REFLECTION CAPSULE FOR THE DAY – January 01, 2021: Friday

Holding the hands of Blessed Mamma, the Mother of God and marching forward joyfully and fervently on the Path of Faith & Love, in the New Year

(Based on the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God and New Year’s Day)

A medical thermometer, also known as the clinical thermometer, is used to measure the temperature of the body.

This device helps us to check the heat in the body…

When the heat goes up, and the thermometer level indicates so, we say that we have fever.

When the heat goes low, and the thermometer level indicates so, we say we that have gone cold.

When the heat remains average, and the thermometer level indicates so, we say that we are normal.

The thermometer helps us to examine and check our physical health and vigour.

Our spiritual life also needs such kind of a thermometer to check our spiritual health!

The heat levels however, give a different indication, unlike the physical bodies…

When we are filled with God’s power and enthusiastic, the thermometer shows a high level.

When we are cast down with problems and spirits are low, the thermometer shows a low level.
When we are lacklustre and just pulling on with life, the thermometer shows a lukewarm level.

What is the level on our Spiritual Thermometer at this point of time??

We are on the first day of the New Year…and on the 8th day after Christmas –  the Octave Day.

We notice that the hustle & bustle of Christmas, the celebrations & merriment of the Festival are slowing waning down…

The Crib and the Christmas Tree and the stars which were brightly shining have faded away…

The large number of people in Church for Christmas have reduced to a slender one today…
The joy and devout mood of the faithful which was on high, has slowly reduced…

Is the message of Christmas slowly being left behind…?

But the Church still dynamically and emphatically keeps up the True Spirit of Christmas.

This Octave Day of Christmas, fittingly celebrated as the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God is a reminder to this fact…
… that Christmas is not a one day event; rather a celebration for life.
… that spiritual exercises and movements can’t be limited; rather need to overflow everyday

The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God is a dogma of the Church and the devotion to Mary is one of the great treasures of the Church.

However, often there are many doubts arising and controversies created over Mary, being considered and called as the Mother of God.

But the logic is pretty simple and easy to understand actually…

Premise 1: Mary is the Mother of Jesus

Premise 2: Jesus is fully God and fully Man

Conclusion: Mary is the Mother of Jesus, the fully God and fully Man.

And therefore, Mary is the Mother of God!

In honouring Mamma Mary with this title, we acknowledge, and give glory to Jesus, fully God and fully Man.

In addressing Mamma Mary with this identity, we proclaim and declare emphatically the divinity and humanity of Jesus.

Thus, the Title – Mary, Mother of God – is great proclamation of the our basic aspect of faith – Jesus is both God and Man!

The Motherhood of Blessed Mamma has many implications for us…

  1. We are assured of a Maternal protection and care in our journey towards the Lord, when we face crises, problems and difficulties.
  2. We are challenged to respond to God’s inspirations, just as She said “Yes” to God’s call to be a partner in the salvation of the world.
  3. We are invited to be faithful and committed in being united with Jesus, in the face of any hardships and troubles that come our way.
  4. We are exhorted to totally committed and focussed on Jesus and Him alone and to make His Life as the aim, the goal and the foundation of our life.

On this first day of the New Year, the Lord invites us to check & examine our Spiritual Health on the Spiritual Thermometer….

Am I fervent and zealous in my commitment and consecration?

Am I passionate and ardent in my Love for Jesus, my Lord?
Am I charitable and caring in my dealings with my brothers and sisters?

Blessed Mamma, the Mother of God invites us to hold Her hands and march forward joyfully and fervently on the Path of Faith & Love.

Wish you a Very Happy Feast of  Blessed Mamma!

Wish you a Blessed and Holy New Year 2021!

May we always Live Jesus! God Bless!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Be what you are…

.. and be at its best!”


Reflection Capsules

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God Bless! Live Jesus!

– Fr Jijo Jose Manjackal MSFS
Bengaluru, India

REFLECTION CAPSULE FOR THE DAY – December 31, 2020: Thursday

“Ushering in the New Year by allowing Jesus, the Word to take complete flesh in us!”

(Based on 1 Jn 2:18-21 and Jn 1:1-18 – 7th Day in the Christmas Octave)

Let’s play a game together.

(I know, it will be a bit impractical to play… yet, let’s give it a try
As they say, “there is no harm in trying to achieve something worthwhile in life!”)

The name of the game is “Guess the Word!”

Ok… Ready?

Here we go… All that you need to do is to “Guess which word I am thinking now…!”

Yeah, you read it right… Just guess the Word that I am thinking of… now!

Did I hear someone say “God?”

Well… You are wrong!

“New Year?”
… Wrong again!

Hmmm… “Resolution?”… “Cross?”… “Celebration?”… “Chocolate?”… “Christmas?”

Sorry… but they are wrong

Another try? … Ok

“Selfie?”… “Food”… “Suffering?”… “Mass?”… “Books?”… “Flower?”… “Sleeping?”
… or some other words?

Well… sad to say… all your guesses turned out to be wrong!

The right answer
… the word that I am thinking of now is “Keychain!”

Did anyone get it right?

I doubt…

If you ask me, why was I thinking of a “keychain”
… I will say, “Well, just simply! No reason”

It would have taken you a very long time to guess that word…
… and probably, you would even have never guessed that word!

Not that it was too difficult or something abstract…

But simply because there is almost no other way you can think the Word that I have in mind,
unless I myself tell it to you!

