Feb 1 (Mk 6:7-13)

Ella Gunderson is an eleven-year-old Catholic girl from Seattle, USA

In 2004, she went into a Nordstrom’s ( an American fashion retailer) store to buy a pair of jeans.

>> However, none of the jeans were pleasing to her taste, lifestyle and liking…

Every style of jeans was either very loose that they would fall down…

… or so tight that she would have to wear them low and thus they would become provocative.

As a Christian, she knew that her body was the temple of the Holy Spirit and that God meant beauty to be pure, inspiring, and tasteful and not degrading and objectifying!

Instead of just whining about the situation, Ella decided to act…

She wrote a public letter of complaint to Nordstrom’s…

“Dear Nordstrom, I am an eleven-year-old girl who has tried shopping at your store for clothes (in particular jeans), but all of them ride way under my hips and the next size up, is too big and falls down.”

This experience of Ella Gunderson resonated with unvoiced concern of many teenagers and women across the country, who also believed it was possible to be ‘pretty, without being provocative’.

The letter caused a huge rage to be raised by the world of media…

The media firestorm motivated Nordstrom’s to create a new category of fashion wears for juniors called “Modern and Modest.”

A great Christian endevour was pursued and achieved – all because of the convictions of a Christian girl, who believed in being “pretty, without being provocative!”

To be a Christian in today’s world is a great task, a challenge and a responsibility.

The Gospel of the Day is a mighty invitation for each one of us to live as a True Christian, a True Missionary – just as the Twelve Apostles were sent by Jesus on the mission journey.

Jesus had become very popular by various deeds in His ministry…

… powerfully teaching the Word of God and authoritatively interpreting the Law

… mightily healing many of the sick and boldly accepting those rejected by the peoples

… intensely performing many wondrous actions and effectively transforming the society

A great band of people had also begun to follow Him…

…some from far, some closely

…. some with ulterior motives, some with genuine intentions.

In the midst of this rising popularity and increasing crowd-following, the Lord chose the Twelve – whom He named as Apostles (Mk 3:13)

• These Twelve were to be with Him and to be sent out

• These Twelve were to be an extension of His mission on the earth

To them, the Lord entrusts the great task of spreading His mission of the Kingdom of God.

“And He called to Him the Twelve, and began to send them out, two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits” (Mk 6:7)

One of the key issues that the Lord addresses when He sends out His disciples is to be aware of the fact that there will be great possibilities that they would be “rejected”.

However, the Apostles were not to get disheartened by it; rather to be bold and firm to stand against anything that would oppose their mission.

Jesus says to them: “Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet….” (Mk 6: 11)

Jesus warns them that their life as His follower and as a missionary of the Kingdom, would surely meet a lot of opposition…

… many would reject their teachings

… many would even, perhaps persecute them

… many would seek to make them compromise their values

However, in all this, the Apostles were to remain bold, firm and courageous.

They had to fill their hearts with two basic virtues: Dependence on God’s Providence and Firm Perseverance in His ways.

The message of the Gospel is always opposed to the ways and values of the world!

>> It was so… in the time of Jesus

>> It was so… also in the time of the Apostles

>> And it is so… in our own times and situations

To be a Christian, a Missionary in today’s world is indeed a great task, a challenge and a responsibility.

• There are many aspects in the world that go against Christian values…

• There are umpteen situations that challenge our Christian faith…

Christian virtues today are “rejected”, “trampled upon”, “compromised” and even “diluted”!

We can either…

…. give in to them

… or just complain about them

… or make efforts to change them

By virtue of our Baptism, we share…

… in the privilege of being called a follower of Christ

… also, in the responsibility and duty of being firm and faithful to our Christian values

Are we going to dilute, compromise, be lukewarm or adopt an ‘all-is-adjustable’ policy with respect to our Christian values?

• Or are we ready to grow and stand firm in our convictions and make efforts to live a True Christian life?

Is the world transforming me?

• Or am I, as a Christian, transforming the world?

Yes, as Christians, living in this modern world, let’s believe…

… that we can be “Modern and Modest!

… that we can be “pretty, without being provocative!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Jan 31 (Mk 6:1-6)

A distinguished actor had a large photograph of William Wordsworth prominently displayed in his dressing-room.

(William Wordsworth was a major English Romantic poet who, with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, helped to launch the Romantic Age in English literature with their joint publication ‘Lyrical Ballads’).

A friend, who came to see this actor and observing the picture remarked with some surprise…

“Hmmm… I see!

>> So you are an admirer of Wordsworth?”

“Wordsworth? Who’s that?” enquired back the actor.

“Why, that’s his picture,” was the answer, as the friend pointed towards the image “That’s William Wordsworth, the literary giant. This picture would surely have cost you a fortune!”

