December 1, 2020 – 1st Week in Advent

“Singing with joy, even when the clouds of hardships pour down it’s rains!”

(Based on Isa 11:1-10 and Lk 10:21-24 – Tuesday of the 1st Week in Advent, Year B)

A lady, who was known to be a devout Christian, was undergoing a long time of suffering.

As she was visited by some of her friends who came to console here, she was heard to be commenting:
“I have a beautiful robin that sings outside my window.

This bird strengthens me.”

Then with a bigger smile, she continued:
“I like him, because he sings in the rain!
When the storm has silenced almost, all other birds…
… the robin sings on!
And that’s how my life is!”

The lady – who herself was suffering and going through the storms of life – found great inspiration in the Robin…
… the one which sings, even in any storm or rain!

That’s the life of a Christian!

Anyone can sing, when its sunshine…
… but when the clouds of hardships pour out the rain, can we sing?

The Gospel of the Day, presents Jesus Who is rejoicing in the Spirit…
… “In the same hour, Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, ‘I thank you Father, Lord of Heaven and Earth..’” (Lk 10: 21)

Jesus always displayed a great sense of joy and enthusiasm

He was a picture of calmness and serenity.

This was owing to His intimate relationship with His Father – His Abba!

He, of course, had His Own struggles…
… Rejection by His own people at Nazareth (Lk 4: 28-29)
… Very often facing the criticism of the people (Lk 5:30)
… Constantly being put under the scanner with questions (Lk 5:33)
… Facing the wrath of many religious leaders (Lk 6: 7, 11)

But none of these “storms” or “rains” prevented the Lord from singing the praises of His Father…
… and rejoicing in the Spirit

And He invites His disciples to also understand the great privilege they have received to experience the Love of the Father:
“Blessed are the eyes which see what you see…” (Lk 10: 23)

As followers of Jesus, we are also given the privilege to always be “people, who rejoice in the Spirit”…
… “people who can sing, even when it’s raining or in the midst of a storm!”

Are we often spending our days in sadness and complaint?

Or can we also become conscious of the many blessings, God showers on us… and thus rejoice!

Are we constantly looking for the negatives in our relationships?

Or can we also seek to treasure people, just for who they are, and begin to love them more!

Are we feeling that life is a burden and thus fail to have peace of mind and lightness of heart?

Or can we also begin to understand that as a Christian, we have the privilege to understand how God mightily works in our life, and is constantly showering His Love and Mercy on us!

Let us learn to imitate, Jesus, our Master, Who constantly “rejoiced in the Spirit”
… and thus make our Christian Life, a beautiful witness of God’s Love and Compassion.

Let’s listen to the words of St Mother Teresa of Kolkatta:
“Joy is a net of love by which we catch souls!”


Anyone can sing, when its sunshine…
… but can we still sing when the clouds of hardships pours down it’s rains?

As we begin this last month of the Year 2020, let us make a conscious choice to rise above our depressive and anxiety-filled situations…
… and to make this Season of Advent a truly Joyful one!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Do not become upset when difficulty comes your way.

Laugh in its face and know that you are in the hands of God!”

November 30, 2020 – 1st Week in Advent

“Like St Andrew, may we too, become people who “Introduce many to Christ!”

(Based on the Feast of St Andrew, the Apostle – Monday of the 1st Week in Advent, Year B)

“I command you for the last time…make your sacrifice to our gods” yelled Aegeas, the pagan judge.

“Certainly no!” was the reply back, “I sacrifice daily to The Almighty God, the one and true God.

Not the flesh of oxen and the blood of goats do I offer, but the unspotted Lamb upon the altar.
All the faithful partake of His flesh, yet the Lamb remains unharmed and living!”

Exceedingly angered by that adamant refusal, the judge commanded the rebel to be thrown into prison.

The supporters of the rebel, who stood outside the judging quarters, raised an uproar to free him.

But the one who was punished, personally calmed the mob, and earnestly pleaded with them to desist…
… as he was hastening towards an ardently desired crown of martyrdom.

When he was led to the place of martyrdom, on beholding the cross from far, he cried out:
“O Good Cross… so long desired and now set up for my longing soul, I confidently, with rejoicing come to you!

Exultingly receive me, a disciple of Him who hung on you.”
Within a few moments, he was tied to the cross – an X-shaped Cross!
For two days, he hung there, alive…
…. unceasingly proclaiming the Teachings of Christ, until he passed on to Him, whose likeness in death, he so ardently desired!

This brave martyr of Christ was St Andrew, the Apostle of Jesus, whose feast we celebrate today.

A few years back, this valiant martyr, St Andrew, had received the call of the Lord, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men” (Mt 4: 19)

The name “Andrew” in Greek means “manly” or “a person of valour”.

St Andrew was from Bethsaida, in Galilee.

He was a fisherman, by trade and a former disciple of John the Baptist.

St Andrew is said to have been martyred at Patras in southern Greece on a cross which was in the shape of an “X”.

This type of cross has long been known as “St Andrew’s cross.”
St Andrew’s Cross, is depicted, on the national flag of Scotland.

One of the wonderful things that we learn from St Andrew is his wonderful quality of being a “Introducer to Christ”, as seen in the various instances of the Gospel

  1. It was St Andrew who “introduced to Christ”, his brother Peter (Jn 1: 40-42)

“We have found the Messiah” (Jn 1:41) were the words with which he introduced Jesus to his brother

  1. It was St Andrew who “introduced to Christ”, the little boy with the five loaves and two fish, which would be later, multiplied for five thousand men! (Jn 6: 5-13)

“There is a little boy, who has five barley loaves and two fish?” (Jn 6:9) were the words with which he introduced Jesus to the little boy

  1. It was St Andrew who “introduced to Christ” the Greeks who had come up to worship at the feast, at the request of Philip (Jn 12: 20-23)

“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified” (Jn 12: 23) were the words with which Jesus reacted when he was introduced to the Greeks.

