Aug 1 (Mt 14:13-21)

FAILURE is a seven letter word…

… that has crippled many lives

… severed many families and communities

… and broken many generations! 

Failure is something which we surely encounter very often in our lives!

>> We fail to stand up to ours and others expectations in our personal lives… 

>> We fail to answer to the needs and demands of our family or community lives… 

>> We fail to respond to the challenges and duties of our responsibilities in our societal lives… 
Failure creates clouds of hopelessness.

>> Failure develops into pangs of anxieties! 

But every Failure, can also be the Gateway to Venture into a Fresh Framework of Opportunities… 

The background of today’s Gospel is a very disturbing  one: the beheading of John the Baptist! 
>> The Voice which heralded the Coming of the Saviour…

>> The Voice which had provided hope…

… had been brutally silenced! 

Jesus, on hearing this news, withdrew to a lonely place. 
The inhuman murder…

>> Of His Cousin

>> Of His companion in the Works of the Kingdom…

… was a Moment of Great Pain to the Lord

… perhaps, even a Great Setback to Him!

 

Disappointment was apparently looming large…

>> The Mission hereafter was not going to be easy… 
Failure was knocking at the doors… 
But every Failure, can also be the Gateway to Venture into a Fresh Framework of Opportunities… 
Though filled with pain and sorrow and grief…

… Jesus continues His ministry of preaching the Kingdom of God. 
And thus we see our Blessed Lord multiplying the loaves and feeding the crowds (Mt 14: 15-21)

The Evil King Herod, had feasted on the vices of self-pleasure and debauchery 

>> The Good King Jesus, would make a feast on the virtues of compassion and self-giving!
The Evil King Herod spread a party of lewdness, trudging on the death of an innocent man 

>> The Good King Jesus would host a party of God’s Mercy and Tenderness, inviting to eternal life! 
Jesus failed to get bogged down by failures…

>> He failed to be immersed in a sea of letdowns and disappointments. 
He instead, made His Compassionate and God-trusting Heart to shine through the clouds of darkness! 

Jesus also taught His Disciples to not get disappointed or disheartened by “apparent” signs of failures or lack or success.
When Jesus asked His disciples to provide food for the hungry crowd, the disciples said:

“Five loaves and two fish are all we have here” (Mt 14:17)
The disciples were expressing their possibility of ‘facing a failure’…

… “We have no resources, Lord!”

… “All what we have is just not good enough to be successful!”

But the Lord – Who had refused to be bogged down by failure – now teaches the Disciples to also imitate Him…

>> Not being disappointed with possibilities of failures…

… instead, entrusting whatever we are and however we are, to the Bountiful Care of the Father
>> Not getting discouraged by situations of lack of success…

… instead, giving praise to the Lord at all times, knowing that He works wonders and miracles – in His Time, In His Way!

 

The same resources which signified nothingness – five loaves and two fish:

… were now transformed by the Lord as food for thousands!

… were now symbols of God’s power and providence!

You and I…

… Are we facing failures at this moment?

… Is our spiritual life going downhill?

… Are we lost in the society- facing rejections and encountering disappointments in all areas of our life?
Do we feel that FAILURE become part and parcel of our existence?
Fear not… !

>> Give up not hope…!

Let us hold on to the Lord…

… the same Lord who was “face-to-face with failure” after the brutal murder of His Cousin 

… the same Lord who worked a miracle for his disciples who were “face-to-face with failure” in ministry

Our modern world, makes it easy, for us, to “Feel” that we are a failure! 

>> But Jesus  shows that there can be a HIGHER way of understanding “Success” 

Success is…

… being  faithful, to do God’s works: However little they be – in the time & place, God wishes! 
Success is…

… persevering, to hold on to God’s Will:  However painful they be – in the manner, God wishes! 
Success is… 

… resolute to being truthful to God’s Ways: However hard they be – in the way, God wishes! 

Am I today being surrounded by a hazy atmosphere of failures and disappointments? 

