Apr 1 (Jn 4:43-54)

There was once a good woman who was well-known among her circle for her simple faith and her great calmness in the midst of many trials.

Another woman, living across the street, hearing of her, said, “I must go and see that woman, and learn the secret of her calm, happy life.”

She went, and, enquired the woman: “Are you the woman with the great faith?”

“No,” was the answer!

“I am not the woman with the great faith, but I am the woman with the little faith in the great God,” came the rest of the answer!

Yes, the secret of “staying calm and happy” is about having “a simple and a little faith, in the Great and Big God!”

The Gospel of the Day presents an incident of a “person who stayed calm and happy” by having “a simple and a little faith, in the Great and Big God!”

Jesus is in the land of Galilee…away from his hometown. (Jn 4:43)

>> His own people in the hometown had rejected Him.

>> The known persons of His native place had failed to give heed to His mighty deeds.

And so He arrives, yet again, at a Gentile place… where they welcome Him wholeheartedly!

How true is this of many a human situation…

>> Those familiar to oneself, often fail to understand…

… but those outside, are able to give better respect!

>> Those known to a person, often, fail to see the value of the person…

… but those who are unknown, recognize the specialty of the person!

Familiarity, very often, breeds contempt!

In this Gentile land, a royal official whose son was ill – nearing death – approached Jesus, seeking for a healing.

He travelled a far distance – nearly 25 miles, from Capernaum to Galilee – and coming to Jesus, he asked, “Sir, come down, before my child dies” (Jn 4: 49)

The request of this official would perhaps, remind some of us of another person, who came with a similar problem….

.. The centurion, in Mt 8: 5-13…whose servant was at home, paralyzed.

This centurion had showed tremendous faith and was even greatly praised by Jesus.

But the royal official, in today’s Gospel, had a mixed bag of faith…

>> He had faith in Jesus, which made him to come a long distance to meet Jesus.

… his faith was however, prompted mainly only because of a need for a healing.

>> He had faith in Jesus, which made him to request the Lord for a healing.

… his faith, was however, limited by physical distance (since he asked the Lord to come to his house, unlike the Centurion (Mt 8:8)

Often our faith resembles this royal official…

… turning to the Lord only in times of afflictions and troubles

… having our own doubts on whether the Lord can really work miracle in the way I want

But we must also remember…

… hard and difficult situations, are willed by God, to allow for miracles and healings, which ought to become the springboard for a deeper and committed life of faith!

… the Lord has His own ways and means of working powerfully in our lives, and we need to have the openness and humility to receive them in His way and in His time!

When the Lord gave His word, ” You may go; your son will live” (Jn 4:50), this royal official, with a mixed bag of faith…

… began to understand the secret of “staying calm and happy” by having “a simple and a little faith, in the Great and Big God!”

The Gospel says, “… the man believed what Jesus said to him and left” (Jn 4: 50b)

>> Moments of immense difficulties and crisis often cripple us.

>> Times of tremendous hardships and pains often cause worries to us.

But, the Lord constantly invites us “to stay calm and happy” by having “a simple and a little faith, in the Great and Big God!”

>> It’s His grace that strengthens us.

>> It’s His mercy that empowers us.

Shall we also adopt and personalize this great secret?

… of “staying calm and happy” by having “a simple and a little faith, in the Great and Big God!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “ The greatest defect that we have in our prayers and in all that happens to us, particularly in that which concerns tribulations…

… is our lack of confidence!

>> Faith is great or little according to the measure of our confidence!”


Mar 31 (Lk 15:1-3, 11-32)

Return of the Prodigal Son, Rembrandt, 1669, Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg

Charles Dickens – an English writer and a social critic – is known to be one of the greatest novelists of all times.

He has created some of the world’s best-known fictional characters and his works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime; by the 20th century, critics and scholars had recognised him as a literary genius.

>> His novels and short stories are still widely read today.

Someone asked Charles Dickens once, what was the best short story in the English language.

Without any hesitation, came his reply: “The Prodigal Son!”

The Gospel of the Day is the beautiful rendition of this classic: “The Prodigal Son!”

The Parable of the Prodigal Son is perhaps one of the most popular, the most loved, the most sentimental and the most meaningful of all the parables in the Gospel.

One of the lasting images that this beautiful parable impresses upon the readers is that of a Loving Father in patient waiting for the return of the son.

The Son had abandoned the love and protection of the Father.

• It could have been because of some misunderstanding…

• It could have been because of some pride and arrogance…

• It could have been because of some selfishness and egoism…

• It could have been because of some immaturity or peer pressure…

Whatever be the reason, a rupture had occurred in the beautiful relationship.

• The son sought to find enjoyment in many worldly pleasures…

…meanwhile the Father was left with a seemingly never-ending wait for his beloved!