Thus, we see that St Andrew became an instrument and an active medium of “Introducing to Christ”
many people.

As a Christian, this ought to be one great quality and duty that we ought to follow – “Introducing to Christ” many people, like St Andrew.

We are on the last day of the month of November, and as we enter into December…
… this can be one of the beautiful practical resolutions, that we can, do, all the 25 days of this Advent Season, in preparation for the Birth of Christ, into our hearts and life

“Introducing to Christ”

How can I take up this task of “Introducing to Christ”?

Many around us long to hear a word of encouragement in their brokenness, receive a word of consolation in their struggles and encounter a smile of hope in their helplessness

Can I “Introduce them to Christ” – to His love, to His message of hope, to His treasury of providence?

Many around us have immersed themselves into the murky waters of sin, immorality, injustice and insensitivity to people and nature

Can I “Introduce them to Christ” – to His ocean of mercy, to His fountain of justice and to His abundance of warmth?

Many around us have separated themselves and live in isolation – from people in relationships, from the Church and Her teachings, from the responsibilities and duties of their works and the society.

Can I “Introduce them to Christ” – to His dimension of wholeness in relations, to His Life-giving Sacraments and to His instruction of being faithful?

St Andrew heard the call of the Lord – “to follow Him”

He was touched by His love and was filled with a passion for His Master
He was zealous to bring many more to the Love of Jesus
He was even willing, to lay down his life, in imitation of his Master, for love of Him

We too, have heard the call of the Lord – “to follow Him”

Are we touched by His love and was filled with a passion for His Master?
Are we zealous to bring many more to the Love of Jesus?
Are we also, willing, to lay down our life, in imitation of our Master, for love of Him?

May St Andrew intercede for us and inspire us, by his tremendous love for the Master…
… And may we too, like him, become people who “Introduce many to Christ!”

Happy Feast of St Andrew, the zealous Apostle who “Introduced many to Christ!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Let us walk joyously, dear souls, among the difficulties of this passing life.

These pains will have an end when our life ends…

… after which there will be only joy, only contentment, only eternal consolation!”

November 29, 2020 – 1st Sunday of Advent

“Being enthusiastic and responsible while (our heavenly) Home calls!”

(Based on Isa 63:16-17,64:1, 3-8, 1 Cor 1:3-9 and Mk 13:33-37 – 1st Sunday of Advent, Year B)

Legends are common and are essential to culture.

A legend usually includes an element of truth, involves heroic characters or based on historical facts, but with ‘mythical qualities.’

One such famous legend is that of King Nero. In AD 64, a great fire consumed the city of Rome.

For six days and seven nights, the Romans watched helplessly as their city burned.

This historical fact is accompanied by a legend that says while the city of Rome was burning…
… its Emperor Nero was very casually busy, playing the fiddle!

It’s from this legend that we get the English phrase “To play the fiddle while Rome burns.”

It means to “do nothing or something trivial while knowing that something disastrous is

The Gospel of the Day is a strong warning to examine whether we too, as in the legend of Nero, are engaging ourselves “in playing the fiddle, while Rome burns.”

We are on the first day of the Season of Advent. In the Church, there are six different liturgical

  1. The Season of Advent is a time to become aware of God’s deep faithfulness and preparing our
    hearts to receive Him more deeply into our lives.
  2. The Season of Christmas invites us to experience, thank and cherish the intervention of God in our lives and to grow deeper in the understanding of the ‘Emmanuel God’ – the God Who is with us!
  3. The Season of Lent invites us to focus on the reality of sin and make repentance.
  4. The Season of Holy Triduum invites to focus and experience the passion, death and Resurrection of our Blessed Lord.
  5. The Season of Easter invites us to focus on the mighty power of God through His Resurrection and the New life that He promises.
  6. The Season of the Ordinary Times invites us to focus on the daily life and teachings of Jesus and draw practical conclusions for our life.

Advent is a time to wake up from the slumber of sin to a life of grace and blessing.

Advent is a time to shake off the dust of sluggishness and become more fervent.

The word “Advent” is derived from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming”…
… which is a translation of the Greek word parousia

The central theme of the reading of the Day is Jesus’ warning to each one of us to be alert, watchful and prepared because Christ’s Second Coming can occur at any time. We are invited to examine ourselves in asking…

Am I casually wasting away my life, without giving enough attention to my spiritual life?
Am I spending my time enjoying in vain, without paying attention to the higher things of
Am I dozing off in lethargy and laziness and failing to carry out my Christian responsibilities?

The Gospel gives a call to be awake and alert in life with an illustration of a master entrusting great responsibility to his servants (Cf. Mk 13:34-36)

Wandering land-owners and wayfaring masters were a common thing in the time of Jesus.

Large land-property owners often lived elsewhere, leaving their servants in charge of caring for and carrying on the business, as if the owners were still present.

This kind of a situation was a test for the servants who were made in-charge.

The absence of the master was a test of the faithfulness of the servant.

The real test of the honesty of students happens when the teacher is absent in the exam hall.

The real test of the conduct of children happens when the parents are away from the house.
The real test of the character of employees happens when the boss is not observing or monitoring them.

The real test of the faithfulness and commitment of the servant happens when the master or the land-owner is away, and is not in a position to keep an eye on them…

Would they be faithful daily, or would they wait until they heard the master was about to return and then quickly get things in order?
Would they engage in malpractices and fraudulent activities or would they conduct themselves in truthfulness and sincerity?

The time of the return of the Master was unknown.

The moment of the coming back of the owner was unspecified.