The actor looked at the photograph with a bemused gaze!

“Is that old guy, a famous poet?” he exclaimed in astonishment!

“Oh! Who bothers about these old guys! I just picked up that frame from my storehouse, to fill the empty space on my wall!!”

The picture that was hung on the wall failed to acquire its deserved status and recognition …

• due to the ignorance of the actor

• due to his contempt for and prejudice towards old guys

How often do we reject the precious and important people and aspects of life…

… due to our ignorance…. our contempt of things… and our prejudiced mindsets!

The Gospel of the Day is presentation of this “rejection” experience of the Lord in His hometown.

The Lord arrives in His hometown.

On the Sabbath, He taught in the synagogue.

The Gospel mentions a juxtaposition of feelings of the listeners…

First, there is a great expression of marvel and wonder:

“Where did this Man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to Him? What deeds of power are being by Him?” (Mk 6:2)

But this feeling quickly vanishes…

The feelings of wonder and amazement get distorted to feelings of contempt, condemnation and outright rejection:

“Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not His sisters here with us?” (Mk 6:2)

What was the cause of this sudden and dramatic change of mood of the listeners?

• It was simply because Jesus was “just one of them!”

• It was simply because Jesus was “too acquainted to them!”

Familiarity often breeds contempt!

• When one is too close to the Divine, one has to be also aware that there are greater possibilities of losing the “sense of awe and wonder” and sink into the dangerous waters of “taking things for granted”

• When one is constantly handling Divine objects, there is also the greater chance of losing the “awareness and thrill of the mystery” and get lost in the thickets of “being lethargic or unenthusiastic or even indifferent”

How many of us are prone to this danger….

Priests and the Religious constantly handle Divine objects and perform many spiritual exercises…

• Daily Holy Mass… Frequent recital of the Psalms in the Divine Office Prayer… Regular Adorations and administering and receiving of the Sacraments… Recurrent handling of the Bible, liturgical articles, reading and hearing Church teachings and life of saints….

>> Do all these help one to deepen one’s relationship with the Lord…?

>> Or do these cause one to lose the “sense of awe and wonder” and sink into the dangerous waters of “taking things for granted”… ?

Many Christians are engaged in a number of spiritual activities on a regular basis…

• Holy Eucharistic celebration… novenas… recital of the Rosary and other pious prayers of devotion… forwarding of devotional messages, pictures and videos through emails and Whatsapp and social networking tools…

>> Do all these help one to grow in spiritual life….?

>> Or do these make one to lose the “awareness and thrill of the mystery” and get lost in the thickets of “being lethargic or unenthusiastic or even indifferent” … ?

The people failed to recognize the worth and value of Jesus due to “too much familiarity”.

However this familiarity was only “external and peripheral”…

Such kind of a familiarity had, in fact, caused them to be ignorant, contemptuous and prejudiced…

>> Ignorant… of the fact that amidst them was the Promised Messiah who was to save the world!

>> Contemptuous… of the fact that “one of them” could actually possess so much of wisdom and power!

>> Prejudiced… of the fact that “this ordinary Son of a carpenter” could ever be the Son of God!

Yes, how often do we reject the precious and important people and aspects of life… due to our ignorance…. our contempt of things… and our prejudiced mindsets!

We are invited today to “open our eyes” and to realize the worth and preciousness of God’s grace that we have been blessed with…

Each of us… personally… as a family… as a community… and as a Church, have been blessed and graced with immense favours and kindness from the Lord.

• True that we have a lot of difficulties to face in our life…

• True that we have much to complain in the maze of the many crisis we undergo..

Yet amidst all this…

Can we lift up our hearts in thanksgiving and gratitude for the Lord’s Guiding Presence with us, always… and learn to grow deeper in our love for Him?

Can we accord the deserving status and recognition to the Lord’s presence in our lives?

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Jan 30 (Mk 5:21-43)

“Hands up” is a sign of surrender and submission.

When the police catches a thief, “hands up” is the word used to indicate giving up…

>> When a militant admits defeat, “hands up” is a sign of submitting.

The weak one, in the face of the stronger one, has “hands up” in surrender…

>> The fragile ones, before the mighty ones, have “hands up” in submission….

But in Divine Realms, it’s not just “hands up”….

… it’s also “falling at the feet”

>> Before the Divine power, “falling of the feet” is a still greater sign of submission

The Gospel of the Day recounts two incidents of this encounter with the Divine…

… and a “falling at the feet”

Sicknesses and diseases are sometimes, great interrupters in life!

