September 1, 2020 – 22nd Week in Ordinary Time

“Growing in our awareness that the Lord – the God of all Authority and Power – reigns supreme in the midst of every terrorizing event, every bizarre place and every haunting situation!”

(Based on 1 Cor 2:10-16 and Lk 4:31-37 – Tuesday of the 22nd Week in Ordinary Time)

(Warning: Kindly read the following first few lines with caution…. the weak-hearted ones especially…)

The Sedlec Ossuary is a small Catholic chapel, located beneath the Cemetery Church of All Saints in the town of Sedlec, in the country of the Czech Republic.
(An ossuary is a building or a sit, that is made to serve as the final resting place of human skeletal remains)

What’s so specially about this Chapel?

Or rather, what’s so strange and weird about this Chapel?

The Chapel is estimated to contain the skeletons of around 40,000 – 70,000 people, whose bones have been artistically arranged to form decorations and furnishings for the chapel!

(The history goes back to 1278 when the King of Bohemia sent the abbot of the Sedlec Cistercian Monastery to Jerusalem.

When the abbot came back he brought with himself a jar of soil from the Golgotha, that was known as the “Holy Soil”. Soon people from all over the places desired to be buried in Sedlec, thus the cemetery there had to be expanded.
In the 15th century a Gothic church was built near the cemetery and its basement was used as an ossuary. The bones stayed there for centuries till 1870 when a woodcarver named Frantisek Rint was employed for the dark task of artistically arranging the thousands of bones!)

The Sedlec Ossuary is among the most visited tourist attractions of the Czech, attracting over 200,000 visitors yearly.

Yeah, a Bone and Skeleton filled Chapel!!

Bizarre, right?

But the wonderful thing about this horrific-looking and ghastly-appearing Chapel is that, in the midst of all these dead and lifeless bones, reigns the Cross of Christ, right at the middle of the Chapel!

The sight of the powerful Christ in the dead and gloomy atmosphere, is a tremendous sign of Faith and Hope!

Yes, God reigns in the midst of every terrorizing event, every bizarre place and every haunting situation!

It is this truth that is also boldly testified and witnessed in the Gospel Reading today.

Jesus encounters a man possessed by an evil spirit and who was violent and vociferous in his shoutings!

He yells and screams, “You are the Holy One of God!?

But there is a strange reply from Jesus…

With much authority, Jesus commands to the evil possessed person, ” Be Silent….!” (Lk 4:35)

Why is it that the Lord of all Authority and Power silences the cry of the evil spirits?

They were actually saying the truth that Jesus is the Holy One of God!

The demons were giving witness to who Jesus really was…
… and perhaps even acted as great advertisements to the people of the town.

Were they not actually making Jesus more popular and making known his fame and power to all?

Then, why does Jesus forbid them so strongly and powerfully in their declaration about Him?

There could be several factors…

And these factors also teach us, how we need to be aware of the tricks and techniques of the evil one and seek to be wary of those misleading trades of Satan…

  1. They were more of a distraction than honest witnesses

The evil spirit was creating a scene…
… and was taking away the attention of the people from the teachings of Jesus.

The evil spirit was creating flutter and chaos in the gathering…
… to excite curiosity and fear and undue emotions.

The evil spirit was moving the minds of the people from the truth…
… to something spectacular and showy.

Do I get trapped in the flashy and glitzy and astonishing aspects of religion and forsake instead the serene and sublime and gentle teachings and wisdom of the Lord?

  1. They were more into defrauding than rendering genuine testimony

The evil spirit was seeking to dominate the senses of the man…
… and acquire total control of the human person.

The evil spirit being allowed to speak would have meant…
… that Jesus gave approval to its possession of the man.

The evil spirit wanted to prove and demonstrate its power…
… over the faculties and abilities of the person.

Do I allow my senses – my mouth, my eyes, my ears, my body, my thoughts – to be controlled and manipulated by the evil spirit…
… even evil spirits in the form of drugs, smoking, alcohol, sex, vices, money etc….?

  1. They were more into deception than giving a true witness

The evil spirit liked to present half-knowledge as the Truth…
… just like the Serpent did to Eve, in the Eden Garden.

The evil spirit was a cheater who traps a person into his ways…
… with subtle styles of deceptiveness and falsity.

The evil spirit was an expert in disguising himself in the form…
… of many alluring and tempting appearances.

Do I get trapped into deception of the Evil One, by being caught up in the baits of populist gospel preaching, attractive and easy-go-spiritualities and comfortable and glamorous ways of living?

The Lord today wants to encounter the evil forces in our lives…our families…our communities…our world!

When we encounter the powerful Saviour, do we…
… yell
… or resist
… or say no
… or say “I don’t need” etc?

The Lord wants to overpower the Evil…

He commands and orders, “Be Silent…”

Let us be open to receive the healing touch of the Lord.

St Paul reminds us to be aware of the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives…
… and to remain ever open and docile to His promptings:
“Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might understand the gifts bestowed on us by God.

And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who possess the Spirit!” (1 Cor 2:12-13)

My Life may be filled with bizarre events…

My society or my world may be tangled in a lot of filth and evil ….
My surroundings may be cluttered with many repulsive objects and events…
Yet, in the midst of all this…the Lord – the God of all Authority and Power – still reigns supreme!

As we begin the New Month of September, let us resign ourselves totally, to the Power of God…
… growing in our awareness, that, God reigns in the midst of every terrorizing event, every bizarre place and every haunting situation!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Even if temptation to any sin should last all our life, it cannot make us displeasing to God…

… as long as we do not take pleasure in it and do not yield to it!”

August 31, 2020 – 22nd Week in Ordinary Time

“Submitting ourselves to the Mighty Power and Authority of the Lord, knowing for sure that ‘when God orders, even the devil obeys!’”

(Based on 1 Cor 2:1-5 and Lk 4:16-30 – Monday of the 22nd Week in Ordinary Time)

A beautiful yet commonly quoted story goes thus:

A very poor woman called a Christian radio station asking for some assistance and help.

A man – known to be an unbeliever in God and who highly despised religion – who was listening to this radio program…
…. decided to make something out of it…

He decided to play a prank on the woman, and make her a fool.

He got the ladies’ address…
… then called his secretary and ordered her to buy food

And take to the woman with the following instruction:
“when the woman asks who sent the food…
… tell her that it’s from the devil.”

When the secretary arrived and delivered the food to the woman…
… the woman was so happy and readily accepted the food and moved inside her little house.

The Secretary, out of curiosity asked her: “But don’t you want to know who sent the food?”

The woman answered:
“NO, it doesn’t matter!

Because when GOD orders, even the devil obeys.”

