REFLECTION CAPSULE – April 21, 2021: Wednesday

“May Jesus, the Bread of Life, always be the source, strength and summit of our Christian living!”

(Based on Acts 8:1-8 and Jn 6:35-40 – Wednesday of the 3rd Week in Eastertide)

One of the simplest moral stories that all of us have heard is that of the thirsty crow.

One hot day, a thirsty crow flew all over, looking for water.
For a long time, he could not find any.

He felt weak, and lost all hope.

Suddenly, he saw a water jug below the tree. He flew straight down, and was delighted to see some water inside it!

Sadly, he found that the neck of the jug was too narrow and it was impossible for him to access the water.

He tried to push the jug to tilt, for the water to flow out but the jug was too heavy.

The crow thought hard for a while.

Then looking around it, he saw some pebbles and an idea struck him.

He started picking up the pebbles one by one, dropping each into the jug.
As more and more pebbles filled the jug, the water level kept rising.

Soon it was high enough for the crow to drink.

His plan had worked… His thirst had been quenched!

The moral of this story is to “Think and work hard, you may find solution to any problem”.

But when we consider this story from another perspective, we notice that it also shows the deep craving inside every creature, to satisfy one’s thirst.

One is restless till this thirst is fulfilled…

One is impatient till this craving is satisfied…

This agitated thirst is also innate in every human being…
… a thirst for the Divine, for the Transcendental.

And this thirst, compels humans…
… to search… to seek…
… for the source of satisfaction
… for the fountain of fulfilment

But how wonderful it would be to be knowing and to be convinced that this “thirst” can find its fulfilment only in God.

And how wonderful it would be, if all human beings could be properly guided and correctly directed on this path of finding true contentment.

The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus promising this fulfilment and contentment to all those who come to Him and believe in Him – the Bread of Life.

Jesus declares, “I am the Bread of Life; He who comes to me shall not hunger and he who believes in me shall never thirst” (Jn 6: 35)

The crowds who had been fed by Jesus, by the miracle of the multiplication of loaves, came in search of Jesus… probably expecting more…

They wanted still more…and they express this to Jesus, “Sir, give us this bread always” (Jn 6:34)

In John Chapter 4, we read the story of the Samaritan woman, by the well of Jacob, who had also expressed a similar desire.

She said to Jesus “Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water” (Jn 4: 15)

This desire to receive bread or water, so that one may not hunger again or be thirsty again, is the innate desire and longing within each human being…

Each of us, deep within, are thirsty and hungry…
… wanting to drink water and eat food that will quench the longing, forever.

It is this search that makes people to go out and seek the various sources of satisfaction.

Some feel to have found this fulfilment…
… through worldly pleasures and bad habits like smoking, drinking, obsession with sex, drugs etc, which only lead to momentary external satisfaction and short-lived bursts of thrill.

Some feel to have found this fulfilment…
… in the various philosophies, new-age patterns of life and naturalistic means of spirituality etc, which may have traces of truth, but fail to provide authentic and fullness of life.

The Book of the Acts of the Apostles records one such notable example of Saul.

Saul (who is also called Paul) failed to understand and grasp “The Truth” and persecuted all those who followed “The Way!”

“But Saul was ravaging the church by entering house after house; dragging off both men and women, he committed them to prison.” (Acts 8:3)

But Jesus, today, boldly and unambiguously declares that it’s only in HIM that true and complete fulfilment of life can be found: “He who comes to me shall not hunger and he who believes in me shall never thirst” (Jn 6: 35)

Are we convinced of this fact, that it’s only in Jesus, that I can achieve true and complete happiness…?

Like the Prodigal Son (Lk 15:11-32), we may have strayed away from this path of truth, to seek our own means and ways to find happiness and satisfaction.

But the Lord, today, calls us back to Him…
… to His Heart
… to His Church
… to His Eucharist
… to experience Him fully.

To those who have strayed…
… the call of the Gospel, is to come back to the paths of truth

To those who are holding on to Him…
… the call of the Gospel, is to deepen the conviction, that in Him alone, can the hunger of my soul and the thirst of my heart be fulfilled.

To those who have strayed…
… the Lord invites to build the virtues of humility, docility and openness to the Spirit.

To those who are holding on to Him…
… the Lord invites to build the virtues of patience, firm trust and a passionate longing.

May Jesus, the Bread of Life, always be the source, strength and summit of our Christian living!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
CATECHESIS ON CREATION

The truth about creation is so important for all of human life that God in His tenderness wanted to reveal to His People everything that is salutary to know on the subject.
Beyond the natural knowledge that every man can have of the Creator,God progressively revealed to Israel the mystery of creation.
He who chose the patriarchs, who brought Israel out of Egypt, and who by choosing Israel created and formed it, this same God reveals himself as the One to whom belong all the peoples of the earth, and the whole earth itself; he is the One who alone “made heaven and earth”.
Thus the revelation of creation is inseparable from the revelation and forging of the covenant of the one God with his People.
Creation is revealed as the first step towards this covenant…
… the first and universal witness to God’s all-powerful love.
And so, the truth of creation is also expressed with growing vigour in the message of the prophets, the prayer of the psalms and the liturgy, and in the wisdom sayings of the Chosen People.
Among all the Scriptural texts about creation, the first three chapters of Genesis occupy a unique place.
From a literary standpoint these texts may have had diverse sources.
The inspired authors have placed them at the beginning of Scripture to express in their solemn language the truths of creation…
… its origin and its end in God
… its order and goodness
… the vocation of man
… and finally the drama of sin and the hope of salvation.

Read in the light of Christ, within the unity of Sacred Scripture and in the living Tradition of the Church, these texts remain the principal source for catechesis on the mysteries of the “beginning”: creation, fall, and promise of salvation. (Cf. CCC # 287-289)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – April 20, 2021: Tuesday

“May the Holy Eucharist – the Bread of life – become the essential, the integral and the most fundamental constituent of our ‘Spiritual Diet!’”

