Jun 1 (Jn 17:20-26)

A cute story of a little boy, who loved fruits.

 

This little boy fellow was once, tempted to pluck some cherries from a tree, which his father had strictly forbidden him to touch.

 

“You need not be afraid,” said his notorious companion, “for if your father should find out that you have taken them, he is too kind to hurt you.”

 

“Ah,” said the brave little fellow, “that is the very reason why I would not touch them;

>> For I know that my father would not hurt me. So I should not hurt him by my disobedience!”

 

The little boy knew the love of his Father towards him… and so he dared not hurt his Father.

>> He was not afraid of the punishment of the Father.

>> He was instead afraid of the hurt that would cause pain to the Father.

 

True love causes a holy and pious concern of not wanting to cause any offence to the one who is loved.

• True Love casts away all fear!

• True Love drives away every anxiety!

 

It is this True Love of the Father that was made known by Jesus to all of us.

 
The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus shedding greater light on His intimate relation with the Father and revealing deeper, the love of the Father for each one of us.

 

Jesus prays, “… so that they may be one, as we are one. I in them and You in Me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me.” (Jn 17: 22b, 23)

 
The high priestly prayer of Jesus in the Seventeenth Chapter is another insight into the intimate relation that Jesus had with His Father.

 

>> All His life, He sought to do only the Father’s Will

>> All His life, He sought to reveal the love of the Father to the world.

This was driven by the fact that Jesus was in intimate union with the Father.

 
To His disciples, Jesus wishes to leave this same legacy – the legacy of loving the Father intimately.

 

>> Jesus wishes to tell us that we have a Father who is deeply interested and caring for us.

>> Jesus wishes to convince us that our lives are secure in the Providential care of the Father.

 
However, our lives sometimes fails to display this trust and confidence in the providential care of the Father

>> Some of us may have a wrong notion of God being interested only in finding my wrongdoings and punishing me for the same…

>> Some of us may have the wrong notion of God being too holy and majestic that makes Him unapproachable, unavailable and inaccessible!

 

But Jesus seeks to drive away all such false impressions.

 
He tells us that the Father…

… is surely the keeper of justice, and may take us through a time of trials and difficulties.

But those are not to be seen as cruel punishments, but loving acts for improvements towards a holier life!

 

He tells us that the Father…

…. is surely the Lord and Master of the Universe, and is totally aware of even the calamities or hardships that befall our lives

But in all those hard moments, the loving Father keeps us safely in the palm of His hand, not allowing us, His beloved children to get hurt or harmed!

 
When we are convinced of this deep love that the Father has towards us, we would be able to orient our lives in a way that is worthy of our call as witnesses of Christ.

 

 

Jesus by His unity with the Father, enjoyed perfect freedom.

He invites us to also deepen our union with the Father and enjoy greater freedom of happiness and joy.

As we move from the month of May to the new month of June…

… let us recollect and thank the Lord for all His blessings 

>> And pray that this new month, becomes another opportunity for us to grow in the Love of the Father, and live, “always trusting in Divine Providence!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

May 31 (Feast of the Visitation of our Blessed Mother Mary)

 One of the greatest violinists of all time was Niccolo Paganini.

 

He had his first performance at the age of 11.

>> It is said that his great technical ability revolutionised violin techniques across Europe.

 

When he died in 1840, he had willed his violin to Genoa, Italy – the place of his birth.

 

But he had it done on a condition: that no artist ever plays his instrument again.

 

Glad to have the violin come into their possession, the people in the city of Genoa agreed to the request, and they put it in a beautiful case for everyone to see.

 

But, unfortunately, wooden violins have a certain peculiarity:

>> As long as they are handled, they show no wear…

… But if it remains unused, it begins to decay!

 

 

This is what happened to Paganini’s violin.

>> His once-exquisite instrument became worm-eaten and useless.

 

Wooden violins of other artists have been handed down from one gifted musician to another…

…. and they continue to bring great music to audiences.

>> But Paganini’s violin is a crumbling relic of what it once was!

 

 

Such will also be the case with a Christian…

… If one does not spend one’s life in service!

 

A Christian’s “unwillingness to serve” may soon destroy one’s capacity for usefulness!

 

 

Today, is the Feast of the Visitation…

… A beautiful incident of how Blessed Mother Mary became a person, who rendered Her life “in service” to God and others – and thus gave full bloom to the graces of God within Her!

 

 

This Feast of the Visitation of our Blessed Mother has its origin in the medieval times.

>>It was observed by the Franciscan Order before 1263, and soon its practise spread throughout the entire Church.

