Dec 1 (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

>> They can console

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 30 (Feast of St Andrew, the Apostle)

“I command you for the last time…make your sacrifice to our gods” yelled Aegeas, the pagan judge.

“Certainly no!” was the reply back, “I sacrifice daily to The Almighty God, the one and true God.

Not the flesh of oxen and the blood of goats do I offer, but the unspotted Lamb upon the altar.

All the faithful partake of His flesh, yet the Lamb remains unharmed and living!”

Exceedingly angered by that adamant refusal, the judge commanded the rebel to be thrown into prison.

The supporters of the rebel, who stood outside the judging quarters, raised an uproar to free him.

But the one who was punished, personally calmed the mob, and earnestly pleaded with them to desist, as he was hastening towards an ardently desired crown of martyrdom.

When he was led to the place of martyrdom, on beholding the cross from far, he cried out:

“O Good Cross… so long desired and now set up for my longing soul, I confidently, with rejoicing come to you!

>> Exultingly receive me, a disciple of Him who hung on you.”

>> Within a few moments, he was tied to the cross – an X-shaped Cross!

For two days, he hung there, alive…

…. unceasingly proclaiming the Teachings of Christ, until he passed on to Him, whose likeness in death, he so ardently desired!

This brave martyr of Christ was St Andrew, the Apostle of Jesus, whose feast we celebrate today.

A few years back, this valiant martyr, St Andrew, had received the call of the Lord, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men” (Mt 4: 19)

The name “Andrew” in Greek means “manly” or “a person of valour”.

St Andrew was from Bethsaida, in Galilee.

>> He was a fisherman, by trade and a former disciple of John the Baptist.

St Andrew is said to have been martyred at Patras in southern Greece on a cross which was in the shape of an “X”.

>>This type of cross has long been known as “St Andrew’s cross.”

>> This St Andrew’s Cross, is depicted, on the national flag of Scotland.

One of the wonderful things that we learn from St Andrew is his wonderful quality of being a “Introducer to Christ”, as seen in the various instances of the Gospel

1. It was St Andrew who “introduced to Christ”, his brother Peter (Jn 1: 40-42)

>> “We have found the Messiah” (Jn 1:41) were the words with which he introduced Jesus to his brother

2. It was St Andrew who “introduced to Christ”, the little boy with the five loaves and two fish, which would be later, multiplied for five thousand men! (Jn 6: 5-13)

>> “There is a little boy, who has five barley loaves and two fish?” (Jn 6:9) were the words with which he introduced Jesus to the little boy

3. It was St Andrew who “introduced to Christ” the Greeks who had come up to worship at the feast, at the request of Philip (Jn 12: 20-23)

>> “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified” (Jn 12: 23) were the words with which Jesus reacted when he was introduced to the Greeks.

Thus, we see that St Andrew became an instrument and an active medium of “Introducing to Christ” many people.

As a Christian, this ought to be one great quality and duty that we ought to follow – “Introducing to Christ” many people, like St Andrew.

>> We are on the last day of the month of November, and as we enter into December…

… this can be one of the beautiful practical resolutions, that we can, do, all the 25 days of this Advent Season, in preparation for the Birth of Christ, into our hearts and life

>> “Introducing to Christ”

How can I take up this task of “Introducing to Christ”?

Many around us long to hear a word of encouragement in their brokenness, receive a word of consolation in their struggles and encounter a smile of hope in their helplessness

>> Can I “Introduce them to Christ” – to His love, to His message of hope, to His treasury of providence?

Many around us have immersed themselves into the murky waters of sin, immorality, injustice and insensitivity to people and nature

>> Can I “Introduce them to Christ” – to His ocean of mercy, to His fountain of justice and to His abundance of warmth?

Many around us have separated themselves and live in isolation – from people in relationships, from the Church and Her teachings, from the responsibilities and duties of their works and the society.

>> Can I “Introduce them to Christ” – to His dimension of wholeness in relations, to His Life-giving Sacraments and to His instruction of being faithful?