• The son drowned himself in the pleasurable waters of enjoyment and gratification…

… meanwhile the Father sought to keep floating on the waters of hope and optimism!

The Father kept waiting…and waiting…

• Every evening as the sun set… and as the darkness would engulf the land…

… the hopes of the Father would have diminished and a gloom darkened in his mind!

• Every morning as the sun arose….and as the bright rays enraptured the land…

…the expectations of the Father would have intensified and a glow lit his heart!

And thus the Father kept waiting and waiting for the son to return.

Finally, when the son returned, the long wait of the outstretched arms of the Father, waiting to embrace his beloved was over…

“… while he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him…”( Lk 15: 20)

The Father’s joys knew no bounds!

The son was considered lost… the son was considered dead…

But now here he is… found…and alive!

What a beautiful picture!

>> A son who comes back in repentance, clasped in a deep affectionate hug with his father who longed for the return of his beloved!

Our heavenly Father wishes to have this same picture, with each of us….

We have often gone away from the Love of our Heavenly Father…

…. by our sins and disobedience

… by our selfishness and egoism

… by our pride and worldly pleasures

… by our immaturity and misunderstanding

But He now waits in eager expectation and hope for our return to Him…

>> Shall we not run to the open and outstretched arms of our Blessed Father?

In turn, we are also invited, exhorted and challenged to become “an instrument of forgiveness and reconciliation”

May the forgiving love that we have received from our Heavenly Father be extended and widened to all the people in our life too.

Our Beloved Heavenly Father encourages all of us:

” All is forgiven. I accept you, as you are.

>> I love you!

>> Your Father!”

… and thus encourages us “to script the beautiful story of God’s Love and Mercy in our lives!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “ God is merciful to those who want to love Him…

… and who have placed their hopes in Him!”


EUREKA: Discovering Catholic Treasury – through a Lenten lens! : “Spiritual Combat”

A. What is it?

>> “Spiritual Combat” is a 17th century Catholic Spiritual Classic on Ascetic Theology

>> Fr Lorenzo Scupoli is considered to be its author.

>> St. Francis de Sales called the “Spiritual Combat” as the “Golden Book”. This “the favorite, the dear book” of the great master of spiritual life was carried by him for 18 years. The Saint read some pages of it every day, entrusted to its supernatural and human wisdom, the guidance of his soul, and recommended it to all under his direction.         

B. What does it speak of?

>> “Spiritual Combat” is a practical manual of living. It is a personal “do-it-yourself” book that allows the reader to put the truths of Christian spiritual warfare into practice on a daily basis.

>> The purpose of the book is to lead the soul to the summit of spiritual perfection, by means of a constant, courageous struggle against our evil nature, which tends to keep us away from that goal.

>> The “Spiritual Combat” consists of 66 short chapters based on the maxim that in the spiritual life one must either “fight or die”.

>> It shows the Christian how to combat his passions and vices, especially impurity and sloth, in order to arrive at victory.

C. Pointers for Reflections

1. “Spiritual Combat” analyses various human situations and advises how to cope with them, preserving a pure conscience and improving virtue.

>> The whole human history has been the story of the combat with the powers of evil. In the midst of the battlefield, human beings have to struggle to do what is right, and it is at great cost to himself, and aided by God’s grace, that he succeeds in achieving his own inner integrity.

>> The fundamental scripture at the heart of the “Spiritual Combat” is “None shall be crowned who has not fought well” (2 Tim 2:5)

2. Battle One Passion, at a time!

>> Don’t randomly practice virtues.

>> Instead, wage war against your worst passions and practice the opposite virtue.

3. There are 7 Spiritual weapons that are prescribed

(i) Distrust of Self    

(ii) Trust in God       

(iii) Spiritual Exercises (Practise of 1 virtue at a time)                

(iv) Prayer     

(v) Holy Eucharist     

(vi) Spiritual Communion   

(vii) Examination of Conscience

D. What virtues/points can we pick up from “Spiritual Combat” for this Season of Lent?

1. Recognizing that we are Soldiers for Christ in this world

2. Never being discouraged, even in the midst of immense hardships

E. Tips to practice these virtues

1. Being optimistic and trusting in God, even when things don’t seem to be going “our way”

2. Filling our hearts with the “Spirit of Joy” by invoking a short prayer, especially in moments of tension and anxiety: Jesus, I trust in You!

May this Lent and the familiarity with the Catholic Classic “Spiritual Combat” help us to grow in our acclamation: “Eureka – I have found the Lord”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

(The Full Text of “Spiritual Combat” can be found at:


Mar 30 (Lk 18:9-14)

A family had shifted to a new house, and the little girl of the house was given her own little room.

