Nov 21 (Lk 19:11-28, Feast of the Presentation of our Blessed Mother)

A little tortoise was constantly facing a complex of feeling too low in life.

Seeing the various other animals, moving swiftly and speedily…

… the tortoise would very often hide itself in its shell.

It felt that it could never progress in life!

One day, it came across a wise person and sought an advice of how to get the best from life.

The sage – a wise person – replied:

“My little tortoise, always remember that you have been created specifically.

So never feel low or bad about yourself.

And as far as progressing is concerned…

… Always remember: ‘Unless you stick your neck out, you can never progress!”

That was a simple, yet effective piece of advice, isn’t it?

Unless the tortoise “stuck its neck out, it could never progress!”

Sticking the neck out of course, meant “taking a risk”…

… but unless that was done, progress was not going to happen.

The same is true for us in our life as well:

>> Unless we take risks… Unless we “stick out our necks”

… we can never progress!

The Gospel of the Day is a parable of a person who refused “to stick out his neck”…

… and thus not only failed to progress, but ended up on the losing side!

Jesus presents the very-practical “Parable of the Productive Servants”

A nobleman who, before going to a faraway country, entrusts money to his servants with an instruction, “Engage in trade with these, until I return” (Lk 19: 13)

The money given was a “mina”

A mina was a Greek coin.

>> The lowest level of the Greek Coinage System was the drachma…

…. equal to one day’s wages. (1 Drachma = 1 day’s wages)

One hundred drachmas equaled one Mina (100 Drachmas = 1 Mina).

>> Therefore, One Mina equaled nearly 100 days of wages (1 Mina = 100 days wages; i.e. nearly 3 months)

With this (fairly huge) amount of money, the Master instructs the servants to “invest”

Investment always means a “sense of risk!”

The parable goes on to say that…

… one of them made another ten (Lk 19: 16)

… the other made another five (Lk 19:18)

These two are greatly rewarded.

The one “who is willing to take risks” always finds life more rewarding and satisfying!

But, its over here, the parable presents the third servant, who decided to be “Mr. Keep it Safe!”

He came back to his master, with an excuse: “Sir, here is your coin” (Lk 19: 20)

He failed to make any investment

>> He failed to take “any risk”

He refused to “stick out his neck!”

Sticking the neck out of course, meant “taking a risk”…

… but unless that was done, progress was not going to happen.

>> And that would make him to end up on the losing side!

The Bible is replete with personalities, who would take “risks”…

… and thus emerge successful!

>> Noah would “take the risk” of listening to God and build the Ark for rescue from the deluge

>> Abraham would “take the risk” by obeying God and leaving His country and people

>> Moses would “take the risk” and trust in God to lead the people out of slavery

>> Jeremiah would “take the risk” of being a prophet despite of several oppositions to his life

>> Peter would “take the risk” of leaving his fishing profession to be ‘fishers of men’

… and many many more!

They “risked their life” for God – His Will and His Kingdom!

>> They would “stick out their neck” in progressing in the ways of God!

How about us?

>> Do we “take risks”?

… the “risk” to trust in God, in spite of the uncertainties of life

… the “risk” to know God has the best plan for us, despite the many hardships we face in life

… the “risk” to believe that God always walks with us, even though we go through the ‘deserts of life’

May we always realize:

Unless we take risks… Unless we “stick out our necks”

… we can never progress!

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of our Blessed Mother Mary.

>> This Feast is a constant reminder for us to “offer ourselves” to the Lord…

… the willingness to “stick out our necks” in trust and hope to the Providence of the Lord

Technically speaking, we can’t ‘offer’ anything to God because He is the source of everything.

>> All what we are and what we have is His.

But we can surely make a pledge of our lives to Him and live a life united with Him…

… like Mary, our Mother

This is the offering that is demanded of us…

… an offering of a faithful life

… an offering of a holy life

>> Just like our Blessed Mother!

As little children, holding the Hands of our Blessed Mamma, may we cry to the Lord – “For You, Forever!”

Happy Feast of the Presentation of our Blessed Mamma!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Nov 20 (Lk 19:1-10)

A nice and interesting poem by Carol Connell, a Poet, goes thus:

“Trek began, short guy ran

Had a plan, crowd to scan

Find God-Man.

Carefully climb a tree,

Patiently wait to see

This, the key!

Jesus came, called Zac’s name

Not to blame, or to shame

Love, His aim.

Without flack, down came Zac

They went back, to his shack

Had a snack.

And so thence, Zac was tense

Soon relents, then repents

His offense.

Did restore, to the poor

Stole no more, settled score


Biblical stories are indeed interesting and motivating…

… aren’t they?

>> One such Biblical story which is not just interesting & motivating, but also greatly popular is of the little man – Zacchaeus.

The Gospel of the Day takes us through this life-changing incident of this Little Man.

>> Thought little, this person teaches us big things

>> Though small, the story tells many great lessons.

The story begins with Jesus coming to Jericho and intending to pass through the town (Lk 19:1)

Jericho has a long history, especially seen in the Old Testament.

>> Jericho was the first city to be conquered by the Israelites under Joshua. (Josh 6:1-27)

It was surrounded by a huge wall.

>> However, with directives from God & under the leadership of Joshua, the city was laid siege.

On the appointed day, Joshua ordered the people to shout & the walls of the city collapsed and the Israelites destroyed it.