St Andrew heard the call of the Lord – “to follow Him”

>> He was touched by His love and was filled with a passion for His Master

>> He was zealous to bring many more to the Love of Jesus

>> He was even willing, to lay down his life, in imitation of his Master, for love of Him

We too, have heard the call of the Lord – “to follow Him”

>> Are we touched by His love and was filled with a passion for His Master

>> Are we zealous to bring many more to the Love of Jesus

>> Are we also, willing, to lay down our life, in imitation of our Master, for love of Him

May St Andrew intercede for us and inspire us, by his tremendous love for the Master…

… And may we too, like him, become people who “Introduce many to Christ”!

Happy Feast of St Andrew, the zealous Apostle who “Introduced many to Christ”!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Nov 29 (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.

>> Experiencing the splendid joy of God in the thick of persecutions of life.

>> Experiencing 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.

>> Many might complain… 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 28 (Lk 21:5-11)

“God himself cannot sink this ship!”

“The captain can, by simply moving an electric switch, instantly close all the doors, practically making the vessel unsinkable”

“We believe that the ship is unsinkable.”

These were some of the comments and claims that were made about Titanic – the largest ship in the first half of the 1900’s

But all these proud & arrogant assertions found a watery grave, with the sinking of the Titanic on the morning of 15th April, 1912 killing over one thousand five hundred people.

It was a massive tragedy of the loss of many lives.

But it was also a horrific lesson to humankind on the need to be aware of her limitations.

>> It was also a torrid warning to generations on the need to be on the guard, always.

“Being on the guard” is a necessity and a basic requirement in every sphere of human life!

The Gospel of the Day presents this message of being vigilant and alert in our lives.

Jesus is on the courtyard of the Jerusalem Temple and He hears “some people speaking about how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings” (Lk 21:5)

The Jerusalem Temple was a magnificent building and one of the wonders of those days.

The Temple had just been marvelously rebuilt by Herod the Great.

>> In all its beauty, the Jerusalem Temple was a vast glittering mass of white marble, touched here & there with gold and precious stones.

“Whosoever had not gazed on it”, said the old rabbis, “had not seen the perfection of beauty.”

>> Tacitus, the historian, called this spectacular edifice as “a temple of vast wealth“

Precious gifts such as crowns, shields, vessels of gold and silver were presented by princes and others who visited the holy house.

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

With such a grand spectacle and gorgeous building 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)

These words would have come as a big shocker and a tantalizing scandal to His listeners.

Who would have thought that the Titanic would ever sink?

>> Who would have thought that the Twin Towers in America could be in rubble?

>> Who would have thought the British Empire where “the sun never sets” would wane down?

To think of the Jerusalem Temple being totally destroyed was a case next to impossible.

The Jerusalem Temple was the holiest shrine of the Jews.

>> It was the pulse and the heartbeat of the Jewish Faith.

>> It was the greatest source of joy and pride for the Jews.

Any attack or any destruction of this Great Edifice of Faith was unimaginable and intolerable.

Yet, Jesus makes this powerful and daring prophecy.

What is the structure and edifice of joy and pride in our lives?

Is it just a structure of fat bank-balances and transient fame and popularity?

>> Is it just a structure of remarkable public positions and offices of high ranking?

>> Is it just a structure of enjoying life with temporary pleasures and passing addictions?

All too often we have heard people saying:

“I have enough money and I am happy with my life!

>> Just enjoy today to the max. Who knows what happens tomorrow?”

“The status that I am in today, is a result of my hard-work and labour.

>> Why should anyone interfere in my private life and prevent me from enjoying it in my own style?”

History teaches us that structures built without the power and grace of God is bound to fall.

The Tower of Babel is a classic example from the Bible. (Gen 11: 4-9)

>> Built on human pride and aspiration, it had a catastrophic collapse

The lives of many people are also a lesson for us…

… Samson… King Saul… King Solomon… Judas.

They had their moments of great glory and splendour.

>> But when pride and self-interest crept into their lives, they let go of the touch of God’s hand!