And this called for alertness and watchfulness at all times. Our whole life too, ought to be drenched in preparation and vigilance.

Often, we tend to allow laxity and sloppiness to dominate our lives. We tend to become people “who play the fiddle, while Rome burns…”

Though we sense the fire of sins and transgressions burning in our lives, we play the fiddle of making many excuses and postpone the need to repent.

Though we sense the fire of indifference and unconcern burning in our relationships, we play the fiddle of not taking the lead to improve our contacts and slip into more hatred.
Though we sense the fire of abuses and corruption burning in our society, we play the fiddle of passing the responsibility onto others and promote those evils by our apathy and lack of concern.

This Season of Advent is a wonderful time to renew our commitment and consecration to the Lord.

St Paul invites us to understand the remarkable faithfulness and the call of the Lord to each one of us: “He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord!” (1 Cor 1:8-9)

Yes, the Lord wishes to come into our hearts…

God will fulfil His promise of coming into us when we do our part of being watchful and prepared…
Prophet Isaiah reminds the assurance of the Lord: “You meet those who gladly do right, those who remember you in your ways…” (Is 64:5)

As St. Thomas Aquinas: “Without God, I can’t. Without me, He won’t.” Let us become…
… more watchful, more prayerful.

Let us stop “playing the fiddle while Rome burns.”

Instead let us “be enthusiastic and responsible while (our heavenly) Home calls!”

Wish you a Blessed Season of Advent!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “The Gospels constantly remind us of the Last Judgment…

… in order to instil in us reverential fear which is the beginning of wisdom!”

November 28, 2020 – 34th Week in Ordinary Time

“Renewing our initial fervour and zeal and being a ‘spirited’ and ‘passionate’ people!”

(Based on Rev 22:1-7 and Lk 21:34-36 – Saturday of the Last Week in Ordinary Time)

All of us have had the experience of utilizing certain things or products which work quite fine for some time….but as time passes, becomes less effective or less efficient.

A ceiling fan/ table fan, after few months or years, tends to be less forceful…
A fast-processing computer after few months of years, tends to slow down…
Colourful clothes after a few washes or usage, tends to lose their initial glean and shine…

A similar aspect could be visible in our spiritual lives as well!

The Gospel of the Day is a reminder to examine this aspect in our lives and to make amends, in order to revitalise and revive our lives.

The Gospel begins with the verse “But take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation…” (Lk 21:34)

‘Dissipation” is strong word which could have several parallel understandings…

With respect to morality:

Dissipation refers to an overindulgence in sensual pleasures.

With respect to behaviour:

Dissipation refers to a conduct that shows one is interested only in pleasure, money, etc.

With respect to economics:

Dissipation refers to an act of using all or a lot of money, time, etc., in a foolish way.

With respect to physics:

Dissipation refers to a physical process by which energy becomes not only unavailable but irrecoverable in any form.

Dissipation is a tendency…
… to squander away enthusiasm because of allowing monotony to creep into life.
… to lose vitality as a result of being indulged in continuous immoral behaviours
… to leak-out the energy and vigour in oneself, in small amounts and thus become lifeless
… to become disinterested and dispirited due to constant exposure to luxury and comforts

Dissipation is a terrible malady that has badly affected many people in the Bible…

The people during Noah’s time were “dissipated” with eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, although God had sent out a warning of their destruction through Noah.

The citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah were “dissipated” with extremely immoral and corrupt practices, even though the people were given a forewarning of their possible.

The people of Israel were “dissipated” with frustration and dissatisfaction while travelling in the desert and failed to understand the providential hand of God.

The disciples of Jesus were “dissipated” with sadness, shattering of hopes and brokenness after the death of Jesus and failed to believe and trust in His great promises.

We have a call to examine our lives and check whether we too have fallen into a state of “dissipation”…

Maybe my prayer life is “dissipated”…
… due to various distractions, excuses of lack of time, complaints of being tired or just simply a lack of interest…

Maybe my personal intimacy with God is “dissipated”…
… since I don’t experience any joyful or experiential feelings or because some of my expectations of God are not met…

Maybe my relationships with people is “dissipated”…
… due to some friction or misunderstanding or an indifference that has sneaked in without any particular reason.

Maybe my family life/community life is “dissipated”…
… because I feel disinterested or not so enthusiastic in going beyond some of my personal comforts or I feel lonely in not feeling accepted or loved.

Dissipation can be a tendency that can steal into our lives very stealthily and can drain away much of our energy, eagerness and passion.

In the book of Revelations, the Lord has this complaint:
“..I have this against you: you have lost the love you had at first. Realize how far you have fallen. Repent and do the works you did at first” (Rev 2:4-5)

Let us seek to renew our initial fervour and zeal.

Let us challenge ourselves to revive our zest and interest.

The Lord deserves not “dissipated” people…
… but “spirited” and “passionate” people!

Today we are concluding this Liturgical Year…
… and stepping into the New Liturgical Year – with ‘Year B’ Readings on Sundays and ‘Cycle 2’ for the Weekdays

This Liturgical Year has taken us through various phases in our life of faith – especially, with the pandemic…
… But the Liturgical Readings were also constantly reminding us that, that “God is with us!”

Let us thank the Lord for this Liturgical Year – for all His Blessings, Graces, Protection…
… and as we start a New Year in our Life – Liturgically – let us surrender ourselves totally to the Providence of our Loving Lord, through the intercession of our Blessed Mother
… as we continually give heed to the words of our Lord, “And behold, I am coming soon!” (Rev 22:7)

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Those who can preserve gentleness amid pains, and peace amid the worry and multitude of affairs…

… is almost perfect!”

