Nov 26 (Lk 21:34-36)

  All of us have had the experience of utilizing certain things or products which work quite fine for some time….but as time passes, becomes less effective or less efficient.

 

> A ceiling fan/ table fan, after few months or years, tends to be less forceful…

> A fast-processing computer after few months of years, tends to slow down…

> Colourful clothes after a few washes or usage, tends to lose their initial glean and shine…

 

This is called as “Dissipation”.

A similar aspect could be visible in our spiritual lives as well!

The Gospel of the Day is a reminder to examine this aspect in our lives and to make amends, in order to revitalise and revive our lives.

 

The Gospel begins with the verse ” But take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation…” (Lk 21:34)

Dissipation is strong word which could have several parallel understandings…

 

>> With respect to morality:

Dissipation refers to an overindulgence in sensual pleasures.

 

>> With respect to behaviour:

Dissipation refers to a conduct that shows one is interested only in pleasure, money, etc.

 

>> With respect to economics:

Dissipation refers to an act of using all or a lot of money, time, etc., in a foolish way.

 

>> With respect to physics:

Dissipation refers to a physical process by which energy becomes not only unavailable but irrecoverable in any form.

 

 

Dissipation is a tendency…

… to squander away enthusiasm because of allowing monotony to creep into life.

… to lose vitality as a result of being indulged in continuous immoral behaviours

… to leak-out the energy and vigour in oneself, in small amounts and thus become lifeless

… to become disinterested and dispirited due to constant exposure to luxury and comforts

 

Dissipation is a terrible malady that has badly affected many people in the Bible…

 

>> The people during Noah’s time were dissipated with eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, although God had sent out a warning of their destruction through Noah.

>> The citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah were dissipated with extremely immoral and corrupt practices, even though the people were given a forewarning of their possible.

>> The people of Israel were dissipated with frustration and dissatisfaction while travelling in the desert and failed to understand the providential hand of God.

>> The disciples of Jesus were dissipated with sadness, shattering of hopes and brokenness after the death of Jesus and failed to believe and trust in His great promises.

 

We have a call to examine our lives and check whether we too have fallen into a state of “dissipation”…

 

>> Maybe my prayer life is “dissipated” due to various distractions, excuses of lack of time, complaints of being tired or just simply a lack of interest…

>> Maybe my personal intimacy with God is “dissipated” since I don’t experience any joyful or experiential feelings or because some of my expectations of God are not met…

>> Maybe my relationships with people is “dissipated” due to some friction or misunderstanding or an indifference that has sneaked in without any particular reason.

>> Maybe my family/community life is “dissipated” because I feel disinterested or not so enthusiastic in going beyond some of my personal comforts or I feel lonely in not feeling accepted or loved.

 

 

Dissipation can be a tendency that can steal into our lives very stealthily and can drain away much of our energy, eagerness and passion.

 

In the book of Revelations, the Lord has this complaint, ” ..I have this against you: you have lost the love you had at first. Realize how far you have fallen. Repent and do the works you did at first” (Rev 2:4-5)

 

>>> Let us seek to renew our initial fervour and zeal.

>>> Let us challenge ourselves to revive our zest and interest.

 

The Lord deserves not “dissipated” people, but “spirited” and “passionate” people!

 

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Nov 25 ( Lk 21:29-33)

“Endurance” is the name of an American reality television program.

Contestants of Endurance live in a remote location and participate in various mental and physical challenges.
>> The outcome of the competitions determines which players are eliminated.

The winners receive an all-expenses paid vacation package to an exotic location as the prize.

Christian Life is also a test of Endurance!
Unlike a reality show, it is real life…
>> There are various mental, spiritual, emotional and physical challenges

Unlike an-all expenses paid vacation package as a prize…
… the Christian test of Endurance rewards Eternal Life.

Are we ready to rise to the challenge of this Christian Life of Endurance?

In this life of bravery and dare, we have the strength of an Enduring Factor – God’s Word!
>> “Heaven and earth may pass away, but my words will endure forever” (Lk 21: 33)

The Gospel of the Day is an exhortation to being committed to the Christian Life of Endurance by trusting always in the Enduring Word of God!

Words have immense power and potential.
They can cut.
>> They can hurt.
>> They can heal
>> They can build.
>> They can make.
>> They can break.
>> They can crush.
And God’s Word has ultimate control and infinite power.

God’s promises through His words are forever.

This is clearly manifested when we travel through the pages of the Bible…

Abraham was called to a distant and unknown land.
He was promised descendants as many as the stars of the sky and the sand on the shore.
>> But nothing worthwhile seemed to be happening…
… God’s word seemed barren and infertile.

Yet, the enduring faith and the enduring trust of Abraham prevailed at the opportune time…

God’s Word came to fulfilment and great completion
>> Yes, “Heaven and earth may pass away, but His words will endure forever”

Moses was called to become the liberator of a nation.
He was promised complete guidance and absolute direction from God.
>> But often during the journey of liberation, Moses had to face the ire of the people.
… God’s word seemed empty and betraying.

Yet, the enduring conviction and the enduring confidence of Moses got him through…

God’s Word displayed great glory and a mighty witness.
>> Yes, “Heaven and earth may pass away, but His words will endure forever”

Job was blessed with immense comforts and vast riches.
He was however permitted to be tested by Satan and lost much of his security and wellbeing.
>> Hopelessness and wrenching despair seemed to be his best companion…
… God’s Word seemed to be abandoning and deserting him.