We may glory and shine in beauty for some time by just banking on our capabilities.

>> But unless, we remain in firm obedience and faithful commitment to the Lord, we are bound to fail!

None of us are, and can be unsinkable.

An obstinate stand that I can manage my life by myself is hazardous.

>> A proud feeling that no power in the world can shake me is dangerous.

>> An arrogant outlook that I am the sole master of my future and destiny is perilous.

Let God be God in our lives.

>> Let Him enthrone the highest place and the privileged position in our lives.

May Jesus, the King of kings and the Lord of lords adorn the Temple of our lives.

>> With Him we can shine forever.

>> With Him we can stand forever.

>> With Him we can glory forever.

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Nov 27 (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!”

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

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

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…

We find this aspect, in many places of the Gospel…

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 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?

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Nov 26 (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 something similar happens in our lives – God, our King 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

>> 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 describes the scene of the Last Judgment…

The passage presents the Son of Man – the King of kings – seated in His majesty and awesome glory and all the nations awaiting His judgment. (Mt 25: 31-32)

The sheep, placed on the right side, are the chosen ones to enjoy the bliss of the Kingdom.

>> The goats, placed on the left side, are the condemned ones to suffer the fire of punishment.

One of the important aspects to be observed in this passage of the scene of the Last Judgment is the manner in which the King looks at human actions…

The Bible says, “Humans look on the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam 16:7)

One of the common question that both the groups – the sheep as well the goats – posed was:

“When did we know…”

The sheep were taken by surprise, at the occasions, which the Lord found them doing good…

>> They remained unaware of those situations, though they did the good in God’s sight.

>> They remained unaware of those occasions, though they did the needful in God’s sight.

The goats were taken by surprise, at the occasions, which the Lord found them missing to do good…

>> They remained unaware of those situations, where they failed to do the good in God’s sight.

>> They remained unaware of those occasions, where they missed to do the needful in God’s sight.

> We may not “realize” the occasions of doing good…

>> We may not “realize” the occasions of having missed doing good…

This, therefore, calls for cultivation of an inner disposition to do good.

>> This calls for building of an inner character to be charitable.

Ø From the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks…

Ø From the abundance of goodness within, good actions flow…

Ø From the abundance of kindness within, kind conduct emerges…

Ø From the abundance of love within, charitable behaviours proceed…

Let’s prepare ourselves well, in cultivating an inner disposition to do good…

… by allowing Christ to reign over our lives!

From the next Sunday, we enter into the Hopeful Season of Advent…

… let it be an occasion to grow in cultivating love, deep within.

… let it be a time of forming a character of goodness and kindness.

The Day of Judgment is certainly to be a glorious one…

If we fail to build up a character of goodness and charity, we may go through feelings of anxiety or fear or even dread!

>> But trusting in the mercy and compassion of the Lord, let us, as the little children of our Heavenly Father, be hopeful and confident!

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

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

Yes, let us Hearken to His voice…Christ, the King – The Great King.

>> No land to reign, but our hearts…

>> No majestic throne, but the cross…

>> No mighty army, but a few people to spread His word…

>> No royal treats all the time, but pain and suffering often…

>> No grand fiesta or party but the sacrifice of the Calvary in the Eucharist…

This king invites us today to renew our commitment to Him

He comes to us in many different situations and circumstances of our life…

May we never say to Him, “You may look for a place somewhere else!”

>> Instead, even in situations when the externals appear vague…

… filled with a clear disposition of the Lord reigning in our hearts, may we say: “The dress may be that of a peasant, but the voice is the voice of my lord, the King!”

Royalty is less, but faithfulness is assured….

>> Popularity is rare, but blessings are plenty.

Shall we always say “Yes” to this King of Hearts – Christ the Crucified King?

Happy Feast to all the Valiant and Faithful Soldiers of Christ, the Awesome King!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Nov 25 (Lk 20:27-40)

Question: Who could be the called as the most blessed’ people in the world?

