Sep 21 (Feast of Saint Matthew – Mt 9:9-13)

There are a few things which are not understood in life…
(Well, don’t worry…. we are not getting too philosophical here…!)
One among these… which has perhaps, intrigued many, including me is… a physician’s (doctor’s) medicine prescription! 
(Are physicians reading this more closely now??)
The physician usually is a busy person, with many patients to be attended to and many in distress seeking his/her advice.
In the midst of this heavy work, the medical prescription is often scribbled down.
Many times their handwriting goes for a toss! >> Many times the legibility of this writing is hard to decipher!
This untidily written prescription of medicines is often not much understood by the patient.
This quickly scribbled medicine prescription is often criticized by the patient’s attendants…

… “Why can’t they write neatly?”

… “Who can understood this indecipherable paper?”

But the Physician is quite at ease with the prescription!

>> The poor writing doesn’t disturb…

>> The illegibility doesn’t come in the way.

>> The scribbled letters don’t prevent from suggesting the right medicine.

The physician’s prescription in the hands of people who do not understand and grasp, is a cause of irritation and criticism!
The physician’s prescription in the hands of person who understands them well, is a cause of life-giving medicines!

The script is the same, but…

… to the one who fails to understand, it becomes a basis of cribbing and complaining

… to the one who understands it well, it becomes the source of life and vitality

The Gospel of the Day is nice setup – a Physician, a chief patient, other patients 

& some complaining people! (Mt 9:9-13)

The Physician is the Lord Himself…

The chief patient is Matthew, the tax collector…

The few other patients are the other sinners and tax collectors…

The set of complaining people are the scribes and the Pharisees…

Jesus, the Great Physician is out on His regular rounds…

… of nursing the wounds of people with His soothing bandages

… of strengthening the brokenness in people with His powerful words

… of touching the miseries and sicknesses of people by His healing touches

On one such round, He comes across Matthew, the tax collector

(Mt 9:9a)

>> He sees him busy at his desk, counting the money, exchanging coins…
>> Jesus sees in Matthew, a man who perhaps has indulged in cheating…

>> Jesus sees in Matthew, a man who has been looked down badly by the local people…
The physician Jesus, sees in Matthew, a patient who is sick and in trouble.

>> And so, He scribbles down a prescription…”Follow Me” (Mt 9:9b)

The patient, with this prescription is happy and relieved…

… because he realises, the Physician has given him a prescription that will bring him life!
Matthew must have not understood much of this prescription…. But he follows the great Physician!
However, the other people who watch and see this prescription…fail to understand it! 
And they begin to complain and groan, “Why does He eat with tax collectors and sinners?” (Mt 9:11)
Yes, the Physician’s prescription in the hands of people who do not understand & grasp, is a cause of irritation and criticism!

>> The Physician’s prescription in the hands of  people who understands them well, is a cause of life-giving medicines!
But Jesus, the Great Physician of Galilee, knows well & is confident of the prescription that He has given to His patient. 
And so He boldly proclaims, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mt 9:12)

Is any of us sick among us?
>> Spiritually sick….with crisis with God or difficulties in prayer life or a standstill in faith?
>> Emotionally sick….with hard feelings hitting our life or unable to handle various moods?
>> Physiologically sick…with painful diseases and ailments or troubling aches, hurts and ills?
>> Financially sick…with businesses and jobs going down the drain and no hopes seen ahead?
>> Socially sick…with ill-acceptance by others and painful  rejection by those whom we love? 

Then the Great Physician is out here…. to heal and touch us! 
No matter whether the prescription…

… is not understood by us

… is criticized by other people
It makes perfect sense to the One who has prescribed it!

>> It makes perfect sense to the One who is to give the medicines! 

The Great Physician is available… Come, let us go to Him…for His Healing and Life-Saving Prescription!

Happy Feast of St Matthew!
God Bless! Live Jesus!

Sep 20 (Lk 8:19-21)

We live in a generation where clicking photos and taking selfies have become a sort of a norm!

>>  And when photos or selfies of a group are clicked, there is often a crowding together of many people to come inside the photo frame…to be seen visible in the photo that is clicked.
To jostle together to get inside a photo-view or a photo-frame, can be fun…and sometimes real tough too.

Today, the Divine Master Jesus, is out to click a photo…to capture on frame all who belong to His Family… 

>> There is a lot of jostling and shoving and pushing by people to sneak inside this photo frame.
But Jesus makes a clear demarcation: “Only those who hear the Word of God and do it are to be a part of this Family Photo frame”!

The Gospel of the Day depicts the incident where the mother and brothers of Jesus come to meet Him…

… and He declaring that His mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and do it in their lives”

Jesus loves to break new ground. 

>> He loves to define new concepts. 

>> He dares to look at things with innovation.
And here, Jesus revolutionizes and redefines the understanding of belonging to God’s Family.

In the Gospel of Luke 2:41-52, we have the incident of Jesus getting lost in the Temple of Jerusalem. 

When Mother Mary questioned Him why He had done so, Jesus replies back: “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
Jesus shows His priority and importance with respect to relationships and familial ties.

Relationship in a human family is understood in terms of connectivity of blood. 

