July 1, 2020 – 13th Week of Ordinary Time

“Growing deeper in our relation with the Lord; and with Him, being strong and bold against the “storms” of the evil one!

(Based on Amos 5:14-15, 21-24 and Mt 8:28-34 – Wednesday of the 13th Week of the Ordinary Time)

Four boys were on an expedition – through the rivers and valleys and the mountain ranges.

At the end of the day, they camped – with supper by a campfire – in a lonely ravine.

However, at midnight a terrific thunderstorm encountered them.

The boys were forced to take refuge from the storm in the barn of a farmer.

They felt safe from the stormy rain and lay on the hay…
… when suddenly they heard loud noises…

This time not that of nature.. but of a human voice – loud and wild.

All through the night they heard that terrible shouting.

Somehow, in fear and trembling, they managed to through the night.

When dawn appeared, they come down from the barn, and realised the reason for the noise…

The farmer’s father was insane, a maniac…
… locked up in one of the rooms of the house!

The expedition of the boys ended up with a dual-storm-experience!
… the storm of nature’s fury – in the thunderstorm and heavy rainfall
… the storm of human anger – unleashed by that poor man who was insane

The Gospel of the Day along with yesterday’s Gospel passage, present two storms that are encountered by Jesus and His Disciples…
… the storm of nature’s fury – as They got caught in the heavy tempest while in the boat (Mt 8: 23-27)
… the storm of human anger – as They met the two demoniacs coming out of the tombs (Mt 8: 28-34)

In both the “stormy” and “turbulent” encounters, Jesus calms the “violence” and displays His supremacy as the Lord of all storms and turbulence.

The Gospel of the Day is the incident of the healing of the two demoniacs.

The word “demons” might immediately put off many a people…including perhaps some of us…

“Modern and learned” sceptics of the Bible dismiss demon-possession as rubbish!

Some might say that it was just a primitive manner that people had, to describe psychic or social disorders.
Some might say that it was just a superstitious belief and practice.

But when we consider the Bible in its totality and especially the ministry of Jesus, it is very evidently seen that there is not much accommodation to superstitious beliefs or practices.

Any false or fanciful superstitious stuff was in fact, corrected or rectified!

The Church teaches that the Devil is real, and not just a mythical personification of evil.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that Satan “acts in the world out of hatred for God and his kingdom in Christ Jesus, and … his action causes grave injuries” (CCC #395).

Pope Francis, in his first homily quoted: ‘He who does not pray to the Lord, prays to the Devil.’

This then is an important aspect that we see in today’s Gospel… Jesus performing this miracle of exorcism, showing His supreme power and authority over the satanic forces.

What is my understanding of Satan and the evil forces?

I need to realise that this real force opposes anything that is spiritual and holy.

This also means that wherever there is a spiritual action taking place, there is an opposition by the Devil and his evil power.

Do I arm myself with deeper faith, courage and conviction in God’s power?

Do I equip myself with greater holiness and sanctity to withstand evil influences?

The “Our Father” is a powerful prayer which invokes the power of God against the evil: “… and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from Evil”

Another important and interesting dimension that we see in today’s Gospel passage is the repulsion and disgust for Jesus…

This repulsion is displayed by two groups:

  1. The two demoniacs
  2. The people of the town

And this repulsion is characterised by a singular word – “begging”

The demoniacs BEGGED Him, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of swine” (Mt 8: 31)

Thereupon the whole town came to meet Jesus, and when they say Him, they BEGGED Him to leave their district” (Mt 8: 34)

The demoniacs couldn’t stand the Holiness and Power of the Lord and so they “begged” Him to cast them into the swine

The people of the town – we are not very sure, what exactly were their reasons – too had a repulsion to the Lord and “begged” Him to leave their district.

In both the cases, one thing is clear:
Holiness was opposed and was found repulsive by evil forces!

Where there is Holiness, evil cannot stand!

Where there is Sanctity, satan finds it unbearable!

This then, makes it imperative on our parts, as Christians, to embrace ourselves closer into holiness and immerse ourselves deeper into the power of God!

Evil is a reality…
But the power of God, is a much stronger force!

Jesus says, “Fear not, I have conquered the world”

May we grow deeper in our relation with the Lord, and with Him, be strong and bold against the “storms” of the evil one!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “The Devil doesn’t fear austerity…

… but holy obedience!”

June 30, 2020 – 13th Week of Ordinary Time

“Knowing to understand that problems of life, when they are viewed with the Grace of God and from the Providence of the Lord, become Great and Wondrous Moments of Blessings!

(Based on Amos 3:1-8, 4:11,12 and Mt 8:23-27 – Tuesday of the 13th Week of the Ordinary Time)

We live in a world of wonders…

For example…

Salt is a wonder.
• It is composed of two dangerous substances – Sodium which is explosive when exposed to moisture and Chlorine which is poisonous.
But salt is so very stable!

Alnico magnets are a wonder.
• It is composed of three non-magnetic substances: aluminium, nickel and cobalt.
But it is the strongest magnet in the world!

Water is a wonder.
• Its chemical formula is H2O – Oxygen is flammable and hydrogen readily burns.
But unite them, to get water and we put out fires with it!

But above all these things of nature and the natural phenomena, we have the greatest wonder in the Lord and Creator of every “object and situation” of wonder, Himself – God!

How often do we realize the wonder of His Being?
How often do we be thankful for the wonders He does in our lives?

