May 1 (Jn 14:23-29)

God knocks at my door, seeking a home for His son.

“Rent is cheap”, I say.
“I don’t want to rent. I want to buy”, says God.

“I’m not sure I want to sell, but you might come in to look around”.
“I think I will”, says God

“I might let you have a room or two”.
“I like it”, says God, “I’ll take the two. You might decide to give me more some day.
I can wait”, says God

“I’d like to give you more, but it’s a bit difficult. I need some space for me”.
“I know”, says God, “but I’ll wait. I like what I see”.

“I’d like to give you the whole house, but I’m not sure”

“Think on it”, says God. “I wouldn’t put you out.
Your house would be mine and My Son would live in it.
You’d have more space than you’d ever had before”.

“I don’t understand at all”.

“I know”, says God, “but I can’t tell you about that.
You’ll have to discover it for yourself.
That can only happen if you let me have the whole house”.

“A bit risky”, I say.

“Yes”, says God, “but try me”.

“I’m not sure – I’ll let you know”

“I can wait”, says God, “I like what I see”.

– excerpts from a poem titled “Covenant” by Sr Margaret Halaska

It shows the beautiful dialogue between a soul and God, who desires to dwell in the heart of a person..

The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus throwing light on this beautiful theme of God wishing to make a home in our hearts: “Those who love me, will keep my word, and My Father will love them and we will come and make our home with them” (Jn 14: 23)

The story of the Bible is a God who longs to dwell with His people.

In the Old Testament, we see the Garden of Eden was a beautiful communion of the first parents with God.
The atmosphere was so much homely… so much loving

But sin caused a rupture in this homely bonding between God and human beings.

But the Lord, still longed to dwell with His people…

>> He accompanied the Israelites in their journey through the desert…being with them as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.
>> He also established His glory among the people of Israel by dwelling in the ark of the covenant.

Every now and then, the people sinned and lost this presence of the Lord

Through the prophets, the Lord would invite the people to come back to His homely presence.

Finally, in the fullness of time, God decided to dwell with humans, when the Eternal Word became flesh..
>> Jn 1: 14, “And the word became flesh and dwelt among us”

To perpetuate His continual presence, Jesus also gave us His Body and Blood, in Real Presence, when He instituted the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper with the culmination of His Sacrifice on the Cross, and His rising from the dead.

This then, is the story of the longing of a God who yearns to dwell with His people.

Jesus re-iterates this constant longing of the Lord, by promising, “Those who love me, will keep my word, and My Father will love them and we will come and make our home with them” (Jn 14: 23)

The Lord wishes to dwell more close to us..
He longs to have a home in our hearts…
>> Do we make the space for Him?

The Lord promises to come and make His home in our hearts, if we love Him and keep His Word.

Loving Him requires giving Him the highest priority and precedence in our lives
>> Keeping His Word requires following His teachings and commandments at all times.

Loving Him means to constantly long for Him and to have our thoughts centred on Him
>> Keeping His Word means to make decisions and choices based on His Gospel virtues

Loving Him means to free our hearts from undue and inordinate attachments
>> Keeping His Word means to go against our personal choices to preserve His Will and plans

The Lord wants a space in our hearts, to dwell in us…
>> Maybe, some rooms of our heart has been rented to many unwanted habits…
>> Maybe, some areas of our lives are occupied by unfit tenants of sin and evil…
>> Maybe, some quarters of our mind are accommodated with  unholy and bad thoughts…

God is knocking at our doors, seeking a home for His Son…
>> We might feel it’s “a bit risky”…

“Yes”, says God, “but try me…
I can wait…
I like what I see!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Apr 30 (Jn 15:18-21)

The Boxer Rebellion  or the Boxer Uprising was an anti-imperialist uprising which took place in China towards the end of the 20th century.

 It was initiated by the Militia United in Righteousness (Yihetuan),known in English as the “Boxers,” and was motivated by proto-nationalist sentiments and opposition to foreign imperialism and associated Christian missionary activity.

The well-trained, athletic young men were referred to as “Boxers,” because of the martial arts and physical exercises that they practiced.

On one such occasion, during this Boxer Rebellion, some insurgents captured a Christian mission school and blocked all the gates but one.

In front of that one gate, was placed a Cross – flat on the ground.

Then the word was passed to those inside that any who trampled the cross underfoot would be permitted their freedom and life, but that any refusing would be shot.

Terribly frightened, the first seven students trampled the cross under their feet and were allowed to go free.

But the eighth student – a young girl – refused to commit the sacrilegious act.

Kneeling beside the cross in prayer for strength, she arose and moved carefully around the cross, and went out to face the firing squad.