Joshua laid a curse on the one who would rebuild this city.

>> Thus, Jericho bore the brunt of a curse.

It is to this ‘place of curse’ that Jesus makes his entry.

As Jesus makes his entry to this cursed place, a little man named Zacchaeus climbs & hides himself behind the leaves of a sycamore tree.

Zacchaeus was a rejected man.

>> This rejection was on two levels:

1. A personal level

2. A societal level

The Gospel mentions that Zacchaeus was “short in stature” (Lk 19:3)

It is interesting to note that “Zacchaeus” in Greek means…

… the pure – a just one

However when St Luke speaks of him as being “short in stature”, it was a pointer…

… that he was perhaps living a life contradictory to what his own name suggested.

His being short was probably referring to the fact…

… that as a tax collector, he was living a life of corruption

… that as a rich man, he was still quite unsatisfied in life

Being short, he faced a sense of rejection…

… in his own self!

At the same time, Zacchaeus was also rejected by the society.

The Gospel describes him as being a tax collector.

Under the Roman system, tax collecting jobs were outsourced to people…

… who bought the right to collect taxes.

Tax collectors paid a fixed amount of tax to Rome

>> After that, they enriched themselves by forcing the public to pay far more than what Rome required.

Zacchaeus thus became a tax collector for the hated Roman government

>> He was probably treated as a heathen…

… isolated from all social life

… equated with the Gentiles at a distance when he went to the temple!

Thus, being a tax-collector, he faced a sense of rejection…

… in his own society and among his own people!

Besides, Zacchaeus was a “chief” tax collector…

… so his rejection was still more “chief” – greater and graver.

Do we also find ourselves to be rejected – just as Zacchaeus was?

>> Despising ourselves because of our own weaknesses and shortcomings?

… Being despised by the society, when we take a conviction that is opposed to the worldly and materialistic ways?

>> Despising ourselves, because of the weight of habitual sins and prolonged bad habits?

… Being despised by the society, when we fail to abide by the unholy trends of the modern world?

Zacchaeus, however, stands as an example and challenge to us…

… to not get dejected by such rejections!

>> Instead to “deeply desire” for the Lord and be ready to climb the sycamore tree of “sadness, rejection, disappointment and dejection” in our lives!

The Lord is gazing, addressing and seeking for us.

>> Am I ready to encounter, to listen and to be found by Him?

A ‘Yes’ to the question, will also mean taking some radical decisions in our life, just like Zacchaeus did…

>> Giving up of possessions…

>> Letting go of my undue desire for money, cheap popularity, the riches in my life etc.

>> Repaying those whom I have cheated…

>> Forgiving and accepting those whom I hurt, whom I don’t like, whom I am not in good terms etc.

Zacchaeus was a despised man.

>> He was despised because of his short stature.

>> He was despised because as a tax collector, he worked for the enemy-government and would cheat and defraud people.

>> He was despised because Jesus came to his house – a house of a sinner.

But the encounter with Jesus made him a transformed person

>> The encounter with Jesus made him to go beyond all complexes and filled him with deep joy!

This same transformation is at hand for us…

Let, us, learn from the ‘little man’ and make significant changes in our life, in order to experience the magnanimous wonders and graces from our ‘Big God!’

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Nov 19 (Lk 18:35-43)

An elderly person, who was known to be very joyful and optimistic in life, was once asked by his little nephew: “Uncle, what is the secret of your happiness?

>> Don’t you ever have disappointments?”

The uncle looked at the little lad and responded:

“Child.. life has taught me to trust in God above all, and know that His Hand is there with me, at all times.

When Disappointment comes to me, all that I do is:

Change a letter!

The ‘D’ in Disappointment has to be made ‘H’

>> Thus, every Disappointment, becomes HIS-Appointment!

>> And I experience His Providence with me, always!”

That’s truly beautiful, isn’t it?

Are we ready to change the ‘Disappointments’ in our life to ‘Hisappointments’…

… Appointments with the Lord?”

Every person in the world faces moments of disappointments and darkness.

>> Some of us get encompassed by it.

>> Some of us get dejected by it.

The Gospel of Day presents a blind man, who faced immense darkness, but did not allow to get encompassed or dejected by it…

.. rather changed, the Disappointment into His-appointment!

Let us travel with this blind man through this exciting journey of moving from “Tamas”(darkness) to “Jyothi”(light)…

The blind man takes us through four stages of a spiritual life:

1. A State of Blindness

The man was stuck with blindness.

There is no idea as to when or how or why he became blind.

>> Maybe he was blind from birth.

>> Maybe he was blind due to some sickness as he grew up

>> Maybe he was blind as a result of some accident or calamity

The reasons for his blindness is unknown

Perhaps, many of us are in a state of blindness….

>> Blindness of being rejected and not accepted…

>> Blindness of inferiority complexes…

>> Blindness of inner brokenness…

>> Blindness of family crisis…

> Some of us maybe experiencing this darkness from the time of our birth.

> Some of us maybe experiencing this darkness due to calamities striking our lives as we grew

2. A State of Seeking

A life of blindness meant a life of total dependence on others…

…at times facing the ire of the people…at times facing the rejection of the people.

> The blind man could have become dejected and totally depressed.

> He could have given up in life and cursed their destiny.

But the blind man, did not allow the darkness to cloud his lives.

>> He probably would have heard about Jesus and the wonders He had done.

>> He sought with hope, the One who could banish his darkness.

