October 22, 2020 – 29th Week in Ordinary Time

“Choosing the path of suffering and self-sacrifice in our journey with the Lord!”

(Based on Eph 3:14-21 and Lk 12:49-53 – Feast of Pope St John Paul II – Thursday of the 29th Week in Ordinary Time)

One of the common questions that is usually asked to kids is:
”What do you want to become when you grow big?”

And the answers we get are sometimes common, sometimes interesting, sometimes even weird…

“I want to be a doctor”,
“I want to be an engineer“,
“I want to be the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs”,
”I want to fly to Mars”…

But suppose, if the same question were to be put forward to another Kid…

This Kid would have given perhaps the strangest and the shocking answers of all:
“When I grow big, I want to Die!
I am living my life, so that I can die!”

Guess who is this Kid?

Well…no marks for guessing who it is..

It is Jesus!

Death was the goal of His life!

The Gospel of the Day presents this burning and intense desire of the Lord, “There is a baptism with which I must be baptized and how great is my anguish, until it is accomplished” (Lk 12: 50)

Christ came into the world to save the world.

And this salvation was possible for Him, only through the way of suffering.

This is the Baptism to which Christ refers to….

A Baptism of suffering.
A Baptism of obedience.
A Baptism of self-sacrifice.

This way of the Lord is not easy.

It causes division and separation, even in families.

How does this division happen?
When one stands for the values and the person of Christ, the world mocks and fools.

When one holds on to one’s faith and convictions in Christ, there is immense shame inflicted.

A member in the family stands for Church values and principles, whereas others in the house oppose.

A division is created among them, in the Name of Christ!

A student in the class stands for honesty and truthfulness and refuses to join in copying and malpractices during the examination.

A division is created among them, in the Name of Christ!

A friend stands for his convictions and refuses to join his peers in some bad habits or activities which are unbecoming.

A division is created among them, in the Name of Christ!

A person counters accepting bribes at work or opposes doing some manipulation in the place of work to gain some extra finances.

A division is created among them, in the Name of Christ!

Christianity indeed is the strangest of all religions…

Usually religions advocate a way of life which calls for comfort and relaxation.

Christianity disturbs one’s life from comfort to become a people who comfort others.

Usually religions promote happiness of life by following some rituals and ceremonies.

Christianity challenges one to uproot one’s sinful roots and discover true peace and joy.

Christ is indeed the strangest of all religious figures…

All religious figures have their greatness in just their teachings and exhortations.

Christ stands unparalleled in making His life itself as the greatest message and teaching.

All religious figures ride on popularity wave of external manifestations and wonders.

Christ stands out in becoming a single icon of absolute self-sacrifice and victimhood!

All religious figures propose a variety of tips for living and paths of attaining immortality

Christ alone became the way itself to be walked and the truth itself to be followed!

Its sometimes easy to follow other ways of life…because they are comfortable and secure.

Its always hard to follow the way of Christ…because He always challenges in our coziness.

The Lord invites us to be bold in accepting the Crosses of our life & to share with Him, in the Baptism of suffering & pain.

We still have much to grow.

What are we growing ourselves into?

Christ is the example for us.

He chose suffering and self-sacrifice as His path to glory.

His way is the way of suffering.
His way is the way of pain.
His way is the way of the Cross.

But…
… His way is also the way of joy!
… His way is also the way to glory!
… His way is also the way of healing!

And now He beckons each one of us too…

Shall we also join Him in His intense desire for Baptism?

We seek today the intercession of Pope St John Paul II, arguably the most-popular and loved Pope of our times.

His convincing life, uncompromising teaching and courageous words are a challenge and inspiration to all of us…
… “What really matters in life is that we are loved by Christ and that we love Him in return. In comparison to the love of Jesus, everything else is secondary. And, without the love of Jesus, everything is useless.”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Reputation is rarely proportioned to virtue!”

October 21, 2020 – 29th Week in Ordinary Time

“Being armed and ever-ready to serve in the Kingdom, with a sense of responsibility and commitment!”

(Based on Eph 3:2-12 and Lk 12:39-48 – Wednesday of the 29th Week in Ordinary Time)

An incident is reported that took place a few years ago.

A former astronaut took over as head of a major airline company.
He was extremely ambitious to make his company the best airline service provider.

Once, when this new president was making an inspection of a particular department, he came across an employee…
… resting his feet on the desk, while the telephone was ringing continuously.

“Are you not going to pick up the phone?” queried the boss, with a sense of displeasure.

“That’s not my department!” answered the employee indifferently!

He had not recognised his new boss.

“I work in the maintenance section!” he replied.

“Huh!” quipped the president, “Not anymore!”

The casual attitude and the laid-back and easy-going approach of the employee cost him his job.

The new boss would not tolerate any people, who failed to show a sense of responsibility and commitment…
… which are essential and undeniable qualities in the pursuit of perfection and excellence!

What about us?
Is our Christian life characterised by responsibility and commitment?

Or do we have a casual attitude and a laid-back and easy-going approach?

The Gospel of the Day presents to us a strong reminder by the Lord to take our Christian life seriously…
… with its undeniable duties and its unavoidable sense of responsibility.

Jesus speaks of the coming of the Son of Man at an unexpected time…
… just as the coming of a thief is unknown to the master of a house (Lk 12: 39-40)

What are some of the characteristics of the coming of a thief to the house?

  1. It happens in the quiet of the night….
    … so that no one becomes aware and the setting is perfectly safe

There is a sense of ‘anonymity’

  1. It takes place when none of the people in the house are expecting it…
    … thus leaving them completely startled and unprepared

There is the element of ‘total surprise’

  1. It happens in areas where there is emptiness or lesser security measures
    … thus creating greater potency to danger and sharper damage

There is a factor of ‘missed opportunity to take care’

These then are the “loopholes” in our spiritual life, that can cause us to be off-guard…
… when the Lord appears in His Second Coming (just as the coming of the thief in the night)…

A sense of ‘anonymity’
An element of ‘total surprise’
A factor of ‘missed opportunity to take care’

Do we remain “anonymous” to the Lord…
… by remaining ignorant of His teachings and commandments – even though He addresses very often through the Bible and the Church?
… by failing to give heed to the repeated reminders by the Lord through various advices from our caring one, and the guidance we receive through sermons, reflections, messages and life-situations?

