Apr 30 (Jn 14:21-26)

God knocks at my door, seeking a home for His son.

“Rent is cheap”, I say.

“I don’t want to rent. I want to buy”, says God.

“I’m not sure I want to sell, but you might come in to look around”.

“I think I will”, says God

“I might let you have a room or two”.

“I like it”, says God, “I’ll take the two. You might decide to give me more some day.

I can wait”, says God

“I’d like to give you more, but it’s a bit difficult. I need some space for me”.

“I know”, says God, “but I’ll wait. I like what I see”.

“I’d like to give you the whole house, but I’m not sure”

“Think on it”, says God. “I wouldn’t put you out.

Your house would be mine and My Son would live in it.

You’d have more space than you’d ever had before”.

“I don’t understand at all”.

“I know”, says God, “but I can’t tell you about that.

You’ll have to discover it for yourself.

That can only happen if you let me have the whole house”.

“A bit risky”, I say.

“Yes”, says God, “but try me”.

“I’m not sure – I’ll let you know”

“I can wait”, says God, “I like what I see”.

– excerpts from a poem titled “Covenant” by Sr Margaret Halaska

It shows the beautiful dialogue between a soul and God, who desires to dwell in the heart of a person..

The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus throwing light on this beautiful theme of God wishing to make a home in our hearts: “Those who love me, will keep my word, and My Father will love them and we will come and make our home with them” (Jn 14: 23)

The story of the Bible is a God who longs to dwell with His people.

In the Old Testament, we see the Garden of Eden was a beautiful communion of the first parents with God.

>> The atmosphere was so much homely… so much loving

Sin caused a rupture in this homely bonding between God and human beings.

But the Lord, still longed to dwell with His people…

• He accompanied the Israelites in their journey through the desert… being with them as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.

• He also established His glory among the people of Israel by dwelling in the ark of the covenant.

Every now and then, the people sinned and lost this presence of the Lord

Through the prophets, the Lord would invite the people to come back to His homely presence.

Finally, in the fullness of time, God decided to dwell with humans, when the Eternal Word became flesh..

Jn 1: 14, “And the word became flesh and dwelt among us”

To perpetuate His continual presence, Jesus also gave us His Body and Blood, in Real Presence, when He instituted the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper with the culmination of His Sacrifice on the Cross, and His rising from the dead.

This then, is the story of the longing of a God who yearns to dwell with His people.

Jesus re-iterates this constant longing of the Lord, by promising, “Those who love me, will keep my word, and My Father will love them and we will come and make our home with them” (Jn 14: 23)

The Lord wishes to dwell more close to us..

He longs to have a home in our hearts…

>> Do we make the space for Him?

The Lord promises to come and make His home in our hearts, if we love Him and keep His Word.

• Loving Him requires giving Him the highest priority and precedence in our lives

• Keeping His Word requires following His teachings and commandments at all times.

• Loving Him means to constantly long for Him and to have our thoughts centred on Him

• Keeping His Word means to make decisions and choices based on His Gospel virtues

• Loving Him means to free our hearts from undue and inordinate attachments

• Keeping His Word means to go against our personal choices to preserve His Will and plans

The Lord wants a space in our hearts, to dwell in us…

• Maybe, some rooms of our heart has been rented to many unwanted habits…

• Maybe, some areas of our lives are occupied by unfit tenants of sin and evil…

• Maybe, some quarters of our mind are accommodated with unholy and bad thoughts…

God is knocking at our doors, seeking a home for His Son…

We might feel it’s “a bit risky”…

“Yes”, says God, “but try me…

I can wait…

>> I like what I see!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Apr 29 (Jn 15:1-8)

The Time Magazine in its issue dated 19th November, 1965, reported of a major electricity breakdown along the US-Canada border.

This was called as the Northeast Blackout of 1965.

The impact of the breakdown was so great that it affected people in nearly 80, 000 sq.miles along the border!

The whole area was submerged in deep darkness.

The cause of the failure was the tripping of a protective relay, or a fuse, which was just the size of a bread box!

The safety relay, which was to trip if the current exceeded the capacity of the transmission line, was set too low.

A failure in the single fuse, of such a tiny size was able to cause the breakdown of an entire power grid of such a huge magnitude!

• A tiny failure in the connections caused a mighty collapse!

• A minor malfunction in the grid caused a major disintegration!

It is therefore highly essential that the most basics aspects of life, however small or tiny they may appear, be given the proper and appropriate attention.