The point is… “The Word that was thought” will be known only if it is “revealed!”
… Is it not?

Now let’s take this concept of “Guessing the Word” to the Divine Realm…

Human Beings at every point of time in every civilization, every culture, have sought to know and establish a link and relationship with the Divine
… to know what is the mind of the Divine
… to guess what is the plan of the Almighty
… to discern what is the thought of the Supernatural

Some philosophers sought to crack this code by drawing out many theories
Some sages and prophets spent time in deep contemplation and wrote many literature
Some noble thinkers dedicated their entire lives to put forward doctrines and teachings

Some of these we call it as religions.

Some as way of life.

Some as philosophies of life.

But none of them were able to know and discern the Divine clearly.

It was just as we played the “guessing the word” game…

Many guesses were attempted… some were close… yet, none were fully right!

The Word in the mind of the Divine would be known only if it is revealed!

And that spectacular instant of revelation is what we call as Incarnation of the Word!

The Divine Historic Moment when the Almighty revealed His Word is called Incarnation!

We read in today’s Gospel reading… John 1: 14, “And the Word became flesh!”

The Word in the mind of God took human form in Jesus!

Jesus is the visible, the revealed and the manifested Word of God!

Jesus is the Son of God… Jesus is God, the Son!
Jesus is the Word made flesh… Jesus is God in human flesh!

What is the impact of this most unique and most spectacular event of history
… Incarnation?

Humanity which had strayed has found another chance to be re-united.
Human beings steeped in sin were provided with an opportunity to be redeemed.
Humanity is empowered not with abstract human teachings, but by the Divine Person

This is what makes Christianity different from all other ways of life or religions

This is what makes Christianity unique among all other philosophies of life

It is utter absurdity for philosophers, for the Infinite to become finite

It is purely mythical for the naturalist, for the Transcendent to be understood
It is totally unscientific for the rationalist, for Fullness to be reduced to limitedness

But This is The Truth.

This is the Reality.

In Incarnation, the God of Love was now wrapped in human flesh.
… the Almightiness of God moved in a human arm.
… the Love of God now beat in a human heart.
… the Wisdom of God now spoke from human lips.
… the Mercy of God reached forth from human hands.

You and I are the beneficiaries of knowing the answer of this game “Guessing the Word” which
humanity was engaged with the Divine, for centuries!

Jesus is that answer!

And Jesus can be the answer to all the problems and difficulties of our lives.

Have we allowed Him – Jesus, the Word – to take flesh in ourselves?

Have we permitted Him – Jesus the Word – to have an impact in our lifestyle?
Have we consented to Him – Jesus, the Word – to become the totality of our lives?

We are on the last day of the year
… and at the threshold of yet another New Year.

The Year 2020 which had a lot of promises… went through a lot of rough weather

At the same time, we look at the many protective moments of the Lord, and thank Him!

As we thank the Lord for the gift of this year…
… with its ups and downs
… with its learnings and experiences
… with its joyful events and sad moments

Let us also realize that…
… There can be no spectacular resolve
… There can be no greater discovery
… There can be no better resolution
… There can be no higher decision
… than to allow Jesus, the Word to take firm and absolute control of our lives!

Are we ready to usher in the New Year, with Jesus, the Word taking complete flesh in us?

Yes, He is The Only Way… The Only Truth… The Only Life – JESUS, THE WORD REVEALED

Thank You, Lord, for the Year that has gone by.

We seek to be Holier and “belonging to You more” in this New Year!

God bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “When God sends inspirations into a person’s heart…

… one of the first that is given is obedience!”

REFLECTION CAPSULE FOR THE DAY – December 30, 2020: Wednesday

“Learning from Anna, the old lady, ‘young and vibrant at heart’ to pursue what we are to be and to discover ‘why I am born!’”

(Based on 1 Jn 2:12-17 and Lk 2:36-40 – 6th Day in Christmas Octave)

There is a quotation by William Barclay, a famous theologian:
“There are two great days in a person’s life – the day we are born and the day we discover why!”

One of them is easier and simpler than the other.

One is just a date and a moment in history.

It could be something like the 19th of January or the 2nd of November or the 29th of December or the 17th of June or the 28th of November or 16th of January etc…

This was the day, we first made our appearance on this earth.
This day is special….

The other day is also special…
… but it’s not easy to discover it!

In fact, it is an arduous task and a patient undertaking.

That is day we figure out why we are on this Planet Earth.
That is the day we come to a greater realization of our Life.

The first day tells that I am here in this earth!

The second day would tell us “why” I am here on this earth!

To discover this meaning and purpose of life and seek to live it fully well, will make our lives satisfying and truly happy.

It could happen in one day!
It could happen over a period of some years!
It could happen over one’s whole lifetime!

Yet, the most important thing is to “keep seeking for it and be alert for its discovery”

Am I in this all-important process of discovering “Why I am born in this world?”

The Gospel of the Day will point out today to a person who discovered greatly this aspect of the purpose in life, and dedicated her whole life for it – Anna, the Prophetess.

We are still in the festive passages of Christmas – the Nativity of our Saviour.

Joseph and Mary have brought their Beloved Child, Jesus, to the temple to be presented to the Lord.

After the ritual purification rites and customs, the Holy Family of Nazareth is encountered by Simeon.

He who was docile and open to the promptings of the Spirit discovered the Glory of God.
He who was patient and constantly in quest, was blessed with the true meaning of his life.