(Based on Acts 7:51-8:1 and Jn 6:30-35 – Tuesday of the 3rd Week in Eastertide)

Our generation is a much trendier and health-conscious one….

Right?

People, especially, in the urban areas, do spend a great deal of time and energy in seeking to be more fashionable, better-looking and being healthier.

As part of this inclination, the modern trend is being highly conscious of the “diet” that one takes…

One is keen to know which food will help one’s body to remain fit and healthy
One is conscious to supplement foods that will keep one stronger and also appeal to the taste buds, at the same time.
One is also eager to plan out one’s meals and food-eating habits that suits one’s lifestyle, in order to promote good health, shape and wellbeing.

But it would be nice and good to also check what is the condition and state of our “spiritual diet”.

We do tend to give a lot of importance to our “physical diet” in terms of the food to be eaten and that which are to be avoided.

But what is the importance that we accord to our “spiritual diet”?

Is my “spiritual diet” nourishing – my soul, my spiritual wellbeing?

Is my “spiritual diet” leading me to good health – of holy thoughts and purity of heart?

The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus, the Spiritual Dietician, exhorting the most important element that is to be part of the “spiritual diet” of everyone who follows Him – the Holy Eucharist – through the “Bread of Life” discourses.

After the feeding of the large multitude of people by the multiplication of the loaves, the people sought Jesus.

Jesus, knew their hearts longed not for Him, but for the bread-giver!

Jesus knew they were following not Him, but the food-provider!

So Jesus sought to put the matters in the right perspective and teaches them about the real food that they should be longing.

It is in this context that Jesus declares, “I am the bread of life; He who comes to me shall not hunger and He who believes in me, shall never thirst” (Jn 6: 35)

Jesus declares Himself as the Bread of Life.

The Greek word that is used here for “bread” is “artos”.

“Artos”….
… refers to food composed of flour mixed with water, and baked.
… also refers to food of any kind or food in general.

As “bread” or “food” is essential for the physical life
… Jesus as “the bread of life” is required for the spiritual life!

Without bread, physical life would perish….
… Without Jesus, the bread, spiritual life would perish!

St Stephen wholly adopted Jesus to be the “Bread of his life” and thus could heroically offer his life as a martyr!

While being stoned, Stephen would imitate our Blessed Lord in reaching our forgiveness to his persecutors: “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” (Acts 7:60)

When Jesus becomes the Bread of our Life…
… we learn from Him
… we imitate Him

In the Holy Eucharist, Jesus offers this “Bread of Life” for us…
… to be our nourishment and strength
… to be our sustenance and energy
… to be our life and forte

What is our disposition and attitude towards Jesus, the “Bread of Life” in the Holy Eucharist?

History is a witness, that through centuries, there have been many saints, both men and women, who have lived for major chunks of their lives, just on the Holy Eucharist.

They would take no food or drink, but ONLY received the Holy Communion, everyday.

A few notable among these saints are…
…. St Catherine of Siena (in the 1350’s….. prior to her death, for seven years, she took no food into her body, except the Holy Eucharist)

… St Nicholas of Flue (lived in Switzerland as a hermit, in the 1400’s… for nearly 19 years, lived without any food, except the Holy Eucharist)

… Blessed Alexandrina da Costa of Portugal (of the 20th century… for the last thirteen years of her life, lived on the Holy Eucharist alone)

Our Lord himself explained to Blessed Alexandrina why He gives this grace to his some of His saints:
“You are to live by the Eucharist alone,” Jesus told her, “because I want to prove to the world the power of the Eucharist and the power of my life in souls.”

This greatest Treasure of Lives – the Holy Eucharist – the Bread of Life…
… eagerly longs for our reception
… keenly awaits for our adoration

As Pope Benedict XVI says,
“In the Sacrament of the Altar, the Lord meets us, men and women created in God’s image and likeness, and becomes our companion along the way.

In this Sacrament, the Lord truly becomes food for us, to satisfy our hunger for truth and freedom.
Since only the truth can make us free, Christ becomes for us the food of truth.”

During this time of the lockdown, when we are unable to “physically” access the Sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist…
… we are to patiently grow – in hope – with a deeper and a renewed love for the Holy Eucharist.

We are invited, to have an intense longing for Him Spiritually

We need to frequent the Sacrament through an Act of Spiritual Communion.

(AN ACT OF SPIRITUAL COMMUNION – PRAYER
My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You, Amen!)

Yes, let us renew our love and commitment in receiving the “Bread of Life” more frequently, more devoutly, more passionately and with greater preparedness!

Let us revive our affection and dedication to spend more time with the “Bread of Life” in the Blessed Sacrament, to gain strength, to atone for sins and to offer the world for its sanctification and healing?

May the Holy Eucharist – the Bread of life – become the essential, the integral and the most fundamental constituent of our “Spiritual Diet”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:

It is not only a question of knowing when and how the universe arose physically, or when man appeared, but rather of discovering the meaning of such an origin:
… Is the universe governed by chance, blind fate, anonymous necessity, or by a transcendent, intelligent and good Being called “God?”
… And if the world does come from God’s wisdom and goodness, why is there evil?
… Where does it come from?
… Who is responsible for it?
… Is there any liberation from it?
Since the beginning the Christian faith has been challenged by responses to the question of origins that differ from its own.
Ancient religions and cultures produced many myths concerning origins. All these attempts bear witness to the permanence and universality of the question of origins. This inquiry is distinctively human.
Human intelligence is surely already capable of finding a response to the question of origins.
The existence of God the Creator can be known with certainty through his works, by the light of human reason, even if this knowledge is often obscured and disfigured by error.

