REFLECTION CAPSULE – June 01, 2021: Tuesday

“Being bolstered by the Powerful Personality of Jesus, to be all determined and full of convictions”

(Based on Tob 2:9-14 and Mk 12:13-17 – Tuesday of the 9th Week in Ordinary Time)

A little boy was pulling on some weeds with long deep roots…
… trying to get it out of the ground.

He pulled and pulled again…
… then decided to give one last jerk

And when he did…
… it came out – but he went tumbling over backwards!

Someone watching this said: “That was a tough fight, wasn’t it?”

The little boy – recovering himself and trying to get up, feeling a bit exhausted – replied: “Ah yes! It should have been!

After all… the whole world was pulling against me!”

How often does it happen that it seems the entire world is pulling against us…
… against our convictions and principles of life
… against our values and virtues of life

De we remain firm and determined, even it means undergoing some falling back and setbacks…
… or do we yield in to those forces – and quit and give up in life?

The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus – who is all determined and full of convictions – boldly encountering the “deadly trap” being laid before him by the leaders of his time…
… and how He remains unscathed and uncompromising in presenting the full force of the Truth!

The Gospel passage begins with the verse: “Then they sent to Jesus some Pharisees and some Herodians to trap him in what he said.” (Mk 12:13)

The “they” in this verse refers to the chief priests, the scribes and the elders (Mk 11: 27b)

This group had already been silenced by the Lord…

In questioning Jesus of His authority, they found themselves facing a tougher question from Jesus. (Mk 11: 27-33)
Jesus also told a parable of the Tenants in the vineyard, which alluded to their closed attitude to accept Him as the Messiah of their lives (Mk 12: 1-12)

This group of chief priests, scribes and the elders, went away…
… with hatred in their against Jesus
… with a mind to plot further against Jesus

So, they got together two opposing parties, in their scheme to oppose Jesus.

These two opposing parties were the Pharisees and the Herodians (Mk 12: 13)

Who are the Pharisees?

The Pharisees were primarily not a political party but a group of scholars and pious people. They enjoyed a large popular following, and in the Gospels, they appear as spokesmen for the majority of the population.

They hated the pagan Roman occupation of Israel.
Their hope was for a new Judas Maccabee who would arise and throw off the Roman empire.
Many of the common people embraced their patriotic message.

Who are the Herodians?

Their name came from King Herod, who was a half Jew and had made a made a political deal with the Romans.

The Herodians held political power, and supported King Herod Antipas, the Roman Empire’s ruler over much of the land of the Jews from 4 B.C. to A.D. 39.
The Herodians favoured submitting to the Herods, and therefore to Rome, for political pragmatism.

The Pharisees were obsessed with their religious traditions…
… while the Herodians had little religion at all.

Yet, when Jesus spoke and opposed both formalism and love of worldliness…
… these two groups came together in their opposition to Him!

And they trap Jesus with a very cunning question, “Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?” (Mk 12: 14c)

If Jesus had said:
No, you should not pay taxes….
… that no true Israelite who loves God should willingly pay the tax as the Roman Coin with the image of Caesar and all of his titles claiming to be divine is blasphemous…

All of the common people would have said, “How godly man is He!”

But Jesus would have been arrested for sedition and treason.

On the other side, if Jesus had said:
Yes, you should pay taxes….
… that it is not bad since the Roman empire brings stability and economic prosperity…

All of the common people would have abandoned Him saying, “He is a betrayer of God’s law!”

Jesus would have been badly persecuted for misleading them from the path of God.

It was trouble either way…

But Jesus, the Lord of all wisdom and knowledge, found His way through the maze of human shrewdness by answering:
“Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Mk 12: 17)

Jesus said that what is most important in life is one’s supreme allegiance to God!

Political demands, social commitments, familial duties, communitarian stipulations all have their place and position…

But above all, what needs to be given the prime importance in one’s life is: Allegiance to God!

We live in times and situations wherein there are many forces, philosophies and thought-patterns, that join hands in opposing the teachings of Jesus and the Church.

Jesus is still an enemy to many of the truth-denying realities in the world.
The Church is still opposed by many of the immoral entities of the world.

It is our duty to remain firm in our faith and render absolute allegiance to the Lord…
… in order to oppose and fight against such adverse and opposing factors in the world.

Even when it seems that the entire world is pulling against us…
… against our convictions and principles of life
… against our values and virtues of life

We are called to remain firm and determined, even it means undergoing some apparent falling back and setbacks!

We specially thank the Lord for the Gift of the month of May – and in particular to the intercession of our Blessed Mother Mary…
…. And as we begin this new month of June, we offer ourselves specially to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Let us be bolstered by the Powerful Personality of Jesus, to be all determined and full of convictions…
… boldly encountering the “deadly traps” being laid before us by the forces of our times
… and with His Grace, remain, unscathed and uncompromising in presenting the full force of Jesus, the Truth!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:

By attributing to Jesus the Divine Title “Lord”, the first confessions of the Church’s faith affirm from the beginning…
… that the power, honour and glory due to God the Father are due also to Jesus, because “he was in the form of God”
… and the Father manifested the sovereignty of Jesus by raising him from the dead and exalting him into his glory.
From the beginning of Christian history, the assertion of Christ’s lordship over the world and over history has implicitly recognized…
… that man should not submit his personal freedom in an absolute manner to any earthly power, but only to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!
“The Church believes that the key, the centre and the purpose of the whole of man’s history is to be found in its Lord and Master.”
Christian prayer is characterized by the title “Lord”…
… whether in the invitation to prayer (“The Lord be with you”)
… its conclusion (“through Christ our Lord”)
… or the exclamation full of trust and hope: Maranatha (“Our Lord, come!”)

… or Maranatha (“Come, Lord!”) – “Amen Come Lord Jesus (Cf. CCC # 449-451)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – May 31, 2021: Monday

“Allowing the Graces of God to be extended in humility and loving service to God and His people!”

(Based on the Feast of the Visitation of our Blessed Mother Mary)

A little boy, who was reading the life story of St Joseph…
… came to his father and asked an innocent question: “Daddy, did not St Joseph accompany Mother Mary, when she went to visit Elizabeth?”

Daddy was pretty much surprised at this question…
… and had, in fact, never thought about it even!

Of course, he knew that the Gospels certainly do not mention about St Joseph accompanying Mary in her visitation.

But with a little deeper thought, he went on to tell his son, “Child, of course, the Gospels do not mention that St Joseph physically accompanied Mother Mary.

But your question has made me feel with a great certainty, that spiritually and mentally, St Joseph would have surely accompanied Mother Mary in that act of service and humility!”

In this Year of St Joseph, as we celebrate the Feast of the Visitation, we reflect on this Great Feast, from the perspective of some of the virtues that are greatly celebrated in the life of St Joseph.

The Gospels present the powerful imagery of St Joseph, as being “a righteous man” and…
… one who willing to undergo any struggle in order to fulfil the Will of God

This excellent virtue propelled St Joseph to become “a person of humility and service”
… Being Humble: Before God
… Being in Service: To others

This Feast of the Visitation also celebrates these two great virtues in the life of our Blessed Mother.

