Jun 1 (Mk 12:18-27)

An old man and his wife, who had spent their life, in the villages, were taken to the railway station by their son, who had a job in the city.

It was for the first time in their life that this old couple was seeing a train!

The husband was highly d at the sight of that large locomotive.
>> He looked the engine over very carefully, and shook his head.

“Well, what do you think of it, father?” asked the son with eagerness

“She’ll never start,” was the firm answer by the disbelieving father: “she’ll never start.”

However, in a few minutes, the conductor waved, the bell rang, the locomotive puffed, the train moved slowly at first, then faster.

It was disappearing in the distance when the son inquired slyly: “”Well…what do you think of it now?”

The old man shook his head more violently than before and blurted out with greater assertion:
“She’ll never stop,” he affirmed; “she’ll never stop!!”

How often is this true of many people…
… Pre-Conceptions often close the mind; and one is unwilling to open anything new
… Prejudices often  shut one’s understanding; and one becomes adamant in refusing to learn!

Truth is received and understood only by the one who is open and willing to accept it!
>> Truth can never be forced upon..
>> Truth can never be thrust on anyone…
Rather, Truth with the freedom it allows, is taken in only by the one docile to it!

The Gospel of the Day presents another group of  opponents -characterised by rigidity to accept the truth and blocked in mentality to be docile –  who try to put down and prod our Blessed Lord in His teachings.

Yet, Jesus, who is source and perfection of all wisdom, fails to get bogged down – instead traps them in their own arguments and leaves them faced with a mighty challenge to change!

The Sadducees came to Jesus to put forward a hypothetical riddle regarding the question of the Resurrection.

The Sadducees were the top people in the nation, the elite group of aristocrats who owned a lot of land, wealth and rank.

They were the power brokers in Israel’s supreme court, the Sanhedrin.
Even the high priests came from the families of the Sadducees.

They were selective in what they accepted from the Scriptures.
>> They rejected all the historical books.
>> They also rejected all the psalms and the other ‘writings’ like Job and Ecclesiastes.
>> Not one of the books of the prophets would they accept.
They were left with just the first five books of Moses.

Moses was their person of authority.
That is why when they come to Jesus, they characteristically begin, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us…” ( Mk 12:19)

They also rejected the resurrection of the dead.
>>  “Men stay dead,” they said; human beings only have this life here and now.
That is what they believed; no judgment; with death, the soul perishes with the body.

We live in a world where we also encounter many of the “modern” Sadducees.
>> People who live as though there is no Resurrection..
>> People who deny giving any significance for life after this life
>> People who fail to uphold any teachings or thoughts that support a life after death

For such “modern” Sadducees,
… Life consists in basically enjoying the pleasures of this present life to the maximum!
… Life is not to be drowned in “boring” piety and “dull” devotions with a hope for the future!

Perhaps, some of us, may also share such thought-patterns  of the Sadducees.

Yet, the Lord addresses us, just as He did to the Sadducees, “Are you not misled because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?” (Mk 12: 24)

>> The Scriptures clearly testify to the various references that are made to the fact of the “dead” not really being dead… rather, alive in the Lord
>> The power of God clearly testifies that God as the one who created creation out of nothing, also has the power to grant new life to those who are dead

The Gospel passage ends with the statement by Jesus, “You are greatly misled” (Mk 12: 27b).
>> Another translation would read, “You are quite wrong”

The Lord was not afraid to clearly and bluntly tell the Sadducees that they were wrong and misled in their understandings.

And perhaps, if we are in the category of being a “modern” Sadducee, the Lord uncompromisingly tells us also, “You are greatly misled”

We need to be open to the voice of the Lord, calling us to trust deeper, in the presence of a life after this life.
>> Let not our prejudices shut our understanding; and we becomes adamant in refusing to learn!

Truth is received and understood only by the one who is open and willing to accept it!