At the same time, another woman was also eagerly waiting for the Messiah…in constant eagerness and longing… Anna!

‘Anna’ is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Hannah, which means, ‘Grace’

Like the Old Testament Hannah, this Anna is also characterized by prayer and fasting

She was the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.

Asher was one of the twelve tribes of Israel.

Asher is considered to be one among ten of these tribes, which had strayed away from the path of the Lord, that were taken captive by the Assyrians in 722 BC, before the northern Kingdom fell.

However, “some men of Asher, of Manasseh, and of Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem” (2 Chr 30:11).

So, Anna belonged to that small remnant of the tribe of Asher that had humbled itself to seek protection and providence in the Lord.

Anna was, however, a widow

She was a widow for a very very long time…
… for over seven decades, she had been a widow.

It was a tremendous grief to live so long without the love of a husband.
It was a dreadful challenge to struggle for survival and existence as a widow.

Sorrow can cause two consequences to a believer….

It can make one hard, bitter, resentful and rebellious against God
It can make one kinder and dependable on God!

Sorrow can cause our faith to be spoilt
Sorrow can cause our faith to take deeper roots!

Anna, the widow, chose the better part!

She chose to reveal and revel in the Grace of God and live a Gracious Life!

And this process of her discovering “why she was born in the world” made her to…

  1. Practice a life of purity: She lived in holiness and integrity.
  2. Pray constantly: She lived in the temple continually and was incessantly fasting and praying
  3. Persevere Patiently: She battled loneliness and depression and persevered successfully to meet the Lord.
  4. Proclaim Boldly: She challenged others in their cozy life by proclaiming the Messiah and His promises!

Life is constantly calling and challenging us to discover “the day why I am born”

It’s easy to while away our time in comforts and pleasures of this world.

But that will certainly not serve the goal of our existence here on this earth.

Each of us have a specific task and responsibility entrusted by the Lord.

This role is proper to our own vocation as in family life or in a consecrated life.

In God’s precious eyes, there are no small or great responsibilities.

He values and treasures each and every duty -small or big- with equal measure.

Every task, when performed with immense love and dedication has its greatness.

Anna, the old lady, “Young and Vibrant at Heart” teaches us today…

To pursue what we are to be…to discover “why I am born”…to prevail in our aim!
… by Practicing a Life of Purity
… by Praying Constantly
… by Persevering Patiently
… by Proclaiming Boldly!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “No matter where we are…

… we must aspire to a perfect life!”

REFLECTION CAPSULE FOR THE DAY – December 29, 2020: Tuesday

“Being on the watch to listen to the promptings of the Spirit just like the patient and ever-watchful Simeon!”

(Based on 1 Jn 2:3-11 and Lk 2:22-35 – 5th Day in the Octave of Christmas)

Mobile phones come with an option of keeping it in the ‘silent mode’.

It often happens, that when a phone is kept in the silent mode, one fails to notice a call.

But if one has been eagerly and excitedly waiting for someone’s call, it will be received, even if the phone is kept in the silent mode..


Great blessings from God often come to us silently and quietly.

But the one who is waiting eagerly and patiently excited, receives these blessings even in the silent mode of events…

Such was the case when the Lord was born…

The Messiah was promised long back… centuries ago.

Yet, when we go through the accounts of the Bible, it seems that most people were not ready to receive Him…

The Scribes and Scholars of the time never seem to have expected…

The rich and the powerful people of Bethlehem failed to have any notice of Him…

Hardly anyone knew when and where the Saviour – the Little Babe was born!

It seemed like a call on the mobile phone that is kept in the silent mode!

Silently, the Precious Gift was delivered…
Without and fuss or fanfare, the Marvellous Treasure was presented…

But there was also a tiny group of people, who were waiting for this Blessed Fortune…

There were some who were waiting eagerly and patiently excited..

Among this tiny set of persons was Simeon!

In some dramas, we see some characters who appear on the stage just once…
… speak a few crucial dialogues or perform some significant deeds
… and they disappear
… never to be seen again!

Simeon is one such figure…

We know nothing about his background, his hometown, his education, or even his occupation.

We assume that he was an old man, but even that is not explicitly mentioned.

He simply appears on the stage of salvation drama for a few moments…

After his part is over, he fades from the scene, never to be heard from again!

We however, do know… that this Simeon was waiting eagerly for the Lord.

We could just imagine how Simeon would have gone through his days of waiting for the Saviour of the world…

Every time some couple walked in with child, Simeon would have asked, “Could this be the Promised Messiah?”…

Finally, when Mary and Joseph walked in with the child Jesus…
… Simeon sensed the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

However, looking at them, perhaps, a doubt would have arisen in his mind…

“Could the child of this simple and ordinary parents really be the Messiah?
The man seems to be some ordinary carpenter sort of…and the mother looks so ordinary a peasant girl.
Is it really possible that the Messiah, the Promised Saviour of the Universe, be having such simple and ordinary parents?”

And probably, the voice of the Holy Spirit would have boomed into the ears of Simeon…
Truly… there is the Messiah… the One promised by God!

“Human beings seek external appearances….but God chooses by His own Divine standards.

Doubt not… but go and meet Him, Who was promised for ages!
Believe firmly…and encounter the One who is the Salvation of the world!”

What about us?

Do we seek and listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit in our lives?

It could come through various formats?