Answer: Christians

The Reason: In Christ we have the possibility to receive great blessings, to have heavenly experiences on earth by living a faith-filled life and to enjoy the most intimate moments with God in the Most Holy Eucharist.

The Biblical Support: John 10:10, “I have come to give life, and life in abundance”

John 6:51, “I am the Living Bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever”

Question: Who could be the called as the most ‘pitied’ people in the world?

Answer: Christians

The Reason: A Christian who fails to believe & be convinced of a life in Christ after this earthly life & lives only for this world.

The Biblical Support: 1 Cor 15:19, “If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are the most pitiable people of all”

Am I a Christian who can be called Blessed, because of my faith in Christ which is directed towards Eternal Life ?

>> Or am I a Christian who is to be Pitied, because of my belief in Christ which is only to satisfy my desires of this world?

The Gospel of the Day invites us to dwell on these aspects with the incident of the Question on the Resurrection.

This question on the Resurrection was put forward by the Sadducees.

The Sadducees were the priestly aristocracy among the Jews.

>> They tried to live in close contact with the Roman rulers so that they might as far as possible promote the secular interests of their people.

Consequently they took little interest in religious matters and in many respects clashed with the Pharisees, especially as regards the Pharisees’ attachment to the ‘traditions of the elders’.

Anything which was not taught by ‘the law of Moses’ (the first five books of the Old Testament) was rejected by the Sadducees as forbidden innovations.

Unlike the Pharisees, the Sadducees did not believe in many aspects:

>> They didn’t believe…

… in angels.

… in heaven or hell.

… in life after death.

… in the immortality of the soul.

… in the resurrection of the dead.

Thus, the doubt on the Resurrection exposes the hypocrisy of the Sadducees.

>> They were asking Jesus about something they didn’t believe.

They sought to establish that belief in a resurrection from the dead was unscriptural and impractical by putting forward a highly hypothetical question.

But Jesus, the cleverest and smartest Master outwits their malicious plans.

Jesus establishes that eternal life would not be a mere extension of this presently life.

>> Rather, there would be a great transformation of all that is earthly.

The style and the method of this transformation is known only to God…

>> The manner and the mode of this transformation is known only to God…

But the Lord with logic & reason and a strong scriptural-support champions this Doctrine of the Resurrection from the Dead.

The passage ends with the statement, “And they no longer dared to ask him anything” (Lk 19:40)

The Sadducees who came to trap the Lord with their malicious doubts were put to silence.

>> Maybe a few of those Sadducees…

… would have second thoughts on it.

… got a bit confused between Jesus’ words and their own convictions

… felt angered at the convinced reply of Jesus & their unwillingness to let go of their position.

Maybe most of those Sadducees felt threatened by the confident reply of Jesus and felt disturbed by their aversion to give up their opinions.

>> It’s a tragedy when one fails to convert oneself, even after knowing the truth.

>> It’s a pity when one fails to change oneself, even after becoming aware of the reality.

>> It’s a calamity when one fails to alter oneself, even after being conscious of the facts.

Are we practical Sadducees in our lives?

>> Do I believe in the power of the Resurrection of the Dead?

>> Do I believe that there is a life beyond our earthly existence?

It is not that enough to have a mere verbal belief.

>> This belief ought to be translated in our personal living.

We need to prepare ourselves for a glorious eternity by living a holy life.

>> We need to avoid any blocks and sins which can hamper my progress to eternal life.

The world is becoming more and more materialistic today.

The feeling that “after all we have only one life” and “let us enjoy to the maximum” is widespread.

Certainly, God has blessed us with this life…and we need to enjoy.

>> But enjoy it in the proper manner with a sense of responsibility and decorum.

Let us give up anything that reduces the value of enjoyment to mere sensual and bodily-pleasurable activities.

>> Instead, let us enjoy real freedom and happiness, by living a life of Grace and Love!

We are Christians…

>> Will my life be the most blessed? or Will my life be the most pitied?

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Nov 24 (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 Liturgy more a ritualistic and obligatory exercise than truly an experiential one?

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

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, (usually) 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.

