May 1 (Jn 6: 22-29 & Feast of St Joseph, the Worker)

There is an old legend of a swan and a crane.

 

A beautiful swan alighted by the banks of the water, in which a crane was wading about, seeking snails.

 

For a few moments the crane viewed the swan in incredulous wonder and then inquired: “Where do you come from?”

“I come from heaven!” replied the swan.

 

“And where is heaven?” asked the curious crane.

 

“Heaven!” said the swan, “Heaven! Have you never heard of heaven?”

 

And the beautiful bird went on to describe the grandeur of the Eternal City…

>> She told of streets of gold, and the gates and walls made of precious stones; of the river of life, pure as crystal, upon whose banks is the tree whose leaves shall be for the healing of the nations.

 

With eloquence, the swan described the beauty of the other world…

… but none of it, strangely, seemed to arouse the slightest interest of the crane.

 

Finally the crane asked: “Are there any snails there?”

“Snails??” repeated the swan; “No! Of course there are not!”

 

“Then,” said the crane, as it continued its search along the slimy banks of the pool, “you can have your heaven. I only want snails!”

 

The crane was satisfied with the lowly earthly “snails” and failed to have any interest for the divine “heavens”

 

How often are we also like this crane….

… interested only in earthly affairs, and least attracted to the heavenly realms

… busy only with gathering earthly pleasures but rejecting offers for heavenly happiness

 

The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus chiding the people for following Him, just for the sake of earthly desires, and instead, invites and exhorts them to seek for higher and heavenly longings in life…

“Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you” (Jn 6: 27)

 

The people had witnessed Jesus’ great miracle of the multiplication of loaves.

>> Their hunger had been satisfied and appetites been gratified.

 

>> In Jesus, they found a person who was able to answer the bodily needs.

>> In Jesus, they found a person who was able to satisfy their material desires.

 

The people desired to crown Him as their King!

 

Is this not a trend in our society as well?

 

How often are the bread-givers and money-makers held in high esteem, even in our days…

… at the expense of people who are unable contribute much or do much work.

 

Think of the aged, the sick, the invalids in our own houses, communities and societies, who are unable to work or contribute anything materially…

>> How often do we neglect them!

>> How often do we put them down!

>> How often do we call them as useless!

 

We sometimes glorify people based only their work, their position and their activities…

>> The “being” of a person is often neglected… only the “doing” of a person is exalted!

>> The “essence” of a person is often not given value… only the “work” of a person is given credit!

 

But Jesus refrains from being a victim to this mentality of the society.

>>  He refuses to be their “Bread-King”!

>> He rejects to being their “Materialistic-Messiah”!

 

And so when people, come to Him, Jesus recognizes their motive in seeking Him…

… and He chides them saying:

“Amen, Amen, I say to you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs but you ate the loaves and were filled.

Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you” (Jn 6: 26-27)

 

The Lord seeks to lead the people to desire and long for the higher realities of life.

 

And this is the wish of the Lord for each one of us too, that we…

… be interested not only in worldly affairs; rather, we be more attracted to the heavenly realms

… be busy not only with gathering earthly satisfactions;  but, we accept and embrace more of heavenly happiness

 

It is true that “to the hungry one, food and other material wants demand higher urgency”

>> But having said this… one must also be willing to accept, that beyond these material aspects, the human person has greater needs – on a spiritual sense, that of the soul, towards the transcendental realities!

 

What is needed therefore, is a proper prioritizing…

… Does God and the Heavenly realities mean more to me, than earthly desires?

… Does Jesus and His Virtues occupy primal position in my life, than the worldly values?

 

A true prioritizing and firm conviction alone can help us to be the true witnesses of Jesus, the Messiah.

>> Jesus is our model and example, Who, in His life, accorded the first and primal place to God and His Will.

 

The lives of the saints and the martyrs are also proof for this fact.

 

>> In the Acts of the Apostles, 6:8-15, we read of how St Stephen, the first Martyr of the Church, “was filled with grace and power, and could withstand any persecution”, because he had a made a choice for Jesus and His Kingdom, above all!