Do we get caught with “total surprise” at the Will of God in our lives…
… failing to see the providential hand of God in the struggles and hardships that we undergo?
… entering into a sense of despair and discouragement when things don’t happen the way we plan?

Do we become victims of “missing opportunities to take care”…
… by failing to do the many good works which we can perform, but fail, owing to our slackness?
… by taking the stance of being indifferent in situations of injustice and discriminations?

The Lord clearly warns even in the Book of Revelation…
… “If therefore you shall not watch, I will come to you as a thief, and you shall not know what hour I will come upon you.” (Rev 3:1-3)

Though this passage may cause a sense of fear and insecurity, we also need to consider, the converse…
… that if we are prepared and alert
… that if we are ready and vigilant

then the “coming of the Lord” becomes a joyful waiting and an expectant hope!

Nothing fears the one who is prepared, to meet the Lord!

St Paul encourages us through these words: “But you brothers, are not in darkness, that the day should overtake you as a thief!” (1 Thess 5: 2-4)

When we are in the Light of Christ…
… by a constant life of vigilant prayer
… by a faithful life of sacraments
… by a committed life to the Church

No darkness can overpower us; No fear of thieves can cause panic!

As Christians, each one us are entrusted the duty of being faithful “employees” of the Kingdom of God!

Are we going to “rest our feet on the desk”…
… with a casual attitude and a laid-back and easy-going approach…?

Or shall we be “armed and ever-ready to serve”…
… with a sense of responsibility and commitment…?

Be ready…

Our Boss – The Lord – may come anytime….!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “As long as we are determined to take no pleasure in temptations…

… we can never offend God!”

October 20, 2020 – 29th Week in Ordinary Time

“In our moments of failure and weaknesses, having the courage to approach the Throne of God’s Mercy and asking Him to light our lives!”

(Based on Eph 2:12-22 and Lk 12:36-38 – Tuesday of the 29th Week in Ordinary Time)

Little Jane heard a sermon in church on “Let your light shine!”

She remembered the verse; however, did not understand the text much, until her mother explained: “It means, to be good, obedient and cheerful”

That evening, after coming back from playing with her friends – where she had been a little naughty and mischievous – Jane came back to her mother and said:
“Ma, sorry I have blown myself out!

Can you light me again?”

Every Christian is called to become a beacon of light in the darkness and to be a shining star in the ambience of every night.

Is the Light of Christ shining in me?

The Gospel of the Day too shares this aspect and reminds the aspect of being watchful for the Coming of the Lord, by keeping the Light of Christ alight!

Jesus said to His disciples, “Be ready, dressed for service, AND KEEP YOUR LAMPS LIT…” (Lk 12: 35)

To keep our lamps lit – is the reminder and challenge of the Gospel today.

At our Baptism, we all have received the Light of Christ.

This light, is not just to be preserved…
… but is to be nurtured and fostered daily.

But we live in a world when there are many a winds seeking to put off this light in us.
… we live in a world, where there is a strong engulfing of the darkness, trying to devour the light in us.

What are the different winds that are seeking to put off the Light of Christ in us?

A. The wind of “losing the focus from God”
i. King David
King David was a shining light to the people of his kingdom, as long as he followed the teachings and had his focus on God.

But when he allowed his focus to shift from God, he sinned.
He allowed himself to focus on the object of his pleasure by sinning with the wife of Uriah.

The wind of “losing the focus from God” blew strong to put off the light in him….

ii. Samson
Samson was a shining light of power and might, as long as he was faithful to God and had his focus on God.

But when he allowed his focus to shift from God, he sinned.
He allowed himself to focus on the object of his delight by revealing the secret to Delilah

The wind of “losing the focus from God” blew strong to put off the light in him….

iii. Peter
Peter was a shining light to his disciples as a person of faith, as long as he followed the instructions of his Master to walk on the waters.

But when he allowed his focus to shift from the Lord, he began to sink.
He allowed himself to focus on the object of his fear and self-panic.

The wind of “losing the focus from God” blew strong to put off the light in him….

B. The wind of “being focused on one’s own selfish interests”
i. Saul
Saul was adorned to be the first king of Israel; however, as his reign continued, his own selfish motives began to creep in his kingship.

When he “began to be more self-centered”, he began to lose the approval of God.

The wind of “being focused on one’s own selfish interests” blew strong to put off the light in him?

ii. The Pharisees and Scribes
The Pharisees and Scribes during the time of Jesus, insisted much on their selfish agenda in the imposition and following of the Laws.

When they “began to be more self-centered”, they began to lose the favour of God.

The wind of “being focused on one’s own selfish interests” blew strong to put off the light in them…

iii. Judas
Judas was chosen to be one of the Twelve in the mission of the Lord; but as time grew, he continued to feed his greed for money and wealth

When he “began to be more self-centered”, he began to lose the esteem of God.

The wind of “being focused on one’s own selfish interests” blew strong to put off the light in him…

  1. The wind of “false principles and ideologies”
    i. People of Israel
    The people of Israel had been blessed with the commandments of God. They, however, were dismayed at the delay of Moses on Mt Sinai, and instead got enamoured and attracted to false gods and especially to the deity of mammon and wealth.

When they “began to abandon the True Teaching and attached themselves to false beliefs”, they angered God and brought upon themselves the wrath of the Lord.

The wind of “false principles and ideologies” blew strong to put off the light in them…

ii. People of Galatians 1:6
St Paul accuses the people of Galatia, that were abandoning the Gospel which they first heard, and instead were being attracted to the pleasurable and false teachings of the false prophets.

