REFLECTION CAPSULE – July 01, 2021: Thursday

“Realising the need to be humble in order to be admitted to the Presence of the Lord!”

(Based on Gen 22:1-19 and Mt 9:1-8 – Thursday of the 13th Week in Ordinary Time)

There is a funeral custom of a particular Austrian Royal Family.

This is in a church in which the Hapsburgs, the former ruling family of Austria are buried.

It is called the “Knocking Ceremony”

The custom takes place at the burial of every member of the Imperial Family before the entrance of the Capuchin cloister church.

When the coffin arrives at the entrance, the Grand Chamberlain knocks three times with a silver cane on the door of the Church which contains the Imperial crypt.

The guard inside asks: “Who is there?”

The Grand Chamberlain proclaims the name and titles of the deceased Hapsburg Emperor: “I am (Name) … Emperor of Austria, Apostolic King of Hungary, King of Bohemia, Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, Galicia…..etc….”

Upon hearing this, the porter refuses to open the door and says: “I do not know you.”

The Grand Chamberlain knocks on the door again and in answer to the porter’s question ‘Who is there?’ gives just the name of the deceased Emperor: “I am (Name) … His Majesty, the Emperor and the King ”

The guard inside, again refuses admission: “I do not know you.”

For a third time, the Grand Chamberlain knocks on the door and the guard asks: “Who is there?”

This time, the Grand Chamberlain simply says: “I am (Name)… a poor mortal and a sinner.”

To this, comes the response: “Come in.”

The progression in the questions and answers shows a progression towards humility.

It is only the humble who can be admitted to the Presence of the Lord!

Where there is humility, there is forgiveness of sin and celebration of mercy

Where there is only pride, there is criticism of sinners and condemnation of generosity!

The Gospel of the Day is a beautiful incident of a contrast of experiences:

The humble being received into the forgiving love of God
The pride being reprimanded to acknowledge the mercy of God!

The Gospel is the forgiveness and healing of the paralytic, when Jesus comes to His own city (Mt 9:1)

Seeing the paralytic being brought on the stretcher, and admiring their faith, Jesus had said:
“Courage child, your sins are forgiven” (Mt 9: 2)

However, some of the scribes got annoyed and commented: “This man is blaspheming” (Mt 9:3)

But Jesus, who reads the hearts of all people said:
“But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins, He then said to the paralytic,’Rise, pick up your stretcher and go home” (Mt 9:6)

Jesus was seeking to establish an important aspect…

Every sin has its evil consequences on a person

It is not that every sickness/evil/ill-happening is a result of sin…
…but the reverse is always true: That Sin always has a negative influence on a person!

The paralytic man was brought on a stretcher by the people (Mt 9:2) for a physical healing

But Jesus demonstrates to the man, his friends as well as to all around…
… that more than physical healing, one needs a spiritual cleansing
… that it is only a spiritual empowerment that can lead to integral material health

This spiritual empowerment…. This spiritual cleansing…
… needs the element of Humility!

Humility is expressed in this incident by the man who “was brought on the stretcher”

The paralytic lay in utter helplessness and misery
The paralytic was totally vulnerable and powerless

These elements constitute humility…
… acknowledging one’s helplessness and depending totally on the power of God
… accepting that one is vulnerable and weak and needs God’s strength to be empowered

The scribes who were criticising Jesus failed to have these elements…

They instead swelled up in pride and false knowledge

Only where there is humility, can there be forgiveness of sin and a celebration of mercy

Where there is only pride, there is criticism of sinners and condemnation of generosity!

Are we sick and paralysed today?

Maybe our family and community lives are paralysed by attitudes of indifference, uncaring attitude, arguments and financial difficulties
Maybe our personal lives are paralysed by uncertainties, lack of hope and shortage of inspiration and motivation
Maybe our societal lives are paralysed by rejection from others, misunderstandings and unhealthy experiences of corruption and injustice.