 

He rejected all worldly promises and desires that blocked his view of the Kingdom!

 

Are we going to be a people, merely fixed in searching, through the slimy banks, for ‘snails’ of earthly pleasures?

>> Or we going to be a people, who can transcend and rise up higher, to live our lives in the grandeur of Jesus and His Everlasting Kingdom?

 

 

Today is the First of May.

>> The Church commemorates St Joseph, the Worker.

 

As St. Alphonsus Liguori says, “We should, indeed, honour St. Joseph, since the Son of God Himself was graciously pleased to honour him by calling him father.

>> If the King of kings was pleased to raise Joseph to so high a dignity, it is right and obligatory on our part to endeavour to honour him as much as we can!”

 

Let us seek the intercession of St Joseph, who was able to fulfill the duties entrusted to him, with a sense of immense trust and faith in the Lord…

… in order to seek for the higher and heavenly longings of life!

 

 

Happy Feast of St Joseph, the Just Worker in God’s Plan of Redemption.

>> Glorious Blessings of Jesus, his Precious Child – the Way, the Truth and the Life

>> Heavenly Intercessions of Mary – his loving Spouse and our affectionately protecting Mother

 

God Bless! Live Jesus!

April 30 (Lk 24: 13-35)

A commonly known incident is told of a customs officer, who observed a truck coming up to the border.

 

The wary behaviour of the driver caused the customs officer to look at him with suspicion – of smuggling some goods – and he ordered a search of the vehicle.

 

The officer was pretty sure, that the driver was involved in smuggling something…

>> But even after a thorough search – of the panels, the bumpers, the wheel cases and other parts of the truck….

… he was unsuccessful!

 

Not convinced, but due to lack of proof, the customs officer had to wave the driver through.

 

This happened many times over the years – week after week….

 

The officer made the driver to go through rigorous searches: full body search, X Rays, Sonar…

… but nothing illicit was ever found!

 

 

Finally, the day arrived when the customs officer was to retire.

 

For one last time, the officer observed the same driver coming in…

… and he asked him: “I know you are a smuggler!

And I also know, very cleverly, you have been deceiving me all these years, and taking some goods beyond this check point.

 

Today is my last day at work.

>> So I pray you, to tell me what have you been smuggling all these years.

I promise that I will not tell anyone about it.”

 

Seeing the insistent pleading of the customs officer, the driver replied, coolly:

“Trucks!”

 

 

The customs officer had made a detailed check up of the driver, on several occasions.

>> But he missed the most obvious good that could have been smuggled: Trucks!

 

 

How often can this happen in our lives as well…

… We “miss the most obvious”!

 

 

The Gospel of the Day is a beautiful incident to “open our eyes” to see the obvious –  the obvious reality of our Faith…

… and thus, to be convinced witnesses of this Good News of the Reality!

 

The post-Resurrectional narratives today presents before us the incident of our Risen Lord appearing to the two disciples on the way to Emmaus (Lk 24: 13-35).

 

One of the striking features that this passage presents before us is the human tendency (weakness!) to “miss the obvious!”

 

The two disciples, who are on the way to Emmaus, had been greatly struck by the incidents that had happened over the last one week in Jerusalem.

 

This therefore, resulted in them failing to “read the signs of symbols”…

>> Their Master, Jesus, in Whom they had placed all their hopes, had undergone a cruel death on the Cross (Lk 24:21).

… The CROSS, however, seemed, to them, purely as a sign of humiliation and shame!

 

>> This was followed by the report of some women who had seen the empty Tomb of the Lord (Lk 24:22)

… The EMPTY TOMB, however, seemed, to them, purely as a sign of dashed hopes and broken dreams

 

>> This confusion was confirmed by some of the other members of the group, but Him they had not met (Lk 24: 24)

… This ABSENCE of JESUS, however, seemed, to them, purely as a sign of a lost prospect and an uncertain future.

 

>> As they walked on the way, Jesus explained the Scriptures to them, to open their hearts to what was written about Him (Lk 24: 27)

… The SCRIPTURES, however, seemed, to them, purely as a sign of falling on deaf ears and God’s words being found empty.