… when God orders, even the devil obeys!

The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus announcing His Programmatic Speech (Lk 4: 16-30)…
… and displaying His Authoritative Power by a life of Integrity and Holiness and thus bringing the forces of evil to submission.

Jesus declares: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me…
… to proclaim liberty to the captives”

In tune with this announcement, the Lord would go about “preaching liberty to the captives”…
… those captivated by sin, by oppression, by evil forces and satanic powers

And this “liberation from captivity,” was done by Jesus…
… with a lot of power and authority
… with immense conviction and passion

The Day’s Gospel is a powerful proclamation by Jesus, as He inaugurates His public ministry at Nazareth.

The public ministry of our Blessed Lord begins with the reading and declaration of the prophetic words: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me…” (Lk 4:18)

The Jewish world had been eagerly waiting and longing for the coming of the Messiah.

But Divine Irony had it that when the Messiah did arrive…
… it was not with a mighty bang, but with a sweet gentleness and calm!

He came from a place, that was perhaps, least expected – Nazareth
He announced His coming to the public not with any grand show or spectacle – but by just declaring the Word of God with authority

But this humble beginning, that Divine Wisdom planned it so beautifully, would slowly unleash its mighty power!

The mighty words and proclamation by Jesus caused an immediate stir and buzz among the people who listened to Him.

The Gospel would testify to this fact, in the words: “And all spoke highly of Him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from His mouth” (Lk 4:22)

However, as our Blessed Lord slowly unleashed His Authority, there also arose the spirit of division and opposition.

The “all-hailing” and “all -praising” crowd, on realizing the demands placed by the Word of God…
… got converted to “being enraged” and “being infuriated”!

So much was the antagonism that had brewed up that “all in the synagogue were filled with wrath, and they rose to put Him out of the city…” (Lk 4: 28-29)

When one is deeply convinced of one’s beliefs, it overflows into one’s words and actions

When one is highly passionate about one’s faith, it overwhelms one’s deeds and life.
… and this would naturally lead to oppositions and persecutions.

Our life is a constant battle with the powers of the evil.

Time and again, we have people and situations who discourage us

Many times we go through moments when spiritual life doesn’t seem to be encouraging

We often get tied down by the powers of temptation
… We often get disappointed by the struggles of sinful tendencies

But let’s know for sure: The power of the Lord is with us – waiting to save us!

We need to know for sure: That when God orders, even the devil obeys!

What is therefore needed is that, we need to…
… yield ourselves to the Orders of God!
… make ourselves open and docile to the Commands of God!

Let’s examine our Christian lives and check:

Do I constantly seek live a life, in the Presence of the Lord…
… so that no powers of Satan can touch us?

Do I nourish my spiritual life with the daily food of Prayer, Word of God and re-commitment to holiness…
… so that we are never under the bondage of the evil?

St Paul testifies the secret of his preaching not to his own eloquence or astuteness; rather to the strength derived from the Crucified Lord: “When I came to you, brethren, I did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God in lofty words or wisdom.

For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
And I was with you in weakness and in much fear and trembling…
… and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and power!” (1 Cor 2:1-4)

The Saint of the Day – St Raymond – is another powerful example of being passionate in preaching the Lord – by life, by words
(St Raymond is the patron saint of childbirth, midwives, children, pregnant women, and priests defending the confidentiality of confession)

He spent his entire estate ransoming slaves; once during an imprisonment, in order toto prevent him from continuing his preaching, his captors bored a hole through his lips with a hot iron, and attached a padlock.
Yet, he returned with greater zeal and travelled throughout Europe as an ambassador of the Pope, and a preacher of the Kingdom!

Yes, the Mighty Power of the Lord is with us

Always wanting to provide for us!
Always wanting to take care of us!

Let’s submit ourselves to His Power and Authority, knowing for sure:
“When God orders, even the devil obeys!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Let the world turn upside down…
… let everything be in darkness, in smoke, in uproar

God is with us!”

August 30, 2020 – 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

“Remaining fresh and green always, in the Grace and Peace of the Lord, by finding strength for difficult times, in the ‘school of hardship!’”

(Based on Jer 20:7-9, Rom 12:1-2 and Mt 16:21-27 – 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time)

A story is narrated of a group of students who were taken around different places of a village.

They came upon an orange orchard, where an irrigation pump had broken down.

The climate was unusually dry and many of the trees were beginning to dry and die, for lack of water.

The man who was guiding the tour – himself a farmer – then took the students to his own orchard.

The students were surprised to see the green trees in this particular fruit garden.

To know the reason, one of the students enquired the guide:
“How is it that trees in your orchard are so fresh and green; you are not even using irrigation!

Whereas, most of the trees in this vicinity are dying!”

“These trees could go without rain, even for another two weeks!” answered the guide…
…” You see, when these trees were young, I frequently and systematically, kept them away from water for some time.

This hardship, caused them to send their roots, deeper into the soil, in search of moisture.

Now my trees are the deepest-rooted trees in this area!

While others are being scorched by the sun…
… mine are finding moisture at great depth

And thus, they remain fresh and green!”

The early schooling in hardship…
… helped the trees to find strength in difficult times

And thus remained fresh and green!

Christian Life makes us students of this particular school – whose term lasts life-long…
… and seeks to strengthen us, in difficult times.

This school… is the School of Suffering!

Wait a minute….

Do we already see some people telling in their minds and whispering a thought on their lips…

“Oh, Come on… not again a reflection on pain and suffering”..
“Give us something pleasant for a Sunday”…
“We know God is with us in suffering, but we are tired of listening to the same old groans and tales of pain!”

It’s a tough school, right?

It’s an avoided school, right?
It’s a “wish-it-was-not-there” school, right?

But it’s a reality…

As Christians… we are all enrolled in this Grace-filled “School of Suffering”!

The Gospel of the Day is a reminder by our Blessed Lord on how every Christian has a duty to joyfully be a student of the “school of suffering!”

The Gospel of this Sunday is a continuation of last Sunday’s passage (Mt 16:13-20)

Jesus had conducted an opinion-poll to know what people felt about Him

And the World declared its opinion…
… Jesus was a great person like one of the prophets and was acclaimed as a Wonderful Man! (Mt 16: 13-14)

Then, Jesus sought an opinion to know how His disciples felt about Him

And the Heavens declared its opinion…
… Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God and was acclaimed as an Awesome God! (Mt 16: 16)

Many of us are satisfied and contented with these two understandings of Jesus:

Jesus as a Wonderful Person…
… and Jesus as an Awesome God!

