Dec 1 (Lk 21:34-36)

All of us have had the experience of utilizing certain things or products which work quite fine for some time….but as time passes, becomes less effective or less efficient.

>> A ceiling fan/ table fan, after few months or years, tends to be less forceful…

>> A fast-processing computer after few months of years, tends to slow down…

>> Colourful clothes after a few washes or usage, tends to lose their initial glean and shine…

A similar aspect could be visible in our spiritual lives as well!

The Gospel of the Day is a reminder to examine this aspect in our lives and to make amends, in order to revitalise and revive our lives.

The Gospel begins with the verse ” But take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation…” (Lk 21:34)

‘Dissipation” is strong word which could have several parallel understandings…

With respect to morality:

>> Dissipation refers to an overindulgence in sensual pleasures.

With respect to behaviour:

>> Dissipation refers to a conduct that shows one is interested only in pleasure, money, etc.

With respect to economics:

>> Dissipation refers to an act of using all or a lot of money, time, etc., in a foolish way.

With respect to physics:

>> Dissipation refers to a physical process by which energy becomes not only unavailable but irrecoverable in any form.

Dissipation is a tendency…

… to squander away enthusiasm because of allowing monotony to creep into life.

… to lose vitality as a result of being indulged in continuous immoral behaviours

… to leak-out the energy and vigor in oneself, in small amounts and thus become lifeless

… to become disinterested and dispirited due to constant exposure to luxury and comforts

Dissipation is a terrible malady that has badly affected many people in the Bible…

The people during Noah’s time were “dissipated” with eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, although God had sent out a warning of their destruction through Noah.

The citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah were “dissipated” with extremely immoral and corrupt practices, even though the people were given a forewarning of their possible.

The people of Israel were “dissipated” with frustration and dissatisfaction while travelling in the desert and failed to understand the providential hand of God.

The disciples of Jesus were “dissipated” with sadness, shattering of hopes and brokenness after the death of Jesus and failed to believe and trust in His great promises.

We have a call to examine our lives and check whether we too have fallen into a state of “dissipation”…

>> Maybe my prayer life is “dissipated”…

… due to various distractions, excuses of lack of time, complaints of being tired or just simply a lack of interest…

Maybe my personal intimacy with God is “dissipated”…

… since I don’t experience any joyful or experiential feelings or because some of my expectations of God are not met…

Maybe my relationships with people is “dissipated”…

… due to some friction or misunderstanding or an indifference that has sneaked in without any particular reason.

>> Maybe my family life/community life is “dissipated”…

… because I feel disinterested or not so enthusiastic in going beyond some of my personal comforts or I feel lonely in not feeling accepted or loved.

Dissipation can be a tendency that can steal into our lives very stealthily and can drain away much of our energy, eagerness and passion.

In the book of Revelations, the Lord has this complaint:

“..I have this against you: you have lost the love you had at first. Realize how far you have fallen. Repent and do the works you did at first” (Rev 2:4-5)

Let us seek to renew our initial fervour and zeal.

>> Let us challenge ourselves to revive our zest and interest.

The Lord deserves not “dissipated” people…

… but “spirited” and “passionate” people!

As we thank the Lord for the gift of November…

… and as we step into the last month of 2018 – December – let us offer our lives to the Lord completely.

Let us seek to earnestly begin a 25 day Journey in preparation for Christmas

>> And thus “make a home for Jesus, this Christmas”…

… growing in our conviction and experience that “Jesus is Emmanuel – With us, God – Forever!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Nov 30 (Feast of St Andrew, the Apostle)

“I command you for the last time….make your sacrifice to our gods” yelled Aegeas, the pagan judge.

“Certainly no!” was the reply back, “I sacrifice daily to The Almighty God, the one and true God.

Not the flesh of oxen and the blood of goats do I offer, but the unspotted Lamb upon the altar.

All the faithful partake of His flesh, yet the Lamb remains unharmed and living!”

Exceedingly angered by that adamant refusal, the judge commanded the rebel to be thrown into prison.

The supporters of the rebel, who stood outside the judging quarters, raised an uproar to free him.

But the one who was punished, personally calmed the mob, and earnestly pleaded with them to desist, as he was hastening towards an ardently desired crown of martyrdom.

When he was led to the place of martyrdom, on beholding the cross from far, he cried out:

“O Good Cross… so long desired and now set up for my longing soul, I confidently, with rejoicing come to you!

Exultingly receive me, a disciple of Him who hung on you.”

>> Within a few moments, he was tied to the cross – an X-shaped Cross!

For two days, he hung there.. alive… unceasingly proclaiming the Teachings of Christ, until he passed on to Him, whose likeness in death, he so ardently desired!

The Martyrdom of Saint Andrew, Peter Paul Rubens, 1639, Fundacion Carlos de Amberes, Madrid

This brave martyr of Christ was St Andrew, the Apostle of Jesus, whose feast we celebrate today.

A few years back, this valiant martyr, St Andrew, had received the call of the Lord, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men” (Mt 4: 19)

The name “Andrew” in Greek means “manly” or “a person of valour”.

St Andrew was from Bethsaida, in Galilee.

>> He was a fisherman, by trade and a former disciple of John the Baptist.

St Andrew is said to have been martyred at Patras in southern Greece on a cross which was in the shape of an “X”.

>>This type of cross has long been known as “St. Andrew’s cross.”

>> This St Andrew’s Cross, is depicted, on the national flag of Scotland.

One of the wonderful things that we learn from St Andrew is his wonderful quality of being a “Introducer to Christ”, as seen in the various instances of the Gospel

1. It was St Andrew who “introduced to Christ”, his brother Peter (Jn 1: 40-42)

>> “We have found the Messiah” (Jn 1:41) were the words with which he introduced Jesus to his brother

2. It was St Andrew who “introduced to Christ”, the little boy with the five loaves and two fish, which would be later, multiplied for five thousand men! (Jn 6: 5-13)

>> “There is a little boy, who has five barley loaves and two fish…” (Jn 6:9) were the words with which he introduced Jesus to the little boy.