We need the healing touch of the Lord… We need an empowerment

This healing has to primarily begin from the spiritual dimension
This empowerment needs to start first from the spiritual perspective

When we go to the Lord in humility, we will be touched from within
… a spiritual cleansing happens and a spiritual empowerment is kindled!

The Lord came into the world, primarily as a Saviour…
… to save us!

And He intends that all of us seek Him with this prime motive above all…
… spiritual graces above material blessings
… growth in holiness over prosperity of earthly riches

One of the most important means that the Lord provides this opportunity to receive His Mercy and Healing is the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession)

Just as Jesus forgave the sins of the paralytic and restored him to bodily health…
… so too Jesus wants the Church, through the Holy Spirit, to continue his work of healing and salvation especially through the Sacrament of Reconciliation

The Sacrament of Reconciliation is a Sacrament of Healing!

We need to examine ourselves…

Has examination of conscience become part of our daily Christian lifestyle?
Do I frequent the Sacrament of Reconciliation more often and thus receive forgiveness of sins and strength for our spiritual life?
Do I make sufficient preparation for the Sacrament, and also seek to hold on to the promises and resolutions made at the Confessional?

Every Confession is to become a life-changing experience!

Confession is not a license to do more sins
Confession is not a permit to living in sin, thinking that “God will anyway forgive!”

The Sacrament of Reconciliation is a great privilege…
… It is also a Sacred Duty and places a moral obligation to seek to grow in holiness!

Of course the of the pandemic, with its restrictions, has kept many of us away from the Sacrament. However, lets, call on the Mercy of the Lord, everyday…
… and thus to receive healing from Him!

Yes, let us realise…
… that it is only the humble who can be admitted to the Presence of the Lord!

As we stand at the half-yearly marks of this Year 2021, let us thank the Lord for all His protective blessings…
… and as we enter the second half – with the month of July – lower ourselves, in total dependence on the Lord!

May we knock at the “Door of the Lord’s presence”, acknowledging in humility, that “we are mortals and sinners”…
… seeking to be healed of all the “paralysis” in our life…

And thus, hear the Saviour Lord telling us:
“Take heart, my child, your sins are forgiven!
Rise, take up your stretcher and go home!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:

During the greater part of his life Jesus shared the condition of the vast majority of human beings: a daily life spent without evident greatness, a life of manual labour. His religious life was that of a Jew obedient to the law of God, a life in the community.
From this whole period it is revealed to us that Jesus was “obedient” to his parents and that he “increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favour with God and man.”
Jesus’ obedience to his mother and legal father fulfils the fourth commandment perfectly and was the temporal image of his filial obedience to his Father in heaven.
The everyday obedience of Jesus to Joseph and Mary both announced and anticipated the obedience of Holy Thursday: “Not my will…”

The obedience of Christ in the daily routine of his hidden life was already inaugurating his work of restoring what the disobedience of Adam had destroyed (Cf. CCC # 531-532)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – June 30, 2021: Wednesday

“Growing deeper in our relation with the Lord, and with Him, being strong and bold against the storms of the evil one!”

(Based on Gen 21:5,8-20 and Mt 8:28-34 – Wednesday of the 13th Week in Ordinary Time)

Four boys were on an expedition – through the rivers and valleys and the mountain ranges.

At the end of the day, they camped – with supper by a campfire – in a lonely ravine.

However, at midnight a terrific thunderstorm encountered them.

The boys were forced to take refuge from the storm in the barn of a farmer.

They felt safe from the stormy rain and lay on the hay…
… when suddenly they heard loud noises…

This time not that of nature… but of a human voice – loud and wild.

All through the night they heard that terrible shouting.

Somehow, in fear and trembling, they managed to through the night.

When dawn appeared, they come down from the barn, and realised the reason for the noise…
The farmer’s father was mentally unstable… mad
… locked up in one of the rooms of the house!