Strengthened by her example, every one of the remaining ninety-two students followed her to the firing squad!

The example of the one brave and faithful child inspired others to also be bold in their defence of faith.

These children, strong and courageous, laid down their lives, to be obedient to their faith. 

>> Fear of death could not strangle their faith!

>> Fear of persecution could not suppress their conviction!

The Gospel of the Day is a mighty invitation by Jesus to remain steadfast and bold even in the face of persecutions in defence for our faith in Him.

And this steadfastness is in imitation of Jesus, our Master, who Himself underwent a miserable series of pain, persecution , suffering and humiliation, and yet remain totally faithful to His Mission.

Jesus says, “If the world hates you, realise that it hated me first… If they persecuted me, they will persecute you” (Jn 15: 18, 20b)

The Lord is very clear in His teaching and preaching:

>> Friendship with Jesus would mean hostility from the world.

>> Non-compromise with Jesus’ teaching would result in antagonism from the world.

Our Lord Himself had to undergo this pain of rejection, persecution and opposition throughout His life…

>> At His birth, King Herod sought to terminate His life

>> After Baptism, Satan sought to tempt Him out of His mission.

>> During His ministry, the Pharisees and Scribes would misunderstand and misjudge Him

 
The Lord alerts His disciples that the same will be true in their lives too, if they too chose to remain faithful to their vocation.

As a follower of the Lord, we too need to be aware that sufferings and hardships on being Christian is sure to come our way.

 

What is our attitude and disposition to these trials that we face because of our faith in Christ?

Do we be bold and courageous…
… even when we are to face isolation or seclusion due to standing firm in our values and principles in the Lord?

Do we live our life in joy and calmness…
… even when we have to face misunderstandings and become an object of laughter, or called as “old-traditionalist” as a result of being staunch in following the Gospel values?

>> The world constantly ensnares us with temptations to abandon the Cross…
>> The evil one very often traps us with hardships to dilute our faith in the Lord…

Are we going to yield in to such temptations and enticements…
>> Or are we prepared to face any amount of difficulty, to uphold our Faith in the Lord?

Are we going to stamp the Cross of Christ and Faith in Him…
>> Or are we bold and courageous to sustain our witnessing to Jesus in the world?

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Apr 29 (Jn 15:12-17)

The Gospels are a beautiful account of the many narratives, describing the works, teachings and life of Jesus.

We get a glimpse to various images and facets of the life of Jesus.
>> These various images of the Lord, help us to relate to Him in a much more intimate and closer manner.
>> These various images of the Lord, also help us, in turn, to imitate Him and to live more and more like Him, in this world.

The Gospel of the Day… just six verses… Jn 15: 12-17, on a closer reading, presents a number of images of the Lord.

These images will help us to…
… form a closer bond with the Lord
… imitate the Lord better in our lives

Image 1: Jesus, the Lover…. inviting us to be His lovers!

The Lord says, “… love one another, as I have loved you”  (Jn 15: 12)

>> Jesus is our Lover!
He is the Love-incarnate, and He expresses His deep love to us at every moment of our life.

Do we experience the Lord as a Lover…?
… intimately and passionately loving us, even in the midst of problems of life
… assuring His faithful support to us at every situation, even if we have been unfaithful

 
Image 2: Jesus, the friend… inviting us to have Him as our best friend!
The Lord says, “… I have called you friends… ” (Jn 15: 15b)

>> Jesus is our Friend!
He is the One who shares everything that He has with us and does not keep any secrets in this Divine friendship.

Do we experience the Lord as our Friend…?
… constantly walking beside us, sharing our every emotion – joy, sorrow, hateful feelings, frustration, silly thoughts, stupid doubts, unseen jealousies etc
… on whom we can rely on, in any situation of life – may not get an answer in every problem, but surely being strengthened in having a shoulder to lean on and hands to hold onto!

Image 3: Jesus, the brother…inviting us to share in His Sonship!
The Lord says, “… I have told you everything I have heard from My Father” (Jn 15: 15)

>> Jesus, the Son of the Heavenly Father, is our Brother!

We are raised to a status of being “sons in the Son”!
We are given the privilege to address God  – not as any impersonal being, or a distant reality.. but as our Father  – a loving Daddy, a caring Parent!

Do we experience the Lord as our Brother…?
… the One who reveals the secrets of the Heavenly Family and bids us to have a closer union with the Divine Family
…  the One who asks us to cast off our fear of God as being some strict rule-keeper and instead to cherish His Fatherly affection and fondness

Image 4: Jesus, the Master… inviting us to give heed to His commandments!
The Lord says, ” This is command: love one another” (Jn 15: 17)

>> Jesus is our Master!
We are obliged to obey the order of the Lord and carry out His plans and wishes faithfully.