3. It was St Andrew who “introduced to Christ” the Greeks who had come up to worship at the feast, at the request of Philip (Jn 12: 20-23)

>> “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified” (Jn 12: 23) were the words with which Jesus reacted when he was introduced to the Greeks.

Thus, we see that St Andrew became an instrument and an active medium of “Introducing to Christ” many people.

As a Christian, this ought to be one great quality and duty that we ought to follow – “Introducing to Christ” many people…like St Andrew.

>> And this can be one of the beautiful practical resolutions, that we can, do, all the 25 days of this Advent Season, in preparation for the Birth of Christ, into our hearts and life – “Introducing to Christ”

How can I take up this task of “Introducing to Christ”?

Many around us long to hear a word of encouragement in their brokenness, receive a word of consolation in their struggles and encounter a smile of hope in their helplessness

>> Can I “Introduce them to Christ” – to His love, to His message of hope, to His treasury of providence?

Many around us have immersed themselves into the murky waters of sin, immorality, injustice and insensitivity to people and nature

>> Can I “Introduce them to Christ” – to His ocean of mercy, to His fountain of justice and to His abundance of warmth?

Many around us have separated themselves and live in isolation – from people in relationships, from the Church and Her teachings, from the responsibilities and duties of their works and the society.

>> Can I “Introduce them to Christ” – to His dimension of wholeness in relations, to His Life-giving Sacraments and to His instruction of being faithful?

St Andrew heard the call of the Lord – “to follow Him”

>> He was touched by His love and was filled with a passion for His Master

>> He was zealous to bring many more to the Love of Jesus

>> He was even willing, to lay down his life, in imitation of his Master, for love of Him

We too, have heard the call of the Lord – “to follow Him”

>> Are we touched by His love and was filled with a passion for His Master

>> Are we zealous to bring many more to the Love of Jesus

>> Are we also, willing, to lay down our life, in imitation of our Master, for love of Him

May St Andrew intercede for us and inspire us, by his tremendous love for the Master…

…. And may we too, like him, become people who “Introduce many to Christ”!

Happy Feast of St Andrew, the zealous Apostle who “Introduced many to Christ”!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Nov 29 (Lk 21:20-28)

A simple but effective test that is often used in psychological group-dynamics is called as the “Trust Fall” Exercise.

(N.B.: We can try doing this exercise with our friends…

… of course, with care and caution!)

The test comprises of two partners – one standing in front of the other.

The task consists in the one who is standing in front…

… gently falling back, with both the feet, held firm on the ground

… while the partner at the back, supports the person – preventing from falling.

Initially, the partner “who is falling”, finds it extremely difficult to fall back…

… for fear of falling down.

(There is fear writ all over the face…

… there is a sense of panic, that is experienced deep within!)

But as they repeat this exercise…

… the trust level increases

… the confidence factor grows

>> And the person feels, at ease, to fall back, without any fear!

(There is a sense of positive feeling…

… trust and reliance is built up gradually!)

>> This “Trust Fall” is an group -dynamics exercise to grow in the aspect of trusting one another and believing in each other’s capacity.

Such a “Trust Fall” happens with our God as well, isn’t it?

When we go through struggles and problems of life…

… we often fall back!

>> If we don’t trust Him enough, we are afraid that we will fall down!

>> But, if we trust in His power, we are sure that the He will never let us fall down!

The Lord, through the Gospel of the Day, invites us, with strong vibes of positive feelings, “…Stand Erect and raise your heads, because your redemption is at hand” (Lk 21: 28)

The Gospel of the day is a continuation of the talks on the coming of the Son of Man.

Jesus reminds his disciples of the many signs and terrors that will be manifest in the world and persecutions that will befall on His followers.

>> He invites His disciples to remain firm in perseverance and faithful commitment.

The Gospel of the Day brings out a clear contradiction in the stance and approach of the “people of the world” and “people who trust in Him”…

>> Lk 21: 26, “…people will die of fright…” (“people of the world”)

>> Lk 21: 28,”…stand erect and raise your heads…” (“people who trust in Him”)

Dying of fright and collapsing is a sign of absolute despair and hopelessness.

>> When someone is in great tension, his/her physical structure reflects it…

… one tends to stoop low

… one tends to put down one’s head…

The worry in the mind makes the face a sorry affair!

>> The tension in one’s life robs the spirit of joy in living!

Faces turn pale…smiles go wry… body starts sagging!

But the Lord of the Universe today strongly exhorts us to not remain stooped-down

>> He challenges us to “stand erect and raise our heads…”

The Lord makes people to stand on their feet as a sign of feeling protected and strong…

>> The boy possessed by a demon was “held by the hand, raised up and made to stand” by Jesus (Mk 9:27)

>> Jesus held the hand of the daughter of Jairus and “helped her to stand” (Mk 5:41)

>> Peter and John took up the crippled beggar at the Temple gate “by the hand and raised him up…and he leaped up, stood and walk around…walking and jumping” and praising God (Acts 3: 7-8)

The Lord loves to help people to stand erect and hold heads high in firm faith and trust in Him.

Is my life today shattered and collapsed?

>> Am I unable to stand firmly in faith and in trust?

When difficulties and problems arise in life…

>> Do I stoop down and get fixated on the worries…

… or do I “stand erect and raise up my head” in confidence of the Providence of God?

When calamities and unsolvable crises hits my family or community life…

>> Do we stoop down and get lost in despair….

… or do We “stand erect and raise up our heads” in hope of the Power the Lord?

