Nov 1 (Solemnity of All Saint’s Day)

The second half of the 20th century, saw a number of Christians facing suffering and persecution in Eastern Europe…

… under the influence of the Communist regime.

There was a heroic Bishop, who continued to work in this dreadful atmosphere…

… and continued to preach the Gospel.

He attributed his strength to be bold and zealous for the Lord..

… thanks to a beautiful vocation call he received, through the medium of his grandmother.

This Bishop had been orphaned at a young age and lived with his grandmother.

>> They stayed in the house of his uncle, who was the parish priest of a particular church.

Soon after the communists had taken power, they captured this parish priest and had him arrested..

… leaving the grandmother and the little son (the Bishop) alone.

After a week of captivating the parish priest, the offenders came to the church as well as the residence, to ransack any religious article, documents or images that could be found.

Finally, when they finished looting everything, as they left…

… the grandmother and the boy, stood at the entrance of the house.

One of the soldiers, with contempt and mockery asked the old lady, “Well, do you have any more religious articles or cross that we can take with us?”

The grandmother, with boldness and courage, looked into the face of the soldier and said:

“Well, I do have one.

But you cannot take that away from me!”

Saying so, she made the Sign of the Cross!

The soldiers were taken aback…

… but left, without saying a word.

The powerful witness by the grandmother, sparked the fire of Divine Vocation in the heart of that young boy…

… who went on to become a heroic Bishop – himself giving witness to the Lord, in the midst of persecutions!

Such are saintly lives, isn’t it?

They inspire…

They motivate…

They spur us on…

… to live Christian lives with boldness and courage!

Today, Holy Mother the Church is geared up to celebrate Her Saints – on this Solemnity of the All-Saints!

>> It’s a day of immense celebration of these Superheroes of God!

The Church invites us today to lift our gaze to heaven…

… and thank and praise God for the innumerable people who not only persevered in their faith while they lived on earth…

… but actually lived their lives in such a way that they built up Christ’s Kingdom in the world.

The saints are not superheroes in the worldly sense…

What sets them apart…

… is not their miraculous power

… is not their popularity and fame.

Rather, what makes them saints, is their faith and their discipleship and their service to others.

The word…SAINT…sometimes strikes an odd chord in our minds…

Saints are often considered to be people…

… beyond our reach and too holy for our lives

… for whom the path to sanctity was made easy and cozy.

… who are given a special boon from God to live a holy life.

But the truth perhaps, is quite contrary…

Saints are people…

… who are truly very close to us and lived in simple and ordinary life situations like us.

… who had to struggle through many hardships and trials in the path to holiness.

… who co-operated with the grace of God and remained faithful to their commitment and call

Every Christian is called to a life of Holiness and to be a Saint…

How is this possible in our lives…?

The Beatitudes proclaimed by Jesus, in today’s Gospel shows us the path… (Mt 5: 1-10)

Being a saint…

… by depending on God in all dimensions of our life and seeking His Kingdom above all

… by mourning over our sins and seeking to live a life in repentance.

… by living a life of firm gentleness and trusting patience in the midst of injustice and pain

… by becoming agents of justice and seekers of establishing truth

… by offering mercy to the needy and even to those who we feel, don’t deserve

… by preserving purity in our thoughts, words and deeds

… by striving for establishing peace and harmony even in conflicting situations

… by accepting suffering and becoming stronger in our struggle to establish God’s Kingdom

This Feast day is a chance for us to sneak into the personal diary of the saints…

… and to “steal” some tips for us to admire and imitate them…

The Saints’ Favourite Food: The Holy Eucharist

The Saints’ Favourite Dress: The Armour of Faith

The Saints’ Favourite Pastime: Doing anything with immense Love of God

The Saints’ Favourite Symbol: The Holy Cross

The Saints’ Favourite Moments: Every time they discovered more the depth of God’s Love

The Church has a marvellous number of saints who are canonized.

On this special day, we also take our time, to raise our hearts in gratitude, for the many other holy men and women, who sparkle with sanctity, but have not been officially declared so.

>> A few may be known to us, in our family or friends circle…

Most of them, will remain unknown and unfamiliar and unheard.

But in the Lord’s presence, they dazzle and shine, in holiness and purity.

This galaxy of Saints beckon and encourage each one of us today to tread this path of holiness.

As St Augustine says:

“ Do you aspire to do great things?

>> Begin with the little ones”

… Doing our simple works with much love of God.

… Living our Christian life with much faithfulness

… Seeing the deep presence of God in all areas of our life.

Let us live a life…

… of self-sacrifice, renunciation and trust in God

… seeking to do God’s will at all times

… laced with the tender Love of God in all our activities.

Today, all the saints in heaven, with a loud chorus invite each one of us:

“Come, dear Child…Be a Saint!

Do not be afraid! We are with you!”

What is our response?

Happy Feast to all the Saints in Heaven…the Church Triumphant!

>> Happy Feast to all the faithful departed, being purged to be saints… the Church Suffering!

>> Happy Feast to all of us, striving to be saints, here on earth…the Church Militant!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Oct 31 (Lk 13:22-30)

It is said that Hercules, the Greek mythological figure constructed two pillars near the Straits of Gibraltar…

… to mark the edge of the then known world.

These pillars had a warning on them: “Ne plus ultra – No More Beyond”.

This was a warning to sailors and navigators to go no farther!

Till the 1400s, this belief was so strong…

… that “Ne Plus ultra” was written on the edge of the maps

… that Spain even adopted that phrase as their national motto.

But in 1492, Christopher Columbus set sail into the unfamiliar areas of the world…

>> Unknown waters were explored

>> New lands were discovered

After his death in 1506 in Valladolid, Spain, a memorial was built in honour of Columbus.