>> Relationship in Jesus’ family is to be understood in terms of connectivity of hearts.

 

Relationship in a human family is defined by association with a particular lineage and ancestry. 

>> Relationship in Jesus’ Family is defined by association with hearing and doing God’s Will. 

The true family has God as its Father and whose children are those “who hear the word of God and act on it.” 

>> The true family in the Kingdom of God, is not first determined by bonds of earthly kinship, but rather by the bonds of spiritual kinship! 
The true family is the family of God, the church, the body of Christ. 

>> The early church father, St. Cyprian of Carthage, said quite rightly, “You cannot have God as your Father, if you do not have the Church as your Mother.”  

 
Too often in times past, Christians, especially, we Catholics, have taken great pride in our faith. 
But today perhaps we need to examine the basis and validity of this our claim and pride…

>> Am I proud to be a Catholic merely because I have been born and brought up with a Catholic upbringing… 

… or can I be proud I am a Catholic because I know and live its teachings and traditions in my life? 
>> Am I proud to be a Catholic merely because I attend regularly Sunday masses and fulfill some church obligations…

… or can I be proud that I am a Catholic because I have a deep faith in the Sacraments especially in the Eucharist?
It’s great to be called a follower of Christ…and enjoy privileges and benefits as a Christian… 

>> But it’s a challenge to live His teachings and principles in our life, and truly be called His follower!
It’s nice to be called as a follower of Christ and be known in the society as belonging to a “peaceful and nice” community… 

>> But it’s a challenge to live the virtues of love and patience and follow God’s Will in our lives, and truly being a peaceful and nice Christian. 

Yes, the Divine Master Jesus, is out to click a photo…to capture on frame all who belong to His Family… 

>> Let us do God’s will so that we may be part of His Family Photo!
Say Cheese?

God Bless! Live Jesus

Sep 19 (Lk 8:16-18)

Some scientific experiments are fairly simple and practical, yet quite interesting and exciting too. 
One such experiment, which some of us would have tried or seen others doing…

… is producing fire with the help of a magnifying glass. 
The magnifying glass is kept in front of a piece of paper with the sunlight falling on the magnifying glass, in such a way that a small bright dot appears on the paper. 
In sometime, with a strong sunlight, one is able to observe that the paper has caught fire!
>> The magnifying glass acts as a medium, to let the sunlight pass through and converge, in order to generate fire! 

>> The magnifying glass plays a significant role in transferring the heat of the sun to objects which are focused! 

Our Life as a Christian ought to be similar…

In the Gospel of the Day, Jesus tells to His disciples, “No one, after lighting a lamp, covers it with a bowl or puts it under the bed; rather he puts it on a lamp stand, so that people coming in may see the light…”  (Lk 8:16)

This passage in the Gospel of St. Luke is just preceded by the Parable of the Sower (Lk 8: 4-15). 
The parable of the Sower beautifully illustrates the various modes of reception of the Word of God. 

>> When the Word of God is welcomed and received with a open heart, one is able to bear fruit…fruit in abundance. 

A person, who receives God’ Word with an open heart and a receptive mind is able to reflect it in one’s life.

>> And this is where, a Christian Life resembles a Magnifying Glass which allows God’s Word to pass through and kindles others with the fire of His love! 

We need to be an open and active medium allowing God to permeate through us, in order to let others experience His Love!

 
>> Do I allow God’s word to work in me, so that the depressed may experience God’s light of joy and happiness? 

>> Do I sanction God’s power to direct me, so that the suffering humanity may experience God’s light of healing?

>> Do I permit the seed of God’s word to take root in me, so that the sinful may experience God’s light of mercy?

>> Do I agree to the authority of God to control me, so that the weak may experience God’s light of strength?

>> Do I let God’s commandments to guide me, so that the wayward may experience God’s light of acceptance?

Jesus says, ” No one, after lighting a lamp, covers it with a bowl or puts it under the bed…” 
Times have changed drastically however…

Earlier times, one used to be proud to call oneself as a Christian and witness boldly to be known as one. 

>> Today, perhaps, many of us feel a tweak and go a bit uncomfortable when called publicly as a Christian!
What was a matter a pride some years has today possibly become a matter of awkwardness and uneasiness.

How well do I witness the Light of Christian Faith to the world outside?
There are many tiny yet significant gestures and practical actions by which we may be hiding the Christian Light in us, with a bowl, and not allowing it to shine forth…

>> Feeling ashamed to bow publicly before the Blessed Sacrament or as we enter a Church…

>> Feeling uneasy to make a sign of the cross or say prayers before meals when many are there…

>> Feeling embarrassed to be called a Christian or a Consecrated person in a secular surrounding…

>> Feeling disinterested to carry a Bible or wear a crucifix around the neck or hold on to a rosary etc… 

>> Feeling strange to either wear or avoid certain dresses or habits, especially thinking what will others feel…

>> Feeling awkward to say about Jesus or the Gospel virtues to our friends, thinking that our thoughts are naive…

>> Feeling bored to participate in the Sacraments and show no interest in making extra efforts to prepare for them…

There are many more occasions wherein we may be losing out a chance to witness Christ and His Love!