Do we experience the Lord as our Master…?
… giving heed to His commandment of being an instrument of love and harmony in our life situations
… being faithful, in little or big things, to please the Master at all times

Image 5: Jesus, the Intercessor… inviting us to cast our concerns to Him!
The Lord says, “.. whatever you ask the Father in My name, He may give you” (Jn 15:16b)

>> Jesus is our Intercessor!
By His Holy Sacrifice, He has become the mediator and intercessor for the entire human race, before the Heavenly Father (1 Tim 2:5)

Do we experience the Lord as our Intercessor…?
… bringing before Him our concerns and the needs of the world, knowing that intercession is a very powerful means of alleviating the struggles and problems of the world
… becoming a prayer-warrior and helping the grace and intervention of God to be felt by people who are in distress and trouble

Image 6: Jesus, the Missionary.. inviting us to be co-workers in His Project Kingdom!
The Lord says, “you did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain…” (Jn 15: 16a)

>> Jesus is our model Missionary
The mission that was entrusted by the Father, is now shared by Jesus to all of us, and we become partners and collaborators with Him

Do we experience Jesus as our model Missionary…?
… knowing that He is the ideal and perfect missionary and that I must seek to imitate Him, in bringing God’s reign in the lives of people
… realising that it is a huge honour and a big responsibility that is placed on me, to be a co-worker and teammate of the Lord.

The Gospel presents these powerful images of the Lord to grow closer to Him and to reflect these images, in our contexts.

Let the words of St Clare inspire us:
“We become what we love and who we love shapes what we become.
If we love things, we become a thing.
>> If we love nothing, we become nothing.

Imitation is not a literal mimicking of Christ, rather it means becoming the image of the beloved, an image disclosed through transformation.
This means we are to become vessels of God´s compassionate love for others. ”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Apr 28 (Jn 15:9-11)

One of the wonderful SMS’s that has been read and circulated by many of us, perhaps, goes thus….

“Life is like having a cup of coffee…

You sit by the window, lift the cup, take a careless sip…
… and find no sugar!

Too lazy to go for the sugar, you somehow manage with that sugarless cup.

>> On finishing, you find undissolved sugar crystals, settled at the bottom!

That is life!

>> We don’t make any effort to value what is around or within us.

So look around… Maybe, the sweetness you are looking is much closer than you think!”

 

How often is our spiritual life also lived similarly…

>> We go through the rigours of spiritual practices… 
… but they sometimes become mere routines
 

>> We perform many chores of religious exercises… 
… but they sometimes turn out to be ritualistic.

Spiritual life becomes tasteless…

>> Spiritual life loses its fascination…

But Jesus, in the Gospel of the Day invites us to have a deeper excitement and happiness in life, by abiding in His love.

>> He tells us, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy maybe in you, and that your joy may be full” (Jn 15: 11)

The Lord wishes each of His follower to live a life of immense joy and happiness.

Jesus, Himself lived a very joyful life.

 
What was the recipe of His happiness?

>> A life, that was lived in perfect communion with His Heavenly Father…

… seeking union with the Father through moments of solitude in prayer

… raising His Heart to the Father in gratitude and thanksgiving at every situation of life.

 
>> A life, that was lived in absolute obedience to the Will of His Father…

… willing to shed any personal comforts or desires to be faithful to the mission entrusted

… readiness to undergo any amount of pain and suffering, even death, to be totally committed

 
Jesus hands over this same recipe to us, to discover true joy and happiness in life.

 
When we seek to live in Communion with the Heavenly Father…

       … in intense moments of prayer

       … with a heart of thanksgiving

 
And we seek to being obedient to God’s Will…

       … even at the cost of some personal comforts

       … ready to bear sufferings to be faithful to Him

It is then…

… that we will experience real joy and happiness

… that we will treasure heavenly experiences in our hearts

Life grinds us through many tasteless moments and situations…

> We get upset easily…

>> We tend to get defensive…

>> We get into a mode of being lethargic…

But the Lord says… “Stir up your lives!”

 
“Stir up your lives” to savour the sweetness of joy, peace and serenity…

… to taste the joy that is guaranteed by obeying God’s commandments

… to taste the peace that is assured by letting our lives be symphony of service to others

… to taste the serenity that is promised by always abiding in the loving presence of the Lord

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Apr 27 (Jn 15:1-8)

The Time Magazine in its issue dated 19th November, 1965, reported of a major electricity breakdown along the US-Canada border.
>> This was called as the Northeast Blackout of 1965.