The Gospel of the Day is a reminder and an eye-opener for us to realize the “wonderful” Person that we have in the “boat” of our lives – Jesus – and to be grateful for Him for His “wondrous” presence!

We are with the familiar passage of the calming of the storms.

The Gospel of Matthew reports the fact that when Jesus and His disciples got into the boat, there was sudden violent “storm”… (Mt 8:23)

The Greek word that is used for “storm” is “seismos”…

Seismos means a “shaking” or a “commotion” or a “tempest” or an “earthquake”
(It is from this word “seismos” that we get the word “seismic” which refers to earthquakes)

The disciples were right in the midst of something like a “sea-earthquake”

And it came on “suddenly”!

How often is our life too so similar…
We sail across calmly, enjoying the peace and serenity of life…
… when suddenly…… we are hit by a deadly storm…in the form of….
• a major crisis in the family or the community
• an unexpected sickness to us or to our loved one
• some unimaginable disaster arising in our work-place
• an inexpressible pain or an absolutely unforeseen problem

We find ourselves totally despairing in the thick of that “seismos,” that “storm”.

The waves hit the boat of our lives so badly and violently…
… that for a moment, our heart skips a beat and we think, “is it all going to be over?”
… that for a split-second, we let go of every hope and we feel, “is it really the end?”

But the Lord who was always with us, in our boat, relaxed and calm, “gets up, rebukes the winds and the sea, and there is great calm” (Mt 8: 26)

It is as if the whole world is His classroom, and the Master Teacher gets up and demonstrates His power to His students!
It is as if the waves and the winds are getting “too naughty” and Jesus, the Lord, gets up and “rebukes and chides” them!

And suddenly the disciples realized something spectacular…

All this while, in the midst of the storm, they were shocked and appalled at the “wonder” of the mighty wind and the raging tempest.

But now… right before them and with them… was a Person who was the Source, Creator and the Perfection of all Wonders – “Jesus”!
• The “wonder” of the Lord’s presence far outmatched those of the deadly side of nature!
• The “wonder” of the Mighty Creator greatly surpassed that of the crisis they faced!

The Gospel says that the disciples were “‘amazed’ and said “What sort of a man is this, whom even the winds and the seas obey?” (Mt 8:27)

How often do we realize the wonder of His Being?
How often do we be thankful for the wonders He does in our lives?

May we also, like the Disciples, learn to experience deeper and mingle with the “wonder” of the Lord – especially in the Most Holy Eucharist, where He is truly and really present…
… so that we can sail through the storms of our life, in faith and hope!

Problems of life, when faced individually, can be volatile and dangerous…

But when they are viewed with the Grace of God and from the Providence of the Lord…
… they become Great and Wondrous Moments of Blessings!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “When you encounter difficulties and contradictions, do not try to break them…

… but bend them with gentleness and time!”

June 29, 2020 – Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul

“Looking to the ever merciful and compassionate Lord, and receiving from Him, the grace of repentance, and overcoming our ‘branded life of guilt or shame or misery or unfaithfulness or sin’ to become saints like St Peter and St Paul!

(Based on the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul)

There were two brothers were convicted of stealing sheep in a particular place.

In accordance with the brutal punishment of that society, both were branded on their forehead with the letters S T, which stood for “Sheep Thief.”

One of them, unable to bear the stigma, ran away to a foreign place.

But people would ask him about the letters on his brow, and what they meant.

Thus he wandered from land to land.
Finally, full of bitterness, he ended his life and was buried in a forgotten grave.

But the other brother, repented of his misdeed and did not go away from his home.

He said to himself: “I can’t escape from the fact that I stole sheep.

So I will remain here, until I win back the respect of my neighbours and myself.”

As the years passed by, he established a reputation for respectability and integrity.

One day a stranger in this town saw this man (by now, old) with the letters S T branded on his forehead.

He asked a native what they signified.
After a little thought, the villager said: “It all happened a great while ago, and I have forgotten the particulars; but I think the letters are an abbreviation of SAINT.”

The man whose forehead was branded with ‘S T’ to signify SHEEP-THIEF, had repented and revived his life so much…
…. that other people, by now, experienced him as a SAINT

… the marvellous grace of God in the penitent and a believing heart is able to transform the ‘detestable scars and branding of sin’ into an ’emblem of honour and beauty’!

It is this transformative power and grace of the Lord that we thank and celebrate on this Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul.

One of the most beautiful aspects of the Love of God is that it brings people of contrasting characters and temperaments to come together in the Church.

• The love of God respects individuality, but forges together beautiful relationships.
• The love of God maintains personal traits, but mingles together wonderful team-efforts.

Such is the power and beauty of God’s Love!

St Peter and St Paul were certainly quite different – in their upbringing, in their temperament and in their nature…

• St Peter probably just had, what is called in our days ‘elementary education’.
• He was a fisherman, married with a family, and had the enormous privilege of having known and worked alongside Jesus during his ministry.
• He was chosen by Jesus as the leader of the apostles
• He was impulsive by nature and often said and did things without a prior second thought!

On the other hand…
• St Paul was a graduate from one of the prestigious universities of his day (perhaps, like the Oxford or Cambridge in our days) and had been tutored by the famous leader of the Hillel School of Rabbis called Gamaliel.
• He was very well-versed in the Scriptures and lived passionately by the Jewish Law
• He spent his early years persecuting Christians and seeking to end the movement called “Christianity”
• He was converted after the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ.

There is more…

The real name of Peter was ‘Simon’, meaning: ‘he who hears’ (from Hebrew) or ‘flat-nosed’ (from Greek)
His nickname was ‘Cephas’ in Aramaic or Petros in Greek, meaning ‘the rock’.