This is why faith comes to confirm and enlighten reason in the correct understanding of this truth: “By faith we understand that the world was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made out of things which do not appear!” (Cf. CCC # 284-286)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – April 19, 2021: Monday

“Transcending and rising up higher, to live our lives in the grandeur of Jesus and His Everlasting Kingdom, instead of merely being fixated in slimy earthly pleasures!”

(Based on Acts 6:8-15 and Jn 6:22-29 – Monday of the 3rd Week in Eastertide)

There is an old legend of a swan and a crane.

A beautiful swan alighted by the banks of the water, in which a crane was wading about, seeking snails.

For a few moments the crane viewed the swan in incredulous wonder and then inquired: “Where do you come from?”

“I come from heaven!” replied the swan.
“And where is heaven?” asked the curious crane.

“Heaven!” said the swan, “Heaven! Have you never heard of heaven?”

And the beautiful bird went on to describe the grandeur of the Eternal City…
She told of streets of gold, and the gates and walls made of precious stones; of the river of life, pure as crystal, upon whose banks is the tree whose leaves shall be for the healing of the nations.

With eloquence, the swan described the beauty of the other world…
… but none of it, strangely, seemed to arouse the slightest interest of the crane.

Finally the crane asked: “Are there any snails there?”
“Snails??” repeated the swan; “No! Of course there are not!”

“Then,” said the crane, as it continued its search along the slimy banks of the pool, “you can have your heaven. I only want snails!”

The crane was satisfied with the lowly earthly “snails” and failed to have any interest for the divine “heavens”

How often we are also like this crane….
… interested only in earthly affairs, and least attracted to the heavenly realms
… busy only with gathering earthly pleasures but rejecting offers for heavenly happiness

The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus chiding the people for following Him, just for the sake of earthly desires, and instead, invites and exhorts them to seek for higher and heavenly longings in life…

“Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you” (Jn 6: 27)

The people had witnessed Jesus’ great miracle of the multiplication of loaves.
• Their hunger had been satisfied.
• Their appetites had been gratified.

In Jesus, they found a person who was able to answer the bodily needs.

In Jesus, they found a person who was able to satisfy their material desires.

The people desired to crown Him as their King!

Is this not a trend in our society as well?

How often are the bread-givers and money-makers held in high esteem, even in our days…
… at the expense of people who are unable contribute much or do much work.

Think of the aged, the sick, the invalids in our own houses, communities and societies, who are unable to work or contribute anything materially…

How often do we neglect them!
How often do we put them down!
How often do we call them as useless!

We sometimes glorify people based only their work, their position and their activities…

The “being” of a person is often neglected
… only the “doing” of a person is exalted!

The “essence” of a person is often not given value
… only the “work” of a person is given credit!

But Jesus refrains from being a victim to this mentality of the society.
• He refuses to be their “Bread-Boss!”
• He rejects to being their “Materialistic-Messiah!”

And so when people, come to Him, Jesus recognizes their motive in seeking Him…
… and He chides them saying: “Amen, Amen, I say to you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs but you ate the loaves and were filled.

Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you” (Jn 6: 26-27)

The Lord seeks to lead the people to desire and long for the higher realities of life.

And this is the wish of the Lord for each one of us too, that we…
… be interested not only in worldly affairs; rather, we be more attracted to the heavenly realms
… be busy not only with gathering earthly satisfactions; but, we accept and embrace more of heavenly happiness

It is true that “to the hungry one, food and other material wants demand higher urgency”
• It is not denied that “to the one whose basic needs are not met, material satisfaction is important”

But having said this… one must also be willing to accept, that beyond these material aspects, the human person has greater needs – on a spiritual sense, that of the soul, towards the transcendental realities!

What is needed therefore, is a proper prioritizing…
• Does God and the Heavenly realities mean more to me, than earthly desires?
• Does Jesus and His Virtues occupy primal position in my life, than the worldly values?

A true prioritizing and firm conviction alone can help us to be the true witnesses of Jesus, the Messiah.

Jesus is our model and example, Who, in His life, accorded the first and primal place to God and His Will.

The lives of the saints and the martyrs are also proof for this fact.

In the Acts of the Apostles, 6:8-15, we read of how St Stephen, the first Martyr of the Church, “was filled with grace and power, and could withstand any persecution”, because he had a made a choice for Jesus and His Kingdom, above all!

He rejected all worldly promises and desires that blocked his view of the Kingdom!

Are we going to be a people, merely fixed in searching, through the slimy banks, for ‘snails’ of earthly pleasures?

Or can we become people, who transcend and rise up higher, to live our lives in the grandeur of Jesus and His Everlasting Kingdom?

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
CATECHESIS ON CREATION

Catechesis on creation is of major importance.
It concerns the very foundations of human and Christian life: for it makes explicit the response of the Christian faith to the basic question that men of all times have asked themselves:
“Where do we come from?”
“Where are we going?”
“What is our origin?”
“What is our end?”
“Where does everything that exists come from and where is it going?”
The two questions, the first about the origin and the second about the end, are inseparable. They are decisive for the meaning and orientation of our life and actions.
The question about the origins of the world and of man has been the object of many scientific studies which have splendidly enriched our knowledge of the age and dimensions of the cosmos, the development of life-forms and the appearance of man.
These discoveries invite us to even greater admiration for the greatness of the Creator, prompting us to give him thanks for all his works and for the understanding and wisdom he gives to scholars and researchers.

With Solomon they can say: “It is he who gave me unerring knowledge of what exists, to know the structure of the world and the activity of the elements… for wisdom, the fashioner of all things, taught me!” (Cf. CCC # 282-283)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – April 18, 2021: Sunday

Allowing our faith in the Lord to grow, transform and bring renovations in our life!”

