Aug 1 (Mt 13:44-46)

Jenny was a cheerful little seven-year old girl of a poor home.

Once, while out shopping with her mother, in the market…

… she came across a “fine white pearl” in a pink foil box.

Though it was an imitation pearl (not a real one), the girl was highly fascinated, and sought to buy it.

>> After a lot of pestering, the mother – giving up some of her precious savings, to satisfy her daughter’s desire – bought the imitation pearl to her.

As soon the girl reached home, her uncle – whom she loved much and had returned from foreign – was waiting to see her.

The excited girl ran to her loved uncle, and presented the imitation pearl, saying:

“Uncle, see how beautiful this pearl is! I am so excited to be possessing it!”

But the Uncle – who knew the child’s love for pearls – looked into her eyes and asked:

“Child, if you really love me, give the pearl to me!”

“Oh no Uncle! I can’t give this pearl to you!

I have got this bought from Mummy after a lot of insistence.

>> I will give you my favourite doll instead…but don’t ask me for this pearl.. please!”

But Uncle went on insisting: “No, if you really love me, give me that pearl!”

The child, by now had tears in her eyes…

… little drops flowing down her tender cheeks, Jenny says:

“Uncle, I do love you very much.

Though it is extremely hard for me, but because I love you, I will give you this pearl!”

>> And so saying, she handed over the pearl to her uncle.

As soon as Uncle received that pearl – which was an imitation…

… he reached out his hand inside his bag, and took out a box.

Handing over the box to the crying child, he told her: “Check what I have for you, in return for what you gave me”.

Jenny opened the box.

>> To her great surprise and delight, it was a Necklace of Real Pearls!

Her eyes glistened, as she held the Priceless Necklace of Pearls, in her little hands.

And as she kept admiring, her Uncle told her:

“Remember my Child! So it is with life…

>> Unless you recognize and give up the fake things of life…

… you can never possess the real treasures of life!

Never be afraid of taking the risk of giving up everything, in order to gain that which is priceless!”

What about us?

>> Are we ready to hand over the “imitation” pearls to our Loving God, in order to be handed over the real “Pearl of Great Price!”

The Gospel of the Day are the twin parables of Jesus about the Kingdom of God being compared to a “priceless fortune” being discovered.

>> A man finding a treasure in a field (Mt 13: 44-45)

>> A merchant finding a pearl of great price (Mt 13:46)

One of the common thought-pattern exhibited in both these parables is the following factor:

” The risk of giving up everything, in order to gain that which is priceless!”

>> The man on finding the treasure in the field…

… takes the risk of selling everything, in order to buy the treasure, which was priceless

>> The merchant on finding the precious pearl…

… takes the risk of selling all that he had, in order to possess the pearl, which was priceless.

The pages of the Bible narrate this pattern: ” The risk of giving up everything, in order to gain that which is priceless!”…

… St Joseph risks listening to the voice of the Angel, and taking Mary as his wife – in order to provide a home for the Son of God – a priceless responsibility!

… St Peter risks giving up his boats and fishing nets – in order to follow Jesus – a priceless vocation!

… Zacheaus risks inviting Jesus into his home and doing away with his riches – in order to obtain salvation – a priceless reward!

… St Paul risks doing away with his former ways of persecuting Christianity and preaching to the Gentiles, instead – in order to win many souls- a priceless way of life!

“Nothing worthwhile is ever achieved playing it safe, and sticking to the familiarity of the known!”

Are we ready to take this risk…?

… risk doing away with our sinful ways, in order to live a new life in Christ?

… risk giving up some undue attachments, in order to allow the Lord to possess our hearts?

… risk removing some unwelcome addictions, in order to allow the Spirit of God to work in us?

Jesus, the Priceless Fortune deserves our best!

We, however, often cling on to the “imitation” pearls in our life.

… assuming that they can give us happiness – when in actuality, they are mere imitations!

Our Loving God constantly asks us: “Child, if you really love me, give the pearl to me!”

>> Our human weakness and tendency may tell “Oh no! I can’t give this pearl to you!

But let us not be afraid to “take the risk”…

… and tell the Lord:

“Lord, I do love you very much.

Though it is extremely hard for me, but because I love You, I will give You this pearl!”

Yes, this act of “taking a risk” will surely win for us “The Pearl of Great Price”!

Let us faith-life always remind us:

” Unless you recognize and give up the fake things of life…

… you can never possess the real treasures of life!”

Yes, let us “never be afraid of taking the risk of giving up everything, in order to gain that which is Priceless!”

Today, let us seek the intercession of Great Saintly Doctor of the Church , St Alphonsus Liguori – the Patron Saint of Theologians – on his feast day.

>> His life was lived in purpose and clarity, seeking the Will of God, in the midst of the many confusing and deviant ways of the world

>> His being was filled with determination, despite the many heresies and anti-faith philosophies that cropped up in his time.

As we thank the Lord for another month in our lives, let us offer this new month of August into the Providential Hands of our God…

… knowing and trusting that He will ultimately cause “Everything for our good” (Rom 8:28)

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Jul 31 (Mt 13:36-43)

Neil Armstrong, the first person to walk on the moon, once said:

” Mystery creates wonder and wonder is the basis of man’s desire to understand!”

Among the many mysteries, that causes wonder, which we seek to understand (though more often, causes doubts!), is the Mystery of Evil.