Such is the case too, in our spiritual lives…

• If the connection with the Lord, the Fuse of our life trips, our whole life will be in darkness!

• If the link with the Lord, the Safety Relay of our life overloads, our whole life will collapse into obscurity!

The Gospel of the Day invites us to continually nurture and nourish our relationship with the Lord and to reflect the fruits of this affiliation in our daily lives.

Jesus says that, “I am the vine, and you are the branches. Whoever remains in Me, and I in him, will bear much fruit, because without me, you can do nothing” (Jn 15: 5)

These are highly powerful words of the Divine Lord…”WITHOUT ME, YOU CAN DO NOTHING!”

There are a few implications of these powerful words….

1. Its a great message of hope

The statement of the Lord is a deep assurance that in every moment of our lives, we can bank on Him.

St Paul realized the deep understanding of this message of hope and could cry out, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13)

We can place our hope in the Lord…

… even when all seems lost and crashed in life

… even when things hit rock bottom in our life

2. It’s a great message of warning

The statement of the Lord is also a grave warning that in every moment of our lie, we can crack without Him!

The Prodigal Son realized the depth of such a break of relationship, when he had gone away from his father, and found himself in dire needs.

He would therefore say, “I shall get up and go to my Father and I shall say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you…’ (Lk 15: 18)

We are warned by the Lord…

… in every moment, we need to be dependent on the Lord

… in every situation of life, we cannot achieve true success by our own merits and talents

Sometimes in life, when things go on well and when everything seems fine, we tend to forget that it is the Lord, who is ultimately leading and guiding us.

We get into a feeling that it is my achievements and hard work alone, that is the cause of every success and smile that I enjoy.

But once in a way, when darkness engulfs our lives… maybe by way of…

… a sickness or a death…

… a financial difficulty or uncertainty of the future…

… crisis in relationships or breakage of human bonding

… or any other problem or difficulty…

We realize that there is a tripping in our relationship with the Lord, the Fuse of our life!

Unless we stay connected to this Mighty Fuse, our lives will stay in gloom and shadow

• When we are connected with the Lord, even in the midst of any crisis, the supply of inner joy and peace will always remain constant!

• When we are in link with the Lord, even with problems encompassing us, the streaming of Divine calm and happiness, will always remain uninterrupted!

As St John of the Cross says, “Oh, how happy is this soul that is ever conscious of God resting and reposing within its breast!”

Let us always seek to be united with the Lord, the light of our lives, so as to enjoy an uninterrupted and continual supply of the power of joy, peace and happiness in our lives!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Apr 28 (Jn 14:7-14)

Illiteracy is a deep crisis that is affecting our global society.

Illiteracy has many undesirable consequences and results.

While the call and efforts to eradicate illiteracy, has gained momentum over the past few years, from the spiritual realm, we are faced with a similar crisis: Spiritual Illiteracy

Spiritual Illiteracy could be described as…

… the inability to know or understand the promptings and inspirations of the Holy Spirit

… the lack of keenness to know about the Lord, His Teachings and His Mission

… the failure to have any interest to know God and His infinite love and mercy

This spiritual illiteracy is on the increase, and as Christians, we need to trigger a revolution to eradicate this hollowness in experience and knowledge of the Lord.

The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus revealing the spiritual illiteracy of His apostles, “Have I been with you so long and yet you do not know me…?” (Jn 14:9)

The context of this statement is the Last Supper Discourse that Jesus gives to His chosen disciples.

The disciples had been, probably with Jesus for nearly three years…

·      They had seen Him performing a number of miracles

·      They had heard Him speak of the glorious Kingdom of God.

·      They had experienced Him endowed with the special favour of God

·      They had touched Him and received powers and graces for the mission.

Yet, when Jesus speaks to them about the Father, the disciples express their ignorance.

Jesus, therefore, puts forward the question, “Have I been with you so long and yet you do not know me…?” (Jn 14:9)

Our lives can also resemble that of these disciples in being ignorant and unaware about the Lord.

We may remain “illiterate” spiritually, even though we have been admitted for a long time in the school of Jesus.

We may be “illiterate” in knowing…

… the vision of Jesus in building His Kingdom on the earth

… the feelings of the Lord in being passionately zealous to save all people

… the value of the sacrifice that Jesus has offered for us by His passion and death

… the depth of glory that is promised to us as a fruit of the Resurrection, if we follow Him

This spiritual “illiteracy” causes us…

.. to remain unaware of the power and workings of the Holy Spirit in our lives

… to become lethargic and uninterested to know more about the Lord and His Word

… to be lukewarm and indifferent to explore the Lord deeper, especially in His Sacraments.