 
The nature of the sun, is to shine upon and enliven the whole earth. 

>> But if one puts a magnifying glass in the rays of the sun over a paper, this light  of the sun will turn into fire.
The nature of God’s love is to shine upon and enliven the whole universe. 

>> But if we act as a magnifying glass, united with Jesus, our Lord, this light of God’s Love will turn to fire!

Let us let the light of love to burn and blaze like a radiating fire through our lives! 

>> Shine, Jesus, Shine!

 

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Sep 18 (Lk 16:1-13)

A young man who had recently converted to Christianity was filled with a lot of zeal for the Lord.

>> He was a barber by profession. 
Once, he got a customer, with whom he engaged into a conversation (as do many of the barbers!).
As they were talking, it was revealed that the customer was a Christian, who was no longer practising his faith and had little consideration for the Church and acts of devotion to God. 
Meanwhile, the barber had lathered up the customer for a shave, and had the razor in his hand.
Holding the sharp razor in his hand, ready to shave the customer, the young and zealous Christian barber asked this question: “Are you prepared to meet your God?”
The customer..

… seeing the razor in hand and the question posed with so much of vigour…

… fled the shop, with lather on his face!
What about us?

“Are we prepared to meet our God?”
The Gospel of the Day is a sharp reminder on the need for us to take our spiritual life more seriously…

… have a greater zeal for spiritual matters than even those with worldly desires

…. Make a radical choice for the Lord and Him alone, as the treasure of our life! 

Jesus speaks of the parable of the dishonest steward. 

 
The Steward, who was working under a rich man, has been reported for deceitful service. (Lk 16:1)
He realized that his job would be terminated very shortly!

>> He needed to produce his accounts.
.. it was a situation of tension for him!  
But this steward was a wise and shrewd person!
He did not allow the tense situation to overpower him!

>> Instead, he became the master of the situation and became a controller of the entire crisis-situation…
His brain worked super-fast…his shrewdness gained momentum!

>> He called his master’s debtors, and his pen was set to work…
The debt of one hundred jars of olive oil, was manipulated to fifty…

>> The debt of hundred measures of wheat was reduced to eighty…

It is good for us to know the process of business done in the first century Jewish society.
The amount charged to a customer who purchased on credit would include three things:

1. The price of the product

2. The interest charged by the owner

3. The commission to be earned by the steward.

The steward could add whatever commission he thought he could collect.

>> That was his profit.
In this case of our parable, the shrewd steward probably reduced his commission, and perhaps some of the interest added to the loan.
>> The rich master lost no money as he made sufficient profit…

… The customers gained happiness as their debt was reduced.
>> The steward lost some of his profit…

… but he gained much more: an enhanced reputation, some friends, and lots of security.
It was a win-win situation for all – the Master, the Customers and the Steward!
Well.. all this sounds interesting…

… with this shrewd steward and his crafty style of management.

But what is the message in for us?
One important message that we can take home is that…

… the steward was ever alert and prepared to take any risks and chances, to ensure a good future!

>> He never went into a lethargic or casual mode!
The shrewd steward was ever-prepared to face the future! 

What about us? 

>> Are we prepared…

… in our spiritual life?

… to meet our God? 

The shrewd steward never allowed the “Attitude of Lethargy” to conquer him.

> He was pro-active.

>> He was courageous.

>>> He was bold.

Here is the challenge for us…

>> If this is what the Steward could do, to earn those things that are temporary…

… how much more should we be doing for those things that count for eternity?
>> If this is what the Steward could do, to please his boss & for a secure future life…

… should we not be doing much more, to please God?

Sometimes, it’s incredible to see the great efforts undertaken by people to gain expertise and mastery in the skills of the world…

>> Sportspersons practise for many many hours to sharpen their skills…

>> Singers and musicians put in many many hours of practise to gain proficiency…

>> Students preparing for competitive exams spend nights & days to crack the tests…

Do we put that same kind of love, energy and creativity…

… into building up the Church

… into contributing to the Kingdom of God

… and into the things that are to serve God?

We can’t afford to get lethargic in matters related to God, to eternal life, to spirituality etc.
However, many of the times, we take things for granted…

>> Skipping prayer time or spiritual exercises… (We are tired!)

>> Failing to read sometime of Word of God…(We have so many other works!)

>> Missing the Sunday Holy Eucharist…(We get that as the only day to relax more!)

>> Failing to go for confessions… (We say that anyway God will understand me!)

>> Not caring much about our spiritual life…(We remark that God is after all, lenient and nice!)

The Parable of the Shrewd Steward has some negative shades…

>> But it has a very relevant and challenging tone to shake us off from our “Attitude of lethargy” to Life.

We are put forth this question: “Are you prepared to meet your God?”
Are we going to flee away from this question…

… with the lather of lethargy and laziness clinging to us?? 

God bless! Live Jesus!

Sep 17 (Lk 8:4-15)

“Hello… Hello? Are you there?”
Most of us use mobile phones… 

>> One of the most common troubles that many of us face in the usage of mobiles is the problem of range (network).
There are many a times, especially, when one happens to frequent rural areas, that a message pops up on the mobile screen…

…”Network not found!”