>> Look up to the Lord for inspiration… 

… The Lord Who remained ever faithful to the Will of God and the Lord Who had to suffer on the Cross by virtue of His obedience and fidelity !
He shows what is true success. 

>> He shows what is real achievement. 

Yes, Faithfulness is more vital than success. 

>>  Authenticity is more needed than victory

God Bless! Live Jesus!

 Fr Jijo Manjackal MSFS

  Bengaluru, India

July 31 (Lk 12: 13-21)

King Louis IV was the King of France from 1643-1715.

He ruled for 72 years which is longest in modern European history.

>> He boasted himself as “The Great”

>> He even took great pride in calling himself “I am the state”.

 

The “Great” King had even planned his own funeral to be just as spectacular. 

 

He had instructed Bishop Massillon that upon his death…

>> He was to be laid in a golden coffin at the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris.

>>  At his funeral service the entire cathedral was to be completely dark…

… lit dimly by only one candle positioned above the coffin.

 

This was to be done so that all would be awed by the “Great” king’s presence, even in death. 

 

 

When he died,  Bishop Massillon did exactly as the King had instructed. 

 

At the funeral,  thousands of people gazed at the exquisite casket that had the mortal remains of their monarch…

… illuminated by a single flickering candle.

 

As the funeral service began,  the Bishop slowly bent down…

>>  But to the surprise of all…

…  he blew out the candle which represented the late king’s greatness.

 

Then in the darkness, the Bishop proclaimed to all: “Only God is Great!”

>> It was a rebellious cry to both  – the late king and those who were attending the funeral who had called him “Louis XIV the Great!” 

 

 

The world very often considers richness in terms of wealth, power and position, isn’t it?

> But not God!

 

The world very often greatness in terms of worldly success and accomplishments., isn’t it?

> But not God!

 

What about us?

>> Are we rich and great only in the eyes of the world..?

… or can we instead aspire and seek to be rich and great in the eyes of God?

 

 

The Gospel of the Day is a powerful reminder from the Lord on the need to understand the real meaning of “being rich”…

… and an invitation to be constantly on the guard against greed and avarice.

 

Chapter 12 of St Luke begins with the statement: “Meanwhile, so many people were crowding together that they were trampling one another underfoot” (Lk 12: 1)

 

Jesus had become a phenomenon!

>> There were hundreds and thousands of people who were following Him

 

It’s from among these thousands (the Greek word used is “myriads”) of people, that the voice of one person catches the attention of Jesus.

>> And so we read, “Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me'” (Lk 12: 13)

 

We could imagine this situation…

>> Thousands of people crowding…

>> One man manages to shout above others… probably pushing others and comes in front… and puts forward a petition…

 

It is before the whole crowd (and probably before his brother), that this man wants Jesus to pronounce a favour for him…

… a favour for getting the inheritance

… a favour for helping to get riches

 

How often is our prayer to Jesus also similar to this man’s request…!

>> We want Jesus to answer our petitions in the way “we want”

>> We want the Lord to have favours granted in the manner and time that “we want”

 

The Will of God is often not consulted

>> The Mind of the Lord is often not considered.

 

And when such “prayers of demand” and “claims of requirements” are not fulfilled or  delayed…

… we get into despair and depression

… we accuse that none of our prayers are heard

… we blame that probably God is deaf to us and that our devotions are worthless

 

The man who made his “prayer of demand” and “claim of requirement” was probably…

… influenced by a greed to be rich and wealthy

… disposed by the vices of avarice and greed

>> He was wanting to have God’s approval for the same!

 

But Jesus refuses to be dragged into such a controversy…

 

Centuries back, Moses had been embroiled in an argument and was questioned back:

“Who has appointed you ruler and judge over us?” (Ex 2:14a)

 

Jesus, aware of this, quoted in a similar fashion, ” Friend, who appointed Me as your judge and arbitrator?” (Lk 12:14)

 

Jesus had guessed the intentions of this man who put forward the petition…

>> And so He uses the occasion to teach him…and His disciples…

… and to each one of us: On the dangers of holding on to riches – things which are temporary and transient.