So often do we ask these questions of mystery…

>> “Why does evil exist in a world that was created good?”

>> “Can evil have any meaning; rather, is it not spoiling our existence on earth?”

>> “How long are the good to suffer with the presence of evil all around?”

Today our Blessed Lord opens His mind on this crucial Reality of our lives, by the explanation of the Parable of the Weeds.

It’s noteworthy to know some interesting facts about this parable…

1. Sowing weeds in someone else’s field, was a way take revenge on the other and to express one’s hatred and anger!

Something similar to today, people…

… breaking the glass of the houses of those whom they don’t like

… disfiguring the walls of the house of the people whom they hate

2. The weeds that Jesus speaks of in the parable, were highly similar to the wheat that was sown.

>> It was almost impossible to distinguish the two, in their initial stages.

3. Seeking to pull up the weeds would definitely destroy the wheat plant

>> This was because, their roots would get inter-twined.

Any attempt to pull up the weeds, would also cause harm to the good plant.

It is in the light of these points, that our “doubt and perplexity” about the Parable of the Wheat and Weeds grows:

>> “Why does evil exist in a world that was created good?”

This is where the Lord challenges every Christian to understand…

… that some mysteries in life cannot be fully understood…

… but are to be boldly lived!

… that some struggles in life cannot be totally eliminated…

… but are to be bravely challenged!

…. that some problems in life cannot be completely solved…

but are to be fearlessly encountered!

As we take time to digest this fact, let us also spare a thought for the seed of wheat that was sown by the Sower.

For the Sower, the Seed of Wheat was priceless… special…!

He had sown it with a lot of love, care and affection.

>> And so, He would do everything in His power, to make sure, that He loses nothing of it, in the attempt to get rid of the weeds.

The Sower is God.

>> And the Bible, throughout, speaks about how the seed that is sown – the wheat – is precious to God…

… the lost sheep is passionately sought until it is found (Lk 15: 1-7)

… the lost coin is ardently searched till it is found (Lk 15: 8-10)

… the leftover pieces of loaves are devoutly gathered up (Mt 14:20)

… the rejected short man, hiding on the tree, is assigned a new chapter in life (Lk 19: 1-10)

… the nearly-stoned woman, caught in the act of adultery, is given new life (Jn 8: 1-11)

… the impulsive fisherman, called as the rock, and who denied three times, is accepted back (Jn 21: 15-19)

We are the precious Wheat.

Jesus opens our hearts and minds to have a “realistic understanding” of life.

>> We need to be patient with ourselves and with others…

… in dealing with sin and with evil tendencies

Of course, as humans, we do many times…

… bite our teeth in anger glaring at the inhumanness in our society and the world

… lose our cool in finding ourselves to be imperfect and sinful even after years of trying

… go mad in encountering silly disputes and indifferences in our families & communities

… have our blood boiling seeing the various scandals and shameful incidents in the Church

But the Lord says.. “Hold On”….

Surely, we have our emotions and feelings when we come across unjust situations..

But the Lord says:

” Do your best…and leave the rest to Me!

Aim for perfection….but give not into despair because of devastations!”

This certainly is no excuse for us to deny our duty and responsibility…

… and even the obligation to seek to avoid wickedness and dissuade evil practices.

But we may never find ourselves in PERFECT elimination of evil and sinful behaviours…

…either in our personal life, or societal life or even in the life of the Church.

The Lord, the Final and the Supreme Judge, will make sure, that “Good finally triumphs over the evil!”

>> “The Son of Man will send His angels, and they will collect out of His Kingdom, all who cause others to sin and evildoers…

… the Righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of Their Father!” (Mt 13: 41, 43).

As the national motto of India says: “Satyam eva jayate” (Truth alone triumphs!”)

Let us have recourse to the Awesome and Ultimate Power of God, and be strengthened in our lives!

May we seek today the intercession of St Ignatius of Loyola, the Founder of the “Society of Jesus” (Jesuits), on his Feast Day.

May his prayer echo in our hearts as well:

“O my God, teach me to be generous,

teach me to serve you as I should…

… to give without counting the cost,

… to fight without fear of being wounded,

… to work without seeking rest,

…. to labour without expecting any reward,

but the knowledge that I am doing your most holy will.”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Jul 30 (Mt 13:31-35)

Jesus in the Gospels loves to use simple, tiny and insignificant objects, to project His message of the Kingdom!

Today He uses the example of the Mustard Seed and the Leaven in describing the Might of the Kingdom!

>> Little Is Much When God is in It!

The mustard seed & leaven would’ve hardly received any attention in the normal sense…

>> But Jesus, the Master Artist paints these li’l objects into the Mighty Canvas of the Kingdom & delivers a powerful message…

>> The Kingdom of God has its humble beginnings…

… but it develops into a Powerful Force!

>> The Kingdom of God often starts very insignificantly…

… but it expands into a Huge Reality!

>> The Kingdom of God initiates in an unnoticed manner…

… but it enlarges into an Influential Entity!

Little Is Much when God is in It!

The mustard seed develops into a Tree, which renders shelter to the birds of the air (Mt 13: 31-32)…..

• The sinners find a solace in this Tree….

• The sick encounter support in this Tree..

• The rejected have a remedy in this Tree…

• The cast-outs meet consolation in this Tree….