…”Out of Range!”

 

We feel ourselves so much lost and becoming impatient when such situations arise. 
This level of anxiety increases all the more when we have an urgent call to be made or in an emergency!
Sometimes, one person keeps muttering and talking…

… but the other one, having lost range, fails to hear anything! 
All that remains perhaps is: “Hello… Hello? Are you there?”
Well… there is so much of tension and  stress suffered when we miss our range or our network… 
Isn’t it?

But have we ever given a thought to what will happen if God goes out of range, in dealing with us? 

>> Perhaps many of us, might not even become aware that sometimes we are in a “no-network” zone with God!

Through the Gospel of the Day, the Lord invite us to examine the level of life that I am, in my spiritual life.

The Parable of the Sower broadcasting an uncounted number of seeds is very much familiar to us. 
A great number of seeds are sown…and they fall on varieties of soil…and the reactions of each one is varied too. 

>> A great number of words are spoken by God…and they fall on varieties of ears…and the response of each one is varied too..
1. Seeds falling on the way – an Attitude of “Paying no mind” to God’s words.

The seeds that fell on the way were trampled upon….and the birds of the sky ate it up.
>> God’s words are often not given due consideration…

…we remain unaffected and unmoved by it.
>> God’s words are often not given due importance…

… we take for granted as being too common and familiar.

 

>> God’s words are often not given due respect…

… we fail to esteem the seriousness and gravity of the Word of God! 

2. Seeds falling on the rocks – an Attitude of “Passing”

The seed that fell on the rocks, when it grew, withered for lack of moisture. 
>> The Word of God sometimes makes us very thrilled…

… but we soon become slack and sagging and lethargic.
>> The Word of God sometimes finds quick response…

… but we soon die out in the commitment and dedication.
>> The Word of God sometimes makes us take radical decisions…

… but we soon fade in our enthusiasm and passion! 

3. Seed falling among the thorns – an Attitude of “Preoccupation”

The seeds that fell among the thorns got choked by the thorns.
>> God’s words often gets strangled… 

… in the midst of immoral living and corrupt practices. 

… in the presence of many diluting and misleading spiritualities. 

… with too many materialistic and worldly concerns and affairs. 

4. Seed falling on the good soil – an Attitude of “Perception” 

The seed that fell on the good soil gave fruits of various measures. 
>> The Word of God when received properly brings true joy and happiness to life. 

>> The Word of God when received properly helps us to share the love and joy of the Lord.  

>> The Word of God when received properly makes our life a source of blessings for others 

God goes on speaking… He goes on sharing His Word… 

>> Am I paying no attention to Him? 

>> Am I taking His words just for passing? 

>> Am I being too much preoccupied with many things and fail to listen to Him? Or… 

>> Am I perceiving and understanding His word clearly and able to produce fruits for the Kingdom of God? 

 


Let us make sure that we are in the range and network of God.. 

>> He constantly keeps calling us and sends many SMSs. 
Are we listening to Him? 

“Hello… Hello? Are you there?”

God bless! Live Jesus!

Sep 16 (Lk 8:1-3)

Thanksgivings raise our hearts to God with a sense of joy and satisfaction. 

>> Thanksgivings ought to be an occasion to praise the Lord for His graciousness and wonderful deeds!
But how pitiful would a thanksgiving be, if it becomes an opportunity to showcase one’s petty mindedness! 

>> How dreadful would a thanksgiving be, if it becomes an occasion to insult or mock God’s creation!

And here is a typical example of this sort of a pitiable and condemnable thanksgiving…

(Disclaimer: The following is not a concocted or a fictitious statement) 

“Blessed are you, Lord, our God, ruler of the universe who has not created me a woman.” 
Read that again??
“Blessed are you, Lord, our God, ruler of the universe who has not created me a woman!”  

This thanksgiving is a  part of a sequence of blessings, found in the Jewish Talmud…

… a huge collection of doctrines and laws which was to be recited by every Jew in the morning hours of the day. 
This formula of “thanksgiving” is an indication of the sad status of women in the Jewish Society. 

>> There was much discrimination and unfairness against the women. 
The male chauvinism had totally clouded the minds, which sometimes even denied basic dignity to them! 
The women needed a holistic liberation. 

>> They needed a true status. 

>> They needed an honest acceptance. 

 
The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus, the true liberator, breaking some new ground in granting a new status to the discriminated and oppressed class of Women. 
“Accompanying Him were the Twelve and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities…..and many others who provided them out of their resources” (Lk 8:1) 
Women who have been healed & have experienced the goodness of the Lord accompany Him in His mission & support Him with their resources. 

We can take a couple of lessons from these few yet  significant words from the Gospel of St Luke: 
1. Broken to Blossom 

Jesus broke some societal traditions to blossom people to experience genuine freedom and liberty. 
Women were generally kept out of public life… 

>> They were forbidden from reading the Sacred Scriptures. 

>> They were mainly reduced to mere onlookers, and not participants in the Sabbath worship. 

>> They had a specially designated outer court at the synagogue, which was located beneath the court for men. 