The expedition of the boys ended up with a dual-storm-experience!
… the storm of nature’s fury – in the thunderstorm and heavy rainfall
… the storm of human anger

  • unleashed by that poor man who was hysteric

The Gospel of the Day along with the previous passage, presents two storms that are encountered by Jesus and His Disciples…
… the storm of nature’s fury – as They got caught in the heavy tempest while in the boat (Mt 8: 23-27)
… the storm of human anger – as They met the two demoniacs coming out of the tombs (Mt 8: 28-34)

In both the “stormy” and “turbulent” encounters, Jesus calms the “violence” and displays His supremacy as the Lord of all storms and turbulence.

The Gospel of the Day is the incident of the healing of the two demoniacs.

The word “demons” might immediately put off many a people… including perhaps some of us…

“Modern and learned” sceptics of the Bible dismiss demon-possession as rubbish!

Some might say that it was just a primitive manner that people had, to describe psychic or social disorders.

Some might say that it was just a superstitious belief and practice.

But when we consider the Bible in its totality and especially the ministry of Jesus, it is very evidently seen that there is not much accommodation to superstitious beliefs or practices.

Any false or fanciful superstitious stuff was in fact, corrected or rectified!

The Church teaches that the Devil is real, and not just a mythical personification of evil.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that Satan “acts in the world out of hatred for God and his kingdom in Christ Jesus, and … his action causes grave injuries” (CCC #395).

Pope Francis, in his first homily quoted: ‘He who does not pray to the Lord, prays to the Devil.’

This then is an important aspect that we see in today’s Gospel… Jesus performing this miracle of exorcism, showing His supreme power and authority over the satanic forces.

What is my understanding of Satan and the evil forces?

I need to realise that this real force opposes anything that is spiritual and holy.

This also means that wherever there is a spiritual action taking place, there is an opposition by the Devil and his evil power.

Do I arm myself with deeper faith, courage and conviction in God’s power?

Do I equip myself with greater holiness and sanctity to withstand evil influences?

The “Our Father” is a powerful prayer which invokes the power of God against the evil: “… and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from Evil”

Another important and interesting dimension that we see in today’s Gospel passage is the repulsion and disgust for Jesus…

This repulsion is displayed by two groups:

The two demoniacs
The people of the town
And this repulsion is characterised by a singular word – “begging”

The demoniacs BEGGED Him, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of swine” (Mt 8: 31)

Thereupon the whole town came to meet Jesus, and when they say Him, they BEGGED Him to leave their district” (Mt 8: 34)

The demoniacs couldn’t stand the Holiness and Power of the Lord and so they “begged” Him to cast them into the swine

The people of the town – we are not very sure, what exactly were their reasons – too had a repulsion to the Lord and “begged” Him to leave their district.

In both the cases, one thing is clear: Holiness was opposed and was found repulsive by evil forces!

Where there is Holiness, evil cannot stand!
Where there is Sanctity, satan finds it unbearable!

This then, makes it imperative on our part, as Christians, to embrace ourselves closer into holiness and immerse ourselves deeper into the power of God!

Evil is a reality…

But the power of God, is a much stronger force!

Jesus says, “Fear not, I have conquered the world”

May we grow deeper in our relation with the Lord, and with Him, be strong and bold against the “storms” of the evil one!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:

Jesus’ circumcision, on the eighth day after His Birth, is the sign of His incorporation into Abraham’s descendants, into the people of the covenant.
It is the sign of His submission to the Law and His deputation to Israel’s worship, in which He will participate throughout His Life.
This sign prefigures that “circumcision of Christ” which is Baptism.
The Epiphany is the manifestation of Jesus as Messiah of Israel, Son of God and Saviour of the world.
The great feast of Epiphany celebrates the adoration of Jesus by the wise men (magi) from the East, together with his baptism in the Jordan and the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee.
In the magi, representatives of the neighbouring pagan religions, the Gospel sees the first-fruits of the nations, who welcome the good news of salvation through the Incarnation.
The magi’s coming to Jerusalem in order to pay homage to the king of the Jews shows that they seek in Israel, in the messianic light of the star of David, the One who will be King of the nations.
Their coming means that pagans can discover Jesus and worship him as Son of God and Saviour of the world only by turning towards the Jews and receiving from them the messianic promise as contained in the Old Testament.
The Epiphany shows that “the full number of the nations” now takes its “place in the family of the patriarchs”, and acquires Israelitica dignitas (is made “worthy of the heritage of Israel”).
The presentation of Jesus in the temple shows him to be the firstborn Son who belongs to the Lord.
With Simeon and Anna, all Israel awaits its encounter with the Saviour – the name given to this event in the Byzantine tradition. Jesus is recognized as the long-expected Messiah, the “light to the nations” and the “glory of Israel”, but also “a sign that is spoken against”.
The sword of sorrow predicted for Mary announces Christ’s perfect and unique oblation on the cross that will impart the salvation God had “prepared in the presence of all peoples”.
The flight into Egypt and the massacre of the innocents make manifest the opposition of darkness to the light: “He came to his own home, and his own people received him not.”
Christ’s whole life was lived under the sign of persecution. His own share it with Him.

Jesus’ departure from Egypt recalls the exodus and presents him as the definitive liberator of God’s people (Cf. CCC # 527-530)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – June 29, 2021: Tuesday

“Imitating and following the example of St Peter and St Paul – Humble and Great Saints of the Church!”

(Based on Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul)

It is said that World History is a victorious story written by the winners, through the lives of proud emperors, famous rulers, triumphant troops…
… but Salvation History is written by God, through the lives of humble saints, repentant sinners and passionate lovers of the Lord!

God is an amazing script writer!

His Divine Wisdom, beautifully pens lives.

But often, we fail to understand this script

Failures, disappointments, tragedies…
… are mostly, considered by us, as the end of our lives….

Today, Holy Mother, the Church invites our attention to Two Persons – St Peter and St Paul…
… who faced failures, disappointments and tragedies

But remarkably, through the Divine Plan, their lives were scripted to a classic story….

St Peter was overwhelmed by the Great Fishermen of Hearts

All through the life of Jesus, we see St Peter, varying between many emotions: over-zealous, impatient, bold, courageous, simple, daring

St Paul was overpowered by the tremendous power of the Risen Lord

All through his life, we see St Paul zealous and passionate, fervent and ardent, bold and courageous.

God, the Great Script writer, knew exactly well, these two personalities…
… Their life is a paradox.

Both had their moments of rejecting, persecuting, betraying and doubting the Lord…

Both had their moments of a “turning point”
… St Peter’s call to be a Fisher of People & the Lord once again accepting him, in love, after Resurrection
… St Paul on his way to Damascus, being prevailed over by the Majestic Power of the Risen Lord!

Both had their moments of being misunderstood and facing tough moments from the people, especially, the close people, with whom, they lived with, and to whom they ministered.

Both had their moments of sharing in the Cross of Christ, in His Chalice of Suffering and in the Baptism of a Holy Death!

Today, both are honoured & venerated as Stalwarts of our Faith & the Pillars of the Church.

Peter who had been Simon; Paul who had been Saul.

Peter the fisherman, the small-town Galilean Jew; Paul the Pharisee, the scholar of the Law.

Peter always conscious of the Faith’s Old Testament roots; Paul who found in Christ, “all things new.”

Peter who had lived and walked with Jesus; Paul who encountered the Risen Jesus.

Peter crucified on an inverted Cross; Paul martyred by the Sword.

Two very different persons.
Two different temperaments.
But ONE in their Zeal, Passion, Love, Mission, Enthusiasm, Fervour…All for the Lord!

These saints have much to teach us…
… and much to be imitated!

Is the story of our life, suffering from a ‘bad-script,’ at the moment?

There is Hope… in the Lord!

Are there areas in our life, where there is persecution?

There is Salvation…in the Lord!

Are there moments in our life when we feel betrayed or cheated?

There is Love… in the Lord!

Are there situations of rejection and loneliness in our life?

