Jul 22 (Mk 6:30-34)

One of the very common stories, known to many of us, goes thus…

There was a woodcutter who asked a timber merchant for a job.

Seeing the strong person, the timber merchant, was obviously very obliging.

The promised pay was good… and so were the working conditions.

>> Therefore, the woodcutter was determined to do his best.

The woodcutter was given the axe and was shown the place of work.

The first day at work, the woodcutter cut down eighteen trees.

>> “Great work!” said the merchant, ” You are doing very well!”

The encouraging words of his master, motivated the woodcutter to try harder, the next day.

But he could cut only fifteen.

The third day, the number came down to ten.

As days progressed, he could cut fewer and fewer trees.

“I must be surely losing my strength! Something is wrong with me!” the woodcutter thought to himself.

He went to his merchant and apologized, saying that he could not understand why he was not able to progress well in his work.

“When was the last time you sharpened your axe?” enquired the merchant.


What? I have had no time to sharpen my axe. I have been busy all through, cutting the trees! said the woodcutter.

The “busy”ness of the woodcutter badly affected his “business” of cutting trees!

>> The reason was simple: no time was given to ‘sharpen the axe’!

Lesser the sharpening of the axe, lesser was the productivity of work!

Is our life also so “busy” that we fail to “sharpen the axe”?

Our Blessed Lord, through today’s Gospel, invites us to “rest awhile”, in order to get “our axe sharpened” and thus to be more effective in our life as a missionary for the Kingdom of God.

The context of the Gospel is:

The Twelve Apostles had been sent on a mission to the villages ( Mk 6: 7-13)

After they returned back (Mk 6: 30-33) and reported all what they had done, Jesus makes an invitation, “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while” (Mk 6: 31)

The evangelist Mark also highlights another point: “For many (people) were coming and going in great numbers and they had no opportunity, even to eat.

Jesus, the Master Missionary knew very well, that “every work had to also be equally supplemented with a period or rest and refreshment”

Jesus’ own life was marked by this great and strict discipline…

… Immense activity and ministry through the day

… Intense rest and prayer with the Father at night

And so He also tells His disciples of the need to “come away, by themselves to a lonely place, and rest a while”

How often is our life submerged in excess work and intense activities…

Pope Francis in one of his popular and noted exhortations, especially to the leaders of the Church had mentioned “Excessive Activity” as one of the diseases that was crippling our life.

Our Christian lives seriously need a great examination….

>> Am I submerging myself in an excess of work and finding “no time” for other important dimensions of life?

Do I engage so much in work, that I do not get time to spend sometime at least, daily, with the Lord…

>> He is the One who blesses us with graces to do work

>> He is the One who supplies strength and good health

Do we, however, make time for Him, every day, without fail…

… through personal prayer, which is strictly uncompromised for any other activity

… through reading His Word in the Holy Bible and taking sometime to grow in His Love

… through making honest efforts to grow in Christian Virtues

Do I submerge myself in so many activities that I fail to give time for others…

>> My family, my community, my friends, those in need … Do all these find place in the “busy” schedule of life?

Do I also give time for myself…

… giving rest for my body

… enriching my skills, updating my knowledge, growing in values

… rooting out evils from life, seeking to plug in the holes that “drain out my energy”…

The Lord today makes this open invitation to all of us… “to rest in Him”

This invitation finds concrete expression in Jesus, present in the Holy Eucharist, continually inviting us ” to spend time with Him”

Shall we not positively respond to this “loving longing” and this “crazy craving” of our Blessed Lord to spend more time with us…

It is His wish that He wants us to be with Him

>> It is His longing to spend a few minutes with Him

May we respond to this call positively and “sharpen the axes” of our life, so that we can live a much more effective and credible life as a Christian!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Jul 21 (Mt 12:14-21)

“Pandora’s Box” is a phrase which means a process that once begun, generates many complicated problems.

There is a Greek mythological story about the origin of this phrase – the “Pandora’s Box”

According to the Greek legend, the first woman of the earth, named Pandora was sent to the earth, by the gods, with a casket (box) in her hand.

>> She was forbidden to open this box.

However, out of immense curiosity one day she lifted the cover of the box and looked in.