A peculiar yet very interesting feature of this memorial is the statue of a lion, destroying one of those Latin words…

>> The word being torn away by the lion is “ne”

Thus, the motto is made to read: “Plus Ultra – More Beyond!”

And this indeed is the truth of human life: There certainly is “More Beyond”

>> “More Beyond” this present materialistic life

>> “More Beyond” the transitory nature of this earthly life

Human beings, by nature, are inquisitive and curious.

>> There is a tendency to seek to know many things.

One of the prime aspects among all such seeking are the questions concerning the life after this life.

>> What will happen after I die?

>> Where will I go after my death?

>> Is there such thing called as a heaven or hell?

>> Will God really punish or will He lavish the license of heaven to all?

Such eschatological questions often disturb our minds & we become a bit perplexed over an uncertain future.

The Gospel of the Day presents such an eschatological question being posed to Jesus:

“Lord, will only a few be saved?” (Lk 13:23)

Jesus, has a very unique way of dealing with questions and doubts.

When we scan through some of such incidents, wherein Jesus has been asked a question or a doubt, we often find that He either doesn’t give a straight answer or sometimes even doesn’t give any answer…

>> A lawyer comes to Jesus and asks, “Who is my neighbour?” (Lk 10:29)

… Jesus doesn’t give a direct answer; instead responds with the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

>> Some people tell Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the sacrifices, and expected Jesus to make some comments (Lk 13:1)

… Jesus doesn’t explicit a clear teaching; instead responds with the Parable of the Barren Fig Tree.

In today’s Gospel incident too, Jesus is asked about how many will be saved.

But Jesus chooses to respond with the Illustration of the Narrow Door.

Why does Jesus do so?

>> Why does He not respond directly to such questions, and instead answer in some other form?

One of the tendencies among many believers, including perhaps some of us, is that…

…we tend to miss the actual point, in the process of discussion.

…we fail to grasp the actual thing needed, in the course of many doubts.

We wonder about who all will be saved…

>> We wonder when this world will come to an end.

>> We wonder how many people will make to heaven

>> We wonder how many will get cast into hell.

These simple questions lead to complicated ones…

>> What about people who have never heard about God?

>> What about those souls in distant lands who never had a chance to know what is God?

These complicated questions further leads to some drastic conclusions (sadly!)…

>> What kind of God sends people to hell?!

>> If the God of the Bible is so cruel, then I don’t want to believe in Him!

>> I would better not believe in any God and rather live my life the way I want!

Well… this is the sad part!

It’s not that questionings or doubts are bad…or not that they are not encouraged…

>> But sometimes, such interrogations make us to miss the main point.

We get so entangled with doubts of the future, that we fail to prepare for the future.

>> We get so busy asking about eternal life, that we fail to live a life worthy of it!

But Jesus brings home to point…

>> What is needed utmost is an upright life…

… in faith and in repentance.

>> What is most needed is to live a life pleasing to God…

… and in seeking to do His Will.

This is the narrow way.

To live a life of faith, in the midst of challenges and crises, is hard!

>> To live in total repentance and brushing aside sin at every point of life, is hard!

>> To live a life seeking to live in tune with God’s Will, even if it is demanding, is hard!

This is the narrow way, to which the Lord invites us.

Let us not get too much webbed in the questions and doubts, and lose focus of what’s most needed…

… Faith, Repentance and Doing His Will.

Yes, we don’t live in a world which has a motto “Ne plus ultra – No More Beyond!”

Instead, Jesus, the Lion of Judah destroys that word “ne”…

>> And invites us to experience life with Him, in eternity, saying: “Plus Ultra – More Beyond”

On this last day of October – the month of the Rosary – let us thank the Lord for the gift of our Blessed Mother…

>> And praying the Rosary – which is a journey through the Life of Jesus, holding the Hands of our Mamma…

… Let us be inspired by our Blessed Mother to Live for God and have our eyes focussed on “The Beyond – His Kingdom!”

God Bless! Live Jesus

Oct 30 (Lk 13:18-21)

A young Christian businessman who had established himself well in his area of work, was once interviewed by a journalist..

… and asked for the secret of his quick success.

“Well”, said the young businessman, “I attribute all my success to my Lord!

From my college days, I have sought to give God the first place in my life.

>> And He has always led me!

There is a simple formula that I always hold on to…

The formula goes thus:

‘Where God’s in charge,

Small things grow large!

And in God’s Hand,

Small gifts expand!”

So true, isn’t it?

If we allow the Hand of God to work even in the small things that we do…

… we will surely experience the bountifulness of His Grace working miraculously!

The Gospel of the Day is a recounting of this Great Truth of our life, when Jesus expounds the “Miracle of God’s Hand in the littleness of our life” with the help of two examples:

1. The Mustard Seed

>> “… a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his garden…

… and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches!” (Lk 13: 19)

2. Leaven

>> “… like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened!” (Lk 13:21)

One of the beautiful lessons that the Lord teaches from these two metaphors of daily life is that: Our little works done for God, should never cause us to feel discouraged in life!

The little mustard seed and the little leaven…

… were not really expected to do great things

… were not quite symbols of greatness or majesty

Yet, the Lord – in His Divine Wisdom – uses these “little aspects of life” to project His Mighty Story of the Kingdom!

As St Paul says: “God chose the foolish of the world, to shame the wise…

… and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong..” (1 Cor 1: 27)

This is the truth we come across in the Mighty Story of the Kingdom, as we scan through the pages of the Bible…

… even in the Life of Jesus!

Jesus was born into a small Family from Nazareth in the smallest of villages (Bethlehem).

His Ministry started in one of the smallest places – Galilee.

>> Galilee was an insignificant portion of an obscure part of the Roman world.

He went no further than Jerusalem with His message

>> In the time of the Roman Empire, Jerusalem was not considered a cultural center.

… Rome, Athens and Alexandria featured more prominently on the political and cultural radar.