• The prostitutes experience peace in this Tree…

The leaven which is little, makes the whole mass of dough to rise (Mt 13:33)…

• The rod in Moses’ hand – a shepherd’s ordinary crook – became a mighty symbol of God’s Power

• The jawbone with Samson – a decaying useless bone – became an instrument of killings thousands of enemies!

• The stone in David’s hand – an unnoticed stone – became the means of conquering the gigantic Goliath!

Little Is Much When God is in It!

>> We live in times when many things are explained or rejected in terms of science, psychology, post-modern modern philosophies and assorted spiritualities

>> We live in times when Material values and worldly attitudes are corroding our lives.

>> We live in times when ethical Principles and traditional virtues often get kicked into the backyard!

Times are bad.

>> Times are worsening.

>> Times are sickening…

Times, are even, sometimes seen hopeless and scary and terrifying!

>> But we also ought to realize that…many things, that cannot be discovered and understood through the microscope of science and modern theories can be discovered by looking through the eye of faith!

Massive things can be seen and achieved by looking through the miniscule eye of Faith!

>> Little Is Much When God is in It!!

Maybe, many of us are also going through a “bored and unexcited” phase of our life…

… feeling uncertain about the future

… experiencing worry about the past

… troubled by the anxieties of the present.

Yet, the Lord is with us…

… to transform us and to renew us!

What is needed is our self-giving…

… little and small as we are: let us offer our lives to the Lord

… broken and disturbed as we are: let us give ourselves to the Lord

>> Little is much, when God, is in it!

Yes, our efforts and attempts to spread God’s Kingdom may be just minor…

… like the Mustard Seed and the Leaven.

But let us always realize and trust:

>> Little Is Much When God is in It!!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Jul 29 (Jn 6:1-15)

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

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

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

Or, is it a tough one?…

Well, the answer is…

>> Yes

…. it IS the miracle of the Multiplication of the Loaves.

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

And each of these Gospels also have something unique to speak of this incident:

>> Mt 14: 13-21: mentions about five thousand men being fed, “without counting women and children”

>> Mk 6: 31-4: mentions of making the people to be seated in “groups and clusters of hundreds and fifties”

>> Lk 9: 10-17: also mentions of five thousand men and being seated in clusters of fifty and also mentions Jesus, “looking up to the heavens”.

>> Jn 6: 5-15: mentions of a “little boy”, who is the provider of the five loaves and two fish and also that “the Lord gave thanks for it”, before distributing it to the people.

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

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

>> The multiplication of the loaves fed a massive crowd.

Five thousand men could mean, that including women and children, it would have easily exceeded over twenty thousand people!

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

>> The multiplication of the loaves was a miracle of “creation”.

There are other miracles of Jesus, mentioned in the Bible, which could fall in the following categories…

>> Miracles of healing: Curing of many sicknesses and diseases

>> Miracles over nature: Powerful control over the forces of nature

>> Miracles of exorcism: Casting out demons and liberating people from them

>> Miracles of transformation: Transforming an object to something else or even of people

>> Miracles of restoration: Restoring people to their original state of life and good condition

But the miracle of the “multiplication” is unique in the sense, that it resembled “creation”.

>> God created the world “ex-nihilo – out of nothing”; Jesus now creates the loaves from nothing, and feeds the people.

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

1. His sensitivity to the needs of the people

While the disciples were just eager to send the crowd away, Jesus reaches out to them in compassion and love.

2. His ability to effect changes in the mindset and thinking-pattern

The disciples could see no way, in that desert to feed the gigantic crowd. They had only question marks before them.

But Jesus, sheds new light on their minds and helps them find a solution, even in the seemingly impossible situation

3. His perfect control in a situation of panic

Though there would have been panic in the minds of the disciples, Jesus impresses upon them the fact, that He is in total charge and in complete control.

As the Lord and Creator, He knows exactly what is to be done in the moment of crisis and calamity.

4. His attitude of raising His heart in thanksgiving at every situation

We read that before the actual multiplication happened, Jesus “took the loaves, and gave thanks…” (Jn 6: 11)

It’s amazing to imagine that situation:

… Thousands and thousands of people, eagerly waiting, hungry and exhausted….

… Having just Five Loaves and the Two Fish – which was scarcely able to meet the hunger of a couple of people…

… Jesus still raises His Heart in thanksgiving and gratitude!

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

5. His consciousness to gather the remaining pieces, after the miracle

The Lord, “Who came save and seek the lost” is also highly mindful of gathering up the remaining broken pieces of the loaves.

The disciples get trained to become aware of “what is often considered as wasteful” can also become resourceful!

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

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

Am I able…

(1) … to be sensitive and responsive to the needs and desires of those around me?

(2) … to see the brighter side of life, with the Grace and strength from God, and rub the fragrance of this positivity onto others in my life?

(3) … to rise above the situations of panic and disturbances, and be calm, knowing that I have a God, who is ultimately in total and perfect control of every situation of turmoil?

(4)… to lift up my heart to the Lord, in thanksgiving, at every moment and situation of life, even when the chips are down or when I pass through the dark tunnels and the deep, despairing valleys life?

(5)… to be aware of the “unwanted” talents in me, the “excess” people of the society and the “discarded” peripherals of the world, and seek to make the best use of them and collect them to be part of the mainframe scene?