When they “began to abandon the True Teaching and attached themselves to false beliefs”, they strayed away from the path of salvation.

The wind of “false principles and ideologies” blew strong to put off the light in them…

Let’s examine our own lives…

Am I allowing the wind of “losing the focus from God” to put off the light in us?
Am I allowing the wind of “being focused on one’s own selfish interests” to put off the light in us?
Am I allowing the wind of “false principles and ideologies” to put off the light in us?

As the saying goes, “We can’t prevent birds from flying over our heads, but we can certainly prevent them from laying a nest on our heads!”

We cannot prevent these winds to rage and hit our lives…
… but we can certainly prevent them from blowing off the Light of Christ in us!

This strength comes from our determination, perseverance & commitment…

And above all, being united with Jesus, the Source of Light…
… in daily prayer
… frequent sacraments
… constant nourishment with the Word
… and faithfulness to our daily duties of our vocation and life!

St Paul reminds us of the greatness of God’s Presence in our lives and of our vocation:
“So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit!” (Eph 2:19-22)

In our moments of failure and weaknesses, let us also have the courage to approach the Throne of God’s Mercy saying: “Lord, sorry I have blown myself out!

Can you light me again?”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “The truly loving heart loves God’s good pleasure
not in consolations only…

… but also in afflictions!”

October 19, 2020 – 29th Week in Ordinary Time

“Depending less and less on material aspects of life, so that we can grow more and more close to the Lord!”

(Based on Eph 2:1-10 and Lk 12:13-21 – Monday of the 29th Week in Ordinary Time)

Many things in life follow the principle of “Inverse Proportionality”

The Principle of Inverse Proportionality can be explained that when the value of one unit increases, there is a decrease in the value of another unit…

The time taken for a journey is inversely proportional to the speed of travel…
… Higher the speed of travel, lesser is the time taken for the journey

The brightness of light that is seen is inversely proportional to the distance from the source of light
… The more the distance between the source, the lesser will be the brightness of the light that is seen

This principle of Inverse Proportionality can be also applied to spiritual entities…..

The greatness of a person is inversely proportional to one’s level of pride
… The greater the person, lesser is the pride of that person

The sanctity of a person is inversely proportional to the occasions of sins one indulges.
… The more holier the person, the lesser will be the occasion of sins one falls into

This principle is also seen strongly in today’s Gospel Reading…

The closeness of a person to God is inversely proportional to one’s dependence on material things
… The closer the person is to God, the further one will be from material things and pleasures

The distance from the Kingdom is inversely proportional to the amount of worldly riches one possesses
… The closer one is to the worldly riches, the farther one will be from the Kingdom of God

In the Gospel of the day, we see the clear illustration of this fact through the story of the Rich Fool.

Jesus says: “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.” (Lk 12: 15)

“Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself, but is not rich in what matters to God.” (Lk 12: 21)

What makes this Principle of Inverse Proportionality to work in terms of Richness and the Kingdom?

Worldly possessions takes one’s heart away from possessing God as the Greatest Treasure…
Money and Richness causes one’s mind to not depend on God and on His Providence and Intervention…
Prosperity and Affluence makes one’s soul to stray away from the Hand of God and His Love and Care…

It is a reality and happening in our world today that….

On one side, the money in one’s hand is more…
… but the amount of happiness and peace is less

On one side, the wealth of the world is increasing…
… but the poor in the world are in no way decreasing

On one side, the capacity of buying is much high…
… but the actual acquiring of real satisfaction is too low

Are things all too negative?

Is the situation too grim and bad?
Is there not a way out of this crazy maze?

“For humans it is impossible…but for God, all things are possible!” (Mt 19: 26)

There is a BIG lesson in that verse for our world today…

All too often, human beings…
… have asserted supremacy and power in conquering the world…
… have claimed superiority and dominance over all realms of living…
… have boasted proud statements and haughty actions in claiming to be all powerful…

The power and capacity of human beings, certainly is much, but it is still with a limit.

Today, we are called to understand, accept and acknowledge this limit…
… this constraint!
… this boundary!

When we make an effort to share our riches with others…
… God is able to bolster our spiritual blessings!

When we learn to be detached from our attachments to money…
… God is able to attach Himself to our lives!

When we seek to grow less dependent on our wealth…
… God is able to be the One on whom we can rely totally!

When we try to give up our materialistic thinking…
… God is able to fill our inner desires and longings of the soul!

It may be hard for us to let go of our dependence on material wealth

But God will strengthen us!

Let’s follow the words of Holy Father Pope Francis:
“So often we today can find our faith challenged by the world & in countless ways, we are asked to compromise our faith, to water down the radical demands of the Gospel & to conform to the spirit of this age…
… LET’S PUT CHRIST FIRST!”

Let us totally depend on the Richness of God’s Grace as St Paul reminds us: “But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ…
… and raised us up with him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus
… that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus!” (Eph 2:4-7)

The Principle of Inverse Proportionality is a reality in our spiritual lives…

Let’s depend less and less on the power of money…
… so we can grow more and more close to the Lord!

Let’s give minimal control to the power of richness…
… so that we can give maximum control to the Lord!

Yes…

Less and less of me…
… and More and More of You, O Lord!

Let us today seek the intercession of St Paul of the Cross – the founder of the Congregation of the Passionists – who was known to have the ability to reduce hardened criminals and tough soldiers to tears with his gift of speech.

Let his words inspire us:

“The passion of Jesus is a sea of sorrows, but it is also an ocean of love. Ask the Lord to teach you to fish in this ocean. Dive into its depths. No matter how deep you go, you will never reach the bottom.”
“The Cross is the way to Paradise, but only when it is borne willingly!”
“Let us throw ourselves into the ocean of His goodness, where every failing will be cancelled and anxiety turned into love.”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Riches can prick us with a thousand troubles
in getting them…

… as many cares in preserving them, more anxieties in spending them, and with grief in losing them!”

October 18, 2020 – 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

“Rekindling the fire and zeal of being a Missionary of Jesus, our King and Leader!”