>> Previously it was celebrated on July 2….

… now it is celebrated on 31st May – between the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord ( Mar 25) and the Birth of St. John the Baptist (Jun 24) , in conformity with the Gospel accounts.

 

 

One of the interesting term used by St Luke in his description of this incident (Lk 1: 39-56) is the word “HASTE”.

St Luke says: “In those days, Mary arose and went with HASTE…..” (Lk 1: 39)

                                                                                                                                                          

The Angel Gabriel had appeared to Mary and announced the Good News that She was to be the Mother of the “Son of the Most High” (Lk 1: 31)

>> Mary was “overshadowed by the Power of the Most High” (Lk 1: 35)

>> The Angel had also pointed to the mighty work that was done in the life of her cousin Elizabeth (Lk 1: 36)

 

 

The Annunciation became the turning point in the life of Mary!

 

She was no longer the same…

… The simple girl had been exalted and chosen to be the Mother of the Most High God!

… She would no longer be seeking to do her desires; She would seek to God’s Will at all times!

… Her life would no longer be carried by her plans; Her life would be impelled by what God wanted!

 

The Child in Her, would now make Her to be “always in haste”!

… In haste: to serve others

… In haste: to follow perfectly the Will of God

… In haste: to have Jesus as the centre of Her life

 

The Holy Spirit completely possessed the Virgin Daughter of Nazareth and impelled her to act.

 

The beautiful incident of the Visitation of Mother Mary teaches us this beautiful lesson:

When Christ grows inside of us, we will be in HASTE….

… to reach out to others in service

… to spare no efforts to get out of our own comfort zones of pleasure, relaxing and lethargy

… to forget one’s own needs and be totally other-centred and radiate joy and hope to others

 

Mother Mary becomes the “Woman on the move” – on a continual and constant journey:

… She would embark on an hard trip to Bethlehem, while pregnant (Lk 2:4)

… She would again move – after the birth of the Child – along with Joseph, and flee to Egypt (Mt 2:14)

… She would return back to Nazareth, under the instruction of the Angel of God (Mt 2:23)

… She would further travel to Jerusalem for the Passover Feast and there would go in search of Her Beloved Child, when He was lost (Lk 2: 45)

.. She would be travelling with Jesus in His ministry – may not be physically, but Her Heart and Soul completely accompanying Her Son

… She would, finally, even accompany physically, with Her Innocent Child on the Way of the Cross (Jn 19: 25)

 

 

Mother Mary lived the words of the poem which centuries later would be formulated by another great Saint – St Francis of Assisi:

“It is in giving that we receive…

It is in dying that we are born to eternal life…”

 
The Feast of the Visitation is a reminder for us examine some of the important aspects of our life…

… Am I a person allowing the Holy Spirit to fill me and take complete possession of me – my words, my thoughts, my actions?

 

… Am I a person, having Jesus in me, impelled to reach out to the other in service? As St Paul says: “The love of Christ impels me” (2 Cor 5:14)

 

… Am I a person, who is daring to be a “person on the move” – moving out of my safe comfortable zones, moving out of conditioned and prejudiced mindsets, moving out to make my life of praise and honour to God?

 

 

St Ambrose says: “Delayed efforts are foreign to the grace of the Holy Spirit”

 

Charity is never idle!

>> Charity is always on the move …

… Sensitive to the needy

… Seeking to do good

 

 

May the graces of God in us, not get stagnant, or decayed or rusted …

… instead may they be extended in loving service to God and His people…

>> And thus our life be a beautiful Magnificat: “My Soul magnifies the Lord my God, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour!”

 

 

Happy Feast of our Blessed Mother Mary – the Mother Who moves us, constantly…towards Jesus!

 
God Bless! Live Jesus!

May 29 (Jn 16:29-33)

Space scientists in the 1960’s and 70’s made several efforts to help astronauts or cosmonauts to have a safer and healthier stay in space. 

The major hurdle to this was the fact that no matter how well prepared physically the cosmonauts or astronauts for the trip…

… even a short stay in space had a massive negative influence on their health.

 
Weightlessness (antigravity) and lack of movement (hypokinesia) caused immediate retardation of the whole body space traveller – muscles, bones, peripheral and central nervous systems degenerated within several hours to a large extent.

 

On return to Earth, the astronauts had to readjust to Earth’s gravity and experienced problems standing up, stabilizing their gaze, walking and turning.

>> They needed a long-term intensive rehabilitation to get back in shape.

 
To counteract this, a running suit laced with elastic bands was utilized.

 

The function of this elastic band, was to resist every move that the cosmonaut would make.