>> They enter into the “house of life”, without knocking at the doors…

… they disrupt many plans and aspirations

… they reduce the hope for the future

The Gospel is a narration of two persons who encountered this interruption in life…

1. Jairus’ daughter on the death bed would have dashed many hopes of their family

2. The long suffering of the woman with hemorrhage would have crushed her aspirations

Both these two persons – Jairus and the Woman with the hemorrhage – underwent similar struggles….

One had tremendous mental agony as a result of worry for his beloved child…

>> The other had also tremendous physical agony along with her mental and social stigmas…

Both their sufferings had reached a saturation point of tolerance…

>> Both of them were struggling immensely to swim across the ocean of agony and pain…

But both these persons also displayed a similar sort of faith in the Lord….

” Seeing Jesus, Jairus fell at His feet and pleaded earnestly with Him…” ( Mk 5:22)

“…realizing what had happened to her, the woman approached Jesus in fear and trembling; fell down before Jesus and told Him the whole truth” (Mk 5: 33)

They both “fell at Jesus feet” in deep faith and trust…

They both “fell at Jesus feet” with much love and devotion…

They both “fell at Jesus feet” with great expectations and hopes…

The “falling at the feet” was a sign of total submission and surrender

Jairus surrendered himself to the power and mercy of the Lord…

>> The woman with haemorrhage submitted herself to the compassion and love of the Lord…

This made them to experience the power of the Lord.

When we submit ourselves to the mighty power and providence of God…

…we experience His Divine Strength and Courage

When we offer ourselves fully to the holy and precious Will of the Lord…

… we come in contact with His Divine Providence and Wonder

When we surrender ourselves to the dominion and sovereignty of God…

… we encounter His marvelous presence and guidance

Both – Jairus and the woman – experienced a helplessness and hopelessness, that went beyond reason!

>> Tragedy stared at their faces, hard and strong!

But, despite this hard situation…

… they allowed, the “faith in their hearts” to override the problem!

>> And this “faith in their hearts” was translated into “falling at the feet”

This is something, that we too ought to remember and imitate: Allowing the “faith in the heart” to be translated to “falling at the feet” of the Lord!

>> When things don’t seem to be going on fine in life…

… lets still allow the “simple faith within” to worship the Lord!

>> When people around us, don’t seem to be too understanding and nice…

… lets still allow the “flame of hope within” to praise God!

And such simple acts of allowing the “faith in the heart” to be translated to “falling at the feet” of the Lord…

… become occasions of healing and transformation for us!


>> May we use our hands to surrender ourselves to the power of the Lord!

>> May we offer to fall at the feet of the Lord in humble submission to the Lord!

Are we ready to submit and surrender to God’s mighty power?

“Hands up”?

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Jan 29 (Mk 5:1-20)

Altruism is the principle or practice of concern for the welfare of others.

>> Altruism is selflessness – the opposite of selfishness.

It consists of sacrificing something for someone with no expectation of any compensation or benefits, either direct or indirect.

The Gospel of the Day presents the Altruistic Ideal – Jesus – engaged in His great ministry of bringing the Kingdom of God to many…

… of healing

… of rebuking the evil spirits

… of bringing consolation and joy to the people.

And today He enters a Gentile territory…

… They came to the other side of the sea to the territory of Gerasenes” (Mk 5: 1)

In Luke 4:18, Jesus announced His Mission Programme of “…bringing good news to the poor, liberty to the captives, new sight to the blind, freedom to the oppressed…”

In accordance with this manifesto, Jesus sets forward to announce the Kingdom of God through His mighty deeds and works.

The Lord unveils the Compassionate Face of the Father and reveals His Benevolent Heart to the needy and the deprived.

As He enters the territory of Gerasenes, Jesus encounters a man “who came from the tombs with an unclean spirit” (Mk 5:2)

St Mark describes the hard state that the man was in…

… dwelling among the tombs

… none could restrain him

… bound in chains

Sometimes, in life, we too find ourselves in such a situation…

… though not physically, but mentally, socially and spiritually!

In all such “possessed” situations of life…

… are we ready to encounter the presence of the Lord?

>> In the sunset of darkness and pain in my life…

…. Do I encounter the Lord to receive the Light of Hope and Healing?

>> In the chained situations of emptiness in my spiritual life…

…. Do I encounter the Lord to receive the Freedom of Faith and Revival?

>> In the broken moments of frustrations and despair…

…. Do I encounter the Lord to receive the Restoration of Encouragement and Support?

St Mark goes on to describe the state of the demoniac…

… how he would hurt himself with stones (Mk 5: 5)

… how he cried out loudly to the Lord (Mk 5:7)

… how he pleaded the Lord to not chase away from that comfort zone (Mk 5:10)

We need to ask ourselves…

>> Am I tormented by the demons of evil forces and satanic powers….. ?

… The power of the Lord is here to deliver!

>> Am I tormented by the demons of bad, unhealthy addictions…?