(Based on Isaiah 45:1, 4-6, 1 Thess 1:1-5 and Mt 22:15-21 – 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time)

A familiar incident is told of a particular dog.

One fine afternoon, as the whole locality was silent, the dog began barking….Bow wow….bow wow…

Hearing this dog bark, on went the dogs in the neighbouring house…bow wow….

The resonant barking of these two dogs, was enough to excite the other dogs in the other houses…
… and even on the streets…

The whole neighbourhood became a pandemonium of barking and woofing.

But in a while… the dogs on the street waned down… probably getting tired…

So did the dogs in the neighbouring houses…

But the first dog, who began it all, was still strong and vocal in its barking…bow wow…

All other dogs, had more or less quietened…but this dog continued…

Why?

This dog had seen a dangerous and poisonous snake, lurking close to the house…

And so it barked….and never stopped…because it had a reason!

The other dogs also had barked, not with a reason, but simply because they heard one barking.

But the first dog? Had a reason!

It had a reason…a purpose…and a goal, which made it to raise its voice and be excited.

When one has a clear purpose and a goal in life, one remains excited and enthusiastic about it, and pursues the aims with a great determination and enthusiasm.

Have I discovered the true sense of purpose and aim in my life as a Christian and do I pursue in that path, with much enthusiasm and excitement?

Today, Holy Mother, the Church celebrates Mission Sunday.

Every Mission Sunday is an occasion to re-discover & re-kindle the purpose in one’s life as a Follower of Christ.

The Gospel of the Day helps us to rejuvenate our spirit of following Christ, who Himself was convinced of His Mission in life.

We have today the incident of a group of people, seeking to trap the Lord with a query on whether or not to pay taxes to Caesar. (Mt 22: 15-21)

The query on “should taxes be paid to Caesar or not” was asked by two groups: the Pharisees and the Herodians.

It is interesting to note that forces with evil and crooked intentions often work in tandem.
These two groups, normally opposed to each other, join hands, to oppose Christ.

The Pharisees resented and opposed the payment of tax to Caesar…
…because they considered Israel as a sovereign state under God’s rule and therefore should not pay taxes to another king.

The Herodians, on the other hand, accepted and supported the payment of tax to Caesar…
…because they belonged to the political party of Herod, the king of Galilee, who owed his power to the Romans.

Saying a NO would bring Christ before the Roman government for treason.

Saying a YES would bring Christ before the Jewish authorities for blasphemy.

The forces of evil had posed a severe danger to the Mission of Christ.
The answer by Christ would be very vital and important to the continuity of His Mission.

But the Missionary Jesus… Who was convinced of His purpose and aim in life, had the best answer…
“Render to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God!” (Mt 22:21)

He did not deny paying to Caesar.

But He neither advocated it.

He rather, raised the level to one’s relationship with God, who is the sole authority of life & the giver of all things and goods.

The answer baffled and amazed the ones who had come to interrogate Him.

The Mission had not only been saved… the Mission received a greater boost.

The Lord was convinced of His Mission in life.

He was convinced that He belonged to His Father and that all authority comes from Him.
He was totally sure that His purpose and aim in life was not earthly, but of the divine realm.
He was fully certain of His mission in life, to live a life dedicated to His Heavenly Father.

We too, in our Christian lives, will often face such situations of dilemma and trouble…

In a world getting addicted to consumerism, materialism, relativism and sensationalism, the challenges to live our Mission, as an Authentic Christian is especially great indeed.

Situations may force us to give in to abandon faith, and follow only what reason teaches…

Situations may make us to give up our values and follow the vain standards of the world…
Situations may cause us to dilute the Church teachings to accommodate our wants and pleasures…
Situations may incite us to loosen our hold on true traditions to pave way for a “modern” lifestyle…

The challenges to our Mission as a Christian and as a Catholic are much.

But like our Lord Jesus, the First Missionary and our Leader in Missions, we ought to stay convinced and remain enthusiastic to spread the Mission of the Lord.
The Prophetic words through Isaiah are an inspirational reminder to us all: “I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I gird you, though you do not know me, that men may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other!”

St Paul reminds us through his letter to the Church at Thesselonica, that we are His beloved and called and chosen by Him… “beloved by God, that he has chosen you..” (1 Thess 1:4)

Each of us – in any way of life – is a Missionary…

We have a Mission to belong to the Lord and to Him completely.
We have a Mission to spread the Love of the Lord to the whole humanity.
We have a Mission to bring peace and harmony and wholeness for the entire humanity.
We have a Mission to orient our lives to the values of the Gospel and to travel heavenward.

Let’s rekindle the fire and zeal of being a Missionary of Jesus, our King and Leader!

Happy Mission Sunday!
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!”


October 17, 2020 – 28th Week in Ordinary Time

“Responding to the gentle and tender invitation of the Lord, to acknowledge Him in our lives!”

(Based on Eph 1:15-23 and Lk 12:8-12 – Saturday of the 28th Week in Ordinary Time)

An African slaveholder had a poor black slave-boy who, having heard of the Christian missionaries and their preaching, had a desire to go and hear about Christ.

The boy crept away quietly one evening.

But he had to pass by his master’s window, and was seen by the slaveholder.

“Where are you going?” called the master.
The boy, trembling, answered, “Me go to hear the missionaries, Massa.”
(“Massa” is the word used for a master)

“Oh really? If ever you go there”, answered the master, “you shall have thirty-nine lashes and be put in irons.”

The boy answered, “Me tell Massa – me tell what you said, to the Great Massa.”

“What do you mean – tell the Great Massa?
Is there a Great Massa?” asked the man angrily.

“Me tell the Great Massa. He is the Lord of Heaven.

I tell Him that my massa was angry with me because I wanted to go and hear His Word.”

Greatly astonished (and a little afraid as well), the master said, “Go along and hear them, then.”

After the boy had gone, the master became restless and troubled. He had not thought that he himself had a Master (Massa) in Heaven, who knew all that he was doing.