>> His sought with faith, the One who could heal his gloominess.

Our state of blindness should not become a hindrance to seek the Lord.

>> We need to seek the Lord with our entire being…

>> We need to seek the plan of God and His providential care in our shadows..

>> We need to seek the road ahead with Hope and Faith in His Divine plans…

3. The State of Faith

The blind man, after making a deliberate choice to seek the Lord, expressed his deep faith in the healing power of the Lord.

The Lord makes a test of his trust and hope in Him.

“What do you want me to do for you?”

He said, “Lord, let me receive my sight” (Lk 18:41)

Our seeking for the Lord, needs to be supplemented greatly with the vitamin of Faith!

>> Delays in our prayer requests, should become an incentive to grow deeper in faith.

>> Addition of more problems in life, ought to be a moment to have more faith in Him

4. The Stage of Proclamation

The blind man, who was healed by Jesus, now, was filled with tremendous joy and enthusiasm.

> His happiness is so much overflowing, that he goes beyond the words of Jesus, and proclaims His wonderful miracle to the peoples.

“And immediately, he received his sight and followed Jesus, glorifying God” (Lk 18: 43)

> Once we are touched by the Lord, our happiness would know no bounds.

> Once we are healed by the Lord, our enthusiasm would get highly contagious.

The Blind man in the Gospel take us through these four stages…

The Stage of Blindness… The Stage of Seeking…the Stage of Faith…the Stage of Proclamation.

Let us be inspired and challenged by him

>> Let us seek the Lord of Light in our darkness.

>> Let us seek the Lord of healing in our sicknesses.

>> Let us seek the Lord of holiness in our blindness.

Life surely brings very often disappointments!

But with trust in the Lord and confidence in His Providence, let us…

‘Change a letter!…

… thus making ‘every Disappointment, as HIS-Appointment!’

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Nov 18 (Mk 13:24-32)

There is an incident from the American Revolution which beautifully illustrates the tragedy that can follow from procrastination – the habit of postponing or delaying something.

It is reported that a Colonel who was the commander of the British troops in Trenton, New Jersey, was playing cards when a courier brought an urgent message stating that General George Washington was crossing the Delaware River.

The Colonel put the letter in his pocket and didn’t bother to read it until the game was finished.

Later, realizing the seriousness of the situation, he hurriedly tried to rally his men to meet the coming attack, but his procrastination was his undoing.

>> He and many of his men were killed and the rest of the regiment were captured.

Just a “few minutes of delay” cost him his life, his honour, and the liberty of his soldiers!

Any profession…any activity…to achieve its goal in the best manner possible…

… requires a tough preparation, unabated determination, a constant movement and an unwavering vigilance!

The Gospel of the Day, speaking of the Second Coming of the Son of Man, is a strong exhortation to be “constantly on the watch”, being vigilant and ready, to receive the Lord in His glory.

Our Blessed Lord draws the illustration of the Fig Tree to point to the fact that “one must become aware of the signs of the times” and be constantly “on the watch”.

Jesus says, “From the fig tree, learn the lesson!” (Mk 13:28)

When we look into our lives, we find that we are “highly disciplined and well-prepared” with respect to professional disciplines and careers…

> Sportspersons sweat it out and slog their bodies through a strict routine…to achieve the best!

> Army personnel undergo a hard grilling and a grinding through tough situations…to achieve the best!

> Musicians train their voices and are extremely cautious in avoiding bad food habits…to achieve the Best!

> Scientists meticulously chalk out their experiments and are very careful in minute aspects…to achieve the Best!

But very often, it is seen, that such an attitude & such a principle is not applied to Spirituality or our Christian Life?!

>> There seems to be a tendency to take our Christian Life as a routine and for granted….

>> There seems to be a feeling to live our Spiritual Lives in relaxation and lethargy and sluggishness…

>> There seems to be a trend to give least botheration to the aspects of God, Soul, Sin, Grace, Salvation etc…..

>>> Why does Spirituality most often find the least place in our lives?

>> Why do thoughts of Holiness be entertained least in our minds?

> Why do talks of God, figure so little in our daily chats?

It’s time to wake up from our sleep…

“… know what hour it is, how it is full time now for you to wake from sleep.

For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed; the night is far gone, the day is at hand…” (Rom 13: 11-12a)

These words from the Letter to the Romans, which had awakened St Augustine from his slumber of paganism, sexual immorality and loose living into the freedom of Holiness and Sanctity… is addressed also to each one of us….

>> In Mt 24: 42-44, Jesus says, “Stay Awake……and Be Alert!”

With respect to the coming of the Son of Man…

… No one knows the time or the hour

… No one knows the context or situation

Therefore….we need to be alert and watchful at all times – Any time, Any Context!

>> When Abraham was prepared to give up his Beloved Isaac… he encountered the glory of God!

>> When Moses was ready to follow God and trust Him completely… he encountered the power of God!

>> When Israelites were ready to cleanse themselves and prepare…they encountered the Majesty of God!

>> When the Prophets were willing to let go and abandon fully to God’s hands…..they encountered the Voice of God!

>> When Mother Mary was consenting to God’s Will in Her life…she encountered the ‘Grace’fulness of God!

>> When the Apostles were eager to wait in humility and prayer….they encountered the Spirit of God!

Yes, when we are willing to be prepared and be ready… we will experience the mighty touch and presence of God!