On her bedroom wall, just over the head of the bed on which she slept…

… was a picture of Jesus.

This picture was reflected in the large mirror of the dressing table…

… which was directly on the other side.

Thus, when the little girl woke up on the first morning in the new house…

… she could see the picture of Jesus (which was reflected on the mirror)

As she lay on bed, with her eyes opened, she exclaimed:

“Oh Mummy.. I can see Jesus through the mirror!”

To have a better look, the little girl, quickly kneeled up, to have a better look.

But in so doing, she brought her own body between the picture and the mirror!

>> As a result, instead of seeing Jesus, she now saw herself!

So she lay again, and saw the picture of Jesus once more.

She did this quite a few times over and over…

… seeing the image of Jesus as she lay down, and seeing her own image as she knelt up on bed!

Finally, she said:

” Mummy, when I can’t see myself, I can see Jesus!

>> But every time I see myself, I don’t see Him!”

How true it is this isn’t it…?

>> When our own self fills our vision, it clouds the view of Jesus!

Perhaps, very often, we are so full of ourselves, that we cannot see or recognise Christ!

The Gospel of the Day exhorts a strong message on this deadly vice of “being full of ourselves”

… in a single word – “Pride”.

Chapter 18 of the Gospel of St Luke begins with two parables, that teach on the aspect of Prayer.

• The parable of the Widow who was persistent (Lk 18: 1-8)

• The parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Lk 18: 9-14)

The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector have interesting comparisons with respect to the various gestures and actions that they take:

>> Both go up to the Temple area to pray…

• The Pharisee took up his position… the tax collector stood off at a distance

• The Pharisee spoke the prayer to himself… the tax collector would not even raise his eyes to heaven

• The Pharisee spoke of his personal glories…the tax collector acknowledged being a sinner, in need of mercy.

Though the Gospel doesn’t speak of it, it seems that both, the Pharisee and the tax collector had taken a mirror with themselves, when they went to pray….

A mirror.. yeah!

But, the strange fact is that, both of them used the mirror in contrasting manners!

The Pharisee used the mirror and saw his many achievements and accomplishments…

… being unlike the rest of the sinful humanity like the greedy, dishonest or adulterous

… fasting twice a week

… pay tithes on his whole income

The tax collector, also used a mirror…but saw in it, his many failures and shortcomings…

… the moments when he had cheated others to have greater financial gains

… the times he had subjected himself to be a traitor by working against his own people

… the need to seek for God’s mercy acknowledging his sinfulness

Prayer is like a mirror…but it depends on one’s attitude and disposition what one sees…

• If one is filled with pride and self-conceit, one sees only one’s accomplishments…

… and thus pushes out God and replaces oneself as the source of all good works!

• If one is truly humble and modest, one sees one’s weaknesses and limitations…

… and thus acknowledge the dependence on God and on His grace in life!

>> Prayer could be made into a time of reciting the litany of one’s great achievements…

…or prayer could be made into a moment of seeking God’s mercy and compassion.

>> Prayer could be made into an occasion to boast of oneself and put down others…

… or prayer could be made into a moment to see the glittering light of God guiding us.

What is our attitude and disposition?

• Am I afflicted with the sickness of pride which makes me to flaunt only myself at the expense of the other?

• Am I distressed with the disease of arrogance which makes me to see myself as the greatest person in the world, casting aside all people and even God?

There is something of “this” Pharisee, perhaps, in all of us which needs to be shun…

>> There is something of “this” tax collector, which needs to be cultivated…

This “this”…

… is the need to cast away pride and the need to embrace humility and dependence on God!

Let us “lay ourselves low” in humility…and not be “knelt up” in pride…

… and thus realise:

” When I can’t see myself, I can see Jesus!

>> But every time I see myself, I don’t see Him!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “ Humility perfects us in what concerns God…

… and meekness in what concerns our neighbor!”


EUREKA: Discovering Catholic Treasury – through a Lenten lens!: “Summa Theologica”

A. What is it?

>> “Summa Theologica” is one of the very important Christian Classical Books written by St Thomas Aquinas in 1265-1274.

>> It is a compendium of all of the main theological teachings of the Catholic Church. It presents the reasoning for almost all points of Christian theology.

>> “Summa Theoligica” means “Summary of Theology”. It is regarded as one of the most precise, detailed collections of Christian theology

B. What does it speak of?

>> “Summa Theoligica” is divided into three parts, and each of these three parts contains numerous subdivisions.

(i) Part 1 deals primarily with God and comprises discussions of 119 questions concerning the existence and nature of God, the Creation, angels, the work of the six days of Creation, the essence and nature of man, and divine government.

(ii) Part 2 deals with man and includes discussions of 303 questions concerning the purpose of man, habits, types of law, vices and virtues, prudence and justice, fortitude and temperance, graces, and the religious versus the secular life.