Today, on the Feast Day, we contemplate through this beautiful incident on how…
… Blessed Mother Mary rendered Her life “in humility and service” to God and others – and thus allowed the graces of God to bloom within Her!

This Feast of the Visitation of our Blessed Mother has its origin in the medieval times.

It was observed by the Franciscan Order before 1263, and soon its practice spread throughout the entire Church.
Previously it was celebrated on July 2….
… now it is celebrated on 31st May – between the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord ( Mar 25) and the Birth of St. John the Baptist (Jun 24) , in conformity with the Gospel accounts.

One of the interesting term used by St Luke in his description of this incident (Lk 1: 39-56) is the word “HASTE”.

St Luke says: “In those days, Mary arose and went with HASTE…..” (Lk 1: 39)

The Angel Gabriel had appeared to Mary and announced the Good News that She was to be the Mother of the “Son of the Most High” (Lk 1: 31)

Mary was “overshadowed by the Power of the Most High” (Lk 1: 35)
The Angel had also pointed to the mighty work that was done in the life of her cousin Elizabeth (Lk 1: 36)

The Annunciation became the turning point in the life of Mary!

She was no longer the same…
… The simple girl had been exalted and chosen to be the Mother of the Most High God!
… She would no longer be seeking to do her desires; She would seek to God’s Will at all times!
… Her life would no longer be carried by her plans; Her life would be impelled by what God wanted!

The Child in Her, would now make Her to be “always in haste”!
… In haste: to serve others
… In haste: to follow perfectly the Will of God
… In haste: to have Jesus as the centre of Her life

The Holy Spirit completely possessed the Virgin Daughter of Nazareth and impelled her to act.

The beautiful incident of the Visitation of Mother Mary teaches us this beautiful lesson:

When Christ grows inside of us, we will be in HASTE….
… to reach out to others in service
… to spare no efforts to get out of our own comfort zones of pleasure, relaxing and lethargy
… to forget one’s own needs and be totally other-centred and radiate joy and hope to others

Mother Mary becomes the “Woman on the move” – on a continual and constant journey:
… She would embark on an hard trip to Bethlehem, while pregnant (Lk 2:4)
… She would again move – after the birth of the Child – along with Joseph, and flee to Egypt (Mt 2:14)
… She would return back to Nazareth, under the instruction of the Angel of God (Mt 2:23)
… She would further travel to Jerusalem for the Passover Feast and there would go in search of Her Beloved Child, when He was lost (Lk 2: 45)
… She would be travelling with Jesus in His ministry – may not be physically, but Her Heart and Soul completely accompanying Her Son
… She would, finally, even accompany physically, with Her Innocent Child on the Way of the Cross (Jn 19: 25)

Mother Mary lived the words of the poem which centuries later would be formulated by another great Saint – St Francis of Assisi:
“It is in giving that we receive…
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life…”

The Feast of the Visitation is a reminder for us examine – along with Mother Mary and St Joseph – on some of the important aspects of our life…
… Am I a person allowing the Holy Spirit to fill me and take complete possession of me – my words, my thoughts, my actions?
… Am I a person, having Jesus in me, impelled to reach out to the other in service? As St Paul says: “The love of Christ impels me” (2 Cor 5:14)
… Am I a person, who is daring to be a “person on the move” – moving out of my safe comfortable zones, moving out of conditioned and prejudiced mindsets, moving out to make my life of praise and honour to God?

St Ambrose says: “Delayed efforts are foreign to the grace of the Holy Spirit”

Charity is never idle!

Charity is always on the move …
… Sensitive to the needy
… Seeking to do good

St Francis de Sales beautifully says: “It was the two virtues of charity and humility which motivated Mary, and made her leave her little Nazareth…
… for charity is never Idle

It burns in the hearts where it dwells and reigns, and the Most Blessed Virgin was full of it, because She bore Love Itself in Her Womb.
She made continual acts of love, not only for God…
… She also loved Her neighbour in a most perfect degree…”

Mother Mary and St Joseph remind us today, that the Graces of God in us ought not to get stagnant…
… instead they need to be extended in loving service to God and His people…

And thus our life should be a beautiful Magnificat that sings: “My Soul magnifies the Lord my God, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour!”

Happy Feast of our Blessed Mother Mary – the Mother Who moves us, constantly… towards Jesus!

Heavenly Intercessions of St Joseph, who also inspires us to live in humility and service!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:

In the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the ineffable Hebrew name YHWH, by which God revealed himself to Moses, is rendered as Kyrios, “Lord”
From then on, “Lord” becomes the more usual name by which to indicate the divinity of Israel’s God.
The New Testament uses this full sense of the title “Lord” both for the Father and – what is new – for Jesus, who is thereby recognized as God Himself.
Jesus ascribes this title to himself in a veiled way when he disputes with the Pharisees about the meaning of Psalm 110…
… but also in an explicit way when he addresses his apostles.
Throughout his public life, he demonstrated his divine sovereignty by works of power over nature, illnesses, demons, death and sin.
Very often in the Gospels people address Jesus as “Lord”. This title testifies to the respect and trust of those who approach him for help and healing.
At the prompting of the Holy Spirit, “Lord” expresses the recognition of the divine mystery of Jesus.

In the encounter with the risen Jesus, this title becomes adoration: “My Lord and my God!” It thus takes on a connotation of love and affection that remains proper to the Christian tradition: “It is the Lord!” (Cf. CCC # 446-448)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – May 30, 2021: Sunday

“May the Blessed Trinity – the Father, Son and Holy Spirit- help us to grow in our intimacy and union, and in turn, help to reflect His image to all people in our lives!”

(Based on the Solemnity of the Most Blessed Trinity)

A story is told of various fruits, coming together for a discussion.

The topic of discussion was to know the reason, why no other fruit, but the grape, contains juice, from which the best wines were made.

They also discussed from the Biblical perspective, as to how, the wine from the grape, is an important element in Sacred Scriptures.

“Her drink is famous throughout the world”, declared all the other fruits.

“Why is she more worthy, than we are, to be so blessed by God?” they asked one another.

A cluster of grapes, which were hanging nearby in the garden, heard the complaint and told them:
“All of you grow individually – each one to oneself and by oneself.

But we, grapes, always, grow in bunches.

We always hang on to each other.

That is our nature – that is the only way we can grow.

And it is this mutual dependence on one another, that puts something special into the wines that come forth from us!”

Mutual dependence, selfless unity and constant integration with one another, was their nature – and this brought the best in them.

These qualities, also ought to become the nature in our own families, communities and society – and that will bring out the best in us!

OUR GOD – FATHER, SON AND HOLY SPIRIT – THE BLESSED TRINITY is the Perfection of this Mutual Dependence, Selfless Unity and Constant Integration with one another!

Today, as we celebrate the Great Solemnity of the Holy Trinity, we are invited to grow into this nature of our God.

The Dogma of the Blessed Trinity is indeed the most fundamental, yet the most baffling and confusing mystery of the Christian Faith.