But there came forth from the box, every conceivable plague for man’s body and his mind, and immediately they scattered themselves far and wide throughout the earth.

Pandora hastened to replace the lid of the box, but there was only one thing left – Hope!

Often our life can resemble this mythological tale, in that, we face a whole set of evils and troubles unleashed at us.

The Pandora’s Box – of persecutions, of difficulties, of sadness, of daily tensions – gets opened often in our lives.

>> But Life still invites and challenges us to Move on with Life, in Hope, seeking to heal every negativity!

Our Blessed Lord is our model and perfect example for this.

While on the earth, He had to face the trial of many Pandora Boxes – of cruel plots, of hurtful betrayals, of painful rejections – being unleashed at Him.

>> Yet, He remained firm and defiant in His Zeal and Passion for His Mission – His Mission of being a “Hope to the Gentiles”( Mt 12: 21)

The Gospel of the Day makes a vivid presentation of this struggle of our Blessed Lord was subjected to.

The Gospel passage begins with the verse, “But the Pharisees went out and took counsel to put Jesus to death” (Mt 12: 14)

There could be perhaps, quite a factors that prompted the religious elders of the time, to make this move

1. Jesus did not correspond to their idea of being a Messiah

The Pharisees and the religious leaders of the time, probably had a externally dominant visualization of the Messiah Who was to come…

• Someone Who was politically powerful

• Someone Who would be Restorer of their Religion

• Someone Who would firmly establish the Jewish Empire

But none of these seemed to be evident in the ministry and life of Jesus.

2. Jesus seemed to be a thorn in their cosy structured and institutionalized pattern of life

The long wait for the Messiah had resulted…

• In religion in being devoid of religiosity and instead being reduced to mere rituals

• In Spirituality losing its sheen of sacredness and instead being sunken to mere static statutes

This had resulted in creation of classes…

>> Of the Ruling Class: consisting of the Pharisees, the Scribes and other religious leaders and elders,

>> Of the Ruled Class: consisting of the ordinary people, whose voices were often restrained, and had become mute followers of the tradition.

Jesus, however, by His Vibrant Teachings, His Mighty Deeds and His Uncompromising Life, disturbed all such cosy structures and comfortable religious life-style.

How often do we also turn anti against those who become a ‘Jesus’ to us…

• Those whose ideas do not correspond to our sinful or lethargic ways of life

• Those who become a thorn in our cosy and institutionalized pattern of life

We too may sometimes plot ways and means to end such forces..

… which trigger transformation in us

… which awaken our consciences to lead purer or holier lives

We are instead, invited to be like Jesus, our Blessed Lord.

He faced a mighty unleashing as from a Pandora’s box…

… deadly plots to end His Life and Mission

… uncharitable venoms of conspiracy to terminate His life

Yet, He remained firm and bold to remain ” the Chosen Servant, the Beloved in Him God delighted, the One who proclaimed justice to the Gentiles and in Whose Name, the Gentiles hoped (cf. Mt 12:18 -21)

Are we ready to “live our lives in hope” even though we may often experience the evils of the “Pandora’s Box” seeking to submerge us?

May Jesus, our Blessed Lord be our hope, our strength and our courage!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Jul 20 (Mt 12:1-8)

Most of us, at some point or the other, have given gifts to our loved ones, our friends or our relations.

Imagine, if the one who received the Gift, were to neatly…unwrap the Gift Wrapper…

>> And to your horror….throws the Gift inside the Dustbin, and keeps to oneself, only the Gift Wrapper?

That would too be sad and painful …right?

Well, something similar is the case, when we look into the Salvation History.

God Yahweh had presented a Gift to the People of Israelites: The Gift of the Law…

… so that He could be their Only God and they could always be His People ( Jer 7:23)

But as time passed, this Gift of the Law was interpreted into several external practices…

>> So much so that the purpose of the law was forgotten…

… and only the external regulations were prevailing.

The Gospel of the Day is an exposition of how the Gift that God had given was being squandered…

… and just the externals – the wrapper of the gift – was being glorified…

>> and how, Jesus the Source of the Law seeks to restore the original spirit of the Law!

The Gospel passage begins with the Pharisees accusing the disciples of having transgressed the Sabbath Laws by plucking and eating on the Sabbath Day (Cf. Matthew 12:2).