There is Acceptance… in the Lord!

Are there times of doubt or tears or pain in the depth of our heart?

There is Healing… in the Lord!

The Lord, the Mighty Rock… promised and declared St Peter to be the Rock!

The Lord, the Good News… promised and declared St Paul to be the Evangelizer!

Today He invites us to imitate & follow the example of these Humble and Great Saints of the Church.

Let us grow in Obedience, in Love and in Dependence… like St Peter

Let us grow in Passion, in Courage and in Openness… like St Paul!

Happy Feast of St Peter and St Paul, the Pillars of the Church to all of us, the Seekers of their Intercession and Zeal!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:

Jesus was born in a humble stable, into a poor family.
Simple shepherds were the first witnesses to this event. In this poverty heaven’s glory was made manifest.
The Church never tires of singing the glory of this night: The Virgin today brings into the world the Eternal and the earth offers a cave to the Inaccessible. The angels and shepherds praise him and the magi advance with the star, For you are born for us, Little Child, God eternal!
To become a child in relation to God is the condition for entering the kingdom.
For this, we must humble ourselves and become little.
Even more: to become “children of God” we must be “born from above” or “born of God”.
Only when Christ is formed in us will the mystery of Christmas be fulfilled in us.

Christmas is the mystery of this “marvellous exchange”: O marvellous exchange! Man’s Creator has become man, born of the Virgin. We have been made sharers in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share our humanity (Cf. CCC # 525-526)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – June 28, 2021: Monday

“Being a ‘Disciple’ – an ever-faithful and committed Christian!”

(Based on Gen 18:16-33 and Mt 8:18-22 – Monday of the 13th Week in Ordinary Time)

We are living in an age of an insistent inclination to the “Instant”….

We seek for…

Instant Coffees…
Instant Food…
Instant Juices…
Instant Pleasures…
Instant Solutions to problems…
Instant end to difficulties…
And sadly… even an inclination for Instant Christianity!

Christianity sometimes gets reduced to…
… Going to Church once in a while especially on a Sunday or a Feast day
… Saying a few prayers time to time
… Reading a few verses from the Bible.. etc…

And then expecting Instant blessings and favours!

But is this all that Christ intended with Christianity?

What does it mean to be a Follower of Christ?

There are various categories or classifications in the job sector.

Some do a full time job
Some do it part time
Some do it on a contract basis
Some do it to achieve a target.

Am I a Christian, as a full timer…?

Or have I reduced it to a part time affair, or in terms of some contract or promises, or in order to achieve some wants and desires?

The Gospel of the Day is a call to re-look at some of the motives and intentions in our following of Christ.

The Gospel of the Day begins with the verse:
Mt 8:18 – “When He saw the crowd press around Him, Jesus gave orders to cross to the other shore”
The preceding verses in Chapter 8 of the Gospel of St Matthew present Jesus performing many miracles and healings…
… and a “Crowd” being attracted to the Lord.

Where there is a miraculous event, a crowd gathers….

But the Lord, wished to sift this Crowd.

He says, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His Head” (Mt 8: 20)

Jesus does away with any promise of security and comfort

He discourages people from following Him for having a better material life!

It was not that He didn’t want many people…
… but He wished to purify their motives & make them authentic in their following Him!

He sifts and sieves and strains the “Crowd”…to get together the “Disciples”.

Where there is a miraculous event, a crowd gathers…

But when there is an exhortation in being committed to that miraculous event…
… the crowd is filtered…and only the Disciples remain back!

The Lord is asking us today…
Are we just a part of the CROWD…?
… or are we ready to be filtered, and be a DISCIPLE?

It is easy to be part of a Crowd….

We can enjoy the occasional miracles
We can relish hearing the Word of God

But it is not easy to be a Disciple…

The experience of external miracles would be few
The Word of God would not just be heard, but also be expected to be lived and practised in life!
There would be no guarantee of any security in life
Many of the personal desires would have to be left behind…

To be a Disciple is hard…
… undoubtedly painful…and certainly, demanding

But to be a Disciple is also joyful…
… undoubtedly satisfying…and certainly, exciting!!