November 27, 2020 – 34th Week in Ordinary Time

“Seeking to win the Christian test of Endurance by throwing ourselves into the Enduring Power of God’s Word!”

(Based on Rev 20:1-4, 11-21:2 and Lk 21:29-33 – Friday of the Last Week in Ordinary Time)

“Endurance” is the name of an American reality television program.

Contestants of Endurance live in a remote location and participate in various mental and physical challenges.

The outcome of the competitions determines which players are eliminated.

The winners receive an all-expenses paid vacation package to an exotic location as the prize.

Christian Life is also a test of Endurance!

Unlike a reality show, it is real life…

There are various mental, spiritual, emotional and physical challenges

Unlike an-all expenses paid vacation package as a prize…
… the Christian test of Endurance rewards Eternal Life.

Are we ready to rise to the challenge of this Christian Life of Endurance?
In this life of bravery and dare, we have the strength of an Enduring Factor – God’s Word!

“Heaven and earth may pass away, but my words will endure forever” (Lk 21: 33)

The Gospel of the Day is an exhortation to being committed to the Christian Life of Endurance by trusting always in the Enduring Word of God!

Words have immense power and potential.
They can cut

They can hurt
They can heal
They can build
They can make
They can break
They can crush
They can console
And God’s Word has ultimate control and infinite power.

God’s Promises through His words are forever.

This is clearly manifested when we travel through the pages of the Bible…

Abraham was called to a distant and unknown land.
He was promised descendants as many as the stars of the sky and the sand on the shore.

But nothing worthwhile seemed to be happening…
… God’s word seemed barren and infertile.

Yet, the enduring faith and the enduring trust of Abraham prevailed at the opportune time…
God’s Word came to fulfilment and great completion

Yes, “Heaven and earth may pass away, but His words will endure forever”

Moses was called to become the liberator of a nation.
He was promised complete guidance and absolute direction from God.

But often during the journey of liberation, Moses had to face the ire of the people.
… God’s word seemed empty and betraying.

Yet, the enduring conviction and the enduring confidence of Moses got him through…
God’s Word displayed great glory and a mighty witness.

Yes, “Heaven and earth may pass away, but His words will endure forever”

Job was blessed with immense comforts and vast riches.
He was however permitted to be tested by Satan and lost much of his security and wellbeing.

Hopelessness and wrenching despair seemed to be his best companion…
… God’s Word seemed to be abandoning and deserting him.

Yet, the enduring tenacity and the enduring perseverance of Job prevailed to the end…
God’s Word showered him with great and marvellous riches.

Yes, “Heaven and earth may pass away, but His words will endure forever”

What is my faith, trust and hope in God’s Word?

In moments of life-crushing events and soul-hurting situations…

Do I endure and trust in the enduring and eternal power of God’s Word?

In times when the asteroids of bad luck crash against the surface of my life…

Do I endure and remain firm in the enduring and everlasting strength of God’s Word?

In times when my family, community and my world gets reduced to total splinters…

Do I endure and be positive in the enduring and emphatic might of God’s Word?

The Lord has promised each one of us, immense blessings and graces through His Word.

At times…
… there are delays in the fulfilment of God’s Word, as in the case of Abraham
… there are frustrations in the following of God’s Word, as in the case of Moses
… there are misunderstandings in the listening of God’s Word, as in the case of Job

But the Lord invites us to remain Faithful, Trusting and Patient!

Let us seek to win the Christian test of Endurance by throwing ourselves into the Enduring Power of God’s Word!

Yes, “Heaven and earth may pass away, but His words will endure forever”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Truly it is a blessed thing to love on earth as we hope to love in Heaven…

.. and to begin that friendship here which is to endure for ever there!”

November 26, 2020 – 33rd Week in Ordinary Time

“Trusting in the Power of the Lord to stand firm and to know for sure that our Lord will never let us fall down!”

(Based on Rev 18:1-2, 21-23, 19:1-3, 9 and Lk 21:20-28 – Thursday of the Last Week in Ordinary Time)

A simple but effective test that is often used in psychological group-dynamics is called as the “Trust Fall” Exercise.

(N.B.: We can try doing this exercise with our friends…
… of course, with care and caution!)

The test comprises of two partners – one standing in front of the other.

The task consists in the one who is standing in front…
… gently falling back, with both the feet, held firm on the ground
… while the partner at the back, supports the person – preventing from falling.

Initially, the partner “who is falling”, finds it extremely difficult to fall back…
… for fear of falling down.
(There is fear writ all over the face…
… there is a sense of panic, that is experienced deep within!)

But as they repeat this exercise…
… the trust level increases
… the confidence factor grows

And the person feels, at ease, to fall back, without any fear!
(There is a sense of positive feeling…
… trust and reliance is built up gradually!)

This “Trust Fall” is a group -dynamics exercise to grow in the aspect of trusting one another and believing in each other’s capacity.

Such a “Trust Fall” happens with our God as well, isn’t it?

When we go through struggles and problems of life…
… we often fall back!

If we don’t trust Him enough, we are afraid that we will fall down!
But, if we trust in His power, we are sure that the He will never let us fall down!

The Lord, through the Gospel of the Day, invites us, with strong vibes of positive feelings:
“… Stand Erect and raise your heads, because your redemption is at hand” (Lk 21: 28)

The Gospel of the day is a continuation of the talks on the coming of the Son of Man.

Jesus reminds his disciples of the many signs and terrors that will be manifest in the world and persecutions that will befall on His followers.

He invites His disciples to remain firm in perseverance and faithful commitment.

The Gospel of the Day brings out a clear contradiction in the stance and approach of the “people of the world” and “people who trust in Him”…

Lk 21: 26, “…people will die of fright…” (“people of the world”)
Lk 21: 28,”…stand erect and raise your heads…” (“people who trust in Him”)

Dying of fright and collapsing is a sign of absolute despair and hopelessness.