When hopes get shattered and the future appears very blurred…

>> Do I stoop down and get stuck in hopelessness and desolation…

… or do I “stand erect and raise up my head” in deep faith in the Guiding Hand of the Lord?

Some of us live our lives with much negativity and pessimism…

>> Life most of the time appears to be dark and depressing and dismal!

But the Lord today asks us to live our lives with more positivity and optimism

>> Life is in fact much more bright and beautiful and brilliant!

The “Trust Fall” is an exercise, that we go through continually in our life of Faith!

>> When we go through struggles and problems of life…

>> If we don’t trust God enough, we lose heart…

… and we are afraid that we will fall down!

>> But, if we trust in His power, we can stand firm…

… and we are sure that the Lord will never let us fall down!

Are we ready to play the “Trust Fall” Exercise with the Lord?

>> Be assured… He will hold you firm!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Nov 28 (Lk 21:12-19)

There was a Christian woman – completely bedridden – but was always bright, cheerful, and optimistic

>> She was confined to her room because of illness.

>> She lived in an attic apartment on the fifth floor of an old, dilapilated building.

Her friend decided to visit her one day and brought along another woman – a person of great wealth.

>> Since there was no elevator, the two ladies began the long climb upward.

When they reached the second floor, the well-to-do woman commented: “What a dark and filthy place!”

>> Her friend replied, “It’s better higher up.”

When they arrived at the third landing, the remark was made: “Things look even worse here.” >> Again the reply, “It’s better higher up.”

The two women finally reached the attic level, where they found the bedridden lady.

>> A smile on her face radiated the joy that filled the heart of that disabled lady.

Although the room was clean and flowers were on the window sill…

… the wealthy visitor was just not comfortable with the stark surroundings in which the woman lived.

She blurted out, “It must be very difficult for you to be here like this!”

Without a moment’s hesitation, the bedridden woman responded:

>>”It’s better higher up!”

The lady had found the secret of joy: Not to find satisfaction at temporal things…

…but having the eye of faith fixed on the Eternal!


>> “It’s better higher up!”

Have we discovered the Joy of this Truth?

Every joy in life is accompanied by the companionship of some pain and suffering.

>> This is the reality of life.

Christian life is an affirmation of this reality.

>> The joy of being a Christian is accompanied by the cross of pain and suffering.

>> The delight in sharing Christ’s peace is escorted by the reality of some trials and tribulations.

The Gospel of the Day reminds us of this factor:

>> Experiencing the mighty power of God in the midst of weaknesses of life.

>> Experiencing the splendid joy of God in the thick of persecutions of life.

>> Experiencing the serene peace of God in the middle of terrors of life.

The Lord continues His discourse on the signs of the end times and the forthcoming persecutions that will be the lot of those who believe and follow Him.

Jesus doesn’t tone down in any measure in warning of the future calamities that will befall on His followers:

“They will seize and persecute you… They will hand you over to synagogues and prison…

They will lead you before kings and governors…

You will be handed over by your parents, brothers, relatives and friends…

You will be put to death… You will be hated by all…” (Lk 21: 12-18)

The list of persecutions is too long, right?

>> For those who consider Christianity as an easy stroll in the part, this is a shocker!

>> For those who consider following Christ as comfort on a bed of roses, this is a stunner!

Sometimes our faith in Christ remains merely a statement on paper.

As people who are Baptized – whether as infants or as adults – we’ve the duty to grow in the grace bestowed on us.

>> To follow Christ is a privilege granted to us.

>> To become His Disciples is a special opportunity conferred on us.

But we often squander away the blessings that the Lord gives us without realizing its worth.

As a Christian and a follower of Christ…

>> We love His blessings….

… but get depressed when pains or sufferings come our way.

>> We crave for joy…

… but get irritated when things don’t go in the way we wish.

>> We seek for a comfortable life…

… but get wild with Him when we lose some luxuries.

The Lord however, invites us to a life of deeper perseverance and courage: “By your perseverance, you will secure your lives” (Lk 21: 19)

For one who believes in Christ…

>> Every sickness, can be a moment to experience the Lord as a Healer.

>> Every financial crisis, can be a moment to experience the Lord as the Provider.

>> Every spiritual struggle, can be a moment to experience the Lord as the Saviour.

>> Every break in relationship, can be a moment to experience the Lord as the Unifier.

>> Every encounter in failure, can be a moment to experience the Lord as the Sovereign Lord

>> Every doubt of the future, can be a moment to experience the Lord as the Supreme Master

All these affirmations will remain peripheral and theoretical, unless we trust in the Lord.

>> Many might say….I don’t believe in a God who allows calamities and persecutions.

>> Many might complain… I don’t want a relation with a God who permits suffering and pains.

But this is where the challenge of our Baptismal Consecration comes to fruition…

> To be with the Lord, in total commitment, when the going gets tough.

> To remain united with the Lord, in complete faithfulness, when the road gets bumpy.

> To fix one’s eyes on the Lord, in absolute trust, when the skies are darkened.

In the words of Kahlil Gibran, the writer, “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars”

>> Jesus has shown us the path in the Way of the Cross.

>> Jesus has broken Himself for us in the Holy Eucharist.

> In Him is True Life.

> In Him is Genuine Peace.

> In Him is Everlasting Happiness.

Let us hold firm to our Crucified Lord and persevere in faithfulness to our Persecuted Master.

Life may often blurt out statements like…

“It must be very difficult for you to be here like this!”

Without any sense of hesitation, let us boldly and with conviction and joy respond:

>>”It’s better higher up!”

Today let us seek the intercession of St. Catherine Laboure…

… the visionary who began the devotion to the famous Miraculous Medal of Our Lady of Graces worn by millions of people around the world.