Yet, the enduring tenacity and the enduring perseverance of Job prevailed to the end…

God’s Word showered him with great and marvellous riches.
>> Yes, “Heaven and earth may pass away, but His words will endure forever”

What is my faith and trust and hope in God’s Word?

In moments of life-crushing events and soul-hurting situations…
>> Do I endure and trust in the enduring and eternal power of God’s Word?

In times when the asteroids of bad luck crash against the surface of my life…
>> Do I endure and remain firm in the enduring and everlasting strength of God’s Word?

In times when my family, community and my world gets reduced to total splinters…
>> Do I endure and be positive in the enduring and emphatic might of God’s Word?

The Lord has promised each one of us, immense blessings and graces through His Word.
At times…
… there are delays in the fulfilment of God’s Word, as in the case of Abraham
… there are frustrations in the following of God’s Word, as in the case of Moses
… there are misunderstandings in the listening of God’s Word, as in the case of Job
>> But the Lord invites us to remain Faithful, Trusting and Patient!
 
Let us seek to win the Christian test of Endurance by throwing ourselves into the Enduring power of God’s Word!
>> Yes, “Heaven and earth may pass away, but His words will endure forever”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Nov 24 (Lk 21:20-28)

A simple but effective test that is often used in psychological group-dynamics is called as the “Trust Fall” Exercise.

(N.B.: We can try doing this exercise with our friends…

… of course, with care and caution!)

The test comprises of two partners – one standing in front of the other.

The task consists in the one who is standing in front…

… gently falling back, with both the feet, held firm on the ground

… while the partner at the back, supports the person – preventing from falling.

Initially, the partner “who is falling”, finds it extremely difficult to fall back…

… for fear of falling down.

(There is fear writ all over the face…

… there is a sense of panic, that is experienced deep within!)

But as they repeat this exercise…

… the trust level increases

… the confidence factor grows

>> And the person feels, at ease, to fall back, without any fear!

(There is a sense of positive feeling…

… trust and reliance is built up gradually!)

>> This “Trust Fall” is an group -dynamics exercise to grow in the aspect of trusting one another and believing in each other’s capacity.

Such a “Trust Fall” happens with our God as well, isn’t it?

When we go through struggles and problems of life…

… we often fall back!

>> If we don’t trust Him enough, we are afraid that we will fall down!

>> But, if we trust in His power, we are sure that the He will never let us fall down!

The Lord, through the Gospel of the Day, invites us, with strong vibes of positive feelings, “…Stand Erect and raise your heads, because your redemption is at hand” (Lk 21: 28)

The Gospel of the day is a continuation of the talks on the coming of the Son of Man.

 

 

Jesus reminds his disciples of the many signs and terrors that will be manifest in the world and persecutions that will befall on His followers.

>> He invites His disciples to remain firm in perseverance and faithful commitment.

The Gospel of the Day brings out a clear contradiction in the stance and approach of the “people of the world” and “people who trust in Him”…

>> Lk 21: 26, “…people will die of fright…” (“people of the world”)

>> Lk 21: 28,”…stand erect and raise your heads…” (“people who trust in Him”)

Dying of fright and collapsing is a sign of absolute despair and hopelessness.

>> When someone is in great tension, his/her physical structure reflects it…

… one tends to stoop low

… one tends to put down one’s head…

The worry in the mind makes the face a sorry affair!

>> The tension in one’s life robs the spirit of joy in living!

Faces turn pale…smiles go wry… body starts sagging!

But the Lord of the Universe today strongly exhorts us to not remain stooped-down

>> He challenges us to “stand erect and raise our heads…”

The Lord makes people to stand on their feet as a sign of feeling protected and strong…

>> The boy possessed by a demon was “held by the hand, raised up and made to stand” by Jesus (Mk 9:27)

>> Jesus held the hand of the daughter of Jairus and “helped her to stand” (Mk 5:41)

>> Peter and John took up the crippled beggar at the Temple gate “by the hand and raised him up…and he leaped up, stood and walk around…walking and jumping” and praising God (Acts 3: 7-8)

The Lord loves to help people to stand erect and hold heads high in firm faith and trust in Him.

Is my life today shattered and collapsed?

>> Am I unable to stand firmly in faith and in trust?

When difficulties and problems arise in life…

>> Do I stoop down and get fixated on the worries…

… or do I “stand erect and raise up my head” in confidence of the Providence of God?

When calamities and unsolvable crises hits my family or community life…

>> Do we stoop down and get lost in despair….

… or do We “stand erect and raise up our heads” in hope of the Power the Lord?

 

When hopes get shattered and the future appears very blurred…

>> Do I stoop down and get stuck in hopelessness and desolation…

… or do I “stand erect and raise up my head” in deep faith in the Guiding Hand of the Lord?

Some of us live our lives with much negativity and pessimism…

>> Life most of the time appears to be dark and depressing and dismal!

But the Lord today asks us to live our lives with more positivity and optimism

>> Life is in fact much more bright and beautiful and brilliant!

The “Trust Fall” is an exercise, that we go through continually in our life of Faith!

>> When we go through struggles and problems of life…

>> If we don’t trust God enough, we lose heart…

… and we are afraid that we will fall down!

>> But, if we trust in His power, we can stand firm…

… and we are sure that the Lord will never let us fall down!

Are we ready to play the “Trust Fall” Exercise with the Lord?

>> Be assured… He will hold you firm!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Nov 23 (Lk 21:12-19)

Every joy is accompanied by the companionship of some pain and suffering.  >> This is the reality of life.

Christian life is an affirmation of this reality.