The Crowd is Casual…
… the Disciple is Dedicated!

The Crowd is Dichotomous…
… the Disciple is Committed!

What are we going to choose?

To be part of the “Crowd” – an Instant and easy-going Christian?
… or to be a “Disciple” – an Ever-faithful and committed Christian?

Your answer please?
… Instantly!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:

The coming of God’s Son to earth is an event of such immensity that God willed to prepare for it over centuries.
He makes everything converge on Christ: all the rituals and sacrifices, figures and symbols of the “First Covenant”.
He announces Him through the mouths of the prophets who succeeded one another in Israel. Moreover, He awakens in the hearts of the pagans a dim expectation of this coming.
St. John the Baptist is the Lord’s immediate precursor or forerunner, sent to prepare His way.
“Prophet of the Most High” John surpasses all the prophets, of whom he is the last.
He inaugurates the Gospel, already from his mother’s womb welcomes the coming of Christ, and rejoices in being “the friend of the bridegroom”, whom he points out as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”.
Going before Jesus “in the spirit and power of Elijah,” John bears witness to Christ in his preaching, by his baptism of conversion, and through his martyrdom.
When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Saviour’s first coming…
… the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming.

By celebrating the precursor’s birth and martyrdom, the Church unites herself to his desire: “He must increase, but I must decrease” (Cf. CCC # 522-524)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – June 27, 2021: Sunday

“Offering our world of burdens to Jesus, telling Him, ‘Here I am Lord; here’s my life. I give you my world, the whole world’ and thus feel energetic and enthusiastic!”

(Based on Wis 1:13-15, 2:23-24, 2 Cor 8:7, 9, 13-15 and Mk 5:21-43 – 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time)

A person came to a spiritual counsellor to share his difficulties and problems of life.

During the break of the counselling session, as the two took a walk in the garden area, the person who was had come to share the difficulties, noticed a large statue of the Atlas.

(The Statue of Atlas is of a well-built man, who with all his muscles straining…
… is holding the world upon his shoulders)

Seeing that statue of Atlas who was struggling to hold the world, the man told the counsellor:
“Do you see that man struggling to hold the world on his shoulders?

That’s exactly how I feel in my life as well!
The burden of the whole world seems to be on my shoulders and I feel exasperated!”

The counsellor gave a gentle smile to the man and asked him to have his eyes on the other side of the street.
“Look at that statue,” said the counsellor.

The man noticed, at a distance, the statue of Infant Jesus…
… Who was holding the world(globe) in His Hands.

And the counsellor continued:
“We have a choice in life!

We can either follow Atlas and feel as if the entire world of burden is placed on my shoulders…
… and thus feel exasperated and exhausted!

Or we can follow Jesus and offer our world of burdens to Him, Who will hold it in His Hands…
… and thus feel energetic and enthusiastic!

The Gospel of the Day recounts two people who had an encounter with Jesus, and offered their world of burdens to Him…
… and thus felt energetic and enthusiastic!

Sicknesses and diseases are great interrupters in life…
.. they enter into the house of life, without knocking at the doors
… they disrupt many plans and aspirations
… they reduce the hope for the future

The Gospel is a narration of two persons who encountered this interruption in life…

  1. Jairus’ daughter – on the death bed – would have dashed many hopes of their family
  2. The long suffering of the woman – with hemorrhage – would have crushed her aspirations

Both these persons – Jairus and the woman with the hemorrhage underwent similar struggles….