But the Gospel of the Day presents the opinion and the understanding of Jesus Himself:

He would be the Lord and Saviour, who would suffer many things and be killed and raised on the third day! (Mt 16: 20b-21)

He is not just a wonderful person: an exemplary human…a compassionate individual…a good personality…
He is not just a marvellous God…an astounding Lord… a Merciful Saviour…. a benevolent Master…
But He is also the Suffering Servant: The Persecuted Preacher…the Crucified Consoler…the Rejected Redeemer!

This, however, was a great scandal for Peter (Mt 16: 22)

He never expected nor wanted nor accepted that His Beloved Master would go through the “School of Suffering”!

But Jesus rebukes His prime disciple…
… with a very harsh reprimand, ” Get behind Me, Satan!” (Mt 16: 23)

That was a very strong statement made to Cephas – Peter, the rock of the group of Disciples!

But Jesus was clear and crisp in His convictions:
“You are not thinking as God does, but as humans do!” (Mt 16: 23b)

Jesus wanted Peter and the other disciples…
… and each one of us to know and digest this seemingly “bitter” truth: Lukewarmness and Slackness might help you slid through to win you certificates in the “School of Comforts”…

But, Patient Endurance and Unreserved Commitment alone win will laurels in the “School of Suffering”!

Cheating and Short Cuts might ease you through to gain many trophies in the “School of Comforts”…

But, Authentic Dedication and Staunch Loyalty only will succeed in the “School of Suffering”!

Reputation and Popularity might win you many successes and ‘friends’ in the “School of Comforts”….

But, Faithfulness to God will be ultimately tested only in the School of Suffering!

This is what the Three Readings in today’s liturgy teaches us:

The true follower of Christ…
… will have to deny oneself and take up the Cross. (Gospel: Mt 16: 24)

The True Follower of Christ…
… will seek to be transformed by the renewal of one’s mind. (2nd Reading: Rom 12:2)

The true Follower of Christ…
… will bear all insults & mockery & yet have the Fire of His Word within! (Jer 20:7-9)

Every School seeks to achieve a great deal of perfection and quality…

The “School of Suffering” too – which is the Christian Way of Life – too seeks to make us perfect and valuable…

The “School of Suffering” is a tough school…
… but there is much joy and satisfaction!

The “School of Suffering” is an avoided school…
… but there is immense value and treasure stored!

The “School of Suffering” is a “wish-it-was-not-there” school…
… but there is plenty of grace and blessings within!

Let us win the Greatest Prizes of Holiness, Saintliness, Happiness and Eternal Life…
… by becoming the wonderful students of this School of Suffering!

Our Great Mentor and Master and Teacher and Tutor – Jesus – is in perfect charge of this “School of Suffering”…

Let’s not be afraid…

Instead let us be encouraged, because this “schooling in hardship” alone will help us to find strength in difficult times…
… and thus remain fresh and green always, in the Grace and Peace of the Lord!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “What is the bed of tribulation?

It is simply the school of humility!”

August 29, 2020 – Martyrdom of St John the Baptist

“May the mighty witness given by St John the Baptist, to remain firm and convinced in the values of the Kingdom, even in the face of martyrdom, be a big challenge to all us in this secular world!

(Based on the Memorial of the Martyrdom of St John the Baptist)

“Here’s the smell of the blood still…
All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.

Oh, oh, oh!”

This is the infamous line uttered by Lady Macbeth, in Shakespeare’s famous work, “Macbeth”.

Having successfully plotted in killing King Duncan…
… Lady Macbeth, the main character of the play, undergoes a terrible and dreadful agony of the guilt and culpability of the murder.

The death of innocent blood haunts and torments her soul and plunges her into deep distress.

The consequence of a deadly sin can paralyze one’s mind and soul to deep ordeals of torture and anguish!

Today on this Memorial of the Martyrdom of St John the Baptist, the Gospel of the Day presents one such character – King Herod…
…. who underwent an intense tribulation after having murdered John the Baptist, an innocent and holy man.

And invites us to make an honest examination of conscience in the light of this “murder most foul!”

King Herod had exercised his authority and sinfulness by beheading John the Baptist. (Mt 14:1-12; Mk 6:14-27).

The demon of guilt and shame of a “murder most foul” kept haunting him.

In this dizzy and shaken state of mind, King Herod hears about the deeds and wonders of another man, Jesus. (Mk 6: 14-16)

His guilt-filled and confused mind is unable to grasp the identity of this new man who works marvels and so he asks:
“I had John beheaded; WHO IS THIS MAN about whom I hear such wonders?” (Mk 6:16)

The king hounded by sin and shame failed to grapple the mystery of the Son of God, the King of kings!

Herod’s question is perhaps, one the most important question ever asked or answered – “WHO IS THIS MAN?”

Being confused about who Jesus is, is not new trend…
… this is especially seen in the Gospel of St Luke.

In Lk 5:21 – At the healing of the paralytic, the Scribes and Pharisees begin to ask, “WHO IS THIS who speaks blasphemy?”

In Lk 7:19 – The disciples of John the Baptist question Him, “ARE YOU THE ONE WHO IS TO COME, or should we look for another?”

In Lk 7:49 – After the pardon of the sinful woman who washed His feet, the others, who were invited for the meal commented, “WHO IS THIS who even forgives sins?”

In Lk 8:25 – After witnessed the calming of the sea and the storms, the disciples inquire, “WHO then IS THIS, who commands even the winds and the sea, and they obey Him?“

In Lk 9:20 – Jesus Himself asks His disciples, “WHO do you say AM I?“

In Lk 20:2 – The chief priests and scribes question Jesus, “By what AUTHORITY ARE YOU doing these things? Or who is the one WHO GAVE YOU AUTHORITY?“

In Lk 22:70 – The council of elders and the chief priests and the scribes question Jesus, “ARE YOU then THE SON OF GOD?“

The persona of Jesus surpasses great minds and cannot be arrested by hardened hearts!

The character of Jesus baffles proud mentalities and cannot be captured by cynical spirits!

Human explanations fail to encompass the mystery of Jesus.

Secular approaches fail to be fascinated by the glory of Jesus.
Philosophical interpretations fail to explain the depth of Jesus.

King Herod was greatly disturbed with a guilty conscience and a sinful heart.

He was threatened by the mighty deeds of Jesus, who was being considered a King.

The sinful and corrupt Kingdom of Herod was facing a challenge by the pure and holy Kingdom of God!

What is my approach to Jesus and His awesome Kingdom?

Am I, like King Herod…
…. filled with fear and doubts because of my sinful conscience and guilty mind?

Am I eager, like King Herod…
… to see some miracles of Jesus, just to satisfy my curiosity, but not for repentance?