The joy of being a Christian is accompanied by the cross of pain and suffering.

>> The delight in sharing Christ’s peace is escorted by the reality of some trials and tribulations.

The Gospel of the Day reminds us of this factor:

Experiencing…

… the mighty power of God in the midst of weaknesses of life.

… the splendid joy of God in the thick of persecutions of life.

… the serene peace of God in the middle of terrors of life.

The Lord continues His discourse on the signs of the end times and the forthcoming persecutions that will be the lot of those who believe and follow Him.

Jesus doesn’t tone down in any measure in warning of the future calamities that will befall on His followers:

“They will seize and persecute you… They will hand you over to synagogues and prison…

They will lead you before kings and governors…

You will be handed over by your parents, brothers, relatives and friends…

You will be put to death… You will be hated by all…” (Lk 21: 12-18)

The list of persecutions is too long, right?

 

>> For those who consider Christianity as an easy stroll in the part, this is a shocker!

>> For those who consider following Christ as comfort on a bed of roses, this is a stunner!

Sometimes our faith in Christ remains merely a statement on paper.

As Baptized people – whether as infants or as adults – we’ve the duty to grow in the grace bestowed on us.

>> To follow Christ is a privilege granted to us.

>> To become His Disciples is a special opportunity conferred on us.

But we often squander away the blessings that the Lord gives us without realizing its worth.

As a Christian and a follower of Christ…

>> We love His blessings…

… but get depressed when pains or sufferings come our way.

>> We crave for joy…

… but get irritated when things don’t go in the way we wish.

>> We seek for a comfortable life…

… but get wild with Him when we lose some luxuries.

The Lord however, invites us to a life of deeper perseverance and courage: “By your perseverance, you will secure your lives” (Lk 21: 19)

For one who believes in Christ…

>> Every sickness, can be a moment to experience the Lord as a Healer.

>> Every financial crisis, can be a moment to experience the Lord as the Provider.

>> Every spiritual struggle, can be a moment to experience the Lord as the Saviour.

>> Every break in relationship, can be a moment to experience the Lord as the Unifier.

>> Every encounter in failure, can be a moment to experience the Lord as the Sovereign Lord

>> Every doubt of the future, can be a moment to experience the Lord as the Supreme Master

All these affirmations will remain peripheral and theoretical, unless we trust in the Lord.

Many might say…

… “I don’t believe in a God who allows calamities and persecutions.”

… “I don’t want a relation with a God who permits suffering and pains.”

But this is where challenge of our Baptismal Consecration comes to fruition…

>> To be with the Lord, in total commitment, when the going gets tough.

>> To remain united with the Lord, in complete faithfulness, when the road gets bumpy.

>> To fix one’s eyes on the Lord, in absolute trust, when the skies are darkened.

In the words of Kahlil Gibran, the writer:

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars”

Jesus has shown us the path in the Way of the Cross.

>> Jesus has broken Himself for us in the Holy Eucharist.

In Him is True Life.

>> In Him is Genuine Peace.

>> In Him is Everlasting Happiness.

Let us hold firm to our Crucified Lord and persevere in faithfulness to our Persecuted Master.

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Nov 22 (Lk 21:5-11)

Leonardo da Vinci was one of the greatest painters of all time.

His masterpiece, “The Last Supper” has been a source of many inspirations and stories.

Last supper, Leonardo da vinci, 1498, Santa Maria delle Grazie,Milan

>> Some of these are based on true facts; some on fictitious imaginations.

One such incident (without any certification of its truthfulness or falsity) goes such…

The artist Da Vinci had put all his talent on this great masterpiece, which was painted on a convent wall in Milan, Italy.

The painting was drawn with so much perfection, that it appeared to be extremely realistic.

>> Even the cup that was used by the Lord used was drawn perfectly…

… an opulent golden vessel richly set with jewels.

At the completion of the picture, some of his friends were given the privilege to view the painting.

The friends were wonder-stuck at the sight of the painting, and especially the dazzling chalice, and exclaimed:

>> “Wow! What a wonderful cup!”

>> “What a shine! See how the vessel sparkles!”

>> “I’ve never seen a cup with such exquisite beauty being painted before!”

Hearing such comments, the great painter, immediately stroked some dark colours over the glittering cup…

… and made it look like an ordinary vessel.

As he did so, he remarked:

“The glory of Christ, and not the beauty of the cup, must be the focus of my work!

In all things, He must be pre-eminent!”

Is Christ pre-eminent in our faith?

>> Or have other materialistic concerns – which may appear to be more sparkling and attractive- taken precedence in our life of faith?

The Gospel of the Day is a strong exhortation to restore the primacy of Christ in our lives…

… even at the cost of shattering every materialistic temples that we have dreamt of!

… even at the price of bringing down every worldly concerns that we have built up!

Jesus is on the courtyard of the Jerusalem Temple.

 

He heard some speak of “how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings” (Lk 21:5)

 

The Jerusalem Temple was a glorious structure and one of the great wonders of the time.

 

This Temple – which was originally constructed by King Solomon – had been marvellously rebuilt by Herod the Great.

The Jerusalem Temple was a vast glittering mass of white marble…

… with the occasional presence of gold and precious stones.

The old Rabbis had a saying: “Whosoever had not gazed on it, had not seen the perfection of beauty.”

>> Tacitus, the historian complemented this, by calling this spectacular edifice as “a temple of vast wealth”

 

 Princes and other noblemen who visited this holy house gifted crowns, shields and vessels of gold and silver.