… The power of the Lord is here to overcome!

>> Am I tormented by the demons of filthy words and dirty thoughts…?

… The power of the Lord is here to liberate!

>> Am I tormented by the demons of peer pressure and societal strains…?

… The power of the Lord is here to set free!

The Lord at the end of today’s Gospel passage declares His intentions of going to other towns (Mk 5:18) and also exhorts the demoniac who was healed to remain in his place, and to preach the good news of the Kingdom of God (Mk 5: 19-20).

The zeal and enthusiasm of the Lord to reach out the Gospel to many others is really amazing

>> And He also inspires and exhorts those who have been touched by Him, to become a witness to His Works and His Kingdom

Do I imitate the Lord…

…. in being zealous to reach out God’s goodness and kindness to many other people?

… in being fervent to let ignorant people to know the saving message of the Gospel?

The Gospel of the Day invites us to take note of the Altruistic Spirit of Jesus…

This Altruism of Jesus challenges us…

… to be willing to change our lives, go beyond our zones of comfort and help the needy with the Acceptance and Restoration of the Lord!

…. to reach out to many sick and suffering and troubled and weak-hearted and afflicted people with the Love and Compassion and Healing and Mercy of the Lord!

Jesus was possessed by a deep love of His Father…

… which made Him to be Altruistic in reaching out to others.

Jesus was filled with a deep fervour for the Kingdom…

… which made Him to be Altruistic in saving and healing others.

Today, You and I, are invited and challenged to imitate and follow Jesus, the Ideal Altruist!

Let us show forth that we are Children of our Heavenly Father and soldiers of the Kingdom of God, not only through our words but much more by our Altruistic words and deeds and actions.

St Gregory the Great would say, “He is not wise to me who is wise in words only, but he who is wise in deeds.”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Jan 28 (Mk 1: 21-28)

A beautiful yet commonly quoted story goes thus:

A very poor woman called a Christian radio station asking for some assistance and help.

A man – known to be an unbeliever in God and who highly despised religion – who was listening to this radio program…
…. decided to make something out of it…
>> He decided to play a prank on the woman, and make her a fool.

He got the ladies’ address…
… then called his secretary and ordered her to buy food
>> And take to the woman with the following instruction:
“when the woman asks who sent the food…
… tell her that it’s from the devil.”

When the secretary arrived and delivered the food to the woman…
… the woman was so happy and readily accepted the food and moved inside her little house.

The Secretary, out of curiosity asked her: “But don’t you want to know who sent the food?”

The woman answered:
“NO, it doesn’t matter!
>> Because when GOD orders, even the devil obeys.”

… when God orders, even the devil obeys!

The Gospel of the Day presents this act of encounter…
… where the shackles of captivity and bondage of Satan are broken by the power of release and liberation by Jesus!
… where Kingdom of Satan yields to the Kingdom of God!

Jesus is in the synagogue on the Sabbath Day and addressing the people. (Mk 1:21)

>> His teaching is full of power and conviction…
>> His teaching is filled with passion and fervour…

This presentation of Jesus, with full of power and authority is something remarkable…
… and worth to be imitated and inspired.

Jesus announced in his First Programmatic Speech (Lk 4: 16-30)…
>> “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me…
… to proclaim liberty to the captives”

In tune with this announcement, the Lord goes about “preaching liberty to the captives”…
>> Those people, who were captivated…
… by sin
… by oppression
… by evil forces and satanic powers

And this “liberation from captivity”, was done by Jesus…
… with a lot of power and authority
… with immense conviction and passion

When one is deeply convinced of one’s beliefs, it overflows into one’s words and actions
>> When one is highly passionate about one’s faith, it overwhelms one’s deeds and life.

As He thus taught the people, Jesus encountered a man with an unclean spirit, who cried out:
” What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?” (Mk 1: 24)

>> Darkness cannot reign, when light shines!
>> Filth cannot dominate, where there is immense holiness!
>> Satanic powers begin to crumble, when the Word of God is proclaimed!

The man with the unclean spirit could not tolerate the Words and the Presence of Jesus!
>> His heart and mind began to reverberate
>> The depth of his soul was pierced

Irritation began in him..
… Restlessness began to overpower him

And finally, unable to withstand, he yelled out:  “What have you got to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?!” (Mk 1: 24)

But the Power of God was much more powerful than this yelling!
>> The Lord with might and power, boldness and  audacity ordered:
“QUIET! Come out of him” (Mk 1: 25)

And when God orders, even the devil obeys!

The Gospel says: “The unclean spirit convulsed him, and with a  loud cry came out of him” (Mk 1:26)

Our life is a constant battle with the powers of the evil.