(iii) Part 3 deals with Christ and comprises discussions of 90 questions concerning the Incarnation, the Sacraments, and the Resurrection.

C. Pointers for Reflections

1. “Summa Theoligica” provides with lucid explanations about the various practical questions that we have about our faith

>> This includes the popular 5 arguments about the Existence of God, the role of Faith and Reason, the nature and limits of Human Knowledge and various philosophical and practical queries of Faith

2. “Summa Theoligica” presents a rational and philosophical explanation to the various aspects of faith

>> The modern man is today beset with “questions of rationality” – everything in life, is questioned, and nothing seems to be accepted, until a “Reasonable Answer” is provided

>> “Summa Theoligica” seeks to provide deep insights for us to have a strong basis and foundation of the Teachings of Christ

D. What virtues/points can we pick up from “Summa Theologica” for this Season of Lent?

1. Building a strong foundation for our Faith

2. Following the Principle: “To Love God more – by knowing Him More – and thus to Serve Him better”

E. Tips to practice these virtues

1. Have an openness to seek for answers to the genuine doubts, of our faith, from competent sources

2. Grow in the Love of God by growing in the Knowledge of His Church

May this Lent and the familiarity with “Summa Theologica” help us to grow in our acclamation: “Eureka – I have found the Lord”

(The Full Text of “Summa Theoligica” can be found at:


Mar 29 (Mk 12:28-34)

A heart-touching incident is told of a man who was travelling in a train.

Sitting opposite him was a mother and a little girl.

>> He talked to the little girl and told her stories and showed her his penknife – how it opened and closed.

>> He even sang to her, and she loved her new companion.

As the train reached the destination, the little girl looked up to the man and asked: “Do you love Jesus?”

He didn’t understand her at first…

… but she repeated the question.

The man stammered and blushed as he said good-bye to her and her mother…

>> But he couldn’t forget the question; “Do you love Jesus?”

He went to bed that night and that question didn’t go away, “Do you love Jesus?”

>> When he woke up the next morning, it was still there.

The question was planted by the Spirit in his heart and it put down its roots.

>> It demanded an answer.

Five years later he was walking through the city, when he bumped into a lady coming out of her house.

>> He recognized her as the mother of the little girl.

“Hello!” he said to her warmly, “I don’t suppose you remember me. About five years ago I travelled in the same train coach as you and your daughter.”

“I remember it well,” she said, “come in.”

So he went into her house.

“Do you remember that your daughter asked me a question as we were getting out of the train?” >> “How is she? Can I see her?” he asked.

The woman looked away.

>> Tears were in her eyes.

“I’m sorry” she said…

… “She is in heaven!”

She took him to her room and there were her Bible, and her dolls, and prize books, and some toys. “That’s all that’s left of my sweet Lettie,” her mother said.

“No,” said the man – who was shocked and dazed – quite vehemently. “That is not all that is left of her.

>> I am left. I am left. I owe her my faith in God!

I was an unbeliever when she asked me that question.

>> I loved the world and I lived badly, but she asked me that question and I never could forget it, and since that time I have changed.

I am not the man I was. I am now God’s.

>> I can answer the question now!”

What about us?

>> Can we answer that question: “Do YOU love Jesus?”

The Gospel of the Day is an exhortation by the Lord, to Love God with our “ALL”…

… All our heart

… All our soul

… All our mind

… All our strength

The Gospel begins with a member of the scribe, approaching Jesus with a question:

“Which is the greatest of all commandments?”(Mk 12: 28)

This man, who questioned Jesus was a scribe

>> Some translations would put it as “a Lawyer”

>> The Gospel of St Matthew describes him as a “Scholar of the Law” (Mt 22: 35)

He was an expert in the Mosaic Law.

…someone who studied the law, interpreted the law and taught the law!

Jesus responded him, with something immensely special:

“The Lord our God, is Lord alone. Love the Lord your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength”(Mk 12:29- 30)…

>> “Love your neighbour as yourself” (Mk 12: 31)

Note the insistence on the word “all”….

… “all” your heart… feelings, emotions, desires

… “all” your soul… will, choices, decisions

… “all” your mind… reason, knowledge, memory

… “all” your strength… talents, abilities, capacities

The Lord commands and demands a “total” and “complete” loving!

>>He demands an “absolute” and “unadulterated” love!

Love, as Jesus defines, is not simply about feelings and emotions, as is the popular and the ‘commercial’ understanding.

Undoubtedly, Love has the dimensions of being a tender feeling and an expressive emotion.

>> But beyond that, Love is…

… a commitment

… a dedication

… a decision

…. that one makes to be faithful – to a person or a duty or a situation!