The real name of Paul was ‘Saul’, meaning: ‘asked for’ or ‘prayed for’ (from Hebrew)
His nickname was “Paul’, meaning ‘short in height’ or ‘small’

• St Peter denied Jesus three times before His Crucifixion; later, after the Resurrection, he would be asked to affirm three times to the question, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”
• St Paul persecuted the Church and affirmed the stoning of the first martyr, St Stephen; later, he would be asked the pertinent question on the road to Damascus, “Paul, Paul, why are you persecuting Me?”

Despite all these differences, the two apostles had an important aspect in common: They both took part in the mighty miracle of “repentance”

Ordinarily, both these persons would have perhaps drowned themselves in the sea of sorrow and misery, if they got stuck to their past life and depended only themselves…

Peter could have felt…
“I was given so many special privileges by the Lord.
I was to be a model for others to follow.
I had even boasted that I would give up my life for the Lord!

But now I have failed…
I can never ever be credible in life!

What would others think of me?
I would be branded forever by others… An imposter… A traitor… A boaster… A betrayer!
It’s the end of my life… It’s all over for me!”

Paul could have felt…
“I have been such a dreadful persecutor
My name and presence would cause such terror to the innocent followers of Christ

I have made my life an absolute wreck…
I can never be credible in life!

What would others think of me?
I would be branded forever by others… A persecutor… A tormentor.. A tyrant… A Cheater!
It’s the end of my life… It’s all over for me!”

But they did not look into themselves… rather looked onto to Christ!
And they found strength… they found hope!
They found the Grace to Repent!

… the marvelous grace of God in the penitent and a believing heart is able to change and transform the ‘detestable scars and branding of sin’ into an ’emblem of honour and beauty’!

Today they are remembered with honour and admired with great respect…

St Peter and St Paul are the pillars of the Church!
Their names today stand for mighty courage, passionate love for the Lord and faithful submission to God’s Will

Is my life also being “branded” with guilt or shame or misery or unfaithfulness or sin?
• Let’s not get discouraged and drown ourselves into misery!
Instead, may we look to the Lord, Who is ever merciful and compassionate, and receive the grace of repentance, which can help us to also become saints!

Happy Feast of St Peter and St Paul – the mighty and valiant warriors of our Faith!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Each of us has his own endowment from God, one to live in this way, another in that.

It is an impertinence, then, to try to find out why St. Paul was not given St. Peter’s grace, or St. Peter given St. Paul’s.

There is only one answer to such questions: the Church is a garden patterned with countless flowers, so there must be a variety of sizes, colors, scents — of perfections, after all.

Each has its value, its charm, its joy; while the whole vast cluster of these variations makes for beauty in its most graceful form!”

June 28, 2020 – 13th Week of Ordinary Time

“May we be blessed with the Grace to lead a Christ-centric life, and thus, to “Have a heart for all – extending, our hands, in help, to all!”

(Based on 2 Kings 4:8-11, 14-16, Rom 6:3-4, 8-11 and Mt 10:37-42 – Sunday of the 13th Week of Ordinary Time)

A very well-respected and fine Christian gentleman, died in a particular village.

The entire village, mourned his death, and felt the grief, at the passing of this man…
…who exemplified charity and goodness and who always placed Christ at the centre of his life.

Among all the kind words that were spoken at the funeral, the most heart-touching, came from a man who was least expected to speak good.

This man, was a hard-core drug addict and given to a life of drunkenness and debauchery.

Tried as much as he could, he was still unable to fully overcome his bad tendencies.

The entire village had scorned him…
… abandoned his case.
(But this “all-forsaken” man had been greatly accepted and encouraged by the gentleman who died.

In fact, it was his constant reinforcement that had become a source of hope for the “abandoned” man to revive his life!)

Standing next to the grave, this man acclaimed the gentleman in these words:
“He had a heart for everybody – good or bad, lost or least!

Never for a moment, did he think about the unworthiness of the other!
But all he did was…”extend his hand, in help, to all!”

That was indeed a wonderful tribute to a Christian:
“Having a heart for all – Extending, his hand, in help, to all!”

The Christ-centric life had enabled the gentleman to “Have a heart for all – Extending, his hands, in help, to all!”

Are we ready, as followers of Christ, to do the same?

The Gospel of the Day is a reminder of the Great Call of Jesus to follow Him, in the “way of the Cross”…
… with a deep exhortation to translate this “following” into a “life of kindness”!

The Gospel passage very clearly enunciates the demand placed on a Christian:
Giving Christ, the first place in life!

Jesus says: “He who loves father or mother more than Me, is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me, is not worthy of Me…” (Mt 10: 37)

Undoubtedly – and rightly so – the society places “honouring of one’s own family members, especially parents”, with the highest sense of social obligation.

Jesus, in no way, negates this supreme duty of one’s familial responsibilities.
But He goes a step further, in the demand to be His disciple: Giving God, the top most priority!

What does this point to?
For a person, generally…
… One’s feelings are most tender and filial towards one’s family members…

Jesus demands: I deserve to be loved more tenderly!

… One’s duties are oriented towards the well-being and growth of one’s family…

Jesus demands: My Kingdom deserves greater attention and devotion.

… One’s concerns are centered on the future of one’s family…

Jesus demands: Your relationship with me and your salvation, is to be the prime concern of

These demands in no way, reduce our Family Commitments

Rather, it places a demand on us: That our Christian Families ought to become Christ-Centered!
This would make us to “seek for holiness, in perfectly carrying out our duties of the family, with Christ as the Head of the Family!”