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Jul 28 (Mt 13:24-30)

One of the most baffling and mysterious aspect in our world…

… is the active & dynamic presence of evil in this world.

Today the Lord Jesus ventures into opening His mind on this crucial Reality of our lives….

A couple of days back, we were with the Generous Sower, who was madly liberal in sowing on different types of soil and which had their corresponding results (Mt 13: 1-9)

Today, we are back to the field….

>> But our deliberation is not on the Sower or the Seeds…

… but on the presence of Weeds among the Wheat (Mt 13:24-30)

Let the botany in us, focus today on The Weeds…. the Irritable Weeds!

Botanically named Lolium temulentum, the weeds are also called Darnel or Tares.

>> These weeds have a characteristic of making one feel poisoned with drunkenness, when consumed.

They also have the deceptive characteristic of bearing a close resemblance to Wheat.

>> In fact, these weeds are also called as False Wheat!

So the enemy in the parable…is a Learned Deceiver!

He sows this deceptive and misleading weed among the innocent and harmless wheat!

But the Lord, the Ultimate Judge gives out a strong, yet strange command:

“Let the weeds not be pulled up, lest the wheat be uprooted with them; let them just grow together until harvest!” (Mt 13:29-30)

>> Some mysteries in life cannot be fully understood…

… but is to be boldly lived!

>> Some struggles in life cannot be totally eliminated…

… but is to be bravely challenged!

>> Some problems in life cannot be completely solved…

but is to be fearlessly encountered!

Here is another hard reality to be digested: “God uses the very wickedness and injustices of evildoers to perfect his Elect.”

The triumph and prosperity of the wicked are short-lived…

…whereas the reward of the Christian who suffers from their wickedness is everlasting.

That’s a hard and unpopular and even impractical statement, right?

>> But Facts remain facts – we consent or not!

This leads us to a vital aspect of our Practical Christian Living: To be Patient with ourselves and with others…

… in dealing with sin

… with evil tendencies

… with horrifying obsessions

… with unacceptable practices

… with unalterable addictions

… and with abominable disgraces.


… we bite our teeth in anger glaring at the inhumanness in our society and the world

… we lose our cool in finding ourselves to be imperfect and sinful even after years of trying

… we go mad in encountering silly disputes and indifferences in our families & communities

… we have our blood boiling seeing the various scandals and shameful incidents in the Church

But the Lord says.. “Hold On”….

Surely, we have our emotions and feelings when we come across unjust situations..

But the Lord says:

” Do your best…and leave the rest to Me!

Aim for perfection….but give not into despair because of devastations!”

This certainly is no excuse for us to deny our duty and responsibility…

… and even the obligation to seek to avoid wickedness and dissuade evil practices.

But we may never find ourselves in PERFECT elimination of evil and sinful behaviours…

…either in our personal life, or societal life or even in the life of the Church.

The Ultimate Eliminator is the Lord Himself…

>> The Perfect Vanquisher is the Lord Himself!

>> The Supreme Conqueror is the Lord Himself!

Are all these too abstract, theoretical & impractical talks?

… NO!

St Paul gives an assurance in Romans 8:26-27:

The Spirit comes to our aid in our weaknesses. He Himself will intercede for us, when we co-operate with Him.”

God, who is all-powerful shares His Omnipotence with us…

… in the Holy Sacraments, in Prayer, in the Bible and in the Church.

Let us have recourse to this power of God, and be strengthened in our lives!

Let us try to do our utmost…

… but let us also permit to encounter disappointments…!

Let us strive for the finest…

… but let us fret not too much over failures and frustrations…!

The Lord knows all

>> HE sees all

>> HE has the perfect solution to all.

St Faustina says: “Our sins and weaknesses and miseries are like little sticks, before the burning furnace of the Love of God”.

Let us throw our little sticks into this burning furnace…

>> Let God be God in our Lives – the Ultimate Judge and Defeater of all Evil!”

We seek the intercession of St Alphonsa, whose feast we celebrate today.

>> Let us seek her intercession and learn from her the virtues of…

… being patient in trials

… being bold in situations of injustice

… being optimistic in moments of uncertainties

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Jul 27 (Mt 13:18-23)

One of the most famous persons who had been greatly impressed and influenced by the Holy Bible was Mahatma Gandhi.

He once made a statement, which would make all of us…

… to examine deeply our level of love for the scriptures

… to make relevant changes in order to match our lives with the teachings of the Bible

This statement goes thus:

“You Christians look after a document containing enough dynamite to blow all civilisation to pieces, turn the world upside down and bring peace to a battle-torn planet.

But you treat it as though it is nothing more than a piece of literature!”

Now, that indeed is a mightily powerful statement isn’t it?

That’s an intense statement..

.. of, on one side, our Sacred Scripture being acknowledged…

>> as having tremendous power to transform

>> as having remarkable force to bring about changes

… and yet, on the other side, We, the caretakers and promoters of the Bible – the Christians – being people…

>> who give very minimal respect and reverence

>> who fail to find the worth of the treasure that is in possession!

Well, it is left to each one of us.. to examine, in the light of this statement, whether…

… the Holy Bible has become a constant and regular companion of my life

… the Sacred Scriptures have become a catalyst for effecting personal transformation

The Gospel of the Day is the beautiful explanation, by Jesus, of the Parable of the Sower and through it, a reminder for us to revive our delight in and our dedication to, in living the Word of God.