Am I hesitant to encounter the Lord…
… because that could mean having a transformation and renewal of my life?

Like Lady Macbeth or King Herod, the burden of our sins and weakness might plague us..

But the Lord promises His treasure of peace, tranquility and harmony if we seek Him in sincerity!

The consequence of a deadly sin can paralyze one’s mind and soul to deep ordeals of torture and anguish!

The perfumes of Arabia cannot cleanse us.

The wealth of the world cannot satisfy us.

But the Blood of Christ will purify us…

The Body of Christ will strengthen us
The Word of Christ will enliven us!

There is true salvation, genuine joy and true happiness…
…. if we approach the Lord with a repentant heart!

May the mighty witness given by St John the Baptist, to remain firm and convinced in the values of the Kingdom…
… even in the face of martyrdom, be a big challenge to all us in this secular world!

May St John the Baptist intercede for us, to live a life of commitment and conviction!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “You must choose –

It is better that there should be thorns in your garden in order to have roses…

… Or that there should be no roses in your garden in order to have no thorns!”

August 28, 2020 – 20th Week in Ordinary Time

“Not postponing our cooperation for salvation to the eleventh hour; instead, always keeping ready ‘our lamps’ to shine bright for the Lord with the ‘oil of gladness and love!’”

(Based on 1 Cor 1:17-25 and Mt 25:1-13 – Friday of the 20th Week in Ordinary Time)

The entrance of a particular church once had a large banner that had large, bold letters printed on it.

The words in this banner read thus: Those people who expect salvation at the eleventh hour…
… often die at 10:30!

Postponement in spiritual matters is indeed a perilous matter!

Procrastination – the tendency to postpone/delay – is an inclination that is to be avoided in our spiritual journey.

Life often takes us through paralyzing and crippling situations

And this may cause us to often “delay or postpone.”

But the Gospel of the Day is a powerful reminder of how we ought to not postpone…
… rather be “proactive” in our spiritual life.

The Gospel presents the Parable of the Ten Virgins, with a strong warning to “make use of every opportunity that life offers” and “to be ever-prepared” in receiving the coming of the Lord.

The parable of the Ten Virgins has its setting in a Jewish Wedding.

In the time of our Blessed Lord, the wedding was probably one of the greatest events in a typical Palestinian village or an Israeli town.

This was a time of great social celebration!

All got together…
… friends, relatives, villagers..

It was a time of great festivity, abounding happiness and overflowing celebrations.

A Jewish marriage consisted of three parts or elements:

  1. Engagement

It was sort of an official contract between the two fathers, who would be giving their son and daughter to each other.

  1. Betrothal

This second element consisted of the friends and family members coming together and the couple making vows and promises that were binding.

This phase onwards, they would be officially considered as husband and wife.

  1. Marriage

The time after Betrothal lasted up to a year, which was for the bridegroom to prepare a place for his bride – either an addition to his father’s house or to have his own

It was to be his concrete expression of showing his love to her – preparing a home for her and preparing his heart and life for her!

At the end of the time that he needed to get it prepared, he would go to take her and bring her to his place – and they would thereafter, live together.

This third phase, therefore was the fulfilment of the eager longing of the bridegroom and bride, in being together for the rest of their life!

The Wedding set-up that is mentioned in today’s Gospel is this scene of the third phase of the wedding.

This is the climax of the wedding festivity where the bridegroom goes to get his bride.

This was done in a grand procession through the village, so that all in the village could be part of this festivity.

The Ten Virgins (or bridesmaids) who are mentioned in the Gospel Passage, had the role of performing one of the acts of entertainment.

They would have to perform a wedding dance – “torch dance” around the bride and the groom, holding torches.

It would symbolize the light of their love, wishing them a luminous future.

Then the wedding party would go into the house, and the celebration would last for seven long days!

In the parable, it is mentioned that “since the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep” (Mt 25: 5)

It was only when the call that the Bridegroom had arrived was given, that Five of the Virgins realised, that “they brought no oil with them” (Mt 25: 3)

It’s so ironical that the wedding which was such a well-prepared and a long-awaited event, had these five virgins who were so unprepared and so unequipped for the grand moment!

The story of these five virgins who were unprepared (whom our Blessed Lord calls as ‘foolish”) could well be our own stories too…

How often are we too unprepared and unequipped…
… missing out on opportunities.

The Lord gives ample opportunities to get back our life on track, through various Biblical inspirations, talks, retreats, literatures etc.
… There are so many occasions that are provided for us to grow in our virtues, to learn deeper the mysteries of heaven and to illumine ourselves with holy knowledge
… We also get so many chances to build our relationship with one another, to grow in appreciation and praise of other and to discover and nurture the goodness in others

Do we make good use of all such opportunities or do we squander them away?

Today we celebrate the Feast of St Augustine, the great Doctor of the Church.

It can happen that many of us may enter into a mode of “delaying God’s power” and “denying God’s Grace” just as Augustine in his early days who would say, “Give me chastity and continence, but not yet!”

But his life is also a reminder, that if we allow God’s power to work in us – in openness to the Spirit of God – He can mould us and shape us, into His mighty and powerful instruments!

May this Great Doctor of the Church who said:
“What does love look like?

It has the hands to help others.
It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy.
It has eyes to see misery and want.
It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men.
That is what love looks like.”…
… intercede for us, to make use of every opportunity to grow in God’s Love and to be truly prepared to welcome the coming of the Lord!

Let’s not postpone our cooperation for salvation to the eleventh hour…
… instead, may we always keep ready “our lamps” to shine bright for the Lord with the “oil of gladness and love!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “It is important to make a daily examination of conscience; it keeps the soul in a state of humility, and enables it to know itself.

It wins new graces from Heaven by gratitude for those already received.
It prevents vices from taking root in the soul.
It renders contrition easy by frequent acts of sorrow

In a word, it makes us more humble, more vigilant, more wise, more pure…

… and better prepared to meet death!”

August 26, 2020 – 21st Week in Ordinary Time

“Living an authentic life so that the Lord may look at us and proclaim, ‘WOW!’”

(Based on 2 Thess 3:6-10, 16-18 and Mt 23:27-32 – Wednesday of the 21st Week in Ordinary Time)

Wooowww!! Wooooaaah!!!

These are expressions which conveys feelings of surprise, wonder and great acclaim!

These feelings are articulated particularly when we come across a fascinating building or a great piece of architecture or a grand monument!

When we scan across through some of the fine buildings or monuments or structures around the globe, we find that many of these majestic edifices and constructions are actually tombs…
… or the burial places of many people.