The impact of the breakdown was so great that it affected people in nearly 80, 000 sq.miles along the border!

The whole area was submerged in deep darkness.

The cause of the failure was the tripping of a protective relay, or a fuse, which was just the size of a bread box!
>> The safety relay, which was to trip if the current exceeded the capacity of the transmission line, was set too low.

A failure in the single fuse, of such a tiny size was able to cause the breakdown of an entire power grid of such a huge magnitude!

>> A tiny failure in the connections caused a mighty collapse!
>> A minor malfunction in the grid caused a major disintegration!

It is therefore highly essential that the most basics aspects of life,however small or tiny they may appear, be given the proper and appropriate attention.

Such is the case too, in our spiritual lives…

>> If the connection with the Lord, the Fuse of our life trips, our whole life will be in darkness!
>> If the link with the Lord, the Safety Relay of our life overloads, our whole life will collapse into obscurity!

The Gospel of the Day invites us to continually nurture and nourish our relationship with the Lord and to reflect the fruits of this affiliation in our daily lives.

Jesus says that, “I am the vine, and you are the branches. Whoever remains in Me, and I in him, will bear much fruit, because without me, you can do nothing” (Jn 15: 5)

These are highly powerful words of the Divine Lord…”WITHOUT ME, YOU CAN DO NOTHING!”

There are a few implications of these powerful words….

1. Its a great message of hope
The statement of the Lord is a deep assurance that in every moment of our lives, we can bank on Him.

St Paul realised the deep understanding of this message of hope and could cry out, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13)

We can place our hope in the Lord…
… even when all seems lost and crashed in life
… even when things hit rock bottom in our life

2. It’s a great message of warning
The statement of the Lord is also a grave warning that in every moment of our lie, we can crack without Him.

The Prodigal Son realised the depth of such a break of relationship, when he had gone away from his father, and found himself in dire needs.

He would therefore say, “I shall get up and go to my Father and I shall say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you…’  (Lk 15: 18)

We are warned by the Lord…
… in every moment, we need to be dependent on the Lord
… in every situation of life, we cannot achieve true success by our own merits and talents

Sometimes in life, when things go on well and when everything seems fine, we tend to forget that it is the Lord, who is ultimately leading and guiding us.

We get into a feeling that it is my achievements and hard work alone, that is the cause of every success and smile that I enjoy.

But once in a way, when darkness engulfs our lives… maybe by way of..
… a sickness or a death…
… a financial difficulty or uncertainty of the future…
… crisis in relationships or breakage of human bonding
… or any other problem or difficulty…

We realise that there is a tripping in our relationship with the Lord, the Fuse of our life!

Unless we stay connected to this Mighty Fuse, our lives will stay in gloom and shadow

>> When we are connected with the Lord, even in the midst of any crisis, the supply of inner joy and peace will always remain constant!

>> When we are in link with the Lord, even with problems encompassing us, the streaming of Divine calm and happiness, will always remain uninterrupted!

 God Bless! Live Jesus!

Apr 26 (Jn 15:1-8)

The Time Magazine in its issue dated 19th November, 1965, reported of a major electricity breakdown along the US-Canada border.
>> This was called as the Northeast Blackout of 1965.

The impact of the breakdown was so great that it affected people in nearly 80, 000 sq.miles along the border!

The whole area was submerged in deep darkness.

The cause of the failure was the tripping of a protective relay, or a fuse, which was just the size of a bread box!
>> The safety relay, which was to trip if the current exceeded the capacity of the transmission line, was set too low.

A failure in the single fuse, of such a tiny size was able to cause the breakdown of an entire power grid of such a huge magnitude!

>> A tiny failure in the connections caused a mighty collapse!
>> A minor malfunction in the grid caused a major disintegration!

It is therefore highly essential that the most basics aspects of life,however small or tiny they may appear, be given the proper and appropriate attention.

Such is the case too, in our spiritual lives…

>> If the connection with the Lord, the Fuse of our life trips, our whole life will be in darkness!
>> If the link with the Lord, the Safety Relay of our life overloads, our whole life will collapse into obscurity!

The Gospel of the Day invites us to continually nurture and nourish our relationship with the Lord and to reflect the fruits of this affiliation in our daily lives.

Jesus says that, “I am the vine, and you are the branches. Whoever remains in Me, and I in him, will bear much fruit, because without me, you can do nothing” (Jn 15: 5)

These are highly powerful words of the Divine Lord…”WITHOUT ME, YOU CAN DO NOTHING!”

There are a few implications of these powerful words….

1. Its a great message of hope
The statement of the Lord is a deep assurance that in every moment of our lives, we can bank on Him.