When someone is in great tension, his/her physical structure reflects it…
… one tends to stoop low
… one tends to put down one’s head…

The worry in the mind makes the face a sorry affair!

The tension in one’s life robs the spirit of joy in living!
Faces turn pale…smiles go wry… body starts sagging!

But the Lord of the Universe today strongly exhorts us to not remain stooped-down

He challenges us to “stand erect and raise our heads…”

The Lord makes people to stand on their feet as a sign of feeling protected and strong…

The boy possessed by a demon was “held by the hand, raised up and made to stand” by Jesus (Mk 9:27)
Jesus held the hand of the daughter of Jairus and “helped her to stand” (Mk 5:41)
Peter and John took up the crippled beggar at the Temple gate “by the hand and raised him up…and he leaped up, stood and walk around…walking and jumping” and praising God (Acts 3: 7-8)

The Lord loves to help people to stand erect and hold heads high in firm faith and trust in Him.

Is my life today shattered and collapsed?

Am I unable to stand firmly in faith and in trust?

When difficulties and problems arise in life…

Do I stoop down and get fixated on the worries…
… or do I “stand erect and raise up my head” in confidence of the Providence of God?

When calamities and unsolvable crises hits my family or community life…

Do we stoop down and get lost in despair….
… or do We “stand erect and raise up our heads” in hope of the Power the Lord?

When hopes get shattered and the future appears very blurred…

Do I stoop down and get stuck in hopelessness and desolation…
… or do I “stand erect and raise up my head” in deep faith in the Guiding Hand of the Lord?

Let the song of heaven, ““Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God…” (Rev 19:1) always ring our hearts, as we nurture trust and faith in our lives!

Some of us live with much negativity and pessimism…

Life most of the time appears to be dark and depressing and dismal!

But the Lord today asks us to live our lives with more positivity and optimism

Life is in fact much more bright and beautiful and brilliant!

The “Trust Fall” is an exercise that we go through continually in our life of Faith!

When we go through struggles and problems of life…
If we don’t trust God enough, we lose heart…
… and we are afraid that we will fall down!
But, if we trust in His power, we can stand firm…
… and we are sure that the Lord will never let us fall down!

Are we ready to play the “Trust Fall” Exercise with the Lord?

Be assured… He will hold you firm!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Don’t get upset with your imperfections.

Surrender to the Power of God’s Love…

… which is greater than our weakness!”

November 25, 2020 – 33rd Week in Ordinary Time

“Holding firm to our Crucified Lord and persevering in faithfulness to our Persecuted Master!”

(Based on Rev 15:1-4 and Lk 21:12-19 – Wednesday of the Last Week in Ordinary Time)

The Nicene Creed – also called Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed – is a Christian statement of faith

It is ecumenical in nature (i.e. relating to, or representing the whole body of churches)
The Creed – in general – is accepted as authoritative by the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and major Protestant churches.

This Creed was first composed and adapted at the First Council of Nicea in 325 AD.

One of the standout aspects – hardly ever brought to light – is about the participants of this Council of Nicea.

Many of the participants – of the approximately 318 Council participants – had lost an eye or lost a hand or limped on a leg…
… as a result of the torture they suffered for their Christian faith!

These bishops who met at Nicea had just come out of an extremely challenging time of intense persecution by the Romans, having lived through the cruelty of the Emperors Diocletian (ruling 284-305) and Maximian (ruling 286-305)

According to one ancient writer Theodoret (393-457), “the Council looked like an assembled army of martyrs!”

The Nicean Council was thus, not merely a gathering of intellectuals – discussing and deliberating; rather was a holy coming together of passionate individuals…
… who lived the Faith
… who suffered for the Faith
… and who wished everyone in the future, grows and lives the Faith, with utmost faithfulness!

These ancient people travelled to Nicea with broken bodies to formulate what was worth living and dying for!

This is the reality of Christianity

Every follower of Christ is reminded to joyfully accept a life of struggle and suffering, in order to discover the true joys of Faith!

Every joy in life is accompanied by the companionship of some pain and suffering.

This is the reality of life.
Christian life is an affirmation of this reality.

The joy of being a Christian is accompanied by the cross of pain and suffering.

The delight in sharing Christ’s peace is escorted by the reality of some trials and tribulations.

The Gospel of the Day reminds us of this factor: Experiencing…
… the mighty power of God in the midst of weaknesses of life.
… the splendid joy of God in the thick of persecutions of life.
… the serene peace of God in the middle of terrors of life.

The Lord continues His discourse on the signs of the end times and the forthcoming persecutions that will be the lot of those who believe and follow Him.

Jesus doesn’t tone down in any measure in warning of the future calamities that will befall on His followers:
“They will seize and persecute you… They will hand you over to synagogues and prison…
They will lead you before kings and governors…
You will be handed over by your parents, brothers, relatives and friends…
You will be put to death… You will be hated by all…” (Lk 21: 12-18)

The list of persecutions is too long, right?

For those who consider Christianity as an easy stroll in the part, this is a shocker!

For those who consider following Christ as comfort on a bed of roses, this is a stunner!

Sometimes our faith in Christ remains merely a statement on paper.

As Baptized people – whether as infants or as adults – we’ve the duty to grow in the grace bestowed on us.

To follow Christ is a privilege granted to us.
To become His Disciples is a special opportunity conferred on us.

But we often squander away the blessings that the Lord gives us without realizing its worth.

As a Christian and a follower of Christ…

We love His blessings…
… but get depressed when pains or sufferings come our way.

We crave for joy…
… but get irritated when things don’t go in the way we wish.

We seek for a comfortable life…
… but get wild with Him when we lose some luxuries.