 

>> As they reached the village, Jesus made movements as if to go on ahead (Lk 24: 28)

… The MOVEMENTS of JESUS, however, seemed, to them, purely a sign of a traveller wanting to move on with His journey

 

A number of symbols were presented to these disciples…

>> Cross, Empty Tomb, Absence of Jesus, Scriptures, Movements of Jesus

… but all of them seemed irrelevant and  immaterial.

>> They failed to make an impact!

 

They MISSED THE OBVIOUS!

 

That’s when, our Blessed Lord would “open their eyes” by partaking in one of the most important post-Resurrectional ‘Expression of His Presence’: The Breaking of Bread!

 

“He sat down to eat with them, took the bread, and said the blessing; then He broke the bread and gave it to them…

… then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him!” (Lk 24: 30-31)

 

 

The ‘Breaking of the Bread’ opened their eyes… and they began to “See the Obvious”

>> The Cross began to be seen as the Symbol of Victory!

>> The Empty Tomb began to be seen as the Symbol of God’s Almighty Power!

>> The Absence of Jesus began to be seen as the Symbol of His Presence amidst the community!

>> The Scriptures began to be seen as the Symbol of God’s Promises being fulfilled!

>> The Movements of Jesus began to be seen as the Symbol of the Lord alluring them to invite Him into their hearts and homes!

 

 

This incident invites us to also have our “eyes opened” and “see the obvious” in our Faith.

>> And this experience is deepened by our participation in the “Breaking of the Bread”.

 

The “Breaking of Bread” is the Holy Eucharist.

 

This incident of the “Breaking of Bread” contains the elements (Scripture, Prayer, Blessing, Breaking of bread)  of the Liturgy of the Eucharist, as stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church…

…  “Eucharistic celebration always includes: the proclamation of the Word of God; thanksgiving to God the Father for all his benefits, above all the gift of his Son; the consecration of bread and wine; and participation in the liturgical banquet by receiving the Lord’s body and blood.”

 

 

There are moments in our life, when we like the Disciples on the way to Emmaus, walk dejected and disillusioned.

… things seem lost for us and the future holds no good for us

… darkness seem to pervade our every thought

 

Like those Disciples, we too are given a lot of symbols of God’s Presence…

… but we fail to find meaning in them!

 

It is therefore the Breaking of the Bread – the Holy Eucharist – that can strengthen our Christian Life and “open our eyes”…

… to “see the obvious”!

 

May this powerful incident of the Emmaus Experience, help us to resolve and renew a few commitments with respect to the Holy Eucharist…

… to be more eager to participate for the Holy Mass as often as possible

… to never be late for Mass; instead to prepare well, and participate with more enthusiasm

… to seek to spend more time with the Eucharistic Lord and encourage others to do so as well

 

It is the Eucharist that can help us to know and realize that even in our “saddest walks of life”, the Lord is with us – walking with us, and giving us many signs and symbols of Faith…

>> And thus, to have our “eyes opened”…

… and “see the obvious” in our Life of Faith!

 

 

God Bless! Live Jesus!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 29 (Jn 6: 16-21)

A compass is an instrument used for navigation and orientation that shows direction.

It is used to find the right direction to get one to where one wants to go.
·      A compass helps to guide through unknown terrains.

·      A compass helps to direct well, without being lost.

·      A compass helps to keep right the focus.

A compass in life is a requirement in order to be constantly having the right target and aim.

The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus, as a person, in perfect control of His life; as a result of being in union with His Father – the Compass of His life..
… and He, becomes the Compass in the life of His disciples – to guide and direct them to safety!

The Gospel is the incident of Jesus walking on the waters, as the disciples travel in the boat, caught up in the midst of a strong sea wind.

This incident follows the “miraculous” event of the multiplication of five loaves and two fish, to feed a “massive” number of people. ( Jn 6: 1-15)

The people were greatly amazed and excited about this “super-miracle”.
This is evident in their words, “This is truly the Prophet, the One Who is to come into the world” (Jn 6: 14)

·      The people had seen an astonishing miracle.

·      The people had witnessed Someone who was able to provide them food.