 

Jesus gives the Parable of the Rich Fool, and teaches us…

… It is not bad to work hard and to put in efforts to produce bountiful harvests

… it is not wrong to make use of God-given talents and reap richer produces

 

Instead, He invites us to examine our attitudes towards prosperity and our attachments towards riches!

 

It is wrong…

… when we amass earthly wealth and riches without any care for heavenly treasures and spiritual gifts

… when we get pre-occupied only with material matters and neglect the requirements of our spiritual life

… when the pleasures of the body are given higher priority over the demands of the Kingdom of God

 

The parable teaches us on the dangers of being attached to wealth and riches

>> And challenges us to “Hold lightly, to what God has given us!”

 

In the light of this parable, we need to check…

… In my personal life

>> Does God have the first place in my life or are there other attachments that are given higher priority, attention and time?

 

… In our family life

>> Do we thank God for all our blessings and continually depend on Him by cultivating a spiritual culture or are other modern gadgets and social amusements given greater precedence?

 

… in our parish, community and religious life

>> Do we orient all our activities and ministries, solely for the glory of God and the service of the needy, and seek His intervention at every decision or do we play with Christian values and even dilute or compromise them?

 

The Scripture constantly calls us to become aware of the worthlessness of earthly riches and calls to aspire for things which are higher in nature:

>> “Vanity of vanities… All is vanity!” (Eccl 1: 2)

>> “Set your minds on things that are above, and not on things that are on earth” (Col 3:2)

 

 

God considers richness in terms of doing His Will and following His commandments

> But not the world!

 

God equates greatness in terms of giving up our attachments for His sake and taking up our Cross daily  

> But not the world!

 

We are faced with this choice, at every moment….

 

>> Are we rich and great only in the eyes of the world..?

… or can we instead aspire and seek to be rich and great in the Eyes of God?

 

Let us always remember: “Only God is great!”

… and that all our works and activities ought to be always oriented solely towards the Glory of His Greatness!

 

God Bless! Live Jesus!   

July 30 (Mt 14: 1-12)

I am the voice….” (Jn 1:23) .

 

>> This voice was powerful.

>> This voice changed many.

>> This voice was a hope to many.

 

This voice, however, also disturbed a few…

… disturbed even to the point of revenge and vengeance.

 

And……slit…..!!

This voice was silenced!!!

 

The Voice was of St John the Baptist, who was martyred for his faith and for the Truth!

 

 

The world has witnessed many murders.

>> Many murders have had dangerous ploys…inhuman strategies….and heartless planning

 

The Gospel of the Day also presents before us a murder…

>> One which ranks among the top-list: The Brutal Beheading of the Voice – John the Baptist!

 

 The Beheading of John the Baptist is one of the most brutal and visually-powerful incident in the entire Gospels.

 

John the Baptist was a Prophet.

>> And a True Prophet is a truth-teller!

 

 As we read in today’s Gospel, this True Prophet, John, was the whistle-blower in crying “foul” over the illegitimate relationship between Kind Herod and his brother’s wife, Herodias.

 

Herodias hated John the Baptist…

>> She hated him because he told the truth & she didn’t like the truth.

>> She was determined to twist the truth into a lie & the lie into a truth.

 

Therefore, at the earliest opportunity, Herodias sought to direct her revenge upon the truth teller!

>> She wanted to get rid of that “crazy man” who was determined to put a moral mirror in front of her face.

 

Herodias, wanted this Voice to be silent!!