As St Francis de Sales says in his classic book – The Introduction to Devout Life:
“When God created the world He commanded each tree to bear fruit after its kind;
And even so He bids Christians,—the living trees of His Church,—to bring forth fruits of devotion, each one according to his kind and vocation.

This then, is the meaning of those strong words of Jesus…
… which demand a greater affinity and loyalty to Him, than even to one’s closest family members.

It is thus, when we “Give Christ the first place in our life!” that our lives become epitomes of kindness!

It is here that the Lord assures to those, who are willing to have Him at the centre of their lives:
“And whoever, gives to one of these little ones, even a cup of cold water, because he is a disciple…
… truly I tell you, will not lose his reward!” (Mt 10: 42)

In this simple verse, the Lord highlights the magnanimity of doing “little acts of kindness”

  1. Who can do these acts?


One can be a priest… a consecrated person… a family person… a single… a poor person… “an unlucky” one… a “nobody” in the society…

“Whoever” we be – We can, all, do these acts of kindness!

  1. To whom can these acts be done?

“To Little Ones”

These “little ones” include the unnoticed people… the rejected ones… the ones whom society scorns and frowns upon… the people who are abandoned… those who are not given a “second chance”

“Little Ones” – All, are “worthy” to receive these acts of kindness

  1. What kind of acts of kindness are these?

“Giving even a cup of cold water!”

Giving water in the thirsty and dry land of Israel, was not a very “famed” act.

It was considered simple, petty, common and ordinary.

Yet, for Jesus, this was an important act of kindness.

Also to be noted is that, giving “cold” water, would certainly, take some “extra effort” on the part of the provider.

Thus, though a simple act, it did involve the elements of “sacrifice and self-giving”
“Giving even a cup of cold water” for us can therefore, include…
… “a friendly hello or a smile to people around us, who might be looking for encouragement in life”
… “a whisper of prayer for a person in distress”
… “a gentle touch of concern to a worried family member or a friend in trouble”
… “a listening ear to a broken family, a shoulder to a depressed soul or an emphatic heart for a disturbed person”
… and many many more…..!

The Second Book of Kings records the beautiful example of the Shunammite woman being blessed by God with a son, for her deed of kindness to Elisha, the Prophet (2 Kings 4:8-11, 14-16)

It is when we have Christ at the centre of our lives, that all our “simple acts of kindness” also become “salvific” in nature…
… which will prompt the Lord, on Judgment Day to declare:
“Whatever you did, for one of the least of My brothers, you did it for Me” (Mt 25:40)

Let us give heed to the appeal of St Paul: “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus!” (Rom 6:11)

Yes, the Lord exhorts us, as His followers to “take up our Cross and follow Him” (Mt 10:38)

May we be blessed with the Grace to lead a Christ-centric life …
… and thus, to “Have a heart for all – Extending, our hands, in help, to all!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “The many troubles in your household will tend to your edification…
… if you strive to bear them all in gentleness, patience, and kindness.

Keep this ever before you, and remember constantly that God’s loving eyes are upon you amid all these little worries and vexations, watching whether you take them as He would desire.

Offer up all such occasions to Him, and if sometimes you are put out…

… and give way to impatience, do not be discouraged, but make haste to regain your lost composure!”

June 27, 2020 – 12th Week of Ordinary Time

“Having a deep humility that causes us to reach out to others in concern and care, and to have a strong faith that prevents any blocks in the ‘horizon of our faith!’”

(Based on Lam 2:2, 10-14, 18-19 and Mt 8:5-17 – Saturday of the 12th Week of Ordinary Time)

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 -1894) was a Scottish novelist, poet, essayist, and travel writer.

He was a literary celebrity during his lifetime.
He ranks among the 26 most translated authors in the world!

He was also a great optimist and had a very strong positive outlook towards life.

But he was also often sick and would not keep well.

Once he was bedridden with tuberculosis.

His wife, sick of his extreme positivity, made fun of him and said: “I expect you still believe that it is a wonderful day!”

Lying on the bed, with a series of medicine bottles on his table, Stevenson looked out of the window, with the sunshine blazing down, and said: “Oh yes, I do!
I will never let a row of medicine bottles block my horizon!”

What about us?

Do the problems of life block the horizon of our faith?

The Gospel of the Day is a wonderful exhibition of a powerful faith, which refused to get limited by the problems of life.

The passage begins with a centurion approaching Jesus with a request:
“Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, in terrible distress” (Mt 8:6)

Here is a beautiful example worth admiring and imitating….

A high placed military officer approaches Jesus for a healing of his servant
A wonderful illustration of humility, a striking example of concern for people in the lower position.

We need to ask ourselves…
… What is my attitude to those who are inferior to me?
… How do I treat and behave with those who work for us, in our houses, institutions etc – our servants, our cooks, our drivers, our watchmen etc…?

All of them deserve…
… an act of concern!
… a word of appreciation
… a push of encouragement

When Jesus expresses His willingness to come to his house, the Centurion manifests yet another admiring act…
… a Faith that dares the challenges all problems
… A Faith that defies the shocks of troubles!

He responds to Jesus saying: “Lord, I am not worthy to have you under my roof; only say the Word and my servant will be healed” (Mt 8:8)

Who is a centurion?

A centurion was a professional officer of the powerful army of the Roman Empire.