A quick glance at some of those imposing constructions:
The Westminster Abbey in London…
… tomb for the monarchs and the famous people of England

The Terracotta Army…
… tombs, as sculptures, of the armies of the First Emperor of China

The Great Pyramids of Giza…
… tomb for the Pharaohs and the Kings of ancient Egypt

The Taj Mahal…
… tomb for Mumtaz Mahal, the wife of Shahjahan in Agra, India.

All these great wonders of human making, though tombstones, evoke feelings of Wooowww!! Woaaah!!
…Isn’t it?

The Gospel of the Day too, presents before us tombstones…
… in the form of the Pharisees and the Teachers of the Law!

But what is the feeling of Jesus that is evoked?
… Not of surprise or wonder…
… but anguish and sadness… WOE!!


HE says….. “You are like whitewashed tombs!!”

We are at the last part of the condemnation of the Pharisees in Chapter 23 of Matthew.

And today, Jesus comes down heavily on them by describing them as whitewashed tombs!

Whitewashed tombs are beautiful in appearance from the outside…
… but full of dead bones and uncleanness inside!

It was the custom of the Jews to whiten graves, especially if they were in unusual places, so that people might avoid them…
… because of the ceremonial pollution contracted by the touch of a grave.

Num. 19:16, “Anyone…who touches a grave shall be unclean for seven days”.

To avoid defilement by accidentally stepping on or touching a grave, the tombs in Palestine were painted with a lime paste or whitewash at the beginning of every year.

Whitewashing accomplished two purposes:
1) It identified tombs so they could be avoided
2) It beautified tombs so they could be admired.

Today, the Lord calls the Pharisees and the Teachers as these Whitewashed Tombs….

They were like tombs…
… dead, filthy.

But they were whitewashed…
… beautiful and lovely outside!

They did many things to win people’s admiration…
… but they failed to please the Lord of the Law!

They exercised many times the practice of fasting…
… but they missed out on being merciful and charitable!

They performed many actions of prayer…
… but they were unsuccessful in helping and serving other people!

Human life has all through the ages been fascinated and attracted with the beauty of externals…

Anyone, anything which APPEARS good and captivating has captured the minds and hearts
Eve was tempted by the Serpent…
… with the delicious and good looking fruit

She got trapped!

Lot asked the whole Jordan plain from Abraham…
… because it looked nice

He got trapped!

Israelites made the golden calf as their god…
… because it appeared more attractive

They got trapped!

Today we are invited to check and examine…
Am I making my life a whitewashed tombstone…
… beautiful outside, but filthy within?

My life is perhaps adorned with a good house, fat-chequed job etc…
… but is my house is in tatters with fights and conflicts?

My prayer life is beautified with constant prayers and praises…
… but within, do I experience unforgiveness and hatred?

My works are decorated with frequent appreciations and admirations…
… but do I give in to corruption and insincerity?

My community life is filled with laughter & good words…
… but do I fail to be accepted and loved by anyone in the community?

My friendships are many & decked with parties and fun…
… but deep within, do I miss out on having a true and genuine friend?

If any of the above is true…
… then I need to really be wary

Is my life being a whitewashed tomb?

The world loves to enjoy and appreciate the great monuments and architectures like The Westminster Abbey, The Terracotta Army, The Great Pyramids of Giza, The Taj Mahal etc…
No wonder they are beautiful and amazing.

But deep within, there are merely tombs…covering dead and decayed bodies!

Our lives may be a great structure…
… a wonderful edifice, in the eyes of the world…

But am I pure and holy…
… and seeking for authenticity and genuineness deep within my heart too?

Let us truly beautify our lives…
… but not just with an external show, but with an inner glow!

May the peace of the Lord be with us, who seek to live an authentic life: “…may the Lord of peace Himself give You peace at all times in all ways!” (2 Thess 3:16)

May the Lord look at our lives and not say, “WOE TO YOU”…
… rather let Him declare and proclaim, “WOW TO YOU!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “It is the part of a futile soul to busy itself…

.. with examining the lives of others!”

August 25, 2020 – 21st Week in Ordinary Time

“Buckling ourselves up to doing the things that ‘really’ matter in life and getting ‘First Things First’ in our spiritual life!”

(Based on 2 Thess 2:1-3,14-17 and Mt 23:23-26 – Tuesday of the 21st Week in Ordinary Time)

One of the very commonly known humorous incident involving the fiction characters – Sherlock Holmes, the detective and Dr. Watson, his friend and assistant goes thus…

Once they decided to go on a camping trip. After dinner, they lay down for the night, and go to sleep.

Some hours later, Holmes awoke and asked his friend: “Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see.”

Watson replied, “I see millions of stars.”

“What does that tell you?” asked Holmes curiously.

Watson pondered for a minute and replied:
“>> Astronomically…
… it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets.

… I observe that Saturn is in Leo.”
.. I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three.”
… I can see that God is all powerful and that we are small and insignificant.”
… I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow.”

And then he continued… “What does it tell you, Holmes?”

Holmes was silent for a minute…
… and then spoke: “Watson, you idiot. Someone has stolen our tent!!”

Very often we too are such…

We highlight and concentrate all the minute (and mostly unnecessary and unimportant) details…
… but we miss the most important aspects of life!

The Gospel of the day presents Jesus exhorting to become aware of such a tendency in our life…
… and to buckle ourselves up to doing the things that “really” matter in life.

The Great Master, Jesus, in the 23rd Chapter of St Matthew…
… condemns the Hypocritical and Insincere attitude of the Pharisees and the Teachers of the Law.

The Pharisees and the Teachers of the Law were very proud of their observance of the law.

They were very particular in making sure that even the tiny details in the Law received attention and care.

Was Jesus against this zeal and passion of the Pharisees and the Teachers in being faithful to the Law?

Was Jesus advocating some kind of moderation and restraint in practice of the Law?

Sometimes some Christians…
… take shade in this pretext and lead an unenthusiastic life of faith!
… take refuge in this excuse and live a very lukewarm life of hope!
… take solace in this explanation and go forward with a very tepid life of love!

But Certainly No!

Jesus was not against being zealous and passionate and fervent of things what matter to God!

He was the One…
… Who said to take up one’s daily cross and follow Him!
… Who demanded to love Him above all attachments of people and things!
… Who asked to value to Him and His Kingdom above all other riches and honours!

He looks for people who are willing…
… to sell their everything in acquiring the Great Pearl of Life!
… to give up their life in order to acquire it for Eternity!
… let go off their egoistic attitudes and humble oneself as a Child!

So Jesus was certainly not against the Zealousness and the Ardour of the Pharisees and Teachers to keep the law!

But Jesus was against their SELECTIVE ZEALOUSNESS.. .

He was against their PARTICULAR FERVOURS!