However, we are encouraged by a great truth about this mystery…

The mystery of the Trinity is more to be lived, than merely be understood
The mystery of the Trinity is more to be encountered, than merely be grasped
The mystery of the Trinity is more to be experienced, than merely be comprehended

This feast is celebrated on the Sunday, following the Feast of the Pentecost.

The encounter of the Holy Spirit, was a life-transforming experience for the Disciples.

It brought about a huge upliftment in courage for their sagging and fearful spirits.
It brought about a massive alteration of mind, to being bold and dynamic in their faith.

Along with this, it also brought in the tremendous experience of the Holy Spirit as a God!

This was something very new, strange and heart-experiential.

The disciples, as we know, were Jews.

Jews believed in strict monotheism – One God.

They professed this belief in One God, daily, by the ‘Shema Israel’: “Hear O Israel, the Lord your God is one God….” (Deut 6:4)

However, in Jesus, the disciples encountered a deep Divine experience.

On Pentecost Day, they also encountered a deep Divine experience in the Holy Spirit.

This tremendous experience, along with the grace of God, helped them to reflect on the many words and sayings of Jesus that pointed to the dimension of Three Persons in the One nature of God.

Thus, with gradual and deeper reflection on the words of the Lord, and the power of the Holy Spirit, the disciples – strict monotheists – began to understand the mystery of God in a new light…

God is One
There are three Persons – the Father is God, the Son is God, the Spirit is God
The Father is not the Son and the Spirit; the Son is not the Father and the Spirit; the Spirit is not the Son and the Father.

This Triune invocation was the way the Lord exhorted to Baptize disciples in all the nations, as we see in the Gospel of the Day:
“Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them, in the name of the FATHER and of the SON and of the HOLY SPIRIT” (Mt 28: 19).

The Dogma of the Blessed Trinity has explanations, rationalization and details in the Holy Scripture and the Teachings of the Church.

However, with all that, the Dogma continues to remain a mystery…

And this is the beauty of the Mystery of the Triune God…
… It is something to grow in, daily
… It is something to develop a deeper relationship, daily
… It something to be lived and experienced in practical life, daily

As Evagrius of Pontus, a Greek monk of the 4th century said: “God cannot be grasped by the mind. If God could be grasped, God would not be God!”

This is our Blessed Triune God…
… He escapes being subjugated to the prisons of the mind; instead, invites to forge a powerful bond with the heart!
… He gets away from being trapped in the intriguing theological explanations and philosophical reasoning; instead calls forth to form an everlasting covenant of love!

Our whole world reflects the Triune nature of the Blessed Trinity…

Water exists in three forms – solid as ice, liquid as water, gaseous as steam
(In physics, it is also proved that theoretically, water exists as solid, liquid and gas at the same time at something called the triple point – a temperature of 0oC or 273.16 K and at a pressure of 611.2 Pa)

Sunlight displays a triune dimension – the substance of the sun, the heat, the light

The universe consists of three things: matter, space, and time.
(Each one of those is itself a trinity.
Matter = mass + energy + motion.
Space = length + height + breadth.
Time = past + present + future)

Human beings have a triple dimension, consisting of the body, the mind and the soul

The reflection of the Blessed Trinity is indeed everywhere!

The most important factor that is needed is that we need to grow in this awareness and deeper our love for Him!

The Lord presents this deep love of the Blessed Trinity, in perhaps, the most popular verse of the Gospels: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His Only Son, that whoever believes in Him, may not perish, but may have eternal life!” (Jn 3:16)

Are we willing to grow in cultivating an intimate and close bond with the Triune God – the God of Love and Holiness?

Are we willing to live the beautiful virtues of the Blessed Trinity – Mutual Dependence, Selfless Unity and Constant Integration – in our personal relationships with one another ?

Let us become greatly aware of the many invocations we make to the Blessed Trinity (Sign of the Cross, in our daily prayers etc)…
… and perform those actions with greater meaning and significance!

May the Blessed Trinity – the Father, Son and Holy Spirit- helps us to grow in our intimacy and union, and in turn, help to reflect His image to all people in our lives…
… and thus, bring the “best wine” in us all!

Happy Feast of the Blessed Trinity!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:

Peter could recognize the transcendent character of the Messiah’s Divine Sonship because Jesus had clearly allowed it to be so understood.
Jesus is superior even to the angels. He distinguished His Sonship from that of His disciples by never saying “our Father”, except to command them: “You, then, pray like this: ‘Our Father'”, and he emphasized this distinction, saying “my Father and your Father.”
The Gospels report that at two solemn moments, the Baptism and the Transfiguration of Christ, the voice of the Father designates Jesus his “beloved Son”.
Jesus calls himself the “only Son of God”, and by this title affirms His Eternal Pre-existence.
Only in the Paschal mystery can the believer give the title “Son of God” its full meaning.
After his Resurrection, Jesus’ Divine Sonship becomes manifest in the power of his glorified humanity.
He was “designated Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his Resurrection from the dead”.

The apostles can confess: “We have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (Cf. CCC # 443-445)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – May 29, 2021: Saturday

“Rooting out every pessimistic mind-set, by growing in the Wisdom of the Lord and focusing on self-growth in holiness and humility!”

(Based on Sir 51:12-20 and Mk 11:27-33 – Saturday of the 8th Week in Ordinary Time)

Once, a preacher was speaking the Word of God to a great crowd.

As was his practice, he was concentrating more on the content of his message and of its effect upon the hearts of people, for transformation…
… rather than the precise literary form of it.

Among his audience, was seated a certain fussy gentleman.
He had been known for making extremely critical remarks and comments.

At the end of the prayer service, this person went up to the preacher and said:
“By the way, I noticed that you made eleven mistakes of grammar in your sermon.”

“Very likely,” replied the preacher, very coolly, “I don’t doubt it for a minute.

My early education was faulty.
I often wished that I had received more schooling.

But I am using all the grammar I know in the service of Christ.

How is it with you?”

Well, we don’t know how did the fussy gentleman react to this bold and true reply of the preacher.
(Hopefully, he went home and read a chapter of the Bible and prayed for a humbler heart rather than just revising his skills of grammar!)

When the heart is closed to God’s spirit, the focus dwells only external and peripheral factors…

The heart gets closed to spiritual appreciation…
The mind remains curious only for rhetorical arguments!

The Gospel of the Day presents such a critically harsh and uncharitably closed attitude of the chief priests and scribes and elders towards the person and ministry of Jesus.

This is expressed in their volatile question to Jesus, “By what authority are you doing these things? Or who gave you this authority to do them?” (Mk 11: 28)

The context of today’s Gospel is the presence of Jesus in the city of Jerusalem.

Chapter 11 of St Mark’s Gospel has a progressive sequence…

  1. The entry into Jerusalem (Mk 11: 1-10)
  2. The entry to Bethany and cursing of the fig tree (Mk 11: 11-14)
  3. The re-entry to Jerusalem and cleansing of the Temple (Mk 11: 15-18)
  4. The re-entry to Bethany, observation of withered tree and teaching on faith (Mk 11: 19-26)
  5. The third entry into Jerusalem and questioning of Jesus’ authority (Mk 11: 27-33)

The popularity of Jesus was on the rise…
… He had a rousing welcome to the city of Jerusalem

The impact of Jesus was also on the rise…
… He had performed a daring cleansing of the Jerusalem Temple

These factors had greatly disturbed the religious leaders.