Inspirations… Thoughts… Circumstances…Other people… Commandments of the Church.. Bible.. Challenges in Life…etc…

Are we in patient waiting and constant vigilance to hear this voice of the Lord?

Sometimes we cast away inspirations and feelings as trivial and minor…
Sometimes we discard some people as just insignificant and unimportant…
Sometimes we pass of situations and circumstances as ordinary and common…
Sometimes we reject commandments and teachings as outdated and obsolete…

But the Lord… through the patient and ever-watchful Simeon, today, invites us to always be on the watch to listen to the promptings of the Spirit…

We sometimes miss important calls when our phones are kept in silent mode…

Let it not happen so with the movements of the Spirit…

Let us always be observant and alert…

The Spirit is talking… the Spirit is moving…

Are we listening?
Are we aware?

Ting ting…
… Is there a missed call or a message?

Check check….

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Retire at various times into the solitude of your own heart…

… even while outwardly engaged in discussions or transactions with others, and talk to God!”

December 28, 2020 – Commemoration of the Holy Innocents

“Understanding that Christmas – the birth of Christ, ought to not simply be a ‘festival of fun or frolic’ but also should lead us to hear the many ‘cries of innocents’ today!”

(Based on the Commemoration of the Holy Innocents)

Christmas is one of the most – if not the most – popular Fest in the world!

This Fest is – besides the spiritual nourishment – greatly celebrated…
… with a lot of joy and merriment
… with the aspect of renewing relationships through get-togethers
… with a great deal of decorations and festoons to amplify the exciting tone

But for a moment, when we think of the very First Christmas Night…
… we being to understand that such was not exactly the mood back then!

There were many elements on that First Christmas Night which were actually very ordinary and some even, sad and scandalizing!
… the long and arduous travel of the “expectant Mother with Child ”and the ‘uncertain father’ towards Bethlehem!
… the Holy Family failing to find a place in the inn (perhaps, refused to be given a place!)
… the birth of the Messiah, the Creator of the entire universe, in a manger – which was actually the place of feeding for the animals!
… the terrifying and indecisive flight into Egypt!

As the famous Carol goes, it was in all probability more of a “Silent Night…!”

Another importantly sad and scandalizing event was that of the “Killing of the Innocents” under the age of two, at the order of King Herod (Mt 2: 16-18)

On this fourth Day of the Christmas Octave, Dec 28th, Holy Mother the Church commemorates The Holy Innocents.

The news that a new King of the Jews was born, caused great ordeal for King Herod (Mt 2: 3)

He became all the more furious, when he heard that the Magi had deceived him (Mt 2:16)

The easiest solution found was to kill all the males under the age of two.

To react negatively, in a situation of hardship, often seems to be the easiest way out.

But it is an extremely cheap and low way of going about

But Herod fell into this snare of “negative reaction” and had little babies killed.

These little babies, too little and young to form a will and a desire to love…
… became martyrs of Blood (Mt 2:16)

St Augustine says, “they are the first buds of the Church killed by the frost of persecution; they died not only for Christ, but in his stead!”

The number of children killed is uncertain.

There are a number of views on the actual number of children who were killed.

The Byzantine Liturgy (Greek) says that Herod killed 14, 000 boys
The Syrian Liturgy speaks of 64,000.
Another scholarly study suggests that Bethlehem was a very small town, at the time of Jesus, with a population of maybe 300. The number of children below the age of two could be very less – maybe six or seven.

But the fact remains, that it was a tragic gravely foul and grievously painful.

The death of the little children is a reminder that our earthly life is a pilgrimage…
… to be oriented for the eternal life in heaven

The dreadful massacre of the innocent children can easily cause a question to arise in us:

Why did God allow the helpless death of the children before their own parents?
Why did these little children have to be murdered, for saving the Divine Child?
Could not God have planned a noble way of saving Him?

Such questions can easily cause our faith to be disturbed or even be scandalized by the ways of God

But it brings home an important truth: Our earthly life is a pilgrimage.

No one knows how long we will live – some die in infancy, some in their old age; some die prepared, some suddenly and tragically.

This is the reality that we find in the world – we like it or not, we accept or not.

It therefore, is a call for us, to nurture life in the best way possible…

Our own lives by living in holiness and fidelity to the Will of God
Preserving, nurturing and enhancing the lives of others – including the little infants in the wombs.

This commemoration of the Holy Innocents is a reminder to open our eyes to see the tragedies of the world and become courageous torch-bearers of justice

This passage of King Herod and the Holy Innocents, might sometimes seem to be like…
… “the unwarranted bone” in the tasty meal of Christmas
… or the “jarring note” in the melodious music of Christ’s Nativity.

We often like to live in “cozy and comfortable” situations – even if it means, closing our eyes to the stark and tragic realities of life

But it is the obligation of every Christian to “get out of every comfort zone”…
… and enter into the “suffering sections” of the society, and give them hope, consolation and life.

The “cry of the mothers of the innocent children”… Mt 2:18 – “A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation”…
… is also a “Carol”, that is heard every Christmas

Yes, may we deeply understand that Christmas – the birth of Christ, ought to not simply be a “festival of fun or frolic”…
… but also should lead us to hear the many “cries of innocents” today – the oppressed and the abused, the voiceless and the helpless, the sinful and the lonely etc.

Christmas is surely, one of the most – if not the most – popular Fest in the world!