>> This resistance would force them to exert extra strength.

 

This worked!

>> When they had resistance, their muscles were stronger and it prepared them for recovery back into the earth’s atmosphere.

>> The greater pressure they exerted, the stronger was their physique and faster did it help them to get back to normalcy faster.

 

How true is this of our life as well!

>> The easier our life, the greater is the possibility of our spiritual fibre being weak…

>> The comfortable our living, the higher are the chances of being lax and lethargic…

 

Strength of any kind grows only by exertion!

 

And therefore, the Gospel of the Day will present Jesus encouraging and motivating His disciples to be firm and strong, even in the midst of any sort of persecution or problems.

>> Jesus will tell, “In the world you will have tribulations; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (Jn 16: 33)

 
The Lord in His final discourses to the Disciples constantly gives the message of Hope and Encouragement.

 

>> Jesus is a not a leader who shys away from presenting the truth.

>> Jesus is not a Master who hides the real facts of following Him.

 

He plainly tells them that His going away from the world will result in a number of persecutions.

>> He predicts that His chosen ones would desert Him in His time of agony and suffering: “Behold, the hour is coming and has arrived when each of you will be scattered to His own home and you will leave me alone.” (Jn 16: 32)

 

Yet, He assures His followers, that He will still remain with them and strengthen them.

He is bold to tell them, “… Take courage, I have conquered the world” (Jn 16: 33b)

 
Our life is also beset with many problems, afflictions and difficulties.

>> Sometimes, we do ask ourselves, “why do I face so many problems?”

>> Sometimes, we do feel, “why such immense pains in our life?”

>> Sometimes, we do question, “why is life so unfair to me?”

 

But the Lord tells us, that we ought not to get discouraged or disheartened.

>> Rather, we need to realise, that such hardships and problems, keep us oriented towards seeking the help of God.

 

When difficulties creep in life, our face is set more towards the Lord.

… but when life goes on too smoothly, there are chances that tend to relax our relation with Him

 

When problems surface and surmount, our minds are attuned more towards seeking the Lord

… but when life is too cosy and comfortable, there are possibilities of being too casual in prayer life

 

When hardships bite us hard, our hearts long deeper for the presence and providence of God

… but when life goes on a smooth sailing, there are prospects that we tend to forget the important role of the Lord in life

 

Adversities in life act as elastic bands, that cosmonauts or astronauts use…

…. they function in a way, to resist our every good action and aspiration…

>> But resistance ought to make us exert greater effort and have a stronger dependence on the Lord!

 

The greater the adversities, the stronger ought to be our dependence and trust in the Lord.

>> Strength of any kind grows only by exertion!

 

 

Let us not get discouraged by the problems of life… instead, consider them as golden opportunities and graces to grow much deeper and stronger in the Love of the Lord!

 

 

God Bless! Live Jesus!

May 28 (Solemnity of Ascension of the Lord)

 On the coast of Norway was a lighthouse where the keeper lived with his two little children.

 

One day the keeper went to the distant shore for provisions.

A storm arose, and he was unable to return.

 

It was, however, time for lighting the lamp.

 

Elena, the elder child, said to her little brother, “We must light the lamp, Willie.”

“How can we?” asked Willie. “We are not big enough!”

 

The two children climbed the long, narrow stairs to the tower where the lamp was kept.

Elena pulled up a chair and tried to reach the lamp in the great reflector.

It was too high!

 

Groping down the stairs, she ascended again with a small oil lamp in her hand, she climbed on the chair again, but still the reflector was just beyond her reach.

 

“Get down,” said Willie; “I know what we can do.”

 

She jumped down.

The little boy stretched his little body across the chair. “Stand on me,”he said.

 

She stood surprised for a moment… but then soon stood on the little fellow as he lay across the chair.

 

She raised the lamp high, and its light shone far out across the water.

 

Holding it first with one hand, then with the other, to rest her little arms, she called down to her brother, “Does it hurt you, Willie?”

 

“Of course it hurts,” exclaimed li’l Willie, “but keep the light burning!”

 

The little kids made sure every effort was taken to keep the light lit, even if it meant difficulty and pain.

 

• Are we keeping the light of Christ’s love burning in the world, even though it hurts?

• Are we holding it up so that all nations may see its beams afar?

 
Today is the Feast of the Ascension of our Lord.

 Ascension, Benjamin West, 1801, Denver Art Museum, Denver

This is the day…

… in which He gave the mission mandate of preaching His Good News to the entire world.

… in which He ascended to the heavens, as a culmination of the glory of the Resurrection

 
In our proclamation of the Apostles’ Creed, we affirm, ” … He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty!”