(The oval-shaped medal – showing a circle of twelve stars, a large letter M surmounted by a cross, and the Sacred Heart of Jesus crowned with thorns and Immaculate Heart of Mary pierced with a sword – bears the words, “O Mary! conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!”)

>> May we give heed to the call of this Saint to live a life of holiness and seek the Intercession of our Heavenly Mother.

Let us seek to find satisfaction not at temporal things…

…but always have the eye of faith fixed on the Eternal!


>> “It’s better higher up!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Nov 27 (Lk 21:5-11)

Leonardo da Vinci was one of the greatest painters of all time.

His masterpiece, “The Last Supper” has been a source of many inspirations and stories.

>> Some of these are based on true facts; some on fictitious imaginations.

One such incident (without any certification of its truthfulness or falsity) goes such…

The artist Da Vinci had put all his talent on this great masterpiece, which was painted on a convent wall in Milan, Italy.

The painting was drawn with so much perfection, that it appeared to be extremely realistic.

>> Even the cup that was used by the Lord used was drawn perfectly…

… an opulent golden vessel richly set with jewels.

At the completion of the picture, some of his friends were given the privilege to view the painting.

The friends were wonder-stuck at the sight of the painting, and especially the dazzling chalice, and exclaimed:

>> “Wow! What a wonderful cup!”

>> “What a shine! See how the vessel sparkles!”

>> “I’ve never seen a cup with such exquisite beauty being painted before!”

Hearing such comments, the great painter, immediately stroked some dark colours over the glittering cup…

… and made it look like an ordinary vessel.

As he did so, he remarked:

“The glory of Christ, and not the beauty of the cup, must be the focus of my work!

In all things, He must be pre-eminent!”

Is Christ pre-eminent in our faith?

>> Or have other materialistic concerns – which may appear to be more sparkling and attractive- taken precedence in our life of faith?

The Gospel of the Day is a strong exhortation to restore the primacy of Christ in our lives…

… even at the cost of shattering every materialistic temples that we have dreamt of!

… even at the price of bringing down every worldly concerns that we have built up!

Jesus is on the courtyard of the Jerusalem Temple.

He heard some speak of “how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings” (Lk 21:5)

The Jerusalem Temple was a glorious structure and one of the great wonders of the time.

This Temple – which was originally constructed by King Solomon – had been marvellously rebuilt by Herod the Great.

The Jerusalem Temple was a vast glittering mass of white marble…

… with the occasional presence of gold and precious stones.

The old Rabbis had a saying: “Whosoever had not gazed on it, had not seen the perfection of beauty.”

>> Tacitus, the historian complemented this, by calling this spectacular edifice as “a temple of vast wealth”

Princes and other noblemen who visited this holy house gifted crowns, shields and vessels of gold and silver.

>> The Jerusalem Temple was indeed rich in these votive offerings.

Despite such a grand spectacle in the background, Jesus makes a prophetic saying:

” All that you see here – the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down” (Lk 21:6).

Our Blessed Lord doesn’t really mince words, isn’t it?

>> He is the One Who is least afraid of calling “a spade as a spade!”

While all others lavished phrases of vain glory on the majestic Temple…

… Jesus predicted its mighty fall!

While all others had pinned their hopes and faith in this structure of grandeur…

… Jesus prophesied its soon-to-come destruction!

Here is a great truth that Jesus invites us to always be reminded of:

“While the human mind seeks to find comfort and coziness in external glories and splendour…

… the Divine always minimizes such vain laurels and insists on the true beauties of life!”

Jesus forewarns His disciples:

“See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name saying: ‘I am he’ and ‘The time has come’

… Do not follow them!” (Lk 21: 8)

Jesus was teaching His disciples…

… of not losing the focus, in the midst of materialistic and attractive fascinations!

… of not missing the track, in the face of many disguises, falsities and deceptions!

A Christian, always ought to have…

… Jesus as the focus!

… the Kingdom of God as the goal!

Anything… or anyone…

… which causes distraction or diversion, will have to be remedied!

Are there such distracting forces in our life, which takes away our focus from the Lord and His Kingdom?

>> Many of such disturbances would be…

… deceptive

… subtle in nature

… attractive at first-sight

But let us not be afraid to restore the primacy of Christ in our lives…

… even at the cost of shattering every materialistic temples that we have dreamt of!

… even at the price of bringing down every worldly concerns that we have built up!

May the glory of Christ, and not the beauty of any materialistic concern, be the focus of our works!

>> “In all things, may Christ be pre-eminent!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Nov 26 (Lk 21:1-4)

An elderly Christian – retired from work – who was well-known for his selfless charitable acts, was once asked by a youngster:

“We all are aware that you are a very generous person…

… reaching out to help anyone in need.

But we have always wondered, how is it, that though you give so much, to so many people…

… you still have so much left!”

“Oh!” replied the elderly man, “as I shovel out, He shovels in!”

(Shovel is a tool resembling a spade with a broad blade and typically upturned sides, used for moving mud, coal, snow, or other material)

“And the Lord has a Bigger Shovel than me!”

Do I generously use the “shovel of giving”…

… thus giving space for the Lord to ‘use His Bigger Shovel’ in my life…?

Do we have the joy and the generosity to give ourselves, to the Lord and for His works?

The Gospel of the Day demonstrates the powerful message of True Giving, through the incident of the Offering of the Poor Widow.

The passage begins with the verse, “When Jesus looked up and saw…” (Lk 21: 1)

Jesus has sharp eyes…

>> He sees what most people miss to see…

>> He perceives what most people ignore…

>> He observes what most people pass on as ordinary…

While all others saw only the corrupt mind of Zacchaeus, Jesus saw deeper… (Lk 19:7)

>> He observed the flame of genuine repentance and earnest desire in him.

