Oct 1 (Feast of Saint Theresa of Child Jesus) 


Yes, I have discovered my vocation! In the heart of the Church, I will be love” 
 – From the “Story of  a Soul”   – the Autobiography of the Little Flower
These words of great joy and exhilaration exhibit the essence of a Grand Discovery. 

A Young Person had discovered her grand vocation!  

>> The Church had discovered a grand saint!
Grand was the life that was lived. 

>> Grand still more were the graces that followed… 
A grand saint enshrined in a quiet life but adorned with much love and affection… 

>> A saint who inspires many…

>> A saint who is loved by many…

>> A saint who induces much joy… 

… St Theresa of Child Jesus – popularly known as the Little Flower of Liseux. 

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

>> There is a love to hear “high” theology…. 

>> There is a craze to talk “systematic” thoughts… 

>> There is an interest to discuss “complex” spiritualities..
Not that these are bad or not to be promoted…but these “mature” talks ought not to take one away from the basic aim of true spirituality: Love God and Loving Neighbour! 
There is a tendency that these “advanced” talks get jammed with only peripheral talks…

… and fail to translate into true action & deeds. 

It is here, that our Little Saint of the Day invites us to find a new freshness and sparkle in Spirituality. 

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

 

This Little Way of the Big Li’l Saint resonates with the Gospel of the Day (Lk 10:17-24) when Jesus invites and declares that…

….”I give You praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth… you have revealed them to the childlike” (Lk 10: 21a)’

For a child, everything is big! 

>> The toys that one plays…

>> The food that one eats…

>> The houses that one sees… 
Even the ones who take care… And especially, the ones closes to the child..probably, the parents….are very big too!

>> They mean everything to the child. 

>> They signify the ultimate for the Child. 
This is the child-likeness to which ‘The Little Flower’ grew. 
Her child-likeness had God as the Centre of her world… 

>> God meant everything for this Little Saint. 

>> God signified the ultimate for this Little Saint!
She saw herself as ‘a child’ but energized by God who directed her journey in faith.
Her child-likeness does not promote childishness or immaturity or passivity. 

>> Her child-likeness, instead encourages deeper trust and maturity and enthusiasm.
This spirituality of the Little Way sounds too simple….and too little.. 

>> But in fact and in practise, is a highly challenging one!

This is the spirituality of ‘child-likeness’: To have at the Centre and as the Ultimate, the One who can provide everything – God!
Is God the centre of my world…

… when I get drunk with a sinful and immoral life? 

…when I get over dependant on my material riches? 

… when I bank upon my own wisdom in my works? 

…when I insist on doing my will, over the Will of God?
Little Therese of Child Jesus, the Little Saint is also the Big Saint of Love! 
After a period of great inner trial and turmoil, she discovered her vocation to be love!

>> All her actions were laced with love. 

>> All her words were filled with love.
The Little lover of God invites us…

…. to adorn all our words with love 

… to embrace all our actions with love

… to beautify all our thoughts with love…
It could be…

… speaking with friends

…interacting with fellow workers

…discussing some business matters

… enjoying with family members.. 

 
It could be…

… doing household works

… handling massive finances

… studying various subjects

… performing some spiritual activities 
It could be…

… thinking some philosophical views

… reflecting about some people

… considering about some situations

… imagining some circumstances

… dreaming some visions
Whatever..whatever! 

Whatever be our words..or actions…or thoughts….let them be embellished in LOVE!
The Little Way…  Sounds simple, but not so simple in practise, right?
Yet, there is much simplicity…

… ‘cos God remains at the centre of every effort and attempt! 
There is much sentimentality, no doubt. 

>> There is much simplicity, no doubt. 
But with or without all those feelings, the Little Way simply tells us to have God at the Centre of Everything…and do all in Love!

Love demands a fidelity in the countless mundane ‘little’ things of daily life 

>> The Little Way doesn’t eliminate Heroism, rather it’s brought within the reach of the poor. 
The rains of love showers every aspect of ordinary everyday life. 