Time and again, we have people and situations who discourage us
>> Many times we go through moments when spiritual life doesn’t seem to be encouraging

We often get tied down by the powers of temptation
… We often get disappointed by the struggles of sinful tendencies

But let’s know for sure: The power of the Lord is with us – waiting to save us!
>> We need to know for sure: That when God orders, even the devil obeys!

What is therefore needed is that, we need to…
… yield ourselves to the Orders of God!
… make ourselves open and docile to the Commands of God!

Let’s examine our Christian lives and check:
>> Do I constantly seek live a life, in the Presence of the Lord…
… so that no powers of Satan can touch us?

>> Do I nourish my spiritual life with the daily food of Prayer, Word of God and rec-commitment to holiness…
… so that we are never under the bondage of the evil?

The mighty power of the Lord is with us
>> Always wanting to provide for us!
>> Always wanting to take care of us!

Let’s submit ourselves to His Power and Authority, knowing for sure:
“When God orders, even the devil obeys!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Jan 27 ( Mk 4:35-41)

A visitor was once walking along a high part of the shore of the Dead Sea.

As he casually was strolling across and relaxingly enjoying, he lost his balance and fell into the water.

•      Swimming was an activity he had never learnt!
•      Desperation was a weakness that hastened to him quickly!

He could not swim and, in extreme anxiety, lest he should sink and be drowned, he began to fling his arms about frantically!

•      Was his life going to be terminated?
•      Was his enjoyable walk awaiting an anti-climax end?

At last, exhausted by wildly moving his arms for help, he felt he could do no more.

Then he found something strange happening…
>> The waters bore him up!

The water of the Dead Sea is so heavy with salt and other minerals that when he lay still in it he found he floated on the surface!

When he frantically moved his arms, in despair, there was immense fear of drowning..
>> But when he became still, he experienced the calm of support and strength!

Drowning was an impossibility so long as he resigned himself to the power of the deep!

The Gospel of the Day is this powerful lesson to trust deeper in the power of the Lord, when we encounter the storms of life!

The Gospel narrates the incident of Jesus and His disciples travelling in the boat, encountering the fierce storms and how the Lord brings in calm and serenity in that situation of turmoil and turbulence.

All the three synoptic Gospels – Mathew, Mark and Luke – not only report this incident of Jesus calming the boat, but also mention a simple yet significant detail – “Jesus slept”!

•      St Matthew says , “Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat.  But Jesus was sleeping.”  (Mt 8:24)

•      St Luke says “As they sailed, he fell asleep.”  (Lk 8:23)

•      St Mark says, ” A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.  Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.” (Mk 4:38)

It’s amazing to imagine this situation:
•      The storms are raging high…
•      The waters are probably hitting hard on the boat…
•      The disciples are anxiously rowing, struggling to balance…

There is terror around.. there is a sense of fear… there is growing apprehension.

Yet, in the midst of all this, the Gospels say that “the Lord is sleeping”!

>> That really must be a good and sound sleep, isn’t it?

The Psalmist says, “I will lie down in peace and sleep comes at once for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Ps 4:8)

To be able to sleep in the midst of severe storms, is a sign of tremendous peace of mind!

Isaiah 43:2 promises:
” When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown”

•      The One who has immense faith and trust in God has absolutely nothing to worry…even in the midst of any storm or squall

•      The One who has great confidence and belief in Divine Providence has just nothing to fear…even in the midst of any horror or terror.

Jesus was in communion with His Father.
>> This bonding made Him to be assured of every protection and care!
>> This union made Him to be rest assured of every safety and security!

Here is an important spiritual principle that Jesus teaches us:
>> The greater one is in communion with God, the greater and easier is one’s trust in Divine Providence.
>> The higher one is in union with God, the lesser will be the anxiety and worry factor in life.

Even when Jesus faced the greatest storm of His life – His passion and death – He was able to go through the crisis in peace and serenity.

In fact, before being arrested and taken for being crucified, Jesus assures peace and joy even for his disciples:
>> “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (Jn 14: 27)

The Lord today invites us to have this same kind of an faith and trust in Him and His Divine Providence.

Life will, undoubtedly, bring with it many storms and tempests in life.
>> We may experience lots of fear…
>> We may feel the end is near…

But the one who trusts in Him, is assured of safety and security!

The more we are close to the Lord, the deeper would be this faith and confidence!

Drowning in life is an impossibility…
… when we resign ourselves to the complete power and providence of the Lord.

The power of the Lord is with us and beneath us…
… waiting to bear us up!

Do we trust?

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Jan 26 (Lk 10:1-9)

A familiar story goes such…

A man just got married and was returning home with his wife.

>> They were crossing a lake in a boat, when suddenly a great storm arose.