May we grow to be more docile to the voice of the Lord, so that we may mould our present lives in perfect tune to God’s Will, and thus be able to enjoy a life of Resurrection – true happiness in eternity!

Let us seek the intercession of the Saint of the Day, St Justin – the Martyr and give heed to his words: ” Sound doctrine does not enter into a hard and disobedient heart”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

– Fr Jijo Manjackal msfs
  Bengaluru, India

May 31 (Feast of the Visitation of our Blessed Mother Mary)

One of the greatest violinists of all time was Niccolo Paganini.

He had his first performance at the age of 11.
>> It is said that his great technical ability revolutionised violin techniques across Europe.

When he died in 1840, he had willed his violin to Genoa, Italy – the place of his birth.

But he had it done on a condition: that no artist ever plays his instrument again.

Glad to have the violin come into their possession, the people in the city of Genoa agreed to the request, and they put it in a beautiful case for everyone to see.

But, unfortunately, wooden violins  have a certain peculiarity:
>> As long as they are handled, they show no wear…
…  But if it remains unused, it begins to decay!

This is what happened to Paganini’s violin.
>>  His once-exquisite instrument became worm-eaten and useless.

Wooden violins of other artists have been handed down from one gifted musician to another…
…. and they continue to bring great music to audiences.
>> But Paganini’s violin is a crumbling relic of what it once was!

Such will also be the case with a Christian…
… If one does not spend one’s life in service!

A Christian’s “unwillingness to serve” may soon destroy one’s capacity for usefulness!

Today, is the  Feast of the Visitation…
…  A beautiful incident of how Blessed Mother Mary became a person, who rendered Her life “in service” to God and others – and thus gave full bloom to the graces of God within Her!

This Feast of the Visitation of our Blessed Mother has its origin in the medieval times.
>>It was observed by the Franciscan Order before 1263, and soon its practise spread throughout the entire Church.
>> Previously it was celebrated on July 2….
… now it is celebrated on 31st May – between the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord ( Mar 25) and the Birth of St. John the Baptist (Jun 24) , in conformity with the Gospel accounts.

One of the interesting term used by St Luke in his description of this incident (Lk 1: 39-56) is the word “HASTE”.
St Luke says: “In those days, Mary arose and went with HASTE…..” (Lk 1: 39)

The Angel Gabriel had appeared to Mary and announced the Good News that She was to be the Mother of the “Son of the Most High” (Lk 1: 31)
>> Mary was “overshadowed by the Power of the Most High” (Lk 1: 35)
>> The Angel had also pointed to the mighty work that was done in the life of her cousin Elizabeth (Lk 1: 36)

The Annunciation became the turning point in the life of Mary!

She was no longer the same…
… The simple girl had been exalted and chosen to be the Mother of the Most High God!
… She would no longer be seeking to do her desires; She would seek to God’s Will at all times!
… Her life would no longer be carried by her plans; Her life would be impelled by what God wanted!

The Child in Her, would now make Her to be “always in haste”!
… In haste: to serve others
… In haste: to follow perfectly the Will of God
… In haste: to have Jesus as the centre of Her life

The Holy Spirit completely possessed the Virgin Daughter of Nazareth and impelled her to act.

The beautiful incident of the Visitation of Mother Mary teaches us this beautiful lesson:
When Christ grows inside of us, we will be in HASTE….
… to reach out to others in service
… to spare no efforts to get out of our own comfort zones of pleasure, relaxing and lethargy
… to forget one’s own needs and be totally other-centred and radiate joy and hope to others

Mother Mary becomes the “Woman on the move” –  on a continual and constant journey:
… She would embark on an hard trip to Bethlehem, while pregnant (Lk 2:4)
… She would again move – after the birth of the Child – along with Joseph, and flee to Egypt (Mt 2:14)
… She would return back to Nazareth, under the instruction of the Angel of God (Mt 2:23)
… She would further travel to Jerusalem for the Passover Feast and there would go in search of Her Beloved Child, when He was lost (Lk 2: 45)
.. She would be travelling with Jesus in His ministry – may not be physically, but Her Heart and Soul completely accompanying Her Son
… She would, finally, even accompany physically, with Her Innocent Child on the Way of the Cross (Jn 19: 25)