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

>> Sometimes, these “worthless petals” are nothing more than a faithful effort. 
But this fact of “having tried”, a good will “to do good”…. all these petals please the Lord!

Let us join the Little Saint to tread the Little Way. 

>> She promised to “shower roses” on the way to those who dare… 
As a child, let us hold the hands of this Li’l Big Saint to love deeper the Big Big God of Love!
Let us “live Love to give Love”! 

>> Let us “live Jesus to give Jesus”! 
Happy Feast of the Beautiful Little Flower! 

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Sep 30 (Lk 10:13-16)

God is the Great Gift Giver! 

>> He loves to lavish gifts on his creation…and especially on Human Beings, the Crown of His Creation!
Among the gifts that He has showered, one of the greatest gifts is..the Gift of Freedom!
God has bestowed this precious treasure of Freedom to each and every human being. 

>> God regards the worth and value of this gift. 

>> God respects our yes or no, to this gift!

The Gospel of the day presents to us a classic example of Freedom being lavished, but sadly being squandered away. 

>> The towns of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum were given the freedom and the choice to become part of the Kingdom of God…

… but they chose to reject and refused the Saving Message. 

The Gift of Freedom is a double-edge entity:

The gift of freedom can be used….to obtain life!

>> The gift of freedom can be misused…to obtain death!
The gift of freedom can be abused well…to receive curses!

>> The gift of freedom can be utilized well…to receive blessings!
The gift of freedom can be exploited destructively…to acquire sadness!

>> The gift of freedom can be employed constructively…to acquire happiness!

The triple cities of Bethsaida, Chorazin and Capernaum failed to use, utilize and employ constructively their freedom…

… rather, they misused, abused and exploited destructively their opportunity to find peace and salvation. 

 
And Jesus has harsh words reserved for such kind of an attitude – “WOE TO YOU!“

The word “woe” in Greek is “oh-hoo-aai” or “ouvai”!
The figure of speech is onomatopoeia – it means what it sounds like. 

>> It is a word of pain! 

>> It is the sound someone makes when they are hurt or are grieved.

When the Lord proclaims a WOE over these cities, there’s a great deal of anguish amplified with a sense of pain. 

>> The Lord was pained that these cities received wonderful opportunity to hear God’s saving message…

… but failed to turn to God in repentance.
>> The Lord was pained that these cities received great chances to see God’s miraculous deeds and wonders…

… but failed to turn to God in penance. 
>> The Lord was pained that these cities received exclusive occasions to receive God’s salvific graces…

… but failed to turn to God in humility. 

The Lord today challenges us to make an examination of our lives:

God lavishes many graces on me through regular chances to hear God’s word through the Bible, retreats, recollections, talks, spiritual magazines etc…

>> Am I using these chances to grow in my spiritual life? 

… Or am I wasting away many of such chances?
Is freedom used? 

>> Or misused? 

God showers many opportunities for me to avoid sin…

…. by giving me inspiring and holy thoughts

… by a constant urging to be good through my parents, superiors, family and community members and other people in my life…

>> Am I using these opportunities to foster my holiness? 

Or am I frittering away much of such opportunities?
Is freedom used…? 

… or misused?

 
God bestows many occasions to become a powerful witness to His love and His Gospel through different means like…

… preaching the Word

… celebrating or participating in the Eucharist and in the other Sacraments

… helping others in their needs and difficulties, praying for various people

… living a integral life in the society based on the Gospel values etc. 
>> Am I using these occasions to strengthen my Christian life? 

Or am I throwing away many of such occasions?
Is freedom used…?

… or Misused?

The example of the three cities of Bethsaida, Chorazin and Capernaum is before us and the condemnation of Jesus, because of their lackluster response is also before us.

>> Freedom is the great gift of God… 

… and God totally respects the use or the misuse of this precious gift. 
Are we going to use this Gift to gain life, blessings and happiness…? 

… or are we going to misuse this Gift to receive death, curses and sadness? 

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Sep 29 (Feast of the Archangels – St Michael, St Gabriel, St Raphael) 

An elderly parish priest was walking in the portico of the Church, when he came across a couple of young boys.
They were standing in front of the mighty statue of St Michael.
As they stood admiring the majestic figure, the younger one said to his elder brother, “Hey look, what a might sword!