They loved to stress on the minute aspects of the Law…
… but neatly avoided the most basic and fundamentals!

They loved to impose the tiny portions of the Law…
… but safely bypassed the ones most needed and important!

“You strain the gnat….but swallow a camel!” (Mt 23:24)

The Camels were perhaps the biggest animal and the Gnats the smallest…
… that were known to the Jews!

They gave importance to the gift on the altar and the gold in the temple…
… but gave lesser worth to the Altar and the Temple itself! (Mt 23: 16-22)

They insisted on tithing of minor objects and things…
… but failed to accord any significance to the most needed aspects of justice, mercy and faith! (Mt 23: 23)

God has made both the little gnats and the big camels.

Likewise, He has given some “weighty” and “less-weighty” commandments.
None should be neglected!

But the person who gives all his attention to minor peripherals and externals in serving God…
… and ignores the major ones is like the man who finds both a gnat and a camel in his soup/wine!

He strains out the gnat…..but swallows the camel!!

Such a person Majors on the minors….
… and Minors on the majors!!

What are these major aspects?

What are these weightier commandments…
… JUSTICE and MERCY and FAITH! (Mt 23:23)

A Doctrine that cannot be translated into action is utterly useless!

We are no one to judge on what was the personal character of the Pharisees and the Teachers of the Law.

But through the words of Jesus we do know of their attitude and mentality and frame of mind…

When they encountered Jesus…
… they were busy discussing the trees, but they missed the entire forest!

They Missed Jesus!

When they encountered Jesus…
… they were busy counting the stars, but they missed the entire sky!

They Missed Jesus!

When they encountered Jesus…
… they were busy gauging drops of water, but they missed the entire ocean!

They Missed Jesus!

Have I lost my focus?

Do I be busy with tiny and unimportant external actions…
… but miss out on doing the important actions of love and mercy?

Maybe… I am missing out on Jesus!

Do I be busy with picking and plucking out my tiny imperfections and faults…
… but miss out on removing major sins and faults?

Maybe… I am missing out on Jesus!

Do I be busy engaging myself on a number of talks and retreats and books…
… but miss out on the major aspect of growing in deeper and person relation with God?

Maybe… I am missing out on Jesus!

St Paul reminds us to remain firm to the teachings that we have received and thus remain focused: “O then, Brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.” (2 Thess 2:15)

The words of St Rose of Lima (the patroness of gardeners, florists and all the people who are ridiculed/misunderstood for their piety!)…
… whose feast was celebrated on Aug 23, is worth reflecting: “Apart from the cross, there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven.”

… may we get “First Things First” in our spiritual life!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “When God’s Will is shown clearly to us through Divine Ordinances and Commandments…
… there is nothing further to deliberate on for we must simply do what has been ordained.

But for all other things, it is in our liberty to choose what seems good according to our preferences!”

August 24, 2020 – Feast of St Bartholomew

“Letting go our life, like St Bartholomew (Nathanael), into the Hands of this Wise and Knowing God – the One who is aware of every moment of our life – our past, our present and our future!”

(Based on the Feast of St Bartholomew)

An elderly person sat under a mango tree in his garden in the noonday heat.
As he sat, he looked at the pumpkin vines that were growing nearby, and said to himself: “How foolish God is!

Here he puts a big heavy pumpkin on to a weak vine branch and so can’t do anything, but simply lie on the ground!
And then He hangs these small little mangoes on a huge tree which can actually hold very heavy objects!
If I were God, I think I could do better than that!”

Just then, a bit of breeze came up…
… and knocked a loose mango off the tree.

It fell right on the man’s head…
… causing a little bump on his head!

This made him sadder… but wiser, and he quipped:
“Oh! Suppose if that had been a pumpkin! Gosh!!”

And he went on to say:
“Never again will I try to plan the world for God.

Instead I shall be thankful to Him, for He has done so well…
… He knows what’s best for me, every time!”

The knowledge and wisdom of God is indeed incomprehensible…
… In His Wisdom, He has created all things good
… By His Knowledge, He has fashioned all things for the best use

Are we ready to let go our life into the Hands of this Wise and Knowing God…
… the One who is aware of every moment of our life – our past, our present and our future?

Today we celebrate the Feast of St Bartholomew…
… who experienced this great Knowledge and Wisdom of the Lord in his encounter with Jesus

And surrendered his life, to follow the Master, till the end – faithfully!

When we compare the Gospels, we notice something interesting…

  1. Bartholomew is not mentioned in the Gospel of John – but Nathanael is!

Nathanael is not mentioned in the Synoptic Gospels (Mathew, Mark and Luke) – but Bartholomew is!

  1. In the Gospel of John, Nathanael is mentioned in connection with Philip

In the Synoptic Gospels, Bartholomew is mentioned in connection with Philip

Thus, based on these aspects along with the ancient tradition of the Church, Bartholomew and Nathanael are identified as the same person.

The Gospel of the Day (Jn 1:45-51) on this Feast Day is the call of Nathanael from the Gospel of St John.

The Gospel says that when Jesus saw Nathanael coming, He said of him:
“Here is a true Israelite. There is no duplicity in him” (Jn 1: 47)

On hearing this, Nathanael said to Jesus: “How do You know me?” (Jn 1: 48a)

This question – How do You know me?” – is indeed worth reflecting on.

From a peripheral look, we observe…
… This was probably the first time Jesus was meeting him, so Nathanael naturally was wondering how he was known.
… Nathanael also did not have a very high opinion regarding Nazareth, the place where Jesus came from and so would have wondered how a Person from there, knew him.

On a deeper level, we also observe…
… Nathanael was probably feeling within himself, “Does He really know who I am and what are the thoughts and desires of my heart?”
… He perhaps, was also wondering, “Would He also be knowing my past and perhaps even have an idea about my future?”

“How do You know me?” – the question by Nathanael to Jesus is a query asked by us too…
… perhaps in various forms..

  1. “How do you know my past?”

Do you really know, O Lord, my past…
… the struggling times that I have gone through?
… the bad childhood, perhaps, or the disturbing experiences as I grew up in life?
… the hurts and the wounds and the injuries that I still carry in my heart and causes me pain?

  1. “How do you know my present?”

Do you really know, O Lord, my present…
… the manner in which I am not accepted by others?
… the ways in which success evades me, despite the hard efforts I put in?
… the daily grinds of life to which I often have no solution and thus totally discouraged?

  1. “How do you know my future?”

Do you really know, O Lord, my future…
… the anxieties of my unclear future and the fear of which direction I need to go ahead?
… the feeling of “I am lost” while taking decisions and unsure if I am walking the right path?
… the tension I go through on what will happen to me and my loved ones in the days to come?