While all others saw only the filth in the woman caught in adultery, Jesus saw deeper…(Jn 8:3)

>> He observed the spark of pleading for mercy and compassion in her.

While all others saw only a disturbance in the blind beggar Bartimaeus, Jesus saw deeper… (Lk 18:39)

>> He observed the flash of true longing and expectant hope in him…

There are many times in our life, when we think or do little things and we would feel them as insignificant.

But the Lord sees deeper…

>> A tiny word of thanks and appreciation…The Lord sees our goodness.

>> A small gesture of timely help and assistance… The Lord sees our nobility.

>> A genuine smile of encouragement and support… The Lord sees our benevolence.

The palace of goodness is built by the tiny bricks of genuine actions and loving thoughts.

And the Lord sees it all – “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, watching the evil and the good” (Prov. 15:3)

He doesn’t miss a single gift, small or large.

>> He knows every giver, rich and poor.

This is the significance of being engaged in little and small acts of charity.

>> None of them go down the drain.

Rather, all of them are recorded by God and translates into a fountain of blessings!

The Lord keenly observed the insignificant action of the Poor Widow dropping in two copper coins into the Temple Treasury.

The Temple Treasury was in the Court of the Women, which was on the easternmost part of the Temple.

>> The Court of the Women obtained its name, not from its appropriation to the exclusive use of women, but because they were not allowed to proceed farther, except for sacrificial purposes.

Against the walls of this temple area were the thirteen chests, or ‘trumpets,’ for charitable contributions.

These thirteen chests were shaped like trumpets, narrow at the mouth and wide at the bottom.

>> Each one had a different Hebrew letter designating separate offerings and causes.

Into this Temple Treasury, ?the poor widow just drops in two small copper coins? (Lk 21:2)

What difference did her two coins make toward meeting the temple budget?

Probably nothing!!

Perhaps the treasurer muttered under his breath as he saw it being dropped:

“Why do people throw such small coins into the treasury? They’re more a nuisance to count than they’re worth!”

But the Lord has a totally different yardstick of measuring and of judging.

People count the worth of money by what is given.

>> God counts the worth of money by what is left over.

People say “wow” over thicker and fatter amounts given, irrespective of the means and intention.

>> God says “Wow” over any amount given, but only when given with the proper means and true intention.

While most people would have sidelined this meager act of giving, the Lord lavishes praise on the poor widow who “gave it all”.

The gifts of the rich would have not cost them much…

… But the widow may have gone hungry that night because she gave all what she had.

She gave it all, not for any praise or to show-off, but out of love of God and her religion.

What is our attitude in “giving” to God?

Often we give only “leftovers” to God.

>> If we have some food left, after we have relished nicely, we give it off to some hungry

>> If we have anything left, after we’ve spent for all our needs, then we drop a bit for charity.

>> If we have something left, after we have used and its now old, we donate it to the church.

>> If we have some “time” left, after engaging in all leisure, then we give the time to God.

>> If we have some goodwill left, after busying with many works, we offer our thanks to the Lord.

The Lord, seriously, is in no need of the offering of our money.

>> But the Lord, very seriously, is on the lookout for an offering of our hearts!

Let us make not just peripheral contribution of our lives, but rather engage in sacrificial offerings of our self.

As Blessed Mother Teresa would say:

“Give, but give until it hurts…

… It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving”

The Lord has given everything for us.

>> As His disciples, we too are expected to be similar: to give everything to Him.

An “all-giving” Master deserves “all-giving” disciples…

… Doesn’t He?

Let us generously use the “shovel of giving”…

… thus giving space for the Lord to ‘use His Bigger Shovel’ in my life!

May the words of St John Berchmans, a young saint of just 22 years…

… the Patron Saint of Altar Servers, inspire us:

“Our true worth does not consist in what human beings think of us. What we really are consists in what God knows us to be.”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Nov 25 (Feast of Christ the King, Jn 18:33-37)

The 1920s saw Mexico undergoing a totalitarian regime.

>> They tried to suppress the Church.

To overcome this tyranny, the Christians, calling themselves, “Cristeros”…

… took up the faith-cry: “Viva Cristo Rey!” (“Long live Christ the King!”)

One of the most famous “Cristero” was a young priest named Padre Miguel Pro.

Caught for the many ‘illegal’ Christian services to the people, the government would arrest him…

… and he would be sentenced to public execution.

The president thought that Padre Miguel Pro would beg for mercy

>> And so he invited a number of people including the press, to the execution.

Padre Pro however, did not plead for his life

>> Instead, he knelt, holding a crucifix.

When he finished his prayer – after having forgiven the executioners – he kissed the crucifix and stood up.

>> Holding the crucifix in his right hand, he extended his arms and shouted: “Viva Cristo Rey!”

At that moment the soldiers fired!

The brave “Cristero” had offered his life for the Master!

What about us?

>> Are we ready to be a true “Cristero”…

… willing to boldly proclaim – every day and in every situation – the mighty cry: “Viva Cristo Rey – Long live Christ the King!”

Today is the Feast of Christ the King.

>> It is the Last Sunday of the Liturgical year

This feast is a relatively new feast.

>> It was established by Pope Pius XI in 1925 through an encyclical letter called “Quas Primas” (In the First) .

In the history of the Church, liturgical feasts have been instituted in answer to particular needs that arise in the life of the world & Church.

This Feast of Christ the King was in response to the grave and disturbing situation of the world:

The world in 1925, was still recovering from the devastation effects of the First World War.

>> Nations had been devastated.

>> New weapons and armoury had been introduced.

A wave of terror and danger was still vivid.

>> Modernity had crept into the human mind.

Human reason was considered to have enough power and capability for unlimited progress.

>> Human societies were abandoning Christian values and sought to do away with divine and spiritual dimensions of life.