>> Life sometimes can be quite harsh to us – making us feel totally lost out, abandoned even by God and even causing us to question the presence and existence of a Just and Loving God…

… But, can we still dare to “love God”?

>> Life sometimes hits very hard at us – in the form of others not accepting us, others ridiculing, criticizing us and we finding ourselves as the subject of hatred and injustice.

… But, can we still dare to “love our neighbours”?

>> Life sometimes is very unfair to us, we feel – by not rewarding us with rewards, that we consider, we deserve, in answer to the hard-work we put in.. or by not allowing us to enjoy the joys of life and instead bombards us with tensions and worries

… Can we still go out of the way and live a life “In Love and For Love”?

When one’s life is truly centered on love for God, one also begins to express this love to one’s neighbours , in concrete and certain acts of love.

As Christians, we often…

… seek to find “loopholes” in laws of loving the Lord and our neighbour…

… try to spot “gaps” in commandments which ask to love the Lord and our neighbour…

But the insistence of the Lord is clear:

“Love Fully”

“Love Totally”

“Love Completely”

This is the ideal to which we, as Christians are called!

If not for this highest ideal, our life as a Christian would cease to have a uniqueness!

As we make our journey, in the “train of life”, we are constantly faced with this fundamental question of our faith: “Do YOU love Jesus?”

This question is planted by the Spirit in our hearts and it put down its roots.

>> It demands an answer.

What is our answer?

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “ Our longing to gaining God’s Love causes us to meditate…

… Love, when gained, leads to contemplation.

>> Love renders the charm of what we love so pleasing…

… our minds never tire of reflecting on it!”


EUREKA: Discovering Catholic Treasury – through a Lenten lens! : “Lumen Gentium”

A. What is it?

>> “Lumen Gentium” is a Second Vatican Council Dogmatic Constitution on the Church

>> “Lumen Gentium” is the Latin phrase for “Light of the Nations”

>> It was promulgated by Pope Paul VI on 21 November 1964

B. What does it speak of?

>> “Lumen Gentium” has a two-fold purpose:

(a) To explain the Church’s nature as “a sign and instrument of communion with God and of unity among all men”

(b) To clarify the Church’s universal mission as the sacrament of human salvation.

>> “Lumen Gentium” consists of 7 chapters

(i) Chapter 1: “The Mystery of the Church”

>> It provides a summary of the very nature of the Church – as both the visible and invisible reality – through which all persons are called to participate in the Trinitarian, Divine life of God through, with, and in Christ Jesus.

(ii) Chapter 2: “On the People of God”

>> It teaches that God wills to save people not just as individuals but as a people.

>> Because Christ’s love and mission are universal, so the Church’s missionary love extends to all people

>> In union with Him, the members of this people share in His anointing and thus in His mission. Baptism confers the dignity of being prophet, priest, and king in Christ.

(iii) Chapter 3: “On the Hierarchical Structure of the Church and in Particular on the Episcopate”

>> Christ entrusted the apostles with the mission of leading, assigning Peter as the head. Their successors, the bishops, are entrusted with the same mission until the end of the world.

>> The Bishop’s highest priorities are to lead the people towards order, harmony, and unity.

(iv) Chapter 4: “The Laity”

>> Christ continues His threefold messianic mission through the laity as well as the hierarchy.

>> The laity profoundly evangelize by how they live their everyday lives.

(v) Chapter 5: “The Call to Holiness”

>> The key to holiness rests in Love – Love of God.

>> This call to holiness is from Christ himself.

>> It is the Holy Spirit who moves us closer to God’s holiness.

>> All the faithful of Christ of whatever rank or status, are called to the fullness of the Christian life and to the perfection of charity

(vi) Chapter 6: “The Religious”

>> The religious state clearly manifests that the Kingdom of God and its needs, in a very special way, are raised above all earthly considerations.

>> It is considered a “deepening of the baptismal character”.

(vii) The Eschatological Nature of the Pilgrim Church and Its Union with the Church in Heaven

>> We are in a special way connected to all those who have attained Christ’s promise.

>> Our union in the Mystical Body of Christ is never more real than when we participate in the Sacred Liturgy/the Mass.

>> Celebrating the Eucharist closely unites us to the Church in heaven. We are together in communion with those in heaven and we worship God together, through Christ, in the Spirit.

(viii) “Our Lady”

>> The Church honors Mary because she is the beloved Mother of Jesus.

>> As the Mother of God and as the Mother of the Redeemer, She maintains a place of honor in both the earthly Church and in the Heavenly.

>> We honor and have piety toward Mary for no other reason than to better know Christ and to open the whole world up to receiving the graces of Christ.

>> It encouraged people to cultivate a loving devotion to Mary and strongly urged theologians and pastors to abstain from gross exaggerations and or neglectful omission in considering the dignity of Mary.