I allow a little delays and some relaxations in my prayer life…

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

I allow laxity and silence and indifference in my relationships…

>> And suddenly, I find no meaning in many of my relations…

I allow unpreparedness and disinterest to walk into my celebration and participation of Mass…

>> And suddenly, I find not 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 I am in awe of the God who has created this beautiful and majestic world, I will continue to abuse and misuse the world.

>> Unless I am in wonder of the God who has gifted the Church with life-saving sacraments, I will continue to blame the Church and lose precious graces that I 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!

Nov 23 (Lk 19:41-44)

Aicha Moussaoui had been up all night, weeping and pacing inside her house… “I am wounded,” she said.

Moussaoui was enduring a hard time.

>> She was the mother of an alleged conspirator in terrorist crimes.

Her youngest son, Zacarias Moussaoui, 33, had been accused of plotting with the 9/11 hijackers which killed thousands of people at the World Trade Centre in America.

“For me, it’s as if he had died,” she said of her son… “I want to see him so I could ask my son: Why? How? Is it true?”

Moussaoui said she “felt like the roof fell on me”

These are painful and heart-wrenching words of a mother who was shattered by the alleged misdeeds of her son.

She expected him to respect and honour her care.

>> She had brought him up, with much love and affection.

>> She wanted him to become a responsible person of the society.


… her love was answered with disgrace

… her expectation shattered with humiliation

… her affection bruised with pain

The heart of a mother is broken when her child strays away from the ways of truth and honesty.

If this is the experience of an earthly mother, how much more will be the pain and suffering of our God, if we stray away from Him, who loves each one of us deeply with a motherly affection?

>> If a human mother has so much pain, how much more will God, with a motherly heart suffer!

It is this sorrow and grief that is strongly expressed by Jesus in the Gospel of the day.

>> Jesus laments over the City of Jerusalem.

St Luke records this lamentation of the Lord with a powerfully sentimental verse:

“As Jesus drew near, he saw the city and wept over it” (Lk 19: 41)

Jesus is usually an epitome of great joy and rejoicing.

>> But this joyful Jesus being made to shed tears shows the gravity of situation.

What made Jesus to shed tears?

>> The pain and the hurt He experienced because of the ill-response and harsh reaction of His chosen people, Israel, represented by the city of Jerusalem.

God had chosen Israel as His people.

>> Out of all the civilizations on the earth, He chose them as His beloved.

Through them He promised that the Saviour of the human race would come.

This promise ignited the hearts of the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

>> God wiped out their enemies even in the most extreme of circumstances!

>> Time and again, God blessed them with judges, kings and prophets

>> He even provided them a place to worship.

But as the quote goes, “Familiarity breeds contempt!”

Israel, God’s own people no longer delighted in being His distinctive people.

For them, He became routine.

>> They began to consider Him of little value.

>> They allowed their hearts to grow hard, over and over, again and again.

Finally, Jesus, the long-promised Messiah came, the One whom God the Father had sent.

But most of the Jews by then, had grown stubborn and complacent in their ways.

They had no room for the One who came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets.

>> They maltreated the Saviour of the World.

>> They rejected the Chosen One of God.

And this led, Jesus to shed tears.

…like a mother, whose heart is broken in seeing her child choose wrong ways.

…like a mother, whose soul is crushed in witnessing her child engaged in misdeeds.

…like a mother, who cries in agony when her child strays away from the path of goodness.

This story of Jerusalem could well be our own life-story.

We have been specially chosen and loved by the Lord.

>> He has taken us through many dangers, sicknesses and accidents.

>> In times when everything seem lost, He has been our refuge.

>> In moments when all seemed totally blank and dark, He has been the glowing light.

>> In occasions we felt like quitting life and escaping from realities, He held us in good stead.

But we tend to easily forget all these good deeds and wonders of the Lord.

We fail to be grateful and thankful to the Lord….

…by living a holy and virtuous life.

…by deepening our bond of love and affection with Him

…by translating His graces into deeds of charity and concern for our people.