·      The people had experienced Someone who could provide them security and strength.

But Jesus realized that all such excitement and exhilaration, would lead the people to make Him a King…

He knew that they would….
… be stuck to only material satisfaction and physical contentment
… not understand the heavenly and transcendental meaning of the miracle

And so Jesus withdrew to the mountain (Jn 6:15) to be with His Heavenly Father, alone.

His Beloved Father was the “Compass” of His life – the One who led Him….
…. to guide through unknown terrains
… to direct well, without being lost
…. to keep right the focus.

United with His Father, Jesus reaches out as a “Compass” to His struggling disciples…
They were being tossed up by the mighty waves and their boats were lashed by the mighty winds. (Jn 6:18)

But Jesus enters this “chaotic” scene….and ensures His peace and calm.
·      The disciples were lost…

·      They had missed sight of their direction…

·      They were disoriented in their focus and sight…

·      Fear had seized them

·      Anxiety was drowning them.

But the Lord, the “Compass” of Life restores back their calm and focus and direction.

·      Nothing is lost, when we have the Lord as the compass of our lives.

·      Nothing will be drowned, if we hold on to Jesus, as the compass of our lives.

The disciples realised this… and they experienced the calming effect in their lives.

Are we also ready to have God as the “Compass” of our lives?

In prayer… In faithfulness.. In trust… let us be ready and open to be led by the True Guide of our lives!

God bless! Live Jesus!

April 28 (Jn 6: 1-15)

Here’s a simple question… from the world of the Gospels…

Which is the only miracle, besides the Resurrection of our Blessed Lord, that is mentioned in all the four Gospel accounts?

Well, it should not be too difficult to answer this one…

Or, is it a tough one?

Well, the answer is…
…. Yes…. it IS the miracle of the Multiplication of the Loaves.

The feeding of the people, by the mighty deed of multiplication of the loaves, in the only miracle, besides the miracle of the Resurrection of Jesus, that finds a mention in all the four Gospels.

And each of these Gospels also have something unique to speak of this incident:
>> Mt 14: 13-21: mentions about five thousand men being fed,”without counting women and children”
>> Mk 6: 31-4: mentions of making the people to be seated in”groups and clusters of hundreds and fifties”
>> Lk 9: 10-17: also mentions of five thousand men and being seated in clusters of fifty and also mentions Jesus, “looking up to the heavens”.
>> Jn 6: 5-15: mentions of a “little boy”, who is the provider of the five loaves and two fish and also that “the Lord gave thanks for it”,before distributing it to the people.

      
The Gospel of the Day presents this account of the multiplication from the eyes of St John, the Evangelist.

Since this miracle finds its parallel with the Resurrection, as the only one mentioned in all the four Gospels, we could highlight some of the outstanding features of this “massive” miracle

>> The multiplication of the loaves fed a massive crowd.
Five thousand men could mean, that including women and children, it would have easily exceeded over twenty thousand people!.

This easily was the miracle that Jesus performed with the greatest number of witnesses and participants.

>> The multiplication of the loaves was a miracle of “creation”.
There are other miracles of Jesus, mentioned in the Bible, which could fall in the following categories…
>> Miracles of healing: Curing of many sicknesses and diseases
>> Miracles over nature: Powerful control over the forces of nature
>> Miracles of exorcism: Casting out demons and liberating people from them
>> Miracles of transformation: Transforming an object to something else or even of people
>> Miracles of restoration: Restoring people to their original state of life and good condition

But the miracle of the “multiplication” is unique in the sense, that it resembled “creation”.
God created the world “ex-nihilo – out of nothing”; Jesus now creates the loaves from nothing, and feeds the people.

This miracle of the multiplication also reveals some of the finest qualities of Jesus, the Messiah…

>> His sensitivity to the needs of the people
While the disciples were just eager to send the crowd away, Jesus reaches out to them in compassion and love.