(Based on Acts 3:13-15, 17-19, 1 Jn 2:1-5a and Lk 24:35-48 – 3rd Sunday in Easter, Year B)

An American reporter once visited the office of the great Nobel-prize-winning physicist, Niels Bohr, in Copenhagen.

(Niels Bohr is famous for his contribution in the field of quantum physics especially by his understanding of the atomic structure)

The reporter was amazed to find that over Bohr’s desk was a “horseshoe”.

(A horseshoe, by superstition, was considered to be bringing good luck and good fortune.

Horseshoe charms and amulets have been used, down through centuries and civilizations, to ward off the evil and bring in good fate!)

This horseshoe was securely nailed to the wall, with the open end up, in the approved manner (so it would catch the good luck and not let it spill out!)

The reporter said with a nervous laugh, “Surely you don’t believe the horseshoe will bring you good luck, do you, Professor Bohr? After all, you are a scientist!

The genius scientist, Bohr, chuckled and said,
“I believe no such thing, my good friend.
No… not at all!
I am scarcely likely to believe in such foolish nonsense.

However, I am told that a horseshoe will bring you good luck, whether you believe in it or not!”

The scientist, with his reasonable mind, did not have faith in the horseshoe bringing in any luck…

However, at the back of his mind, he still continued to possess the horseshoe, wanting to have any favours or luck, if it all it brought any!

The mind, with its reasons, said no, to an act which required faith…

The heart, however, still chose to seek and enjoy any benefits that it could bring!

Our faith in the Resurrection of the Lord, is perhaps similar….

Our minds sometimes, do not really have faith or trust in this mysterious miracle of the Resurrection…
Yet, we continue to hold on this mystery, expecting favours and benefits!
Isn’t it so?

Like Neil Bohr, we refuse to be active acknowledgers of the object of faith and yet want to enjoy the benefits of the same…

We fail the live the life and fruits of the Resurrection… and yet, we wish to have spiritual gains…
We fail to actively profess and live our faith… and yet, we wish to enjoy many providential graces…

Is our Faith in the Resurrection of mere theoretical and pragmatic value or have we embraced it as our life-giving and life-motivating truth?

Is our Belief in the Resurrection, only a springboard to grab many blessings and favours or has it become the foundation stone for a passionate and vibrant faith?

The Gospel of the Day presents the Risen Lord encountering His Disciples and strengthening their belief and faith in His Resurrection.

The Disciples after the death of their Master, had been a frightened lot.

They were even unable to believe some of the appearance stories of Jesus, to people who were associated with them.

But the Lord today appears to them, and casts away their fears and apprehensions.
He says to the disciples, “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts?” (Lk 24: 38)

Jesus invites the disciples to throw away doubts that He is a ghost, and instead to believe that He is truly Risen, in human flesh and blood (Lk 24:39)

He invites the disciples to open their eyes, and dispel the shadows of suspicions, and instead be convinced that by His Resurrection, “the law of Moses and the prophets and the Psalms were fulfilled” (Lk 24:44)

This experience of the Risen Lord would find its empowerment, for the Disciples, on the Pentecost Day, when the Holy Spirit would fill them with power and strength.

It is this exhibition of power and force that we see in St Peter, when he boldly proclaimed Jesus as the Lord and Saviour (Acts 3: 13-15, 17-19)

The Risen Lord, became for the Apostles, the source, strength and summit for their expression of faith and trust.

Today, we are invited to have this similar faith – bold, passionate and zealous- in the Risen Lord.

However, sometimes, the Resurrection of the Lord remains only a mere “theoretical” dogma and fails to get converted to a “practical” and experiential reality in our life.

Our lives are still lived in “fear”… our activities are still conducted with “apprehension”
We live our lives without much “joy”… We spend our days without much “hope”

Our minds sometimes, do not really have faith or trust in this mysterious miracle of the Resurrection…

The Risen Lord today invites us… to believe in Him more deeply and witness His life more radically in our lives.

He offers His Holy Eucharist as His Risen and Living Presence in our midst.
He gives His Holy Word as His Dynamic and Transforming Reality in our lives.

Let us grow more and more, in our conviction and love for the Jesus, the Life and the Resurrection.

May our faith in Him, not be a “pragmatic” approach, just to receive favours and benefits… rather, may it grow, transform and bring renovations in our life!

“Lift up the light of Your Face on us, O Lord” we pray…

God Bless! Live Jesus!


GOD – THE CREATOR

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Holy Scripture begins with these solemn words.
The profession of faith takes them up when it confesses that God the Father almighty is “Creator of heaven and earth” (Apostles’ Creed), “of all that is, seen and unseen” (Nicene Creed).
Creation is the foundation of “all God’s saving plans,” the “beginning of the history of salvation” that culminates in Christ.
Conversely, the mystery of Christ casts conclusive light on the mystery of creation and reveals the end for which “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”: from the beginning, God envisaged the glory of the new creation in Christ.
And so the readings of the Easter Vigil, the celebration of the new creation in Christ, begin with the creation account. (Cf. CCC # 279-281)


REFLECTION CAPSULE FOR THE DAY – April 16, 2021: Friday

“Rising above the situations of panic and disturbances, and being calm, knowing that we have a God, who is ultimately in total and perfect control of every situation of turmoil!”

(Based on Acts 5:34-42 and Jn 6:1-15 – Friday of the 2nd Week in Eastertide)

Here is a simple question… from the world of the Gospels…

Which is the only miracle, besides the Resurrection of our Blessed Lord that is mentioned in all the four Gospel accounts?

Well, it should not be too difficult to answer this one…

Or, is it a tough one?

Well, the answer is…

Yes
…. it IS the miracle of the Multiplication of the Loaves.