The famous author Mark Twain once said:

“Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture which they cannot understand;

But as for me, I have always noticed that the passages in Scripture which trouble me most, are those which I do understand.”

The passage in consideration – the explanation of the Parable of the Sower ( Mt 13: 18-23) – is surely one which has come very often under our scanner of reflection and meditation.

We almost know each of its elements in detail:

• The Sower sowing the seed

• Some falling on the wayside and birds devouring them

• Some falling on the rock and after a quick sprouting, withering away

• Some falling among the thorns and failing to grow, suffocated by its choke

• Some falling on the good seed and yielding – a thirty, a sixty and a hundred fold

We also have understood its applications in our life

Yet, very often, its implications fail to take root in us and we remain indifferent or casual regarding the Seed – the Precious Word of God!

Today, therefore, the Lord once again seeks to awaken our minds and shake our lethargic minds, in seeking to revive our love and enthusiasm for His Word.

Here are some of the practical pointers for self-introspection, towards this objective…

1. What is my reading habit with respect to the Bible – God’s Word…?

>> Have I read the Bible fully, at least once?

… If YES… why not make efforts to read “the beautiful expressions in God’s love-letters”, once again

… If NO… why not make a bold step to try to read the Bible fully, atleast once.

• One could perhaps, start with some of the easier books/sections of the Bible.. maybe, the New Testament, or the Psalms etc…

• Sometimes we might feel too bored or disinterested to pick up the pages of the Old Testament – some passages might seem even disturbing or distressing.

Yet, when we understand that those were some of the societal manners that existed back then, and Scriptures were written by human authors, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, in concrete life-situations, we would be able to appreciate them much better

>> Can I set apart, daily, at least a few minutes to read the Bible?

>> Can I make genuine efforts to memorize at least a few verses from the Bible?

• These verses can be invoked in our moments of prayer, in our moments of needing spiritual strength, in our moments of deepening the faith etc.

2. What is my effort and dedication in putting into practical effect the Bible – God’s Word…?

>> Am I a person who only simply reads the Bible – without making efforts to understand it, or one who fails to try to put into practice what I learn from God’s Word?

>> Is my love for the Word of God only finding expression in forwarding ‘Daily Bible Verses’ through social media sites/apps, emails or SMS’S or do I also try to apply and live those verses in my day-to-day activities?

>> These days, we have access to – especially through the internet and many magazines and books – an innumerable amount of Bible Study material, explanations on the Bible, sermons and reflections etc.

• Do these become a springboard for me to personally learn more and deepen my spiritual bond with the Lord of the Word; or do I only take these, without making any personal reflection and use it for giving sermons, talks etc.

>> Has the Word become a personal and intimate life-giver for me and do I have a deep thirst to know and grow more in the Word?

As Christians, we are privileged and prized – to possess the Precious Book of God’s Salvific acts – in the Holy Bible.

As it is said, “The BIBLE contains B(asic) I(nstructions) B(efore) L(eaving) E(arth)”

The Bible…

… is a treasury of immense love

… is a source of unmatched transformative power

.. is a supplier of unparalleled strength and grace towards salvation

Do I treat it just an ordinary piece of literature, a lifeless object to be just decorated (or in some cases, dusted and dirtied) and a book of sacredness but still untouched and unexplored…

…or Can I discover It to be the mighty source, containing the immensity of God’s Power and encountering the Lord Himself, “Who is the Word – that became flesh and dwells among us”?

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Jul 26 (Mt 13:10-17: Feast of St Anne and St Joachim)

Every form of mass media has some kind of an influence on its audience or users.

Some forms of mass media are more powerful and influential…

Some others are lesser…

There is a sense of identification that users have with the content of the Mass Media.

For example:

• A scene in a movie may make its audience to burst out laughing, to shed tears at an emotional scene or even induce anger at seeing a disturbing scene.

• A commentary or a nice song or jingle or a funny comment by the host in a radio program may make the listeners to smile, to be excited or to be just relaxed.

• A meme that is seen on the social networking site or a video or a picture that is shared through mobile social apps like WhatsApp, may make the user to reflect deeper or to feel happier or draw out of ignorance

The Gospels are also a great and effective form of Mass Media…

… sharing the message of God’s love to all

… spreading the news of the Kingdom to all

… reaching out the compassion of the Lord to all

One of the important composition of the Gospel is in the form of “parables”

The Gospel of the Day, presents the dynamics of Jesus using “parables” as an effective method of communication of the message of the Kingdom of God.

The passage begins with an enquiry by the Disciples:

“The disciples approached Jesus and said, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” (Mt 13:10)

The Gospel of St Mathew is generally structured comprising of The Five Discourses…

1. The Sermon on the Mount (Chapters 5-7)

2. The Sermon for the Mission (Chapter 10)

3. The Sermon in Parables (Chapter 13)

4. The Sermon of the Church (Chapter 18)

5. The Sermon on Eschatology (Chapters 23-25)

The Thirteenth chapter of the Gospel of St Matthew is the “Sermon in Parables”

Jesus was a master story-teller.

He presented the mighty mysteries of the Kingdom in plain parables.

The parables, however, had two contrasting aspects to it…

1. On one side, they were simple and revealed many things

>> The parables of the Lord were based on everyday experiences of the people and local practices, customs and culture.

This contextualization helped the people to easily connect with the message that Jesus wanted to convey.