Mother Mary lived the words of the poem which centuries later would be formulated by another great Saint – St Francis of Assisi:
“It is in giving that we receive…
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life…”

The Feast of the Visitation is a reminder for us examine some of the important aspects of our life…
… Am I a person allowing the Holy Spirit to fill me and take complete possession of me – my words, my thoughts, my actions?

… Am I a person, having Jesus in me, impelled to reach out to the other in service? As St Paul says: “The love of Christ impels me” (2 Cor 5:14)

… Am I a person, who is daring to be a “person on the move” – moving out of my safe comfortable zones, moving out of conditioned and prejudiced mindsets, moving out to make my life of praise and honour to God?

St Ambrose says: “Delayed efforts are foreign to the grace of the Holy Spirit”

Charity is never idle!
>> Charity is always on the move …
… Sensitive to the needy
… Seeking to do good

May the graces of God in us, not  get stagnant, or decayed or rusted …
… instead may they be extended in loving service to God and His people…

And thus our life be a beautiful Magnificat: “My Soul magnifies the Lord my God, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour!”

Happy Feast of our Blessed Mother Mary – the Mother Who moves us, constantly…towards Jesus!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

– Fr Jijo Manjackal msfs
  Bengaluru, India

“LIFE ‘n LOVE LYRICS” Reflection in preparation for the Feast of Corpus Christi – The Body and Blood of Jesus!  CONCLUSION

We have come to the end of our Preparation of the Feast, and today we have celebrated this Great and Wonderful Feast – the Lord has blessed us with His wonderful gift – His Body and His Blood!

Feast Days often, get celebrated with much show and pomp…or sometimes, its significance can get lost in external celebrations and festivities…But, let this not happen to this Sacred Feast Day….

The Feast that we have celebrated today… is a Feast for All the Days of the year…. The Lord is present in the Blessed Sacraments in our Chapels and our Churches…all the days…!

It is our duty to be with the Lord, in the Blessed Sacrament, whenever possible.

Let this Feast we have celebrated help us to make some practical resolutions and simple ways, so that we can love the Lord, more in the Eucharist, and thus become a Eucharist in this our broken and fragmented world.

St. Francis de Sales says, “When you have received Him, stir up your heart to do Him homage; speak to Him about your spiritual life, gazing upon Him in your soul where He is present for your happiness; welcome Him as warmly as possible, and behave outwardly in such a way that your actions may give proof to all of His Presence.”

To reflect
 Can I make extra efforts to prepare for the Holy Mass and also be aware of the Presence of the Lord, after Holy Mass?

 Is it possible for me to spend daily some time, with the Lord, in the Blessed Sacrament? For those of us, where physically, it is not possible to be with the Lord, in the Blessed Sacrament, can I spare sometime to be with the Lord, in prayer and devotion, in which ever place possible…?
 Can I show an extra devotion to the Lord, especially when we pass before some Chapels or Churches, and become a living witness to God’s infinite love in the Eucharist?
 Can I see the Broken Body and the Blood of the Lord, in the broken lives of the people in my life – my family, my work place, my community, my church, my society, my nation, my world?
 Can I spread the Devotion of the Blessed Eucharist to other peoples…especially to lukewarm and tepid Catholics, that all may know and realize, the Presence of the mighty Treasure of Grace, Power and Love, in this Beloved Sacrament?

Prayer
Most Holy Jesus, who bless our lives this precious and most-valued gift of the Eucharist, bid us we pray, that we grow in our devotion and love to You! As St Francis de Sales says, “We must visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament a hundred thousand times a day”, help us to raise our hearts to you, that we may continually be blessed with Your presence.