One had tremendous mental agony as a result of worry for his beloved child…
The other had also tremendous physical agony along with her mental and social stigmas…

Both their sufferings had reached a saturation point of tolerance…

Both of them were struggling immensely to swim across the ocean of agony and pain…

But both these persons also displayed a similar sort of faith in the Lord….
“Seeing Jesus, Jairus fell at His feet and pleaded earnestly with Him…” (Mk 5:22)

“…realizing what had happened to her, the woman approached Jesus in fear and trembling; fell down before Jesus and told Him the whole truth” (Mk5: 33)

They both “offered their world of burdens” to Jesus…
… in deep faith and trust…
… with much love and devotion
… with great expectations and hopes

The “offering of their burdens” was a sign of total submission and surrender

Jairus offered himself to the power and mercy of the Lord…
The woman with haemorrhage offered herself to the compassion and love of the Lord…

This made them to experience the power of the Lord.

When we offer ourselves fully to the holy and precious Will of the Lord…
… we come in contact with His Divine Providence and Wonder

When we submit ourselves to the mighty power and providence of God…
…we experience His Divine Strength and Courage
When we surrender ourselves to the dominion and sovereignty of God…
… we encounter His marvelous presence and guidance

Our Christian Life – with all its challenges – places before us choices:

We can either feel that the entire world of burden is placed on our shoulders…
… and thus feel exasperated and exhausted!

Or we can offer our world of burdens to Jesus, telling Him, “’Here I am Lord; here’s my life. I give you my world, the whole world’…
… and thus feel energetic and enthusiastic!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:

All Christ’s riches “are for every individual and are everybody’s property.”
Christ did not live his life for himself but for us, from his Incarnation “for us men and for our salvation” to his death “for our sins” and Resurrection “for our justification”.
He is still “our advocate with the Father”, who “always lives to make intercession” for us.
He remains ever “in the presence of God on our behalf, bringing before him all that he lived and suffered for us.”
In all of his life, Jesus presents himself as our model. He is “the perfect man,” who invites us to become his disciples and follow him. In humbling himself, he has given us an example to imitate, through his prayer he draws us to pray, and by his poverty he calls us to accept freely the privation and persecutions that may come our way.
Christ enables us to live in him all that he himself lived, and he lives it in us. “By his Incarnation, he, the Son of God, has in a certain way united himself with each man.”

We are called only to become one with him, for he enables us as the members of his Body to share in what he lived for us in his flesh as our model: We must continue to accomplish in ourselves the stages of Jesus’ life and his mysteries and often to beg him to perfect and realize them in us and in his whole Church… For it is the plan of the Son of God to make us and the whole Church partake in his mysteries and to extend them to and continue them in us and in his whole Church. This is his plan for fulfilling his mysteries in us (Cf. CCC # 519-521)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – June 26, 2021: Saturday

“Having a strong faith that prevents any blocks in the ‘horizon of our faith’”

(Based on Gen 18:1-15 and Mt 8:5-17 – Saturday of the 12th Week in Ordinary Time)

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 -1894) was a Scottish novelist, poet, essayist, and travel writer.

He was a literary celebrity during his lifetime.
He ranks among the 26 most translated authors in the world!

He was also a great optimist and had a very strong positive outlook towards life.

But he was also often sick and would not keep well.

Once he was bedridden with tuberculosis.

His wife, sick of his extreme positivity, made fun of him and said: “I expect you still believe that it is a wonderful day!”

Lying on the bed, with a series of medicine bottles on his table, Stevenson looked out of the window, with the sunshine blazing down, and said: “Oh yes, I do!

I will never let a row of medicine bottles block my horizon!”

What about us?

Do the problems of life block the horizon of our faith?

The Gospel of the Day is a wonderful exhibition of a powerful faith, which refused to get limited by the problems of life.

The passage begins with a centurion approaching Jesus with a request:
“Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, in terrible distress” (Mt 8:6)

Here is a beautiful example worth admiring and imitating….

A high placed military officer approaches Jesus for a healing of his servant

A wonderful illustration of humility, a striking example of concern for people in the lower position.

We need to ask ourselves…
… What is my attitude to those who are inferior to me?
… How do I treat and behave with those who work for us, in our houses, institutions etc – our servants, our cooks, our drivers, our watchmen etc…?