>> The Jerusalem Temple was indeed rich in these votive offerings.

 

Despite such a grand spectacle in the background, Jesus makes a prophetic saying:

” All that you see here – the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down” (Lk 21:6).

Our Blessed Lord doesn’t really mince words, isn’t it?

>> He is the One Who is least afraid of calling “a spade as a spade!”

While all others lavished phrases of vain glory on the majestic Temple…

… Jesus predicted its mighty fall!

While all others had pinned their hopes and faith in this structure of grandeur…

… Jesus prophesied its soon-to-come destruction!

Here is a great truth that Jesus invites us to always be reminded of:

“While the human mind seeks to find comfort and cosiness in external glories and splendour…

… the Divine always minimizes such vain laurels and insists on the true beauties of life!”

Jesus forewarns His disciples:

“See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name saying: ‘I am he’ and ‘The time has come’

… Do not follow them!” (Lk 21: 8)

Jesus was teaching His disciples…

… of not losing the focus, in the midst of materialistic and attractive fascinations!

… of not missing the track, in the face of many disguises, falsities and deceptions!

 

A Christian, always ought to have…

… Jesus as the focus!

… the Kingdom of God as the goal!

Anything… or anyone…

… which causes distraction or diversion, will have to be remedied!

Are there such distracting forces in our life, which takes away our focus from the Lord and His Kingdom?

>> Many of such disturbances would be…

… deceptive

… subtle in nature

… attractive at first-sight

 

But let us not be afraid to restore the primacy of Christ in our lives…

… even at the cost of shattering every materialistic temples that we have dreamt of!

… even at the price of bringing down every worldly concerns that we have built up!

Let us seek the intercession of St Cecilia, the patron saint of musicians, whose feast we celebrate today.

>> Let us imitate her courage and zeal to be singly-focussed on the Lord, even to the point of intense suffering …

… and thus at all times, have “heavenly music” in our hearts!

May the glory of Christ, and not the beauty of any materialistic concern, must be the focus of our works!

>> In all things, may Christ be pre-eminent!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Nov 22 (Lk 21:5-11)

Leonardo da Vinci was one of the greatest painters of all time.

His masterpiece, “The Last Supper” has been a source of many inspirations and stories.

Last supper, Leonardo da vinci, 1498, Santa Maria delle Grazie,Milan

>> Some of these are based on true facts; some on fictitious imaginations.

One such incident (without any certification of its truthfulness or falsity) goes such…

The artist Da Vinci had put all his talent on this great masterpiece, which was painted on a convent wall in Milan, Italy.

The painting was drawn with so much perfection, that it appeared to be extremely realistic.

>> Even the cup that was used by the Lord used was drawn perfectly…

… an opulent golden vessel richly set with jewels.

At the completion of the picture, some of his friends were given the privilege to view the painting.

The friends were wonder-stuck at the sight of the painting, and especially the dazzling chalice, and exclaimed:

>> “Wow! What a wonderful cup!”

>> “What a shine! See how the vessel sparkles!”

>> “I’ve never seen a cup with such exquisite beauty being painted before!”

Hearing such comments, the great painter, immediately stroked some dark colours over the glittering cup…

… and made it look like an ordinary vessel.

As he did so, he remarked:

“The glory of Christ, and not the beauty of the cup, must be the focus of my work!

In all things, He must be pre-eminent!”

Is Christ pre-eminent in our faith?

>> Or have other materialistic concerns – which may appear to be more sparkling and attractive- taken precedence in our life of faith?

The Gospel of the Day is a strong exhortation to restore the primacy of Christ in our lives…

… even at the cost of shattering every materialistic temples that we have dreamt of!

… even at the price of bringing down every worldly concerns that we have built up!

Jesus is on the courtyard of the Jerusalem Temple.

 

He heard some speak of “how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings” (Lk 21:5)

 

The Jerusalem Temple was a glorious structure and one of the great wonders of the time.

 

This Temple – which was originally constructed by King Solomon – had been marvellously rebuilt by Herod the Great.

The Jerusalem Temple was a vast glittering mass of white marble…

… with the occasional presence of gold and precious stones.

The old Rabbis had a saying: “Whosoever had not gazed on it, had not seen the perfection of beauty.”

>> Tacitus, the historian complemented this, by calling this spectacular edifice as “a temple of vast wealth”

 

 Princes and other noblemen who visited this holy house gifted crowns, shields and vessels of gold and silver.

>> The Jerusalem Temple was indeed rich in these votive offerings.

 

Despite such a grand spectacle in the background, Jesus makes a prophetic saying:

” All that you see here – the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down” (Lk 21:6).

Our Blessed Lord doesn’t really mince words, isn’t it?

>> He is the One Who is least afraid of calling “a spade as a spade!”

While all others lavished phrases of vain glory on the majestic Temple…

… Jesus predicted its mighty fall!

While all others had pinned their hopes and faith in this structure of grandeur…

… Jesus prophesied its soon-to-come destruction!

Here is a great truth that Jesus invites us to always be reminded of:

“While the human mind seeks to find comfort and cosiness in external glories and splendour…

… the Divine always minimizes such vain laurels and insists on the true beauties of life!”

Jesus forewarns His disciples:

“See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name saying: ‘I am he’ and ‘The time has come’

… Do not follow them!” (Lk 21: 8)

Jesus was teaching His disciples…

… of not losing the focus, in the midst of materialistic and attractive fascinations!

… of not missing the track, in the face of many disguises, falsities and deceptions!

 

A Christian, always ought to have…

… Jesus as the focus!