Although, theoretically, this word has its roots in the Latin word ‘centum’ which means one hundred…
… a Centurion in the Roman Army was one who commanded 80 men.

What was the position of the Centurion in the Roman Army?

Above the centurion was a senior centurion… (a total of 80 men for a Centurion)
Above this senior centurion were sixty centurions… (a total of 4800 men)
Above the sixty centurions were six tribunes… (each tribune had 3000 men.. so total 18, 000)
Above the six tribunes were the two consuls.
Above the consuls was the Emperor!

It was such a “man of immense authority” who stood before Jesus…
… and requested for a healing for his servant.

This mighty centurion looked at Jesus the Commanding Emperor of a mighty army!

In Jesus, he saw a man…
… of immense authority!
… of mighty strength!
… of great power!

And so He tells Jesus, “… only say a word, and my servant will be healed” (Mt 8: 8b)

The man had a deep concern for his servant

He had a tenderness that caused him to identify with the sufferings of his slave

But he also had a deep faith that refused to be limited by problems and difficulties

His faith was strong and refused the challenges of life to hamper his belief in Jesus!

The centurion did not allow the problems of life to block the “horizon of his faith”!

What about us?

Do our hardships in life, sometimes cause a mist in the horizon of our faith?
Do the concerns of our family and community, sometimes hinder our horizon of our faith?
Do the problems of our future, our plans and our works, cause blocks in the horizon of our faith?

May we respond positively to the challenge and invitation of the Centurion in today’s Gospel …
… to have a deeper humility that causes us to reach out to others in concern and care
… to have a stronger faith that prevents any blocks in the “horizon of our faith”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “God requires a faithful fulfillment of the merest trifle given us to do…

… rather than the most ardent aspiration to things to which we are not called!”

June 26, 2020 – 12th Week of Ordinary Time

“May the touch of the Lord take away any ‘leprous’ tendencies in our mind and life and free us from any bondage in order to live a firm and committed Christian Life!”

(Based on 2 Kings 25:1-12 and Mt 8:1-4 – Friday of the 12th Week of Ordinary Time)

An integral system of education consists of proper blend of theoretical knowledge and practical application.

Theory refers to learning ideas and concepts, principles and philosophies regarding a particular subject through books, media, encyclopaedias, academic institutions, classes, lectures and other sources.

Practical refers to the ability of using that information and applying it in a real-life context.

• Theoretical knowledge shows the whole forest – builds the context and helps to set strategy.
• Practical knowledge shows a single tree – puts forth the situation and challenges to act.

In recent times, many of the subjects and the curriculum in institutions, insist and demand on both the theoretical knowledge and the practical dimension of knowledge.

The Gospel of the Day is the narrative of the ‘first in the series’ of practical applications of the theoretical knowledge that Jesus has expounded through the Sermon on the Mount.

The incident of the cleansing of the Leper in Mt 8: 1-4 is placed immediately after the Great Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:1- 7:29)
• The Sermon on the Mount was the theoretical knowledge that Jesus expounded
• The cleansing of the leper was the theoretical application of some of those principles

At the start of the Sermon on the Mount, we read “When Jesus saw the CROWDS, He went up to the mountain…..” (Mt 5:1)

At the end of the Sermon on the Mount, we read, “When Jesus came down from the mountain, great CROWDS followed Him” (Mt 8:1)

• Many people in the crowd have listened and marvelled at the teachings of Jesus.

• Many of them now follow Him…

Perhaps to see how He would apply those lofty teachings in real life
Perhaps to see whether all those high ideas were really liveable in actual life

And what is the scene that they encounter?

A leper who approaches Jesus!

“A leper!!”… Ooops!!

“Stay away, all” would have been the united chorus of that multitude of crowd!

Leprosy was one of the most feared and dreaded disease of the ancient world.

The Hebrew word for leprosy (Tsara’ath) comes from a root word which means “to scourge or to strike.”

Leprosy was very often, considered a curse.

It was incurable and highly deadly – blatantly evident on the body and an ugly sight!

Leprosy was almost a ‘living death’, with many sweeping implications.

A person would be declared a leper after tests were performed (Lev. 13).
Once declared a leper by the priest, the leper had to be cut-off from contact with society.

• He had to display marks of mourning, as if for the dead (thus, to touch him would defile oneself)
• When someone drew near, he had to call out, “Unclean! Unclean!”
• He had to remain outside the camp with no access to the temple or perform any worship.

Leprosy was, indeed, a living death!

The crowd who saw this leper approach and worship Jesus would have had mixed feelings – shock… anger… unpleasantness…

They would have been also very curious what would Jesus do…
“He preached so much… let’s see what He does now”
“Is He really going to touch and get defiled by that dirty leper?”

But the Lord was not just well-versed in theoretical knowledge; He was also the perfect executioner of applied knowledge!

Theoretically He had said…
“Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees and the Scribes, you shall not enter the Kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:20)

He now goes beyond the ceremonial stipulations of the Law and ‘touches’ and heals the leper (Mt 8:3)

Theoretically He had said…
“… take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them” (Mt 6:1)

He tells the leper not to make a publicized show of his cure; instead to ‘show himself to the priest and offer the gift that Moses commanded’ (Mt 8:4)

Theoretically He had said…
“Judge not, that, you may not be judged” (Mt 7:1)

He doesn’t condemn or despise or mock the leper who comes close to him and instead expresses his whole-hearted willingness to shower mercy on him by saying, “I am willing; be clean” (Mt 8:3)

Theoretically He had said…
“Not everyone who says Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the Will of the Father in heaven” (7:21)

He puts into effect His teachings, ‘walking the talk’ and fulfilling the Will of the Father to be a Healer and Saviour to people.