The man was a warrior, but the woman became very much afraid because it seemed almost hopeless:

The boat was small and the storm was really huge…

… and any moment they could be drowned.

But the man sat silently, calm and quiet, as if nothing was happening.

The woman was trembling, saying:

“Are you not afraid?”

>> This may be our last moment of life!

The man laughed and took the sword out of its sheath.

>> Then he brought the naked sword close to the woman’s neck, so close that just a small gap was there, it was almost touching her neck.

He said,” Are you afraid?”

She started to laugh and said:

” Why should I be afraid?

>> If the sword is in your hands, why I should be afraid? I know you love me.

The man put the sword back and said:

“This is my answer, as well!

>> I know God Loves me, and the storm is in His hands!”

The man was willing to trust in the Lord!

>> And thus, any passage through any storm, would be without any fear!

What about us…

>> Do we trust in the Lord?

The Gospel of the Day is an exhortation by the Lord to grow in the Virtue of Trust!

>> By listening to Him

>> By giving heed His Word

>> By being obedient to Him

“Jesus appointed seventy (two), whom He sent ahead of Him, in pairs to every town and place He intended to visit” (Lk 10:1)

They were “chosen and appointed”.

>> Why were these chosen?

… and not others?

>> Well… we can only make some guess-works… because the bottom-line is:

“They were ‘chosen'”

Choice is always a gift, and not a merit!

>> This gift cannot be demanded…. it is given by the Lord, out of His Will

Therefore, it demands a sense of “gratitude” and a spirit of “responsibility”!

The choosing of the seventy (two) also reflects Jesus as the New Moses!

Moses had chosen seventy elders.

We read this in the Book of Numbers:

“The LORD said to Moses: “Bring me seventy of Israel’s elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people.” (Num 11:16)

The “seventy” were chosen from the elders of the tribes of Israel to assist Moses.

>> They were to become an extension of the work that was entrusted to Moses, by Lord Yahweh

In the Gospels, the seventy (two) disciples are also called, by Jesus, for the similar task:

>> They were to become an extension of the work that was entrusted to Jesus by the Heavenly Father.

In this task of “becoming an extension”, one of the most important essentials was that of “listening to the words of the Master” – TRUSTING IN HIM

>> Obedience to the Word is a necessary criteria to become a true extension of the Lord!

Jesus very specifically lays downs rules and regulations to be followed in their mission journey and task:

“Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and salute no one on the road….” (Lk 10:4)

These exhortations by the Master would cause…

… a sense of insecurity for the disciples

… a feeling a being stranded in the problems that they could encounter.

Yet, the disciples were strongly urged to…

… Listen to His Exhortation

… to Trust in His Providence

… and to be obedient to His Word

• The disciples were to listen to Jesus, the Beloved Son and grasp His teachings for life

• The disciples were to listen to Jesus, Beloved Son’s commitment in the path of suffering

• The disciples were to listen to the Beloved Son’s trust in God’s Will at every moment

Each one of us is called and chosen, as Christians, to be a disciple of Christ – “an extension of the Lord’s tasks in this world” …

… “You did not choose me, but I chose you; and appointed you to go and bear fruit; fruit that will last” (Jn 15:16)

• Life will take us through many storms and rough seas of difficulties.

• Life will put us through various tempests and hurricanes of hardships.

But in all such moments, are we ready and open to Trust in the Lord?

The Lord will take us through…

… every storm

… every squall

… every tempest

>> Because, He loves us!

“If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8: 31)

>> Let us grow in our efforts to trust in the Lord!

>> Let us pray for His grace to be truly listening and following the voice of our Master!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Jan 25 (Feast of Conversion of St Paul)

A little boy was returning home, with a jar of honey in his hand.

A gentleman, walking behind him, was constantly observing the boy…
… how very often, he would stick his finger inside the jar, and taste a little of the honey.

After noticing this quite a few times, he approached the boy and asked:
“Son, what do you have in that jar”

“Honey” said the boy

“Honey? Is it sweet?” enquired the man
>> “Yes Sir”

“How sweet is your honey?” asked the man again
>> “Very sweet Sir!”

“Well, I don’t understand you!” continued the man, “I am asking you how sweet it is, and you are only saying, it is very sweet! I don’t understand you!”

Finally, the boy lost his patience, and sticking his finger into the honey, he said: “Taste and see for yourself!”

Quite true, isn’t it?

Any description of the sweetness of the honey would not suffice…
… unless one actually experiences it!

So it is with the Lord!

The sweetness of the Lord, however described by others cannot suffice…
… unless one actually experiences it!

Today we celebrate the Feast of one such event of a person, who experienced the Sweetness of the Lord: The Conversion of St Paul.

When we look into the life of St Paul, there are several factors that we can meditate on, and learn from.