>> In fact, for the Romans, Jerusalem was a city of fanatic Jews – to be best controlled by an army of troops and easily-swaying kings like Herod and his family!

Yet, Jesus has become the greatest influencer in Human History!

>> “Where God’s in charge,

Small things grow large!

And in God’s Hand,

Small gifts expand!”

Life doesn’t always give us great opportunities to perform big acts of charity and kindness.

>> But our life is filled with immense chances…

… to “sow tiny mustard seeds”

… and to “mix little leaven”…

Do we make the best use of such chances:

1. To sow the “tiny mustard seeds”…

>> Of Gentleness… in the rough terrains of pride and haughty lives

>> Of Love… in the field of broken relationships and strained associations

>> Of Mercy… in the territories of hateful feelings and unforgiving hearts

2. To “mix the little leaven”…

>> Of undiluted Christian convictions… in the dough of easy-going-life and relativistic mentality

>> Of contagious passion… with the flour of lethargic and lazy attitudes to life

>> Of credible life witness… in the mixture of scandalous trends and discouraging religiosity

Servant of God, Fr Peter Mermier (the Founder of the MSFS – Missionaries of St Francis de Sales) says:

“We do a lot in doing a little, if we do it for God, when and as He wishes!”

God doesn’t mind much the size of our works…

… but at the amount of love we add to it!

God doesn’t look at the fanfare in our acts of service…

… but at the volume of selflessness we add to it!

Of course, the world may not appreciate such “simple and little works”!

>> But let the “tiny mustard seed” and the “little leaven” remind us:

Our little works done for God, should never cause us to feel discouraged in life!


“Where God’s in charge,

Small things grow large!

And in God’s Hand,

Small gifts expand!”

(P.S: Psst… Did you add an “extra bit of God’s Love” while reading this reflection…?)

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Oct 29 (Lk 13:10-17)

There is a simple little poem, which goes thus:

“A horse can’t pull, while kicking,

This fact we merely mention.

And he can’t kick, while pulling,

Which is our chief contention!

Let’s therefore, imitate the good horse

And lead a life that’s fitting;

Just pull an honest load, and then

There’ll be no time for kicking!”

These few lines of the poem explain in clear terms…

… on how the aspect of criticism and bad-mouthing is a result of a lack of focus and proper attitude!

Are we sometimes people who fail to have such “horse-sense”?

This lack of a “horse-sense” can lead to the…

… habit of spitting out unpleasant words at others, without the least concern.

… practise of spitting out harsh and judgmental words, with minimal mercy.

… tendency to spitting out critical words to put down people in humiliation.

The Gospel of the Day brings a classical example of a person who failed to have this “horse-sense”.

The context of the Gospel passage is that of Jesus healing a woman who had been crippled for eighteen on a Sabbath Day.

However, after the healing, the leader of the synagogue was indignant that Jesus had cured on a Sabbath.

>> He told, “There are six days when work should be done.

Come on those days to be cured, not on the Sabbath day” (Lk 13:14)

This leader of the synagogue, was displaying the lack of a “horse-sense”.

Here was something noble and good being done…

>> But he fails to see the goodness and instead shouts at the people for not keeping the laws.

Here was something miraculous and godly being performed…

>> But he closes himself to the Kingdom of God and focuses on the need to obey human rules.

His lack of “horse-sense” seemed badly exposed!

Jesus, the Lord of healing and restoration, encountered the woman who had been crippled for many years…

>> She was bent.

>> She was in pain probably.

>> She was also very much dispirited too.

Jesus saw her need…

… but the leader of the synagogue saw her as a nuisance.

>> Jesus understood her pain…

… but the leader of the synagogue chose to inflict shame on the people.

This is the trouble very often: One concentrates only on the negative aspects of persons and situations!

Jesus lashes out at such an attitude!

He calls the leader of the synagogue a hypocrite, and draws his attention to the greater and important dimensions of life!

>> “This daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound for eighteen years, ought she not have been set free on this Sabbath day from this bondage?” (Lk 13:16)

>> The man focused on the rule of Sabbath…

… Jesus focused on the Law of Love and Liberation.

>> The man saw the commandment violated…

… Jesus saw a life that had been violated and was in need of renewal.

>> The man burst out in anger and pride…

… Jesus blossomed out in Compassion and Humanness.

Do I display any such characteristics?

>> Failing to see the goodness in people…

… and instead speak only of their faults and mistakes

>> Failing to trust in God in hard situations…

… and instead only criticize and blame God

>> Getting wild with people for tiny faults…

… without considering their context and circumstances

>> Spreading calumny and rumours…

…. about the unpleasant aspects of others

The Lord of all Liberation and Wholeness today invites us to experience His Healing Touch.

Many of us are crippled and infirmed…

>> We need a healing.

>> We need a touch of the Lord.

A negative attitude in life can cause much damage to the people around us.

>> It can make our life unclean and miserable and cause people to avoid us.

>> It can make our families, our communities and our societies to be unlivable and unpleasant.

A strong decision needs to be made: to stop the usage of…

… bad words

… defamatory news

… harmful statements

… uncharitable remarks

… and to stop spitting cruel and heartless comments!

Let us be aware:

” A horse can’t pull, while kicking,

And he can’t kick, while pulling,

Let’s therefore, imitate the good horse

And lead a life that’s fitting;

Just pull an honest load, and then

There’ll be no time for kicking!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Oct 28 (Mk 10:46-52)

Hurdles race in athletics is one of the exciting contests in the track and field events.

In hurdling, a runner has to race over a series of obstacles called hurdles, which are set at a fixed distance apart.

Life, sometimes, represents a hurdles race.

>> Many obstacles are placed in this track of life.

One needs to jump over these barriers in order to find meaning and success in life.

The Gospel of the Day is a story of one such person, who jumped over the hurdles in his life and found victory – Bartimaeus!

