thy heart too” (Mt 6:21)

Is my life too much attached to worldly pleasures, riches, powers, my own talents and capabilities that I fail to depend on the Lord and make Him the only and ultimate treasure of my life?

>> An insider is the one capable of being the greatest traitor and betrayer.

Among all the people who knew Jesus, The Twelve were chosen to be the closest. They shared the inner-most life and secrets of the Lord. And therefore, the greatest danger also was from one among them; and Judas proved this right, by agreeing to betray his Master.

As an insider of the Church, am I being a witness to the Lord or am I contributing in betraying Him, by leading a lukewarm life, a scandalous life or a disinterested life?

On THURSDAY, we celebrate the Maundy Thursday.

The word Maundy comes the Latin word “Maundatum” which means Command.

Three sorts of commands were expressed by the Lord …

1. The Command of Love

2. The Command of Commemorating the God of Love in the Holy Eucharist

3. The Command of continuity of sharing in the Priesthood of Jesus, the Priest and Victim

Can I grow in this consciousness and conviction to carry out the commands of the Lord?

On FRIDAY, we live through the Passion, Agony and Death of the Lord.

He who was sinless made Himself sin, for you and me!

He who was blameless took upon the whole blame, for you and me!

Shall we make and mould our lives for holiness, abandoning our sinful ways, to be in greater communion with the One who died so that we may have life, and life in its abundance?

On SATURDAY, we pray at the tomb of the Lord, contemplating…
…. His deep, immense and unconditional for each of us, personally
… His Divine Wisdom to redeem the world back to Himself, scripting the greatest story ever

Yes the days are here…
… with another chance to review our lives, and renew our love-life with the Lord.

 
St Francis de Sales says, “Calvary is the Mount of lovers”
… and… “The love which is not the fruit of the Passion, is feeble”.

Our Greatest Lover is crucified there…as an expression of His love for us!

 
Come, let us also tread to path towards Him.. on Calvary…with our Blessed Mamma

… purging our sins, growing in His love…

… and thus seek to rise with Him, and sing our eternal song – “Alleluia! He is Risen”

Wish you a Blessed Holy Week!

God Bless! Live Jesus!