St Paul realised the deep understanding of this message of hope and could cry out, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13)

We can place our hope in the Lord…
… even when all seems lost and crashed in life
… even when things hit rock bottom in our life

2. It’s a great message of warning
The statement of the Lord is also a grave warning that in every moment of our lie, we can crack without Him.

The Prodigal Son realised the depth of such a break of relationship, when he had gone away from his father, and found himself in dire needs.

He would therefore say, “I shall get up and go to my Father and I shall say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you…’  (Lk 15: 18)

We are warned by the Lord…
… in every moment, we need to be dependent on the Lord
… in every situation of life, we cannot achieve true success by our own merits and talents

Sometimes in life, when things go on well and when everything seems fine, we tend to forget that it is the Lord, who is ultimately leading and guiding us.

We get into a feeling that it is my achievements and hard work alone, that is the cause of every success and smile that I enjoy.

But once in a way, when darkness engulfs our lives… maybe by way of..
… a sickness or a death…
… a financial difficulty or uncertainty of the future…
… crisis in relationships or breakage of human bonding
… or any other problem or difficulty…

We realise that there is a tripping in our relationship with the Lord, the Fuse of our life!

Unless we stay connected to this Mighty Fuse, our lives will stay in gloom and shadow

>> When we are connected with the Lord, even in the midst of any crisis, the supply of inner joy and peace will always remain constant!

>> When we are in link with the Lord, even with problems encompassing us, the streaming of Divine calm and happiness, will always remain uninterrupted!

 God Bless! Live Jesus!

Apr 26 (Jn 14:27-31)

Sphygmometer is the device that is used to measure blood pressure.

Blood pressure is the strength of the blood pushing against the sides of the blood vessels.
>> A increase in BP puts extra strain on the arteries and this may lead to heart attacks or strokes.

The use of Sphygmometers, are on the rise these days…
… with an increased number of people affected with high blood pressure.

One big reason of an increased blood pressure is the rising tension levels and anxiety factors.
>> We engage in works which trigger greater emotions.
>> We let ourselves get affected with situations that cause great panic
>> We react quicker to situations and bring upon unnecessary worries and fears

Such uncontrolled and unrestrained increase in anxieties and troubles can cause a great deal of harm to our health.

The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus, the heart-expert, warning us of this danger of increased anxiety levels and troubled moments and instead invites to lead a life of peace.
>> Jesus says in Jn 14: 27, “Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid”

The context of this statement of Jesus is the discourse at the Last Supper.

Jesus informs of his imminent going away from the disciples, which made them sad and anxious.
>> They had placed their hopes in Him.
>> They had offered their lives to Him.
But His announcement of departure caused worry and anxiety to the disciples.

But Jesus, who knows their hearts and gauges their emotions assures them, ” Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives, do I give it to you” (Jn 14:27)

The disciples entered into an anxiety-mode as their hearts got wearied with what was to come immediately.
>> But Jesus invites them to go beyond such peripheral worries, and be assured of a peace that comes as a result of trusting in Him, the Lord of all future!

>> When one is imprisoned in the immediate worries of life…
… one fails to enjoy the true freedom of peace and joy

>> When one is landlocked amidst the borders of impending fears and troubles of life…
… one is unable to move out to experience real inner tranquillity and serenity

Are we finding ourselves often in situations, when our “hearts are troubled” (Jn 14:27b) and as a result, our spiritual BP levels go high?

Then Jesus, the Master Doctor of hearts, needs to be immediately consulted…
>> He would give us the tablet of His peace which would subside our fears
>> He would give us the tonic of His soothing Word which would calm our troubles

Troubles will, without any doubt, always haunt us…
Problems will, for sure, often beset us…
>> But we need to grow in our understanding that in all this, Jesus, is in perfect control of our lives.
                        
The Sphygmometer levels may show a higher level of BP…
>> But can we allow our Trust levels in the Lord to have a greater increase?

The reading on the Sphygmometer may show a greater count of BP…
>> But can we let the reading on our Faith Meter to show a greater count?

To control our physical Blood Pressure, we usually recommend the following solutions…
… regular exercises
… intake of medicines
… nourishing and wholesome diet

We could take a cue from this, for regulating our Spiritual Life too…
… having regular and faithful exercises of prayer and pious devotions
… in-taking of the means of healing, offered in the Sacrament of Reconciliation
… nourishing ourselves in the Heavenly Food provided in His Holy Word and The Holy Eucharist

Let Jesus, the Doctor of hearts, take complete charge of our lives
>> In Him, we shall experience fervent joy.
>> In Him, we shall live with true peace.

God Bless! Live Jesus!