The story of the Blind Beggar, healed by Jesus is an incident recorded in all the three Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke).

If we look at this incident in each of their accounts, we find that it is as if, this story has been filmed from three different cameras.

>> It could be like the same news story, but carried out on channel A, channel B and channel C.

The camera of each channel has picked up the story at a different angle.

The meaning and message of the life of Jesus is inexhaustible and the Holy Spirit allows the Gospel writers to present it from different perspectives and angles.

>> St Luke’s camera shows us that Jesus is entering Jericho when the blind beggar begins to call out (Lk 18: 35)

>> But St Mark’s camera shows us that the healing took place, not as Jesus was entering Jericho, but as Jesus was leaving the place (Mk 10:46)

>> Mark names him as Bartimaeus.

>> Luke doesn’t name him.

How could we reconcile this geographical fact of “apparent” difference?

>> Was Jesus coming out of or going into Jericho?

There could be one way of understanding this…

Jericho was one of the oldest cities in the world and it has been continuously occupied for thousands of years.

During the time of Christ, however, King Herod ordered a new business and administration centre to be set up, a few miles away from the original city.

>> This would be called as the New Jericho.

Eventually, the old and the new Jericho would merge.

An ideal spot for begging was to be on the road between the old and new city, where there would be a frequent passage of travelers especially the business people.

So, in that sense, Jesus was both leaving Jericho and going to Jericho: He was leaving the old site and going to the new one.

Then comes along St Matthew’s camera which shows us that there were two blind beggars that were healed (Mt 20:30), whereas the camera of St Mark and St Luke had only done a close shot of the one.

How could we reconcile this numerical fact of “apparent” difference?

There could be one way of understanding this…

For Mark and Luke, Bartimaeus was the main character in the story and was therefore the sole focus.

>> Perhaps Bartimaeus was known to them but the other man was a stranger to them.

The fact that only one man is recorded as speaking doesn?t mean there was only one man.

>> It simply means Mark & Luke identified only one man, Bartimaeus speaking.

Matthew refers to both of them calling out to Jesus, clearly indicating there were two men.

In any case, to focus on these minor details to the exclusion of all else would be to miss the point of the story.

The star recipient in the story – the Blind Beggar, Bartimaeus – is the one who overcomes many hurdles and obstacles in his life to obtain the glorious healing from the Lord.

What were some of these hurdles?

1. He had to overcome the hurdle of “being blamed”

Bartimaeus lived at a time when sicknesses were traced to a life of sinfulness.

This blind man lived constantly under the shadow of this hurdle of “being blamed”.

>> He was blamed that he was blind because he or his ancestors had sinned greatly and was being “punished”.

>> He was blamed that it was he alone responsible for his pitiable state of being blind and having been reduced to being a beggar.

But Bartimaeus overcomes this “hurdle of being blamed” and finds the light of Jesus.

>> Am I in need of overcoming this guilt and shame of “being blamed”?

2. He had to overcome the hurdle of “being depressed and hopeless?

It is a pitiful fact to being a beggar, lying pathetically, sitting in his filthy, dirty rags on the side of the road. The fact of his being blind made things even more worse. Life was highly cruel on him and the darkness of hopelessness clouded him.

But Bartimaeus overcomes this “hurdle of being depressed and hopeless” and encounters the glow of Jesus.

>> Am I in need of overcoming this pain and sadness of being depressed and hopeless”?

3. He had to overcome the hurdle of “discouragement and being put-down”

The crowd had become very hostile to blind Bartimaeus wanting to meet Jesus and rebuked and shouted at him to be silent. He had felt a ray of hope in Jesus, but the crowd considered him as a botheration and sought to suppress him.

But Bartimaeus overcomes this hurdle of “discouragement and being put-down” and experiences the illumination of Jesus.

>> Am I in need of overcoming the crushing and burdensome factors of “discouragement and being put-down”?

The Blind Bartimaeus shows us the way today, to overcoming hurdles…

…with an eager longing, a resolute determination and commendable humility.

Is my life blind, surrounded by the darkness of many hurdles? The Lord of Light is passing by…

> Let’s raise our voices.

>> Let’s lift up our hearts.

>> Let’s jump over the hurdles!

Yes, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Oct 27 (Lk 13:1-9)

It’s interesting to know the making of an Eagle’s nest!

When a mother eagle builds her nest, she starts with thorns, broken branches, sharp rocks, and a number of other items that seem entirely unsuitable for the house.

>> But then she lines the nest with a thick padding of wool, feathers, and fur from animals she has killed, making it soft and comfortable for the eggs.

By the time the growing birds reach flying age, the comfort of the nest and the luxury of free meals make them quite reluctant to leave.

That’s when the mother eagle begins “stirring up the nest.”

With her strong talons, she begins pulling up the thick carpet of fur and feathers, bringing the sharp rocks and branches to the surface.

>> As more of the bedding gets plucked up, the nest becomes more uncomfortable for the young eagles.

Eventually, this and other urgings prompt the growing eagles to leave their once-comfortable abode and move on to more mature behaviour.

Our life is often such!

We take for granted comfortable situations, merciful acts and providential events.

>> But when something unpleasant happens, we are unable to digest them

When something “bad” happens, we look for people to be blamed and scapegoats to be accused!

>> And most of the time, the Scapegoat turns out to be “God”!

God is blamed…

… for all negative situations that come up suddenly

… for all uneventful happenings and calamities

… for all tragic moments in personal and societal life

The Gospel of the Day opens our eyes to consider the “Jesus” way of looking and understanding such “uneventful” mishaps and “tragic” calamities.

Humanity is a daily witness to calamities, catastrophes, adversities and disasters.

>> Tragedies occur in the life of every human being.

