Nov 1 (Solemnity of All Saints)

Who is your favourite hero/heroine?

This is a question invariably most of us have either asked others and we ourselves have been asked.

Heroism is a much overblown idea in our society .

>> We live in a world surrounded by super heroes!

Hollywood and Bollywood and “other woods” give us movies about superheroes who can leap tall buildings at a single bounce, vanquish their enemies with a solitary gaze and reign supreme with their out-of-the-world capabilities!

Heroism, in our world, has been quite associated with power, fame, popularity etc…

> They are super-exciting.

>> They are breathtaking.

>>> They give an “ooh…wow” feeling!

Today, the Holy Mother the Church is geared up to celebrate Her Heroes!

Of course, Heroes with a difference?.

>> Heroes, who really, made a difference!

>> Heroes who have achieved great heights of perfection, in God’s sight!

Today is a day of immense celebration of these superheroes of God… The Solemnity of All Saints!

One catchword that dominates today’s celebration is JOY.

>> There is much JOY in belonging to God.

>> There is much JOY is being saved in Christ.

>> There is much JOY in suffering for the Lord.

Being joyful does not mean, that all is perfect and without any faults.

>> Being joyful means, one has learned to look beyond those imperfections.

And this is Christian Holiness!

Christian Holiness is wholeness?

? a wholeness that?s experienced in one’s being, as a result of living life in perfect union with the Will of God.

Today the Church invites us to lift our gaze to heaven, and thank and praise God for the innumerable people who not only persevered in their faith while they lived on earth, but actually lived their lives in such a way that they built up Christ’s Kingdom in the world.

The saints are not superheroes in the worldly sense…

>> What sets them apart is not their miraculous power!

>> What sets them apart is not their popularity and fame!

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

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

>> Saints are considered to be people beyond our reach and too holy for our lives

>> Saints are considered to be people for whom the path to sanctity was made easy and cosy.

>> Saints are considered to be people who are given a special boon from God to live a holy life.

But the truth perhaps, is quite contrary…

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

>> Saints are people who had to struggle through many hardships and trials in the path to holiness.

>> Saints are people who co-operated with the grace of God and remained faithful to their commitment and call

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

How is this possible in our lives…?

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

Being a saint…

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

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

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

…by becoming agents of justice and seekers of establishing truth

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

…by preserving purity in our thoughts, words and deeds

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

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

This Feast day is a chance for us to sneak into the personal diary of the saints… & to “steal” some tips for us to admire and imitate them…

The Saints’ Favourite Food: The Holy Eucharist

The Saints’ Favourite Dress: The Armour of Faith

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

The Saints’ Favourite Symbol: The Holy Cross

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

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

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

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

>> But most of them, will remain unknown and unfamiliar and unheard.

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

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

As St Augustine says, ” Do you aspire to do great things? Begin with the little ones”

…Doing our simple works with much love of God.

…Living our Christian life with much faithfulness

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

> Let us live a life of self-sacrifice, renunciation and trust in God?.

>> Let us live a life seeking to do God’s will at all times

>>> Let us live a life laced with the tender Love of God in all our activities.

All the saints, the Superheroes of God, are looking deep into our eyes…and inviting us…”Come, dear Child…Be a Saint…”

What is our response?

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

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

God Bless! Live Jesus!

——————————–

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “If we walk steadily and faithfully…

… God will lift us up to greater things!”

——————————–

Oct 31 (Lk 13:31-35)

As children, we have often heard short stories…

One of the famous stories we have heard is about the Fox and the Hen.

>> The Fox tries his level best to kill the hen and it almost succeeds, until, the hen, by its cleverness, escapes through the clutches of the fox!

The fox is described with dominative and oppressive characters.

>> The hen is described with a defenseless and subjugated character.

Yet, the hen with its cleverness and adeptness manages to escape through its grasp.

The Gospel of the day presents such similar images of the Hen and the Fox to deliver a powerful message for our spiritual lives.

The passage begins with some Pharisees giving a warning to Jesus to leave that place since Herod wanted to kill Him.

Firstly, we encounter an unusual image of the Pharisees…

>> Usually, they are a group who present a very opposing and critical attitude.

The thought of a Pharisee, usually, brings an image of people who are knowledgeable, yet judgemental and disapproving in their behaviour.

But here is a welcome distinction…

>> These Pharisees display a concern towards Jesus and warn Him of the dangers posed by King Herod.

Why did these Pharisees do so ?

…In malice, to further trap Jesus?

…In jealousy, to keep Jesus away from the crowds?