One of the biggest reasons why a Christian fails to take one’s faith seriously is because of Procrastination…

>> We mould ourselves to thinking that there is time for all this later…

… we still have years ahead to repent and atone!

And this certainly is one of Satan’s most successful strategies in today’s world: To show there is still time!

>> Satan doesn’t prevent us from having thoughts of prayer…

… but he says: not now, do it a little later.

>> Satan doesn’t prevent us from having aspirations of fasting and other pious devotions…

… but he says: not now, do it later

>> Satan doesn’t prevent us from engaging in works of charity….

… but he says: not now, do it later

And we, busy with our daily schedules……like ignorant fools… find that suggestion, practical and feasible!

>> Today the Lord gets serious in His tone…and warns us: “Watch! Be alert!”

As someone said, “those who hope to repent and amend at the eleventh hour, may perhaps, die at ten-thirty!”

We give the best in our workplaces… in areas of sports and music… army people & scientists slog to be the best…

>> But why are we slackening when it comes to our Faith and our Christian Life?

We invest our time and money and energy, often only for materialistic and passing things of the world!

>> But today, let us seek to invest of ourselves in service of the Kingdom and to prepare for the Lord’s coming

> Our souls are searching…

> Our bodies are agitated and distressed…

>>> Money, positions, power, sex, drugs, alcohol, pleasures, films, criticism….. none of these will satisfy or gratify us!

Let us seek and thirst for the One whom our souls are searching….

.. and be constantly on the “watch and vigilance” preparing for the Coming of our Blessed Lord!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Nov 17 (Lk 18:1-8)

An interesting incident is mentioned in the life of Jan Paderewski

>> He was a famous Polish pianist and a pioneer of solo recital at music concerts.

It is said that when Paderewski was to leave his native Poland to play his first recital in London…

… he asked an influential compatriot to give him a letter of introduction, to a leading figure in Britain’s musical world

>> This was for any assistance, should anything go amiss.

The letter was handed to him in a sealed envelope.

>> Paderewski hoped that everything would proceed smoothly and he would not have to use the letter.


.. he did not have to use the letter.

>> His debut was a great success and he soon began to climb the ladder of success.

Some years later, while going through his papers, he came upon the ‘letter of introduction’ and opened it.

He was surprised to read the content:

“This will introduce Jan Paderewski, who plays the piano, for which he demonstrates no conspicuous (visible/noticeable) talent.”

Life… is often such!

>> Discouragements lure everywhere

>> Rejections prowl all around

Do we get bogged down by such discouragements and rejections?

>> Are we people who bring about discouragement and rejection to people?

The Gospel of the Day is the Parable of the Persistent Widow.

The Parable speaks of a judge and a widow.

The judge is characterized by some features:

>> He did not fear God.

>> He did not fear humans.

>> He was initially adamant in his refusal.

The Widow is characterized by some features:

>> She had a genuine need.

>> She was denied justice.

>> She remained persistent till the end.

We are often in many and true needs.

>> But we do sometimes find ourselves, a bit depressed at the delays in receiving the answers to our prayers.

The parable encourages and exhorts us to remain persistent in our prayer life and not to get discouraged by God’s delays, which apparently appears as God’s denials.

>> Yes, God’s delays are certainly not His denials!

>> God’s pauses are certainly not His refuses!

At the same time, this parable invites us to switch roles:

>> To see ourselves as the Judge…

… and God as the Widow.

Widows in the first century found themselves at a very sad state.

They were quite literally unprotected. Many became homeless and destitute after the death of their husbands.

>> Often they were at mercy of cunning men, including some religious leaders who would “devour widows houses” (Mark 12:40)

A widow couldn’t count on anyone to come to her aid.

>> She represents the hopeless….the unaided…the oppressed.

In Mt 25:35, Jesus identifies Himself with the one who was hungry, thirsty, naked, stranger and the imprisoned.

>> Jesus in the poor, the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the stranger and the imprisoned…

… is the hopeless one …the unaided one …the oppressed one.

Jesus, like the widow in the Parable…comes knocking at our door:

Behold I stand at the door, and knock… (Rev 3:20)

As the oppressed and justice-deprived Widow, Jesus, knocks at our door – we, the judges.

What is our reaction and response to the voice of the needy and the helpless?

The cry of the one in pain and suffering reaches our hears…

>> Do I reach out my heart to them and seek to ease their troubles and hardships?

The moaning of a broken family or a lost teenager or a spoilt child comes to us…

>> Do I pray for them and help them, in ways possible for me?

The sad tear of the abused or oppressed people with whom we work is seen by us…

>> Do I get out of my comfort-shell to make them feel comforted and consoled?

The disturbing reports of violence, corruption, injustice in the society falls on our senses…

>> Do I remain indifferent to them and become saturated with such atrocities?

Yes…the widow – the hopeless, the unaided and the oppressed one… keeps knocking at our doors…

>> As a Judge…

… do I keep refusing?

…do I keep getting irritated?

…do I feel life as a botheration?

Life often has discouragements luring everywhere and rejections prowling all around

Do we get bogged down by such discouragements and rejections?

>> Are we people who bring about discouragement and rejection to people?

The Parable of the Persistent Widow is certainly a big lesson to remain firm and perseverant in our prayer life.

>> And when looked from another perspective, is also a big challenge to become a people who reach out in justice and give comfort and consolation to the needy.