2. On the other side, they were complicated and concealed many dimensions

>> The parables of the Lord would neatly conceal many of the complicated dimensions of the mysteries of the Kingdom.

This concealing caused many people to misunderstand, misinterpret Jesus as well as the message that He wanted to convey.

This dual aspect in the “parables” of Jesus…

• simple and revealing many things

• yet, complicated and concealing many dimensions

… had a dual effect…

• To many, it generated interest, a sense of wonder and made way for deeper reflection and personal transformation

• Yet, to many others, it failed to make any impact, or even made them to close their hearts in receiving the truth of the Lord

The Parables of Jesus, therefore, also sparked two types of hearers…

>> Supporters and Believers

… who heard and understood the parables, and had their life transformed – growing closer to the Lord and becoming effective missionaries of the Kingdom!

>> Opponents and Skeptics

… who heard, but with minds were closed to the message of the Parables, and had their hearts hardened – distancing themselves from the Lord and turning to be adversaries of the Kingdom!

The Parables of the Lord are delivered to each one of us too.

What effect do they have, on our lives…

>> Do I remain open to its message and thus grow to be a supporter of the Kingdom and Believer in the Lord….?

>> Or do I close my heart to its truths and thus reduce myself to be an opponent to the Lord and a skeptic of the Kingdom of God…?

Jesus used the “parables” as an effective method of communication of the message of the Kingdom of God…

… to share the message of God’s love

… to spread the news of the Kingdom

… to reach out the compassion of the Lord

Do I find a sense of identification with the message of the Parables…

… or do I remain closed and hard-hearted?

Today – July 26 – we gaze at the Family Photo of our Beloved Saviour…

>> And specially recall and cherish the Blessings of God, bestowed on the privileged Grandparents of Jesus & the Parents of Blessed Mother Mary – St Anne and St Joachim…

… on their Feast Day.

Hardly anything is known about Saint Anne and Saint Joachim.

>> But one thing, we know with certainty: The legacy of their daughter, Mary…

… the Woman entrusted by God the Father, to become the Mother of God.

It was their teaching, upbringing and example that helped Mamma Mary…

… to say Her Fiat – Yes, to God.

… to stand firm in the midst of unforeseen events.

… to be strong in the face of immense pain and sufferings!

Yes, God chose two simple individuals – Anne & Joachim – to help in His Plan for the Salvation of the world.

>> The little, the tiny and the small become mighty in the Hands of God!

A harvest of manifold blessings, begins with the little, the tiny and the small…!

May the Gospel – and in particular, the Parables – turn out to be a powerful form of Mass Media, through the intercession of St Anne and St Joachim…

… effecting transforming changes in us!

Happy Feast of Mamma’s parents to all.

>> May their Li’l Divine Prince bless us! Live Jesus!

Jul 25 (Feast of St James, Mt 20:20-28)

A man who had an experience of conversion and a new life in the Lord describes:

“I never professed to be a Christian or anything like that.

But one morning as I was going about my business, I heard my colleague, in office, reading aloud the passage where Jesus asked Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me?’

Something within, made me to wish with all my heart, that I could also answer them as Peter did.

But, I felt very sad that I could not!

Then this li’l thought came to me, `Well, if I cannot say so much as Peter, perhaps I could turn it around a little and find something easier.’

So I began to think there was one thing I could NOT say…

What was that?

I surely, could not say, ‘Lord, You know that I do NOT love you’!

And I found some comfort in that!

Strange, isn’t it?

At last I grew bold enough to look up and say:

‘Lord, You know all things. You know that I WANT to love you…’

That made me to think of His great love for me…

>> I thought of His life, of His words, of His Cross…

And almost before I knew what I was doing, I looked up and said:

‘Lord, you know all things, You know, that I DO love you'”

That was the blessed moment of conversion of the man…

… the moment of consciousness of forgiveness

… the moment of a fresh lease of life that was injected into him

Do I really love the Lord?

This is a question that each one of us need to pose to ourselves and answer honestly.

As humans, surely…

… we have our moments of weaknesses and frailty

… we have our spots of selfishness and pride

But if we are willing to lower down our minds – the vessels of pride and greed – then the Lord promises to raise to our hearts, the cup of joy and glory.

Today we celebrate the Feast of one such Great Person – St James – who willingly lowered his mind – the vessel of pride and greed – and enjoys today, as per the promises of the Lord…

… the cup of joy and glory raised to his heart!

The Gospel of the Day is the incident of the Mother of James and John – the Sons of Zebedee – seeking for a place of honour for her children when the Lord comes in His glory (Mt 20: 20-28)

She said to Jesus, “Command that these two sons of mine, may sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom” (Mt 20: 21)

This passage might seem quite awkward to be read on the Feast day of St James.

Here is a passage…

… that brings to light the natural desire of many humans to possess honour and to enjoy constant glory

… that calls to our attention the fact that human limitations of greed and appetite for positions, can affect even the close followers of the Lord

In a way, this passage shows the weaker side and the frail dimension that can very much be found in the followers of the Lord.

Yet, the pertinent question of the Lord, “Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?” (Mt 20: 22), would have probably sunk deep into the heart of St James, the Apostle.