Make me Your bread to nourish the hungry, make me your wine to quench your thirst and make me Your comfort to all those who cry. Blessed Mamma, the Mother of the Holy Eucharist, help us to radiate, the Love of Christ to all People…Amen!

– Fr Jijo Manjackal msfs
  Bengaluru, India

May 30 (Mk 12:1-12)

A commonly known story goes thus…

An Arab sheikh, once gave a banquet for his son.
>> He invited his friends to share his hospitality.

His one request was that each guest bring a small skin of wine as his contribution to the feast.

On the appointed day the skins were emptied.
>> However, the further discovery caused immense embarrassment for the host as well as the like: most of them contained water!

Each guest had reasoned that, since everyone else would bring wine, he might be able to make a substitution and not be detected.
<> They were entrusted fully with the taking care of the vineyard.

The Master placed a lot of trust in the servants.

He gave the freedom… a responsible freedom…
…which could be meaningfully used and nurtured
…or which could be woefully misused and manipulated.

However, the tenants, who were trusted immensely…probably lost their focus on the real trust and diminished in their commitment and responsibility to their Master as well as their duty.

>> Their personal interests gained greater prominence over their entrusted duties.
>> Their selfish agenda gained the upper hand over the faithfulness to the Master.

This led to them to a total denial of all the emissaries and servants of the Master, who were sent to collect the produce.
>> This denial was extended even to the Master’s own Son!

This denial of the Son led to the letting loose of the anger and fury of the Just Master!
>> A squandering away of the responsible freedom, led to the downfall of the tenants!
>> A failure to give heed to the emissaries and servants caused them to face the Master’s rage!
>> A denial and rejection of the Master’s own Son, with a cruel intent, caused their destruction!

Are we also, as Christians, as tenants of the Heavenly Master failing in our responsibilities and duties?

The Lord has entrusted us with many responsibilities…
>> To promote and grow in our faith…
…. by a faithful prayer-life, co-operation with the graces of God, keeping away from a life of sin etc.

>> To be faithful to the vocation and works we are called to do…
… by constantly renewing our resolve in the works we do, remaining focussed on our calling etc.

>> To encourage others to increase in faith and in love of life…
… by being interested In their well-being, supporting them, teaching them etc.

The Lord presents Himself as the cornerstone…
… “the stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone..” (Mk 12: 10)

Jesus is the cornerstone…of Salvation.. of the Church.. of His People!

>> We need to find strength and support in this Cornerstone…
… the cornerstone to build a wonderful life in God and grow in holiness…
… the cornerstone to stand firm and strong in faith to withstand every storm of life…

Let us come to understand that the price of enjoyment always comes at a price: of responsibility.
>> And it is “freedom with responsibility” that ensures valid enjoyment and proper satisfaction.

May the intercession of the Saint of the Day, St Joan of Ark who said… 
“One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying”
…. be an inspiration for us.

God Bless! Live Jesus!

– Fr Jijo Manjackal msfs
  Bengaluru, India

“LIFE ‘n LOVE LYRICS” Reflection in preparation for the Feast of Corpus Christi – The Body and Blood of Jesus! – DAY FIVE

image
Chapel of the Corporal, Orvieto Cathedral, the Eucharistic miracle that inspired the Institution of the Solemnity of Corpus Christi

(A): THE RITE OF THE DISMISSAL

Having been nourished with the Bread of Life and the Chalice of Salvation, we spend a few quiet moments, enjoying and relishing the sweetness of the Lord.

We are busy in the world with too many things… umpteen engagements, different activities, varied tensions and concerns, difficult dealings, crazy disturbances, bothering problems, strained relationships, acute financial difficulties,  turbulent job affairs, disorderly lifestyles, instable existence etc…. the list can go on and on….