He decided to follow the slave to the Christian service.

He stood in the rear of the little assembly, as he heard the Missionary asking the people from the scriptures: “The Lord is asking, Do you love Me?

Is there anyone here, who dares to confess his love for Christ?”

The black boy sprang forward…
… and holding up both hands, with tears pouring down his cheeks, he cried out earnestly:
“Yes, Massa, me do love You! Me love the Great Massa, with all my heart!”

The slaveholder went home still more astonished, but convinced of the power of the Gospel.

As a result he gave his heart to God and lived a consistent Christian life.

The bold and powerful witness of the little black boy brought about a conversion in the life of that man.

What about us?

Are we also bold and powerful, in giving witness to Christ and His Gospel Values in our modern society?

Like the little boy, do we also, by our life proclaim:
“Yes, Massa, me do love You! Me love the Great Massa, with all my heart!”

The Gospel of the Day is an exhortation by our Blessed Lord with a challenging tone, to be powerful and bold, in acknowledging His Presence.

Jesus says: “I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God;
But he who denies me before men, will be denied before the angels of God” (Lk 12: 8-9)

The Christian Life is a life seeking to profess and proclaim the Lord…
… by word and deed
… with lips and actions
… through happy moments and struggles of life!

Do we do that?

Or are we sometimes…
… shy?
… afraid?
… reluctant?
… uncertain?
… or even negated?

We could reflect on some aspects of our life, whereby we examine, how much we acknowledge the Lord in our life

  1. The Blessings of the Lord
    God has gifted each one of us with immense Graces and Blessings.

Do we acknowledge ‘the Blessings of the Lord’ in our Life?
… with a word of thanks and gratitude, everyday?
… by seeking to be, in turn, a blessing to others, by a life of service?

  1. The Providence of the Lord
    Providence refers to the Protective care of the Lord, at all times, in every situation.

When we look back into our life, we see how beautifully, God constantly leads us.

True, there are times when we have felt the “absence” of God or the Lord being “at a distance” from us, especially in situations of struggles and suffering

But, when look back later… we do find… “God had been joining all those ‘dots of loneliness’ and making a beautiful picture!”

Do we acknowledge ‘the Providence of the Lord’ in our life…
… by being more optimistic, knowing that our God will surely have His way, and make “rivers to flow, even in the deserts”?
… by not falling into anxiety or extreme worry; instead allowing ourselves to rest on His Caring Heart, knowing, that He is holding us tenderly in His Arms, as a Shepherd holds the tender lamb?

  1. The Love and Mercy of the Lord
    Each of our life is a beautiful saga of God’s Love and Mercy

We have been created in love… we have been initiated to Salvation in His Mercy

We have been constantly encouraged by His Love… we have been continually lifted by, by His Mercy

Do we acknowledge ‘the Love and Mercy of the Lord’ in our life…
… by seeking to always do His Will in our Life and letting go of our own ego and selfish desires?
… by turning to Him in repentance, when we go away from His Love?
… by infusing more love into every action that we do, and thus witnessing His Face of Mercy to all around us?

  1. The Authority of the Lord
    The Lord is the Supreme Authority of this entire universe.

It is His Power and Wisdom that sustains everything.

The presence of evil and sufferings around us, may sometimes, make us question His Power and Glory.

Sometimes, the presence of pains and miseries in our life, may also make us doubt His Power and Authority
This time of the pandemic, has been, in particular, disturbing the faithful hearts of many people!

But can we recognize, that God, in His infinite Goodness and Wisdom, works out everything for our good (Rom 8:28)

St Paul again reminds us, in his letter to the Ephesians, that “He has put all things under His feet and has made Him the head over all things for the church, which is His Body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Eph 1:22-23)

Do we acknowledge ‘the Authority of the Lord’ in our life…
… by offering our lives to His Supreme Wisdom, and marching forward with Hope, knowing that “the One Who has begun His Good Work in us, will bring it to completion” (Phil 1:6)
… by seeking His Permission in all the activities that we engage in, so that His Grace will inform us, in the best and right path?

  1. The Presence of the Lord
    The Presence of the Lord surrounds and encompasses us at every moment… at every step of our life.

This Presence is especially cherished and celebrated in the Sacraments that the Church offers.

Do we acknowledge ‘the Presence of the Lord” in our life…
… by turning our hearts, in conscious awareness, to the Presence of the Lord, in the midst of our work and activities?
… by longing for and meaningfully celebrating the Sacraments that the Church offers?

As a Christian, surely, it is not easy to profess and proclaim.

But the Lord invites each one of us, gently and tenderly, to acknowledge Him in our lives.

It is when we grow in these “areas of acknowledgement” that we can boldly and powerfully proclaim before anyone and everyone:
“Yes, Massa (Master), me do love You!
Me love the Great Massa, with all my heart!”

Today, let seek the intercession of St Ignatius of Antioch and be enthused by his heroic martyrdom (“he was cast as food to wild beasts.”)

May his words inspire and encourage us to be a powerful witness of the Lord

“I am the wheat of God, and am ground by the teeth of the wild beasts, that I may be found the pure bread of God!”
“As for me, my charter is Jesus Christ, the inviolable charter is His cross and His death and resurrection, and faith through Him!”
“Pray as if God will take care of all; act as if all is up to you!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Charity never enters a heart without
bringing with it all the other virtues…

… empowering them and marshalling them as needed, just as a captain does his soldiers!”

October 16, 2020 – 28th Week in Ordinary Time

“Rejoicing and radiating the joy and happiness of being the precious children of our loving Father in heaven!”

(Based on Eph 1:14-20 and Lk 12:1-7 – Friday of the 28th Week in Ordinary Time)

Some of us have been to a circus at some time or the other in our life.

One of the most important characters in a Circus is undoubtedly…the Clown.

The Clown has the ability to make people laugh and see the lighter side of life.

The Clown usually always appears with a smiling countenance.

This amusing and humorous appearance of the Clown is a result of the Mask that is worn.