C. Pointers for Reflections

1. “Lumen Gentium” emphasizes on “the Call to Holiness and a Fully Human Life”

>> Christ instituted the Seven Sacraments and established the Apostles and their Successors to represent Him as Head of the Church. Through them Christ continues to teach, to sanctify, and to rule over the Church.

>> The Church, possesses the fullness of the means of sanctification.

2. It speaks of “a Church of the Poor and for the Poor”

>> In loving the poor, the Church practices the Lord’s admonition to love those who are unable to make kind of return (Lk 6:32-34)

>> To be poor like Christ means to rely entirely on God.

D. What virtues/points can we pick up from “Lumen Gentium” for this Season of Lent?

1. Focusing on the Primary Duty of our Christian vocation: To be Holy

2. Love the Church – Be proud to belong to the Church

E. Tips to practice these virtues

1. Everyday making an examination and ask: How much did I try to grow in holiness today?

2. Pray for the Church everyday – especially in these days of crisis and scandal…

… trusting that God will always protect the Church and keep Her safe.

May this Lent and the familiarity with the Encyclical “Lumen Gentium” help us to grow in our acclamation: “Eureka – I have found the Lord”

(The Full Text of “Lumen Gentium” can be found at:


Mar 28 (Lk 11-14-23)

A group of two brothers were roaming in the forest, when they found a couple of tiny birds of the family of linnets.

When the boys got the birds home, they put the linnets in a cage, opposite the canary bird, which was tied in another cage.

(Canary birds are known to be “Singing Birds”)

They explained to their mother that they hoped the linnets – being so young – would learn to imitate the singing canary…

… Instead of cheeping as normally birds do, they expected them to sing (like the canary)

The next day the boys entered the room, and exclaimed:

“Mother, come here, look what has happened!

>> Our canary is cheeping like a linnet!”

The mother came in.. and found it so!

>> Instead of the linnets learning to sing, the Canary bird forgot its ability to sing!

Thus, the canary had to be separated from the wild birds of the wood and kept under cover for a time before regaining the singing ability.

Such is the case with Christians who allow themselves to “influenced and altered” by the ways of the world!

>> We may end up losing the “Song of our Faith!”

Yes, Christian life requires that we be constantly “on the watch and guard”, because it is…

… a constant struggle between the forces of evil and the power of goodness…

… a relentless warfare between the coercion of sin and the strength of holiness…

The Gospel of the Day presents this struggle between…

… Jesus and the Pharisees

… the Holy One and the evil forces

… the Kingdom of Heaven and the kingdom of Satan

The Lord came to the world to usher in the Kingdom of God.

>> Bringing to forefront the Kingdom of Power and Holiness, the Lord casts out a demon from a person who is dumb. (Lk 11:14)

This mighty action of healing and deliverance had a tremendous effect…

… the dumb man spoke

… and the people marvelled.

But, this wondrous act of power and authority also triggered a volley of struggles…

… a struggle of words between the Pharisees and Jesus

… a teaching on the struggle between the Kingdom of God and the forces of evil

The Lord lashes out in authority and conviction, on being accused of siding with evil powers to cast out demons: “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste and a divided household falls” ( Lk 11: 17)

>> Jesus makes it clear that one cannot be siding with negative forces in order to perform deeds of goodness and salvation!

>> Jesus makes it clear that one cannot be on the side of evil and sin and yet be authentic and genuine in doing works of true deliverance and righteousness!

This brings us to an important dimension that needs our honest and critical consideration..

Am I a person truly on the side of God when I engage in works and ministries of the Lord…

… but still continuing to be on the side of the Evil One by living a life of sin?

Am I a person imbued with the Spirit of the Holy Lord in professing to be a Christian…

… or am I living a dual-life by failing to give up immoral tendencies and obliging the evil spirit?

Am I a person who may be performing a lot of good works in the name of God…

… but failing to have an intimate relationship and union with the God of all power and glory?

Venerable Fr Peter Marie Mermier, the founder of the Congregation of the Missionaries of St Francis de Sales puts it beautifully:

“The ministry of a priest without prayer, is a barren ministry, without any effect, even harmful; it is a ministry of death!

>> Instead of enlightening, it blinds; instead of healing, it kills!

But the ministry of the one who prays, is a ministry of life!”

Christian life is not to be just defined by external works of piety and works…

…but is to be a reflection of the inner intimacy and relation with the Lord.

Christian Life is not to be merely characterized by many deeds of charity and devotion…

… but is to be a manifestation of one’s true faith and closeness to the Divine Master.

• A true inner disposition and authority is a must to be effective and credible in our life.

• A proper grounding is an absolute requirement to be engaged in the works of the Lord.