 
The Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord is a declaration of various pointers for our reflection…

 

1. The Ascension is an event that reminds the glory and majesty of the Lord, who is sovereign over all

 

The Lord ascended.

Elsewhere in the Bible, we have incidents of persons being taken up to heaven

• Enoch was taken up by God: “Then Enoch walked with God and he was no longer here, for God took him” (Gen 5:24)

• Elijah went up: “As they walked on conversing, a flaming chariot and flaming horses came between Elisha and Elijah, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind” (2Kgs 2: 11)

Mother Mary was ‘assumed’ into heaven, body and soul (Dogma of the Assumption)

 

However, Christ ‘ascended’

>> It was His Power that made Him to ‘go up’ to the heavens.

 

This is a tremendous demonstration of His Divinity, His Glory and His Power!

 

2. The Ascension is an event which radiates hope to the suffering and optimism to the distressed

The interesting saga of Christ’s life, which beginning with….

…. His simple yet powerful event of His Birth…

… His ordinary yet impressive event of His ministry…

… His agonizing yet impactful event of His passion and death…

… His glorious and spectacularly amazing event of the Resurrection…

finds its joyful and resplendent finale in His Ascension to the heavens.

 

This is a beautiful exhibition of how a life, lived in faith and commitment, even if it has to go through the barbed wires of pain, humiliation, suffering and uncertainty has a splendid and magnificent ending!

 

3. The Ascension is an event that prods our memory and commitment to be the missionaries for the Kingdom of God

 

The Lord’s concluding words to His apostles constituted a binding mandate…

… to go into the whole world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation

… to be an instrument of His power to cast out demons, to speak in new tongues, to endure poisons, to lay hands on sick and restore them to recovery.

 

This is a dutiful reminder of how the Lord trusts and has immense confidence in each one of us to be the proclaimers of His word.

 

• The Lord wishes to reign over in our hearts.

• He wishes to be the sovereign ruler of our lives.

 

May the Feast of the Ascension be a reminder for us to open our hearts to let the Lord to be in total command of our lives.

 

May the conviction in His love, the zeal to be His Missionaries and the passion to make this world a holier place help us, even in the face of pain and suffering and hardships, to exclaim…

“Of course it hurts, but I still keep the light burning!”

 
God Bless! Live Jesus!

May 27 (Jn 16:23-28)

A cute story is told of 6 year old Sally.
Sally loved to walk to and from, school, daily. 
One evening, as she came back from school, it was too cloudy.

>> The skies were dark; with a frightening intervention of lightning and thunder. 
>> But Sally still enjoyed to walk in those overcast conditions. 
As she reached home, her mother was extremely worried.
More than anything, she was worried that her little daughter would be extremely frightened by the heavy storm and the peals of thunder and lightning.
However, as the mother saw her daughter coming from far, towards home, she was surprised.

>> She could see her little daughter looking up to the skies, every time a lightning flashed.

In curiosity, the mother asked the daughter, when she reached home: 

“My child, were you not afraid of this dreadful climate? And why at all were you looking up, every time that there was a lightning?”
The little girl, with all her innocence said:

“Why at all should I be worried, Mamma?

God is always walking with me, isn’t it?

>> And moreover, today, He was taking pictures of me. So I kept looking at those flashes with a big smile!”

Well, that’s the innocent heart of a child…who trusts in God, and knows that He would be with her, in all the walks of life!

 

How happy are we, if we recognize that our Heavenly Father, is deeply in love with us, His children, and never ceases to express His caring affection to us, at every moment.

 

 

The Gospel of the Day is a testimony to Jesus affirming the assuring and loving presence of God, our Heavenly Father.

 
Jesus declares these beautiful words, which ought to be inscribed in golden shades, on the canvas of our hearts, “… the Father Himself loves you…” (Jn 16: 27a)

 

 This is indeed one of the mightiest and loftiest truth that we all need to know, experience, be convinced of, and live constantly in its assurance…

… the truth that “The Father Himself loves us!”

 
Every person longs for love and longs to be cared for…

 

Human love, however, sometimes fails to answer to this basic and essential need.

> Sometimes people around us get too busy, to even care for us…

>> Sometimes, people from whom we expect love, fail to understand our need…

>>> Sometimes, people who ought to care for us, fall short of their responsibility….

 

 

 All this could leave a feeling a hurt within us.

>> All this could imprint a wound of sadness inside of us.

 

But in such moments of feeling lonely and desperation, especially, Jesus assures and promises us that we are not abandoned or left lonely…

>> Instead Jesus emphatically proclaims that just as He was loved by His Father, we too are loved by our Heavenly Father!