 

 To silence the true voices of the society, is the bane of any generation…

>> How many a “Voice-of-correction” of parents, is put to silence by disobedient children

>> How many a “Voice-for-morality” of  the Church, is put to silence, by modernists and liberalists

>> How many a “Voice-for-peace” of innocent people, is put to silence, by fanatics and fundamentalists

How many a “Voice-for-justice” of the citizens, is put to silence, by a negligent government

How many a “Voice-for-repentance” of  a spouse, is put to silence by a drunkard or an irresponsible partner

How many a “Voice-for-holiness” of the Lord, is put to silence, by superfluous spiritualities and comfy theologies

 

The Voice of Truth cries…

… but how many of us, seek to silence it!

  

Yes, the lives of Conscience-movers and truth-tellers are always at a risk. 

 

And this risk can even lead one to be a misfit in the society

… to be “different from others

… to even risk one’s life!

 

St John the Baptist had the courage to be the truth-teller and risk his life…

… even to be a martyr!

 

 

What are the characteristics of a True Martyr?

 

  1. Martyrs get killed not just for their convictions… but for EXPRESSING their convictions:

 

‘Play Safe’ is an ad-tag in which many Christians find refuge.

>> “Keep your mouth shut

>> ” Don’t offend people around us

>> ” It is better to be silent than sorry

… these are some of the common phrases which we Christians adopt, in moments of injustice, corruption, inequality & unfairness!

 

But true Martyrs ARTICULATED and DISPLAYED and EXPRESSED and UTTERED their faith!….

>> Yes, they witness their Faith as a  true martyr!

 

A true Martyr is a bold Witness!

 

St John the Baptist was not silent…he expressed and articulated the mistakes…

… and so he was martyred!

 

 

  1. Martyrs don’t get swayed by popular opinions and cheap popularity

A true martyr is not one who checks the pulse of public opinion & makes a statement to “please and satisfy” people.

 

A Martyr has the guts…

… to go against an oppressive and discrimination culture!

… to voice out against an unjust and demeaning authority!

… to stand firm in the midst of rippled spiritualities and patterns!

 

St John the Baptist was unfazed and unmoved before the royal immoral powers…

… and so he was martyred!

 

 

  1. Martyrs are willing and prepared to lay down their lives.

Martyrs are not escapists…who want to die to run away from the grinds of life!

 

Rather, they are people who are wholly prepared & enthusiastically willing to die, for the sake of their convictions!

 

>> They are passionate and intensely in love with their faith and their convictions!

>> They are unaffected and impassive to the dangers and risks that are involved!

 

St John the Baptist knew that he was walking precariously on the rope of risks…

… and he was always ready for it!

 

 

 

Today, You and I….are invited to be a Voice…

…in a voiceless…in a voice-oppressed…in a voice-drowned…in a voice-killed…world!

 

We are called to be ‘A voice of Truth’…

… “A Voice of correction”

… “ A Voice for morality”

… “ A Voice for peace”

… “ A Voice for justice”

… “ A Voice for repentance”

… “ A Voice for holiness”

 

St John the Baptist dared to be that VOICE – ” I am the voice….!” (Jn 1:23)

 >> Shall we too dare?

 

God bless! Live Jesus!

Jul 29 (Feast of St Martha)

Hello….check our phone please….

Do we have a Miss Call from Jesus?

The world is fast-paced.
>> Some of us are always on the move
>> Some of us are always on our feet

From very early dawn to very late dusk…
… we’re frenzied with activities & works & efforts & exertions.

Life gives us ample excuses to get busy, isn’t it?

Our cultures sometimes even measures our worth by how busy we are…
….determines our significance by how much we accomplish…
….assesses our importance by how well we meet the expectations of others!

We are often under the yoke of proving to be ‘Somebody’ by what “we do”…
…than by what “we are”!

In this busy dizzy frenzied life…
… The Lord calls our attention to Himself: “Check your phone please…. Do you have a Miss Call from ME??

We celebrate today the Feast of St Martha.

The moment St Martha is mentioned, our minds immediately paint a picture of a working lady, in the kitchen…
>> Perhaps a little irritated and vexed, that she alone has to do the serving for Jesus, the Guest.

She is also considered, often, in low tones, in comparison to her sister, Mary.