But the clown perhaps has an important lesson for us all of us to learn…

The Clown says… “All people, in actuality, wear masks… only mine is seen outside!”

Very true perhaps, isn’t it?
“All people, in actuality, wear masks… only mine is seen outside!?

This mask that many of us wear is the Mask of Hypocrisy and Duplicity!

(Of course, with the onslaught of the pandemic, the “mask” has now become a compulsory aspect of our attire!

But the mask being referred to here in this reflection, is the ‘mentality mask’ – of hypocrisy and duplicity!)

We are into a reflection of this aspect of Hypocrisy yet again, in today’s Gospel, with Jesus’ insistence on this evil tendency with a greater force & urgency.

Hypocrisy is a vice which is much hated by Jesus.
Hypocrisy is a vice which Jesus constantly asks to weed out.
Hypocrisy is a vice which often lurks its head in our lives, knowingly or unknowingly.

Hypocrisy is duplicity.

Hypocrisy is pretence.
Hypocrisy is a facade.

It is…
… trying to be someone, that one is not.
… deceiving others by presenting a false self.
… masking one’s real identity to show one to be someone else.

The word “hypocrisy” is a composite word in the Greek.

It comes from the joining of two words…
… Hupo is the Greek word for “under”
… Krino, is the Greek word “to separate or judge.”
So Hupo + Krino = Hypocrisy means to “be under or stay under and separate or judge”!

This word was mainly used in Greek theatres and plays to describe those “actors who would speak their parts, behind a mask”!

Hypocrites in real life, extend this “acting” to their everyday life…

Hypocrites are people…
… who try to impress others, in order to hide their real lives!
… who act more spiritual and holy than they actually are!
… who behave to be too good before others, but a sham within!

Do I have any of such “hypocritic …acting” aspects in my life?

Our Lord calls this vice of hypocrisy as a Yeast…

Jesus speaks to His disciples, “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy” (Lk 12: 1b)

Why Yeast?

Yeast or Leaven is something that is used in baking.

Yeast has the great property of Influence…
A little amount of yeast is enough to raise the dough or to leaven the batter.
It has a great characteristic of exercising a great amount of influence, though little in quantity!

Hypocrisy is such…
… though a little amount, it is highly Influential, like the yeast.

Hypocritical people are able to boast much about themselves and exert harmful controls!
Hypocritical people are able to make other people highly pessimistic and negative!
Hypocritical people are able to drain out the spirit and the enthusiasm in others!

Yeast starts slow, but grows very quickly…

Yeast starts its activity in a slow manner, but it spreads very quickly and rapidly.

It has the great characteristic of exercising its great influence in a timid manner, but rises very fast and swiftly.

Hypocrisy is such… though it starts slow, it spreads its influence speedily, like the yeast…

Hypocritical people appear subtle initially, but later it becomes almost a part of their nature!
Hypocritical people appear harmless initially, but later consume people by its strong effect!
Hypocritical people appear gentle initially, but later it becomes a dangerous influence!

How does Hypocrisy usually originate?

Usually from a Fear…

Fear of the people makes one to adopt a totally different disposition and character.

Fear of the situations makes one to adjust with a duplicate personality and behaviour.
Fear of one’s weaknesses makes one to alter the style of life and tamper with one’s nature.

That’s why the Lord, in today’s Gospel would strongly exhort, “Fear Not!”

When we banish the fear of many factors, we are able to be our real self.

When we cast away the fear of our material worries, we are able to live our true identity.

God is our Loving Father… a Caring Person…He wants us to grow in Holiness and Sanctity.

But He also knows that our double standards in life and our pretence and dual-facedness in many areas of our life, is a block to His Grace in us.

Let us pray with St Paul as he prayed for the Church at Ephesus, “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened…
… that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe…” (Eph 1:17-19)

The Lord today invites us to peel away our mask of hypocrisy by casting away our fears, by throwing ourselves into the care of our Loving God, our Beloved Father in Heaven!

Let us not be a clown who has a plastic smile because of the mask…
… Rather become a people, who truly rejoice and radiate the joy and happiness of being the precious children of our loving Father in heaven!

Today we specially seek the intercession of Blessed Augustine Thevarparambil (popularly known as Kunjachan – ‘little priest’ in Malayalam) on his feast day.

May his deep zeal and commitment to missions, especially among the lower sections of the society be a strong antidote and inspiration for us to live an authentic and sincere Christian life!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Let us never make a show of wishing to be last

unless in our hearts we wish to truly be such!”

October 15, 2020 – 28th Week in Ordinary Time

“Clothing ourselves in genuineness and truthfulness, by really appreciating and realizing the value and worth of people in our lives!”

(Based on Eph 1:1, 3-10 and Lk 11:47-54 – Thursday of the 28th Week in Ordinary Time)

“In this world today while we’re living, some folks, say the worst of us they can

But when we are dead and in our caskets, they always slip some lilies in your hand…

Won’t you give me my flowers while I’m living and let me enjoy them while I can

Please don’t wait till I’m ready to be buried and then slip some lilies in my hand…

In this world is where we need the flowers a kind word to help us get along

If you can’t give me flowers while I’m living, then please don’t throw ’em when I’m gone…

Won’t you give me my flowers…?”

  • Lyrics from the Song “Give me flowers while I’m living”

The words of this song is a living experience to many people in this world, including perhaps some of us.

We have many people in our life.

Many of them receive a lot of favours from us…but they fail to thank us.

We however, sometimes, do hear them backbiting us or spreading false rumours about us!

Many of them are helped in many ways…but they fail to acknowledge those favours.

We however, sometimes, do hear them talking ill of us or spoiling our name!

Many of them are rendered assistance in many ways…but they fall short of being grateful to us

We however, sometimes, do hear them being negatively critical about us and defaming us.

But at the grave, perhaps, all those people would talk highly about us.
After our death, perhaps, all those people might acclaim how wonderful a person he/she was!