Do we hear the knock, seeking for help?

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Nov 16 (Lk 17:26-37)

A humorous story is told of a heavy-weight boxer who would greatly brag about his prowess…

… and speak of how he would “he would conquer the world!”

It is said that one day, he came to a big city with two huge suitcases.

As he got down the bus, putting the suitcases down, he looked up to the tall building tower and exclaimed: “I will conquer this city!”

When he looked down, however…

… the suitcases were gone!

Very often, our lives are such…

>> We dream of conquering the entire world…

… but often fail to even have a control on ourselves!

We become “so worldly”, that we fail to give heed “to the world to come!”

>> We become so occupied with the concerns of our earthly existence, that sometimes we “forget about our Heavenly priorities!”

The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus highlighting this essential element of Christian living: Being in the world, but living out of the world, with eyes firmly set on heavenly realms.

Jesus says, “Whoever seeks to gain his life, will lose it, but whoever loses his life, will preserve it” (Lk 17:33)

Very often our lives get too attached to material riches and attachments.

>> We fall prey to seeking great honour and fame in being a Christian…

… but are unable to grasp the fact that ‘to be a Christian is to be living a life of simplicity’.

>> We yield to temptations of being obsessed to seek power and positions of futile vanity…

… and fail time and again to live up to the Christian virtues of humility and modesty

>> We often become victims of engaging in dirty politics and authority-grabbing games…

… and become an anti-witness to the Lord who ‘came to serve, rather than be served’

We need to give heed to the words of the Lord who prayed that “we are in the world, but do not belong to this world” (Jn 17: 15)

A Christian life ought to be hallmarked by detachment and separation…

… detachment from too much of worldly distractions and vain glory

… separation from sinful ways and evil tendencies

It ought to be radiated with total focus and complete dedication…

… total focus on the Lord who ‘walked the talk’ by giving up His life in service

… complete dedication to the Kingdom of God which calls for a humble way of life

The world today is being ‘gripped in sin’, “as it was in the days of Noah” (Lk 17:26)

>> We need to open our eyes to realize the warning given by the Lord and be ‘on the watch’… … after the example of the destruction of the sinful city of Sodom.

Perhaps our own life… or our family… or our community… our society…

… is resembling the city of Sodom

>> There is much drunkenness in worldly pleasures!

>> There is much ‘eating and consumption’ of corrupt practices!

>> There is much neglect of honest ways and of truthful conduct!

>> There is much enjoyment of bad, inhuman and cruel behaviours!

Let us deepen…

… our faith in the Lord

… our love for the Kingdom

… and our detachment from riches

We are reminded today that as Christians, we are people…

… who live in the world, yet are called to be out of the world.

… who live amidst possibilities of wealth, yet are called to be detached from them.

… who live with the prospect of gaining immense power, yet are exhorted to not be attached

We may be often tempted “to conquer the world and the city”…

… but let’s get our priorities right, and in humility, seek to first protect “the suitcases of our souls!”

May the Saint of the day – St Margaret of Scotland – who lived an exemplary charitable life of being a Queen and Mother…

… be an inspiration for all of us to live “noble and holy life, even in the midst of immense possibilities of earthly riches!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Nov 15 (Lk 17:20-25)

A simple story is told of a little girl who accompanied her grandfather to fetch water from the well.

After having drawn water, as the bucket was lowered and kept on the ground, the little girl asked her grandfather: “Grandpa, where does God live?”

The old man, lifted up the girl, and held her over the open well and asked: “What do you see?”

The excited girl, looked deep into the well and seeing her reflection exclaimed: “I see myself”

“That’s where God lives!”, said the wise grandfather, “God lives in you!”

Are we aware that each of one of us is an abode of the “Presence of the Lord?”

>> Do we mend our lives accordingly…

… and seek to live holier and saintly lives?

Our Christian lives must be lived eagerly and enthusiastically to nurture and promote the Kingdom of God…

… and live as citizens, worthy of a King Who is all-holy and all-honest!

Are we ready to collaborate with Jesus, to infuse a greater spirit of the Kingdom of God in this world …

… and to promote the reach and spread of the Kingdom of God?

The Gospel of the Day is a teaching on the Kingdom of God.

The Pharisees ask “when” the kingdom will come (Lk 17:20)

>> Jesus however explains “how” the Kingdom will come (17:22-35)

Jesus does not give an answer to the question of the Pharisees.

>> Rather, He makes to realize what should be the proper question.

It’s the style and technique of the Lord to get right the priorities and focus in life!

The people searched for Jesus after the miracle of the multiplication of loaves…

> Jesus sets right their intentions by speaking of the need to hunger for the bread of life (Jn 6)

The disciples of John came to clarify whether Jesus was indeed the Messiah to come…

> Jesus sets right their focus by turning their attention to all His signs and deeds (Lk 7:19ff)

The two disciples, James and John, sought for privileged places in Jesus’ future reign…

> Jesus sets right their priorities by exhorting them to grow rather in humility and service (Mk 10: 35-45)

Nicodemus, in his encounter with Jesus, remained on peripheral questions and doubts…

> Jesus sets right his doubts by calling his attention on living a life in the Spirit and being born anew spiritually (Jn 3: 1-21)

The Lord loves to challenge our doubts, theories & even convictions…in order to be in harmony with the priorities of the Kingdom.

>> Am I willing to allow the Lord to work in me to change some of my thinking patterns, that would be in accord to His Will?