… the Kingdom of God as the goal!

Anything… or anyone…

… which causes distraction or diversion, will have to be remedied!

Are there such distracting forces in our life, which takes away our focus from the Lord and His Kingdom?

>> Many of such disturbances would be…

… deceptive

… subtle in nature

… attractive at first-sight

 

But let us not be afraid to restore the primacy of Christ in our lives…

… even at the cost of shattering every materialistic temples that we have dreamt of!

… even at the price of bringing down every worldly concerns that we have built up!

Let us seek the intercession of St Cecilia, the patron saint of musicians, whose feast we celebrate today.

>> Let us imitate her courage and zeal to be singly-focussed on the Lord, even to the point of intense suffering …

… and thus at all times, have “heavenly music” in our hearts!

May the glory of Christ, and not the beauty of any materialistic concern, must be the focus of our works!

>> In all things, may Christ be pre-eminent!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Nov 21 (Lk 21:1-4)

A rich business man and his assistant were travelling around a village on a tour.

As they walked along, they saw a boy pulling a plough (= a large farming implement with blades fixed in a frame, drawn over soil to turn it over and cut furrows in preparation for the planting of seeds) which was steered by an old man.

It amused the assistant so much that he insisted on taking a picture of the scene with his little pocket camera. Later he showed the picture to a priest in the next village, remarking about the peculiar spectacle.

“Yes,” said the Priest, “it seems a very strange way to plough a field that way.

But I happen to know the boy and old man well.

They are very poor. However, when the little church was built here in the village, they wanted to contribute something.

>> They had no money.

They had no grain to spare and winter was coming on, so they sold their ox and gave the money to the church building fund, and now, minus the valuable animal, they have to pull the plough themselves.”

The men looked at each other for a moment, then the assistant said, “But what a magnanimous sacrifice! Why did you allow it?”

“They did not feel that way about it” said the priest, “They regarded it as a great joy that they had an ox to give to the Lord’s work!”

Do we have the joy and the generosity to give ourselves, to the Lord and for His works?

Yes, a true charity happens when there is an involvement of sacrifice and surrender.

The Gospel of the Day demonstrates the powerful message of True Giving, through the incident of the Offering of the Poor Widow.

 

The passage begins with the verse, “When Jesus looked up and saw…” (Lk 21: 1)

 

Jesus has sharp eyes…

>> He sees what most people miss to see…

>> He perceives what most people ignore…

>> He observes what most people pass on as ordinary…

While all others saw only the corrupt mind of Zacchaeus, Jesus saw deeper… (Lk 19:7)

>> He observed the flame of genuine repentance and earnest desire in him.

While all others saw only the filth in the woman caught in adultery, Jesus saw deeper…(Jn 8:3)

>> He observed the spark of pleading for mercy and compassion in her.

While all others saw only a disturbance in the blind beggar Bartimaeus, Jesus saw deeper… (Lk 18:39)

>> He observed the flash of true longing and expectant hope in him…

There are many times in our life, when we think or do little things and we would feel them as insignificant.

But the Lord sees deeper…

>> A tiny word of thanks and appreciation…The Lord sees our goodness.

>> A small gesture of timely help and assistance… The Lord sees our nobility.

>> A genuine smile of encouragement and support… The Lord sees our benevolence.

The palace of goodness is built by the tiny bricks of genuine actions and loving thoughts.

And the Lord sees it all – “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, watching the evil and the good” (Prov. 15:3)

He doesn’t miss a single gift, small or large.

>> He knows every giver, rich and poor.

This is the significance of being engaged in little and small acts of charity.

>> None of them go down the drain.

 

Rather, all of them are recorded by God and translates into a fountain of blessings!

The Lord keenly observed the insignificant action of the Poor Widow dropping in two copper coins into the Temple Treasury.

The Temple Treasury was in the Court of the Women, which was on the easternmost part of the Temple.

>> The Court of the Women obtained its name, not from its appropriation to the exclusive use of women, but because they were not allowed to proceed farther, except for sacrificial purposes.

 

Against the walls of this temple area were the thirteen chests, or ‘trumpets,’ for charitable contributions.

These thirteen chests were shaped like trumpets, narrow at the mouth and wide at the bottom.

>> Each one had a different Hebrew letter designating separate offerings and causes.

Into this Temple Treasury, “the poor widow just drops in two small copper coins” (Lk 21:2)

What difference did her two coins make toward meeting the temple budget?

Probably nothing!!

Perhaps the treasurer muttered under his breath as he saw it being dropped:

“Why do people throw such small coins into the treasury? They’re more a nuisance to count than they’re worth!”

But the Lord has a totally different yardstick of measuring and of judging.

People count worth of money by what is given.

>> God counts worth of money by what is left over.

 

People say “wow” over thicker and fatter amounts given, irrespective of the means and intention.

>> God says “wow” over any amount given, but only when given with the proper means and true intention.

While most people would have sidelined this meager act of giving, the Lord lavishes praise on the poor widow who “gave it all”.

The gifts of the rich would have not cost them much…

>> But the widow may have gone hungry that night because she gave all what she had.

She gave it all, not for any praise or to show-off, but out of love of God and her religion.

What is our attitude in “giving” to God?

Often we give only “leftovers” to God.

>> If we have some food left, after we have relished nicely, we give it off to some hungry

>> If we have anything left, after we’ve spent for all our needs, then we drop a bit for charity.

>> If we have something left, after we have used and its now old, we donate it to the church.

>> If we have some “time” left, after engaging in all leisure, then we give the time to God.