We often become a people who…
… fail to appreciate when a person is alive, but shower praises after his/her death!
… fail to give a simple flower when alive, but spread garlands and bouquets after his/her death!
… fail to say a good word when alive, but brag and boast highly, after his/her death!

Consciously or unconsciously, we cultivate a habit or a tendency to remain ungrateful and unkind to people when alive, but falsely praise and glorify, when they are dead or are no longer with us!

An attitude of ungratefulness while living…but false appreciation after death!
A tendency of indifference while living…but vain glorification after death!
An approach of passivity while living…but fake interest after death!

Jesus, in the Gospel of the Day speaks of a similar attitude and tendency among the Pharisees.

In His continued attacks on the hypocrisy and duplicity of the Pharisees, Jesus condemns them for building memorials of the Prophets who were killed and murdered by their ancestors.

The Prophets of the old, lived as the true men of God and constantly called the people to a life of repentance and being faithful to God Yawheh.

But these prophets were very often persecuted, attacked and even killed.

The Prophets, who were the voice of God, while living, had their voices silenced and drowned by the wicked people…

But after their death, they used to be quoted and cited in many scholarly and erudite circles.

An attitude of ungratefulness while living… but false appreciation after death!

The Prophets, who called the people to live as per their true conscience, had their lives terminated and ended by the wicked people…

But after their death, they had fine memorials and beautiful tombs built in their name

A tendency of indifference while living… but vain glorification after death!

The Prophets, who became the champion of justice and truth, had their efforts ceased and their labours aborted by the wicked people…

But after their death, they had many oratories and exquisite lectures in their name.

An approach of passivity while living… but fake interest after death!

Jesus condemns the Pharisees for their deception, as they too become sharers of the blood of the True Prophets and the Men of God!

Jesus’ attacks on this Pharisaic attitude is a strong reminder and warning to each one of us too…
… to realize the worth and value of people, while they are alive, and not just heap up empty words of praise, after their death!
… to realize the importance of recognizing the true spirit and teachings of people around us…and not become too late in realizing their significance!

Life is too short to miss appreciating people for their genuine efforts and contributions.

Life is too short to not give people the worth for all what they are in our lives.

A fresh flower given when alive is far worth and appreciable than a bouquet given at the grave!

Appreciate people when they are around…

Enthuse people when situations are favourable…

Encourage people when time and space permit us…

Let us shake of the tendency of duplicity and dishonesty; instead, clothe ourselves in genuineness and truthfulness…
… by really appreciating and realizing the value and worth of people in our lives!

May we seek to make the prayer of St Teresa of Avila, whose feast we celebrate today, our own…
“Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours!

Yours are the eyes through which to look out, Christ’s compassion to the world
Yours are the feet with which He is to go about, doing good
Yours are the hands with which He is to bless men now!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Do not sow a crop of good intentions
in your neighbour’s garden…

… but cultivate your own with diligence!”

October 14, 2020 – 28th Week in Ordinary Time

“Making the Lord to fill the slam-book of our lives, with his choicest words of love and affection!”

(Based on Gal 5:18-25 and Lk 11:42-46 – Wednesday of the 28th Week in Ordinary Time)

Heard of a slam-book?

A slam book is a notebook which is popular among the school and college students.

This slam-book is also known as a friendship book or a profile book.

It is a book to know the friend better and to also pen some of the thoughts and feelings about a friend.

The book consists of a number of questions which gives various details and information.

Some of the questions include, “What is your favourite food?”, “Which places have you visited”, “Who are your favourite friends?” etc.

Another question, quite common, in most slam-books is, “Which attitude or quality do you hate the most??

If Jesus were to be handed a slam-book, and posed the question:
“Which attitude or quality do you hate the most (about human beings)?”
… probably, the answer that we would have received would be: Hypocrisy!

Hypocrisy in human beings is perhaps the most hated attitudes of Jesus.

Today’s Gospel has the condemnation of the hated-vice of Hypocrisy of the Pharisees: “Woe to you, Pharisees…” (Lk 11: 42, 43 46)

Religion ought to be a bridge that helps the people to have an easier access to God.

But the Pharisees fractured this bridge with an inconsistent insistence on rules on traditions!

Religion ought to be the network that makes the people to come closer to God.

But the Pharisees broke this network by an inhuman insistence on various practices!

Religion ought to be a link that makes the life of the people more free in God’s presence.

But the Pharisees ruptured this link by burdening the people with wrongly prioritized customs!

The people had to pay a tithe – a share of one’s produces or earnings, usually one tenth. (Lk 11: 42)

This tithe was extracted on all objects and things including the tiny and the minutest ones like mint, rue (a garden herb used for medicinal and cooking purposes) and every garden herb.

But there was no insistence or any obligation placed on the Love of God!

Religion for the Pharisees had been reduced to a fulfilling of doing certain practices and customs with the finest details and the minutest perfection, but completely overlooked the most basic aspect of Loving God!

The offering was much more important than the One to whom it was offered!

Strange indeed, isn’t it?

The Pharisees loved the good places of seating in the synagogue and being greeted in the marketplaces.

They loved to been seen in places of prominence and to be publicly acknowledged and appreciated. (Lk 11: 43)

But there was no insistence or obligation placed on giving the rightful place to God!

Religion for the Pharisees had been reduced to enjoying places of honour and relishing the public acclaim of the common people, but completely overlooked humbling oneself and giving the glory and honour to God!

The seat and the acclaim was much more important than the One to whom it all was fully due!

Strange indeed, isn’t it?

The Pharisees are compared to an unseen grave over which people walk unknowingly. (Lk 11: 44).

It was a ritual impurity for the Jews to touch the graves, and Jesus compares the lives of the Pharisees as a source of causing impurity and defilement to the people who came in contact with them.

There was an insistence and an obligation on fulfilling their various inhuman customs.

Religion for the Pharisees had been reduced to many practices which was sharp in its display of duplicity and unjust weightage given to external fulfilling of the Law, at the cost of the inner dimensions.