In this midst of all this jumble and mishmash….. in the post-communion moments during the Holy Mass, we are allowed to experience a calmness and a stillness…a joy which is beyond limits and a peace, which is unparalleled.

Sometimes, in life, to escape the grinds and hardships, we get involved into many “escapist” techniques….some resort to being workaholic; some become alcoholic; some involve in character assassination and image-disfiguring; some get a kick in life with drugs or other addictions…etc
But the Lord, the lover of our souls and the caregiver of our hearts, in the Most Holy Eucharist, blesses us with His peace and His grace…. We need to dwell in Him, in these precious moments, after having received Him.

As a lover in the loving embrace of the Beloved…as a child in the consoling care of the mother…as a tender lamb in the gentle arms of the Shepherd…so we are .. in the Presence and Love of the Eucharistic Lord.

In the final prayer, and the blessing, we once again affirm our thanks and gratitude, to the Lord, for His magnanimous love.

The apostles were called to “be with the Lord” and to “be sent out”. In the Gospels, Jesus invites His followers, to first “follow Him”..and once they have been schooled with Him, He says, ” to go out..“

The Holy Eucharist follows the same formula… after having been with the Lord and been nourished, we are invited to go out, to become sharers of the Word and give food and life to a starved and broken world. We bless ourselves with the Blessing of the Trinity and give a Yes to the call of the Lord, to go and glorify the Lord, by our lives!

To Reflect
 Do I continue to be aware of the Eucharistic Lord in the post-communion moments, and offer Him my bouquet of thanks and praise?
 Am I able to pronounce with joy and conviction, the Call of the Lord, to go and live the Holy Eucharist? I need to realise, that what I have worshipped, what I have heard in the Word of God and what I have experienced in the Holy Eucharist, now needs to be lived, in my daily life.
 Do I continue to be aware of the Eucharistic Lord, in me, during other times of the day?

Prayer
Blessed Jesus, you nurture us with Your living presence in the Most Holy Eucharist. Help us to continually live in your presence, that our works may have the Divine touch. Help us that we become a Sacrament, a Sign of Your Love and Joy to all in our lives, Amen. 

(B):  THE POST-MASS REFLECTIONS

In life, there are many experiences, which leaves a great impression on our minds and in our hearts. Some of these, as time passes, are forgotten..but some….some remain deeply impressed, and have an intense bearing on our life thereafter. The most sublime and the highest of such experiences, ought to be the Celebration of the Most Holy Eucharist.

It may sound theoretical….it may be written off as impractical…it may even be condemned as not being credible and unbelievable and unreliable and unrealizable… but the fact is that……..The Holy Eucharist can make us saints… the Holy Eucharist can make our lives a litany of true joy and peace!

After having been nourished by the Word of the Lord in the Liturgy of the Word, and strengthened by the Body and Blood of the Lord, in the Liturgy of the Eucharist, we are now invited and challenged, to give this nourishment and this strength to other people in our life.

The Eucharist that we have celebrated, now needs to be lived….
the Eucharist that we have relished now needs to be actualized in our daily lives…

ery often, I fail to see the treasure hidden in my home, and run after other “transient” sources of joy, alternative modes of spirituality, variant methods of lifestyle, unconventional techniques of philosophy and healing… but little do I see the treasure in our own Catholic Church – especially the treasure of the Most Holy Eucharist!

• There can be no better gift than the Holy Eucharist…

• There can be no lasting healing than the Holy Eucharist…

• There can be no higher challenge than the Holy Eucharist…

• There can be no supreme consolation than the Holy Eucharist…

Has the Eucharist, really become, the Centre of my Christian Life?

To reflect
 The Holy Mass challenges & invites us to offer our lives completely to the Will of God. Am I willing to surrender myself to His Will, though sometimes, it can be painful & agonizing?

 The Holy Mass requires me to be in good harmony and peaceful relation with other people. Am I becoming worthy of the forgiveness and mercy that  I have received from the Lord? Or do I continue to keep grudge, anger or unforgiveness towards people?