But on this her feast, we shall try to look closer into the life of this Saint…
… who sadly often remains touted only as an irritated and perplexed kitchen-lady…

>> And instead learn some important lessons from this Lovely Saint, for our Spiritual Life:

1. The Hospitable Martha

The first images of Martha is of one who loved to serve and attend to the needs of the Lord.
>> Jesus found a home and a resting place in this house of Bethany (Lk 10:38)

2. The Complaining Martha:
This popular image of Martha is a reality in this down-to-earth Saint. She is naturally worried, that she is left alone in serving the Divine Lord.

She even tends to demand the Lord to ask her sister, Mary to help her (Lk 10:40)

3. The Loved Martha

The Apostle of Love, St John, describes Martha as “the one who was loved by the Lord”(Jn 11:5)

4. The Sorrowful Martha

At the death of her brother Lazarus, Martha expresses deep sorrow and grief.

>> Her simple humanness comes to the light once again. (Jn 11:19)

5. The Trustful Martha

Though her brother died, the coming of Jesus to her home, was a great occasion for Martha to express her trust and confidence that the Lord can work wonders and great signs. (Jn 11:22)

6. The Believing Martha

Martha rose to the occasion when Jesus demands an expression of faith…

>> Parallel to Peter’s Faith Confession (Mt 16:16), Martha articulates her belief & conviction (Jn 11:27)

7. The Bold Martha

An often overlooked fact is that Jesus was often under the ire of the Pharisees and the Elders of the Law – some of them even plotting to kill this ?emerging Reformer and Restorer” of the Law.

Jesus was at a constant risk to His life.
>> And yet, the Bold Martha is courageous and daring to accept the Lord into her home and to render him a shelter and a safe haven.

St Martha serves an inspiration to us, involved in much work and yet seeking to find a home in the heart of the Lord…

She becomes a model to us…
>> Having human frailties and weakness…
… and yet wanting to tread the path of Holiness.

St Martha proves to be an example to us who gets discouraged by worries and brokenness in life…
… and yet wanting to honour to the Lord with a life of faith and strong belief.
The key is … “To Pay Attention To The Lord”

St Martha perhaps..
… had one Missed Call from the Lord: ” Martha Martha, you are anxious about many things” (Lk 10:41)….

>> But the next time onwards..she was ready to answer…!

Hello….check our phone please….

“Do we also have a Miss Call from Jesus?”

Happy Feast of St Martha!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

July 28 ( Mt 13: 47-53)

It was a physics class.

The professor noticed that one of the class students was not paying attention to the class.

So he suddenly asked this question, “Andy, will you tell me what is electricity?”

The boy, realised that he was caught unawares.
>> In fact, he had not even heard the question properly!

But he tried to be appear to have understood.

And so he said:
“Oh.. Sir.. Hmmm… Well, I am sorry.

I actually had it on the tip of my tongue, just a moment ago!

But it just escaped me right now!”

The whole class broke into laughter and the professor with a grin said:
” Oh, what a pity!

Here is the only boy in the history of the world who has ever know what electricity is and had it even on the tip of his tongue.

But sadly, he’s forgotten already!!”

Well… such is the case with many of us as well, probably.

>> There are many things we do not understand…
… but pretend that everything is known to us

>> There are many things not going on fine with us..
… but we still behave as if we are aware of everything.

We sometimes are people who affirm and consent…
… without really understanding or grasping the whole reality

>> Its a “lip” yes…
… but not a consent with the mind.

>> Its an external nodding…
… without a true affirmation from the heart.  

The Gospel of the Day presents such a classic case in the context of the disciples of Jesus saying a “Yes” to having understood the teachings of Jesus…
… To examine our lives and check whether….
>> We say only a “lip” yes without the consonance of the mind!
>> We give an external nodding without the affirmation of the heart!