Every now and then, we hear of many reports of unpredictable or unimaginable misfortunes occurring in the lives of people….tsunamis, floods, earthquakes….or bomb blasts, mass killings etc.. In our own personal lives too, we experience a lot of painful moments…

…. very often, unexpectedly.

In the face of all these horrors… we are faced with many doubts and questions….

>> Why do these things happen to the innocent?

>> Why doesn’t the Good and Loving God do anything about all this?

>>> Sometimes, we even take on a critical and judgmental attitude and say, “Probably, God is punishing all these people for their sins or their misdeeds”

In today’s Gospel, Jesus also is presented with a couple of human tragedies and made to react on them.

>> The first tragedy is about the Galileans who suffered at the hands of Pilate (Lk 13: 1-3)

>> The second is about the people who dies when the tower of Siloam fell on them (Lk 13: 4)

>> The first one is about a disaster brought about because of the cruel deeds of human beings

>> The second because of the misfortunes in nature.

In both these cases, however, the people who died, were mere subjects to death…

>> They had an unfortunate death, without perhaps really being guilty.

And so the natural reaction of the people of the times was that, the people who died would have been greater sins, and they are being punished by God.”

“These people deserved death because of their sins” was the popular slogan of those times.

Perhaps, when faced with calamities, we too often take upon this judgmental attitude,

But here Jesus points out the great reality…

These calamities and disasters are not to be another occasion for us to pass judgments

>> Rather, they become golden opportunities for us to make a self-reflection on our lives.

Like the tree which is given one more year – to be dug around, to be given manure and to produce…these tragedies and events in life, present us with more time to examine, how do we live our lives.

Do we take our lives for granted?

Perhaps, we have a tendency to often think there is plenty of time in life.

>> And complacency creeps into our life.

But these tragedies point to us the fact, that after all human life is very short.

>> And in this short-lived life, we need to make the best use of God’s graces to repent and to lead a Holy life.

In Rev 22.7, Jesus says ” Behold, I am coming soon” .

As Christians, we believe in the Coming of the Lord.

>> No one knows the hour

>> No one knows the day

But, being prepared, being vigilant always, is a must, is a necessity.

Human tragedies and personal misfortunes are to be understood as God’s manifestations of Love for us, to have our lives set clearly on our priorities for God and His Kingdom

They are not to evoke fear or elements of judging

>> Rather, should prompt us to take life more seriously, and to make Real Repentance and live a Holier Lives.

One of the practical tip that we could easily practice is our Daily Examination of Conscience.

When we daily examine our conscience, and make efforts to amend our lives with true repentance, we are able to live the graces that are showered on us.

Also, a meaningful Regular Confession helps us not only to be forgiven of our sins, but also gives grace to lead a more holy and unblemished life.

The Lord invites us today, to wake up from our slumber of taking life easy and cool

>> He disturbs us in our comfortable and cosy life…

… and challenges us to make real repentance and lead a genuinely holy life.

Disasters, tragedies and misfortunes will keep happening.

>> But they are also a reminder for us to be eternally vigilant and keep guard over the sanctity of our lives.

In moments of the “stirring of our nest” in life, let’s not panic or be disturbed…

>> Rather, in Faith and Love, let’s trust that the Lord – Our Mother Eagle – will always care for us…

… and wants us to seek Him… to Be His, forever!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Oct 26 (Lk 12:54-59)

Science and Technology, in our world today, as scaled amazing heights!

>> Many devastating natural calamities, have had their disastrous effects reduced or minimized, due to the efforts of the Meteorological Department.

>> Many countries have also daringly attempted to obtain information and knowledge regarding various aspects of our neighboring planet and also the entire space, in general.

Such amazing technological advances by human beings is an example of how we are learning to explore the deeper aspects of the mysteries in nature and the universe.

Human beings are truly marching miles in reading the signs in nature and the universe.

In the midst of all these great achievements, we are posed with some probing questions…

>> Are we falling short in reading the signs with respect to humanity’s moral degradation?

>> Are we failing to read the signs of the times with respect to humanity’s spiritual decline?

>> Are we missing out reading the signs regarding the reign of God in our lives?

The Gospel of the Day is a reminder and a wake-up call, by Jesus to this dimension of our lives. Jesus says, “You superficial people! You understand the signs of the earth & sky, but you don’t understand the present times!” (Lk 12:56)

From ages past, human beings have been gaining expertise on interpreting the signs and indications given in nature…

o Spotting of some dark clouds, to predict heavy rains…

o A red sky at dusk, indicating a clearer sky the following day…

o Strange movements of animals and birds, to predict earthquakes or other calamities…

Jesus uses this example in nature to expose the hollowness and duplicity of the people of His time.

Jesus came in the world to usher in the Kingdom of God.

>> He came to announce to the world that God is not some distant entity but rather is very seriously interested to be close to their lives.

To this end of announcing the Kingdom of God…Jesus performed a number of signs…

>> He taught the Scriptures and the Laws with a greater freshness and stronger authority.

>> He healed the blind, the deaf and the dumb to make them witness His power.

>> He raised up the dead and powerfully demonstrated the saving power of God.

>> He restored the crippled and cast out demons to show them God’s might.

>> He forgave sinners and accepted the outcast to display God’s deep mercy and compassion.

>> He searched for the lost and invited the oppressed to experience the depth of God’s love.

>> He performed many miracles in nature to show God’s supremacy over the whole creation.

But many of the people failed to see beyond these signs…

>> All these miracles & manifestations of the Lord were very often looked upon with much suspicion & sometimes, even contempt!

Jesus pities such an attitude!

The people could interpret so easily the signs in nature…

>> But they failed to interpret the signs of the Kingdom of God!

The people could easily predict certain things by seeing the climate…

>> But they refused to hear God’s inviting voice, in the marvels performed by Him.

The people could easily tell certain events of the future by observing their surroundings…

>> But they adamantly declined to turn to Him in repentance, by seeing His deeds.