>> Am I flexible to let the Lord to mould and shape my lifestyle and thus be in tune with the focus of His Kingdom?

The “Kingdom of God” is an oft-repeated phrase in the New Testament and especially in the Gospels.

What is the Kingdom of God?

A kingdom normally brings to picture a geographical territory, with its clear-cut boundaries and its rulers and citizens.

The Kingdom of God, is however, quite different!

>> The Kingdom of God is not a geographical dominion like worldly kingdoms!

The Kingdom of God is a spiritual reality where God’s Will is done.

It is a person; it is He – Jesus!

“Jesus leads people to realize the overwhelming fact that in Him, God is present among them and that He is God’s presence…” (from the book, “Jesus of Nazareth – Part I” by Pope Benedict XVI)

The Pharisees who asked Jesus on “when” the Kingdom would come, were probably expecting an external sort of a Kingdom.

>> They probably expected a Kingdom which would overturn and overthrow the Roman Government.

But Jesus clarifies the nature of this Kingdom…

>> He speaks of a Kingdom which is much more internal & spiritual, and whose impact would be felt and experienced in the external world.

One experiences the Kingdom of Heaven first in one’s inner life…and this is manifested in one’s external lifestyles…

The Samaritan Woman experienced the power of the Kingdom of God within herself, when she spoke to Jesus, the fountain of life…

>> And this experience of the Kingdom led her to proclaim the name of Jesus to all her villagers & bring many to the saving fold of the Lord.

The Disciples experienced the power of the Kingdom of God within them, when the Holy Spirit descended on them…

>> And this experience of the Kingdom was manifested in their bold and powerful witnessing life!

St Paul experienced the force of the Kingdom of God within him, when he encountered the Risen Lord on the way to Damascus…

>> And this experience of the Kingdom was displayed by him through his passionate life of preaching and missionary works.

In the Prayer, the Our Father, we pray:

“Thy Kingdom Come,

Thy Will be Done…”

>> The Kingdom of God is, where the Will of God is fulfilled.

The question arises before us:

Is the Kingdom of God here?

>> Or is the Kingdom yet to come?

This is where we speak of the concept of “Already and not yet”

The Kingdom of God is already here, but not yet!

>> The Kingdom of God already reigns now, but not yet, in its fullness!

As St Paul says in 1 Cor 13: 12, “At present, we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present, I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known”.

Do I experience the Kingdom of God in my life?

The Kingdom of God is not a matter of food and drink, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom 14:17)

>> I need to experience the joy and the peace of the Lord in my life…

>> I need to place the priorities of God over all else in my life…

That’s the Kingdom of God.

>> That’s the Reign of God.

We are invited today “to radiate heaven on our faces”!

May our Christian lives be lived eagerly and enthusiastically to nurture and promote the Kingdom of God…

… and thus live as citizens, worthy of a King Who is all-holy and all-honest!

Looking into the “wells of our lives and of others,” may we see the Presence of the Lord…

… and thus may we become a “Kingdom People!!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Nov 14 (Lk 17:11-19)

Shopping malls and Super markets have gained a lot of popularity over the last few years.

One of the attractions in most of these places is the decorative tag-board displaying the word: “FREE”!

>> Buy one shirt, get one FREE…

>> Pick up two items of your choice, and get a gift hamper FREE…

>> Choose any one item in the following, and receive a kitchen set absolutely FREE…

People flock where there are FREE things to be offered.

Sometimes, even in our religion and our spirituality, we look for such FREE offers!

Though, there’s nothing wrong in this concept of FREE offers…

… in the spiritual realm, such FREE gifts also places a demand on the receivers to have a spirit of gratefulness and gratitude.

Every FREE gift in the spiritual world, is a call to cultivate greater, the spirit of Thankfulness!

The Gospel of the Day is a reminder to grow in this dimension of appreciating & acknowledging the great FREE gifts of God in our lives.

The story of the Healing of the Ten Lepers is a very familiar and popular incident.

In the Biblical days, leprosy, was one of the most dreaded diseases.

>> Leprosy finds its mention in the Bible in over 40 places.

One of the reason why leprosy is talked about so much in the Bible is that it is a graphic illustration of sin’s destructive power.

>> Incurable by man, many believed that God inflicted the curse of leprosy upon people for the sins they committed.

Leprosy became a disease that was so despised and loathed that those afflicted were not allowed to live in any community with their own people (Numbers 5:2).

A leper wasn’t allowed to come within six feet of any other human, including his own family.

>> The disease was considered so revolting that the leper wasn’t permitted to come within 150 feet of anyone, when the wind was blowing.

Lepers lived in a community with other lepers until they either got better or died.

>> This was the only way the people knew to contain the spread of the contagious forms of this dreaded sickness.

When the Lord travelled through the region of Samaria and Galilee, He encountered the group of ten lepers.

>> In churches, we’ve seen lovely choirs of men & women, who raise their voices to the heavens, with their beautiful & melodious voices.

>> At Christmas, the splendid choir of angels, raised their voice , to announce to the world, of the Birth of the Glorious Saviour of Humanity.

But here is another choir…A dreadful-appearing choir….Of Ten Lepers…

Their patches of skin were discoloured…

… with pink or white shades appearing on their brow, nose, ear, cheeks or chin….

… with spongy tumourous appearances on various parts of the body…

… and deformed hands and feet!