>> If we have some goodwill left, after busying with many works, we offer our thanks to the Lord.

The Lord, seriously, is in no need of the offering of our money.

>> But the Lord, very seriously, is on the lookout for an offering of our hearts!

Let us make not just peripheral contribution of our lives, but rather engage in sacrificial offerings of our self.

As Blessed Mother Teresa would say:

“Give, but give until it hurts…

… It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving”

The Lord has given everything for us.

As His disciples, we too are expected to be similar: to give everything to Him.

 

An “all-giving” Master deserves “all-giving” disciples… Doesn’t He?

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of our Blessed Mother Mary.

This Feast is a constant reminder for us to “offer ourselves” to the Lord.

Technically speaking, we can’t ‘offer’ anything to God because He is the source of everything.

>> All what we are and what we have is His.

But we can surely make a pledge of our lives to Him and live a life united with Him.

This is the offering that is demanded of us…

… an offering of a faithful life

… an offering of a holy life

Yes, as little children, holding the Hands of our Blessed Mamma, may we cry to the Lord – “For You, Forever!”

Happy Feast of the Presentation of our Blessed Mamma!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Nov 20 (Solemnity of Christ the King)


It is said of one of the great Tsars (emperors) of Russia of how he would often visit the people of his kingdom, in disguise.

>> This was his method of recognizing the welfare and the well-being of his people.

 

On one occasion, he dressed up in the garment of a peasant (farmer).

 

He knocked at the door of an inn for a night shelter.

 

The innkeeper, who opened the door, had a long look at the peasant.

>> With hands folded, the man was pleading for a place to stay in the inn.

 

Seeing his shabby clothes and his haggard appearance, the innkeeper began to dismiss him saying:

“Tonight, there are many of the King’s courtiers and noblemen taking lodging in this inn.

>> You may look for a place somewhere else!”

 

 

But as he said this, one of the King’s noblemen, who heard the sound of the peasant man, rushed to the door, and motioned to let him in, saying:

“The dress may be that of a peasant, but the voice is the voice of my lord, the King!”

 

 

Very often in our lives, our God comes to us, in disguise…

… in the supplication of a needy neighbour or a distressed companion

… in the silence of a broken soul or an unhappy relationship

… in the pleading of an oppressed cry or a troubled heart

>> Do we recognize our King in all these?

 

Perhaps the word “King” always brings to our minds, images of…

… royal dresses and majestic clothings

… bane arrogance and vain haughtiness

… super-riches and wealthy adornments

 

 

But Christianity always comes to break such notions and shatter such worldly conceptions: Behold Our King – Jesus!

>> Seated not on a throne of gold…

… but laid on the bare wood of the Cross!

>> Crowned not with an emerald diadem…

… but circled with the painful crown of thorns!

>> Filled not with a wretched pride…

… but exposed with the sweat of humility!

 

Are we ready to be the sincere followers of this True and Just King?

 

The Church today, on this last day of the liturgical year, invites Her children to HAIL this Mighty King – Jesus…

… with the Solemnity of Christ the King!

 

 

The Gospel of the Day very aptly shatters all worldly and materialistic interpretations of a King!

 

 St Luke takes us to the Mount of Calvary…

… where the King is enthroned on His throne – the Cross

… and flanked on either sides by His subjects – the two thieves

Very often, we have very amiable images for the Church…

… as the Bride of Christ

… as the Body of Christ

But here is an image of the Church, which may not seem that appealing; nevertheless is a valid picture of the reality – The Crucified Christ between the Two Thieves.

Just as the two thieves (who had been caught, condemned and crucified, for reasons which are unknown to us) …

 

>> We too are very often thieves!

… gifts and graces given by God are misused and manipulated by us

… responsibilities entrusted to us, are not performed with sincerity and dedication

… the Will of God shown in His Commandments and Teachings, are often violated and disobeyed

 

Thus, the two thieves, beside the Crucified Christ, are a representative of each of us.

At the same time, we need to consider the fact that both these thieves displayed contrasting attitudes…

One of them said: ” Are you not the Christ! Save yourself and us! (Lk 23: 39)

>> The other said: ” Have you no fear of God? We have been condemned justly. Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” (Lk 23: 40-42)

… One reviled the Lord; the other revered Him!

… One abused the Christ; the other adored Him!

 

Such is also the case, in the Church.

>> We have sinners as well as saints

>> We have those who will turn away from the Gaze of the Lord; and others who will look to the Lord and draw salvation from His Face of Mercy!

Though we all are thieves – sinners, breakers of the Law, we need to examine our attitudes towards the King…

>> Are we a people who revile the Lord by saying that everything in the Church is scandalous and horrible …

… or can we revere the Lord, knowing that despite the weaknesses, the Church is the treasury of Grace and Mercy, especially offered through the Sacraments

>> Are we a people who abuse Christ by saying that He is not taking care of our needs and we are left to ourselves in our struggles and difficulties…

… or can we adore Christ, knowing that despite the problems I face, my God is very much beside me, suffering with me, and strengthening me, by His Loving Gaze.

Here is therefore a great lesson:

Both the thieves wanted relief…

>> But only one, was willing to open his heart to the Lord!

Mercy was beside both of them…

>> The one who closed his heart and reviled Him, remained in distress!

>> The one who repented and placed his trust, rejoiced in salvation!

In all our sufferings and sins and problems and difficulties…

… We can continue to remain in distress; or begin to rejoice in salvation

>> It depends on whether we close ourselves; or we open our hearts to the Fount of God’s Mercy!