>> This is the sword, which Mummy told, with which this great saint would thrust into the devil isn’t it?”
The elder one nodded and exclaimed, “Yeah! And see how triumphantly he crushes the head of Satan! Wow!”

Seeing their excitement, the priest approached them and commended, “How wonderful to see these little boys who are well taught in the teachings of the Church! Blessed is this family!”
The story goes on to say that the priest took them in the Church and taught them the beautiful prayer to St Michael (which he asked them to recite after the Holy Mass):

“St. Michael the Archangel

Defend us in this day of battle!

Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him we humbly pray,

And do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host,

By the Power of God, 

Cast into hell, Satan and all the evil spirits

Who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls, Amen!”

Today, the Feast of the Archangels – St Michael, St Gabriel, St Raphael- is a reminder by the Church to learn more about our Catholic Faith and to grow in celebrating and living this faith, in our daily living. 

 

Archangels are one of the nine choirs of angels. (cf. Eph 1:21, Col 1:16)
In ascending order, the choirs or classes are 1) Angels, 2) Archangels, 3) Principalities, 4) Powers, 5) Virtues, 6) Dominations, 7) Thrones, 8) Cherubim, and 9) Seraphim.
The Feast of the Three Archangels  – St Michael, St Gabriel and St Raphael is an opportunity to learn more about them and to grow in deeper devotion and fondness for them.
1. St. Michael

The name of the archangel Michael means, in Hebrew, “Who is like unto God?”
St Michael is known as “the prince of the heavenly host.”

>> He is usually pictured as a strong warrior, dressed in armour, crushing the head of Satan. 

>> He is also known as the “Patron Saint of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist” 
St Michael makes an appearance in the Bible on four occasions:

> In Dan 10:13 and in Dan 12:1, he appears as the special guardian of the people of Israel.

> In Jude 9, he appears in a dispute with the Devil.

> In Rev 12:7-9, he fights against Satan and his evil forces.
What does St Michael teach us?

… St Michael teaches us to depend on the power of God in our battle against the forces of Satan

… St Michael teaches us to guard ourselves against the disguises and snares of evil forces.

… St Michael teaches us to become a guard and protector of our fellow brothers and sisters.

2. St Gabriel

The name of the archangel Gabriel means, in Hebrew, “God is my strength”
St Gabriel is known as a “messenger of God”

>> He is usually pictured announcing something and sometimes with a lily or a sceptre.

>> He is also known as the “Patron Saint of the Sacrament of Baptism” 
St Gabriel makes an appearance three times in the Bible:

> In Dan 8:15–26 and  9:21–27, he appears to Daniel to explain his visions

> In Lk 1:11-38, he appears to Zechariah and Mary to deliver the good news from God
What does St Gabriel teach us?

… St Gabriel invites us to listen to God’s voice and inspirations through various sources.

… St Gabriel invites us to find courage in situations of fear, by trusting in God’s Providence.

… St Gabriel invites us to be open to surprises and wonders the Lord works in our lives.

 


3. St Raphael

The name of the archangel Raphael means, in Hebrew, “God has healed?”
St Raphael is known as “a wonderful helper and fellow traveller”

>> He is usually pictured walking with a young boy, sometimes carrying a staff.

>> He is also known as the “Patron Saint of the Sacrament of Reconciliation” 
St Raphael makes many appearance in the Book of Tobit in the Bible:

> St Raphael appears disguised in human form as the travelling companion of Tobias, the son of Tobit.

What does St Raphael teach us?

… St Raphael inspires us to discover God as the healing balm in our afflictions and hardships.

… St Raphael inspires us to walk boldly with God in all the terrains and valleys and paths of life.

… St Raphael inspires us to trust in God in seemingly hopeless and impossible hurdles of life.