>> The External actions were accorded primacy…

.. the actual Law was slowly discarded!

>> The Body of the Commandment was insisted…

.. the Spirit of the Law was diluted!

The Gift wrapper gained more importance than the Gift Itself!

>> The Law of Moses was glorified, but there was a failure to see the Glorious God of the Law!!

And so today, the Majestic Lord of the Sabbath seeks to capture our attention to see the Most Important Aspect of Law: Inner Disposition rather than External Practices!

True Righteousness and Holiness stems from the with’in’…

… and not from the with’outs’!!

The word Sabbath comes from the Hebrew word sabat..which means repose or rest.

Just a few verses before this Reading… Jesus invited us “to take REST in Him” (Mt 11:28)

>> The Real Rest is in Him!

>> The Real Sabbath is in Him!

And Jesus, the True Rest and the Lord of the Sabbath is also a Might Defender of His Chosen Ones…

The Lord refutes the charges of the Pharisees, on three levels:

a. As a King

Jesus quotes the example of how King David had consumed holy bread, which was reserved only for the priests.

>> And yet, King David is never condemned and neither is his action worthy of being guilty

b. As a Priest

Jesus quotes the temple priests who perform work on a Sabbath.

>> And yet, it is not considered a religious violation, but is acceptable as a Sacred Duty.

c. As a Prophet

Jesus quotes Prophet Hosea and spells out God’s mind of Mercy being of greater value and importance than sacrifice!

Yes, Jesus, the True King, the Holy Priest and the Mighty Prophet…

… quotes the example of a King, a Priest & a Prophet to Defend His Chosen Ones & to declare that

He is the Lord of the Sabbath!

>> Jesus Himself is the Real Rest and the Real Sabbath!

We need to examine…

>> Do I tend to become more legalistic in my mentality and fail to see the Spirit of the Law?

>> Do I become rigid in my external practices and rituals, but fail to relish the Heart of Worship?

The Lord has gifted us His Commandments and Laws…

…so that HE can be our Only God and we can always be His Beloved People.

Do I cherish the inner dimensions of the Law and treasure this Gift?

>> Or am I giving more importance only to external factors, like the Gift Wrapper?

Let us scrape off the rust of legalism and ritualism…

>> Let us, instead, polish our lives with the virtues of mercy, empathy and compassion!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Jul 19 (Mt 11:28-30)

An old lady was sitting in the park – all alone and dejected.

A young boy – who was sitting on the opposite bench – and was doing some writing work, had been constantly watching this lady who was brooding over some worry.

Finally, after a while, he stopped writing and enquired:

“Madam, I have been observing you. From morning, you have been quite worried.

What’s the matter? Maybe there is some way I can help you

The old lady looked at him and replied: “You know, my son, in life, I have been worried about so many things in life… but most of them never happened!”

The young man was surprised to hear that – “troubled about things, that never really happened!”

So he asked again, “Then why are you troubled now?”

She replied, with a tinge of remorse: “I am worried as to why did I unnecessarily worry so much in my life!”

Funny, isn’t it?

But, are we sometimes like this old lady?

>> Too much worried and disturbed in life…

… sometimes (or perhaps, very often) even about things that have not happened in life?

The call of the Gospel is an invitation by Jesus to “cast all our worries and burdens” on Him.

We read in the Gospel today, the assuring words of Jesus: “Come to me, all you who are weary and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Mt 11: 28)

Jesus came into the world, primarily as a Saviour!

>> He is in deep love with us!

“…You are precious in my eyes and I love You!” (Is 43:4).

The meaning of the name “Jesus” Itself is that…


As a Beloved Lover, He constantly tugs the strings of our hearts and beckons us to Himself – wanting us to experience His Saving Love!

>> He extends His cordial and warmest invitation to each one of us who are weary and heavy-burdened!

The Greek word for WEARY is “Kopiao”…

… which means to toil and become weary to the point of exhaustion! .

>> WEARY not only refers to the daily physical strains and struggles we undergo in life, but is also…

… the internal exhaustion caused by seeking Divine Truth through mere Human Wisdom.

… the external burden caused by futile peripheral efforts to seek the Divinity.