This is a danger that any one of us could also have in our own personal lives…

God sustains our daily life with much care…

… but we fail to give praise for His wonders.

>> We take for granted all these daily blessings.

God protects us from various calamities…

… but we fail to admit His providence.

>> We take for granted His shielding hand.

God infuses our lives with many inspirations…

… but we fail to give heed to His voice.

>> We take for granted all His tender invitations.

> Personal sins are God’s ways of calling us to experience His Mercy and Justice.

> Delays in prayers are God’s ways of asking us to Trust in Him more Deeply.

> Accidents and calamities are God’s ways of calling us to trust in His Providence.

> Unexpected failures and pains are God’s ways of making us to Share in His Sufferings.

> Happiness and a satisfied life is God’s ways of inviting us to Thank and Praise Him more.

> Failure to overcome our bad tendencies is God’s ways of calling to us to a Life of Humility

> Despair in life and hopelessness is God’s way of appealing us to Grow much more in Faith.

Signs from God, may sometimes be liked…

… sometimes be disliked.

St Augustine: ‘If you believe what you like in the Gospels but reject what you don’t like, it’s not the Gospel you believe, but yourself’

In trust and faith, let us walk with the Lord, knowing that all things “work for good, for those who love Him” (Rom 8:28)

Human beings have come a long way in technological advancements & seeking to conquer the outer space & powers of nature…

>> But we still have a long way to understand the mighty works being performed by God in our personal & communitarian lives.

Let us see the signs… Let us recognize God’s power… Let us march joyfully in Him!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Oct 25 (Lk 12:49-53)

An interesting incident is narrated of how some years ago, the prime minister of a certain country was speaking before several distinguished leaders as well statesman.

>> He was severely critical of his predecessor who was known to be a harsh dictator.

While he was speaking someone from the audience sent up a note:

“How about you? What were you doing when the dictator committed all these atrocities?”

At that, the Prime Minister – filled with fury and rage – shouted:

“Who sent up that note?”

Not a single person stirred.

“I’ll give him one minute to stand up!”

The seconds ticked off.

>> Still no one moved.

“All right, I’ll tell you what I was doing.

>> I was doing exactly what the writer of this note was doing – exactly nothing!

I was afraid to be counted!”

As a Christian, am I afraid to be counted…

… and thus fail to stand up for Christ and His Values?

Every Christian is expected to set the world on fire…

… by being passionate in their love for the Lord

… and being compassionate to the people of God!

Our Blessed Lord was greatly filled with zeal to “set the earth on fire”…

… and desires all His followers to share in this passion for the Kingdom of God.

The Gospel of the Day begins with Jesus exclaiming:

“I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing” (Lk 12: 49)

“Fire” in the Bible is an imagery of many aspects…

>> God’s judgment (Jdt 16:17; Is 66:16; Am 7:4; 2 Pt 3:7)

>> God’s protective presence (Ex 13: 21, 2 Kgs 6:17)

>> Purification (Nm 31:23; Ez 22:19-22, Zec 13: 9),

>> The Holy Spirit (Mt 3:11, Acts 2:3).

>> God’s Holiness (Dt 4:24)

>> God’s glory (Ez 1:4, 13)

Fire also has many characteristics:

>> It warms… refines… transforms… burns!

The Lord who was greatly zealous to “set the earth on fire”, invites us to examine:

>> Am I filled with zeal, to blaze the world “on fire”…

… the fire of God’s love?

… the fire of God’s purging mercy?

… the fire of God’s judgment with respect to sin and evil?

The following verse of the Gospel passage comes in as a shock…

>> “Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, division!” (Lk 12:51)

The Gospel of St. Mathew’s version of the same verse reads:

“Do not think I have come to bring peace. I have to come not to bring peace, but a sword… (Mt 10: 34)

These verses become more surprising in the context of…

>>The Sermon of the Mount where in Mt 5:9, it says, “Blessed are the peacemakers”

>> The description of the Messiah where in Is 9: 6 it says, “He (Messiah) will be called “Prince of Peace”

Why does St Mathew use the words “peace and sword”?

>> Why does St Luke use the words “peace and division”?

This could be a technique called “Juxtaposing”.

Juxtaposing simply means to place two things side-by-side or next to each other…

… especially to compare or to emphasize on the contrast.

This technique is used extensively in the Bible…

>> “Unless a grain of wheat dies, it will not give life” (Jn 12: 24)

>> “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit” (Mt 7:18)

>> “Light shines in the darkness” ( Jn 1:5)

Thus we see…

… life and death

… good and bad

… light and darkness

This “juxtaposition” we also observe in our daily life.

>> Any artist or a person with some aesthetic sense will vouch for the fact that, in order a highlight some light-coloured flowers in a bouquet…

… a darker background is preferred.

>> Even in our style of dressing, we prefer to wear dark-coloured trousers…

… along with light-coloured shirts.

The logic is simple: Juxtaposing two contrasting stuff emphasizes the meaning.

Peace, is generally defined as a situation where there is no violence or war.

>> Sword, on the other hand, signifies conflict, struggle and death.

Peace, is normally understood as a situation of calm and absence of conflicts

>> Division, on the other hand, points to disturbances, instability and turmoil.

What is the meaning of this usage of “juxtaposition” in today’s Gospel passage?

The Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy (Rom 14: 17)

To establish this peace or this Kingdom of God…

… sword is an inevitable reality!

… division is an inescapable consequence!

>> Disturbances, instability , turmoil, conflict, struggle and even death is a real possibility!

That’s why Jesus would go on to say:

“From now on a household of five will be divided… three against two and two against three..” (Lk 12: 52)

>> These verses are an import from Mic 7:6 which speaks of “division in the household”.

In the Jewish Society…

… the household was one of the strongest units of loyalty and binding.