The Lord was not just an eloquent and effective preacher but also a committed and convinced practiser of what He spoke.
• His deeds matched His wonderful words!
• His words produced dazzling deeds!

This then is the invitation to us too:

To have an integral Christian Life by being a Preacher of the Word (in whichever little or insignificant way possible) and a Practiser of the Word (through a witnessing and charitable life)

May the touch of the Lord take away any ‘leprous’ tendencies in our mind and life and free us from any bondage in order to live a firm and committed Christian Life!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Comets appear to be larger than stars and more
fanfare is generally made of them.

Yet, they are not comparable to stars either in size or in quality and only seem more spectacular because they are closer.

So, too, most people generally esteem the virtues which are, so to speak, closer, more tangible and more material!”

June 25, 2020 – 12th Week of Ordinary Time

“Moving from being a ‘chameleon’ Christian to being ‘committed and convinced’ Christians!”

(Based on 2 Kings 24:8-17 and Mt 7:21-29 – Thursday of the 12th Week of Ordinary Time)

A chameleon is a tree-dwelling lizard with long thin legs, a strong curled tail and a long sticky tongue.

One of the special characteristic of the chameleon is the ability to change its colour.

The chameleon takes the colour of its background and environment – tree, bush, or grass etc.

Generally it was considered that this change of colour happens by dispersion of pigment-containing organelles within their skin.

However, recent researches (2014) show a different picture…

Chameleons have two superimposed layers within their skin that control their colour and thermoregulation.

The top layer contains a lattice of guanine nano-crystals.
By exciting this lattice, the spacing between the nano-crystals can be manipulated, which in turn affects which wavelengths of light are reflected and which are absorbed.
Exciting the lattice increases the distance between the nano-crystals, and the skin reflects longer wavelengths of light.

Thus, in a relaxed state the crystals reflect blue and green, but in an excited state the longer wavelengths such as yellow, orange, and red are reflected.

Is this not a similar case with many Christian lives as well?

Many Christians are like the chameleon – they can take on the colour of the world about them.

Just as it is difficult to distinguish the chameleon from the background, so it is very difficult to distinguish many Christians from the background of the world in which they live!

And the reason for this seems to be similar as well, just as the chameleons.

Perhaps such Christians have two superimposed-layers…

The top layer with the tag of “Christian” – but containing a lattice of “personal agenda” and “sinful inclinations”
When the external surroundings get conducive and favourable, this “lattice” of sin and duplicity expands – the colour changes – from “holiness” to “worldliness”!

The Gospel of the Day is a bold reminder and warning to us Christians from possessing such kind of a “colour-changing attitude” – professing one thing and living something else to suit the surroundings!

Jesus declares, “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord’, shall enter the Kingdom of heaven, but he who does the Will of my Father who is in heaven” (Mt 7: 21)

This Gospel passage is the conclusion of the spectacular Sermon on the Mount which began from Chapter 5 of the Gospel of St Matthew.

This great discourse and the brilliant exposition of the Christian teaching is concluded with two fundamental exhortations by Christ:

  1. Be a doer of the Word, not just a listener
  2. Have a strong foundation built on Him, rather than on the world!

Christianity, for some, becomes a soothing philosophy and a relaxing religion.

The Mercy of the Lord… the Love of the Father… the Providence of God – they become easy escape routes to avoid duties and responsibilities (although, these terms, when rightly understood, are the key facets of true understanding of the Lord – which also entails important duties on us!)
The pious practices…the devout rituals… the spiritual exercises – they sometimes get reduced to mere ‘relaxing’ techniques or ‘lifeless’ customs

It gets easy to merely say ‘Lord, Lord’ – but to live a life in witness to the Lord becomes a pain in the neck
It feels good to say, “Jesus, Jesus” – but to orient our actions and deeds, worthy of our vocation becomes a hard reality.

But this is the challenge that the Lord invites us to rise up to…

Being a person who seriously lives ones profession of faith and makes life a truly witnessing one!
Being a person who consciously makes efforts to be holy and saintly in order to give glory to the salvific act of the Lord, who shed His blood for us!

Towards this end, Jesus says that we need to have our faith and life built on the strong foundation of the Lord Himself!

To all who place their entire hope on worldly treasures or self-capabilities – like the house build on sand – are sure to collapse!
To all who build their entire trust on Jesus and His grace and goodness – like the house built on rock – are sure to remain firm!

Being a Christian is an exciting adventure.
There is lot of contentment… loads of peace… bundles of joy!

But there is also the danger of being snared by the pleasures or riches or temptations in the world, which is constantly enticing us to move away from the Lord and identify ourselves with the world.

The Second Book of the Kings recounts how the Temple at Jerusalem was besieged by the Babylonians…
… an aftermath of the unfaithfulness of Israel to the ways of the Lord
… an effect of Israel moving away from the laws of God Yahweh!

St Peter says, “Your enemy, the Devil, is prowling round, like a roaring lion, looking for someone to eat. Stand up to him, strong in faith…” (1 Pt 5: 8-9)
Jesus says, “They do not belong to the world anymore…” (Jn 17: 16)

Let us examine our Christian lives and check…
Am I a “committed and convinced” Christian?

Or am I a “chameleon” Christian?

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Sometimes we so much occupy ourselves
with trying to live like angels…

… that we neglect to be good men and women!”