Many of us, very often, reach the point of exhaustion and fatigue by our everyday works and in our striving for salvation.

However, today, the Lord calls all of us – to experience His Resting Presence!

>> “Behold, I stand at the door and Knock! If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me”” (Rev 3:20).

“Experiencing His Resting Presence” also means “to learn from Him”…

… especially learning to be Humble and Gentle like Him! (Mt 11: 29)

A proud heart robs the person of spiritual insights

>> It renders a person to look only to oneself; the dependence on the Lord is lost!

A harsh (violent/tough/annoyed/wrathful) heart steals the person of “being at peace”

>> It renders a person to look only at the negativities of life; the attitude of being grateful to God is lost!

Today, let us give heed to the call of the Lord…

… to “Rest in His Presence”

>> And thus to learn to be more “gentle and humble”

Many of us might question: How can I “Rest in His Presence”

>> Many of us might counter: Is it really possible to learn to be more “gentle and humble”?

“Rest in His Presence” can be…

… by making a time for the Lord, in prayer, every day of our life – an act, which we shall never compromise!

… by “becoming aware” of the Presence of the Lord in the activities that we engage in

… by recognizing the goodness in other people and situations of life, and thus being, consciously, grateful to God

Learning to be more “gentle and humble” can be…

… by picking up any of those virtues, and (purposely) doing an act towards growing in the virtue

… by daily examining the conscience, in the practice of that particular virtue, and making amends to try again, even if failed (Let’s remember the Lord Who always rose again, even when He fell many times, on the Way of the Cross!)

… by praying specially to the Holy Spirit for those virtues, and never being discouraged, even when faced with the opposite vice

… by being inspired by the many saints, who went through the phases of vices, but were ultimately able to conquer, and live the virtues

Tensions, worries and problems of life constantly disappoint us!

>> Even our striving to improve our spiritual lives (and the feeling of failure to do so) discourage us!

But the Lord constantly tells us…”Come to Me!”

>> “Never, ever get discouraged, My Child!”

As St Francis de Sales says, “The greatest thing that can befall a soul, beyond sin… is anxiety!”

Let not the anxieties of our life dishearten us…

>> Instead may the Invitation of the Lord – “to Rest in His Presence and to learn from Him”…

… help us to always be at peace in life!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Jul 18 (Mt 11:25-37)

Eight-year-old Keith was affected with brain cancer.

As part of his treatment, following a surgery, he underwent chemotherapy.

(Chemotherapy affects all cells – healthy as well as cancer cells.

>> As a result, hair fall is one of the commonly affecting side-effects)

When Charles’ hair began to fall out in large clumps, it was decided to shave his head completely.

A few days later, Charles went to school.

The class teacher explained to her little students about the situation of Charles and why his hairs had to be shaved off.

The following day, the teacher was in for a surprise…

>> She saw all the 38 boys of her class with bald heads!

On enquiring, the leader of the class stood up and said:

“We shaved off our heads, so that Charles doesn’t feel lonely!

This is our way to support and encourage him – being bald, so that he can be bold!”

The teacher had tears in her eyes…

… and with a great sense of honour for her kids, she wrote on the blackboard:

“Bald heads and Bold Hearts!”

Children have wonderful characteristics, isn’t it?

>> They sympathize and share

>> They are loving and loyal

>> They accept and admire

>> They forgive and forget

>>They try and trust

Is it any surprise that Jesus used children as an example to be imitated?

>> What is it that prevents us becoming child-like?

The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus thanking the Father for His gracious wisdom…

… and for His revelations to Little Children (to babes)! (Mt 10:25)

BIG things often come in small packages!

>> BIG innovations are made by those who lower themselves, to seek higher!!

>> BIG mysteries are experienced by those who make themselves little, to be in awe of them!!!

“It is only by being little that we ever discover anything big”!

The Lord today His raises heart to the Father in praise:

“I give praise to You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned, you have revealed them to the childlike” (Mt 11:25)

It is an unfortunate truth that those who THINK THEY KNOW, often FAIL TO LEARN

… those who assume to be Learned, often fall short of being taught

… those who presuppose to be Wise, mostly are unsuccessful in discovering newer truths.