>> His ability to effect changes in the mindset and thinking-pattern
The disciples could see no way, in that desert to feed the gigantic crowd. They had only question marks before them.
But Jesus, sheds new light on their minds and helps them find a solution, even in the seemingly impossible situation

>> His perfect control in a situation of panic
Though there would have been panic in the minds of the disciples, Jesus impresses upon them the fact, that He is in total charge and in complete control.
As the Lord and Creator, He knows exactly what is to be done in the moment of crisis and calamity.

>> His attitude of raising His heart in thanksgiving at every situation
We read that before the actual multiplication happened, Jesus “took the loaves, and gave thanks…” (Jn 6: 11)

Its amazing to imagine that situation:
… Thousands and thousands of people, eagerly waiting, hungry and exhausted….
… Having just Five Loaves and the Two Fish – which was scarcely able to meet the hunger of a couple of people…
… Jesus still raises His Heart in thanksgiving and gratitude!

It is tremendous faith that allows a person to raise one’s mind in gratitude, even in the midst of utter poverty, deep need and barren nothingness!

>> His consciousness to gather the remaining pieces, after the miracle
The Lord, “Who came save and seek the lost” is also highly mindful of gathering up the remaining broken pieces of the loaves.
The disciples get trained to become aware of “what is often considered as wasteful” can also become resourceful!

The disciples are reminded that even things that are usually “discarded” and regarded as being “unwanted and useless”, can become sources of strength and nourishment!

This beautiful and unique miracle of the multiplication, is a reminder to each one of us also:

Am I able…
… to be sensitive and responsive to the needs and desires of those around me?
… to see the brighter side of life, with the Grace and strength from God, and rub the fragrance of this positivity onto others in my life?
… to rise above the situations of panic and disturbances, and be calm, knowing that I have a God, who is ultimately in total and perfect control of every situation of turmoil?
…  to lift up my heart to the Lord, in thanksgiving, at every moment and situation of life, even when the chips are down or when I pass through the dark tunnels and the deep, despairing valleys life?
… to be aware of the “unwanted” talents in me, the “excess” people of the society and the “discarded” peripherals of the world, and seek to make the best use of them and collect them to be part of the mainframe scene?

God Bless! Live Jesus!

April 27 (Jn 3: 31-36)

A few days back we celebrated the Easter Vigil.

The Easter Vigil is called as the mother of all vigils.
In the liturgy of the Easter Vigil, a Paschal Candle is prepared.

The priest marks the candle, in the shape of the Cross, Alpha and Omega – the first and the last Greek letters and the present Year, 2017.

He uses the following words:
… Christ yesterday and today (on the vertical arm of the cross)
… the Beginning and the End (horizontal arm of the cross)
… the Alpha (alpha above the cross)
… and the Omega (omega below the cross)
… All time belongs to him (numeral 2 in upper left corner of cross)
… and all the ages (numeral 0 in upper right corner of cross)
… To him be glory and power (numeral 1 in lower left corner)
… through every age and for ever. Amen (numeral 7 in lower right corner)

These words declare the Supreme authority and Heavenly glory of Jesus, the Son of God.

However, it can happen so, that at times, in our life…
… such fundamental factors of faith are taken for granted…
… such basic truths of our spiritual life are presumed as known…

Therefore,  it is sometimes good take a pause in our spiritual life, and ask ourselves, this fundamental question,
•      ” Am I really trusting and believing in Jesus, as the True Son of God, the One who is all-powerful and Holy”?
•      “Is my faith and spirituality truly built on the great foundation, that the Lord is the ultimate beginning (Alpha) and the end (Omega) of everything?”

The Gospel of the day is an invitation to make this examination of the basics of our faith and spirituality and to renew our belief and trust in the Lord.

The Gospel passage begins with the verse, “The One who comes from heaven is above all” (Jn 3: 31)

This verse refers to the Divine origin of the Lord.

At the Annunciation, Angel Gabriel had announced to Mother Mary that Her child “will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High” (Lk 1: 32)

This Divinity of the Lord was affirmed by Him through the various works of wonders and great deeds…
… of healing many in afflictions and sicknesses
… of accepting many of the rejected and unwanted
… of strengthening many of the oppressed and the abused
… of preaching many on the need for repentance and striving to enter the Kingdom

•      His personality shone with Divinity….
•      His character radiated with Holiness…
He sought to become the Way-revealer, the Truth-instiller and the Life-giver.