He would realise the full meaning of that statement gradually…

… as He witnessed more and more the works of Jesus

… as He became a witness to the Passion, Death and Resurrection of the Lord

… as He himself, would, one day, give up his life, in martyrdom for His Beloved Master

This then is what we celebrate on this feast day:

As humans, we have our weakness.

>> Yet, if we be constantly with the Lord, we would slowly be purged of these frailties and grow more and more, in the Image of Christ.

The more we are in the perfumed presence of the Lord, the more His fragrance would envelop and enfold our lives.

Do we feel weak or full of vulnerability or consider that being a “true” follower of the Lord is just not my cup?

Then, let’s look to St James, the Apostle for greater inspiration and strength.

We all need to have our moments of conversion…

… moments of consciousness of forgiveness

… moments of a fresh lease of life that will be injected into us by the power of the Spirit

This alone can help us, to say, with sincerity and honesty – ‘Lord, you know all things, You know, that I DO love you'”

St James invites us: to lower down our minds – the vessels of pride and greed – and allow the Lord to fulfil His promise, of raising to our hearts, the cup of joy and glory!

Happy Feast of St James, the Apostle!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Jul 24 (Mt 12:46-50)

A lady once remarked to her spiritual guide, ” I am very afraid to pray, ‘Thy Will be done'”

“And why is that so?”, asked the guide.

“I am afraid…”, continued the lady, “… that God will bring some calamity to my only child or send me a heavy trial in life”

The spiritual guide, having patiently listened to her, replied:

“Suppose if your beloved child comes to you and says, ‘Mummy, here after, I want to always do whatever you say and live as you will…’

Would you say to yourself…

‘Ah! Here is my chance!

>> I will make my child to do all the harsh things.

>> I will make use of his willingness to obey me, by cutting off all his pleasures

>> I will make sure he has a tough time because anyway he will do whatever I say”

“Oh no!” answered back the mother, ” I will give him the best possible things that I can. I will make sure that he is protected from every danger.

>> I will do anything to ensure him true happiness!”

” And do you think…,” continued the spiritual guide, “Do you think that God is less loving than you?”

The will of every human parent is to ensure the best for their children, isn’t it?

>> How much more loving and caring is the Will of the Father!

“God’s Will” is best understood in the set-up of a family…

Even in a human family…

… Every member wishes that the other is taken care

… Every member seeks for the good of the other

How much more is the love and concern in the Family of God…

… to all those who seek to do the Will of the Father?!

Jesus, in today’s Gospel invites each of us to be part of the Family of God…

… by doing the Will of the Father.

Our Blessed Lord says, “For whoever does the Will of My Heavenly Father, is My brother and sister and mother” (Mt 12: 50)

The passage begins with the family of Jesus waiting to see Him…

“While Jesus was still speaking, behold, His Mother and His brothers stood outside, asking to speak to Him” ( Mt 12: 46)

This is a passage that is often used to attack the position of the Catholic Church on Mary.

>> Many misinterpret this passage to mean that Mary was out of the Family of God

>> Many wrongly consider this passage to mean that Mary had other sons, referred to as ‘brothers’

We take a short apologetic approach to our Bible passage today….

1. Who are the brothers mentioned here?

There are about ten instances in the New Testament where “brothers” and “sisters” of the Lord are mentioned

The term used for ‘brother’ in Greek is “adelphos”

“Adelphos” can mean…

… a biological brother

… an extended relative

… or even a spiritual brother

The languages – Hebrew and Aramaic (the language spoken by Jesus) – did not have a special word for “cousin”

>> The writers of the New Testament used the Aramaic equivalent of “brothers” to mean both cousins and sons of the same father—plus other relatives and even non-relatives.

When the Old Testament was translated into Greek and the New Testament written in Greek, the word “Adelphos” was used to capture all of these meanings.

Further, the Gospels are clear that Mary was a virgin at the time she conceived Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit (cf. Mt 1:18-25, Lk 1:26-38).

After the birth of Jesus, no mention is made of Mary and Joseph ever having other children.

>> Never does the Gospels refer to the “sons of Mary” or “a son of Mary,” but only “The Son of Mary.”

We also see that at the Crucifixion, Jesus entrusts His Blessed Mother to John, who was not his blood-brother (Jn 19: 25-27)

>> According to Jewish law, the oldest son had the responsibility of caring for the widowed mother, and that responsibility would pass to the next oldest if anything happened to the first-born son

>> Since Jesus, “the first-born”, had no “blood brother,” He entrusted His Mother to the care of St John, His Beloved Disciple.

Thus, the Catechism of the Catholic Church clarifies ” the brothers of Jesus”….

” The Church has always understood these passages as not referring to other children of the Virgin Mary.

In fact James and Joseph, “brothers of Jesus”, are the sons of another Mary, a disciple of Christ, whom St. Matthew significantly calls “the other Mary”.

>> They are close relations of Jesus, according to an Old Testament expression.” ( CCC #500)

2. Was Mary only the ‘biological’ Mother of Jesus?

Jesus said, “Whoever does the Will of My Father in Heaven, is my…. Mother!” (Mt 12: 50)

>> Did Mary fulfil this call of Jesus?

When we scan through the pages of the New Testament, we find, that perhaps no other person fulfilled the Will of the Father as perfectly as Mary

Mary was Blessed indeed…

>> Not just because she gave a physical birth to Jesus…

… but also because She listened and lived the Will of the Father!

She is blessed…

… because She listened to God’s Word and accepted it wholeheartedly.