>> They weren’t allowed to divorce, for the most serious faults; men were allowed even for the most trivial ones. 
But Jesus loved to break open…to let free…and to allow people to blossom! 
>> Jesus permits Mary of Bethany to sit at His feet ( Lk 10: 39)

>> Jesus touches a little girl who was dead and restores her to life (Lk 8:54)

>> Jesus allows Himself to be touched by a woman in hemorrhage (Lk 8:44)

>> Jesus engages in a life-transforming conversation with the woman at the well (Jn 4:7-26)

>> Jesus lets the sinful woman to wash and to be showered with kisses of love on His feet (Lk 7: 38)

>> Jesus had strong words for the practice of divorce which had reduced women to mere objects ( Mt 19:3-9) 

Do I let unhealthy and inhuman practices or mentalities to govern my life, or do I break free and blossom?

>> Do I give in to societal pressures in following certain norms or thought-pattern even if they are harmful?

>> Do I fail to be bold and courageous to initiate a change in attitudes, in order to achieve genuine liberation? 

2. Transformed to Tread! 

The women who were touched by the Lord, had found greater meaning in their life and they accompany the Lord in His ministry and mission. 

 

They were not people who only sought favours; they rather happily extended gratitude and thankfulness.

>> They were not people who wanted Jesus only to get something; they rather had much to give to the Lord in return.

>> They were not people who lived for mere material needs; they, in fact, focussed their attention on higher values of life and of the Kingdom! 

What is my response to the Lord who has showered my life with many blessings at crucial moments of my life… 

>> Do I tread in His path after having been transformed with His Grace?

>> Do I get stuck with seeking only material favours and fail to allow them to lead me to a deeper God-experience? 

>> Do I only remain with the prayer of intercession and prayer of asking, but not grow higher to prayer of thanksgiving and prayer of praise? 

We live in times when the cry for deeper respect and genuine esteem for women is on a high. 

You and I can make a great change in our society, by our attitude and our determination, with the grace of God! 

Let us cast away barriers which reduce people to mere objects…which yokes people, especially women. 

>> Let us imitate Jesus the liberator to Break open to Blossom…

… and also grow in our commitment to Tread after having been Transformed by Him! 

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Sep 15 (Feast of the Mother of Compassion) 

The Church abounds in celebration of many feasts.

>> All of them focuses our attention on the joyful and happy aspects of life. 
But we know, that…

…. Life is not always a superhighway

>> Life is more a kuccha (temporary) road with many pits and rough areas!

The Church today celebrates one such feast of our Blessed Mother, which is a celebration for sure…

… but focuses our attention more on the darker realities of life – pain, suffering, tears and struggles: The Feast of the Mother of Compassion.
This feast is characterized by the commemoration of the Seven Sorrows of our Blessed Mother…

… seven major events, evoking compassion, in the life of “Mater Dolorosa” (Mother of Sorrows)
Let us journey with our Blessed Mamma through the Seven Mysteries of the Sorrows: 
1. The First Sorrow: The Prophecy of Simeon

The time was festive and the mood was joyous when Jesus was being presented in the Temple. 

>> It’s in this special time that Simeon comes forward to bless the Child Jesus. 
But it comes with a catch: Mother Mary was to be pierced by a sword – a sword of sorrow! 

>> The celebratory atmosphere suddenly turns a bit gloomy and overcast!
Many are the times when we enjoy joyful moments, when a sudden crisis hits our life. 

>> The Compassionate Mother Mary becomes the Model for us : To be Patient and Trustful!

2. The Second Sorrow: The flight into Egypt

Mother Mary and Joseph took up the great duty in the safeguarding of their Little One, Jesus! 
They listened to God’s voice…

…. to come together as the parents of God’s Child 

… to share the difficulties during the Birth of the Child. 

>> And now, they listen to God’s voice to flee to Egypt and save the Saviour of the World!

 
To listen to the voice of the Lord, was a remarkable aspect of the success of their life as a couple!  
To listen to God’s voice through the Bible, through our authorities or through our life situations sometimes becomes difficult for us.

>> The Compassionate Mother Mary becomes a model for us: To be attentive and Obedient to God’s voice. 

  

3. Third Sorrow: The Loss of Jesus in the Temple

The picture of the Holy Family had also some shadowy spots.
They were not free…

… from troubles

… from doubts

… from conflicting situations
The Holy Family was very much a human family.  
But what made them Holy and a Model for families?

>> It was their willingness to let go of their personal mindsets and seek how God wanted them to live.
Often, we find our families or communities broken and unable to gel with each together.

>> The Compassionate Mother Mary, as the Mother of the Family, becomes a model for us: To adapt to God’s Will. 
4. The Fourth Sorrow: Mary meets Jesus on the Way to Calvary

The sight of the Mother and Child meeting on the Via Dolorous was a picture of total sadness!
Tears filled both their eyes… 

… the Divine Child and the Sorrowful Mother! 
 One with a Cross over the shoulders…

… the other a cross in Her heart! 
>> Both their lips, however, sang the same chorus –  Fiat, Thy Will be done Lord!
Life often puts us to situations of total hopelessness and darkness…

… the way ahead seems closed!

>> The Compassionate Mother Mary becomes a model for us: To remain faithful and loyal.