The Lord however, invites us to a life of deeper perseverance and courage: “By your perseverance, you will secure your lives” (Lk 21: 19)

For the one who believes in Christ…

Every sickness, can be a moment to experience the Lord as a Healer.
Every financial crisis, can be a moment to experience the Lord as the Provider.
Every spiritual struggle, can be a moment to experience the Lord as the Saviour.
Every break in relationship, can be a moment to experience the Lord as the Unifier.
Every encounter in failure, can be a moment to experience the Lord as the Sovereign Lord
Every doubt of the future, can be a moment to experience the Lord as the Supreme Master

All these affirmations will remain peripheral and theoretical, unless we trust in the Lord.

Many might say…
… “I don’t believe in a God who allows calamities and persecutions.”
… “I don’t want a relation with a God who permits suffering and pains.”

But this is where challenge of our Baptismal Consecration comes to fruition…

To be with the Lord, in total commitment, when the going gets tough.
To remain united with the Lord, in complete faithfulness, when the road gets bumpy.
To fix one’s eyes on the Lord, in absolute trust, when the skies are darkened.

In the words of Kahlil Gibran, the writer:
“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars”

Jesus has shown us the path in the Way of the Cross.

Jesus has broken Himself for us in the Holy Eucharist.

In Him is True Life.

In Him is Genuine Peace.
In Him is Everlasting Happiness.

Let us hold firm to our Crucified Lord and persevere in faithfulness to our Persecuted Master.

With joy and passion, in the words of the Nicene Creed, let us unceasingly proclaim:
“I believe in One God…
… and the life of the world to come, Amen!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Have patience with all things…
… but chiefly have patience with yourself.

Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections…

… but instantly set about remedying them – every day begin the task anew!”

November 24, 2020 – 33rd Week in Ordinary Time

“Allowing Jesus, the King of kings and the Lord of lords to adorn the temple of our lives!”

(Based on Rev 14:14-19 and Lk 21:5-11 – Tuesday of the Last Week in Ordinary Time)

“God himself cannot sink this ship!”

“The captain can, by simply moving an electric switch, instantly close all the doors, practically making the vessel unsinkable”

“We believe that the ship is unsinkable.”

These were some of the comments and claims that were made about Titanic – the largest ship in the first half of the 1900’s

But all these proud & arrogant assertions found a watery grave, with the sinking of the Titanic on the morning of 15th April, 1912 killing over one thousand five hundred people.

It was a massive tragedy of the loss of many lives.

But it was also a horrific lesson to humankind on the need to be aware of her limitations.

It was also a torrid warning to generations on the need to be on the guard, always.

“Being on the guard” is a necessity and a basic requirement in every sphere of human life!

The Gospel of the Day presents this message of being vigilant and alert in our lives.

Jesus is on the courtyard of the Jerusalem Temple and He hears “some people speaking about how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings” (Lk 21:5)

The Jerusalem Temple was a magnificent building and one of the wonders of those days.

The Temple had just been marvellously rebuilt by Herod the Great.

In all its beauty, the Jerusalem Temple was a vast glittering mass of white marble, touched here & there with gold and precious stones.

“Whosoever had not gazed on it”, said the old rabbis, “had not seen the perfection of beauty.”

Tacitus, the historian, called this spectacular edifice as “a temple of vast wealth“

Precious gifts such as crowns, shields, vessels of gold and silver were presented by princes and others who visited the holy house.

The Jerusalem Temple was indeed rich in these votive offerings.

With such a grand spectacle and gorgeous building in the background, Jesus makes a prophetic saying, “All that you see here – the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down” (Lk 21:6)

These words would have come as a big shocker and a tantalizing scandal to His listeners.

Who would have thought that the Titanic would ever sink?

Who would have thought that the Twin Towers in America could be in rubble?
Who would have thought the British Empire where “the sun never sets” would wane down?

To think of the Jerusalem Temple being totally destroyed was a case next to impossible.

The Jerusalem Temple was the holiest shrine of the Jews.

It was the pulse and the heartbeat of the Jewish Faith.
It was the greatest source of joy and pride for the Jews.

Any attack or any destruction of this Great Edifice of Faith was unimaginable and intolerable.

Yet, Jesus makes this powerful and daring prophecy.

What is the structure and edifice of joy and pride in our lives?

Is it just a structure of fat bank-balances and transient fame and popularity?

Is it just a structure of remarkable public positions and offices of high ranking?
Is it just a structure of enjoying life with temporary pleasures and passing addictions?

All too often we have heard people saying:

“I have enough money and I am happy with my life!

Just enjoy today to the max. Who knows what happens tomorrow?”

“The status that I am in today, is a result of my hard-work and labour.

Why should anyone interfere in my private life and prevent me from enjoying it in my own style?”

History teaches us that structures built without the power and grace of God is bound to fall.

The Tower of Babel is a classic example from the Bible. (Gen 11: 4-9)

Built on human pride and aspiration, it had a catastrophic collapse

The lives of many people are also a lesson for us…
… Samson… King Saul… King Solomon… Judas.

They had their moments of great glory and splendour.

But when pride and self-interest crept into their lives, they let go of the touch of God’s hand!

We may glory and shine in beauty for some time by just banking on our capabilities.

But unless, we remain in firm obedience and faithful commitment to the Lord, we are bound to fail!

None of us are, and can be unsinkable.

An obstinate stand that I can manage my life by myself is hazardous.

A proud feeling that no power in the world can shake me is dangerous.
An arrogant outlook that I am the sole master of my future and destiny is perilous.

Let God be God in our lives.

Let Him enthrone the highest place and the privileged position in our lives.

May Jesus, the King of kings and the Lord of lords adorn the Temple of our lives!