June 24, 2020 – 12th Week of Ordinary Time

“May our gestures of teaching about ‘The Word, Jesus,’ inspired by St John the Baptist, reinforce hope and courage to those dying – in sin, in affliction, in depression, in loneliness!”

(Based on the Feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist – Wednesday of the 12th Week of Ordinary Time)

There was a school system in a large city that had a program, to help children keep up with their school assignments…
… during the time when the children were admitted for sicknesses.

One day a teacher who was assigned to this program, received a call asking her to visit a particular child.

She took the child’s name and room number and had a short talk with the child’s regular class teacher.
“We’re studying about words in his class now – nouns and adverbs,” the class teacher said, “and I’d be grateful if you could help him understand them so he doesn’t fall too far behind.”

The hospital-program teacher went to see the boy that afternoon.

The boy had met with a bad accident, been badly burnt and was in great pain.

Upset at the sight of the boy, she stammered as she told him, “I’ve been sent by your school to help you with nouns and adverbs.”

When she left after teaching, she felt she hadn’t accomplished much.

But the next day, a nurse asked her, “What did you do to that boy?”

The teacher felt she must have done something wrong and began to apologize.
“No, no,” said the nurse. “You don’t know what I mean. We’ve been worried about that little boy, but ever since yesterday, you met him, his whole attitude has changed.
He’s fighting back, responding to treatment…

It’s as though he’s decided to live!”

Two weeks later, the boy explained that he had completely given up hope until the teacher arrived.

Everything changed when he came to a simple realization which he expressed it this way:
“They wouldn’t send a teacher to teach about words, and work on ‘nouns and adverbs’ with a dying boy, would they?”

The gesture of teaching about “words” reinforced hope and courage to that dying boy!

Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear.

If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today!

The Feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist comes with this great message of “hope”!

The Gospel presents the beautiful incident of the birth and naming of St John the Baptist.

The birth of John the Baptist is the pivot around which the history of our faith turns.

He was the last prophet of the Old Covenant – and the first of the New Covenant.

One of the highlighting aspects of the birth of John the Baptist is the message that “hope is not to be lost, even in the midst of extreme barrenness!”

The Gospel of St Luke says that “Elizabeth and Zechariah, both were advanced in years”, but they had no child; Elizabeth was barren” (Lk 1: 7)

Elizabeth’s barrenness was also symbolic of the barrenness of the land, of the world and of the entire humanity…

Wickedness had caused creation to be incapable of nurturing and sustaining life
Sin had rendered human beings infertile, to bear God’s grace and live in holiness

But God…
… is the God of hope
… the God of fulfilling every promise
… and the God of surprises!

From the barrenness of Elizabeth emerged the forerunner of the One who is Life!
From the barrenness of the world, God gave rise to the Fountain of hope and trust!

The entire life of St John – through the key events – is a spectacular reminder of this great virtue of “hope”…

A. The conception of John
Even when there is barrenness all around, we need to “hope” in God who is able to work miracles and give us life and joy!

B. The naming of John
Even when there are many worldly voices that seek to distract us from the ways that God wishes for us, we need to “hope” in God and follow whatever He wills, so as to find glory and joy in Him!

C. The life of John in the desert
Even when life takes us through the deserts of emptiness, dangers, hardships and misery, we need to “hope” in God who has a definite plan and purpose for our life!

D. The beheading of John
Even when we become victims of cruelty, exploitation, wickedness and inhumanness, we need to “hope” in God by living a life of truth, courage, convictions and valour!

The Church celebrates the Nativity of only three persons, in her liturgical calendar…

  1. Jesus -“Hope” Himself
  2. Mother Mary – the Mother of “Hope”
  3. John the Baptist – the symbol of “Hope”

May our lives become truly rooted in “hope” and become beacons of spreading this “hope and trust” to others.

There are many who are sick in our world.
There are many who are burnt by the fires of afflictions and at the point of death
There are many who have lost all faith in life and give themselves up to despair and dejection.

Our gestures of teaching about “The Word – Jesus” can reinforce hope and courage to those dying – in sin, in affliction, in depression, in loneliness.

Wish you a Happy Feast of the Nativity of the “symbol of Hope” – St John the Baptist.

May Jesus our “Hope” and Blessed Mamma, our “Mother of Hope” strengthen us!

God bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – Put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations, and say continually:
“The Lord is my strength and my shield. My heart has trusted in him and I am helped.

He is not only with me but in me, and I in Him.”

June 23, 2020 – 12th Week of Ordinary Time


“’Dieting’ ourselves into being ‘fit and fine’ to enter through the narrow gate!”

(Based on 2 Kings 19:9-36 and Mt 7:6-14 –Tuesday of the 12th Week of Ordinary Time)

Like dieting?

Here are some “interesting” and “humorous” diet tips (try them at your own risk!)…

• If no one sees you eating what you like, it has no calories

• If you drink a diet soda with a candy bar, they will cancel each other out.

• Food taken for medicinal purposes does not count. This would include buttered toast, cheese sandwich, chocolate jam…

• Snacks consumed during a movie do not count as they are part of the entertainment.

• Late-night snacks have no calories.

Dieting, over the last few years, has grown to be a fashionable trend.