 

5. The Fifth Sorrow: Jesus dies on the Cross

>> At the Annunciation, when asked to give birth to a child, Mary had asked the Angel: “But how can this be since I am a virgin”. 
>> At Calvary, when seeing the death of the child, perhaps, Mary was asking the Lord, “But how can this be since I am a mother”
They were questions which expressed human limitations and the demand to let everything be resigned into the hands of God!
We ourselves have had many such mini-experiences of Dying – of loved ones, of relationships, of great dreams.. 

>> The Compassionate Mother Mary, becomes a model for us: To accept our human boundaries and give ourselves into God’s hand. 

6. The Sixth Sorrow: Mary receives the Dead Body of Jesus in Her arms

“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me”, was the cry of the Lord from the Cross. 
With Her Dead Child in Her arms, perhaps, the Mother of God would have also echoed the same question! 

>> No answer given. 
Yet, the tears that dropped from her lovely eyes, to the cheeks of her tender baby, carried the power of Hope and Trust and Faith!
We too sometimes encounter situations and times, when life crushes us

>> The Compassionate  Mother Mary becomes a Model for us: To remain resigned to God’s Providence and  be hopeful in faith!

7. The Seventh Sorrow: The Body of Jesus is placed in the Tomb

As the body of Jesus was placed inside the tomb, it seemed to be the end of the world for Mother Mary.
The life of the Old Testament Isaac was spared and Abraham had to joy of being reunited with his Son. 

>> The life of the New Testament Isaac was however not spared! 
Was it the end of her life too?

Circumstances often drags us to give up in life…and to abandon our call to be soldiers of God’s Kingdom!

>> The Compassionate  Mother Mary becomes the model for us: To reply to life’s harsh challenges with an even bolder face of courage!

Let the Commemoration of this Feast of the Mother of Sorrows…

… spur us  to live our Real Lives of Struggle and Hardships with Immense Faith, Hope and Love!
May Her Compassionate Love help us to imitate our Blessed Lord who was “meek and humble of heart”…

… and thus “be Merciful, like the Heavenly Father is merciful” (Lk 6:36)

Happy Feast of the Mother of Compassion! 

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Sep 13 ( Lk 7:11-17)

“Abide with me fast falls the eventide; the darkness deepens, Lord, with me, abide

When other helpers fail and comforts flee; Help of the helpless, O abide with me!”
Hold thou Thy cross before my closing eyes; shine through the gloom, and point me to the skies;

Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee; in life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.”

This hymn “Abide with me”, (found in ‘Night Prayers in The Divine Office’) is one of the very heart-touching hymns…

…sung especially in times of funerals.
They stir up feelings of mourning and the pain of loss…

…they also stir up a sense of hope and trust in the Lord, the God of Life and Resurrection.

The Gospel of the Day presents before us…

… a funeral scene

… feelings of mourning and a pain of loss

… and the instilling of hope and trust by the Lord, the God of Life and Resurrection!

The Gospel reading mentions that as Jesus was journeying to a city called Nain, “a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow.” (Lk 7: 11-12). 
Life can sometimes be filled with extremely cruel feelings and blunt experiences, isn’t it?
This incident is a clear example of that…

 

>> A funeral in itself is an extremely sorrowful occurrence
>> Add to it, it is that of the only son of a woman

(‘Only son’ meant… 

… ceasing of the family generation

… termination of the family’s hopes and aspirations of the future)
>> To top it all, the woman is a widow

(‘Widow’ meant…

… there would be none to support her or to provide for her sustenance

… it was a double heart-break for a woman who had already suffered death once!)
This was a harshly unique situation:

As per the custom of the time, the bereaved mother walks in front of the bier
>> The dead son was being carried to the grave

…and the “dead” widow was walking towards her grave of utter hopelessness and inconsolable grief
A mother had to literally see her child from the “womb to the tomb!”

It was in this painful situation, that Jesus encountered the funeral procession!
The Lord, Who knows everything…

… seeing that tragic procession would have probably had a flash of what would be soon a reality in the future:

>> He Himself would be the “dead” Child…

… and His Beloved Mother, Mary would be the “dead” Widow!
This funeral procession of the “only son” of the “widow”, was a reflection of the scene on Calvary…

…. of Jesus, the “Only Son” of Mary, the “Widow”!

It is also heartening to note that this funeral procession took place in a city named “Nain” (or “Naim”)
This Hebrew name “Nain” has meanings such as…

… sweet, good, lovely, pleasant and delightful!

 

“Nain” is the word used to describe…

… the quality of Israelities as being the “favoured ones” (2 Sam 23: 1)

… the beauty of music especially the “sweet” sounding harp (Ps 81:2)

… the “pleasant” taste of bread (Prov 9:17)

… the “beauty” of the land (Gen 49:15)
The Psalmist also uses this word “Nain” and its derivatives, to describe…

… the beauty of the Lord (Ps 27:4)

… the favour of the Lord (Ps 90:17)

… the graciousness in worshipping the Lord (Ps 135:3)

It appeared to be a total contradiction that a city with such beautiful expressions and meanings…

… was facing the tragic situation of immense pain and loss and mourning
>> Sweetness and goodness seemed to have been replaced with pain and mourning!