The first 50 verses of the 13th Chapter from St Matthew is a quick montage of several parables…
… Seven in all…

1. Parable of the Sower (vv. 1-9)

2. Parable of the Weeds among wheat (vv. 24-30)

3. Parable of the Mustard Seed (vv. 31-32)

4. Parable of the Yeast (v. 33)

5. Parable of the man finding the treasure (v. 44)

6. Parable of the Pearl of Great Price (v. 45)

7. Parable of the Net thrown in the sea (vv. 47-50)

These 7 parables teach several great truths and virtues….

1. Preparing our hearts to receive the Generous Word of God….

2. Accepting the reality of evil in the world and being firm to be good…

3. Realising the Divine Grace that blossoms our littleness into a shelter for many…

4. Recognising the transforming effect of a committed faith…

5. Experiencing the joy of discovering the Lord as the Treasure of our lives….

6.  The Willingness to give up everything to prioritize the Lord as the Pearl of Great Prize….

7. Living a life with the awareness of the judgment of good and evil at the end of our lives!

At the end of this quick, power-packed narration of the 7 parables, Jesus puts forward a question to His Disciples:
“Do you understand all these things?”(Mt 13:51)

The Lord wished to know if His disciples were grasping these great truths of Christian Life…
>> He wanted to know from His chosen ones, the level of their understanding.

The Gospel says the Disciples “answered, ‘Yes'”(Mt 13:51b).

Well, we are not fully sure whether the Disciples really understood and grasped everything….
>> We really cant say for certain whether their “Yes”,…
… was only a “lip” yes or one with the consonence of the mind
… was an external nodding or one with the affirmation of the heart

These are many occasions in the Gospels…
… when we see the Disciples “said something” but did not actually follow it or live it
… Or they really did not fully understand and grasp the person of Jesus and His teachings

>> At the Transfiguration, when Peter said, “Let us make three tents”, the Gospel says, “he did not know what he was saying!”(Lk 9:33b)

>> After the multiplication of the loaves, the Gospel says “they had not understood the incident of the loaves”(Mk 6:52)

>> After the calming of the storm at the sea, they said to one another “Who then is this Whom even wind and sea obey?”(Mk 4:41)

>> They failed to recognise and see the Father in Jesus and so Jesus chided them, saying, “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in Me?” (Jn 14:10)

They asked Him Show us the Father.

We therefore do not really know the depth of the “Yes”of the Disciples…
… Was it only an instinctual reply?
Was it just a spontaneous answer?

We cannot fully trace the intention of the Disciples.

But this incident is certainly a reminder and an invitation for us to examine…
… Do we seek to understand the Lord and His Teachings?

… Are we aware of the greatness and the worth of the many devout practices of our faith?

Let us examine…
>> Do we realise the Power of the Most Holy Mass and prepare ourselves accordingly for a worthy celebration…
… or has it become a regular routine of life, without the due preparation and a sense of reverence?

>> Do we read the Living Word of God daily, and seek to live in accordance with His Teachings…
… or has the Bible merely become another “object” of the house, only to be kept in a place of seclusion, with an occasional glance?

>> Do our prayers and the reception of the other Sacraments become a God-experience and have a life-touching effect…
… or have they been rendered as casual or even compelled actions, with little effect on one’s life and activities? 

Yes, as Christians, we are sometimes people who affirm and consent…
… without really understanding or grasping the whole reality.

Let us instead, give heed to the Lord, who invited His followers to be like the ” instructed scribe, who is like the house holder who brings from his storeroom, both the new and the old.” ( Mt 13:52)

May we seek the intercession of St Alphonsa, whose feast we celebrate today…
… And pray for the grace to grow in our understanding of our Faith and the love of the Lord!

God bless! Live Jesus

July 27 (Mt 13: 44-52)

 

 A discovery transforms Life!

 Every age has its own discoveries and inventions which have transformed the lives of human beings.

 

These could be the discovery…

… of logical thought, of using stone tools, of fire…

… of domestication, of the wheel, of mathematics and other sciences…

… of metalworking, of language, of paper and the printing press…

… of many medicines…etc etc…

 

>> A discovery, indeed, transforms Life!