 The Holy Mass invites to break my body in service of others, to shed my blood in love, to suppress my evil inclinations & egoistic mentality. Am I willing to take up this hard task?

 Perhaps, many times in the past, we have celebrated and participated in the Holy Mass.. But has it really become a Reality and a Mighty Force in my Life?

Prayer
Most Holy God, who fill our lives with Your Life in the Holy Mass, give us the grace and the courage, to live out the Holy Mass in our daily lives. We realize that participation in the Eucharist is not a mere, unrealistic spiritual act; rather it is real and a life-transforming experience. Help us to live in You always, and may all our actions and deeds, be a participation, in the sacrifice which you have offered at Calvary, and which we have commemorated at the Holy Mass, Amen!

– Fr Jijo Manjackal msfs
  Bengaluru, India

May 29 (Solemnity of Corpus Christi – The Body and Blood of Jesus Christ)

The initial years of the 20th Century saw communists seizing a Catholic parish and imprisoning the priest in his own rectory near the church.

After being locked up in his own house, the priest looked out the window and was horrified to see the anti-Catholic militants enter the church.

Once inside, they went into the sanctuary, broke open the tabernacle and in an act of desecration, threw down the ciborium – scattering the Sacred Hosts on the floor.
>> The priest knew exactly how many Hosts had been in the ciborium: Thirty Two.

However, the communists either failed to notice, or didn’t pay any attention to a small girl who had been praying in the back of the Church.
>> She saw everything.

That night the girl returned, and slipping past the guard at the rectory, entered the Church where she made a Holy Hour.

After her Holy Hour, she went into the sanctuary, and kneeling down, bent over and received Jesus in the Holy Communion with her tongue (Since at that time, it was not permissible lay-people to touch the Sacred Host with their hands)

Each night, the girl returned to the church to make her Holy Hour and received Jesus in Holy Communion on her tongue, just as she did the first night.

On the thirty- second night, after having consumed the last Host, she accidentally made a noise that awoke the guard who was asleep at his post by the priest’s residence.

From his bedroom window, the priest could only watch in horror as the heartrending scene unfolded before his eyes:

>> The girl tried to run away…
…. But the guard chased her, grabbed her, and beat her to death with the butt of his rifle!

The little girl had a heroic martyrdom – all because of her tender and deep love for the Holy Eucharist!

It was this incident that would inspire Archbishop Fulton Sheen – one of the greatest 20th century proponents of the Catholic Church – to spend one hour each, daily, before the Holy Eucharist!
>> The daring action of that little girl, inspired the heart of another fervent soul, Fulton Sheen, who would go on to influence millions to love Jesus in the Holy Eucharist!

image
Disputation of the Holy Sacrament, Raphael, 1510, Apostolic Palace, Vatican City

Today is the great Solemnity of the Corpus Christi – the Body and Blood of Jesus.

The Catechism of the Church declares that “the mode of Christ’s presence under the Eucharistic species is unique”

The Catechism teaches, “In the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist, the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained” (#1374).

The Holy Mass is not another sacrifice nor a repetition of the sacrifice of Calvary.

Instead,
•      The Holy Mass is the same sacrifice of Jesus – the perpetual continuation and adoration of the sacrifice of Calvary.

The Priest at the Holy Mass is Jesus Himself, the High Priest and Victim of the Sacrifice.

The Holy Eucharist – the Body and Blood of Jesus –  is the greatest treasure that the Church offers to Her children…
>> Yet, the Holy Eucharist sometimes, also becomes the great barrier for people to misunderstand and misinterpret the Church.

The same was true even in the time of Jesus.
>> The mention of His Body and Blood caused great division, misunderstanding and led to the misinterpretation of Jesus.

After having provided physical nourishment for the crowd (Lk 9: 11-17), Jesus had declared Himself as “The Bread Of Life” (Jn 6: 35).