It’s at the height of this secularization of the world, that we are presented with this great Feast of Christ the King.

> Human progress gives a feeling that humans have absolute power over all forces in the universe.

> Scientific technology makes us think that any discoveries and inventions are humanly possible.

> Human mind is considered to be having capabilities that can overcome and defy any limitation..

But this feast reminds us, that Christ still reigns above all.

>> He is the source of every intelligence and intellect.

>> He is the powerhouse of every discovery and invention.

>> He is the ultimate in conquering any problems or difficulties.

The Kingdom of Christ the King is under several threats today…

>> The forces of materialism and consumerism…

… have clouded the minds of several with riches and pleasures.

>> The forces of sensualism and sensationalism…

… have corrupted many innocent hearts and destroyed many simple minds.

>> The forces of authoritarianism and individualism…

… have shattered many families and community lives.

>> The forces of relativism and practical atheism…

… are strongly raging against the practice of faith and the teachings of the Church.

As Christians, we are soldiers belonging to the Kingdom of God, with Christ as our King.

>> A soldier ought to be one who is deeply convinced and highly passionate of one’s King and Kingdom

As a Christian…

… am I deeply convinced of my faith and love for Christ and His Kingdom?

… am I passionately enthusiastic to live my Christian virtues in this world?

There are many who say that they are willing to give up their lives and die for Christ.

>> But today, the Lord also demands, “Are you willing to LIVE for Christ?”

There is an urgent need to become Christ the King’s living witnesses in this world.

Kings are often identified with a lot of pomp and grandeur and power and triumphalism.

>> But Christ our King is not bothered about any such external pageantry or vain flashiness.

Then what is the identification of this Christ the King?

In Mt 2:2, we read a question, “Where is the (newborn) King of the Jews?”

>> The answer to this question will be found at the end of the Gospel, with Jesus hanging on the Cross and a statement which reads in Mt 27:37, “This is the King of the Jews”!

The Gospel of the Day presents Pilate questioning the Kingship of Jesus.

>> Jesus, however, plainly clarifies…

… “My kingship is not of this world….” (Jn 18:36)

Where the Cross is, there is Christ the King!

>> Where the lost, the sinful, the abandoned and the lonely are… there is Christ the King.

>> Where the poor, the suffering, the miserable and the abused are… there is Christ the King.

The Cross is the identity and symbol of Christ the King!

As this Crucified King’s soldiers, we too are invited to be sharers in the Cross of Christ.

It is said that people who are crucified with Christ will have three distinct marks:

Since they are crucified…

1. They can only look in one direction

2. They can never turn back

3. They no longer have plans of their own.

And these three characteristics ought to reflect in our Christian lives…

>> Being totally focused on Jesus and His kingdom… (looking in one direction)

>> Never to turn back from our commitment and get attracted to the ways of the world… (never turning back)

>> Giving up any of our personal goals and agenda which can deter us from God’s will… (no plans of their own)

Yes, let us Hearken to His voice…Christ, the King – The Great King.

> No land to reign, but our hearts…

>> No majestic throne, but the Cross…

>>> No mighty army, but a few people to spread His word…

>>>> No royal treats all the time, but pain and suffering that leads to salvation…

>>>>> No grand fiesta, but the sacrifice of the Calvary, in the Most Holy Eucharist…

This King – along with His Blessed Mother, the Queen, Who stood at the Foot of the Cross with absolute faith, hope and love – invites us today to renew our commitment to Him

>> Royalty is less, but faithfulness is assured!

>> Popularity is rare, but blessings are plenty!

Are we ready to be a true “Cristero”…

… willing to boldly proclaim – every day and in every situation – the mighty cry:

“Viva Cristo Rey – Long live Christ the King!”

Happy Feast to all the “Cristeros” – the Valiant and Faithful Soldiers of Christ, the Awesome King!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Nov 24 (Lk 20:27-40)

There is a story of a man who had been afflicted with a terminal disease.

With much fear of death, he sought counselling and help from one of his Christian doctors.

The doctor, was initially lost for words.

>> He did not know how to console the dying man.

As he was fumbling for an answer, he heard the noise of scratching on his door.

>> He got the answer of consolation.

“Do you hear that?”, he asked his patient, calling his attention to the scratching noise on the door.

“Well!”, continued the doctor, “that’s my dog!

I left him downstairs.

>>But he has become very impatient and has come up, hearing my voice.

He doesn’t have much idea, of what’s happening in here- beyond the door…

… but he knows one thing: ‘That I am here!’

>> And so, if I open the door now, he would just jump over me, into this room!”

The doctor continued, looking into the eyes of the patients, “Isn’t it the same with our lives?

We don’t have much idea of what lies beyond the Door, but we know that the Master is there!”

This is the Christian Faith: that beyond the Door of this Life, is the Master!

>> This is the hope of Resurrection!

The Gospel of the Day is an invitation to reinforce our faith and hope in the Resurrection.

The Sadducees who did not believe in the Resurrection, put forth a question of “after-life” to Jesus. (Lk 20: 27-33)

Jesus, Who knows the intentions of all hearts and the craftiness of every mind, spoke…

… of the difference in the nature of life – in this world and in the next

… of His sovereignty over those who have died and those who are alive

Referring to the passage of the Burning Jesus, Jesus proclaims, “… He is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him, all are alive!” (Lk 20: 38)

This verse of the Lord is one of the direct and easy-to-understand basis…

…for the Catholic teaching and practice of “praying for the dead”.

Many are the times when this noble piety of the Catholics is put into question…

>> “It is unbiblical to pray for the dead”

>> “Our prayers have no effect on those who are dead, since it is not our works, but their faith, which saves”

… These are some of the statements said against the Catholic practice of “praying for the dead”

But the Lord very clearly shows, through today’s Gospel..