But the Lord, Who answered Nathanael…
… had the knowledge of his past… his present… and his future

The Present: “Here IS a true Israelite. There IS no duplicity in him” (Jn 1: 47)
The Past: “Before Philip called you, I SAW you under the fig tree” (Jn 1: 48b)
The Future: “Amen, Amen, I say to you, you WILL see the sky opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man” (Jn 1: 51)

Turning His gaze on each one of us…
… with tenderness and love, the Lord tells us:
“I know you, My Child!
I know your past…your present… and your future”

Psalm 139 very beautifully speaks of how…
… the Lord intimately knows us!
… the Lord is clearly aware of all our thoughts and movements!
… the Lord is very personally with us in every situation of our life!

This Lord, Who knows our everything – beyond the borders of time – invites us…
… to trust in Him more
… to be aware of His Providence guiding us always!
… to give ourselves entirely to Him in love and obedience!

Many times, we might feel things are not okay with us…
… we might even complain against God and have an attitude: “If I were God, I think I could do better than that!”

But those could be moments, when we are given a gentle reminder by the Lord…
… through perhaps, some difficulties or troubles in life…

Which ought to make us realize:
“Never again will I try to plan the world for God.
Instead I shall be thankful to Him, for He has done so well…
… He knows what’s best for me, every time!”

May St Bartholomew (Nathanael) intercede and inspire us:

To let go our life into the Hands of this Wise and Knowing God…
… the One who is aware of every moment of our life – our past, our present and our future!

Happy Feast Day to you!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Your language should be retrained, frank, sincere, candid unaffected and honest…

As the sacred Scripture tells us, The Holy Spirit does not dwell in a deceitful or tricky soul.
No artifice is so good and desirable as plain dealing.

Worldly prudence and carnal artifice belong to the children of this world…

… but the children (the friends) of God walk a straight path and their hearts are without guile!”

August 23, 2020 – 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

“Firmly professing our Faith in the Lord, and taking firm refuge in the Church – the Body of People – as our ‘travelling Guide,’ so that, our travel becomes a beautiful melody – filled with joy and mirth!”

(Based on Isaiah 22:19-23, Rom 11:33-36 and Mt 16:13-20 – 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time)

An incident is said about a visitor, when he came to River Mississippi (the second longest river in North America).

He had to go across the river, but found that there was no bridge.

Fortunately, it was winter time, and the great river was completed sheeted over with ice.

But the visitor was afraid to walk over the ice, not knowing its thickness.

Finally, with immense caution and fear, he began to creep on his hands and knees…
… over the sheeted ice
… constantly fearing, whether, the ice would be able to hold him up or whether it would crack any time.

He managed to get half-way through, when suddenly, he heard singing from behind.

Cautiously, he turned around and was shocked to see the sight:
Another traveller – a native of the land – was coming behind him…

Driving a four-horse load of coal, over the ice…
… singing, with joy and mirth, as he went!

That was the difference between the two – the visitor and the native!

The visitor was in constant fear, not knowing when the ice would break away and he would be inside the waters!
The native was in complete bliss, fully knowing that the ice was strong enough to contain his weight, as well as the load of his materials!

Similar is our Faith-journey.

Going alone, without any idea of the Way, is always filled with risk and fear

But when we travel with those who are well-aware of the Way…
… the travel becomes a beautiful melody – filled with joy and mirth!

Our Good God in His Great Wisdom has entrusted each of us, in the care of ‘The Body of People’ – Who are well-aware of the Way – and thus travelling along, will make our faith-life filled with joy and mirth

This ‘Body of People’ is The Church!

Yes, the Church is the “pillar and foundation – the bulwark – of Truth” (1 Tim 3:15)

The Gospel of the Day presents before us the Faith Statement of Peter, the leader of the group of the Apostles…
…. and Jesus declaring to him: “…on this rock, I will build my Church; and never will the powers of death overcome it!” (Mt 16:18)

The Great Rock
… entrusts Peter, the rock and assures Him that the Church will always stay Rock-grounded!

Let’s get to some of the Basics of the Church.

The word “Church”, in Greek is… “Ekklesia”.

Ekklesia can be split to two words… “ek” = out of + “kaleo” = to call

This gives us an important meaning of EKKLESIA – THE CHURCH…. TO BE CALLED OUT OF….

The Church is a Body….to be called out of the world…to be called out of materialistic and worldly gains…
… into being a Family in God!
… into being a sign of hope and salvation!

This gives us a clue to many aspects of the Church…and which will help our own understanding…

The Church is not a mere building… the Church is the People of God.

We often, reduce the Church in our everyday vocabulary, to a mere building made of stones and cement…

But, the Church is made of living stones (1 Pet 2:5)

And all of us need to contribute our mite in keeping alive this Church of God.
Do I give my share of talents and gifts to the Church is keeping it effective and relevant for our modern times?
Do I make sacrifices and offer prayers for the Church so that she may stand strong in the midst of struggles?
Do I promote and encourage the Teachings of the Church and find beauty and wisdom in them?

It is very interesting to note the parallel between today’s Gospel Passage and another passage of the Bible – Is 22:19-23 (the First Reading of the Day)

(This method of Interpreting the Bible is also called “Biblical Typology”
“Biblical Typology” refers to a person, place or event in the Old Testament,that has its own proper significance…
… but also prefigures a person, place or event, later in the New Testament

In the words of St Augustine: “The New Testament is hidden in the Old, and the Old Testament is made manifest in the New!”)

(This “typology” reading would give us a rock-solid Biblical Basis about the Church as well the Primacy of the Pope.)

  1. In Is 22: 22a: Eliakim is entrusted with the “key” of the House of David

In Mt 16:19: Jesus says to Peter, “I will give you the ‘keys’ of the Kingdom of Heaven”

  1. In Is 22: 22b: It is said about Eliakim: “when he opens, no one shall shut; when he shuts, no one shall open”

In Mt 16: 19b: Jesus says to Peter: “Whatever you bound on earth, shall be bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven”

  1. The name “Eliakim” means “God will place” or “God will establish”

The new name given to Simon – “Peter” means “rock”

  1. Eliakim would be the vicar of Hezekiah, who was the King of Israel

Peter would be Vicar of Jesus, the King of the New Israel -the people who accept His Reign in their lives!