An unsightly and ugly choir….singing their melodious chorus in loud exaltation, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” (Lk 17:13)

The chorus reached the ears of the Divine Choir-Master, Jesus!

>> Their pitiful cry…their hopeless wail…their pleading voice, echoed in the ears of the Divine Healer!

“Go, show yourselves to the Priest” (Lk 17: 14) were the words of the Divine Lord.

Lev 14:1-9 states that the priest must authenticate any cure from leprosy.

>> This was to allow the afflicted person to re-enter the society.

But as the lepers are on their way to show to the priest, they are cured!

>> Miracles occur, when one chooses to put one’s trust in God!

>> Wonders happen, when one obeys the words of the Lord, in faith and hope!

But one of them realizes that He had been healed.

And so he returned and glorified God in a loud voice and fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked Him (Lk 17: 15)

Here is a big lesson for us all…

> All the ten lepers sought for a FREE blessing from the Lord.

> All the ten lepers expected a FREE miracle from the Healer.

>> Jesus, in His graciousness, did bless all of them with a FREE miracle.

>> Jesus, in His compassion, did shower all of them with a FREE blessing.

But just one among them, acknowledged the worth and value of that FREE gift

>> The rest of the nine, probably completely forgot the source of that FREE blessing.

Every FREE gift in the spiritual world, is a call to cultivate greater, the spirit of Thankfulness!

But perhaps, this is a reality that we very often forget in our lives.

We take for granted the many many FREE gifts and blessings that are showered upon us.

Like the FREE offers, available at shopping malls and super markets, we gladly receive God’s blessings…

… but unfortunately, often, fail to acknowledge them and be grateful for it.

The one who returned back to thank the Lord, received not just physical healing, but also was doubly blessed with the gift of being saved!

The Lord showers His FREE gifts on us…

>> Do I return back to thank God for His marvelous blessings?

>> Do I reduce my life to being a clatter of complaints or do I adorn my life with a litany of praises and thanksgiving?

>> Do I take all my blessings for granted and merely groan about my duties?

We love to flock where there are FREE things.

>> We also love to receive the FREE blessings from God.

But, in this process, let’s not fail to also acknowledge and thank Him for His FREE offers.

Ten people were healed that day, but only one came back to give thanks.

> The one who returned to give thanks chose not to forget what Jesus had done for him.

Are we living as this grateful one or as the other nine?

Praise is a choice.

> A thankful heart is a choice.

None is forced.

>> None is compelled.

The secret of a thankful heart is a conscious choice not to forget what God has done for us.

>> Shall we also possess this Secret?

(Psst…once again…this too is a FREE offer…. )

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Nov 13 (Lk 17:7-10)

“Not to the East, but to the West.

>> Go the United States. There you will find the means, which will enable you to undertake the great field of work”

These were the words of Pope Leo XXIII to Frances Xavier Cabrini…

… the young sister who sought permission and advice for her newly-founded Congregation named the ‘Institute of the Salesian Missionaries of the Sacred Heart’

>> (later renamed the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus).

Wanting to go to China, the daring sister would listen “in humility and docility as a servant” to the prudent advice of the Holy Father…

… and the pioneering efforts of she and her sisters with a life of “self-effacement and abjection” would reach out to the thousands of Italian immigrants who were abandoned in ghettos, working at low-paying menial jobs and had no priests, teachers or doctors to care for them.

Frances Xavier Cabrini would go on to be the first naturalized citizen of the United States to be canonized by the Roman Catholic Church, on July 7, 1946.

On this Feast day of this “Patron Saint of the Immigrants” who epitomized the values of obedience and humility, the Gospel of the Day presents the great reminder to all Christians:

“ Servanthood is an integral and intimate dimension in being a follower of Jesus Christ!”

The Lord in the Gospel today narrates the Parable of the Unprofitable Servant.

In this parable, Jesus tells about a servant who works all day long out in the field, or out taking care of the flock.

>> And after he works all day long, he comes into the house…

Is he expected to sit down and rest and eat his own meal? No

>> Rather, he is required to serve his master by providing him the meal first.

And after doing all that work – all day long – there’s no word of thanks, no gratitude.

Jesus closes out this parable by saying that the servant was unprofitable because he only did what he was told to do.

Is it something practical?

>> Is it something easy?

Our modern-day psychology would speak of the concept of a “positive stroke” that is to be given to those working or those who undertake some labour.

>> It’s important that the employers in a company are given a “positive stroke” by appreciating their good works…

>> It’s important that the servants in a house are given a “positive stroke” by encouraging with good words and a cheerful countenance…

>> It’s important that the workers in a firm or factory are given a “positive stroke” by acknowledging their worth and constantly boosting their confidence level…

But the Gospel of the Day seems to be demanding much more from a Servant who has dedicated one’s life for the Lord…

>> A servant who works whole day long ploughing in the field or tending the sheep…

>> A servant who delays his needs and instead prepares and serves meals for his master…

>> A servant, who after all his works, doesn’t expect words of gratitude…

The Parable is surely a tough one!

But, the One who preached this Parable is not a mere preacher, but is One Who practices!

Jesus, the one who preached this Parable, practised perfectly, this life of being a servant.