 

Discovering God, as the Supreme Treasure of One’s Life is the Greatest Transformation, one can ever have! 

>> Have I discovered God as The Most Important and Matchless Treasure of my Life?

 

 

The Gospel of the day, including the proceeding three verses, presents three parables (Mt 13: 44-50)…

…  which speak on the Kingdom of God and an Invitation to each one of us to discover its Pristine value!

1. The Parable of the Hidden Treasure:

 The olden days had the practice of hiding one’s treasure like jewellery or money in the field…especially in contexts of wars or natural calamities or foreign invasions. Sometimes, this hidden treasure remained unclaimed or forgotten….and was discovered by some “lucky” persons! >> The Parable describes one such person who discovered a treasure.

 

According to the Palestinian laws of that time, the mere finding of a  buried treasure did not entitle the finder to possess it,  unless he also owned the property in which it was found.

>> The Discoverer of our Parable does that…

…  Gives up everything, for the Matchless Treasure!

 

>> King Solomon gave up all offers of wealth, long life or vengeance on enemies…for the Treasure of the Wisdom of God! ( I Kg 3:9)

>> The Samaritan Woman, was “lucky” to chance on meeting the Thirsty Man by the well..and she discovered Him to be the Treasure of her life! (Jn 4:29)

 
The parable dares to offer ourselves totally for the sake of the Discovery of the Kingdom!
 
 

2. The Parable of the one in search of Pearls

Pearls were the most costliest and the most sought-after.

>> The trader of our Parable is on a Mission…a clear-cut mission, to discover the Fine Pearls… He is single minded in His search… He is focused on what he wants, in his task.

 

He has an amazing passion and a dedication to discover the best!

 

>> Jacob of the Old Testament was resolute in receiving a Pearl of blessing from the Angel of God (Gen 32:27)

>> Mary Magdalene was persevering in her search for the Lord, the Pearl of her life ( Jn 20:11)

 

The Parable dares us to be totally dedicated and zealous in our Discovery of the Kingdom!

 3. The Parable of the Fishing Net

 This parable is an invitation to accept the hard and unpleasant realities in our life and to make the necessary changes and amendments.

>> Not everything is goody-goody when it comes to spiritual life…

>> Not all is well when we consider the life in the Church…

>> Not all is ok in our personal or family or societal life!

 

We need to strive to cast away the unwanted elements…

… and thus be willing to live a purified and sanctified life!

 

>> The People of Nineveh gave up their sinful life to embrace a life in God Yahweh (Jon 3:5)

>> Zacchaeus was boldly able to throw the unwanted aspects of his life after encountering Jesus (Lk 19:8)

 

The parable dares us to cast away the unbecoming aspects of our life, in our Discovery of the Kingdom!

 
 

These 3 parables when applied to our personal spiritual life, would also give us the 3 key Virtues, that forms the basis of a True Spirituality:

1. Renunciation: “The parable of the Hidden Treasure” is a call to renounce our everything in order to Possess the Kingdom. (Mt 19:21)

2. Longing: “The Parable of the one in search of the pearls” is a call to have an intense thirst and longing for Jesus and His Kingdom!

 3. Humility: “The Parable of the fishing net” is a call to humble ourselves and acknowledge  our limitations and weaknesses so as to grow in perfection of the Kingdom!

 

 Let us discover…

>> A  true Spirit of Renunciation…

>> A fervent heart of Longing…

>> A gentle mind of Humility…

 

Yes, a discovery can transform life!

>> King Solomon discovered the need to boldly choose the Wisdom of God over all other things (I Kg 3:9)

>> Paul discovered a great Trust in God’s Providence by saying, “all things in life happens for good! (Rom 8:28)

 

 Have I discovered God as The Most Important and Matchless Treasure of my Life?

 

God Bless! Live Jesus! 