The law was much more important than the One gave the Law!

Strange indeed, isn’t it?

The Scholars of the Law imposed many commands on the people and burdened their lives but failed to show any compassion to help them by their lives. (Lk 11: 46)

But there was no insistence or any obligation placed on the Compassion and Mercy of God!

Religion for the Pharisees had been reduced to merely carrying out some routines in the name of following God and was highly imposed though they were highly burdensome and impractical.

The practise of the commands was much more important than the One who commanded utmost honour!

Strange indeed, isn’t it?

These various dimensions of the Pharisaic attitude is very much possible to creep into our own lives.

We could be people…
… for whom the offering is much more important than the One to whom it is offered!
… for whom the places of honour seat and the acclaim is much more important than the One to whom it all is fully due!
… for whom the law is much more important than the One gives the Law!
… for whom the practise of the commands is much more important than the One who commands utmost respect and honour!

Let us seek to root out any of these Pharisaic tendencies from our lives!

The Lord loves to fill the slam-book of our lives.

May He not be made to write his most-hated virtue of Hypocrisy in this book; instead be proud to fill the slam-book of our lives, with his choicest words of love and affection!

May the Saint of the Day – St Callistus, who was the first pope after St. Peter, to be honoured as a martyr – inspire and intercede for us!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “We fight the monsters of Africa in imagination, but from lack of attention…

… we allow us in reality, to be killed by the little serpents that lie in our way!”

October 13, 2020 – 28th Week in Ordinary Time

“Allowing the lion of greed, evil tendencies and false priorities, to be conquered and defeated by Jesus, the Lion of Judah, the Great Lion!”

(Based on Gal 5:1-6 and Lk 11:37-41 – Tuesday of the 28th Week in Ordinary Time)

“Braving the Lion in its own den” in a phrase that finds expression in various instances of our life.

It means encountering or confronting a stronger person or a stronger situation, in its own area of strength and force.

Imagine the Indian Cricket Team trouncing the Pakistan team in a stadium in Pakistan itself.

Imagine the Congress defeating the BJP in the political elections in Gujarat, which is one of latter’s greatest strongholds.

The Bible also has some typical examples of “Braving the Lion in its own den”…

The Israelites challenged the supremacy of the Egyptians while in slavery, and were able to script a wonderful exodus.
David, the shepherd boy defeated the mighty and proud Goliath in the Palestinian land and cut off his neck with the mighty warrior’s own sword.
Elijah, the prophet confronted the claim of the followers of Baal and made them realise the worthlessness of their deity in a challenge of their own style.

“Braving the Lion in its own den” requires much courage, conviction, strength and nerves!

The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus, the Master Challenger in such a situation of “Braving the Lion in its own den”!

A Pharisee invited Jesus to have a meal in his house.

We are unsure of the motives or the reason for this Pharisee to invite Jesus for the table sharing…

Maybe he just wanted to grow in his friendship with Jesus…
Maybe he wanted to check how this great preacher would conduct himself in his house…
Maybe he wanted to show off to his friends of having invited a great Rabbi to his house…
Maybe he wanted to break the ministry of Jesus and trap Him in doing some aberrations…

In any case, the Pharisee certainly expected Jesus to follow the rules and customs of the traditional Jewish meal.

But he notices that Jesus has failed to wash his hands before dinner.

This washing of the hands was a ritual purification process.

The insistence on this act was not for the sake of hygiene, but for ritual purity!

This omission of the sacred tradition came as a big shocker for the host Pharisee.

He would have thought about Jesus:
“This Rabbi is doing it all wrong!
Why can’t He follow our age-old customs?

He is insulting me before my other guests!
How dare He behaves so, in my own house!?

But this is where Jesus in His unique style of courage & conviction comes into confrontation with the attitude of the Pharisee…

The Pharisee was surely His host, yet Jesus dares to “Brave the Lion in its own den!”
The Pharisee was surely His invitee, yet Jesus dares to “Brave the Lion in its own den!?

Standing up for convictions and principles was a value that Jesus always upheld.

Being bold to always promote and defend goodness was a virtue that Jesus always supported.

Jesus lashes out with a righteous anger, “So then, you Pharisees, you clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside yourselves, you are full of greed and evil. Fools…!” (Lk 11: 39).

The Pharisee got offended because Jesus failed to wash his hands before meal.

But Jesus got offended because they failed to have a true cleansing of their hearts.

The Pharisee got upset because Jesus failed to uphold the sacred tradition.

But Jesus got upset because they failed to uphold the values of inner purity and holiness.

The Pharisee felt insulted because Jesus failed to honour their customs and practices.

But Jesus felt insulted because the table-meal failed to reflect true love and sharing.

Jesus was not afraid to encounter the Pharisee in his wrong thinking and mightily “Dared to Brave the Lion in his own den”!

This same Jesus today encounters us and wants to “dare to brave the Lion in us, in our own den”.

Maybe I am bold and strong in being relaxed in some of my comfort and pleasure zones..

But Jesus dares us, to come out of this den and renew ourselves with a life of holiness and purity.

Maybe I am quite okay with aspiring for many gadgets and objects of passing joys and desires

But Jesus dares us, to come out of our den and focus on the real necessities of a good life.

Maybe I am just satisfied to beautify our external life even if it means being greedy and selfish

But Jesus dares us, to come out of our den and repent by living a self-sacrificing and a self-controlling life.

The ‘lion of Pharisaism’ is deep rooted in many of our personal lives, our family lives and in our community lives…

Having the focus only on external factors, but neglecting the inner dimensions…
Giving importance to only outer shows, but totally forgetting the internal aspects…
Being obsessed with doing many things, but totally ignoring the necessity of being holy…

The Lord is today “Daring to Brave this Lion within us, in our own den”!

Let us allow the lion of greed, evil tendencies and false priorities, to be conquered and defeated by Jesus, the Lion of Judah, the Great Lion!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “It is our part to plant and water carefully,

but to give increase – that belongs only to God!”