The feeding of the people, by the mighty deed of multiplication of the loaves, in the only miracle, besides the miracle of the Resurrection of Jesus, that finds a mention in all the four Gospels.

And each of these Gospels also have something unique to speak of this incident:

Mt 14: 13-21: mentions about five thousand men being fed, “without counting women and children”
Mk 6: 31-4: mentions of making the people to be seated in “groups and clusters of hundreds and fifties”
Lk 9: 10-17: also mentions of five thousand men and being seated in clusters of fifty and also mentions Jesus, “looking up to the heavens”.
Jn 6: 5-15: mentions of a “little boy”, who is the provider of the five loaves and two fish and also that “the Lord gave thanks for it”, before distributing it to the people.

The Gospel of the Day presents this account of the multiplication from the eyes of St John, the Evangelist.

This miracle of the multiplication of the loaves fed a massive crowd.

The Gospel mentions “five thousand men” (Cf. Jn 6:10)

Five thousand men could mean that including women and children, it would have easily exceeded over twenty thousand people!

This easily was the miracle that Jesus performed with the greatest number of witnesses and participants.

This miracle of the multiplication also reveals some of the finest qualities of Jesus, the Messiah…

  1. His sensitivity to the needs of the people
    While the disciples were just eager to send the crowd away, Jesus reaches out to them in compassion and love.
  2. His ability to effect changes in the mindset and thinking-pattern
    The disciples could see no way, in that desert to feed the gigantic crowd. They had only question marks before them.

But Jesus, sheds new light on their minds and helps them find a solution, even in the seemingly impossible situation

  1. His perfect control in a situation of panic
    Though there would have been panic in the minds of the disciples, Jesus impresses upon them the fact that He is in total charge and in complete control.

As the Lord and Creator, He knows exactly what is to be done in the moment of crisis and calamity.

  1. His attitude of raising His heart in thanksgiving at every situation
    We read that before the actual multiplication happened, Jesus “took the loaves, and gave thanks…” (Jn 6: 11)

It’s amazing to imagine that situation:
… Thousands and thousands of people, eagerly waiting, hungry and exhausted….
… Having just five Loaves and the two fish – which was scarcely able to meet the hunger of a couple of people…
… Jesus still raises His Heart in thanksgiving and gratitude!

It is tremendous faith that allows a person to raise one’s mind in gratitude, even in the midst of utter poverty, deep need and barren nothingness!

  1. His consciousness to gather the remaining pieces, after the miracle
    The Lord, “Who came save and seek the lost” is also highly mindful of gathering up the remaining broken pieces of the loaves.

The disciples get trained to become aware of “what is often considered as wasteful” can also become resourceful!
The disciples are reminded that even things that are usually “discarded” and regarded, as being “unwanted and useless”, can become sources of strength and nourishment!

This beautiful and unique miracle of the multiplication is a reminder to each one of us also:

Can I…
(1) …be sensitive and responsive to the needs and desires of those around me?

(2) … see the brighter side of life, with the Grace and strength from God, and rub the fragrance of this positivity onto others in my life?

(3) … rise above the situations of panic and disturbances, and be calm, knowing that we have a God, who is ultimately in total and perfect control of every situation of turmoil?

(4)… lift up my heart to the Lord, in thanksgiving, at every moment and situation of life, even when the chips are down or when I pass through the dark tunnels and the deep, despairing valleys life?

(5)… be aware of the “unwanted” talents in me, the “excess” people of the society and the “discarded” peripherals of the world, and seek to make the best use of them and collect them to be part of the mainframe scene?

When we seek to be on the side of the Lord…
… the Lord will defend, protect and strengthen us by the Power of His Faithfulness

This fact is very beautifully brought out by Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, as we read in the Acts of the Apostles.

In the context of seeking to annihilate the Christian Movement, he utters this very important truth: “So in the present case, I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone; because if this plan or this undertaking is of human origin, it will fail…
… but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them – in that case you may even be found fighting against God!” (Acts 5:38-39)

Let us always rise above the situations of panic and disturbances, and be calm, knowing that we have a God, who is ultimately in total and perfect control of every situation of turmoil!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:

God is the Father Almighty, Whose fatherhood and power shed light on one another: God reveals His Fatherly Omnipotence by the way He takes care of our needs…
… by the filial adoption that He gives us (“I will be a father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty”)
… finally by His Infinite Mercy, for He displays His Power at its height by freely forgiving sins.

God’s almighty power is in no way arbitrary: “In God, power, essence, will, intellect, wisdom, and justice are all identical. Nothing therefore can be in God’s power which could not be in His Just Will or His Wise Intellect” (Cf. CCC # 270-271)


REFLECTION CAPSULE FOR THE DAY – April 15, 2021: Thursday

“Reviving our hearts to firmly install the Lord as the True Alpha (the beginning) and the True Omega (the end) of all our activities… and our life itself!

(Based on Acts 5:27-33 and Jn 3:31-36 – Thursday of the 2nd Week in Eastertide)

A few days back we celebrated the Easter Vigil.

The Easter Vigil is called as the mother of all vigils.

In the liturgy of the Easter Vigil, a Paschal Candle is prepared.

The priest marks the candle, in the shape of the Cross, Alpha and Omega – the first and the last Greek letters and the present Year, 2021

He uses the following words:
… Christ yesterday and today (on the vertical arm of the cross)
… the Beginning and the End (horizontal arm of the cross)
… the Alpha (alpha above the cross)
… and the Omega (omega below the cross)
… All time belongs to him (numeral 2 in upper left corner of cross)
… and all the ages (numeral 0 in upper right corner of cross)
… To him be glory and power (numeral 2 in lower left corner)
… through every age and for ever. Amen (numeral 1 in lower right corner)

These words declare the Supreme authority and Heavenly glory of Jesus, the Son of God.