Jul 26 (Feast of Saints Anne and Joachim)

All of us at sometime or the other, have come across Family pictures…

… the one bearing many generations of family members

>> The grandfather and grandmother…with their sons and daughters and their spouses and their little children etc. 

Perhaps, some of us, ourselves, have such family portraits or pictures with us. 
Every such Family Photo gives a nostalgic feel…. 

>> Those are not mere printed papers…. 

>> They contain legacies…. they are filled with memories…..
They give a glimpse of the past: struggles, disappointments, mistakes, events hard to acknowledge…. 

>> They give an inkling to the future: love, laughter, hope, blessings …. 

>> They are a witness to the present: unity, fellowship, brokenness, anger….

A Family Photo also reveals…the Presence of the Higher Power – God…

…  Who has worked in unknown yet amazing ways. 
His presence is very much seen in many of our family situations. 

>> Hard situations converted to moments of grace

>> Tough times transformed to strengthening situations
A Family Photo has it all…..

Today we gaze at the Family Photo of our Beloved Saviour.

>>We specially recall and cherish the Blessings of God, bestowed on the privileged Grandparents of Jesus & the Parents of Blessed Mother Mary…

… St Anne and St Joachim.

 

Hardly anything is known about Saint Ann and Saint Joachim. 

>> Their photos are blurred and hazy . 

>> They’re absent in the Bible. 


There are stories and legends that have come down to us through the ages and tradition.

Though we don’t know many details about the life of this couple, we can firmly assume a few things:

>> They were simple people of great hope looking for the Coming of the Messiah… 

>> Their faith in God was the guiding force of their lives ! 

The lives of Saints Joachim and Anne remain shrouded in mystery, lost to history. 

But one thing, we know with certainty:  The legacy of their daughter, Mary—the Woman entrusted by God the Father to become the Mother of God. 

>> It was their teaching that led Mamma Mary to say Her Fiat – Yes, to God. 

>> It was their upbringing that helped Mamma Mary to stand firm in the midst of unforeseen events. 

>> It was their example that helped Mamma Mary to be strong in the face of immense pain and sufferings !
Yes, God chose two very unlikely individuals – Anne & Joachim –  to help in His Plan for the Salvation of the world.
 

Is God looking at you and me at this moment…..? 

Like He chose this insignificant Couple….

… He looks at each of us – in hope and expectation

Let us look at our Family Photo…not just of the blood-related family, but the whole Human Family…

 

>> There are many faces dejected …

>> There are many hearts broken …

>> There are many souls in sin…

>>There are many lives shattered…

>> There are many minds confused …

>> There are many wills unrepentant …

>> There are many bodies abused …

>> There are many characters in filth… 


In the world, we find seeds of both types: good and bad (Mt 13:38)

As people of the Kingdom, we need to…

… Give heed to the Sower

… Be willing to grow, despite the evil around us

The Lord is calling us… like St Anne and Joachim to reach out to this human family…

… and to fill the world with hope and faith and love!

Pope Benedict XVI says: ” Often we are led to believe that sainthood – holiness – is reserved to a few chosen ones .

>> Saintliness, the fullness of Christian life, does not consist in the achievement of extraordinary feats, but in uniting oneself with Christ … in making his disposition … his behaviour … our own “!

Saints Ann and Joachim saw the mighty hand of God at work in their lives. 

>> They heard God’s voice yet wondered how God could possibly use them. 

>> They stepped forth in faith, not knowing where the journey led… 

But God rewarded them….. With the Beautiful and Precious Daughter…Mary! 

Today they gladly rejoice…in being blurred, yet significant characters in the Divine Family Portrait …. glittered and ‘halo’ed and dazzling…. 

… with the grandeur of  Jesus , the King of Kings, their precious grandchild….

… and the Loveliness of Mary, the Queen of all Hearts, their beloved daughter!

Happy Feast of Mamma’s parents to all.

>> May their Li’l Divine Prince bless us! Live Jesus!
– Fr Jijo Manjackal MSFS

 Bengaluru, India