… that God is the God of all – the living and the dead

… that all are living for Him – even though for us, apparently those who are gone from us, are dead

It is our human experience, that while living on this earth…

… we do seek the help of one another – especially through prayers

>> We ask one another’s help and prayers…

… when we are going through a crisis or problem

… when we are struggling through sufferings

>> Then can’t the same logic be applied to those who have died (who are actually alive in the eyes of God!)

>> Can’t those who are away from this world – the faithful departed – seek for our help and assistance, in their moments of suffering and struggles?

(For those of us… who may have doubts as to “what kind of suffering do the dead have…”

>> The Church teaches us …

…. Nothing unclean will enter the presence of God in heaven (Rev. 21:27)

>> While we may die with our mortal sins forgiven, there can still be many impurities in us…

….especially venial sins and the temporal punishment due to sins already forgiven.

Therefore, it is needed to have “purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven… ”

>> This is called as “purgatory”.

This purification causes suffering… as a purification that takes place in fire!

>> The dead – the faithful departed – seek our prayers, for a deliverance from this struggle of sufferings!)

November is a month especially dedicated to pray for the Faithful Departed.

The Church invites her children in this world…

>> To remember and pray

>> To offer sacrifices and penances

>> To lead a life away from sin, in holiness

… for the faithful departed!

Yes, it is our faith and hope in the Resurrection, that spurs us…

… to live a life of holiness

… to be zealous in reaching out the message of salvation to all

… to be fervent in our prayers for the suffering who have passed away from us

Let us cease to be a “practical Sadducee” : professing belief in the Resurrection only in lips but failing to display this belief by a life of holiness!

It is true that we don’t have much awareness of how the “next life” would be…

… We do fall short of words to explain the nature of the life-to-come or rationally describing “how heaven would be!”

… We may even have our own fears and anxieties in thinking of death or in the parting moments of our loved ones!

But we do know for certain one thing: that we would be one with our Lord- the lover of our soul…

… the fullness of joy

… the supremacy of holiness

… the culmination of every desire

Yes, we don’t have much idea of what lies beyond the Door, but we know that the Master is there!

Let us grow in our faith in the Resurrection…

… and let us live a life of holiness and sanctity – that would boldly proclaim this belief to all!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Nov 23 (Lk 19:45-48)

One of the basic requirements of religion is the aspect of Sacredness.

God is Holy.

>> And all matters pertaining to this holy God, has a Sense of the Sacred.

>> Worship becomes meaningful, when one becomes aware of this Sense of the Sacred.

>> Preaching becomes powerful, when one is convinced of this Sense of the Sacred.

>> Liturgy becomes heart-touching, when one acknowledges this Sense of the Sacred.

Today we need to make an examination…

>> Is my Worship of God becoming merely external and losing its inner values?

>> Is my Liturgy more a ritualistic and obligatory exercise than truly an experiential one?

>> Is my Preaching of God reduced to great talks but devoid of conviction and passion?

If the answer to any of the above questions is a Yes…

… then we are perhaps losing the Sense of the Sacred.

The Gospel of the day presents a classic case of this loss of the Sacred Sense.

The Temple of Jerusalem is desecrated by a loss of the Sacred Sense and Jesus seeks to restore it by cleansing the temple.

“Then Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out those who were selling things” (Lk 19:45)

The Jerusalem Temple was very dear to the faith of the people of Israel.

>> Worshipping in this temple was the ultimate for the Israelites, in their honouring of God.

At the Passover, Jews from around the world came to the temple to sacrifice to the Lord (Ex. 12:1-28; Lev 23:4-8).

It was highly impractical to bring sacrificial animals long distances.

So they were made available in the Jerusalem Temple!

Most Jews also paid the temple tax during the Passover.

Since, they came from various places and bore pagan Roman seals, money-changers were there in the temple, to convert the Roman coinage into appropriate currency.

>> Pagan symbols on Roman money made it unacceptable for Yahweh’s house.

Where there is money, corruption slowly creeps in…!

Pilgrims had to pay exorbitant rates to change money, and sellers exploited those in poverty, overcharging for the poor man’s offering of pigeons and doves (Lev. 5:7).

To make things worse, these merchants set up shop in the Court of the Gentiles, making it useless as a place of prayer due to the hustle and bustle of the buying and the selling of goods..

Though not inherently evil, these practices became occasions for sin.

>> What started for a noble cause, led to immense corruption.

There began the loss of the “Sense of the Sacred”…

And this is so true in our own lives…

The beginning of the loss of the Sense of the Sacred begins with trivial things.

I allow little delays and some relaxations in my prayer life…

>> And suddenly, I find no excitement in spending time in prayer.

I allow laxity and silence and indifference in my relationships…

>> And suddenly, I find no meaning in many of my relations…

I allow unpreparedness and disinterest to walk into my celebration and participation of Mass…

>> And suddenly, I find not meaning in the Holy Eucharist.

The loss of the Sense of the Sacred happens in a very subtle and quiet way.

>> And unless, we remain vigilant and careful, we can lose our way in spiritual warfare.

It is this reminder and warning that the Lord delivers today, by cleansing the Jerusalem Temple.

“It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it into a den of robbers'” (Lk 19: 46)

Today we have converted many of the places into “dens of robbers”…

>> Today we have badly defiled the “Sense of the Sacred” in many places…

Cinemas and movies have a heavy stench of vulgarity and indecency.

>> They rob the society of its ethical culture and moral innocence.

Posters, hoardings and advertisements have become mediums of immorality and offensiveness

>> They rob its viewers of their principles and convictions in life.

The Internet and new media are badly misused to become snares of promoting life-threatening and life-abusing activities.

>> They rob its users of their proper purposes & instead addict them to many compulsions & cravings which are hard to be given up.