The call of the Gospel is to rekindle the fire to know the Lord more intimately and closely.

The book of Hosea (Hos 4:6) places a warning if we are to continue in this “illiteracy”:

“My people perish for want of knowledge!

Since you have rejected knowledge, I will reject you from my priesthood!

Since you have ignored the law of your God, I will also ignore your sons”

A revolution is to be triggered so that “spiritual illiteracy” can be wiped away!

This is also a wonderful opportunity for us to examine the possible means of “knowing” the Lord and the many opportunities that we squander away in “knowing” Him deeper…

…Do I set apart, sometime atleast,  daily, reading the Bible – His Holy Word?

… Do I spend time, without any fail, in quiet prayerful moments with the Lord?

… Do I maximize my possibilities of meeting the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament?

… Do I pick up opportunities to listen to His Spirit in the various situations of my life?

… Do I ignite the sparks of desire to participate in the Sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist and Confession?

Jesus desires that we know Him more…

… not just ‘about’  Him

… not just intellectual knowledge

… not just His teachings or wisdom

But Him!

He wants all to have an “experiential” and a “living” experience of Him!

Let us “learn Jesus” more and more, faithfully attending His School of Love and doing away with the “spiritual illiteracy” in our lives!

LEARN JESUS to LIVE JESUS to GIVE JESUS!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Apr 27 (Jn 14: 1-6)

 

Most of us would have experienced the “falling asleep” or “numbness” of arms, legs and feet, especially while sitting cross-legged (usually while sitting on the floor).

Right?

 

Technically known as “peripheral neuropathy” or “paresthesia”, this syndrome is caused by the compression of specific nerves.

 When one sits cross-legged, sleep with arm above the head, or position any limb in such a way to put excess pressure on a nerve, that nerve will stop sending impulses normally.

 

If the pressure is great, or the duration long, the nerve will eventually stop sending impulses altogether. 

>> That particular area will essentially then “fall asleep” or feel “numb“.

 

Once the pressure is relieved, the nerve starts functioning normally again and one is able to move the limb.

>> It may, however, take some time to work properly and one may feel some tingling, “pins and needles”, during the process.

 

Spiritually speaking, it is very much possible that one experiences such “falling asleep” or a “numbness” in one’s conscience.

>> This is Spiritual Paresthesia!

 

 This “lack of sensation” can cause one to be “life-less” and “feeling-less” to…

… constant occurrences of sin and evil doings

… frequent aberrations in moral and ethical life

… even constant spiritual reminders that the Lord gives us

 

 

The Gospel of the Day presents a case of “Spiritual Paresthesia”, which could perhaps, be a reality in our lives as well…

 

 Jesus, in the Gospel of the day, declares Himself as “The Way, The Truth and The Life” (Jn 14:6)

>> This reply of the Lord came in response to the query of Thomas, the Apostle who asked Jesus, “Lord, we do not know, where you are going; how can we know the way?” (Jn 14:5)

 

 Thomas, along with the other disciples, had by now, spent quite a lot of time with Jesus, their Master….

 

>> They had encountered Jesus as The Way….

… the Way Forward: when sicknesses and problems of life had crippled the lives of many

 

>> They had encountered Jesus as The Truth….

… the Truth Uncompromised:  when lies and malicious forces sought to thwart the plans of the Kingdom of God

 

>> They had encountered Jesus as the Life….

… the Life in Abundance: when hopelessness and sin would cause people to give up any aspirations for life

  

Yet, the disciples failed to recognize these Aspects in Jesus.

 

They were perhaps, in a state of “spiritual paresthesia”…

… being numb to understanding Jesus

… unable to sense the words and depths of the Words of Jesus.

 

And so when Thomas put forward the doubt: “Lord, we do not know, where you are going; how can we know the way?” (Jn 14:5)…

… Jesus emphatically declared, “I am THE WAY, THE TRUTH and THE LIFE!” (Jn 14: 6)

 

The Lord wanted the disciples to overcome their “spiritual paresthesia”…

…and come to be aware of the Reality and Greatness of His Presence in their life!

 

  

Perhaps, we too often find ourselves in a state of “spiritual paresthesia” or “spiritual numbness”!