It is only then that the Crucified King…

>> with pomp and splendour in His sufferings

>> enthroned on His Glorious Throne of the Cross

… would make a solemn proclamation: “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with Me, in paradise!” (Lk 23: 43)

As Venerable Fulton J Sheen would write about this Good Thief “who stole heaven”:

” It was the thief’s last prayer, perhaps even his first.

>> He knocked once…

… sought once

… asked once

… dared everything

… and found everything!

 

Today – 20 Nov, 2016 – we close this Great Jubilee Year of Mercy!

>> As we thank the Lord, we recall that it was a year, when the Church opened Her arms to embrace the pained, to seek the lost and to nurture the wounded!

Many of us have had wonderful memories of this year… of the Mercies of the Lord

>> Perhaps, some of us, have missed to make the best use of the Jubilee Year – either due to our ignorance or our carelessness or just our indifference or several other reasons.

But the Lord reminds us..

The closed door of the Jubilee Year of Mercy is not the end…

>> In fact, this ought to be the launching pad and a reviving spark…

… to seek the Lord’s Mercy by participating in the Sacraments more often and more responsibly!

… to reach out to the needy and the deprived, by performing acts of mercy and compassion!

… to continue to strive to “Be merciful, like the Heavenly Father is merciful!” (Lk 6:36)

Jesus, our Great King, desires earnestly and eagerly to reign over our hearts!

>> Shall we not open our hearts and lives to the Lord?

He is Crucified for sure… but in Him, is our Salvation!

>> There is suffering with Him for sure… but in that, is our glory!

>> There will be moments of abandonment for sure… but in that, will we be blessed with joy!

The challenge is great, but the King exhorts us:

“Allow me to reign over all your thoughts, words and deeds as your King…

>> And I will make you, My Missionary of Mercy…

… and you will hear Me, say to you: “Today, you will be with me, in Paradise!”

Happy Feast of Christ, our Glorious King!

>> All thanks to the Blessed Trinity for this Jubilee Year of Mercy!

>> Love and affection to our Mamma – the Mother of Mercy and the Queen Mother of our King!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Nov 19 (Lk 20:27-40)

There is a story of a man who had been afflicted with a terminal disease.  

With much fear of death, he sought counselling and help from one of his Christian doctors.

The doctor, was initially lost for words.

>> He did not know how to console the dying man.

As he was fumbling for an answer, he heard the noise of scratching on his door.

>> He got the answer of consolation.

“Do you hear that?”, he asked his patient, calling his attention to the scratching noise on the door.

“Well!”, continued the doctor, “that’s my dog!

I left him downstairs.

>>But he has become very impatient and has come up, hearing my voice.

He doesn’t have much idea, of what’s happening in here- beyond the door…

… but he knows one thing: ‘That I am here!’

>> And so, if I open the door now, he would just jump over me, into this room!”

The doctor continued, looking into the eyes of the patients, “Isn’t it the same with our lives?

We don’t have much idea of what lies beyond the Door, but we know that the Master is there!”

This is the Christian Faith: that beyond the Door of this Life, is the Master!

>> This is the hope of Resurrection!

The Gospel of the Day is an invitation to reinforce our faith and hope in the Resurrection.

The Sadducees who did not believe in the Resurrection, put forth a question of “after-life” to Jesus. (Lk 20: 27-33)

Jesus, Who knows the intentions of all hearts and the craftiness of every mind, spoke…

… of the difference in the nature of life – in this world and in the next

… of His sovereignty over those who have died and those who are alive

Referring to the passage of the Burning Jesus, Jesus proclaims, “… He is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him, all are alive!” (Lk 20: 38)

This verse of the Lord is one of the direct and easy-to-understand basis…

…for the Catholic teaching and practise of “praying for the dead”.

Many are the times when this noble piety of the Catholics is put into question…

>> “It is unbiblical to pray for the dead”

>> “Our prayers have no effect on those who are dead, since it is not our works, but their faith, which saves”

 

… These are some of the statements said against the Catholic practice of “praying for the dead”

But the Lord very clearly shows, through today’s Gospel..

… that God is the God of all – the living and the dead

… that all are living for Him – even though for us, apparently those who are gone from us, are dead

It is our human experience, that while living on this earth…

… we do seek the help of one another – especially through prayers

>> We ask one another’s help and prayers…

… when we are going through a crisis or problem

… when we are struggling through sufferings

>> Then can’t the same logic be applied to those who have died (who are actually alive in the eyes of God!)

>> Can’t those who are away from this world – the faithful departed – seek for our help and assistance, in their moments of suffering and struggles?

(For those of us… who may have doubts as to “what kind of suffering do the dead have…”

>> The Church teaches us …

…. Nothing unclean will enter the presence of God in heaven (Rev. 21:27)

>> While we may die with our mortal sins forgiven, there can still be many impurities in us…

….especially venial sins and the temporal punishment due to sins already forgiven.

Therefore, it is needed to have “purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven… ”

>> This is called as “purgatory”.

This purification causes suffering… as a purification that takes place in fire!

>> The dead – the faithful departed – seek our prayers, for a deliverance from this struggle of sufferings!)

November is a month especially dedicated to pray for the Faithful Departed.

The Church invites her children in this world…

>> To remember and pray

>> To offer sacrifices and penances

>> To lead a life away from sin, in holiness

… for the faithful departed!