However, it can happen so, that at times, in our life…
… such fundamental factors of faith are taken for granted…
… such basic truths of our spiritual life are presumed as known…

Therefore, it is sometimes good take a pause in our spiritual life, and ask ourselves, this fundamental question,

” Am I really trusting and believing in Jesus, as the True Son of God, the One who is all-powerful and Holy”?
“Is my faith and spirituality truly built on the great foundation, that the Lord is the ultimate beginning (Alpha) and the end (Omega) of everything?”

The Gospel of the day is an invitation to make this examination of the basics of our faith and spirituality and to renew our belief and trust in the Lord.

The Gospel passage begins with the verse, “The One who comes from heaven is above all” (Jn 3: 31)

This verse refers to the Divine origin of the Lord.

At the Annunciation, Angel Gabriel had announced to Mother Mary that Her child “will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High” (Lk 1: 32)

This Divinity of the Lord was affirmed by Him through the various works of wonders and great deeds…
… of healing many in afflictions and sicknesses
… of accepting many of the rejected and unwanted
… of strengthening many of the oppressed and the abused
… of preaching many on the need for repentance and striving to enter the Kingdom

• His personality shone with Divinity….
• His character radiated with Holiness…

He become the Way-revealer, the Truth-instiller and the Life-giver.

He is the One “Whom the Father loves” and “to Whom the Father has given everything” (Jn 3:35)

Have we given our lives entirely to Him, who is above all things?

Have we entrusted ourselves entirely to Him, who has been entrusted everything by the Father?

At the Holy Mass, one of the most beautiful prayers is called as the “Doxology”.

In this, we render all the praise to the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit.

“Through Him, With Him, In Him…. O God Almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honour is Yours, forever and ever, Amen!”

It would be good, to make this prayer of the Doxology, our own, in our works and activities.
• This could be a conscious way of acknowledging the Divinity of the Lord in all our activities.
• This could be a meaningful way of saying that the Lord reigns in all our works and deeds.

Let us revive our hearts to firmly install the Lord as the True Alpha(the beginning) and the True Omega (the end) of all our activities… and our life itself!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:

Of all the Divine Attributes, only God’s Omnipotence is named in the Creed
To confess this power has great bearing on our lives.
We believe that His might is universal…
… for God who created everything also rules everything and can do everything.
God’s power is loving, for He is our Father, and mysterious, for only faith can discern it when it “is made perfect in weakness”.
The Holy Scriptures repeatedly confess the universal power of God.
He is called the “Mighty One of Jacob”, the “LORD of hosts”, the “strong and mighty” one.
Nothing is impossible with God, who disposes His works according to His Will.
He is the Lord of the universe, whose order He established…
… and which remains wholly subject to Him and at His disposal.
He is master of history, governing hearts and events in keeping with His will! (Cf. CCC # 268-269)


REFLECTION CAPSULE – April 14, 2021: Wednesday

“Living by the Power of the Cross knowing that God’s Immense Love protects us always and everywhere!”

(Based on Acts 5:17-26 and Jn 3:16-21 – Wednesday of the 2nd Week in Eastertide)

In a particular place, in the medieval ages, there lived a certain monk.

This monk, once, announced that he would be preaching next Sunday evening on “The Love of God.”

It was Sunday evening…
The sun began to set…

As the shadows fell and the light slowly ceased to come in, through the glass-stained windows of that marvellous Church, the congregation gathered, were eagerly waiting…

Their eyes were fixed on the monk who was to preach to them….

In the darkness of the altar, the monk lighted a candle and carried it to the crucifix.

First of all, with the candle, he illumined the crown of thorns on the Crucifix..

Then, the two wounded hands…
Then the marks of the spear wound on His side…

Then, in the hush and silence that fell, the monk blew out the candle and left the Church.

There was nothing else to say!

A beautiful sermon on the “Love of God” had been preached!

The sacrifice of Jesus, on the Cross, reveals the depth of God’s Love.

The price that Jesus paid on the Cross, demonstrates the intensity of God’s Love.

It is this love of God that Jesus spells out, when He says to Nicodemus, in today’s Gospel, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him, should not perish, but may have eternal life…” (Jn 3:16)

This verse, John 3:16 has some of the most unique credits….
… it is perhaps one of the most favourite verses of the entire Bible
… it is perhaps one of the most known verses of the entire Bible

In seven phrases, this verse, reveals the gist and the core of the entire Good News…
… For God: The Great Lord and the Creator of the entire universe
… so loved the world: The Great Purpose of God
… that He gave His only Son: The Great Sacrifice
… that whoever: The Great Open Invitation
… believes in Him: The Great Condition
… should not perish: The Great Desire
… but may have eternal life: The Great Promise

Jesus was teaching Nicodemus that the heart of God’s love would be revealed in the sacrifice and death of His Beloved Son, on the Cross.

The Cross is not for condemnation…
The Cross is not for judgment…

The Cross is for salvation… the Cross is for hope!

To the one who believes and trusts in this power of the Cross, there is hope and salvation.

To the one who rejects and refuses this power of the Cross, judgment and condemnation is self-inflicted and self-imposed.

God doesn’t want to condemn
… He only wants to redeem.

God doesn’t desire to judge
… He only wants to save.