… because She chose to put Her faith in God, though the path ahead was dim

… because She was obedient to God’s Will, though She did not understand many things”

>> As St. Irenaeus says:

“Being obedient, She became the cause of salvation for Herself and for the whole human race.”

The knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied by Mary’s obedience

>> What Eve bound through her disbelief, Mary loosened by Her faith”

Mother Mary is the first Evangelizer and the first Disciple of Her own Son and Lord, Jesus the Christ!

Mother Mary is thus, not just the biological Mother of Jesus…

… by doing the Will of the Father perfectly, She is also His Spiritual Mother!

As St Maximilian Kolbe says, “If anyone does not wish to have Mary Immaculate for his Mother, he will not have Christ for his Brother!”

Yes, doing the Will of the Father…

… is the DNA that joins all the members of the Family of God

… is the sole and mandatory criteria to be part of the Family of God

We may have our fears in doing His Will….

But let us realize, that the Will of Father is wrapped with much love and affection…

… there is a tenderness in His Will, that ensures each of us, His children are protected!

… there is a warmth in His Will, that makes sure that we, His children are always given the best!

Jesus is our Supreme Model and Leader in listening and living the Will of the Father

>> Mother Mary is our Beloved Mother and Perfect Disciple, Who followed Her Son wholly, in obedience to the Will of the Father!

>> Many saints and holy people also show us, by their sanctified lives that it is worth, meaningful and salvific to do the Will of the Father!

All of them beckon us:

“Come be part of the Family of God…

>> Listen always to what God wants of you in your life

>> Ask Him, at all times, what you should be doing in life

>> Put your trust in His Power and Providence, when you do His Will!”

Are we willing to be members of this Family of God?

… Then we need to be ready to do the Will of the Father!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Jul 23 (Mt 12:38-42)

Thriller Movies have a great audience…

>> Reality Shows have a wide range of popularity.

>> Programmes with sensational appeal have a massive demand.

Our age loves to be tingled with breathtaking visuals and magnificent signs.

Check out the number of videos and movies and songs we have on our gadgets…

>> Look at the wide range of photos that we shoot and the selfies we click (which perhaps never we may see again!)

The demand of our external senses is very high in our generation.

A fallout of this excess is also reflected in our Spirituality and our Religious Outlook….

>> “We seek for greater external signs and wondrous miracles, even to believe in God!”

The Lord, therefore, thunders in today’s Gospel Reading, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks a sign…”

Signs are not bad.

>> Symbols are not without meaning.

>> External expressions are not unwarranted.

They certainly do have their proper place and a meaningful nature.

The Bible is not alien to signs and wonders…

>> Moses’ rod became a serpent;

>> Red Sea parted so that God’s people could cross.

>> Water flowed from a rock when Moses struck it.

>> Manna fell from the sky to feed God’s people.

>> Baalam’s ass spoke.

>> Aaron ‘s rod blossomed.

>> The sun stood still at Joshua’s command.

>> Gideon’s fleece became wet and dry according to his request to the Lord.

>> Elijah pronounced a drought upon the land… And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain … ”

Many many examples are available!

But when outward signs fail to generate any positive emotions…they divorce from their intention!

>> When signs stop being an aid to increase in faith…

… they lose their meaning

>> When symbols cease to be a passage for inner understanding…

… they fail in their purpose.

And this is the reason Jesus condemns the Pharisaic mentality of Seeking for a Sign…

>> They sought a sign, in order to test…

… but not to believe

>> They asked a sign, in order to satisfy curiosity…

… but not to trust

>> They demanded a sign, in order to scheme evil talks…

… but not to have faith!

Signs become mere external fancies.

>> Miracles become mere magic shows

The Gospels are not alien to such false and untrue demands…

• At the Birth of Jesus, King Herod sought to see Baby Jesus…not to worship…but to kill Him!

• At the Temptation, Satan tempted to change stones to bread….not to believe…but to lure Him!

• At the Trial, King Herod Antipas hoped Him to perform a sign…not to save Him..but to mock Him!

Jesus condemns all such unnecessary demands for a sign and external phenomenon.

>> “…but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah the Prophet!” (Mt 12: 39)

The Prophets of Old, performed many miracles.

>> Jesus also did.

The Prophets of Old, even performed the great miracles of raising the Dead.

>> Jesus also did.

The Prophets of Old, however, were never able to raise themselves from the dead.

>> But Jesus rose!

Jonah was three days and nights in the belly of the fish, so was Jesus in the belly of the earth!

>> But Jesus rose….and that has become indeed, the Greatest Sign of all times!

The Pharisees demanded a sign…

>> Jesus answered with a sign…

… the greatest of them all: His Resurrection!

And yet……yet, DID THEY BELIEVE?

>> The answers can be speculated.

But the question before us is…

>> Am I believing?

>> Am I believing and living, the Power of the Resurrection in my life?

>> Have I reduced the reality of Jesus being Alive, to a mere expression of the lips?

>> Do I also display this Sign in my life, my activities, my words etc – that Jesus is Risen?!

Let us not be carried away by mere External Glitz and Glamour…

>> Let us open our eyes to see the many wonders and miracles the Lord has worked in our lives!

>> Let us become aware to see that He is Risen, and Alive and Working…in amazing ways, in our Life!

God Bless! Live Jesus!