The Greek word that is used for “bread” is “artos”.
>> This “artos”….
…  refers to food composed of flour mixed with water, and baked.
… also refers to food of any kind or food in general.

As “bread” or “food” is essential for the physical life
… Jesus as “the bread of life” is required for the spiritual life!

Without bread, physical life would perish….
… Without Jesus, the bread, spiritual life would perish!

The Lord surprised His hearers by saying that “the bread that I give is my flesh for the world” (Jn 6:51b)
>> This saying had caused a dispute among the people, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” (Jn 6:52)

The bold declaration of the Lord that He would give His Flesh and His Blood as food and drink, caused a huge scandal among His listeners and it caused deep divisions and disputes.
>> The same is so much true in our own world – when the Church declares the Holy Eucharist to be the True and Real Body and Blood of the Lord, there are so many disputes and divisions.

On this great Feast day, there are questions that arise before us…

>>  What is my belief and understanding of this most Treasured Gift of the Holy Eucharist – “the source and summit of Christian Life”
… Do I believe with conviction that Jesus is truly present in the Blessed Eucharist?
… Do I celebrate and participate in the Holy Mass with this Divine Fervour?

>> What is the effect that this Sacrament of Total Self-giving on me?
… Does the reception of Jesus – the Love Incarnate, make me in turn to be more loving towards others and do I make deliberate choices to extend love to all?
… Does the sacrifice of the Holy Eucharist impel me also to make sacrifices – even tiny, insignificant, unnoticed – for the cause and good of others?

>> What is my contribution to spread the good news of the Holy Eucharist to others?
… Am I being a person who radiates the love of the Eucharist to others, by my conscious efforts to be respectful, reverent and devoted in the Chapel or Church and also become aware of the Lord’s Presence, when passing by Churches or handling Sacred objects?
… Do I tell to other people about this exciting, real presence of God in the Holy Eucharist – especially the sick, the suffering and those in distress, that they may experience the real healing presence of the Lord?

Jesus – the Bread of Life – in the Holy Eucharist…
… eagerly longs for our reception and our adoration

The tragedy in our life, however, is that very often, this “magnetic” Eucharistic presence remains abandoned and forsaken!

It’s a pity that the Living Lord is hardly visited in the Blessed Sacrament!
>> Chapels and Churches often remain empty and forlorn!
>> Hardly any say “Hello” to the Lord in the Eucharist!

We sometimes are reducing ourselves to a generation seeking only after mighty wonders,
fascinating miracles and attracted only to external sensations!
>> But the Holy Eucharist – the greatest miracle of the world often remains unnoticed!

We need to come to experience that…
>> There is nothing more sublime in this world than the Holy Eucharistic Presence!
>> There is nothing more beautiful than moments spent before the Eucharistic Lord!

>> The Lord waits for us…every moment…every day!
>> The Lord seeks for us…every second…every hour!

We may have different excuses to evade and avoid time before His presence…
>> Maybe too many works and occupations…
>> Maybe a feeling that it is too dry and boring to be with Him…
>> Maybe an attitude that social works suffice and go beyond all such pious devotions…

But no excuse and no theory can give justification to miss the Presence of the Lord!
>> The more we remain with Him, the more we become like Him!

In the midst of daily scuffles and struggles of life, the Holy Eucharist ought to be the strength and support of our lives.

The Holy Eucharist may not give us…
… perfect answers or solutions in the way we expect.
… us immediate responses and remedies in the manner we want.

But the Holy Eucharist will most certainly…
… strengthen us with grace and power to face the challenges with courage.
… infuse us with a deep and intense authority to defy any difficulties that we meet.
… empower us with immense joy and peace in order to withstand the storms of life.

May we grow in the love of the Holy Eucharist, for, as Bishop Fulton Sheen says, “The greatest love story of all time is contained in a tiny white Host”!