The disciples of Jesus, after the Resurrection and by the Power of the Holy Spirit, experienced the depth of God’s Love

And this experience of the Immensity of God’s Love impelled them to give witness to Jesus, even in the midst of harsh torture and suffering – so much so, that their persecutors marvelled at their courage and conviction:

“Look, the men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people!” (Acts 5:25)

The Cross of the Lord invites us today…
… to be faithful to the salvation won by the Lord, always
… to seek the grace to live a life in the light, always
… to make efforts to walk the path of truth, always

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
THE DIVINE WORKS AND THE TRINITARIAN MISSIONS

Being a work at once common and personal, the whole Divine economy makes known both what is proper to the Divine Persons, and their One Divine Nature.
Hence the whole Christian life is a communion with each of the Divine Persons, without in any way separating them.
Everyone who glorifies the Father does so through the Son in the Holy Spirit…
… everyone who follows Christ does so because the Father draws him and the Spirit moves him!
The ultimate end of the whole divine economy is the entry of God’s creatures into the perfect unity of the Blessed Trinity.
But even now we are called to be a dwelling for the Most Holy Trinity: “If a man loves me”, says the Lord, “he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our home with him” (Cf. CCC # 259-260)


REFLECTION CAPSULE – April 12, 2021: Monday

“Being ready and willing to give ourselves entirely to the Lord – to the Spirit of God – and allow Him to ‘make us anew and renewed’”

(Based on Acts 4:23-31 and Jn 3:1-8 – Monday of the 2nd Week in Eastertide)

A businessman, once, wanted to sell his vast old castle along with his property.

The massive building had, however, been empty for months and needed many repairs.

Uninhabited for many years, and been prone to many thieves, vandals and natural calamities, there was a lot of damage to the building.

Doors had been damaged

Windows had been smashed
The interiors were badly damaged

As he showed a prospective buyer the building and the property, this businessman took pains to explain that he would replace the broken windows, bring in the engineering crew to correct any structural damage and clean out the garbage.

But the one who came to buy had other plans. “Forget about the repairs,” the buyer said without giving heed to what the businessman was saying.

“When I buy this place, I’m going to build something completely different. I am not interested in the building alone; I want the entire site!”

The businessman was worried about the many repairs he had to do before he undertook the deal. But the one who came to buy was interested more in the land – the site itself – than the building and the minor repair works.

Something similar happens when we seek to hand over the property of our lives to God.

We, get perplexed and worried over the many little aspects

But the Lord is interested in our entire life

He demands a total transformation.

He requires a complete conversion.

This is what the Gospel of the Day also points to – “No one can enter the Kingdom of God, without being born of the water and the spirit” (Jn 3:5)

Jesus is in conversation with Nicodemus.
Nicodemus was a Pharisee, a ruler of the Jews.

The Gospel is particular to point out that “he came to Jesus at night” (Jn 3:2)

Nicodemus finds three mentions in the Gospel of St John.

One, in this meeting with the Lord. (Jn 3: 1ff)

The second, in discussion with the chief priests and Pharisees who were discussing the origins of Jesus, the Messiah (Jn 7: 45-52)
The third, at the burial of Jesus, along with Joseph of Arimathea (Jn 19: 38-41)

In all these three occasions, we find an element of darkness that is associated

It was in the darkness of a night when Nicodemus first came to meet Jesus…
Second, Nicodemus was in a discussion of darkness that made plans to eliminate Jesus
Third, Nicodemus buries the body of Jesus in the darkness of nature and human folly

Darkness would seek to get associated with Nicodemus every time…

But Jesus, the light of the world, invited Nicodemus to move to the light
… “those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God” (Jn 3:21)

Jesus invites Nicodemus to experience and live the Truth…
… that one needs to be born from above to see the Kingdom of God
… that one needs to be born of the water and the spirit to enter the Kingdom of God

The same invitation is rendered to each one of us.

We too may often be finding ourselves in the “darkness”…

But Jesus, the Light of the world invites us to embrace Him wholly and to undergo a complete transformation.

What is needed is to let the Spirit of God work in ways that He wants

We need to have complete openness to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit.
We need to have total docility to the promptings of the Holy Spirit…
We need to allow the Spirit of God, “the Wind [to] blow where it wills…’’ (Jn 3: 8)

When the early Church went through moments of persecution and hardships, they allowed themselves to be guided and led by the Power of the Holy Spirit.

Offering their struggles, they prayed to the Lord; and they were filled with the Holy Spirit
“And now, Lord, look at their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.

When they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness!” (Acts 4:29-31)

Yes, when we make a complete offering of our lives to the Lord…
… we are filled with Power and Courage!

The Lord seeks the complete property of our lives.

We may be worried about the complications in which a transformation is possible
We may be thinking, how can I, with so many complications in life, have a true conversion

But the One who comes to occupy our lives has other plans…
He says “When I occupy your life, I’m going to build something completely different.

I am not interested in the externals; I want the entire soul
… the whole life!”

Are we ready and willing to give ourselves entirely to the Lord – to the Spirit of God – and allow Him to “make us anew and renewed”?

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
DOGMA OF THE HOLY TRINITY

The Trinity is One.
We do not confess three Gods, but one God in three persons, the “consubstantial Trinity”.
The Divine Persons do not share the one divinity among themselves but each of them is God whole and entire: “The Father is that which the Son is, the Son that which the Father is, the Father and the Son that which the Holy Spirit is, i.e. by nature one God.”
The divine Persons are really distinct from one another.
They are distinct from one another in their relations of origin: “It is the Father who generates, the Son who is begotten, and the Holy Spirit who proceeds.” The Divine Unity is Triune.
The divine persons are relative to one another. Because it does not divide the divine unity, the real distinction of the persons from one another resides solely in the relationships which relate them to one another.
Because of that unity the Father is wholly in the Son and wholly in the Holy Spirit; the Son is wholly in the Father and wholly in the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit is wholly in the Father and wholly in the Son.” (Cf. CCC #253-255)


REFLECTION CAPSULE – April 11, 2021: Sunday

“Trusting in the Mercy of God – our greatest refuge and hope!”

(Based on the Feast of the Divine Mercy)

A little boy came back home very happy after his catechism classes.

The mother, seeing the boy, unusually overjoyed, asked him, “Why are you so happy today?”