Many try to look slim and fit
Many are more health-conscious.
Many want to shed off any extra kilos

But when it comes to a spiritual realm, perhaps all of us need to do a “spiritual dieting”!
• A dieting to shed off the extra “fat” of sin and evil inclinations
• A dieting to reduce the overweight of “unholy” thoughts and “impure” feelings
• A dieting to burn away the bulging flab of “uncharitable” deeds and “critical” speech

This “dieting” is a necessity to be “slim” and “fit” and “fine” in order to enter through the narrow gate that Jesus proposes in today’s Gospel.

Jesus says in the Gospel today, “Enter by the narrow gate… for the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Mt 7: 13-14)

The Sermon on the Mount continues with Jesus presenting the wonderful message of the Kingdom of God and its radical requirements.

One of the key aspects in the Sermon on the Mount is the demand made on the part of the disciple to “make a choice”
• One has to radically “make a choice” for the Kingdom of God.
• One has to stay committed to this “choice” that is taken and live it to the fullness.

It is this “choice” that will determine whether our entry to eternity…
… eternal condemnation – is through the “wide gate” or
… eternal life – is through the “narrow gate”.

Jesus says that it is easy to pass through the wide gate…
• All those who choose not to live in accordance to the Gospel values
• All those who are content to make life “merry” and just “live life to the max”
• All those who fail to respond to God’s Grace and deny having a life in Him
But this will lead to doom and condemnation!

To pass through the narrow gate is hard…
• All those who make a choice to live according to the teachings of the Lord
• All those who boldly seek to proclaim the Kingdom by their faithful and holy lives
• All those who constantly hold on to the Lord despite hardships and difficulties in life
But this will lead to joy and eternal life!

We read in the Old Testament of the example of King Hezekiah who humbled himself before the Lord and sought the ways of the Lord. He prayed:
“So now, O Lord our God, save us, I beseech thee, from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou, O Lord, art God alone!” (2Kings 19:19)

The choice for the Lord and His Kingdom requires us to shed away unnecessary “fat and flab”…
… and ‘diet’ ourselves into being “fit and fine” to enter through the narrow gate.

Are we all set to enter into this mode of “spiritual dieting?”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Take care of your health…

… that it may serve you to serve God!”

June 22, 2020 – 12th Week of Ordinary Time

“Seeking to purify our lives, rather than indulging in mud-slinging on others by judging others!”

(Based on 2 Kings 17:5-8, 13-15, 18 and Mt 7:1-5 – Monday of the 12th Week of Ordinary Time)

Blessed Mother Mary.
Zechariah and Elizabeth.
Mary Magdalene.
Man crippled for 38 years.
The Samaritan Woman.
The woman caught in adultery.
The widow who offered the two mites.
The thief alongside Jesus on the cross…


This is not a reference list of all the main persons of the New Testament for some research purpose or study.

But for a moment, let’s look at the lives of these persons….

All of them had to face some sort of trouble in their lives…some hitches and dilemmas, were a part of all their lives.

Now, if each of them, were to be placed on trial, as in a court, and judged according to our standards and our human yardsticks….
… Perhaps, most of them would be been condemned and convicted.

Some of them would have been humiliated in public…
… some abused with insults and foul language
… some perhaps would be stoned or even put to death!

This is Human Judgment.

But in the Light of God’s mercy and by God’s way of judging…
… we know the story of all their lives!

Human Beings are least equipped to judge, but their judgments are miserable & condemnable

God is fully equipped to judge, but His judgment is praiseworthy & encouraging!

That’s the difference in Judgment between Human Beings and God!

In the Gospel of the Day, Jesus says, “Do not judge!” (Mt 7:1)

We need to clarify what does the word JUDGE mean…

Jury makes judgments.
Schools make judgments on students.
Companies make judgments on candidates in an interview or in cases of promotion/demotion.

All these may not constitute the judgment that Jesus means.

Judging, in the sense of Jesus, is condemning!

It is to have a negative and pessimistic attitude to human beings and condemning and rejecting them outright and absolutely!!

We could consider “Judge not” from three aspects:

  1. We are unworthy to pass a final judgment on any person or situation:

We need to let God be God and as human beings, we need to know our limitations.

  1. We are not to judge the motives of other people:

Human beings see only the external…
… God sees the heart of the person!

  1. We are not to be petty faultfinders:

We need to cease having a “microscopic vision”, in order to scan and scrutinize the faults and weaknesses of others.

In the light of today’s Gospel, we need to examine certain aspects of our life…
Do I…
… maximize the sins and faults of others and minimize mine?
… come to quick, hasty and negative conclusions?
… pass critical stories to other?
… have a strong bias to find others guilty?
… be too harsh even when speaking the truth?
… dilute an unkind remark by saying, “I was only joking.”
… say something critical and then trying to cover it up?

Even after this examination, if there is a tendency to judge, then there is one person we can be critical of…
… Yes, Our Own Selves!

Yes, let us be judging our actions, our behaviours, our thoughts…
…. and seek to purify our lives, rather than indulging in mud-slinging on others!

The Lord constantly reminds us: “Turn from your evil ways and keep my commandments and my statutes, in accordance with all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets.” (2 Kings 17:13)

It’s high time we give up the “vulture-culture”!

Vultures, as we know, are birds, which fly across landscapes and terrains, and with their sharp eyes, swoop down on rotting, dead flesh…
… any flesh that is decayed, becomes a great feast for them!

The “vulture-culture” is very much in our society too…

We tend to relish on the decay, the weaknesses, the faults, the miseries and dark areas of others’ lives!

Am I, in anyway, contributing to this foul-practice??

Yes, let’s stop being Vultures!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Support and excuse your neighbor with great generosity of heart!”