>> He is the Servant, who works in the field ploughing…

…sowing the seed of the Word of God, ploughing the Gospel in the hearts of people and toiling in the hot sun of oppositions and mockery

>> He is the Servant, who tends the sheep in the field…

…providing pasture for His people, protecting them from the wolves of the evil and going after any of the sheep which are lost in the wilderness

>> He is the Servant, who prepares a meal and serves at table…

…nourishing those at table with His own body, strengthening them with His own blood and constantly reinforcing in the journey of life

How are we to be such a Servant of the Lord?

1. Having a mind of being a Servant of God:

The world of a servant centers not around himself, but around the Master.

>> Whatever pleases the Master, the servant does.

If we truly acknowledge God as our Master, then we too…

…will do the works which please Him

…will think and seek to do His Will

…will speak the words which are worthy of His grace

2. Being Faithful in this task of being His servant

The world of a servant centers around total availability and openness to the needs of the Master.

If we truly accept God as our Master, then we too…

…will give ourselves to Him totally at all times

…will place His priorities over ours

…will avoid anything that blocks my complete service of Him

The Call is to be a Servant…who is dedicated and selfless.

>> Jesus is our model and example in being a Servant.

It’s a demand placed on us.

>> “ Servanthood is an integral and intimate dimension in being a follower of Jesus Christ!”

Let us seek the intercession of the Saint of the Day – St Frances Xavier Cabrini – and be inspired by her life and words…

>> “Rest?” We will have all eternity in which to rest. Now let us work.”

>> “Pray, pray always, and ask unceasingly for the Spirit of Prayer. The Spirit of Prayer means praying in accordance with the Divine good pleasure, willing only what God wills.

… It means that we have our minds fixed on prayer at all times, in all places, working, walking, eating, speaking, suffering; habitually and always.”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Nov 12 (Lk 17:1-6)

There is a famous incident associated with Thomas Alva Edison, the renowned scientist.

Edison and his team had undertaken the tedious task of inventing the “light bulb”.
>> It took the team 24 hours to put one bulb together.

When it was ready, Edison gave the bulb to a young helper boy, to carry up to the steps.
>> Nervously, this young boy climbed the stairs…
… step by step, with extreme caution and fright – lest the priceless piece of work be dropped!

But the extremely anxious steps of the boy, caused the “unwanted” to happen…
… the bulb fell out of his hands..smashed to pieces!

Naturally, there was great disappointment and even annoyance at the boy.

The entire team worked for another 24 hours to make another bulb.

Finally it was ready… to be taken up the stairs..

Well, no points for guessing, to whom Edison gave this second bulb!
>> Yes, to the same boy, who had dropped and broken it the first time.

That’s true forgiveness, isn’t it?

The Gospel of the Day deals with the aspect of Forgiveness (Lk 17: 3-4)…
… which is the key for a harmonious living together.

Jesus says: “If your brother wrongs you seven times in one day and returns to you, seven times saying, ‘I am sorry’, you should forgive him” (Lk 17: 4)

The example give by the Lord is an experience, which many of us, perhaps, have had in our personal lives….

A person does a wrong to me and I forgive him.
>> The same person hurts me once again and I forgive him

He does it again, causing a deeper wound to me and I forgive him again.
>> He does it again and offends me harder and I forgive him again….but this time I am losing my patience!

Don’t I have a limit for myself to bear?
>> Should I go on bearing hurts?
>> Don’t I have feelings which are sensitive?

So we perhaps ask this question to the Lord:
“Lord, how many times must I forgive the offenses of my brother?”

We are eager to know when to quit turning the other cheek to the one who hits you on one cheek!

The Old Testament Law suggested to forgive three times (Amos 1:3-13).

But the Lord..who loves to keep challenging… throws out a bigger number.

Now is this demand of the Lord something really practical and viable?

>> Or is Jesus turning out to be “one of those many idealistic teachers who love to talk in the air….but nothing which is practical or really feasible and doable!”

The Lord invites us to look into the Aspect of God’s Forgiveness, to obtain a solution and an insight to this perennial question of “how often should I forgive my fellow brother?”…
… If God were to forgive us only a limited number of times, how many days would we have survived?

… If God were to withdraw His Grace after an “x” number of times, how many situations would we have endured?

… If God were to stop granting us pardon after a period of time, how many blessings would we have been denied?

… If God were to keep an account of all our sins and transgressions, how many of us would have been alive today?

Of course, Forgiveness does not mean…
… justifying the bad behaviours of people!
… supporting the evil deeds of our fellow beings!
… encouraging the faults or situations of wrongdoing or hurts!
… not correcting and reproving the misdeeds and carrying out our duties of rectifying!

But Forgiveness does mean…
… liberating the people from guilt and condemnation in our hearts!

… to have no ill feelings and grudging emotions against the ones who have hurt us!

… seeking to love them, praying for them and avoiding occasions of putting them down!

… to refuse to harbor their mistakes deep in our hearts, though we are wounded & hurt!

Life is an opportunity and a challenge….

An Opportunity to become more Divine…to become more forgiving…to become more Loving…!
>> A Challenge to let go of our ego…to cast away our hurtful and wounded feelings…to go beyond our aches!

Let us seek God’s Grace to Live Up to this Challenge and to Grab this opportunity!

The “light bulb” of God’s Grace has often been entrusted to us by the Lord
>> Many are the times when, have “dropped it” and broken it into pieces!
.. Yet, the Lord entrusts it, again and again – forgiving us, and trusting in us!

>> Are we ready to do the same with others

God Bless! Live Jesus!