One of the very striking aspects is that of the Passion and Zeal of St Paul.

This passion was greatly reflected in all aspects of his life…
… in his preaching and his writings!
… in his dealing with the Gentiles and their cause of faith
… in his aggressiveness against anything that caused scandal and harm to the Church
… in his uncompromising attitude towards anything that endangered his relationship with the Lord!

Some of his writings in the letters reflect this aspect of Passion and Zeal:

>> “Woe to me, if I don’t preach the Gospel” (1 Cor 9:16)
>> “I count everything as a loss for Christ…” (Phil 3:8)
>> “For me to live is to Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil 1:21)
>> “ My preaching… was  a demonstration of the Spirit and power” ( 1 Cor 2:4)

We need to ask of ourselves:

>> Is my Christian life, filled with passion and zeal?

>> Do I burn with love for God and His Kingdom?

>> Does the Lord and His Will come first, in my life?

Its easy to often remain on the “theoretical” dimension of Christian life!
>> We can very often have only discussions and deliberations about faith
… but not real prayer or living in the Spirit

>> We can many times have talks being heard or books being read on Christian life
… but not necessarily living the Christian life of virtues and a Sacramental Life

>> We can sometimes enter into doubts about Christianity, to “know more”…
… but not necessarily growing in our relationship with the Lord or loving Him more

The Feast of the Conversion of St Paul is a mighty reminder to all of us…
… to live our Christian lives “passionately and zealously!”

Yes, just as any description of the sweetness of honey would not suffice…
… unless one actually experiences it!

So it is with the Lord!

The sweetness of the Lord, however described by others cannot suffice…
… unless one actually experiences it!

St Paul experienced the “sweetness of the Lord”…
… and he gave his life for the Lord – in passion and in zeal.

What about us?
>> Are we ready to stick our lives into the “jar of God’s honey of love?”

God bless! Live Jesus!

Jan 24 (Mk 4:1-20)

It was a tense afternoon in the September of the year 1594.

The Bishop of Geneva in France, had convoked a meeting of all his clergy.

>> There was an urgent need for priests to go to a place named Chablais.

Chablais was a territory in Geneva, which had been under political and religious siege.

>> Around fifty priests in this place had been banished.

>> Many churches had been burnt and devastated.

Chablais had become a place of terror for the Catholic Church.

>> Chablais became infamous for its terrible persecution of the Catholic Faith.

It’s in this horrifying situation, that the Bishop of the place had called for a meeting…

… to ask for volunteers to go to this place and renew the faith.

But none came forward…

>> None were willing to risk their lives…

It’s at this point, that there came a gentle yet firm voice – “My Lord, if you think that I am capable of it, command me, I am ready!”

>> The voice was of St Francis de Sales.

His own father considered this decision as “utter madness”

>> Perhaps, the other priests and clergy would have also felt this decision as a “crazy one”

The risk of being driven out, failing in his undertaking and of becoming a laughing stock of the world was great indeed.

>> But St Francis de Sales stood firm to His decision.

It was a decision…

… which perhaps defied reasons…

… which perhaps seemed out of senses…

>> But this decision was to become the turning point of a spiritual revolution!

The one…

… who has eyes fixed on one’s goals is indeed a mad person!

… who is filled with God’s love is indeed an obsessed person!

>> Mad for one’s aim … obsessed in love……passionate about one’s goals!

The Gospel of the Day is a narrative of a parable which describes of a “mad and passionate” Sower…

… a Sower of the Word of God!

“The Parable of the Sower” is a very popular one.

One of the striking messages of this Parable is the “unknown, unexpected and unexplored” manner in which the Word is Sown.

Going through the various places in which the Seed was sown would probably make one to say…

… “why was it that so much Seed was simply wasted – on the wayside, on the rock, among the thorns – places where there was hardly any possibility of growth?”

>> “Why was it that the Sower was so unscientific, so lacking in common sense and so careless in simply broadcasting the precious seeds haphazardly?”

Probably, a logical answer and a reasonable explanation to these questions is to be found in the fact that the Seed has a tremendous power and potential.

>> And therefore, the Sower ‘takes the risk’ of broadcasting the Seed everywhere.

The Sower was, in that sense, “mad” and “out of mind!”

His generosity was so much, that He would be lavish to sow the Seed!

>> His passion for spreading the Seed (of the Word) was so much that He went beyond “normal thinking!”

Yes, the one…

… who is filled with God’s love is indeed an obsessed person!

… who has eyes fixed on one’s goals is indeed a mad person!

>> The one who is fully convinced of Spreading the Seed of the Word, goes beyond the realms of “normal human thinking!”

One is…

… obsessed in love

… mad for one’s aim

… passionate about one’s goals!