>> Loveliness and pleasantness seemed to have been overtaken by misery and lament!
.

But Jesus, the Lord of Life and Resurrection…

… transforms the feelings of sadness and helplessness into sentiments of relief and hope!
The Gospel says that:

Jesus “was moved with pity for the woman and said to her, ‘Do not weep’…

… and touching the coffin, He said, “Young Man, I tell you, arise!” (Lk 7: 13-14)
>> Tears were halted…and life was restored!

>> Mourning was terminated…and life was celebrated!

Do we not face situations…

>> When life seems to be filled with extremely cruel feelings and blunt experiences…?

… death and separations in the family and relations

… loss of hope at workplaces and areas of labour

… feelings to ‘quit and give up’ as life loses meaning
In all such “dead” situations, the Lord encounters us in our journey of life, and…

>> Comforts  us: “Do not weep!”

>> Restores us: “I tell you, arise!”
We need to trust in Him

>> We need to be willing to encounter Him

>> We need to hold on to Him in our journey of life!

Our God is indeed the God of Life and Resurrection…

… and He seeks to instill hope and trust in Him! 
May we always pray, “Lord, abide with me”…

 
>> And thus with hope and trust, even in the ‘dead’ situations of our life, cry out:

” Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day; earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away!

Change and decay in all around I see; O Thou who changest not, abide with me!”
God Bless! Live Jesus!

Sep 12 ( Lk 7:1-10)

A standing ovation is a form of applause where members of a seated audience stand up while applauding after extraordinary performances of particularly high acclaim.

Ovation comes from the Latin word “ovo”,  which means “I rejoice”.

When a certain accomplishment causes great rejoicing and happiness, it is often, responded with an ovation..
>> Sportstars receive this ovation after a stupendous performance of sporting skills…
>> Musicians are accorded this ovation after a special rendition of their musical piece…
>> Orators and speakers are given this ovation after a marvellous speech or a talk…

The Gospel of the Day is a similar account of Jesus expressing His ovation for a person who showed tremendous faith.

When the faith and trust becomes so intense, even Jesus gives a special sign of appreciation!

We have today the incident of the healing of the Centurion’s servant.

Jesus lavishes His appreciations and admirations for a wonderful display of faith.

Here is the story an unusual faith found in an unusual man who displayed his faith in an unusual way.
 
1. The Centurion was an unusual person…
As the name suggests, a Centurion was a person with a hundred soldiers.
>> They worked for the Roman Empire and were Gentiles.

This Centurion however, was unusual, because of the fact, that he was very much concerned of his slave.
This was rare indeed!

In the Roman Empire, slaves had no rights.
>> They could be mistreated and even put to death.

It was said that “when your animals are old, you throw them out to die. You do the same with your slaves.”

So this is the unusual thing about this unusual Centurion – He cared very much about his slave!

2. The centurion showed an unusual faith…
The Centurion came to Jesus asking and pleading for help.

But when Jesus said that He would come to his house and heal him, the centurion was quick to answer him, ” I am not worthy to have you under my roof” ( Mt 8:8)

The spirit of a military man is clearly exhibited by the centurion..

A soldier’s way of thinking is extremely logical and to the point: When an order is given, instant obedience is expected.
>> “My commanding power goes beyond the realms of space
My presence or absence is no excuse for my soldiers to disobey”

The Centurion fully believed that Jesus was a mighty commander with all powers subjected to Him.
>> And so a word was enough for the healing to take place…

An expression of approval was good enough for the miracle to happen…

3. The Centurion received an unusual response
This tremendous expression of faith was enough for Jesus to admire and appreciate Him.

Jesus was astonished by this wonderful demonstration of confidence and belief: ” Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel, have I found such faith” (Mt 8: 10)

We have seen many instances of people praising and appreciating the works and wonders of Jesus.
>> But, it’s one of those rare occasions, when Jesus publicly acknowledges and asserts the glorious faith of the one seeking for help.

The Lord gives a wonderful ovation and applause for this wonderful presentation of faith.

This Gospel is a wonderful challenge for each of us to examine our life of faith…

In a situation when we are surrounded by sicknesses of negativity and discouragement,
>> Can we also boldly say, ” Only say a word, Lord…and I will be healed!”

In a situation when life-threatening moments of crushing-failures and despair encircle us,
>> Can we also boldly say, ” Only say a word, Lord…and I will be healed!”

In a situation when we get depressed by the various day to day problems of life,
>> Can we also boldly say, ” Only say a word, Lord…and I will be healed!”

As a famous saying goes, “It is easy to praise the Lord… But it really is a challenge to receive praises from the Lord!”

>> When we stand firm in our faith in God, we receive ovations and appreciations from Him
>> When we have confidence in our love for God, we receive ovations and admiration from Him
>> When we remain strong in our Hope in God, we receive ovations and approval from Him.

In the Acts of the Apostles, we read, that when St Stephen was at the verge of death, after his powerful witness, he saw, “Jesus standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:56)
>> The Courageous Faith of St Stephen was rewarded with a standing ovation by the Son of God!