Modern trends often seek to downplay some of the traditional Catholic beliefs… 

… the belief in the Angels, being one of them, perhaps!
But, this Feast is a great reminder for us to be reminded that the Catholic Teachings (like the teaching on Angels) are…

… Scripturally rooted

… Traditionally verified

… Logically reasonable

… and spiritually nourishing! 
May this Feast of the three Archangels – St Michael, St Gabriel and St Raphael –  help us to…

…  grow in our love for our heavenly friends…

>> And orient our lives more towards heaven! 

Happy Feast of the Heavenly Protectors!
God Bless! Live Jesus!

Sep 28 (Lk 9:57-62)

An very elderly priest was celebrating his platinum jubilee of his priestly ordination. 
The 90-year old priest, during the felicitation program was asked: 

“You have lived such an inspiring priestly life. 

What advice would you like to give to the younger generation of Christians and especially priests?”
With a  feeble yet firm voice, the nonagenarian replied:

” Just a simple formula…

Look to Jesus! Listen to Jesus! Learn of Jesus!”

What a lovely piece of advice, isn’t it?
>> Looking to Jesus…

>> Listening to Jesus…

>> Learning of Jesus….

… are simple yet effective means to follow the Lord, with deeper commitment and zeal.

The Gospel of the Day is this call of the Lord to follow Him more closely…

… and to introspect our motivations and motives in being a Christian

The Gospel passage presents three people who seek to follow the Lord.
These three, present before us…

… three aspects of hurdles/barriers in following the Lord.

 
These are:

1. Comforts

2. Convenience

3. Distractions

1. A “comfortable style” of following the Lord
The first person comes up to Jesus and says: “I will follow you wherever you go” (Lk 9: 57)

>> But Jesus reminds him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to rest His Head” (Lk 9: 58a)
This man had probably heard or seen the Lord…

… as a mighty miracle-worker

… as a popular preacher

… as a laudable leader
These were “comforts” that would be assured in following Jesus

>> And so perhaps, the man chose this “comfortable style of following the Lord!”
But the Lord prohibits from seeking Him for the sake of comforts alone!
2. A “convenient style” of following the Lord
The second person is asked by the Lord to “Follow” Him (Lk 9: 59b)

>> But he replies, “Let me first go and bury my father” (Lk 9: 59b)
“Bury my father” was a Jewish (Arabic) way of saying….

… one must stay in one’s house till the death of the father and settle the inheritance of the property. 
The man was yielding into to conveniences in following the Lord…

… “when I am convenient in my family, I will follow You”

… “when I am convenient in my personal life, I will follow You”
3. A “distractive style” of following the Lord

 
The third person said, “I will follow you Lord, but first let me say farewell to my home” (Lk 9:61)

>> But Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plough and looks to what is left behind, is fit for the Kingdom of God” (Lk 9: 62)
This person had the goodwill to follow Jesus…

… but was distracted in his motivation.

We need to introspect our motivations and motives in being a Christian…
>> Is my following of the Lord of a “comfortable style” …

… looking for only the comforts of prosperity and material riches…?

… being close to the Lord only in times of comfort…?
>> Is my following of the Lord of a “convenient style” …

… seeking to be with the Lord only when I “feel like” 

… adjusting my relationship with God as per my needs and conveniences

>> Is my following of the Lord of a “distractive style” …

… easily straying away from the path with worldly attractions

… failing to do the Will of God owing to distractive habits and tendencies

The Lord longs to have us following Him…

… more sincerely and more passionately!
May we always….

… Look to Jesus!

… Listen to Jesus!

… Learn of Jesus!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Sep 27 (Lk 9:51-56)

A classic riddle, known to most of us, goes thus….
There were 5 frogs sitting on a fence, at the edge of the river.

3 of them, decided to jump. 

How many are left on the fence?

Well, the answer (without any twists or catch…) is simple…

…. 5
Why 5?
Simply, because,  of the 5 frogs, the 3 of them only DECIDED to jump!

>> It is not mentioned whether they actually jumped!

Every decision need not have to be actually materialised!

>> It is not necessary that every decision is really actualised!