But let not this Fest be drowned only in external celebrations and merriment

Rather, let it also be an occasion for all of us to renew our commitment to the cause of justice and peace in the world, and make this earthly pilgrimage more meaningful!

Salutations to the Holy Innocents and Glory to the Divine Babe, Jesus!

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.

December 27, 2020 – Feast of the Holy Family of Nazareth

“Building and moulding our families lovingly, inspired by the Holy Family of Nazareth!”

(Based on the Feast of the Holy Family)

There goes a story about a family, in the US, that was struggling to survive during the Great Economic Depression in the 1940’s…

The father of the family had lost his job, and they moved to the city to find work.

They couldn’t afford to buy their own house, so they lived in the basement of someone else’s house, paying a large rent for the tiny space.

It was not the most comfortable or coziest situation…
… Mom, Dad, and Five Children cramped into a mouldy basement.

But they made the best of it by pouring as much love as they could into little things.

They kept the place neat and clean.
They had their small and sparse meals together every day.
They said their prayers each morning and each evening as a family.
They even pitched in to help other families who were in even more difficult situations.

One day, one of the children’s school teachers came by to visit the family.

She was shocked at the cramped quarters and the poverty of the family.

The next day at school the teacher took the little girl aside and tried to comfort her.

She said, “I am so sorry that you don’t even have a home to live in!”

But the little girl was surprised and answered:
“Oh no!

We have a wonderful “home”…
… it is just that we are still looking for a “house” to put it in!!”

The li’l girl did not have a proper house, but she had a wonderful home!

The family was constricted into a tiny space, but they had much space for each other in their hearts!

Yea, it’s the “little things in life” that can make the biggest difference.

Often times, we have a grand house but a very poor home…

We have many big things: a three-car garage, a home movie theatre, football-sized rooms, latest of communication & entertainment gadgets etc…

But very often, something essential is missing…

Is it true?

Are we living in a “House” or in a “Home”?

Today Holy Mother Church takes delight in celebrating the Feast of the Holy Family of Nazareth.

This was a home with much joy and peace, though it struggled to have even a proper house.

The Holy Family of Nazareth is often considered as the perfect and ideal family.

In which sense is it perfect and ideal?

Free from problems…
Lack of tensions…
Absence of worries and fears…
No tension of financial constraints…
Abundance of wealth…

Well… if these are the yardsticks to define a perfect and ideal family, the Holy Family of Nazareth would be too far from it…

This “ideal” and “perfect” family of Nazareth had to undergo many severe crises, as in any of our families…

The young Mary had to face an unplanned pregnancy…
… She was thrown between a choice to “face stoning for death” or “placing hope in God.”

The just man Joseph had the dilemma of accepting a lady who could be doubted by society…
… He faced the challenge of divorcing his to-be-wife or to accept her in faith and trust.

Joseph and Mary failed to find a proper place even to have the birth of their child…
… at the middle of the night, they had to abandon their only place of refuge and fly to Egypt…

As we have in the Gospel of the Day, at the age of twelve, Jesus gets lost and His words to them are not understood by the parents…
… a few years into boyhood, Jesus loses Joseph, his caring Father and the young Mary becomes a widow…

Are these “ideal” or “perfect” situations for a family?

Then, how do we say that the Holy Family of Nazareth is an “ideal” and “perfect” family?

We must understand that Idealness and Perfection…
… comes not as a result of absence of problems and difficulties.
… is attributed not because of being free from any risks or challenges.

Rather, Idealness and Perfection…
… is ascribed because They chose to trust and hope in God always!
… is credited because They sought to walk as per the Will of God always!

They were able to move beyond a “house” and build a “home”…
… because They had God as their Ultimate Refuge and They always sought and listened to what God wanted in Their lives!

What about our families?

Today, unlike any other time in the history of the world, a family or a community faces severe challenges…

Consumerism and materialism ruins the fabric of a family…
Individualism and self-priorities hampers the structure of a family…
Failure to understand and readiness to abandon each other becomes quick solutions…
Media and other “sources of knowledge” bombard minds with many alternative lifestyles…

As a family and a community, we today, stand before the Crib and gaze on the “Ideal” and “Perfect” family of Nazareth…

They had Their own issues and problems…
They had their own sets of difficulties.

We might argue, that their problems are nothing compared to what we are going through.

Yet, the method and style of handling and tackling the problems remains the same…

Seeking to do God’s Will…
Being the strength to each other in rough times…
Being steadfastly faithful to one another in every crisis…

The Holy Family…
… challenges us to place unity and love as the prominent concerns.
… exhorts us to trust God in all situations and have God as the highest priority
… invites us to understand and accept each other and love the other as they are

As we celebrate this Feast of the Holy Family today, let us seek to cultivate (or revive) some (or all) of the following good practices in our families…

  1. Coming together for Family Prayer, everyday without fail – and reciting especially the Holy Rosary
  2. Making Sunday a special family day – reading/studying a portion of the Bible together, keeping away the TV/mobile for some time at least and spending time specially together
  3. Creating a sacred space in the house with holy images/icons – becoming an area of prayer
  4. Children seeking blessings from parents before going out
  5. Having a small font for Holy Water in the house and regularly blessing oneself
  6. Practicing “one virtue a month” together as a family
  7. Celebrating “one saint a week/month” – by having special prayers (and) (or) learning more about the Saint
  8. Reading a small portion of the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” during Family Prayers
  9. Going out together as a family – once in a month/three months/ six months/whenever convenient – to reach out in service to someone in need
  10. Reading the passages of the Bible (1st Reading, 2nd Reading and Gospel) before going for Mass on Sundays
  11. Having meals together – and avoiding electronic gadgets, books during meals
  12. Each member of the family making a small prayer- in one’s own personal words – during family prayer.
  13. Holding the hands of each other with forgiveness and joy in the heart sometime during family prayer / giving a meaningful sign of peace and joy after the prayer
  14. Reciting the Divine Mercy Chaplet
  15. Insisting on confession at least every month (or maximum once-in-two-months)
    … and many many more!