However, Jesus shatters all these pre-conceived notions and demands:

“Loyalty of a disciple to Jesus is to be much higher than even to his own household!”

All intimate relations, even that within the family, are to be given subordinate status in our Love for Jesus.

It is also interesting to note the order of people mentioned in Lk 12: 53:

… Father vs Son, Daughter vs Mother, Daughter-in- law vs Mother in Law.

It is always the young vs the old.

What could be the meaning?

The Kingdom of God will cause a sword of division…

… It will be a division of the Young vs Old!

Young and Old are not to be considered in the physical sense…

… but in the spiritual sense!

Young as being people who are “new”… those by giving up a life of sin, choosing to be part of the Kingdom of God.

>> Old as being those people who are “unrepentant”… those who cling on to sinful ways and oppose the Kingdom.

The Kingdom of God is always characterized by people who are willing to be “new” in the Spirit…

… young at heart and mind, full of dynamism and full of enthusiasm.

What are the implications of all what we have said today?

1. The establishment of peace in the Kingdom of God is always accompanied by the sword of division

>> Are we ready to face the struggles and difficulties that surely will come on our way, as we work for the Kingdom?

2. In this our mission of establishing the Kingdom, we are demanded to have a loyalty to Jesus that is higher than all other relationships.

>> Are we ready to sacrifice? Perhaps our relationships or our way of thinking or even our lifestyle? all for the sake of loyalty to Christ?

3. The Kingdom of God demands that we always be young – dynamic, enthusiastic, cheerful and energetic.

>> Are we ready to always remain Young at heart and in mind, for the sake of the Kingdom of God?

Jesus, Who was greatly filled with zeal to “set the earth on fire”…

… desires all His followers to also share in this passion for the Kingdom of God.

Yes, let us become Christians “who set the world on fire!”…

… and strive to be sincere followers of Christ who are ‘willing to be counted’ to stand up for the Kingdom Values!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Oct 24 (Lk12:39-48)

An incident is reported that took place a few years ago.

A former astronaut took over as head of a major airline company.

>> He was extremely ambitious to make his company as the best airline service provider.

Once, when this new president was making an inspection of a particular department, he came across an employee…

…resting his feet on the desk, while the telephone was ringing continuously.

“Are you not going to pick up the phone?” queried the boss, with a sense of displeasure.

“That’s not my department!”, answered the employee indifferently!

>> He had not recognized his new boss.

” I work in the maintenance section!”, he replied.

“Huh!” quipped the president, “Not anymore!”

The casual attitude and the laid-back and easy-going approach of the employee cost him his job.

The new boss would not tolerate any people, who failed to show a sense a responsibility and commitment…

… which are essential and undeniable qualities in the pursuit of perfection and excellence!

What about us?

Is our Christian life characterized by responsibility and commitment?

>> Or do we have a casual attitude and a laid-back and easy-going approach?

The Gospel of the Day presents to us a strong reminder by the Lord to take our Christian life seriously…

… with its undeniable duties and its unavoidable sense of responsibility.

Jesus speaks of the coming of the Son of Man at an unexpected time…

… just as the coming of a thief is unknown to the master of a house (Lk 12: 39-40)

What are some of the characteristics of the coming of a thief to the house?

1. It usually happens in the quiet of the night….

… so that no one becomes aware and the setting is perfectly safe

>> There is a sense of ‘anonymity’

2. It takes place when none of the people in the house are expecting it…

… thus leaving them completely startled and unprepared

>> There is the element of ‘total surprise’

3. It happens in areas where there is emptiness or lesser security measures

… thus creating greater potency to danger and sharper damage

>> There is a factor of ‘missed opportunity to take care’

These then are the “loopholes” in our spiritual life, that can cause us to be off-guard…

… when the Lord appears in His Second Coming (just as the coming of the thief in the night)…

>> A sense of ‘anonymity’

>> An element of ‘total surprise’

>> A factor of ‘missed opportunity to take care’

Do we remain “anonymous” to the Lord…

… by remaining ignorant of His teachings and commandments – even though He addresses very often through the Bible and the Church?

… by failing to give heed to the repeated reminders by the Lord through various advices from our caring one, and the guidance we receive through sermons, reflections, messages and life-situations?

Do we get caught with “total surprise” at the Will of God in our lives…

… failing to see the providential hand of God in the struggles and hardships that we undergo?

… entering into a sense of despair and discouragement when things don’t happen the way we plan?

Do we become victims of “missing opportunities to take care”…

… by failing to do the many good works which we can perform, but fail, owing to our slackness?

… by taking the stance of being indifferent in situations of injustice and discriminations?

The Lord clearly warns even in the Book of Revelation…

… “If therefore you shall not watch, I will come to you as a thief, and you shall not know what hour I will come upon you.” (Rev 3:1-3)

Though this passage may cause a sense of fear and insecurity, we also need to consider, the converse…

… that if we are prepared and alert

… that if we are ready and vigilant

>> then the “coming of the Lord” becomes a joyful waiting and an expectant hope!

Nothing fears the one who is prepared, to meet the Lord!

St Paul encourages us through these words: ” But you brothers, are not in darkness, that the day should overtake you as a thief!” ( 1 Thess 5: 2-4)

When we are in the Light of Christ…

… by a constant life of vigilant prayer

… by a faithful life of sacraments

… by a committed life to the Church

>> No darkness can overpower us; No fear of thieves can cause panic!

As Christians, each one us is entrusted the duty of being faithful “employees” of the Kingdom of God!

>> Are we going to “rest our feet on the desk”…

… with a casual attitude and a laid-back and easy-going approach…?

Or shall we be “armed and ever-ready to serve”…

… with a sense a responsibility and commitment…?

May the words of St Francis de Sales, the Patron Saint of the MSFS (on this Foundation Day of the Congregation) be a motivation:

>> “Be what you are, and be at its best!”