It is also noteworthy, to see that in the Old Testament, God is often referred to as the “Rock” (eg. Ps 18:2, Dt 32:4)

Now, Peter is called by this name “rock” to suggest, that the Church would the channel of “the functions of God, the Rock”

a. The Rock was the source of water in the wilderness (Dt 8:15)

The Church, is the channel of Living Waters of Grace, provided in the Sacraments

b. The Rock protected Moses and covered him and thus becomes a source of refuge (Ex 33:22)

The Church, is the refuge for the sinners and the home for those who are lost.

c. The Rock speaks of the nature of God – solid, strengthening and immutable

The Church, remains solid in her traditions, strong in her beliefs even in changing situations of the world, and infallible in her magisterial teachings.

These parallels show, how the Lord had established His Church on Peter – the rock – to be a constant “traveller” in our Faith-journey.

St Paul speaks of the immense depth of the Mysteries of the Lord: “O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” (Rom 11:33)

Let us seek shelter and solutions from Holy Mother, the Church in our spiritual journey to “Learn, Love and Live the Mysteries of the Lord in our lives”

Today, let us firmly profess our Faith in the Lord, answering from the depth of our hearts to that very personal question of the Lord: “Who do you say that I am?” (Mt 16: 15)…

And take firm refuge in the Church – the Body of People, Who are well-aware of the Way – as our “travelling Guide”…
… so that, our travel becomes a beautiful melody – filled with joy and mirth!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “[During the Holy Mass]… From the Gospel to the end of the Creed, dwell upon our Dear Lord’s teaching…

… and renew your resolution to live and die in the faith of the Holy Catholic Church!”

August 22, 2020 –

“Raising an Anthem of Thanksgiving, Love and Affection to our Beloved Mamma – the Queen of the Heavens and the Earth, and with deep joy and trust, pray that we too may always seek His Will, and one day, come to share in His Glory, like our Blessed Mother!

(Based on the Feast of our Lady, Mother and Queen)

Last week, we had sung a beautiful Anthem…
… praising God for His Wonderful Providence, as we thanked the Lord, for sharing “His Glory with Mother Mary”

It was the chorus we sang in unison and love – The Holy Trinity, the Holy Angels and all people of faith on the earth –
… Just seven days back.. on the Feast of the Assumption of our Blessed Mother Mary!

Today we are back to chanting the same chorus and the same refrain with a deeper enthusiasm and stronger gusto…
… as we celebrate with heaven, the Coronation of our Blessed Mamma as the Queen of Heaven and Earth!

This Feast of the Queenship of Mary was instituted by Pope Pius XII at the conclusion of the Marian Year in 1954 in his encyclical “Ad caeli reginam”

It was not a new doctrine or a new teaching.
It was not a new policy or a new understanding!

The declaration was merely an affirmation of the age old faith that has been celebrated down through the ages!

St. Ephrem referred to Mother Mary as the “Majestic and Heavenly Maid, Lady, Queen.”
St. Gregory Nazianzen called her, “the Mother of the King of the Universe.”

On this Feast Day of the Queenship of Mary… we are presented with the Reading on the Annunciation (Lk 1:26-38).

Let us travel with Mary, our Mamma and Queen…
… through this Life Transforming Event of Her life.

This incident highlights the journey of Grace and Mercy that God worked, to raise Her to a Glorious State!

  1. The Simple Mary
    She was the simple and unnoticed girl of the unpopular town of Nazareth. She was an ordinary person betrothed to a man named Joseph.

She had her dreams…
She had her wishes for a family life…
She had her desires for a peaceful life!


God had bigger dreams for Her…
… a dream which would make Her the Blessed among all

God had higher wishes for Her…
… a wish which would make the Nazareth Family a model for all

God had bigger desires for Her…
… a desire which would fill her with Peace amidst every pain

  1. The Troubled Mary
    She was deeply troubled when she encountered Angel Gabriel.

The greeting of the Divine Being made Her simple heart to be filled with feelings of concern and

She had her concerns…

She had her share of uneasy feelings…
She had her moments of worry!


God had greater cares for Her…
… a care which would make her a Mother to all those who have concerns…

God had finer feelings for Her…
… a feeling which would help her to Feel for those who go through life’s pains…

God had greater comforts for Her…
… a comfort which will lead Her to be a Comforter to the Uncomforted…

  1. The confused Mary
    It was a moment of great confusion and perhaps even total puzzlement as to how could the words of Angel Gabriel be believed.

There was great uncertainty as to how could a conception of this sort take place and what made Heaven to grant Her this choice of being the Mother of the Son of God!

She had Her confusions.

She had Her perplexity.
She had Her moments of Inner Turmoil.


God had a deeper solution to Her confusions…
… He assured Her of the Presence of His Mighty Spirit…

God had an enhanced way out of Her perplexity…
… He calmed Her by opening Her eyes to His great works…

God had a deeper answer to Her turmoil…
… He relieved Her by reminding Her that all things are possible for Him

  1. The willing Mary
    The Fiat Moment – the time when Mary said the Big Yes to God’s Plan of Salvation!

It was a sacred time when Mary consented and became willing to allow God’s Script to work in Her unadorned Life!

She had Her mysterious moment.

She had Her ‘what-next’ moment.
She had her moments of indefiniteness!


God had His superior light beyond all mysteries…
… She was to be the Woman of the Mystery of God’s Salvation

God had His clear plan beyond all doubts…
… She was to be the Perfect Executor of Heaven’s Plans for humanity

God had his superior design across all indefiniteness…
…She was to be the Refuge of all in Uncertainty

Today, is my life…
… just too simple and ordinary?
… just too troubled?
… just too confused?
… just too complex to be Willing to God?

Then Mother Mary is a model to us… a perfect example… a shining witness…a great challenge to us!

In all our ordinariness, troubles, confusions and unwillingness to God’s Will…
… let us trust and have faith in God… just like Mother Mary

And seek to always say to God, “Fiat – Yes, Be it done to me according to Your Will!”

Let us raise an Anthem of Thanksgiving, Love and Affection to our Beloved Mamma – the Queen of the Heavens and the Earth…
… and with deep joy and trust, pray that we too may always seek His Will, and one day, come to share in His Glory, like our Blessed Mother!

Happy Feast of the Beloved Queen Mamma united with Her Son, King Jesus…
… to all Her little ones!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “… And just as there was never such an abundance of perfumes seen in the city of Jerusalem as the Queen of Sheba carried with her when she went to visit the great King Solomon…
… who in exchange made her presents according to his greatness and royal magnificence [1 Kings 10:1-2, 10]…

Likewise, I say, never were there seen so many merits and so much love carried to Heaven by any pure creature…

… as the most holy Virgin brought there at her glorious Assumption.

In reward for this, the Eternal and Great King, the Almighty God, gave Her a degree of glory worthy of Her greatness…

… and also power to distribute to Her clients, graces worthy of Her liberality and magnificence, Amen!”