And, in turn, may we become a  magnetic Presence of the Lord to others!
… Seeking the Eucharist, to be a Eucharist to the other!
… Loving the Eucharist to break and share oneself to the other!

Wish you a very Happy Feast of the Holy Eucharist!
May our Blessed Mamma of the Holy Eucharist, help & intercede for us, to love the Lord more!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

– Fr Jijo Manjackal msfs
  Bengaluru, India

May 28 (Mk 11:27-33)

Once, a preacher was speaking the Word of God to a great crowd.

As was his practice, he was concentrating more on the content of his message and of its effect upon the hearts of people, for transformation, rather than the precise literary form of it.

Among his audience, was seated a certain fussy gentleman.
He had been known for making extremely critical remarks and comments.

At the end of the prayer service, this person went up to the preacher and said, “By the way, I noticed that you made eleven mistakes of grammar in your sermon.”

“Very likely,” replied the preacher, very coolly, “I don’t doubt it for a minute.
My early education was faulty. I often wished that I had received more schooling.
But I am using all the grammar I know in the service of Christ.
How is it with you?”

Well, we don’t know how did the fussy gentleman react to this bold and true reply of the preacher.
(Hopefully, he went home and read a chapter of the Bible and prayed for a humbler heart rather than just revising his skills of grammar!)

When the heart is closed to God’s spirit, the focus dwells only external and peripheral factors…
>> The heart gets closed to spiritual appreciation…
>> The mind remains curious only for rhetorical arguments!

The Gospel of the Day presents such a critically harsh and uncharitably closed attitude of the chief priests and scribes and elders towards the person and ministry of Jesus.

This is expressed in their volatile question to Jesus, “By what authority are you doing these things? Or who gave you this authority to do them?” (Mk 11: 28)

The context of today’s Gospel is the presence of Jesus in the city of Jerusalem.

Chapter 11 of St Mark’s Gospel has a progressive sequence…
1. The entry into Jerusalem (Mk 11: 1-10)
2. The entry to Bethany and cursing of the fig tree (Mk 11: 11-14)
3. The re-entry to Jerusalem and cleansing of the Temple (Mk 11: 15-18)
4. The re-entry to Bethany, observation of withered tree and teaching on faith (Mk 11: 19-26)
5. The third entry into Jerusalem and questioning of Jesus’ authority (Mk 11: 27-33)

>> The popularity of Jesus was on the rise…
… He had a rousing welcome to the city of Jerusalem

>> The impact of Jesus was also on the rise…
… He had performed a daring cleansing of the Jerusalem Temple

These factors had greatly disturbed the religious leaders.

>> In Jesus, they perceived a threat.
… a threat to their attitude of subjugating people to their yoke than to service of God

>> In Jesus, they sensed a danger.
… a danger to their personal wishes and agenda of having a monopoly over religion

>> In Jesus, they identified a menace.
… a menace to their comfort-rendering style of spirituality and way of life.

And so, they – the chief priests and scribes and the elders – seek to put Jesus to the task and question His authority on doing such deeds and performing such actions.

Their eyes are closed to see the goodness of the Lord
> Their hearts become clogged to examine their own maligned conscience
>> Their lives are rendered blocked to be willing to make necessary changes for the good.

Instead…
… they only find fault with the Lord
… they only become critical of the ways of the Lord

When the heart is closed to God’s spirit, the focus dwells only external and peripheral factors…
>> The heart gets closed to spiritual appreciation…
>> The mind remains curious only for rhetorical arguments!

Is such an attitude prevalent among us also?
> A mentality of harshly criticising…
>> A tendency to inhumanly  condemn…
… without any consideration to humanness or acceptance or self-examination etc.

May we be able to root out all such pessimistic mind-sets and focus instead of self-growth in holiness and humility.

God Bless! Live Jesus

– Fr Jijo Manjackal msfs
  Bengaluru, India