… We need to build and mould our families lovingly, inspired by the Holy Family of Nazareth.

Let us move from being just “house-makers” to being “home-makers”…
Let us go beyond the fleeting concept of “houses” to build everlasting and loving “homes”…

Are we living in a House or in a Home?

Happy Feast of the Holy Family of Nazareth to all our Families!

God bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “We shall steer safely through every storm…
… so long as our heart is right
… our intention fervent
… our courage steadfast

… and our trust fixed on God!”

December 26, 2020 – Feast of St Stephen

“Like St Stephen, being filled a deep passion and courage that comes from the New Born King so as to be a Dynamic and Enthusiastic Soldier for His Kingdom!”

(Based on the Feast of St Stephen, the Martyr)

Stones were flying from different directions…
The atmosphere was very tense and highly apprehensive…
The people had become enraged and were very badly instigated…

St Stephen…. the man filled with the power and spirit of God, however, looked up intently to heaven and saw the glory of God. (Acts 7: 54-56)

And then a surprising thing happened….

He saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God!

Usually, we always read or say in our prayers that Jesus is sitting at God’s right hand…

But here, Jesus is seen standing!

Jesus is probably giving a standing ovation..
… to St. Stephen, the one who became his brave witness.

The mighty display of faith by St Stephen was worthy of a standing ovation by the Son of God!

The Majestic King was tremendously proud of His Faithful and Committed Soldier!

We are on the first day after Christmas…
Yesterday, we celebrated child Jesus in the crib…

We sung the “silent night” and “joy to the world”…
We remembered the angels singing “Glory to God in the Highest and Peace to people of good will”…
We exchanged a lot of smiles and shared much fun…

But suddenly today, there is a shift…

The atmosphere of fun and frolic has turned sombre and serious…
The carols of mirth and joy are substituted by cries for death and vengeance…
The shining gold vestments at Holy Mass are replaced with blood-red vestments…

The peace and joy of Bethlehem is contrasted by the tragedy and heartbreak at Jerusalem…

Yesterday we celebrated the birth of our eternal King.

Today we commemorate the triumphant suffering of His faithful soldier.

Yesterday our King left His place in the Virgin’s womb and was born in the world.

Today His soldier leaves the tabernacle of his body and goes triumphantly to heaven.

Yesterday a group of enthused and excited people visited and paid homage to our King.

Today, a group of proud and ferociously evil mob execute His soldier!

Why does the Church celebrate this tradition of commemorating the gruesome stoning to death of St Stephen, soon after the celebration of the tender Babe?

The Church’s long tradition of celebrating the memorial of St. Stephen soon after the celebration of the Nativity of Christ, does not serve to demote Christmas, but to continue & manifest more clearly an important meaning of the Christmas celebration.

Christmas essentially means becoming a true disciple of Christ…

And a true disciple ought to tread the way of the cross – “If any want to be my disciple, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me” (Lk 9: 23)

Christ the Master, Himself walked this path of trials and difficulties.

The signs of suffering and pain were foreshadowed very much already in the Crib of Christ…
The manger where the babe was laid, foreshadowed the Cross on which He was to be laid.
The swaddling clothes of the babe, foreshadowed the shroud which will cover Him in His tomb.
The lack of room in the inn, foreshadowed the lack of room for Him to be buried after His death.

Christmas is the celebration of Life that was pledged to be given up in death, in order to win back life – life in its fullness!

Christmas becomes a true reality when Jesus is born in our hearts…

When Jesus comes to dwell in our hearts, that heart cannot remain without effect.

There is a contagious enthusiasm.
There is a great transformation.
There is a tremendous zeal.

And this birth of Jesus took place in the heart of St Stephen.

He underwent a Real Christmas.

He experienced the joy of having Christ born in His life.

And this fact that Christ was born within, led Him to be a dynamic and bold soldier of His King!

Nothing could stop Him from being a witness…

The experience of Christmas in His life had made St Stephen…
… to be a bold soldier.
… to stand firm for the truth.
… to bear the pain of stoning
… to shed His blood for His Lord

Have we also experienced Christmas in a way that transforms and makes us authentic disciples?

Have we also celebrated Christmas which makes us to pledge every breath and cell of our life to the Lord?

Have we also enjoyed Christmas in order to find immense power and strength in being a true and authentic Christian?

The blood of St Stephen sings the beautiful carols of Jesus who was born in his life!

Are we ready to discover still further, the true and genuine meaning of Christmas in our life?

Jesus, the King of kings and the Lord of lords gave a wonderful standing ovation seeing the spectacular display of faith and courage of His Beloved soldier, St Stephen.

Let us also be filled a deep passion and courage that comes from the New Born King and be His Dynamic and Enthusiastic Soldier for His Kingdom!

Happy Feast of St Stephen, the First Martyr of the New Born King of kings!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Be what you are…

… and be at it’s best!”