 

>> It is confidence in this tremendous love of the Father…

… that will make us to seek whatever we wish in life, knowing that our prayers will be answered, in the way and the time, that He, My Father wishes! (Jn 16: 26)

 

His Love will make me delight in His Will, letting go of my personal desires!

 

 

>> It is conviction in this unconditional love of the Father…

… that will make us to enjoy a deep sense of joy and bliss, knowing that in any situation of gloom or sadness or tension or worry, He, My Father, is taking me through! (Jn 16: 24)

 

His Love will make me want to do only His Will, setting aside my individual wantings!

 

 

Our Heavenly Father, our Abba is in deep love of each one of us…

>> The Crucifix is the proof of this “mad love” of the Father.

 

May we, with His grace, deepen our love and conviction in the Amazing Love of the Father.

 

>> He is busy.. but busy expressing His tender love to us.

>> He is busy writing… writing His letters of His precious love to us.

 
May we always realize that He is walking with us, through every stormy and rainy situations of life…

… and we can boldly look up to the pealing flashes of troubles, with a smile, acknowledging: “My God is always with me!”

 

God Bless! Live Jesus!

May 27 (Jn 16:23-28)

A cute story is told of 6 year old Sally.

Sally loved to walk to and from, school, daily.

One evening, as she came back from school, it was too cloudy.
>> The skies were dark; with a frightening intervention of lightning and thunder.

>> But Sally still enjoyed to walk in those overcast conditions.

As she reached home, her mother was extremely worried.

More than anything, she was worried that her little daughter would be extremely frightened by the heavy storm and the peals of thunder and lightning.

However, as the mother saw her daughter coming from far, towards home, she was surprised.
>> She could see her little daughter looking up to the skies, every time a lightning flashed.

In curiosity, the mother asked the daughter, when she reached home:
“My child, were you not afraid of this dreadful climate? And why at all were you looking up, every time that there was a lightning?”

The little girl, with all her innocence said:
“Why at all should I be worried, Mamma?
God is always walking with me, isn’t it?
>> And moreover, today, He was taking pictures of me. So I kept looking at those flashes with a big smile!”

Well, that’s the innocent heart of a child…who trusts in God, and knows that He would be with her, in all the walks of life!

How happy are we, if we recognize that our Heavenly Father,  is deeply in love with us, His children, and never ceases to express His caring affection to us, at every moment.

The Gospel of the Day is a testimony to Jesus affirming the assuring and loving presence of God, our Heavenly Father.

Jesus declares these beautiful words, which ought to be inscribed in golden shades, on the canvas of our hearts, “… the Father Himself loves you…” (Jn 16: 27a)

This is indeed one of the mightiest and loftiest truth that we all need to know, experience, be convinced of, and live constantly in its assurance…
… the truth that “The Father Himself loves us!”

Every person longs for love and longs to be cared for…

Human love, however, sometimes fails to answer to this basic and essential need.
> Sometimes people around us get too busy, to even care for us…
>> Sometimes, people from whom we expect love, fail to understand our need…
>>> Sometimes, people who ought to care for us, fall short of their responsibility….

All this could leave a feeling a hurt within us.
>> All this could imprint a wound of sadness inside of us.

But in such moments of feeling lonely and desperation, especially, Jesus assures and promises us that we are not abandoned or left lonely…
>> Instead Jesus emphatically proclaims that just as He was loved by His Father, we too are loved by our Heavenly Father!

>> It is confidence in this tremendous love of the Father…
… that will make us to seek whatever we wish in life, knowing that our prayers will be answered, in the way and the time, that He, My Father wishes! (Jn 16: 26)

His Love will make me delight in His Will, letting go of my personal desires!

>> It is conviction in this unconditional love of the Father…
… that will make us to enjoy a deep sense of joy and bliss, knowing that in any situation of gloom or sadness or tension or worry, He, My Father, is taking me through! (Jn 16: 24)

His Love will make me want to do only His Will, setting aside my individual wantings!

Our Heavenly Father, our Abba is in deep love of each one of us…
>> The Crucifix is the proof of this “mad love” of the Father.

May we, with His grace, deepen our love and conviction in the Amazing Love of the Father.

>> He is busy.. but busy expressing His tender love to us.
>> He is busy writing… writing His letters of His precious love to us.

May we always realize that He is  walking with us, through every stormy and rainy situations of life…
… and we can boldly look up to the pealing flashes of troubles, with a smile, acknowledging: “My God is always with me!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!