In Jesus, they perceived a threat.
… a threat to their attitude of subjugating people to their yoke, than to service of God

In Jesus, they sensed a danger.
… a danger to their personal wishes and agenda of having a monopoly over religion

In Jesus, they identified a menace.
… a menace to their comfort-rendering style of spirituality and way of life.

And so, they – the chief priests and scribes and the elders – sought to put Jesus to the task and questioned His authority on doing such deeds and performing such actions.

Their eyes were closed to see the goodness of the Lord

Their hearts become clogged to examine their own maligned conscience

Their lives were rendered blocked to be willing to make necessary changes for the good.

… they only found fault with the Lord
… they only become critical of the ways of the Lord

When the heart is closed to God’s spirit, the focus dwells only external and peripheral factors…

The heart gets closed to spiritual appreciation…
The mind remains curious only for rhetorical arguments!

Is such an attitude prevalent among us also…

A mentality of harshly criticising…?

A tendency to inhumanly condemn…?
… without any consideration to humanness or acceptance or self-examination etc.

The Book of Sirach invites us to seek for Wisdom and to ‘incline our ears” in order to make greater progress in life:
“While I was still young, before I went on my travels, I sought wisdom openly in my prayer. Before the temple I asked for her, and I will search for her until the end.

From my youth I followed her steps.
I inclined my ear a little and received her, and I found for myself much instruction.
I made progress in her; to him who gives wisdom I will give glory.
For I resolved to live according to wisdom” (Cf. Sir 51: 13-18)

May we be able to root out every pessimistic mind-set, by growing in the Wisdom of the Lord…
… and focus instead on self-growth in holiness and humility!

God Bless! Live Jesus

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:

In the Old Testament, “son of God” is a title given to the angels, the Chosen People, the children of Israel, and their kings.
It signifies an adoptive sonship that establishes a relationship of particular intimacy between God and his creature.
When the promised Messiah-King is called “son of God”, it does not necessarily imply that he was more than human, according to the literal meaning of these texts. Those who called Jesus “son of God”, as the Messiah of Israel, perhaps meant nothing more than this.
Such is not the case for Simon Peter when he confesses Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God,” for Jesus responds solemnly: “Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.”
Similarly Paul writes regarding his conversion on the road to Damascus, “When he who had set me apart before I was born, and had called me through His Grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles…”
… and in the synagogues immediately [Paul] proclaimed Jesus, saying, ‘He is the Son of God.'”

From the beginning this acknowledgment of Christ’s Divine Sonship is at centre of the apostolic faith, first professed by Peter as the Church’s foundation (Cf. CCC # 441-442)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – May 28, 2021: Friday

“Living in “holiness and sanctity” and producing the fruits of good virtues!”

(Based on Sir 44:1,9-13 and Mk 11:11-25 – Friday of the 8th Week in Ordinary Time)

An interesting and often-heard conversation goes thus…

A youngster asked his grandfather “Grandpa! How did you people live before with:
No technology
No aeroplanes
No internet
No computers
No dramas
No TVs
No airconditioners
No cars
No mobile phones?”

To that, Grandpa, after a few thoughtful moments replied:
“Just like how so many in your generation live today…
No prayers
No honor
No respect
No character
No shame
No modesty”


Its left to each one of us to decide and judge, how far the above given comparison is true.

But one thing is for sure: External comforts often leads to lethargy in faith and consequently to the loss of devotion.

The Gospel of the Day is a major attack and a mighty warning by Jesus on this danger of how “external comforts can lead to lethargy in faith and consequently to the loss of devotion.”

The Gospel passage of the day is one of the many “sandwich” passages in the Gospel of St Mark.

“Sandwich” stories are a literary technique in which the narration of one story begins, but is interrupted by another story, before finishing the first one.

Some of the examples of these “sandwich stories” are…

In Mk 3: 20-35, we have…
A. Mk 3:20-22: Jesus’ family members set out to seize Him
B. Mk 3: 23-30: Jesus speaks to the Pharisees on their accusation of Him
A’. Mk 3: 31-35: Jesus family comes to meet Him

In Mk 5: 21-43, we have…
A. Mk 5: 21-24: Jesus is pleaded by Jairus to heal his daughter
B. Mk 5: 25-34: The woman suffering from haemorrhage is healed
A’. Mk 5: 35-43: Jesus heals the daughter of Jairus

In Mk 6: 7-33, we have…
A. Mk 6: 7-13: The disciples sent on a mission
B. Mk 6: 14-29: Herod’s opinion on John the Baptist and the narrative of the beheading.
A’. Mk 6: 30-33: The disciples return from the mission

In Mk 14: 1-11, we have…
A. Mk 14: 1-2: The Conspiracy against Jesus
B. Mk 14: 3-9: The anointing of Jesus at Bethany
A’. Mk 14: 10-11: The conspiracy plan by Judas to betray Jesus

Such kind of “sandwich” layers illustrates points for reflection by showing ..
… similarities and contrasts between the outside and the inside layers.
… the first and the last as “the bread”‘ and the centre one as the “filling” of the sandwich!

Today’s Gospel also follows this “sandwich-story” structure… Mk 11: 12-25, we have…
A. Mk 11: 12-14: Jesus cursing the fig tree
B. Mk 11: 15-19: Jesus cleansing the Temple
A’. Mk 11: 20-24: Jesus’ teaching on the withered fig tree

The passage of the Cursing of Fig Tree has been one of the very “puzzling parables”
… especially to know why did Jesus curse the fig tree, “when it was not the season for figs” (Mk 11:13)

It is to be noted that in Palestine “the fig fruit appears before the leaves”

(The fruit that first appears on a fig tree comes in March and April – the Passover time.

These are the first fruits – small fruits – very immature but edible, and could be eaten when one was particularly hungry.

The harvest – the season for figs – would be in mid-August to October. That would be when they would be in full fruit and fully mature)

The Gospel says that “Jesus saw the fig tree in leaves…” (Mk 11:13)

To see a fig tree with leaves, therefore, warranted the assumption that there would be fruit on the tree.

But this tree was odd!

The leaves were there, but it was fruitless.

The Lord had a right to expect some fruit, even though it wasn’t the full season for fruit yet.

So He approached the tree.

But when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves.

This phenomenon, therefore, served as a perfect “visual aid” for an important lesson that the Saviour wished to teach.

In the incident that follows in this “sandwich story,” Jesus cleanses the Jerusalem Temple

The Jerusalem Temple which was to be a place of “prayer and worship”…
… had become more of a “place of business and commerce”

It was like a “fig tree: having leaves, but no fruits!”

The Fig Tree – with leaves but no fruits…
The Jerusalem Temple – with external beauty but no inner devotion…

Both point to this important dimension: “External comforts can lead to lethargy in faith and consequently to the loss of devotion.”