With Him we can shine forever.
With Him we can stand forever.
With Him we can glory forever.

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “When humility and gentleness are genuine they keep us from the “swelling” of the heart, which injuries and maliciousness can cause.

If, however, when stung and bitten by others we become proud, “swollen” and irritated, it is because our humility and our gentleness are not true and sincere, but false and illusory!”

November 23, 2020 – 34th Week in Ordinary Time

“Generously using the ‘shovel of giving’ and thus giving space for the Lord to ‘use His Bigger Shovel’ in our lives!”

(Based on Rev 14:1-5 and Lk 21:1-4 – Monday of the Last Week in Ordinary Time)

An elderly Christian – retired from work – who was well-known for his selfless charitable acts, was once asked by a youngster:
“We all are aware that you are a very generous person…
… reaching out to help anyone in need.

But we have always wondered, how is it, that though you give so much, to so many people…
… you still have so much left!”

“Oh!” replied the elderly man, “as I shovel out, He shovels in!”
(Shovel is a tool resembling a spade with a broad blade and typically upturned sides, used for moving mud, coal, snow, or other material)

“And the Lord has a Bigger Shovel than me!”

Do I generously use the “shovel of giving”…
… thus giving space for the Lord to ‘use His Bigger Shovel’ in my life…?

Do we have the joy and the generosity to give ourselves, to the Lord and for His works?

The Gospel of the Day demonstrates the powerful message of True Giving, through the incident of the Offering of the Poor Widow.

The passage begins with the verse, “When Jesus looked up and saw…” (Lk 21: 1)

Jesus has sharp eyes…

He sees what most people miss to see…
He perceives what most people ignore…
He observes what most people pass on as ordinary…

While all others saw only the corrupt mind of Zacchaeus, Jesus saw deeper… (Lk 19:7)

He observed the flame of genuine repentance and earnest desire in him.

While all others saw only the filth in the woman caught in adultery, Jesus saw deeper…(Jn 8:3)

He observed the spark of pleading for mercy and compassion in her.

While all others saw only a disturbance in the blind beggar Bartimaeus, Jesus saw deeper… (Lk 18:39)

He observed the flash of true longing and expectant hope in him…

There are many times in our life, when we think or do little things and we would feel them as insignificant.

But the Lord sees deeper…

A tiny word of thanks and appreciation…The Lord sees our goodness.
A small gesture of timely help and assistance… The Lord sees our nobility.
A genuine smile of encouragement and support… The Lord sees our benevolence.

The palace of goodness is built by the tiny bricks of genuine actions and loving thoughts.

And the Lord sees it all – “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, watching the evil and the good” (Prov. 15:3)

He doesn’t miss a single gift, small or large.

He knows every giver, rich and poor.

This is the significance of being engaged in little and small acts of charity.

None of them go down the drain.
Rather, all of them are recorded by God and translates into a fountain of blessings!

The Lord keenly observed the insignificant action of the Poor Widow dropping in two copper coins into the Temple Treasury.

The Temple Treasury was in the Court of the Women, which was on the easternmost part of the Temple.

Against the walls of this temple area were the thirteen chests, or ‘trumpets,’ for charitable contributions.

These thirteen chests were shaped like trumpets, narrow at the mouth and wide at the bottom.

Each one had a different Hebrew letter designating separate offerings and causes.

Into this Temple Treasury… the poor widow just drops in two small copper coins? (Lk 21:2)

What difference did her two coins make toward meeting the temple budget?
Probably nothing!!

Perhaps the treasurer muttered under his breath as he saw it being dropped:
“Why do people throw such small coins into the treasury? They’re more a nuisance to count than they’re worth!”

But the Lord has a totally different yardstick of measuring and of judging.

People count the worth of money by what is given.

God counts the worth of money by what is left over.

People say “wow” over thicker and fatter amounts given, irrespective of the means and intention.

God says “Wow” over any amount given, but only when given with the proper means and true intention.

While most people would have sidelined this meager act of giving, the Lord lavishes praise on the poor widow who “gave it all”.

The gifts of the rich would have not cost them much…
… But the widow may have gone hungry that night because she gave all what she had.

She gave it all, not for any praise or to show-off, but out of love of God and her religion.

What is our attitude in “giving” to God?

Often we give only “leftovers” to God.

If we have some food left, after we have relished nicely, we give it off to some hungry
If we have anything left, after we’ve spent for all our needs, then we drop a bit for charity.
If we have something left, after we have used and its now old, we donate it to the church.
If we have some “time” left, after engaging in all leisure, then we give the time to God.
If we have some goodwill left, after busying with many works, we offer our thanks to the Lord.

The Lord, seriously, is in no need of the offering of our money.

But the Lord, very seriously, is on the lookout for an offering of our hearts!

Let us make not just peripheral contribution of our lives, but rather engage in sacrificial offerings of our self.

As Blessed Mother Teresa would say:
“Give, but give until it hurts…
… It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving”

The Lord has given everything for us.

As His disciples, we too are expected to be similar: to give everything to Him.

An “all-giving” Master deserves “all-giving” disciples…
… Doesn’t He?

Let us generously use the “shovel of giving”…
… thus giving space for the Lord to ‘use His Bigger Shovel’ in my life!

May the words of St John Berchmans, a young saint of just 22 years…
… the Patron Saint of Altar Servers, inspire us:
“Our true worth does not consist in what human beings think of us. What we really are consists in what God knows us to be.”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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

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

November 22, 2020 – Solemnity of Christ the King

“As a true ‘Cristero,’ willing to boldly proclaim – every day and in every situation – the mighty cry: ‘Viva Cristo Rey – Long live Christ the King!’”

