Nov 21 (Lk 19-41-44 and Feast of the Presentation of our Blessed Mother)

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

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

They were sitting inside the man’s parlour

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

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

The priest kept silent.

But stepped to the fireplace

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

… and kept it away from the fire.

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

… and going off.

“I see…,” said the man!

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

… will always cause tepidity and apathy to sneak in

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

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

… who had failed to understand the coming of the Messiah

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

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

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

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

Jesus laments over the City of Jerusalem.

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

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

Jesus is usually an epitome of great joy and rejoicing.

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

What made Jesus to shed tears?

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

God had chosen Israel as His people.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

>> For them, He became routine.

>> They began to consider Him of little value.

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

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

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

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

They maltreated the Saviour of the World.

>> They rejected the Chosen One of God.

>> They abused the Anointed One of the Lord.

And this led, Jesus to shed tears.

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

We have been specially chosen and loved by the Lord.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

…by living a holy and virtuous life.

…by deepening our bond of love and affection with Him

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

We instead persecute and torture Him…

… by living a lethargic or unholy or even scandalous life

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

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

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

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

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

He calls us.

> He longs to have us with Him always.

>> He wants us back in His loving embrace.

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

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

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

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

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

… will always cause tepidity and apathy to sneak in

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

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

Today we celebrate the initiation of our Blessed Mother into this way of holiness, in Her Presentation.

The account of the Presentation of Mary comes from the apocryphal Infancy Narrative of James.

>> Mary’s parents, Joachim and Anne, who had been childless, received the good news from an angel that they would have a child.

>> In thanksgiving for the gift of their daughter they brought her when she was around the age of three to the Temple in Jerusalem to consecrate her to God.

The Feast of the Presentation of our Blessed Mother is a reminder and a challenge to us to give greater attention to a life of holiness.

It is also a constant reminder for us to “offer ourselves” to the Lord.

We can offer many things to the Lord…

… our talents for His glory

… our possessions for His service

But the greater and the better sacrifice, that the Lord not just wishes, but also demands, is the Offering of our Lives.

… an offering of a faithful life

… an offering of a holy life

Today, as we celebrate the Feast of our Blessed Mamma’s Presentation, may we “give ourselves” wholly to the Lord.

>> We shall also seek the intercession of our Beautiful Mother, so that, like Her, we too can be wholly belonging to the Lord!

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

Happy Feast of the Presentation of our Blessed Mamma!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Let us run to Mary, and, as Her little children, cast ourselves into Her arms with a perfect confidence.

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