Is my life like this Fig Tree?

Having a lot of leaves of comfort and external show…
… but failing to produce the fruits of love, joy and peace?

Is my life like the Jerusalem Temple?

Having a strong external edifice of fame and name in the society…
… but failing to maintain intimate devotion and inner faith?

We live in a world with a lot of materialistic and worldly challenges.

Yet, as Christians, we are called forth to live a life “of faith and devotion”

Let us always be reminded: “External comforts often leads to lethargy in faith and consequently to the loss of devotion!”

May this Gospel Passage be a strong reminder and a warning to all of us, to live a life of “holiness and sanctity”, producing the fruits of good virtues!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:

Many Jews and even certain Gentiles who shared their hope recognized in Jesus the fundamental attributes of the messianic “Son of David”, promised by God to Israel.
Jesus accepted his rightful title of Messiah, though with some reserve…
… because it was understood by some of his contemporaries in too human a sense, as essentially political.
Jesus accepted Peter’s profession of faith, which acknowledged him to be the Messiah, by announcing the imminent Passion of the Son of Man.
He unveiled the authentic content of his messianic kingship both in the transcendent identity of the Son of Man “who came down from heaven”…
… and in his redemptive mission as the suffering Servant: “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Hence the true meaning of his kingship is revealed only when he is raised high on the cross.

Only after his Resurrection will Peter be able to proclaim Jesus’ messianic kingship to the People of God: “Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified!” (Cf. CCC # 439-440)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – May 27, 2021: Thursday

“Having a true vision that not only admires the unusual phenomenon of life, but also greatly esteems and appreciates the little beauties that are scattered all around!”

(Based on Sir 42:15-25 and Mk 10:46-52 – Thursday of the 8th Week in Ordinary Time)

A man was sharing his experience of life to a group of youngsters:
“One night, a few years ago there was a total eclipse of the moon.
Everybody was talking about it.

Many even stayed up till the early hours…
… in the hope of witnessing it.

And I was asking myself: ‘Why all this interest in the moon, simply because it is disappearing?’

Of course, I don’t deny that is a wonderful phenomenon.

But I am also convinced that most of those people wouldn’t see a full moon in the sky…
… much less stop to admire it!”

And the man went on to say, “It brought to my mind the words of Emerson: ‘The fool wonders at the unusual; the wise person wonders at the usual.”

True vision not only admires at the unusual phenomenon of life…
… but also greatly esteems and appreciates the little beauties that are scattered all around!

Do we have the vision to appreciate the great miracles in and around us…?
Are we passionate and enthusiastic about the wonderful blessings we enjoy everyday…?

This vision to appreciate and be enthusiastic in life has its roots in an experience of the Divine.

It’s this experience that becomes a launching-pad to live a passionate life for the Lord and for His Kingdom!

The contrast is also true…

A lack of experience of the Divine makes the spiritual journey a lethargic one…
… sometimes makes it even non-existent!

The greater the experience that one has of the Divine, the higher will be one’s enthusiasm and interest in spiritual matters.

The Gospel of the Day presents the experience of the Divine by a blind person and his consequent expression of happiness and delight in the Lord.

Blind Bartimaeus experiences the Divine healing power and gives vent to his deep joy in the Lord by ‘following Him on the way’.

Jesus was passing through the land of Jericho.

As he was leaving Jericho, with His disciples, the news reached the ears of Bartimaeus.

He was blind.

We do not know how long was he so.
We do not know what was the reason for being so.

But we know one thing…
… that he would have heard about the wonders and fame of Jesus.

And the very mention that “Jesus of Nazareth” was passing that way, made him to spring into pleading for mercy.

Just as the steps of the lover sounds sweet to the Beloved…
Just as the strains of music sound sweet to the singer…

So, the mention of the name, “Jesus” sounded healing and wholeness for Blind Bartimaeus!

With his might and strength, he cried, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy” (Mk 10:47)

The crowd tried to dissuade him.
The people surrounding made efforts to silence him.
But nothing of this could prevent this determined person to cry out to his God!

Even though Bartimaeus was “physically blind,” he had the willingness to have “true vision!”

The people on the other hand, were “physically fine” but lacked the true vision…
… to see the great presence of God’s Power in their midst!

This persevering and passionate pleading of Bartimaeus was amply rewarded.

Jesus called him, and said to him, “Go your way, your faith has saved you!” (Mk 10: 52a)

This tremendous healing experience, fanned to flame the sparks of Divine Love within blind Bartimaeus!

He immediately received his sight and followed Jesus on the way (Mk 10: 52b)

This experience became a launching-pad to nurture a life-long relationship with the Divine!

We too are in need of a deeper experience of the Lord, in order to nurture and strengthen our spiritual life.

We sometimes remain blind to things of the spiritual dimension.
We sometimes feel rejected in our lack of progress in a holy living.

Yet, we are invited to cry out with full intensity, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Surely, this act of faith from our part, would meet with a lot of oppositions…
… we may hear voices telling us that it is useless to cry to God and rely on His power
… we may be told that it is illogical and unreasonable to be banking on Divine assistance

But like Blind Bartimaeus, are we willing to transgress and traverse all such negative voices, and drown them with a wave of mightier faith…
… crying, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Unless we undergo such a healing experience, our faith will remain shallow and our spiritual following will remain dispirited.

This healing is not just of the physical nature…
… rather it could be healing of the mind
… healing of the spirit
… or a social healing
… or an emotional healing.

The fact of being healed, would make me more passionate about the Divine Healer!

The fact of being cleansed, would make me more zealous about the Divine Sanctifier!

Yes, true vision not only admires at the unusual phenomenon of life…
… but also greatly esteems and appreciates the little beauties that are scattered all around!

We need to have the vision to appreciate the great miracles in and around us!
We need to be passionate and enthusiastic about the wonderful blessings we enjoy everyday!

May our hearts be opened, in perseverance and passion, to seek the wonderful experience of the Divine.

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:

The word “Christ” comes from the Greek translation of the Hebrew Messiah, which means “anointed”.
It became the name proper to Jesus only because he accomplished perfectly the divine mission that “Christ” signifies.
In effect, in Israel those consecrated to God for a mission that he gave were anointed in his name. This was the case for kings, for priests and, in rare instances, for prophets.
This had to be the case all the more so for the Messiah whom God would send to inaugurate his kingdom definitively.
It was necessary that the Messiah be anointed by the Spirit of the Lord at once as king and priest, and also as prophet.
Jesus fulfilled the messianic hope of Israel in his threefold office of priest, prophet and king.
To the shepherds, the angel announced the birth of Jesus as the Messiah promised to Israel: “To you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.”
From the beginning He was “the one whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world”, conceived as “holy” in Mary’s virginal womb.

God called Joseph to “take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit”, so that Jesus, “who is called Christ”, should be born of Joseph’s spouse into the messianic lineage of David. (Cf. CCC # 436-437)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – May 26, 2021: Wednesday

Treasuring the Lord, knowing that true riches consist ‘not in the abundance of possessions, but in the fewness of wants!’”