(Based on the Solemnity of Christ the King)

The 1920s saw Mexico undergoing a totalitarian regime.

They tried to suppress the Church.

To overcome this tyranny, the Christians, calling themselves, “Cristeros”…
… took up the faith-cry: “Viva Cristo Rey!” (“Long live Christ the King!”)

One of the most famous “Cristero” was a young priest named Padre Miguel Pro.

Caught for the many ‘illegal’ Christian services to the people, the government would arrest him…
… and he would be sentenced to public execution.

The president thought that Padre Miguel Pro would beg for mercy

And so he invited a number of people including the press, to the execution.

Padre Pro however, did not plead for his life

Instead, he knelt, holding a crucifix.

When he finished his prayer – after having forgiven the executioners – he kissed the crucifix and stood up.

Holding the crucifix in his right hand, he extended his arms and shouted: “Viva Cristo Rey!”

At that moment the soldiers fired!

The brave “Cristero” had offered his life for the Master!

What about us?

Are we ready to be a true “Cristero”…
… willing to boldly proclaim – every day and in every situation – the mighty cry: “Viva Cristo Rey – Long live Christ the King!”

Today is the Feast of Christ the King.

It is the Last Sunday of the Liturgical year

This feast is a relatively new feast.

It was established by Pope Pius XI in 1925 through an encyclical letter called “Quas Primas” (In the First) .

In the history of the Church, liturgical feasts have been instituted in answer to particular needs that arise in the life of the world & Church.

This Feast of Christ the King was in response to the grave and disturbing situation of the world:

The world in 1925, was still recovering from the devastation effects of the First World War.

Nations had been devastated.
New weapons and armoury had been introduced.

A wave of terror and danger was still vivid.

Modernity had crept into the human mind.

Human reason was considered to have enough power and capability for unlimited progress.

Human societies were abandoning Christian values and sought to do away with divine and spiritual dimensions of life.

It’s at the height of this secularization of the world, that we are presented with this great Feast of Christ the King.

Human progress gives a feeling that humans have absolute power over all forces in the universe.
Scientific technology makes us think that any discoveries and inventions are humanly possible.
Human mind is considered to be having capabilities that can overcome and defy any limitation..

But this feast reminds us, that Christ still reigns above all.

He is the source of every intelligence and intellect.
He is the powerhouse of every discovery and invention.
He is the ultimate in conquering any problems or difficulties.

The Kingdom of Christ the King is under several threats today…

The forces of materialism and consumerism…
… have clouded the minds of several with riches and pleasures.

The forces of sensualism and sensationalism…
… have corrupted many innocent hearts and destroyed many simple minds.

The forces of authoritarianism and individualism…
… have shattered many families and community lives.

The forces of relativism and practical atheism…
… are strongly raging against the practice of faith and the teachings of the Church.

As Christians, we are soldiers belonging to the Kingdom of God, with Christ as our King.

A soldier ought to be one who is deeply convinced and highly passionate of one’s King and Kingdom

As a Christian…
… am I deeply convinced of my faith and love for Christ and His Kingdom?
… am I passionately enthusiastic to live my Christian virtues in this world?

There are many who say that they are willing to give up their lives and die for Christ.

But today, the Lord also demands, “Are you willing to LIVE for Christ?”

There is an urgent need to become Christ the King’s living witnesses in this world.

Kings are often identified with a lot of pomp and grandeur and power and triumphalism.

But Christ our King is not bothered about any such external pageantry or vain flashiness.

Then what is the identification of this Christ the King?

In Mt 2:2, we read a question, “Where is the (new born) King of the Jews?”

The answer to this question will be found at the end of the Gospel, with Jesus hanging on the Cross and a statement which reads in Mt 27:37, “This is the King of the Jews”!

The Gospel of St John presents Pilate questioning the Kingship of Jesus.

Jesus, however, plainly clarifies…
… “My kingship is not of this world….” (Jn 18:36)

Where the Cross is, there is Christ the King!

Where the lost, the sinful, the abandoned and the lonely are… there is Christ the King.
Where the poor, the suffering, the miserable and the abused are… there is Christ the King.

The Cross is the identity and symbol of Christ the King!

As this Crucified King’s soldiers, we too are invited to be sharers in the Cross of Christ.

It is said that people who are crucified with Christ will have three distinct marks:

Since they are crucified…

  1. They can only look in one direction
  2. They can never turn back
  3. They no longer have plans of their own.

And these three characteristics ought to reflect in our Christian lives…

Being totally focused on Jesus and His kingdom… (looking in one direction)
Never to turn back from our commitment and get attracted to the ways of the world… (never turning back)
Giving up any of our personal goals and agenda which can deter us from God’s will… (no plans of their own)

Yes, let us Hearken to His voice…Christ, the King – The Great King.

No land to reign, but our hearts…

No majestic throne, but the Cross…

No mighty army, but a few people to spread His word…

No royal treats all the time, but pain and suffering that leads to salvation…

No grand fiesta, but the sacrifice of the Calvary, in the Most Holy Eucharist…

This King – along with His Blessed Mother, the Queen, Who stood at the Foot of the Cross with absolute faith, hope and love – invites us today to renew our commitment to Him

Royalty is less, but faithfulness is assured!
Popularity is rare, but blessings are plenty!

Are we ready to be a true “Cristero”…
… willing to boldly proclaim – every day and in every situation – the mighty cry:
“Viva Cristo Rey – Long live Christ the King!”

Happy Feast to all the “Cristeros” – the Valiant and Faithful Soldiers of Christ, the Awesome King!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “From the heart kiss frequently the crosses that our Lord Jesus himself puts on your shoulders

Don’t look to see if it is of precious wood or perfumed; they are more of a cross when they are made of the most despicable wood…

… the most rejected and dirty.”