…In concern, to help in His mission?

We can’t say for sure.

>> We can’t ascertain what really was their motive behind warning Jesus.

But it does allows us space to think that all people cannot be judged as wrong all the time!

>> Atleast an inkling of goodness exists in all, even in the midst of thick evil!

The answer of the Lord to the warning is a strong one…”Go and tell that fox…!” (Lk 13:32)

The image of the fox appears….King Herod.

Why does Jesus call King Herod as a fox?

The fox was an unclean animal for a Jew.

>> More than the slyness of the animal, Jesus was perhaps referring more to its uncleanness.

Herod always had issues with respect to being a clean and credible Jew…

After the death of his father, King Herod the Great (the one who had killed the many innocent male children at the birth of Jesus), this Herod Antipas had been put in power by Caesar Augustus, the Roman Emperor, in 4 BC.

History tells that in 17 AD, to honour his Roman rulers, he build a grand new capital city named Tiberius, after the current emperor, only to discover that it was built on top of an old Jewish cemetery.

>> No pious Jew ever entered it, and was occupied exclusively by the pagans.

Herod also had his moral issues…

>> He divorced his first wife, in order to marry Herodias, the wife of his brother, Philip.

John the Baptist had been a persistent critic of Herod for this dubious marriage.

Herod had John killed because he had promised his daughter anything she wanted if she danced for him, and John’s head on a platter is what she wanted.

True, that King Herod Antipas was a powerful man and a person of great influence.

… But Jesus, the King of Kings and the God of all, fears him not and calls him “a fox”!

>> When one is filled with the mighty Spirit of God, no earthly forces can cause fright or scare!

>> When one fully trusts in the strength of God, no worldly might can cause anxiety or dread!

>> When one is committed to one’s convictions and missions, no power can deter away from it!

This leads Jesus to give another image…

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem…how many times, I yearned to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings…“

The image of a mother Hen appears…Jesus Christ

It is one of the most overtly feminine references to God in all of scripture.

Jesus will be the mother hen who stands between the chicks and those who mean to harm.

She has no pointed fangs or rippling muscles.

>> But all she has, is her willingness to shield her babies with her own body.

If the fox wants them, he will have to kill her first.

This is the image that Jesus for Himself… a Hen.

>> It lays bare God’s vulnerability. 

Here is the contrast…

King Herod, presented as a Fox…powerful, rude, forceful.

>> Jesus, presented as a mother Hen…protective, sacrificial, shielding.

This mother Hen, Jesus, invites each of us, His chicks, to find shelter under His wings.

Am I willing to take shelter under the wings of Jesus, the mother Hen?

The Gospel  has a sad note : When the mother hen tried to gather her chicks underneath her wings, “they were unwilling” (Lk 13:34b)

The chicks are unwilling to remain under the shade of the hen’s wings…

>> Maybe they wanted more freedom…

>> Maybe they just wanted to have their own way of living life…

>> Maybe they did not find the mother hen too exciting, whereas the active fox attracted them…

We too are sometimes so…

>> We fail to come under the shade of God’s wings…

>> We become unwilling.

The story of the fox and the hen continues…

Do I get attracted more to the energetic and tempting fox…

>> Or do I find rest, shelter and protection under the wings of the mother hen?

The choice is before us…

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

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

… let us be inspired by our Blessed Mother to live for God and reach out in service to His people, remaining under His Protective Care!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

——————————–

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “When we abandon all to Him, He takes a tender care of us…

… and His Providence for us is great or small according to the measure of our abandonment!”

——————————–

Oct 30 (Lk 13:22-30)

Human beings are inquisitive and curious.

>> By nature, humans tend to seek to know many things.

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

>> What will happen after I die?

>> Where will I go after my death?

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

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

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

The Gospel of the Day presents such an eschatological question being posed to Jesus, “Lord, will only a few be saved?” (Lk 13:23)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why does Jesus do so?

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

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

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

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

We wonder…

… about who all will be saved

… when this world will come to an end

… how many people will make to heaven or be cast to hell

These simple questions lead to complicated ones…

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

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

These complicated questions further leads to some conclusions…

>> What kind of God sends people to hell?

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

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

Well… this is the sad part!

It is not that questionings or doubts are bad…or not that they are not encouraged…

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

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

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

But Jesus brings home to point…

>> What is needed utmost is an upright life…in faith and in repentance.

>> What is most needed is to live a life pleasing to God and in seeking to do His Will.

This is the narrow way.