This aspect is very true and often found in our lives, isn’t it?
>> Many of us at the start of the new year, would have “decided” many resolutions…

… How many of us are fulfilling them? (Hopefully, some of us, atleast remember what were they!)
>> At the end of a good retreat, perhaps many of us “decided” to cultivate some good spiritual practices…

… How many of are able to still say that, “yes, I am faithfully following them?”
>> Having made a meaningful confession, we would have “decided” to part ways with some sinful habits…

… How many of us are zealously resistant in yielding to those former ways?

We constantly find ourselves, at a loss in translating…

… our decisions into practise

… our determinations into realistic actions.

This is where, we need to look up to our Blessed Lord, Who not just “decided and was determined”…

… but also lived them – with zeal and passion!

 
The Gospel of the Day is this crucial moment in the life of Jesus, as described in the Gospel of Luke…

… when “he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem” (Lk 9: 51)

Jerusalem is an important dimension in the theology of the Gospel of St Luke. 

>> All the events in the life of Jesus are oriented towards this city – the city of His ancestor David
The whole Gospel begins and ends in Jerusalem…

… begins in the Jerusalem Temple (Zechariah meeting Angel – Lk 1: 5ff)

… ends in the Jerusalem Temple (Apostles continually in the Temple – Lk 24:53)
The infancy story of Jesus in the Gospel, also begins and ends in Jerusalem…

… begins in the Jerusalem Temple (Zechariah meeting Angel – Lk 1: 5ff)

… ends with Joseph and Mary finding Jesus in the Temple ( Lk 2:42-52)
Further… 

>> The Temptations of Jesus in this Gospel (unlike in St Matthew) ends in Jerusalem (Lk 4: 9-13)
The whole public ministry of Jesus, in this Gospel, is a “journey towards Jerusalem”…

… culminating in His passion, death and resurrection!

Why is ‘Jerusalem’ so central to St Luke?

 One of the reasons, was because, this Gospel was primarily written for the Gentile Christians (non-Jews).

>> (Historically, it was a time of persecution, with the Jerusalem Temple being destroyed)
Jerusalem was the centre of the Jewish religion!

>> God had promised many blessings to the Jewish nation.

But now, even the centre of the religion – Jerusalem –  had been under persecution!
What message where the Gentile Christians drawing from this “unfortunate” incident of Jerusalem being captured?

>> Has God forgotten His promises to the people of Israel?

>> Were the people of Israel abandoned by the Lord Yahweh?

It is in this context, that St Luke places “Jerusalem” at the centre of his message.

>> And tells the people…

… that God has not abandoned His people

… that God’s ways though not understood, are always for our good!

 
And thus, we see Jesus marching, with “determination and decisiveness” towards Jerusalem!

His “determination and decisiveness” was not merely in words…

… instead, was lived out with zeal and passion!

The message of the Gospel is powerful and vivid before us….
Just like the city of “Jerusalem”, we may often find ourselves to feel…

… that my life is full of suffering and struggles

… that my life has no future or is hopeless

… that I am abandoned by everyone, even perhaps by God, in my difficult moments
But the Lord, invites and challenges us, to move…

… with “determination and decisiveness” towards this “Jerusalem” of our life!

Jesus did not shy away from the hard way of life…

… and He expects, all of us, His followers to also imitate Him!

It’s easy to take decisions….

… but we need to translate them into concrete expressions!

Let us seek to be the Followers of the Zealous and Passionate Lord….

… and be determined to have our every decision, in the spiritual realm, to be actually materialised!

God bless! Live Jesus!

Sep 26 (Lk 9:46-50)

“O Master, grant that I may never seek! 

>> So much to be consoled, as to console, 

>> To be understood, as to understand 

To be loved, as to love with all my soul…”

This chorus from the Hymn of Peace, “Make me a channel” is known to most of us.

However, in our daily life, the chorus we sing is perhaps quite the opposite… 
“O Master, help that I may always seek for more… 

>> So much to be comforted, but not to comfort others… 

>> To make sure that I am well understood, even if I misunderstand others… 

To receive an abundance of love, even if others are ignored in the process!”