He is the One “Whom the Father loves” and “to Whom the Father has given everything” (Jn 3:35)

•      Have we given our lives entirely to Him, who is above all things?
•      Have we entrusted ourselves entirely to Him, who has been entrusted everything by the Father?

At the Holy Mass, one of the most beautiful prayers is called as the “Doxology”.

In this, we render all the praise to the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit.
“Through Him, With Him, In Him…. O God Almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honour is Yours, forever and ever, Amen!”

It would be good, to make this prayer of the Doxology, our own, in our works and activities.

•      This could be a conscious way of acknowledging the Divinity of the Lord in all our activities.
•      This could be a meaningful way of saying that the Lord reigns in all our works and deeds.

Let us revive our hearts to firmly install the Lord as the True Alpha(the beginning) and the True Omega (the end) of all our activities… and our life itself!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

April 26 ( Jn 3: 16-21)

In a particular place, in the medieval ages, there lived a certain monk.

This monk, once, announced that he would be preaching next Sunday evening on “The Love of God.”

It was Sunday evening…
The sun began to set…

As the shadows fell and the light slowly ceased to come in, throughthe glass-stained windows of that marvellous Church, the congregation gathered, were eagerly waiting…
Their eyes were fixed on the monk who was to preach to them….

In the darkness of the altar, the monk lighted a candle and carried it to the crucifix.

First of all, with the candle, he illumined the crown of thorns on the Crucifix..
Then, the two wounded hands…
Then the marks of the spear wound on His side…

Then, in the hush and silence that fell, the monk blew out the candle and left the Church.

There was nothing else to say!
A beautiful sermon on the “Love of God” had been preached!

•      The sacrifice of Jesus, on the Cross, reveals the depth of God’s Love.
•      The price that Jesus paid on the Cross, demonstrates the intensity of God’s Love.

It is this love of God that Jesus spells out, when He says to Nicodemus, in today’s Gospel, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him, should not perish, but may have eternal life…” (Jn 3:16)

This verse, John 3:16 has some of the most unique credits….
… it is perhaps one of the most favourite verses of the entire Bible
… it is perhaps one of the most known verses of the entire Bible

In seven phrases, this verse, reveals the gist and the core of the entire Good News…
… For God: The Great Lord and the Creator of the entire universe
… so loved the world: The Great Purpose of God
… that He gave His only Son: The Great Sacrifice
… that whoever: The Great Open Invitation
… believes in Him: The Great Condition
… should not perish: The Great Desire
… but may have eternal life: The Great Promise

Jesus was teaching Nicodemus that the heart of God’s love would be revealed in the sacrifice and death of His Beloved Son, on the Cross.
The Cross is not for condemnation…
The Cross is not for judgement…
The Cross is for salvation… the Cross is for hope!

•      To the one who believes and trusts in this power of the Cross, there is hope and salvation.
•      To the one who rejects and refuses this power of the Cross, judgement and condemnation is self-inflicted  and self-imposed.

•      God doesn’t want to condemn… He only wants to redeem.
•      God doesn’t desire to judge… He only wants to save.

The Cross of the Lord invites us today…
… to be faithful to the salvation won by the Lord, always
… to seek the grace to live a life in the light, always
… to make efforts to walk the path of truth, always

God Bless! Live Jesus!

April 25 (Feast of St Mark, the Evangelist)

It was a place named Bokalia, which means the place of cows, on the east of Alexandria in Egypt.

The Great Feast of Resurrection, that year, 68 A.D., coincided with the great pagan celebration of god Syrabis.

A huge multitude of the pagans, assembled and attacked the Church at Bokalia and forced their way in…

These targeted their chief enemy in that church…
       seized him…
              bound him with a thick rope…
                     dragged him in the roads and streets..
And they cried out, “Drag the dragon to the place of cows!”

They continued dragging him with severe cruelty.
His flesh was torn and scattered everywhere…
… the ground of the city was covered with his blood.

They cast him that night into a dark prison.

The next morning, the pagans were back to take him from the prison.