(Based on Sir 36:1-2, 5-6, 11-17 and Mk 10:32-45 – Wednesday of the 8th Week in Ordinary Time)

A rich man, who was known to be quite pious and devout in his Christian life was once encountered by a young man…
… who questioned his integrity and credibility, and wanted to prove that all his pious actions were quite hypocritical.

“How can you,” asked the young man, “claim to be a true Christian when you have so much of wealth?”

The rich person who was also extremely generous and had helped a lot of people replied: “Well, I do agree that God has blessed me with a lot of material things.

But at the same time, I believe that all these blessings are purely a gift from God…
… and so I reach out to the needy!

And above all, I strongly believe that my wealth consists not in the abundance of my possessions…
… but in the fewness of my wants!”

The rich man had discovered the true purpose of riches in life…
… and had also unearthed the true spirit of having riches: Not in the abundance of possessions, but in the fewness of wants!”

How beautiful a lesson is this for us Christians…
…. who live in the world, yet are called to be out of the world.
… who live amidst possibilities of wealth, yet are called to be detached from them.
… who live with the prospect of gaining immense power, yet are exhorted to not be attached

The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus highlighting this essential element of Christian living: Being in the world, but living out of the world, with eyes firmly set on heavenly realms.

James and John, the sons of Zebedee approach Jesus and ask for a favour: “Grant to us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory” (Mk 10:37)

They sought for a prime place in the future Kingdom of the Lord.

They probably had the conception and understanding, that Jesus would rule in glory…
… and they being His chosen ones, sought for esteemed positions in this Glorious Kingdom.

They were certainly right that the Lord would surely one day rule in glory.

But they got it totally wrong in their understanding and perspective of the nature of this rule.

His was not to be a kingdom of arrogant display of power…
… rather one of serene majesty and mercy

His was not to be a rule of aggression and pomp…
… rather one of gentle splendour and grace.

The Lord had, as per St Mark’s Gospel, just made His third prediction, regarding His Passion, Death and Resurrection.

He was revealing the true nature and character of the victory that He was to gain.
He was exposing the manner in which His glory would be stamped upon all ages to come.

However, the disciples fell short in grasping these words of the Lord.

St Mark says that “they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid” (Mk 10: 32b).

Our lives are very often no different, from the ignorance that the disciples had and the wrong notion that was expressed by James and John.

We fall prey to seeking great honour and fame in being a Christian…
… but are unable to grasp the fact that ‘to be a Christian is to be living a life of simplicity’.

We yield to temptations of being obsessed to seek power and positions of futile vanity…
… and fail time and again to live up to the Christian virtues of humility and modesty.

We often become victims of engaging in dirty politics and authority-grabbing games…
… and become an anti-witness to the Lord who ‘came to serve, rather than be served’

We need to give heed to the words of the Lord who prayed that “we are in the world, but do not belong to this world” (Jn 17: 15)

A Christian life… ought to be hallmarked by detachment and separation…
… detachment from too much of worldly distractions and vain glory
… separation from sinful ways and evil tendencies

A Christian life… ought to be radiated with total focus and complete dedication…
… total focus on the Lord who ‘walked the talk’ by giving up His life in service
… complete dedication to the Kingdom of God which calls for a humble way of life

Let us learn this secret that being rich in the Lord consists “not in the abundance of possessions, but in the fewness of wants!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:

The name of the Saviour God was invoked only once in the year by the high priest in atonement for the sins of Israel, after he had sprinkled the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies with the sacrificial blood. The mercy seat was the place of God’s presence.
When St. Paul speaks of Jesus whom “God put forward as an expiation by his blood”, he means that in Christ’s humanity “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself.”
Jesus’ Resurrection glorifies the name of the Saviour God, for from that time on it is the name of Jesus that fully manifests the supreme power of the “name which is above every name”.
The evil spirits fear his name; in his name his disciples perform miracles, for the Father grants all they ask in this name
The name of Jesus is at the heart of Christian prayer.
All liturgical prayers conclude with the words “through our Lord Jesus Christ”.
The Hail Mary reaches its high point in the words “blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.”
The Eastern prayer of the heart, the Jesus Prayer, says: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

Many Christians, such as St. Joan of Arc, have died with the one word “Jesus” on their lips. (Cf. CCC # 433-435)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – May 25, 2021: Tuesday

“Being ready to grow deeper in the awareness that God is always having a hold of me!”

(Based on Sir 35:1-12 and Mk 10:28-31 – Tuesday of the 8th Week in Ordinary Time)

One day a person who was going through much spiritual and mental perplexity called up his friend.

He knew that his friend was able to remain sturdy and confident, even in the midst of troubles of life.

And so he desired to learn from him this secret to stay calm

“Tell me,” the anxious friend asked over the phone, “how is it that you can trust God so easily? How is it that you always got hold of God?”

For some time, the person was silent.

And then, taking a deep sigh, he replied, “It surely did take me a while to know and learn this.

But let me be honest with you.

Even now I have my moments when I don’t know if I have got hold of God…
… but one thing I have learnt over the years: ‘God always has a hold of me!”

It was this assurance that God was always holding him…
… that allowed this person to remain calm and confident in his journey of life.

Are we ready to grow deeper in this fact: That God is always having a hold of me…
… and this assurance that translates to a life of trust and confidence!

Our lives in the Lord, is a spiritual journey…

The greater assurance we have in the promises of the Lord, the more pleasant will be our journey

The stronger our assurances in the Word of the Lord, the swifter will be our progress in this journey towards the Lord

The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus declaring His assured promises to those who follow Him, sincerely and wholeheartedly.

Jesus tells to Peter and the other disciples:
“Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and the sake of the Gospel, who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age…
… and eternal life in the age to come” (Mk 10: 29)

This incident takes place right after the encounter of the rich young man with Jesus (Mk 10: 17-22)

This man was proposed by Jesus to sell all his possessions and then follow Him.

The man, however, found it hard, to let go off his attachments, and instead let go of the Lord.

He went away sad!

Peter, as the leader of the disciples, however, contrasts this “possessive and worldly” tendency of the rich young man by telling Jesus, “We have given up everything and followed you” (Mk 10: 28)

Perhaps, there was a growing concern among the disciples, as to whether their radical decision to commit themselves to the Master would go in vain!

Perhaps, there was an apparent fear within the disciples, as to whether their decisions to leave their professions, their families and their aspirations to follow the Lord would go fruitless!

And so the Lord, with a candid straight-forwardness replies that their sacrifices would surely assure them of rewards…
… of a much higher quality and eminence.

How often do our lives also sometimes sink in hopelessness, thinking whether our expressions of faith would end up in meaninglessness!

Sometimes even fearful thoughts and anxious emotions may cross our mind…
… will the various sacrifices and pains that I take up for the Lord, go in vain?
… will my unshed tears, my unspoken prayers and painful sighs, end up in futility?
… will the efforts I make to grow in love and nourish others in faith, lead to fruitlessness?

But the Lord assures us, that none of these efforts – small or great, noticed or unnoticed, seen or unseen – will escape the penetrating eyes of the Lord and go unrewarded.