Very much, true isn’t it?
>> We love to give…

… but expect to be returned back in equal or more terms. 
>> We love to donate…

… but expect to be acknowledged & given due consideration. 
>> We love to offer…

… but expect to get back something more in return.

The “I” factor often dominates many of our thoughts, our words and actions

>> We are people, who tend to have our self desires to be in the forefront!

Such a generally-found characteristic…

>> Desiring to be great

>> Wanting to have the first place 

… is on display in the Gospel of the Day.

This passage Lk 9:46-50 is the last glimpse of the ministry of Jesus in Galilee.

>> From Lk 9: 51, Jesus would begin another journey: To Jerusalem – where He would be finally exalted!

The Gospel passage begins with the verse:

” An argument arose among the disciples about which of them was the greatest.” (Lk 9: 46)

Just a couple of verses before, Jesus had instructed the disciples very strongly using the words:

“Let these words SINK into your ears…” (Lk 9:44)
Thus saying, Jesus had spoken of how He would be handed over to men.

>> It was the prediction of His Passion.

 

The words “sink into your ears” was a strong exhortation by the Lord…

… to understand that the way to be exalted is only by being humiliated on the Cross!

… to realise that the pathway to glory is always laid low in the valley of struggles and hardships! 

Humility is the key virtue to be a member of the Kingdom of God!

>> None can be a disciple of Christ without being humble

>> It would be impossible to call oneself a Christian if one is unwilling to let go of self-desires

But somehow, the disciples failed to grasp this fundamental truth.
The recounting of the Passion prediction by Jesus, probably brought in them thoughts…

… about how their Master would reign as the King!

… about how each of them would probably get an important ministerial berth!

It was this “building of castles in the air” that was the background for the Disciples to argue “who is the greatest among them” (Lk 9: 46)
>> Jesus’ message of the Cross was neatly avoided…

… and only the Crown was given prominence!
>> Jesus’ warnings about being ready for the Way of the Cross was sidelined…

… and only the dream of a ‘bed of roses’ was discussed!

Hence, the Lord uses the opportunity to remind His close ones on the need to “grow in humility”…

… with the example of a child (Lk 9: 47)

The Gospel says, “Jesus, realised the intention of their hearts…” (Lk 9: 47)

The Lord knows the hearts of all…

… He knows our hearts as well
>> And so, He looks deep into us, and invites to examine our motives and attitudes…

… Am I a person willing to humble myself?

… or am I a person, swelling in pride?

This aspect of pride could be perhaps manifested in us, subtly, in many ways…

… maybe in my words, the word “I” often appears – thus projecting myself more over others!

… maybe in my actions, I do things to show others – thus wanting self-attention and praise!

… maybe in my thoughts, I often think of my desires – thus disregarding the needs of others!

The tendency to self-project oneself is seen in many of us

>> But the Lord, who Himself lowered and humbled Himself…

… challenges us time and again, “He who wishes to follow me, must deny oneself, take up one’s cross and follow me!” (Lk 9:23)

 

The process of doing away with pride and growing in humility…

… is a slow and painful process!
The key to root out vices, is by building up virtues!

There is a need to grow in acts of humility…

… encouraging and appreciating others

… willing to do the “less flashy and glamorous” roles 

… realising that the source of all what I do and achieve, is ultimately the Lord

Let us give heed to the call of the Lord…

… seeking to grow, by humbling oneself!

May we truly pray and live…

… that we may never seek…

 >>To be consoled, as to console!

>> To be understood, as to understand!

>> To be loved, as to love with all our souls!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Sep 25 (Lk 16:19-31)

“Schindler’s List” is a 1993 American epic historical period drama film, which received 7 Oscar awards.

This movie is based in the true story of a Catholic businessman, Oskar Schindler, who lived in Poland during the 2nd world war.

After a life of initial notoriety, in which he made a lot of money, by betraying his own people…
… Schindler, later realised the horrors of the Nazi rule.

He began to use his wealth and influence…
.. in order to save his fellow Jews from the holocaust.

By the end of the war, he was reduced to having very little money
>> But in the process, had managed to save hundreds of Jews from being killed.