I may find myself often in the “cage” of faith and unbelief…

>> But am I clear in taking the side of the Lord and Him alone?

I may find myself often in the “cage” of actions of goodness and temptations of the evil…

>> But am I convinced of taking the side of the Kingdom of God alone?

Christian Life is a constant struggle

… between the evil and good

… between the Devil and Jesus

… between the Kingdom of God and the powers of wickedness

Which side are we on?

Let us be careful not to allow ourselves to “influenced and altered” by the ways of the world…

… so that we may not end up losing the “Song of our Faith!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “We are crucified to the world and the world must be crucified to us

>> It esteems us as fools…

… let us esteem it as mad!”


Mar 27 (Mt 5:17-19)

The Hebrew alphabet contains twenty-two letters

>> Every letter in the Hebrew alphabet caries many special meanings.

The Tenth Letter of the Hebrew Alphabet is called as “Yod”.

>> It is represented as ‘

>> It has the sound of “Y” as in “Yes”.

There is an interesting Jewish legend about this letter “yod”.

In the book of Genesis 17:15, we read that God changed the name of Sarai to Sarah.

>> In Hebrew language, this was done by removing the ‘ (yod) from the end of her name.

However, the letter “Yod”, created a stir in heaven for having been dropped from Sarai’s name

>> It was continually fluttering around the throne of God, in restlessness!

So God decided to calm the letter “yod” by putting it at the beginning of Hoshea’s name.

>> This changed Hoshea to Joshua as we read in the book of Numbers 13:16.

(Interestingly, Joshua is the also the root word of Jehoshoa, from where the name “Jesus” comes)

But why are we discussing so much about this letter “Yod” in today’s reflection?

Jesus mentions about it, in today’s Gospel…

>> Jesus says, ” Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the SMALLEST LETTER or the SMALLEST PART OF THE LETTER will pass from the Law, until all things have taken place. ” (Mt 5: 18)

The SMALLEST LETTER refers to Hebrew letter “Yod”

>> It is the smallest letter of the Hebrew Alphabet.

The SMALLEST PART OF THE LETTER refers to the “thorn of the Yod”

>> It is just a small curve at the top of the letter, a light decoration on the letter “Yod”

Why was Jesus being so specific and particular in speaking about the Law?

>> What was Jesus meaning, by referring to the “tiniest” elements of the alphabet?

Jesus refers to the prime sanctity of God’s Word to His People.

>> This Word had now taken flesh (Jn 1: 14)

>> Jesus, the Word Incarnate, came to bring the Law to its fulfilment…not to undermine them.

>> Jesus, the Law personified, came to bring it to its perfection…not to do away with it.

While the Old Law could only show the mistake of the person…

…Jesus, the New Law would grant forgiveness and grace to the one who atones!

While the Old Law could only make the person to realise one’s faults…

…Jesus, the New Law would confer life and salvation to the one who repents!

When we consider the Gospel of St Matthew, we can consider the shift in emphasis:

Stage 1: In the initial part of the Gospel

>> Jesus says, “UNTIL HEAVEN AND EARTH PASS AWAY, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of the letter will pass from the LAW, until all things have taken place” (Mt 5: 18)

Stage 2: At the end of the Gospel

>> Jesus says, ” HEAVEN AND EARTH WILL PASS AWAY, but MY WORDS will not pass away” (Mt 24: 35)

There is a progressive shift in emphasis…

… from the LAW to the WORDS OF JESUS.

>> He is the perfection and the fulfilment of the Law!

This is the Divine Process of the unfolding of the plan of God’s Salvation for the world…

… finding its fulfilment and perfection in Jesus!

But this was not at the expense of the Old Law!

>> The Old Law is to be read, understood and practised, in the light of the New!

>> The New Law casts its illumining light on the Old, revealing life-giving messages!

As the classical saying goes:

” The New Testament is in the Old, concealed; the Old Testament is in the New, revealed”

What is the message for us, in this reflection?

>> The Great Power in the Promises of God in our life!

The Lord assures us, that none of His Promises will go unfulfilled in our life!

>> He guarantees that, He will bring His Word of Salvation to fulfilment in our life!

What is needed however…

… Our openness to trust and believe in His Word!

… Our willingness to make necessary changes, in the light of His Word!

… Our zeal and passion to make others to come to life, by sharing His Word!

The Lord assures us, with much emphasis:

“… GIVE HEED to the statutes and ordinances which I teach you, and do them; that YOU MAY LIVE…

KEEP THEM and DO THEM; for that will be YOUR WISDOM and YOUR UNDERSTANDING” ( Dt 4: 1, 6)

May we not be afraid to seek perfection in obeying the Law of the Lord and keeping His commandments…

>> Let us take courage to the fact that the Lord is with us, as a Loving Parent, gently encouraging us and patiently cheering us…

… to listen and obey, to even the “smallest” and the “tiniest” commands of His Holy Will!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “ Some are tormented searching for the way to love God!