All our actions, done in love has an assured reward!

What is however, most essential, is our total focus on the Lord and unflinched commitment to Him.

The Lord most certainly assures us of rewards and gifts.

But, in this pursuit, may we not stray or lose focus of Him!

Our lives ought to be impelled by the love for the God of rewards…
… than merely the rewards of God!
Our lives must be lived in faithfulness to the God of gifts…
… than being fascinated only to the gifts of God!

May the Lord Himself be our greatest reward…
… our finest gift!

We also seek the intercession of St Bede the Venerable, whose feast we celebrate…
… and be inspired by his words: “He alone loves the Creator perfectly who manifests a pure love for his neighbour”

When we grow in the assurance that God is always holding us…
… we can remain calm and confident in this journey of life.


Are we ready to grow deeper in this awareness?

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:

At the annunciation, the angel Gabriel gave him the name Jesus as his proper name, which expresses both his identity and his mission.
Since God alone can forgive sins, it is God who, in Jesus his eternal Son made man, “will save his people from their sins”. In Jesus, God recapitulates all of his history of salvation on behalf of men.
In the history of salvation God was not content to deliver Israel “out of the house of bondage” by bringing them out of Egypt. He also saves them from their sin.
Because sin is always an offence against God, only he can forgive it.
For this reason Israel, becoming more and more aware of the universality of sin, will no longer be able to seek salvation except by invoking the name of the Redeemer God.
The name “Jesus” signifies that the very name of God is present in the person of his Son, made man for the universal and definitive redemption from sins.
It is the divine name that alone brings salvation, and henceforth all can invoke his name, for Jesus united himself to all men through his Incarnation…

… so that “there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. (Cf. CCC # 430-432)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – May 24, 2021: Monday

“May Mary, the Mother of the Church – our Beloved Mother and the Perfect Disciple – Who followed Her Son wholly, in obedience to the Will of the Father, intercede and inspire us, to discover and treasure the true riches of life!”

(Based on Sir 17:24-29 and Mk 10:17-27 – Monday of the 8th Week in Ordinary Time – Feast of Mary, Mother of the Church)

A story is told about Phythius, an ancient King of Lydia (Lydia – a place in the present day Turkey).

Phythius was very wealthy, but also very greedy, and he would spend as little as possible.

His wife – the Queen – was however, greatly determined to cure him of this “wealth mania!”

One day when he came home hungry from a long hunt, she told the slaves to place before him dishes that were filled with gold…
… gold that was fresh from the royal gold mines.

The King stared down at his gold-filled plates, admiring them for some time, and then he asked for some food.

“Food?” his wife asked, feigning surprise, “But surely they have brought you what you love best in the world, haven’t they?”

“What are you talking about?” the King replied, as he lost his temper, “Gold can’t satisfy my hunger.”

“No?” the Queen answered, “Is it not foolish then to have such love for something that cannot be useful so long as you hang on to it?

Believe me; gold is truly of service only to people who exchange it for the good and useful things of life.”

The rich man in the Gospel of the Day also faced a similar “wealth mania”…
… and was reminded that “riches come to have true value, only when given in service, to the needy”

Are we also facing a “wealth mania” in our lives?

We have concluded a journey of fourteen weeks (nearly hundred days) of walking intimately with the Lord in His Passion, Death, Resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit…
… starting with the Ash Wednesday in the season of Lent
… through the Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday
… the Ascension and the Feast of the Holy Spirit – the Pentecost.

As we resume the Ordinary times of the Liturgical year, we are presented today…
… with a message to make an examination of the “quality of our life”, through this incident of the rich man

The rich man in the Gospel approaches Jesus to ask, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Mk 10: 17)

When Jesus gave him a list of commandments, that needed to be followed to help ensure a passage into eternal life, the man replied, “Teacher, all these I have observed from my youth” (Mk 10: 20)

We underline a few aspects of this young man…
… he did desire for a life of eternity and followed the commandments
… he did nurture a sense of being pious and devout, to please the Lord

… he probably failed to live up to the intentions of the commandments
… he possibly got lost into only keeping the letters of the commandments; not the spirit!

He got attached to doing God’s commandment, but failed to break his attachments with the riches of the world.

He possessed the good will to follow God’s teachings, but failed to let go of the possessions of his life.

The Lord realized this “pitiable” condition of the young man.

He was wealthy in the world, but was unable to be rich before God
He was obedient to the laws, but was unable to be obedient to give up his attachments.

Therefore, the Lord, knowing this state of the young man – devout yet not properly focused…
… “looked at him, loved him, and said: ‘You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then, come, follow me'” (Mk 10: 21)

This young man could represent any one of us…

We seek to be pious but find it hard to let go of our possessions
We seek for holiness in life but go through a struggle to give up our attachments
We seek to follow the Lord wholly but stumble to give ourselves entirely to the Lord

Yet, the Lord does not give up on us…

He looks on us…
He loves us…
And He invites us, to have the proper focus in life!

It is not material possessions that ought to occupy our hearts; rather, our hearts needs to be possessed with the Love for the Lord.

It is not worldly treasures that should be our prime motto in life; rather, a life, dedicated to the Kingdom of God and helping the needy with the resources we have.

Our material life is totally in the control of the Lord.

Our material possessions will be of no avail, when we leave this world.
Our hands will not be able to hold any riches when we depart from this life.

Let us instead be possessed by the Lord, gather the precious stones of His grace and love by works of charity and hold on to Him…
… so that we may have a wonderful life of eternity with the Lord of all treasures!

Let us give heed to some of the wise and noble sayings of Holy People who have described the necessity to be detached from the riches of the world…

St Bede the Venerable: “He alone loves the Creator perfectly who manifests a pure love for his neighbor.”

St Alphonsus Liguori:”Those who desire nothing from this world are masters of the whole world.”

St Gregory the Great: “Be not anxious about what you have, but about what you are… Make use of temporal things, but set your heart on eternal things.”

Today we also celebrate the Feast of Mary, the Mother of the Church.

Mother Mary is the model for all in the Church to “always say YES to God’s Will!”

This feast which has been promulgated in the Year 2018…
… is celebrated every year on the Monday after Pentecost.

One of the primary reasons for the celebration of the Feast of Mary, Mother of the Church is “to foster Marian piety and the Maternal sense of the Church.”

Pope Francis says that, “this celebration will help us to remember that growth in the Christian life must be anchored…
… to the Mystery of the Cross
… to the oblation of Christ in the Eucharistic Banquet
… and to the Mother of the Redeemer and Mother of the Redeemed!”

The Marian title of “Mother of the Church,” was given to the Blessed Mother by Pope Paul VI at the Second Vatican Council.

Let us ask our Blessed Mother Mary, the Mother of the Church to intercede and pray for all of us…
… to be faithful and witnessing members of the Church by prioritising for the “true riches of our life!”