Many of the Pharisees and the Scribes, during Jesus’ time, belonged to this category.

Jesus, the teacher-par-excellence came explaining the Truth and the Mystery of the Law..

The Wise and Learned of the Society failed to assimilate Him.

>> The simple and the open-hearted…the disciples and others…were able to accept Him!

“It is only by being little that we ever discover anything big”!

For our Spiritual Life…

… Kids can teach us much

…. Little children can educate us to a great extent

1. A Sense of Total Dependence

>> Little children depend on the elders for their sustenance.

We need to Depend on God, who is our Father and who loves to lavish His goodness on us.

This does not, of course mean, a lazy attitude to life…rather, a Holy Disposition, of realizing, that “Whatever Happens in my Life, I know, God will take care of Me!”

>> Have I lost my Sense of Total Dependence on God?

It is only by being little that we ever discover anything big!

2. An attitude of Immense Enthusiasm

>> Little children are full of life, vigour and enthusiasm.

The story of many of our lives could be sadly declared as, “Died at 30, buried at 70″!

The modern day tension and worries of life take away the zing and dynamism from our lives…

>> We tend to become…

… “a people of routine”

… “an individual of listlessness”

…. “a society of apathy”

… and “an order of sluggishness”!

Life becomes boring

>> Life turns out to be lacklustre.

>> Have I lost an attitude of Immense Enthusiasm?

“It is only by being little that we ever discover anything big”!

3. A Touch of Tenderness

>> Little children symbolize tenderness and warmth.

Our hustle-bustle lives, often, tend to be wrapped with…

… rude words

… tough looks

… angry gestures

… and impolite manners.

Our hearts lose tenderness.

>> Our eyes remain shut in callousness.

>> Have I lost a touch of Tenderness?

“It is only by being little that we ever discover anything big”!

> Do we want to climb the ladder of sanctity?

>> Do we want to possess God?

>>> Do we want to penetrate into the deeper mysteries of the kingdom of God?

There is one sure way: By being a Child in our heavenly Father’s arms.

… The more little we become, the more elevated we will be!

>> “The attitude of our life determines our altitude in life”!

Jesus invites and challenges us to be child-like: with BALD HEADS (shaven of our pride!) and BOLD HEARTS (total dependence on the Father!)

>> Are we ready… to have “Bald Heads” and “Bold Hearts”?

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Jul 17 (Mt 11:20-24)

(Statutory Warning: The dangerous Jesus is on the prowl….

… Beware as you read….)

Many of us have heard of the tagline of a company which announces… “We are better than the best…”

>> Lovely phrase, ah?

The Gospel of the Day, however presents shocking and saddening words from the Mouth of the Most Prolific and Influential Prophet ever….

… Jesus… with an even stronger tagline: “They are worse than worst!”

“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you Bethsaida!” (Mt 11:21)

The context of this deadly utterance by the Lord is when he reproaches the towns of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum, where mighty deeds and miracles had been done, but they had still not repented.

These three towns of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum were called as the “Orthodox Triangle” –

Close to the Galilee Lake, these towns were filled with devout Jews, who took the Law of Moses very seriously.

>> Adding to this traditional Jewish Faith, these towns also had the great privilege of being witnesses to many miracles, events, preaching and deeds of the Lord Jesus.

The Gospel says, ” If the MIRACLES performed in you…..”

Note the word, “miracles”…Plural !!

>> Not just a single miracle…..but many miracles.

>> Perhaps not just a single word…

… but many words and sermons and preaching!

>> Perhaps not just a single healing…

… but many healings and cures and restorations!

>> Perhaps not just a single warning…

… but many warnings and exhortations and appeals to repentance!

And Yet… yet, they DID NOT REPENT!


And Jesus condemns these towns…. “They are worse than the Worst!”

Let’s consider the state of these “Worst” Towns…to which the Lord compares this “Orthodox Triangle”?

Tyre and Sidon….Sodom

>> Tyre and Sidon: These were condemned cities (Cf. Ezek 26 – 28) and were embodiments of the Pagan Canaanite Culture, Pride and an Evil Arrogance

>> Sodom: This was a damned city (Cf. Gen 18:16-33) and was an epitome of gross immorality, sexual perversion, widespread corruption and a complete rejection of God.