December 25, 2020 – Solemnity of Christmas

“May Jesus be born, not just in the crib in houses or church, but in our Hearts and Lives!”

(Based on the Solemnity of Christmas)

An elderly person was asked what was the meaning of Christmas for him.

He replied:
“I look around and find so many things changing…

The dialer phone that itself was so rare and making a phone call was such a difficult thing…
… is today eased with the high-pace technology of mobile phones and even video calls!

The cyclostyle machine for printing and the stenography style of taking down notes…
… is shadowed today with 3D Printers and Speech-to-text softwares!

The long tapes of recorder cassettes and the oversized gramophone records that would play my favourite music as well as the news I heard on my old radio…
… are given a fresh face with internet music and satellite radio!

I see things changing all around me.

But one aspect that I can be completely convinced of is this: ‘Christmas – the Birth of Jesus, our Saviour – is an unchanging factor in this changing world’!”

Of course, we do have our arguments to say that the “celebration style” of Christmas has surely undergone drastic, dramatic (and in some cases, even dreadful!) changes.

But the fact remains that Christmas, which is primarily, the celebration of the Birth of Christ…
… is an unchanging factor in this changing world!

In this dramatically changing world, we are set to celebrate the Greatest Revolutions of all time – “Christmas”

This revolution started in the most unlikely places of all…
…In an ordinary stable – outside a forgotten village called Bethlehem.

It involved three simple persons on earth…
… Jesus, the Babe,
… Mary the Virgin Mother
… Joseph the Just Man

Hardly glamorous, significantly unnoticeable and glaringly simple people!

… the revolution that began from this Stable has had the greatest effect on humanity.

His birth was to ring in…
… a Political Revolution – Jesus being the King of the World!
… a Social Revolution – Unifying all classes and castes and races!
… an Economic Revolution – Bringing Hope to the poor and the oppressed!
… a Moral Revolution – Emphasizing on intentions of the heart and the mind!
… a Spiritual Revolution – Forgiveness and Salvation for all ready to receive Him!

Let us reflect on some simple, yet significant aspects of this “unchanging factor in our changing world” …

  1. The beauty and the greatness of God’s Wisdom is to delight in insignificant things…
    God loves to take simplicity in life, and decorate it with His Divine touch!

He feasts on ordinary situations and transforms them into amazing moments of Divine Experience!
He enjoys to descend into li’l hearts and converts them to glorious dwellings of His Divine Presence!

  1. Joseph and Mary, went about place to place, inn to inn, looking for a birth place. (Lk 2:7)
    It’s a Divine Paradox that the Creator of the entire Universe sought for a place to be born!

Am I ready to make my the “stable of my heart” ready to receive the Lord?

  1. The Lord was born in a manger.
    Wood was to escort Jesus, all through His Life…

The wooden manger would give Him shelter when He was born…
Wooden tools would accompany Him as He grew up as a carpenter…
Wooden boats will be His pulpit for preaching His Word on the Kingdom…
The wooden cross would be His instrument of Salvation and Redemption of the world…

The wooden manger is be a reminder to us that Christmas is the Season, not just of joy, but also of hardships and responsibilities in life!

  1. Christmas is Christ + Mas(s) = the Mass of Christ…. the Sacrifice of Christ!
    When we wish Happy Christmas, let’s also remember that the Crib & Cross are two sides of the great sacrifice of Jesus of Nazareth.

In the Crib, Jesus descended from heaven and became weak and vulnerable.

On the Cross, Jesus embraced sinfulness of the earth and became helpless and miserable.

The Caravan from the Crib to the Cross is Celebrated and Commemorated at Christmas!

  1. Jesus, the Divine Babe came primarily as the Saviour of the world

“For today in the city of David, a Saviour has been born for you..” (Lk 2:11)
Jesus came to the world with a very specific mission: to save people from sin and grant eternal life to those who believe in Him (Jn 10:10)

He is the only person Who took birth to die! It was by His death, that He was to achieve the mission of granting life to all.
Therefore, the celebration of Christmas has to be primarily a celebration made in “repentance and renewal”

If the heart doesn’t repent, then Christmas can never be celebrated truly!

Christmas is the story of a God passionately in love with us, and deeply desiring that we belong to Him, and Him alone!

  1. Jesus, the Divine Babe deserves a wonderful gift on His Birthday
    Birthdays become occasions to gift the one who is celebrating.

Jesus, the Birthday Baby surely deserves the best gift.

But what can we give Him?

All what we have and all what we are, comes from God anyways!

So is there anything, that I can call of my own?


Probably the only thing which belongs to me, is my sin!

This Christmas, beyond all other gifts and preparations, we could gift our “sinful life” to Him.

It might feel bad for us to give all that ugly part of our life.

But our Blessed Lord invites us to give of our self to Him entirely – broken, weak, dirty, impure, lost- as we are, to Him, so that He can renew us and make us a new person (Rev 21:5 – “Behold, I make all things new”)

As Bishop Fulton J Sheen says: “You give me your humanity, I will give you my divinity.

You give me your time, I will give you my eternity.
You give me your slavery, I will give you my freedom.
You give me your death, I will give you my life.
You give me your nothingness, I will give you my all.”

  1. Carols will be sung in great festivity on this special day.
    There were two types of Carols sung on Christmas Day when Jesus was born.