The Trusting Confidence of the Centurion was blessed with a verbal ovation by the Saviour of the World!

Shall we also make our faith and our Christian, worthy of an ovation from the King of kings?

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Sep 11 (Lk 15:1-32)

Little Nancy was a very happy child. 
She was happy going to the Church and saying her daily prayers.

>> She would often tell, “I am so happy because Jesus is with me and I want to share His love to many others.”
This 6 year old girl would also try to help others, in the little way, she could, whenever possible. 
Seeing her joyful student, the English teacher in school, once remarked about her:

“Joy in her,” she said, “is the flag that is flown from the castle of the heart, when the King is in residence there!”
The teacher recognized and acknowledged, that the joy in the little girl…

… was because of the presence of Jesus in her heart!
Joy abounds… in heaven and in one’s heart…

… when one is in closer communion with the Compassionate and Merciful Lord. 

The Gospel of the Day is an invitation to a life of discovering God’s love and living a life in repentance and thus sharing in the joy that heaven celebrates! 

>> “There is much rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner than over ninety-nine who need no repentance” (Lk 15: 7) 
The Fifteenth Chapter of St Luke is an amazing revelation of God’s tremendous love, mercy and longing for each one of us.
We have the Parables of the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin and the Lost Son.
>> In all the three parables, lost ones are found 

>>  In all the three parables, there is great celebration at the end. 

>> In all the three parables, an emphasis is laid on hope for the lost.

 

This chapter is a contradiction of many Human thought-patterns and an affirmation of many Divine thought-patterns… 

>> There is a contradiction of the Human thought-pattern of thinking of things in terms of monetary rate and financial gain… 

… there is an affirmation of the Divine thought-pattern of acknowledging the deeper value and worth of objects and people! 

 

>> There is a contradiction of the Human thought-pattern of giving up on things that are lost and not being bothered about it… 

… there is an affirmation of the Divine thought-pattern of desperately going after the lost and being in painful agony until found!

We are invited to shed the selfish Human thought-pattern and embrace the selfless Divine thought-pattern.
For our Gospel reflection, today, we shall consider the first two parables: The Parable of the Lost Sheep and the Parable of the Lost Coin.  
A shepherd had a hundred sheep. 

>> During the count as he gathers the sheep at day’s end, the shepherd notices that one is missing. 
The sheep needs to be found; otherwise it may be permanently lost or attacked by hungry predators. 

>> The Shepherd takes the risk of leaving the rest behind, and goes out in search of the lost one. 

The second parable parallels the first…. 
Here a silver coin has been lost. 

>> It’s probably a drachma, which equals a denarius–a day’s wage for the average worker. 
The coin needs to be found; else a day’s wage would be lost and would to the already existing financial burden. 

>> The woman takes the hard trouble and effort, to sweep the house, in search of the lost coin. 

In both the cases…

>> The search yields successful results…the lost sheep and the lost coin is found. 

>> The success leads to a great celebration… the shepherd and the woman rejoice and party
In both the cases…The cost of the celebration far exceeds the actual price of the thing lost!
Why such a sentimentality?  

>> Why so much of economic waste?

 

The only logic behind it is: the Experience of Joy.
The Shepherd feels tremendously happy in getting back his lost sheep. 

>> The woman feels tremendously happy in getting back her lost coin. 
And this spurs them to forget all economics, and mathematics and tally and calculations…
Joy surpasses them all. 

>> Joy overcomes them all. 

>> Joy overtakes them all!
Joy is the flag that is flown from the castle of the heart, when the King is in residence there!
Jesus compares this same joy in heaven at the repentance of a sinner!
Am I similar to a Lost Sheep?

>> Lost in the thickets of materialistic living…

>> Lost in the valleys of doubts and rejections and failures…

>> Lost in the bushes of excessive pride, prestige and power….

>> Lost in the wilderness of hopelessness and meaninglessness in life… 
Am I similar to a Lost Coin? 

>> Lost in the corners of abuses and misunderstandings and false judgements… 

>> Lost in the darkness of bad luck and unfair treatment by life…

>> Lost in the dust of corruption and malicious situations…

>> Lost in the shadows of addictions and bad habits…
The Lord doesn’t abandon us… 

>> He comes in search of us. 
We ought to…

… hear His voice and respond. 

… allow ourselves to be found. 

… let Him take us on His shoulders. 

… permit Him to take us in His hands.
God comes looking for us. 

 

We are the ones that God spends hours and hours, walking miles and probing all areas, in search. 

>> We are the ones that God spends hours and hours on hands and knees sweeping and searching for. 
And when God finds us…He called together all the saints in heaven, saying to them, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my beloved sheep, my precious coin that was once lost.”

Are we – You & I – ready to give heaven a reason to celebrate, by repenting of our sins & living a life, in accord with God’s Holy Will?! 
It is only this recognition and acknowledgement of the presence of Jesus in our hearts

… that makes us joyful! 
Yes, Joy abounds… in heaven and in one’s heart…

… when one is in closer communion with the Compassionate and Merciful Lord! 
Let us experience the saving power and presence of the Lord, by realizing our state of being lost…and allowing the Lord, to find us.
God Bless! Live Jesus!