They tied his neck with a thick rope and did the same as the day before – dragging him over the rocks and stones.

Finally, this great warrior of God delivered up his pure soul in the hand of God…
… and received the crown of martyrdom…
… the apostolic crown, the crown of evangelism, and the crown of virginity.

Nevertheless, his death did not satisfy the rage of the pagans and their hatred.

They gathered much firewood and prepared an inferno to burn him.
However, a severe storm blew and heavy rains fell.
>> This frightened the pagans, and they fled away in fear.

The believers came and took the body, carried it to the church that they had built at Bokalia, wrapped it up, prayed over it, and placed in a coffin.
>> They laid the coffin in a secret place in this Church.

This is the heroic account of the martyrdom of St Mark, the Evangelist, whose feast we celebrate today.

It is to St Mark, the evangelist, that we owe, historically speaking, the first of the four Gospels.

Some of the distinct features and highlighting aspects of the Gospel of St Mark calls for our attention and reflection…

1. The Gospel of St Mark is the shortest among all the four Gospel accounts.
It probably also has the highest tempo, in terms of the language used and the pace at which the whole Gospel account moves.

>> This invites us to reflect on the urgency of the Kingdom in our lives. The time and place of the coming of the Lord is unknown. (Mk 13: 35-37) Therefore, it places on us, the need to be ever watchful, on the guard and ready for action against the evil, with lives sanctified and purified.
>> This also invites to reflect on the shortness of our lives, and how each day and each moment of our life (like each chapter and verse of the Gospel), is to be lived solely for the sake of the Lord, and making our lives a “true Gospel”, giving witness to Jesus Christ, the Crucified Risen Lord, the Son of God (Mk 15:39)

2. The Gospel of St Mark was possibly addressed originally to the persecuted and suffering Christians, of the early Church.
This meant to present Jesus, in the light of how He was able to withstand all pains, pressures and persecutions, in order to remain faithful to the Will of His Father and to the Kingdom Mission.

>> This invites us to fully embrace Jesus as the True Model for our lives. He is the Lord, who suffered immensely, took up every pain and bore every temptation, in order to remain faithful to His Father (Mk 14:36).
>> This also invites us to not be afraid of pains and sufferings in life and not to be bogged down by the illogicality of why things go absolutely haywire in our personal and societal lives. Instead, we need to look up to Jesus, who was crucified, and even from the Cross, the final act of His obedience, cried out, “Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachthani – My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mk 15:34)

3. The Gospel of St Mark is, traditionally, greatly associated with the life of St Peter.
Therefore, this Gospel makes a clear attempt at revealing some of the crucial events, feelings and character of Peter. It is an attempt, not to merely glorify Peter’s role; rather, it is also an account of how Peter, with all his failures and ‘foolishness’ was still accepted and moulded by Jesus, His patient Master

>> This invites us to face our own weaknesses and limitations of life boldly. Like St Peter, we too very often fall away, oppose the plans of God, be overly-zealous yet lazily lethargic and even betray the Lord. Yet, the Good Shepherd does not abandon us; instead goes ahead of us (Mk 16:7), to invite us “to make our life a beautiful one for Him”

>> This also invites us to not give up in life because of constant failures or be ashamed of our brokenness in life (Mk 14:72b). The Gospel of Mark is a parallel drama of the Glorifying Act of Jesus Christ and the Constantly Wavering Life of St Peter. The Gospel testifies that we are to glory not in our merits or prowess, rather to seek refuge in the wounds of Christ and to be totally dependent on the One who alone is to be our strength and guide.

Just like a lion, the Gospel of Mark brings out powerfully the life and teachings of Jesus, the Mighty Lion of Judah…
… mighty and bold
… fast and powerful,
… demanding and challenging.

The author, St Mark, himself was able to live up to be the witness and shed his blood for sake of the Great Lion of Judah!

Let us read this Gospel of St Mark…
… meditate on it..
… be challenged by it..
And strive to live the Will of the Father faithfully …
making our lives a “… Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God”(Mk 1:1)

Happy Feast of St Mark, the Evangelist

God Bless! Live Jesus!