But Jesus says… the Orthodox Triangle – Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum….are worse than these worst!

>> Dirtier than the Dirtiest!

>> Unholier than the Unholiest!

>> Ungodlier than the ungodliest!

These people had plenty of knowledge…

They went to the synagogue faithfully….

They knew the Torah of God…

But when Jesus came to them, they wouldn’t repent.

>> When Jesus worked miracles, they wouldn’t believe him.

Miracles only amazed them…startled them…shocked them…..but they did not lead them to God!

Hold on!!!

Is there any resemblance between My Life and these cities of the Orthodox Triangle?

Do I boast of my knowledge of God?

>> Do I be satisfied with a mere Church-going Spirituality?

>> Do I remain an ineffective witness to the many miracles worked and the blessings showered in my life?

Let’s stop taking blessings for granted!

>> Let’s stop thinking mere external rituals are a guarantee for salvation!

>> It’s better not to have a miracle…

… than to have a miracle and not repent.

>> It’s better to be sick and not cured…

… than to be cured and not give the glory to God.

>> It’s better not to experience God…

… than to experience God and stay the same as you were.

Let’s stop fooling ourselves…saying things are fine and All is well!

>> Our conscience needs a real-time check…

>> Our hearts deserve an honest examination…

There is sure Hope…in the Lord. But only if we are repentant

There is sure mercy…in the Lord. But only if we are amending

There is sure Blessing…in the Lord. But only if we are penitent

The Orthodox Triangle is a stark reminder to us…

>> Lets never bypass opportunities & graces that come our way!

Let the cry of the Lord, “You are worse than the Worst”….never ever be addressed to us…

We Pray.

>> We make Efforts.

>>We seek for Grace!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Jul 16 (Mt 10:34-11:1, Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel)

Every society or organization or a way of life draws up rules and regulations, to which its members have to promise obedience.

A faithful commitment to these guidelines will help for the true growth of the society and help the members to genuinely enjoy all the rights and privileges.

Christianity as a Life Style, also has its Rules and Regulations and it demands Commitment!

>> And this Rule is symbolized in the CROSS!

Yes, those who choose Christianity as a Life Style, ought to be losers of oneself, be carriers of the Cross, and then Follow Him!

This is what Jesus tells in today’s Gospel: “Whoever does not take up his cross, and follow after me, is not worthy of me” (Mt 10:38)

However, we are in a modern trend which causes the very mention of the word “Cross”, to put people off…

>> “Not again the Cross”

>> “Enough of pain and suffering”

>> “We come to Church to relax and be comforted; not simply to hear of the Passion & Anguish of the Suffering Jesus on the Cross; we only prefer the Glorious & Victorious Christ”

>> “Stop being pessimistic with Sin & Repentance…. Just be optimistic with Joy & Salvation!”

These are often, the “happening” buzz phrases and popular opinions in our religious environs.

The modern Christian Lifestyle often thinks in the following manner:

>> We like to be Saved…

… but we Fear the Cross of repentance of our Sins…

>> We like to receive Blessings…

… but we Fear the Cross of living an honest life…

>> We like to live a peaceful life…

… but we Fear the Cross of trusting in God’s Providence…

>> We like to be prosperous…

… but we Fear the Cross of being generous and compassionate…

>> We like to be called good…

… but we Fear the Cross of being Faithful to the teachings of Christ…

>> We like to have joy…

… but we Fear the Cross of giving up attachments & belong totally to God…

Yes, a Fear of the Cross is very much vivid in our life style!

But Christ Crucified on the Cross…

… promises His Choicest Rewards to the ones, who dare to take up the Cross

>> They will be rewarded…

>> They will find Life…

>> They will find true joy and peace…

…says the Lord!

Have we really accepted Christianity as our Life Style?

>> Then Let us Embrace the Cross…

This “Embracing of the Cross” demands a “Primacy of Love for Christ”

>> Giving Christ the Prime position in our lives

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

The feast was assigned to 16 July, because on that date in 1251, according to Carmelite traditions, the scapular was given by the Blessed Virgin to St. Simon Stock.

The Scapular (from Latin scapulae, “shoulders”) – is both a sign of our belonging to Mary and pledge of her maternal protection in this life and the next.