The Carols of Joy when the Angels sang in deep acclamation and mirth – “Glory to God”!
The Carols of Pain when the mothers cried in deep pain for their li’l babes who were executed!

There are two types of Carols song even today in our world…

The Carols of Joy – people uniting for social justice; hearts turning to the Lord in true contrition; people expressing care & love etc

The Carols of Pain – the number of terrorizing acts around the world; families, societies and even churches divided because of money, language, race, caste; increased sense of hopelessness and meaninglessness in life…etc.

Carols ought to remind us of these two aspects… Joy and Pain in life!

When carols of Joy and Pain in life, are sung with Confidence in the Lord, we will be blessed to sing the Carol of Celebration on the Day of Salvation!

  1. Christmas is a great time of celebration – but let us never forget Christ
    The celebration of the Birth of Baby Jesus demands space in our hearts!

Let us take utmost care that during this Christmas, Jesus, the Tiny and Tender Babe does not get…
… drowned in the avalanche of cakes and sweets
… buried in the frenzy of shopping and decorations
… drunk in the dirt of revelry and partying
… lost in the celebrations with Santa Claus and exchanging of gifts

Rather, let us make sure that Jesus, the precious and beautiful infant…
… is held close to the heart and given a pledge of our life and love
… is lavished with kisses of our true promises and renewed consecration
… is showered with true smiles of our Love for Him, His Word, His Eucharist & His Church

Yes, Jesus is…and He alone is…and ought to be… the Reason for this Season!

May He be born, not just in the crib in houses or church, but in our Hearts and Lives!

Happy Birthday to our Dearest and Beloved Baby Jesus!

Congratulations to our Blessed Mamma for Her “Yes” and to Blessed Joseph for his care!

A Blessed and a Holy Christmas to all of us!

God Bless! Live Jesus….always!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Bloom where you are planted!”

December 24, 2020 – 4th Week in Advent

“Preparing our hearts – in holiness and sanctity – to have a beautiful crib for our Blessed Lord!”

(Based on 2 Sam 7:1-5, 8-12,14,16 and Lk 1:66-79 – Thursday of the 4th Week in Advent, Year B)

Music has been a popular part of the celebration of our Lord’s birth for a long time!

The Bible records that many characters in the Christmas story almost instantly responded to the events surrounding the birth of our Saviour with songs.

In our own days, we take immense delight to sing Christmas carols.

We also get a special feeling in lifting our voices in joy and thrill…

Today we have on the stage of the Gospel a beautiful Hymn being sung.

The title of the hymn is “Benedictus” and it is sung by Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist!

The setting of this song is during a very gloomy period in the life of the nation of Israel.

Israel had been chosen by God from among all nations to be a priestly nation to the rest of the world.

But this nation that was to lead all other nations to God, was being led by a pagan empire.

Israel was under the domination of the Roman Empire.

The Roman Kingdom was the last in a long line of pagan nations that had ruled Israel.

The ruler in Zechariah’s day was King Herod.

Herod was not a man of God.

In fact he was just the opposite – a very degenerate man.
He had introduced Roman temples into the land and had built idols to the Roman gods.

Under his leadership Israel became a land filled with immorality.

The spiritual life of the Jews lost its vitality.

In the midst of these dark and cloudy moments, Zechariah sings the “Benedictus” – a Song of Blessing!

A child had been born…
… signaling the Coming of the Messiah.

John the Baptist ushered in a period of singing praises and glory to the Lord.
Like a drop of fresh water in the deserted land…
Like a gleam of light in the midst of thick darkness…
Like a faint melodious tune in the thick of deep silence…

The life of Zechariah and Elizabeth was favoured with reasons to sing blessings to God!

It’s interesting to analyse the names of this simple yet wonderful family – Zechariah, Elizabeth and John.

Zechariah means ” God (Yahweh) remembers”
Elizabeth means “the promise of God”

John means ” God (Yahweh) is gracious”

The union of Zechariah (“God remembers”) and Elizabeth (“the promise of God”) gave birth to John (“God is gracious”)

Zechariah + Elizabeth = John

God remembers + the promise = God is gracious!

Yes, God remembers His promise, and thus shows that He is gracious!

Our lives may often be in darkness or undergoing a night of dryness…

Our lives may seem to be devoid of true peace and happiness…
Our lives may be rendered meaningless or hopeless…

Yet, Zechariah, Elizabeth and John invite us today, to sing a song of Blessing to God!

When we live in God’s love, we can sing the chorus of service!
When we trust in God’s providence, we can sing the chorus of joy!
When we hope in God’s mercies, we can sing the chorus of faithfulness!

With the armour of faith, the shield of hope and the sword of love, let us join Zechariah and Family to sing our Hymn of Blessing to God Yahweh!

Blessed be the Lord, for He is challenging in His gentle inspirations!
Blessed be the Lord, for He is merciful in His Divine Compassion!
Blessed be the Lord, for He is generous in the Blessed Eucharist!
Blessed be the Lord, for He is majestic in His Holy Sacraments!
Blessed be the Lord, for He is faithful in His gracious promises!
Blessed be the Lord, for He is vibrant in His Holy Church!

On this eve of Christmas, let us fervently prepare our hearts – in holiness and sanctity – to prepare a beautiful crib for our Blessed Lord, Who comes as a Babe…
… in our hearts
… in our lives
… and in our homes!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Faith is like a bright ray of sunlight.

It enables us to see God in all things…

… as well as all things in God!”