The boy replied: “Mamma, am so happy today because God shares in my weakness!”

“What weakness,” asked the curious mother.

“God is also poor at Maths, Mamma… just like me” said the boy, “the teacher taught us the story
of God who leaves 99 sheep in the wilderness, and goes after one sheep that was lost!

So poor is God at Maths!”

And to that, the Mother, with a big smile replied: “Oh yeah! Thank the Lord for His Weakness
in Math!

It’s this Weakness that is our greatest refuge and hope – we call it His Mercy!”

Yes, the Weakness of the Lord in Maths can be called as His Mercy!

And it’s His Mercy that is our greatest refuge and hope!

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Divine Mercy of Jesus – commemorating His deep love for us in His Passion, Death and Resurrection…
… and celebrating His immense compassion and longing for each and every soul.

The Gospel of the Day is another Resurrection account of the Risen Lord to His Apostles.

Thomas was not with the group on the previous occasion that the Lord appeared to His chosen ones.

And so when the Lord makes His appearance, He specially calls out on Thomas, to experience and believe in His Risen Body:

“Then He said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving but believe” (Jn 20:27)

Jesus came to the world to “save and seek the lost” (Lk 19:10)

Thomas, the Apostle was lost…
… was lost in doubts over the reports and talks about the Resurrection of the Lord
… was lost within himself on whether he could trust the words of his companions, who often had wavered, even in the past, over many matters
… was lost in missing out a chance to encounter His Master, since he had stayed away from the community.

But the Good Shepherd now comes in search of this “lost” sheep..
And this sheep, submits to the mercy and compassion of the Shepherd…
“My Lord and my God” (Jn 20:28) were the confessing words of Thomas to Jesus, His Master.

The Lord displays His wonderful mercy to Thomas, the “lost” sheep, who was willing to be found.
The Lord manifests His compassionate mercy, to Thomas, His “chosen” one, who was ready to humble himself before the Lord.

The Lord displays His Willingness…
… to avoid the “maths of keeping count of failures” and being unforgiving!
… to keep aside the common style of “calculating one’s weaknesses” and being judgmental!

This then is the great lesson that we can learn ….
The Lord is willing to be found, by those who seek Him

The Lord is waiting to be experienced, by those who want Him
The Lord is wanting to be encountered, by those who long for Him

The Mercy Sunday is a wonderful invitation to plunge ourselves in the ocean of the Lord’s mercy and compassion.

Thomas sought to touch the Lord… but the Lord Himself touched his heart!

We seek the Lord…
… but the Lord seeks much more to come into our lives.

We long for the Lord…
… but the Lord longs much more strongly for our souls.

We search for the Lord…
… but the Lord searches much more to embrace us in love.

This Feast of the Mercy Sunday also is a beautiful reminder and invitation to experience the love and mercy of the Lord, in the two treasures that Holy Mother the Church constantly offers – the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

The Image of the Divine Mercy also points to these two Sacraments…

The pale ray stands for the Water which makes souls righteous – The Sacrament of Reconciliation
The red ray stands for the Blood which is the life of souls – The Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist

In the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist… the mercy of Lord waits on us…
… to receive Him more frequently
… to live Him more in our lives
… to honour Him more often

In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the mercy of the Lord longs for us…
… to accept His offer of life and blessings
… to receive us back, with all our sins washed away
… to go back to His embrace of sanctity by living a holy life

The priests of the Lord are reminded, on this day, of this powerful duty and task that they need to faithfully ensure… towards the celebration of the Holy Mass and the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

These are the two powerful channels through which the mercy of the Lord flows and the priests alone are chosen and entrusted to handle these Sacraments of grace and mercy!

It’s indeed the greatest privilege…and the same time, the most sacred duty and function for a Priest.

Therefore…

The priests have a bounden responsibility, to be always ready for these sacraments…
The priests have a bounden task, to be always willing to administer these sacraments…
The priests have a bounden duty, to be always open to allow God’s mercy to flow through them

Let this Feast of the Mercy Sunday…
… be a day to re-consecrate ourselves to the Mercy of the Lord.
… be a day to re-commit ourselves to showing mercy and compassion to all the people in our lives.

The Mercy of God is indeed the story of His Willingness to let aside all mathematical calculations…
… in extending His Love to all of us!
Yes, the Weakness of the Lord in Maths can be called as His Mercy!

And it’s His Mercy that is our greatest refuge and hope!

With love in our hearts, let us cry out, “My Lord and my God” and with hope in the mercies of God, let us sing, “Jesus, I trust in You!”

Let us seek to live as Missionaries of Mercy!

May our Blessed Mamma, the Compassionate Mother of Mercy, always intercede for us!

Happy Feast of the Mercy of God!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
THE HOLY TRINITY IN THE TEACHING OF THE FAITH

From the beginning, the revealed truth of the Holy Trinity has been at the very root of the Church’s living faith, principally by means of Baptism.
It finds its expression in the rule of baptismal faith, formulated in the preaching, catechesis and prayer of the Church. Such formulations are already found in the apostolic writings, such as this salutation taken up in the Eucharistic liturgy: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”
During the first centuries the Church sought to clarify her Trinitarian faith…
… both to deepen her own understanding of the faith
… and to defend it against the errors that were deforming it.
This clarification was the work of the early councils, aided by the theological work of the Church Fathers and sustained by the Christian people’s sense of the faith.
In order to articulate the dogma of the Trinity, the Church had to develop her own terminology with the help of certain notions of philosophical origin: “substance”, “person” or “hypostasis”, “relation” and so on.
In doing this, she did not submit the faith to human wisdom, but gave a new and unprecedented meaning to these terms…
… which from then on would be used to signify an ineffable mystery, “infinitely beyond all that we can humanly understand” (Cf. CCC #249-251)