The last scene of the movie depicts, Schindler being thanked by the people whom he had saved.

But suddenly, Schindler began to weep!
Looking around at the people who were rescued, he exclaimed: “I could have done so much more!”

Holding up his gold watch, he moaned, “This could have bought someone’s freedom!”
>> He wished that he could have started sooner in helping people, so that many more could have been rescued!
>> His self-centredness had caused failure in saving many more people!

It was an crushing experience of “indifference in life” and the “sin of omission”!

We need to examine our life and check:
>> Am I a person who misses out on doing the good we can?
>> Do I fail to reach out the needy, even though I am able?
>> Has self-centredness became a way of life for me?

The Gospel of the Day is a powerful message to look deeper into these aspects of our life…
… and seek to be more other-centred and heaven-oriented!

The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus is set out as a play… a two-act play.
>> The plays takes place on two stages:
… the stage of this world
… and the stage of the other-world.

1. This parable could be perhaps called as a “parable of contrasts”!

The contrasts are plenty:
In the First Act (Lk 16: 19-22)….
>> A rich man  – a poor man
>> The man is rich but unnamed – the man is poor but is named, Lazarus (meaning ‘God Helps’)
>> The rich man clothed in purple  – Lazarus clothed fully with sores
>> The rich man caressed with fine linen – Lazarus licked by the dogs
>> The rich man feasted sumptuously – Lazarus desired to be fed by what fell from the table.
>> The rich man died and was buried – Lazarus died but was carried by the angels.

In the Second Act (Lk 16: 22-31)…
>> Lazarus is in Abraham’s bosom – the rich man is in Hades.
>> Lazarus receives good things – the rich man was in torment.
>> Lazarus was comforted – the rich man was in anguish

2. This parable could be perhaps also be called as a “parable of comfort and consolation”!

It’s a “parable of comfort and consolation” because….
… Lazarus, who had undergone great misery and suffering was blessed with the presence of joy of the Lord.

It  gives comfort and consolation to us, who need to be strengthened in our moments of trials and hardships, knowing that the Lord will surely look with mercy on His needy ones.
>>>> “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5: 3)

3. This parable could be perhaps also be called as a “parable of challenge and confrontation”!

It’s a “parable of challenge and confrontation” because…
… the rich man, who had a luxurious life, was condemned to torments, and had to endure the flames of suffering.

It presents a great challenge and a confrontation before us, who need to realise that “indifference in life” and the “sin of omission” are extremely punishable.
> It tells that the attitude of closing one’s eyes to the pain and misery of the other is disastrous!
>>>> “He who shuts his ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in his own time of need.” (Prov. 21:13)

We live in a world of contrasts…
… the rich gaining much and the poor losing much day by day!
… the corrupt enjoying worldly success while the honest often helpless on the losing side!
… the powerful lording over all others while the simple of heart crushed in oppression and misery!

This “world of contrasts” needs a “Gospel of Comfort and Consolation”, and towards this, we are “challenged and confronted”…
>> Challenged to get rid of our attitudes of indifference and lethargy to help the needy ones.
>> Confronted to overcome our tendencies to remain satisfied in our comforts and close our eyes conveniently to the necessities of the other.

The ways of the world constantly allure us…
…To be “dressed in purple linen and fine clothes” (Lk 16:19) and to be self-centred: “Just go about with our business and don’t consider other’s needs”
… To be “dining sumptuously” (Lk 16:19) and to look to only one’s own comforts and needs: “Live and let live. I don’t need to care about others, when I have my own cares to be attended to!”

But the Christian way of life is a challenge to this “rich man’s style of living”
>> There can be no excuse given to us…
… if we miss out on doing the good we can!
… if we fail to reach out the needy, even though we are able!
… if self-centredness has became a way of life for us!

Time is short…
… and our life is limited!

Let us begin today, with no further delay…
>> To do the good we can…
… in the best way we can!
… to all the people we are able!
… in every situation that is possible!

Let us seek to be more other-centred and heaven-oriented…
… and in this world of contrasts, make our life a ‘Good News of Comfort and Consolation’.

God bless! Live Jesus!