Happy Feast Day of Mary, the Mother of the Church…
… to all Her Little Children of God!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:

“At the heart of catechesis we find, in essence, a Person, the Person of Jesus of Nazareth, the only Son from the Father…who suffered and died for us and who now, after rising, is living with us forever.”
To catechize is “to reveal in the Person of Christ the whole of God’s eternal design reaching fulfilment in that Person.
It is to seek to understand the meaning of Christ’s actions and words and of the signs worked by him.”
Catechesis aims at putting “people in communion with Jesus Christ: only He can lead us to the love of the Father in the Spirit and make us share in the life of the Holy Trinity.”
In catechesis “Christ, the Incarnate Word and Son of God, is taught – everything else is taught with reference to him – and it is Christ alone who teaches – anyone else teaches to the extent that he is Christ’s spokesman, enabling Christ to teach with his lips.
Every catechist should be able to apply to himself the mysterious words of Jesus: ‘My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me.’”
Whoever is called “to teach Christ” must first seek “the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus”; he must suffer “the loss of all things. . .” in order to “gain Christ and be found in him”, and “to know him and the power of his resurrection, and (to) share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that if possible (he) may attain the resurrection from the dead”
From this loving knowledge of Christ springs the desire to proclaim him, to “evangelize”, and to lead others to the “yes” of faith in Jesus Christ.

But at the same time the need to know this faith better makes itself felt. (Cf. CCC # 426-429)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – May 23, 2021: Sunday

“Realizing that by our Christian vocation, we are constantly in touch with ‘Fresh Waters’ of Grace, and becoming aware of the worth of the ‘source of life’”

(Based on the Solemnity of the Pentecost)

An incident is told of a great ship that was stranded off the coast of South America.

Week after week, the ship lay there, in the still ocean waters with not a hint of a breeze.

The captain was desperate; the crew was dying of thirst.

The salty ocean waters stared at the members of the ship.

Finally, one day, on the far horizon, a steamship appeared.
As this tiny boat, approached them, the captain of the great ship called out:
“We need water. Give us water!”

The steamship replied: “Lower yourselves, and life will be yours!”

The captain – an experienced person, and who knew that it was impossible to get potable water from the oceans – was infuriated.

But the steamship gave the same reply, “Lower yourselves, and life will be yours!”, and sailed away.

The captain was all by himself – feeling angry and desperate!

But a little later, when no one was looking, a cleaner boy of the ship, lowered a bucket into the sea and then tasted what he brought up: It was perfectly sweet, fresh water!

How was that possible?

The ship had been stranded, just out of the oceans, into the mouth of the River Amazon (Amazon makes up for nearly 1/5th of the earth’s fresh waters!)

For weeks together, they had been sitting on top of all the fresh water that they needed.

But it remained undiscovered!

So it is, often, with our Christian Lives as well!

What we are really seeking, is already inside us: Waiting to be discovered!

The Holy Spirit, Who has been dwelling within us, from our Baptism, gently whispers to us: “Lower yourselves, and life will be yours!”

Today, on this Great Day of Pentecost, we are invited to open our hearts to recognize the Power of the Holy Spirit…
… and to become aware of the inherent greatness in our vocation as Christians.

On the day of Pentecost, in the Upper Room, as the disciples were gathered in prayer, along with Blessed Mother Mary, “the Holy Spirit filled the entire house in which they were” (Acts 2:2)

It is to be noted that the word used to describe the coming of the Holy Spirit is the Greek word “aphno” which means “suddenly”

“And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind…” (Acts 2: 2)

The coming of the Holy Spirit was “sudden”.

This energetic entry of the Holy Spirit is a glimpse to one important characteristic of the person of the Holy Spirit: Vitality!

The Holy Spirit is a spirit of life… of energy… of vivacity… of animation… of dynamism!

Where the Holy Spirit is, there is the great movement of the will, the mind and the heart!

It was this “sudden” coming of the Holy Spirit that transformed the small group of Jesus’ disciples into mighty warriors of the Kingdom of God.

Fear was transformed into power…

Timidity was changed into boldness…

Uncertainty was converted into conviction…

Our own lives need an encounter of this “life-transforming” experience.

Is my Christian life, dull and slow – merely laced with routine actions of prayers and sacraments?
Is my life of faith, lethargic and tepid – simply being pulled on, without any particular awareness or lived without any enthusiasm?
… then, we need the mighty movement of the Holy Spirit to impress life and vitality to our life and our faith!

The Holy Spirit is undoubtedly one of the most shy person of the Blessed Trinity and therefore, also often, neglected in our daily prayers or devotion

The study and awareness of the Holy Spirit is certainly, in general, given lesser priority and importance in comparison to the other Persons of the Trinity
The Feast of the Pentecost is very often not accorded the “solemn” tone in comparison to other feasts like Christmas or Easter

But let us realize, that in the Holy Spirit and in the celebration of this Feast, we have a great treasure to cherish and enjoy.

Each Christian ought to build an intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit.
Each Christian must become more aware of the role of the Holy Spirit in daily living

How wonderful it would be if we could inculcate a few practical resolutions to grow in our intimacy and union with this Powerful and Dynamic Personality of the Blessed Trinity:

  1. “Morning Offering to the Holy Spirit” as we begin the day, thanking for His protection and seeking His help through the day
  2. Invoking a tiny chaplet, “Come Holy Spirit, fill our hearts and minds” as we begin a particular activity or work
  3. Making a short examination of conscience at the end of the day, introspecting our lives in overcoming sin, being grateful for His guidance and seeking to grow spiritually in holiness, with the power of the Holy Spirit
  4. Co-operating with the Holy Spirit to become effective agents of unity in our homes, our communities, our places of work and our churches.
  5. Purposely creating a few seconds of silence in the schedule of our works or our activity or through the course of the day, and talking to the Holy Spirit, as a friend, in the cave of our heart
  6. Listening to the still, gentle voice of the Holy Spirit in the depths of our being, speaking to us to be more active to read God’s Word in the Bible and to partake of the Sacraments more frequently especially Confession and Holy Eucharist.

The Lord has blessed our lives with the gift of the Holy Spirit.

He longs to be empower our lives…

He earnestly wants to be in total control of our lives…

But for this, He needs our permission…
A permission in the form of…
… longing for Him
… making sincere efforts to live a life casting away sin

Let us realize that by our Christian Vocation, we are constantly in touch with “Fresh Waters” of Grace.

May we be aware of the worth of the “source of life” that is with us, and live a life worthy of it…
… by constantly giving heed to the call: “Lower yourselves, and life will be yours!”

Wish you a very Happy Feast of the Holy Spirit – the Pentecost!

Happy Birthday to our Mother Church!

May we cherish the life offered by our Mother, in the Sacraments, and especially receive the sweetness of the Holy Eucharist more worthily and enthusiastically!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
The transmission of the Christian faith consists primarily in proclaiming Jesus Christ in order to lead others to faith in him.

From the beginning, the first disciples burned with the desire to proclaim Christ: “We cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.”
They invite people of every era to enter into the joy of their communion with Christ: That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life – the life was made manifest, and we saw it, and testify to it…
… and proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and was made manifest to us – that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us … and our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ

… and we are writing this that our joy may be complete (Cf. CCC # 425)