It is also a sign of couple of elements:

1. A consecration to and trust in Mary

2. A declaration to imitate Our Lady’s virtues, especially Her humility, chastity, and prayerfulness.

The scapular is not…

… a magical charm to protect someone.

… a automatic guarantee of salvation.

… an excuse for not living up to the demands of the Christian life

It is instead, a sign…

… to follow Jesus like Mary

… to be open to God and to His Will.

… to be guided by Faith, Hope and Love.

… to pray at all times

… to discover and be aware of the Presence of God in all that happens around us.

As St. John of the Cross says:

“He who loves, is not ashamed before men of what he does for God…

… neither does he hide it through shame, though the whole world should condemn it.”

Let us seek the intercession of our Blessed Mother in our struggles and hardships of life…

… and may the Sacramental of the Scapular be a sign for us to publicly declare our Love for Christ and our Readiness to “take up the Cross!”

May we hold Mamma’s Hands…

… as She Inspires, Helps, Challenges and Intercedes for us!

Happy Feast of our Blessed Mother of Carmel!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Jul 15 (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?

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Jul 14 (Mt 10:24-33)

Five-year old Jack was in the kitchen as his mother made supper.

She asked him to go into the store-room (the place where much of the provisions were stored) and get her a can of tomato soup.

But li’l Jack didn’t want to go in alone there.

>> “It’s dark in there and I’m scared, Mamma”

She asked again, and he persisted in his refusal.

Finally she said, “Jack, look.. there is nothing to fear in going to that store-room. Jesus will be in there, with you…”

The constant request and this assurance made Jack to walk hesitantly to the door and slowly open it.

He peeked inside, saw it was dark, got all frightened and started to leave when all at once an idea came, and he said:

>> “Jesus, if you’re in there, would you, please, hand me that can of tomato soup?!”

Well, this little anecdote highlights a common trend that is evident in many of our lives:

>> Fear takes an upper hand in many of our activities and renders us fragile…

>> Fear has a strong grip over our minds and hearts in many situations and makes us weak…

The Gospel of the Day is a clarion call by the Lord to ward off anxiety-causing fears and instead to be courageous in our life as a Christian.

Our Blessed Lord continues His instructions to His Apostles as they are being commissioned for the mission journey.

Today He touches upon one of the core emotions that can affect the Disciples in their mission endeavour: the emotion of Fear.

Jesus says, “Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Mt 10:30)

Jesus seeks to cast off fear from His followers by showing them the preciousness and value of their lives… and how much of importance they are to Him.

For this, he presents the example of a sparrow.

Though quite strange, Jesus probably had a very pertinent reason for this choice of the common sparrow.

During the time of Jesus (unlike in many of our modern developed cities), sparrows were so common that they were practically worthless.

Two sparrows were sold for a ‘cent’

The word “cent” is the Greek word ‘assarion’.

• An assarion was worth only 1/16 of a denarius.

One denarius was the day’s wage for a rural worker.

So, by simple math, a single sparrow was worth only 1/32 of a day’s wage of a rural worker.

Jesus emphasizes that not even one sparrow is forgotten before God.

Therefore, Jesus says, “Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Mt 10:30)

>> When we have a firm conviction of precious we are to the Lord – who is all-powerful and all-mighty – our every fear will be banished away!

>> When we grow in our awareness that I am really very much worth to God – who is all-knowing and all-good – our every apprehension will be relaxed!

Fear is one of the core emotions that can affect our life as a Christian:

• Fear takes an upper hand in many of our activities and renders us fragile…

• Fear has a strong grip over our minds and hearts in many situations and makes us weak…

But the deeper we are convinced that I am precious and prized to the Lord, the lesser will be our fears!

“What need I fear, when thou art near, O King of night and day” is a refrain from a Christian hymn!


>> Fear can either prevent or propel

… Prevent from moving forward, being afraid of what will happen

… Propel to have a stronger determination and rouse the enthusiasm levels

>> Fear can either be a barrier or a boost:

… Barrier that does not allow any initiative to be taken or any thought-process to progress

… Boost that accelerates the resolve and willpower and helps march towards the goal

Are we going to let “fear” to PREVENT and act as a BARRIER in our lives?