>> These poor souls do not know that there is no other method to love Him…

… apart from doing what pleases Him!”


Mar 26 (Mt 18:21-35)

An incident is said of a worker named Richard Weaver (He would later on become a popular preacher of the Word) who was working in a mine.

During the course of the work, unintentionally, he hit a fellow-miner.

The fellow-miner, however lost his cool and retorted: “I feel like giving you a hard smack on your face!”

“Very well”, said Weaver, “If that will do any good, you may do it.”

The man struck him.

Weaver turned to him the other cheek.

>> The man struck again.

This was repeated five times; and when Weaver presented his cheek for the sixth time, the man turned away, cursing.

Weaver cried after him: “The Lord forgive you, for I do; and the Lord save you!”

The following morning, as work started, this man was the first person that Richard Weaver met.

As Weaver approached him, he burst into tears.

>> “Oh Richard” he cried as he knelt before him, “do you really forgive me?”

Richard Weaver helped him get up…

>> As he rose… a changed and transformed man!

That’s the Power of Forgiveness!

The Gospel of the Day presents this Mighty and Power Message of Forgiveness…

… Forgiveness that goes beyond the rules of mathematics!

A common observation that is noticed among many children, is the fear and apprehensions of some subjects in the school or college.

>> Among these subjects, one which would top the list of subjects which causes tension and undue worry, is certainly, Mathematics!

· Many have a fear of this subject which deals with figures and numbers.

· Many have an aversion to this subject which deals with digits and numerals.

Well, it’s not known or certain whether Our Lord had any such aversion or fear or apprehension or even dislike for this subject, Mathematics!

But one thing is for certain…

… that the Lord sure loved to keep out Mathematics when dealing with important spiritual dimensions.

… that the Lord indeed would transgress the norms of Mathematics when engaged in vital spiritual aspects.

The Gospel of the Day is an exhibition of this aspect of the Lord going beyond mathematical boundaries in dealing with the beautiful virtue of forgiveness.

The passage begins with the Lord’s chief and one-of-the-first apostles Peter, raising a query to his Master, ” Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times? ” ( Mt 18: 21)

It was probably a genuine doubt of Peter, which arose from his own personal experiences.

He must have had some difficulties in forgiving, out of his wavering temperament, perhaps!

But he now puts forward to Jesus a doubt as to what should be the limit of one’s forgiveness.

· Peter sought to know what are the exact boundaries that one must limit oneself, while forgiving.

· He wanted clear-cut rules to define the maximum threshold and frontiers of generosity in pardoning.

But the Lord replies firmly, “I say to you, not seven times, but seventy seven times” (Mt 18:22)

· The Lord does away with the mathematical rules in forgiveness!

· The Lord does not confine to the mathematical stipulations in forgiveness!

“Seventy seven times” would refer a number, unlimited and uncountable!

>> The frontiers for how many times to forgive are done away with…

>> The boundaries for how many times to forgive do not hold good…

As the Lord spoke these words to Peter, the apostle would himself have recalled…

“Once beside the sea of Galilee, when I encountered the Holy Master, I realized that I was drowning in the waters of sin… and I had asked pardon from the Lord.

Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man (Lk 5:8)”

These words of the Lord would have again echoed in the ears of Peter, later on, after the resurrection of Jesus….

>> Once again, beside a Sea… this time, the Sea of Tiberius, Peter experienced the forgiving power of the Lord in accepting back, though he had betrayed Him three times (Jn 21: 15-18)

Many times he had sinned against the Lord…

>> Many times he had caused pain and ache to the Lord…

>> Many times he had abandoned and betrayed the Lord…

But every time, the Lord forgave, wholeheartedly!

The Lord was truly the Master, “who practised what He preached”

>> The Lord was truly the Master, “who forgave unconditionally and without any limits”

This Lord, today seeks to impress on us too, this same attitude of forgiveness.

The teaching on forgiveness, is most certainly easy said than done!

>> To forgive….especially to forgive repeatedly, is certainly no easy task…

But it would require a deeper experience of the Unconditional Love of the Lord and our own determination, along with His grace, to reach out in forgiveness and pardon to our constantly erring brothers and sisters!

· Are we ready to cast away mathematical limitations in forgiving, and extend the mercy of the Lord to others?

· Are we ready to do away with mathematical countings in pardoning others, knowing that we ourselves have received this favour from the Lord?

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “The priest at Confessional is the “angel whom God sends” to make forgiveness real…

… and enable Divine Reconciliation to be experienced.