We instead persecute and torture Him…

…by living a lethargic or unholy or even scandalous life

…by abandoning many of His commandments and the teachings of the Church

…by harming our brothers and sisters and being highly indifferent in situations.

God’s heart, like that of a broken mother weeping for her child, is crying out for us…

We have strayed much….it’s time to come back to Him

He calls us.

>> He longs to have us with Him always.

>> He wants us back in His loving embrace.

As little children, let us run, in sincere repentance, to the welcoming motherly heart of our Beloved God.

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Nov 22 (Lk 19: 11-28)

A little tortoise was constantly facing a complex of feeling too low in life.


Seeing the various other animals, moving swiftly and speedily…

… the tortoise would very often hide it self in its shell.


It felt that it could never progress in life!



One day, it came across a wise person and sought an advice of how to get the best from life.


The sage – a wise person – replied:

“My little tortoise, always remember that you have been created specifically.

So never feel low or bad about yourself.


And as far as progressing is concerned…

… Always remember: ‘Unless you stick your neck out, you can never progress!”




That was a simple, yet effective piece of advice, isn’t it?


Unless the tortoise “stuck its neck out, it could never progress!”


Sticking the neck out of course, meant “taking a risk”…

… but unless that was done, progress was not going to happen.



The same is true for us in our life as well:

>> Unless we take risks… Unless we “stick out our necks”

… we can never progress!



The Gospel of the Day is a parable of a person who refused “to stick out his neck”…

… and thus not only failed to progress, but ended up on the losing side!



Jesus presents the very-practical “Parable of the Productive Servants”


A nobleman who, before going to a far away country, entrusts money to his servants with an instruction, “Engage in trade with these, until I return” (Lk 19: 13)



The money given was a “mina”


A mina was a Greek coin.

>> The lowest level of the Greek Coinage System was the drachma…

…. equal to one day’s wages.  (1 Drachma = 1 day’s wages)


One hundred drachmas equalled one Mina (100 Drachmas = 1 Mina).

>> Therefore, One Mina equalled nearly 100 days of wages (1 Mina = 100 days wages; i.e. nearly 3 months)



With this (fairly huge) amount of money, the Master instructs the servants to “invest”


Investment always means a “sense of risk!”



The parable goes on to say that…

… one of them made another ten (Lk 19: 16)

… the other made another five (Lk 19:18)


These two are greatly rewarded.


The one “who is willing to take risks” always finds life more rewarding and satisfying!



But, its over here, the parable presents the third servant, who decided to be “Mr Keep it Safe!”


He came back to his master, with an excuse: “Sir, here is your coin” (Lk 19: 20)


He failed to make any investment

>> He failed to take “any risk”


He refused to “stick out his neck!”



Sticking the neck out, of course, meant “taking a risk”…

… but unless that was done, progress was not going to happen.

>> And that would make him end up on the losing side!



The Bible is replete with personalities, who would take “risks”…

… and thus emerge successfully!

>> Noah would “take the risk” of listening to God and build the Ark for rescue from the deluge

>> Abraham would “take the risk” by obeying God and leaving His country and people

>> Moses would “take the risk” and trust in God to lead the people out of slavery

>> Jeremiah would “take the risk” of being a prophet despite several oppositions to his life

>> Peter would “take the risk” of leaving his fishing profession to be ‘fishers of men’

… and many many more!


They “risked their lives” for God – His Will and His Kingdom!

>> They would “stick our their neck” to in progress in the ways of God!



How about us?


>> Do we “take risks”?

… the “risk” to trust in God, in spite of the uncertainties of life

… the “risk” to know God has the best plan for us, despite the many hardships we face in life

… the “risk” to believe that God always walks with us, even though we go through the ‘deserts of life’


May we always realize:

Unless we take risks… Unless we “stick out our necks”

… we can never progress!



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

>> Let us imitate her courage and zeal to “stick out her neck” – “to take risks” – by being firm in her faith, even to the point of intense suffering …

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




 God Bless! Live Jesus!