Families and communities often become places lacking in genuine love, unity and peace

>> They rob one of the chance to grow in a spirit of sharing and understanding.

Our bodies are often manipulated with many addictions, improper practices and ungodly behaviours.

>> They rob the person of the purity and holiness that is engraved deep within.

The Cleansing of the Jerusalem Temple is a strong reminder for us, to check the areas and the manner in which we have lost the Sense of the Sacred…

>> We complain that the world is becoming more materialistic and less spiritual.

>> We complain that the Church is becoming more “worldly” and less inspiring.

One of the root problems lies in the fact, that we perhaps losing the “Sense of the Sacred”

>> Unless I am in awe of the God who has created this beautiful and majestic world, I will continue to abuse and misuse the world.

>> Unless I am in wonder of the God who has gifted the Church with life-saving sacraments, I will continue to blame the Church and lose precious graces that I can obtain through her.

>> Let us revive the “Sense of the Sacred”.

>> Let us cleanse anything which diminishes this “Sense of the Sacred”

>> Let us become a people who radiate with joy and enthusiasm this “Sense of the Sacred”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Nov 22 (Lk 19:41-44)

A priest was once persuading a church member to be more active and enthusiastic in his Christian life…

… and to give a little more priority to his spiritual life.

They were sitting inside the man’s parlour

>> It was winter time, and the coal was burning in the fireplace.

The man objected saying, “I can be a good person, even without doing all the spiritual activities and the requirements of the Church.”

The priest kept silent.

But stepped to the fireplace

>> Took the tongs, and picked a blazing coal from the fire…

… and kept it away from the fire.

In silence, both of them watched the blazing coal – which was far from the fire – lose its heat…

… and going off.

“I see…,” said the man!

Living a life away from God – the Fire of Life…

… will always cause tepidity and apathy to sneak in

>> Leading to a slow but sure loss of life.

The Gospel of the Day is the dramatic incident of Jesus crying over the City of Jerusalem…

… who had failed to understand the coming of the Messiah

>> And thus lost opportunity to truly be the “Jerusalem – the City of Peace!”

The heart of a parent is broken, when the child strays away from the ways of truth and honesty.

>> If this is the experience of our earthly parents, how much more will be the pain and suffering of our God, if we stray away from Him, who loves each one of us deeply with a tender affection?

It is this sorrow and grief that is strongly expressed by Jesus in the Gospel of the day.

Jesus laments over the City of Jerusalem.

St Luke records this lamentation of the Lord with a powerfully sentimental verse:

“As Jesus drew near, he saw the city and wept over it” (Lk 19: 41)

Jesus is usually an epitome of great joy and rejoicing.

>> But this joyful Jesus being made to shed tears shows the gravity of situation.

What made Jesus to shed tears?

The pain and the hurt He experienced because of the ill-response and harsh reaction of His chosen people, Israel, represented by the city of Jerusalem.

God had chosen Israel as His people.

>> Out of all the civilizations on the earth, He chose them as His beloved.

Through them He promised that the Saviour of the human race would come.

This promise ignited the hearts of the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

>> God wiped out their enemies even in the most extreme of circumstances!

Time and again, God blessed them with judges, kings and prophets. He even provided them a place to worship.

But as the quote goes, “Familiarity breeds contempt!”

Israel, God’s own people no longer delighted in being His distinctive people.

>> For them, He became routine.

>> They began to consider Him of little value.

They allowed their hearts to grow hard, over and over, again and again.

Finally, Jesus, the long-promised Messiah came, the One whom God the Father had sent.

>> But most of the Jews by then, had grown stubborn and complacent in their ways.

>> They had no room for One who came to fulfil their Law and the Prophets.

>> They maltreated the Saviour of the World.

>> They rejected the Chosen One of God.

>> They abused the Anointed One of the Lord.

And this led, Jesus to shed tears.

This story of Jerusalem could well be our own life-story.

We have been specially chosen and loved by the Lord.

>> He has taken us through many dangers, sicknesses and accidents.

> In times when everything seem lost, He has been our refuge.

> In moments when all seemed totally blank and dark, He has been the glowing light.

> In occasions we felt like quitting life and escaping from realities, He held us in good stead.

But we tend to easily forget all these good deeds and wonders of the Lord.

>> Yes, it’s a sad thing, but a sure reality: “For many of us, God is often, just a routine!!”

We fail to be grateful and thankful to the Lord….

…by living a holy and virtuous life.

…by deepening our bond of love and affection with Him

…by translating His graces into deeds of charity and concern for our people.

We instead persecute and torture Him…

… by living a lethargic or unholy or even scandalous life

… by abandoning many of His commandments and the teachings of the Church

… by harming our brothers and sisters and being highly indifferent in situations.

God’s Heart – like that of a broken parent weeping for the child – is crying out for us…

>> Perhaps, He is telling us, “I am wounded!”

>> We have strayed much….it’s time to come back to Him

>>> He calls us.

>>> He longs to have us with Him always.

>>> He wants us back in His loving embrace.

As little children, let us run, in sincere repentance and honest contrition, to the welcoming Heart of our Beloved God.

Let us not boast or brag saying that, “I can be a good person, even without doing all the spiritual activities and the requirements of the Church.”

Rather, let’s realize that “away from the fire”…

… even a blazing coal will slowly but surely lose its heat and go off!

May we be reminded that living a life away from God – the Fire of Life…

… will always cause tepidity and apathy to sneak in

>> Leading to a slow but sure loss of life.

Let us seek the intercession of St Cecilia, the Patron Saint of musicians, whose feast we celebrate today.

>> May we imitate her passion and zeal to be always single-focused and close to the Lord, even to the point of intense suffering …

… and thus at all times, have “heavenly music” in our hearts!

God Bless! Live Jesus!