Yes, it is our faith and hope in the Resurrection, that spurs us…

… to live a life of holiness

 

… to be zealous in reaching out the message of salvation to all

… to be fervent in our prayers for the suffering who have passed away from us

Let us cease to be a “practical Sadducee” : professing belief in the Resurrection only in lips but failing to display this belief by a life of holiness!

It is true that we don’t have much awareness of how the “next life” would be…

… We do fall short of words to explain the nature of the life-to-come or rationally describing “how heaven would be!”

… We may even have our own fears and anxieties in thinking of death or in the parting moments of our loved ones!

 But we do know for certain one thing: that we would be one with our Lord- the lover of our soul…

… the fullness of joy

… the supremacy of holiness

… the culmination of every desire

Yes, we don’t have much idea of what lies beyond the Door, but we know that the Master is there!

Let us grow in our faith in the Resurrection…

… and let us live a life of holiness and sanctity – that would boldly proclaim this belief to all!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Nov 18 (Lk 19:45-48)

One of the basic requirements of religion is the aspect of Sacredness.

God is Holy.

> And all matters pertaining to this holy God, has a Sense of the Sacred.

>> Worship becomes meaningful, when one becomes aware of this Sense of the Sacred.

>> Preaching becomes powerful, when one is convinced of this Sense of the Sacred.

>> Liturgy becomes heart-touching, when one acknowledges this Sense of the Sacred.

Today we need to make an examination…

>> Is my Worship of God becoming merely external and losing its inner values?

>> Is my Preaching of God reduced to great talks but devoid of conviction and passion?

>> Is my Liturgy more a ritualistic and obligatory exercise than truly an experiential one?

If the answer to any of the above questions is a ‘Yes’…

… then we are perhaps losing the Sense of the Sacred.

The Gospel of the day presents a classic case of this loss of the Sacred Sense.

The Temple of Jerusalem is desecrated by a loss of the Sacred Sense and Jesus seeks to restore it by cleansing the temple.

 

“Then Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out those who were selling things” (Lk 19:45)

The Jerusalem Temple was very dear to the faith of the people of Israel.

>> Worshipping in this temple was the ultimate for the Israelites, in their honouring of God.

At the Passover, Jews from around the world came to the temple to sacrifice to the Lord (Ex. 12:1-28; Lev. 23:4-8).

It was highly impractical to bring sacrificial animals long distances.

>> So they were made available in the Jerusalem Temple.

Most Jews also paid the temple tax during the Passover.

Since, they came from various places and bore pagan Roman seals, money-changers were there in the temple, to convert the Roman coinage into appropriate currency.

>> Pagan symbols on Roman money made it unacceptable for Yahweh’s house.

Where there is money, corruption slowly creeps in…!

Pilgrims had to pay exorbitant rates to change money, and sellers exploited those in poverty, overcharging for the poor man’s offering of pigeons and doves (Lev. 5:7).

To make things worse, these merchants set up shop in the Court of the Gentiles, making it useless as a place of prayer due to the hustle and bustle of the buying and the selling of goods..

Though not inherently evil, these practices became occasions for sin.

>> What started for a noble cause, led to immense corruption.

There began the loss of the “Sense of the Sacred”…

 

 

And this is so true in our own lives…

The beginning of the loss of the Sense of the Sacred begins with trivial things.

We allow a little delays and some relaxations in our prayer life…

>> And suddenly, we find no excitement in spending time in prayer.

We allow laxity and silence and indifference in our relationships…

>> And suddenly, we find no meaning in many of our relations…

 

We allow unpreparedness and disinterest to walk into our celebration and participation of Mass…

>> And suddenly, we find no meaning in the Holy Eucharist.

The loss of the Sense of the Sacred happens in a very subtle and quiet way.

>> And unless, we remain vigilant and careful, we can lose our way in the spiritual warfare.

It is this reminder and warning that the Lord delivers today, by cleansing the Jerusalem Temple.

“It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it into a den of robbers'” (Lk 19: 46)

Today we have converted many of the places into “dens of robbers”…

>> Today we have badly defiled the “Sense of the Sacred” in many places…

Cinemas and movies have a heavy stench of vulgarity and indecency.

>> They rob the society of its ethical culture and moral innocence.

Posters, hoardings and advertisements have become mediums of immorality and offensiveness

>> They rob its viewers of their principles and convictions in life.

The Internet and new media are badly misused to become snares of promoting life-threatening and life-abusing activities.

>> They rob its users of their proper purposes & instead addict them to many compulsions & cravings, which are hard to be given up.

Families and communities often become places lacking in genuine love, unity and peace

>> They rob one of the chance to grow in a spirit of sharing and understanding.

Our bodies are often manipulated with many addictions, improper practises and ungodly behaviours.

>> They rob the person of the purity and holiness that is engraved deep within.

The Cleansing of the Jerusalem Temple is a strong reminder for us, to check the areas and the manner in which we have lost the Sense of the Sacred…

>> We complain that the world is becoming more materialistic and less spiritual.

>> We complain that the Church is becoming more “worldly” and less inspiring.

One of the root problems lies in the fact, that we perhaps losing the “Sense of the Sacred”

>> Unless we are in awe of the God who has created this beautiful and majestic world, we will continue to abuse and misuse the world.

>> Unless we are in wonder of the God who has gifted the Church with life-saving sacraments, we will continue to blame the Church and lose precious graces that we can obtain through her.

>>> Let us revive the “Sense of the Sacred”.

>>> Let us cleanse anything which diminishes this “Sense of the Sacred”

>>> Let us become a people who radiate with joy and enthusiasm this “Sense of the Sacred”

God Bless! Live Jesus!