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

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

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

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

Let us not get too much webbed in the questions and doubts, and lose focus of what’s most needed: Faith, Repentance and Doing His Will.

>> Let us seek for this grace!

God Bless! Live Jesus

——————————–

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “The truly patient man neither complains of his hard lot nor desires to be pitied by others.

>> He speaks of his sufferings in a natural, true and sincere way, without murmuring, complaining or exaggerating them!”

——————————–

Oct 29 (Lk 13:18-21)

“Little Is Much When God is in It!”

Jesus in the Gospels loves to use simple, tiny and insignificant objects, to project His message of the Kingdom!

Today He uses the example of the Mustard Seed and the Leaven in describing the Might of the Kingdom!

The mustard seed & leaven would’ve hardly received any attention in the normal sense.

>> But Jesus, the Master Artist paints these li’l objects into the Mighty Canvas of the Kingdom & delivers a powerful message…

>> The Kingdom of God has its humble beginnings….but it develops into a Powerful Force!

>> The Kingdom of God often starts very insignificantly…but it expands into a Huge Reality!

>> The Kingdom of God initiates in an unnoticed manner….but it enlarges into an Influential Entity!

Little Is Much when God is in It!

The mustard seed develops into a Tree, which renders shelter to the birds of the air (Lk 13: 19)…..

• The sinners find a solace in this Tree….

• The sick encounter support in this Tree..

• The rejected have a remedy in this Tree…

• The cast-outs meet consolation in this Tree….

• The prostitutes experience peace in this Tree…

The leaven which is little, makes the whole mass of dough to rise (Lk 13: 21)…

•The rod in Moses’ hand…a shepherds’ ordinary crook…became a mighty symbol of God’s Power

•The jawbone with Samson…. a decaying useless bone…became an instrument of killings thousands of enemies!

•The stone in David’s hand….an unnoticed stone… became the means of conquering the gigantic Goliath!

Little Is Much When God is in It!

>> We live in times when many things are explained or rejected in terms of science, psychology, post-modern modern philosophies and assorted spiritualties

>> We live in times when material values and worldly attitudes are corroding our lives.

>> We live in times when ethical principles and traditional virtues often get kicked into the backyard!

>> Times are bad. Times are worsening. Times are sickening…

>> Times, are even, sometimes seen to be hopeless, scary and terrifying!

But we also ought to realize that…

… many things, which cannot be discovered and understood through the microscope of science and modern theories can be discovered by looking through the eyes of faith!

Yes, massive things can be seen and achieved by looking through the miniscule eye of Faith!

Our efforts and attempts to spread God’s Kingdom may be just minor and appearing to be insignificant…

… like the Mustard Seed and the Leaven.

But, Little Is Much When God is in It!!

May we seek the grace to realize the power of “little things” and “little efforts” in building up the “Great Kingdom of God” and to spread the “Immense Love of the Lord” to all!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

——————————–

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Great occasions for serving God come seldom…

… but little ones surround us daily!”

——————————–

Oct 28 (Feast of St Jude and St Simon, the Apostles)

A garden of flowers delights most people!

A garden consists of a variety of flowers, with varied colours, sizes, shapes.

Some flowers tend to capture our attention more…some escape the gaze of our eyes.

>> However, this in no way, reduces or increases their relevance and importance.

>>> Each flower has its own specialty.

>>> Each flower has its own attraction.

Jesus in His garden of ministry, chose twelve apostles.

>> Some apostles tend to capture our attention more…some escape the gaze of our eyes.

However, this in no way, reduces or increases their relevance and importance.

>> Each apostle has his own specialty

>> Each apostle has his own attraction.

Today Holy Mother the Church celebrates the feast of two apostles: St Jude and St Simon.

These are apostles, who in most probability escape the gaze of our eyes.

>> These two saints are usually known as the “unknown apostles”.

Yet, they have their own greatness before God and their own importance to inspire us in our lives!

The scarcity of their appearance in the New Testament is so vivid that except in the list of the names of the apostles…

… the name of Simon never appears elsewhere whereas the name of Jude makes only a single appearance in the discourse of Jesus after the last supper (Jn 14: 22).

In the Gospel of Matthew & Mark, the apostle Simon is given the title of a Canaanean, while Luke mentions him as “Zealot”.

This apostle Simon must have belonged to the Zealot Party.

>> The Zealot Party was a first-century political movement among Judean Jews who sought to overthrow the occupying Roman government.

According to the Jewish historian Josephus, four main Jewish groups existed at the time of Christ – the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Essenes and the Zealots.

The Zealots were known for their aggression and violent behaviour.