Yes.. let us be ready…

>> Our Boss – The Lord – may come anytime….!

Today we also seek the intercession of St Antony Mary Claret, the founder of the Congregation of the Claretians and be inspired by his words:

“Love is the most necessary of all virtues.

Love in the person who preaches the word of God is like fire in a musket.

>> If a person were to throw a bullet with his hands, he would hardly make a dent in anything…

… but if the person takes the same bullet and ignites some gunpowder behind it, it can kill.

It is much the same with the word of God.

>> If it is spoken by someone who is filled with the fire of charity- the fire of love of God and neighbor- it will work wonders.

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Oct 23 (Lk 12:35-38)

Little Jane heard a sermon in church on “Let your light shine!”

She remembered the verse; however, did not understand the text much, until her mother explained: “It means, to be good, obedient and cheerful”

That evening, after coming back from playing with her friends – where she had been a little naughty and mischievous – Jane came back to her mother and said:

“Ma, sorry I have blown myself out!

>> Can you light me again?”

Every Christian is called to become a beacon of light in the darkness and to be a shining star in the ambience of every night.

Is the Light of Christ shining in me?

The Gospel of the Day too shares this aspect and reminds the aspect of being watchful for the Coming of the Lord, by keeping the Light of Christ alight!

>> Jesus said to His disciples, “Be ready, dressed for service, AND KEEP YOUR LAMPS LIT…” (Lk 12: 35)

To keep our lamps lit – is the reminder and challenge of the Gospel today.

At our Baptism, we all have received the Light of Christ.

>> This light, is not just to be preserved…

… but is to be nurtured and fostered daily.

But we live in a world when there are many a winds seeking to put off this light in us.

… we live in a world, where there is a strong engulfing of the darkness, trying to devour the light in us.

What are the different winds that are seeking to put off the Light of Christ in us?

A. The wind of “losing the focus from God”

i. King David

King David was a shining light to the people of his kingdom, as long as he followed the teachings and had his focus on God.

But when he allowed his focus to shift from God, he sinned.

He allowed himself to focus on the object of his pleasure by sinning with the wife of Uriah.

The wind of “losing the focus from God” blew strong to put off the light in him….

ii. Samson

Samson was a shining light of power and might, as long as he was faithful to God and had his focus on God.

But when he allowed his focus to shift from God, he sinned.

He allowed himself to focus on the object of his delight by revealing the secret to Delilah

The wind of “losing the focus from God” blew strong to put off the light in him….

iii. Peter

Peter was a shining light to his disciples as a person of faith, as long as he followed the instructions of his Master to walk on the waters.

But when he allowed his focus to shift from the Lord, he began to sink.

He allowed himself to focus on the object of his fear and self-panic.

The wind of “losing the focus from God” blew strong to put off the light in him….

B. The wind of “being focused on one’s own selfish interests”

i. Saul

Saul was adorned to be the first king of Israel; however, as his reign continued, his own selfish motives began to creep in his kingship.

When he “began to be more self-centered”, he began to lose the approval of God.

The wind of “being focused on one’s own selfish interests” blew strong to put off the light in him?

ii. The Pharisees and Scribes

The Pharisees and Scribes during the time of Jesus, insisted much on their selfish agenda in the imposition and following of the Laws.

When they “began to be more self-centered”, they began to lose the favour of God.

The wind of “being focused on one’s own selfish interests” blew strong to put off the light in them…

iii. Judas

Judas was chosen to be one of the Twelve in the mission of the Lord; but as time grew, he continued to feed his greed for money and wealth

When he “began to be more self-centered”, he began to lose the esteem of God.

The wind of “being focused on one’s own selfish interests” blew strong to put off the light in him…

3. The wind of “false principles and ideologies”

i. People of Israel

The people of Israel had been blessed with the commandments of God. They, however, were dismayed at the delay of Moses on Mt Sinai, and instead got enamoured and attracted to false gods and especially to the deity of mammon and wealth.

When they “began to abandon the True Teaching and attached themselves to false beliefs”, they angered God and brought upon themselves the wrath of the Lord.

The wind of “false principles and ideologies” blew strong to put off the light in them…

ii. People of Galatians 1:6

St Paul accuses the people of Galatia, that were abandoning the Gospel which they first heard, and instead were being attracted to the pleasurable and false teachings of the false prophets.

When they “began to abandon the True Teaching and attached themselves to false beliefs”, they strayed away from the path of salvation.

The wind of “false principles and ideologies” blew strong to put off the light in them…

Let’s examine our own lives…

>> Am I allowing the wind of “losing the focus from God” to put off the light in us?

>> Am I allowing the wind of “being focused on one’s own selfish interests” to put off the light in us?

>> Am I allowing the wind of “false principles and ideologies” to put off the light in us?

As the saying goes, “We can’t prevent birds from flying over our heads, but we can certainly prevent them from laying a nest on our heads!”

We cannot prevent these winds to rage and hit our lives…

… but we can certainly prevent them from blowing off the Light of Christ in us!

This strength comes from our determination, perseverance & commitment…

And above all, being united with Jesus, the Source of Light…

… in daily prayer

… frequent sacraments

… constant nourishment with the Word

… and faithfulness to our daily duties of our vocation and life!

In our moments of failure and weaknesses, let us also have the courage to approach the Throne of God’s Mercy saying:

“Lord, sorry I have blown myself out!

>> Can you light me again?”

May the words of St John of Capistrano – who is called as the “Soldier Saint” – the patron of lawyers and judges, inspire us:

“Those who are called to the table of the Lord must glow with the brightness that comes from the good example of a praiseworthy and blameless life.

>> They must completely remove from their lives the filth and uncleanness of vice.

>> The brightness of their wisdom must make them like the Light of the world that brings light to others!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!