>> Or can we, convinced of the Lord’s mighty presence in our lives and our preciousness to Him, let “fear” to PROPEL AND BOOST our Christian Missionary lives….!

St Padre Pio says:

“Even if the world were to capsize…

… if everything were to become dark, hazy, tumultuous…

>> God would still be with us!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Jul 13 (Mt 10:16-23)

Teilhard de Chardin, a French Priest, Theologian and Philosopher describes three categories of people who climb a difficult mountain peak….

1. The Pessimists – (the ones who give up easily):

>> They regret having ventured to undertake the arduous task of climbing the huge mountain.

2. The Hedonists – (the ones who remain passive and just enjoy)

>> They are satisfied with just some scenic views on the way and cease the journey, with simple trifles, unwilling to take the risk to go ahead…

3. The Enthusiasts – (the ones who seek to conquer the mountains)

>> They are the real mountaineers, who keep their eyes fixed on the peaks and never give up, till they reach their goal!

The road to being a Disciple of Christ, is indeed climbing a Mountain peak….

Which category of mountain climbers are we going to be?

1. The Pessimists (the ones who give up easily)?

>> Regretting to being a Christian and thus living a life of sin and indifference

2. The Hedonists (the ones who remain passive and just enjoy)?

>> Resigning to the fact that somehow I need to be a Christian, due to societal pressures, and thus live in casualness, negligence and lethargy.


3. The Enthusiasts (the ones who seek to conquer the mountains)?

>> Real Christians who keep their eyes fixed on the Crucified Saviour and never give up, marching forward towards the goal of salvation!

The Gospel of the Day is a presentation of the challenges that are to be encountered by every follower of Christ…

… the one who wishes to walk with Jesus on the way of the Cross

… the one who wishes to scale the mountain of holiness and sanctity

When we read through the Gospels, we observe that our Lord Jesus and His teachings remained unfazed, in the midst of glamour and sensations…

>> They are simple and yet deeply challenging and radical!

The Lord does not offer a Comfortable Carpet of Roses to stroll….

>> He presents a Challenging Pathway of Thorns to tread!

“Everyone will hate you, because of ME!” (Mt 10:22a)

>> These are the fierce & fervent words of the Lord.

Yes, the Master, Himself was persecuted and hated!

He was the Epitome of Love…

… and yet He was badly hated, persecuted and tortured…

What had He ever done to be hated?

>> Being Meek and Humble of Heart…

… touching lives with Healing and Forgiveness…?

>> Being a Gospel of Love to all…

… even to the Enemies…?

>> Being a Symbol of Pardon and Forgiveness…

… even to those who persecuted and killed Him…?

>> Being an Emblem of Truth…

… in the midst of diluted ideologies & hypocritical ritualism…?

>> Being an Ornament of Joy and Hope…

… to the broken-hearted, the sinful and the rejected…?

Did he deserve to be hated???

Yet, He was!

>> He was hated… mocked at… rejected… finally even arrested, scourged and killed!

And this our Blessed Master says…Even You too!

>> Even you too, My Followers, will be hated and will be persecuted!

The path ahead sounds dangerous, right?

>> The mountain climbing seems to be not as easy as thought, right?

But relax…!

>> The road does not end with persecutions…

The verse of Jesus does not end in calamity…

>> He goes on to say: “… but whoever endures to the end will be saved!” (Mt 10: 22b)

Yeah.. That’s great good news!

The Way of Jesus is surely laden with persecutions…

….but it is also filled with much joy, satisfaction, true peace

…and finally rewarded with Eternal Life!

We only need to persevere……till the end!

The Mountain Peak of Salvation is High….

>> But the Lord beckons to each one of us!

He also reminds us through Prophet Hosea, “Return to Your God Yahweh, O Israel!” (Hos 14:2)

Let us give heed to the words of St Benedict:

“Prefer nothing whatever to Christ….and he will bring us all together to everlasting life!”

May we bold in facing humiliations, in suffering persecutions, in undergoing pain…

… all for the Sake of Christ, who showed us the Way to Glory through the Path of Persecution!

Let’s keep on moving… let’s keep climbing… let’s keep the Faith!

God Bless! Live Jesus!