 

 One of the main factors, which can cause this state of “spiritual numbness”, is the reality of sin in our lives…

… which many times, we either deny or fail to acknowledge.

 

 In the teachings of Jesus, one of the stand-out factor was His uncompromising attitude with respect to sin.

 

And perhaps, this is where Jesus as a Holy Person stands out incomparable with all other great spiritual or philosophical leaders of the world.

>> This is also where Christianity as a religion stands out unmatched with any other belief system or practice of spirituality.

 

For Jesus and in Christianity…

… there is an uncompromising teaching on the need to root out sin and evil offences

… there is an absolutely unparalleled insistence on removal of sin for spiritual progress

… there is an unsurpassed assertion on being holy and pure to be in communion with Him

  

We need to make an honest examination of our conscience…

 Is our life suffering from a “spiritual Paresthesia” or “numbness to what is holy” or a “lack of sensation to sin”…

… Do I continue to pursue, persevere or promote deeds of sin, even though I am aware of it, or has been brought to my notice?

… Do I fail to be sensitive to issues of immense sin and evil happening in and around me, in people and situations, and instead become indifferent and uninterested?

 

A persistence in this spiritual “Paresthesia” or numbness can very dangerously sever our relation with the Lord.

  

The Lord proclaims that “In My Father’s house, there are many rooms…” (Jn 14: 2)

 

He wishes and desires, that all of us….

… should dwell with Him!

… should enjoy eternal life in Him!

.. should reach the heights of holiness!

 

But this also requires our genuine co-operation to the Grace of the Lord…

… by seeking to get over our spiritual Paresthesia or numbness…

 

 This process of getting out of this spiritual “Paresthesia” will involve feeling some “tingling pins and needles” of reparation, penance and atonement.

 

 Let us be willing to…

… let go a life of sin

… embrace the words of the Lord

… and live it joyfully and fervently in our life!

 

 God Bless! Live Jesus!

PLEASE NOTE

Kindly Note that Reflection Capsules will not be published from April 6, 2018 for a period of Two Weeks.

They will be resumed from April 19, 2018.

I am going to the Vatican as a “Missionary of Mercy” – with the special privilege, to forgive Reserved Sins.

We have a meeting with the Holy Father for 5 days, including concelebrating the Divine Mercy Feast Mass at St Peter’s Basilica this Sunday.

I pray for you specially. Take care

Thank you, I pray for you.

Do pray for me too.

God Bless! Live Jesus!

– Fr Jijo Manjackal MSFS

Bengaluru, India

Apr 5 (Easter Thursday – Lk 24: 35-48)

It is said that an encounter with a mystery can cause one of the two reactions …

1. A fervent fear leading to veneration and devotion

2. A nauseating aversion leading to hatred and abhorrence.

The encounter with a mystery is always something overwhelming:

>>Iit causes either a transformation for the good or a change to run away from the truth and reality.

Mysteries are indeed powerful and can be life-transforming!

The Gospel of the Day presents this powerful dimension of the Apostles encountering the Mystery of the Resurrection, in the person of Jesus Christ, the Lord, risen from the dead!

The Resurrection Day of the Lord was perhaps the most baffling, confusing and puzzling day in the lives of the Apostles…

Just a few days back, they had witnessed the horrifying and painful death of their Beloved Master.

In their weakness, and fearing for their life, they had abandoned their Master.

>> Yet, heart of heart, these disciples would have been tremendously affected, at the loss of the One who had brought new hopes and expectations to their lives.

But now, the strange and surprising reports of the tomb being empty and the Lord appearing to two on the way to Emmaus have confused the poor disciples.

It’s in this state of fear, confusion that Jesus comes in their midst and appears to them.

“But they were startled and terrified and thought they were seeing a ghost” ( Lk 24: 37)

The disciples were face to face with a Mystery – the mystery of Jesus Christ, Resurrected.

And every mystery can cause two reactions…

… a fervent fear leading to veneration and devotion

… or a nauseating aversion leading to hatred and abhorrence.

The disciples were initially filled with a lot of fear and were startled deeply.

>> But as they slowly were in the presence of the Great Mystery, their hearts began to be filled with joy and holiness…

We are also witnesses to the Great Mystery of the Resurrection

What is our reaction?

>> Are we filled with fear and fail to live a life of true witnessing?

… Or are we filled with the calm and serenity that the Risen Lord promises?

There is a need to make an honest examination of our lives…

>> The Mystery of the Risen Lord is about joy and happiness

Do I radiate this joy to others…

… or do others only come across angry faces, irritated behaviour and unpleasant conduct in me?