>> They advocated that no one, but Yahweh alone should rule over Israel and hence, obedience to the Roman government should be refused.

The selection of Simon, the Zealot as an Apostle, is a great insight into the workings of Jesus, in His Kingdom Ministry…

The Lord accepts us with our hard instincts.

>> The Lord takes into account our various mentalities and mindsets.

In His Divine Love, He squashes all such factors and patterns us into people fit for His Kingdom.

>> He doesn’t reject us in our over-zeal.

>> He doesn’t cast us away because of our impulses.

All that He expects is an openness to follow Him fully and allow ourselves to be moulded!

The Apostle Jude is given another title by St Matthew and St Mark: Thaddeus.

>> Thaddeus means “the courageous heart”

St Jude is one of the most popular saints in our world today, considering the fact that he is often called as “The Miraculous Saint”.

>> St Jude is the one whose aid is often sought when all hope is lost, especially in grave illness & life-&-death situations.

There is a story that since his name is identical with Judas Iscariot, who had betrayed Jesus, St Jude would hardly be interceded too, except in the most desperate situations!

>> And hence, perhaps, he got identified as the ‘Patron in Helpless Causes!’

St Bridget of Sweden & St Bernard had visions from God asking each to accept St Jude as ‘Patron Saint of the Impossible’.

The Apostle Jude teaches us a few insights for our spiritual growth:

1. Like the name – Jude Thaddeus – we are invited too, to have a “heart full of courage”.

The Kingdom of God requires brave soldiers and people of immense valour.

The Lord needs followers who are imbued with the might of His Holy Spirit and who boldly proclaim the Gospel and witness its values by their lives.

No situation of discouragement or setbacks will hinder the march of a “Courageous Heart”!

2. St Jude, as the Patron of Desperate Cases, inspires us to have a deeper faith and trust in the Providence and Mercy of God.

The Lord is all-knowing.

> He wills what is best for us.

However, in our human frailty, we often tend to lose our hope and become highly desperate.

But this Saint teaches to grow deeper in our faith & know that “behind every dark cloud is a silver lining of the sun… (Son!)”!

3. St Jude also teaches the powerful role of Intercessory Prayer.

We are all created in the Image and Likeness of God, and each of us have a bounden duty to the other…

… to take care, to love each other and to pray for one another.

When we pray for others and bring others to the presence of God, we help them in their difficulties and join with them in solidarity and compassion.

There are many hidden flowers in a garden.

>> Yet, each one has its own beauty and fragrance and value.

These two apostles – St Simon and St Jude – are fairly hidden in the Gospels, and yet we can learn and be inspired much by them.

May the life and intercession of these two hidden, yet Great Apostles of the Lord…

… impel us further, to love God and His people…

… and spread the Gospel of God to many more!

Happy Feast of the Apostles St Jude and St Simon.

God Bless! Live Jesus!

——————————–

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Devotion is simply a spiritual activity and liveliness by means of which Divine Love works in us…

… and causes us to work briskly and lovingly.

>> And just as charity leads us to a general practice of all God’s Commandments…

… so devotion leads us to practise them readily and diligently!”

——————————–

Oct 27 (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) – “The highest point of humility consists in not merely acknowledging one’s abjection…

… but in taking pleasure therein.

>> Not from any want of breadth or courage, but to give the more glory to God’s Divine Majesty…

… and to esteem one’s neighbour more highly than one’s self.

——————————–

Oct 26 (Lk 13:1-9)

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

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

Every now and then, we hear of many reports of unpredictable or unimaginable misfortunes occurring in the lives of people….tsunamis, floods, earthquakes….or bomb blasts, mass killings etc…

>> In our own personal lives too, we experience a lot of painful moments…

…. very often, unexpectedly.

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

>> Why do these things happen to the innocent?

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

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

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

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

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

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

>> The second because of the misfortunes in nature.

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

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

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

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

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

But here Jesus points out the great reality…

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

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

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

Do we take our lives for granted?

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

>> And complacency creeps into our life.

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

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

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

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

>> No one knows the hour

>> No one knows the day

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

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

They are not to evoke fear or elements of judging

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Disasters, tragedies and misfortunes will keep happening.

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

Let’s run in repentance to our Lord who seeks us…

…. and Be His forever!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

——————————–

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Amongst the tribulations and remorse of a lively repentance…

… God often puts in the bottom of our heart the Sacred Fire of his Love.

>> This Love is converted into the water of tears

>> They by a second change, into another and greater fire of Love!

——————————–