The Bible and the Church is a gigantic collection of deeds and acts of such people who were “mad” and who took “crazy” decisions in life…

>> Abraham was “crazy” to have faith in God, to have children, even at the ripe old age of hundred!

>> was “mad” to trust God to lead a tiny nation from the clutches of the imposing Egyptian empire!

>> Mother Mary was “crazy” to give up her promising life and instead consent to an Angel to become the Mother of God!

>> St Peter was “mad” to abandon his career and family to follow Jesus for a ministry of unknown and uncertain future!

>> St Paul was “crazy” to undergo tremendous sufferings and agonizing troubles for the sake of the spread of the Gospel!

>> St Francis De Sales was “crazy” and “mad” to undertake risk of going to the Chablais mission and renew the faith of the people!

When one is really passionate towards one’s mission, there is an element of “craziness”!

>> When one is really zealous about one’s purposes, there is an element of “madness”!

Do I have and reflect this “mad” passion and zeal for God’s love?

… by seeking Him in all our works, activities and plans

… by reaching out His love to the needy and the disadvantaged

… by spreading hope, courage and optimism in this broken world

Today we celebrate the Feast of St Francis de Sales.

>> He is the Doctor of Love!

>> He is the Gentleman Saint!

And today, he invites and encourages us to embrace this path of love and gentleness!

Let us dare to walk and live the path of the Crucified Lord…

… the One who was called mad and insane

… the One who was misunderstood and unaccepted

>> Because He chose to live and die for His convictions of Love!

Let us not be worried… let us not be anxious…but trust in our Loving God!

In the words of St Francis De Sales: “God takes pleasure to see you take your little steps; and like a good father who holds his child by the hand…

… He will accommodate His steps to yours and will be content to go no faster than you.

>> Why do you worry?”

Happy Feast of St Francis De Sales!

>> With joy and love, let us proclaim with him, in his words: “Vive Jesus…Live Jesus!”

God Bless!

Jan 23 (Mk 3:31-35)

A spotlight is a strong beam of light that illuminates only a small area, used especially to centre attention on a stage performer.

>> It’s an intense light focused so as to pick out an object, person, or group.

A spotlight is very often used in stage shows or theatres to bring to the attention of the audience, a particular character or an important object etc…

A spotlight…

…helps to focus the attention on the most important person or object

… brings to notice a diverted mind or a deviated mentality

The Gospel of Day has Jesus making use of a “spotlight” to focus the attention of His followers on the most vital dimension of the Kingdom of God: Doing God’s Will.

Jesus is in the thick of His ministry.

>> The place is packed with people sitting on the floor, in the passage-way, around the doors and windows, craving to listen to what Jesus is speaking.

It’s at that time that His family members arrive.

His family can’t get through to him, so they send a message in, and it passes from one person to person: “Tell him that his mother and brothers are outside looking for him” (Mk 3: 32)

The message finally reaches Jesus.

It is interesting to consider the feelings and reactions of the different persons…

• The family of Jesus…

… are eager and concerned to get the Lord back home

… are wanting to meet Him and if possible to give Him a break in His ministry

• The crowd around Jesus…

… are understandable that the family of the Lord are keen to meet Him

… are expecting Jesus to stop His preaching to accommodate meeting His kith and kin

This was a significant time and moment.

The Lord, however, loves to make use of critical moments to put across a message…

>> The Lord loves to thrive on crucial situations to send forth a teaching…

Jesus uses the arrival of His physical family as an opportunity to teach about His relationship with His spiritual family.

In a sense, Jesus uses a “spotlight” to bring the focus back on what is most essential.

>> What was most needed was not human relationships…

>> What was most needed was not human affairs…

But what was most necessary was spiritual relations!

>> What was most necessary was spiritual affairs!

Jesus brings to focus…

… the importance to seek and do God’s Will

… the importance to become related in the Kingdom.

What is our own attitude and mentality…

Am I concerned more with worldly affairs or do I engage myself more into spiritual realities?

>> Am I disturbed more by earthly concerns or do I share more the anxiety for spiritual growth?

>> Am I obsessed more with worldly gains or do I be zealous for spiritual graces and blessings?

Very often we lose our focus…

>> Very often we lose sight of the proper track…

The Lord, today, brings back the “spotlight” on the essentials of a Christian Life.

Christian life sometimes…

… gets diluted with too many “social” concerns…at the expense of spiritual realities.

… gets polluted with too many “interdisciplinary” matters…at the expense of true faith and teachings.

… gets ruined with too many “compromising” practices…at the expense of Gospel values and standards.

In the words of St Angela Merici, an Italian Saint:

>> Let us ” Do something, get moving, be confident, risk new things, stick with it…

… then be ready for BIG SURPRISES”

God Bless! Live Jesus!