>> The Mystery of the Risen Lord is about trust and confidence

Do I display this faith and belief…

… especially when we face many problems and crisis in life, to stand firm in hope?

>> The Mystery of the Risen Lord is about call to a new way of life…

Do I be courageous to embrace this new way of life in the Risen Lord…

… and be willing to do away with my sinful habits and tendencies to fall away from God’s presence?

The Risen Lord is in our midst, as He was with the Apostles…

… Especially in His Most Holy Eucharist

… Especially in His Holy Word of God.

Let us not be afraid of this Mystery…

>> Let us not have an aversion towards it…

… rather, let us grow in love of the Mystery of the Risen Lord… and seek to live it, more fully and more meaningfully in our lives.

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Apr 4 (Easter Wednesday – Lk 24:13-35)

A common phrase that is often heard or read is…

“Most children walk to school…. but come back home running!”

Fairly true, in many cases, right?

It takes a long walk to reach school… as its often considered as “the not so interesting” part for a child – to study, to be under various rules, to be restricted to a classroom etc

>> But it takes a very short run to reach back home… as it is often considered as “the thrilling” part for a child – to play, to enjoy, to have fun etc…

Our attitudes to activities in life is influenced by our interest for it:

>> The greater the interest…

… the higher is the enthusiasm in an activity;

>> The lower the interest…

… the lower will be the keenness for a particular work.

The Gospel of the Day presents two disciples who “walk away from home” in disinterest and dejection…. but later “who run towards home” with enthusiasm and passion!

>> The walk away…

… was a dull tale of being filled with disappointment and confusion…

>> The walk towards…

… is an exciting story of being filled with immense joy and happiness…

The encounter of Jesus to the two disciples on the way to Emmaus is one of the classic Resurrection encounters.

>> This incident appears only in the Gospel of St Luke.

The disciples, who are unnamed, have obviously been shaken up very badly over the incidents over the last one week in Jerusalem.

Like the Apostles, these disciples also would have been badly affected…

>> Their Master, Jesus, in whom they had trusted and they had followed, had to undergo a shameful death – as that of a criminal.

>> It was humiliating…

… to be called as followers of a Criminal…

>> It was abasing…

… to be called to as followers of a Blasphemer…

Added to that, the accounts of some women who had seen the Empty Tomb of the Lord, added to greater shame and confusion.

Life was dealing harshly with them….

>> Gloom had descended into their hearts;

>> Grim had taken over their lives.

And so they “walked” .. disappointed and dejected… away from “home” – Jerusalem – to a village named Emmaus.

But this “walk” in sadness and gloom, was soon to be become a life-transforming event!

>> Moments of hardships often become moments to encounter the deep love of the Lord!

>> Situations of dejections often become situations to experience the immense mercy of God!

Jesus met them, explained the Scriptures to them.. and finally in the house, broke the bread… “and their eyes were opened!” (Lk 24: 30-31)

Their gloom was taken away….

>> Their mourning was converted…

>>> Their sadness was chased away

This experience “had to be shared”… This experience “had to be recounted”…

>> And so these disciples, who had “encountered” the Lord… now “ran”!

The walk away… was a dull tale of being filled with disappointment and confusion…

>> The walk towards… is an exciting story of being filled with immense joy and happiness…

How is our life?

>> Are we merely “walking” through activities and works in life, in dissipation….

Or are we “running” through our duties and responsibilities filled with joy and hope?

>> Are we merely “walking” passively in our spiritual life and our Christian witnessing…

Or are we “running” boldly and enthusiastically, overflowing with happiness and love?

The Lord walks with us… on our every journey, in our every activity…

>> But seldom do we see Him… seldom do we “feel” His presence!

Those disciples realised this “feeling” of the Lord being with them at the Breaking of the Bread…

>> There lies the key…there lies the open secret…

Realisation of the Presence of the Lord in our lives, is guaranteed and facilitated by a meaningful and honest participation in the Lord’s Body and Blood – at the Holy Eucharist!

The Lord in the Holy Eucharist, calls and invites us…

… to experience Him, to encounter Him… to be transformed by Him!

Let the power of the Lord help us to overcoming our “lethargic and uninterested” walking in spiritual life…

… and instead help us to be filled with a powerful enthusiasm to “run” in His presence and announcing the Good News of His Saving Love to the world!

Happy Easter to You!

God Bless! Live Jesus!