All of them deserve…
… an act of concern!
… a word of appreciation
… a push of encouragement

When Jesus expresses His willingness to come to his house, the Centurion manifests yet another admiring act…
… a Faith that dares the challenges all problems
… A Faith that defies the shocks of troubles!

He responds to Jesus saying: “Lord, I am not worthy to have you under my roof; only say the Word and my servant will be healed” (Mt 8:8)

Who is a centurion?

A centurion was a professional officer of the powerful army of the Roman Empire.

Although, theoretically, this word has its roots in the Latin word ‘centum’ which means one hundred…
… a Centurion in the Roman Army was one who commanded 80 men.

What was the position of the Centurion in the Roman Army?

Above the centurion was a senior centurion… (a total of 80 men for a Centurion)
Above this senior centurion were sixty centurions… (a total of 4800 men)
Above the sixty centurions were six tribunes… (each tribune had 3000 men.. so total 18, 000)
Above the six tribunes were the two consuls.
Above the consuls was the Emperor!

It was such a “man of immense authority” who stood before Jesus…
… and requested for a healing for his servant.

This mighty centurion looked at Jesus, the Commanding Emperor of a mighty army!

In Jesus, he saw a man…
… of immense authority!
… of mighty strength!
… of great power!

And so He tells Jesus, “… only say a word, and my servant will be healed” (Mt 8: 8b)

The man had a deep concern for his servant

He had a tenderness that caused him to identify with the sufferings of his slave

But he also had a deep faith that refused to be limited by problems and difficulties

His faith was strong and refused the challenges of life to hamper his belief in Jesus!

The centurion did not allow the problems of life to block the “horizon of his faith!”

How about us?

Do our hardships in life, sometimes cause a mist in the horizon of our faith?
Do the concerns of our family and community, sometimes hinder our horizon of our faith?
Do the problems of our future, our plans and our works, cause blocks in the horizon of our faith?

Let us we respond positively to the challenge and invitation of the Centurion in today’s Gospel…
… to have a deeper humility that causes us to reach out to others in concern and care
… to have a stronger faith that prevents any blocks in the “horizon of our faith”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:

Christ’s whole earthly life – His words and deeds, His silences and sufferings, indeed His manner of being and speaking – is Revelation of the Father.
Jesus can say: “Whoever has seen Me has seen the Father”, and the Father can say: “This is My Son, My Chosen; listen to Him!”
Because our Lord became man in order to do His Father’s Will, even the least characteristics of His mysteries manifest “God’s love… among us”
Christ’s whole life is a mystery of redemption.
Redemption comes to us above all through the blood of his cross, but this mystery is at work throughout Christ’s entire life
… already in His Incarnation through which by becoming poor He enriches us with His poverty
… in His hidden life which by His submission atones for our disobedience
… in His Word which purifies its hearers
… in His healings and exorcisms by which “He took our infirmities and bore our diseases”
… and in His Resurrection by which He justifies us
Christ’s whole life is a mystery of recapitulation. All Jesus did, said and suffered had for its aim restoring fallen man to his original vocation
When Christ became incarnate and was made man, he recapitulated in himself the long history of mankind and procured for us a “short cut” to salvation, so that what we had lost in Adam, that is, being in the image and likeness of God, we might recover in Christ Jesus.

For this reason Christ experienced all the stages of life, thereby giving communion with God to all men (Cf. CCC # 514-515)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – June 25, 2021: Friday

“Showing the world that we are redeemed, so that they will believe in our Redeemer!”

(Based on Gen 17:1-10, 15-22 and Mt 8:1-4 – Friday of the 12th Week in Ordinary Time)

A missionary who stepped into a village for the first time had an interaction with the village headman.

After knowing that the missionary was there to speak about the Gospel, the village headman, who was open to the truth, stood up…
… and asked the missionary: “Do you want us to know about Jesus Christ?
Then prove it also by your life!”

He went on to say, “As I welcome you to this village, I also appeal to you:
Not only tell us about Christ, but show us Christ!

Show us that you are redeemed, and we will believe in your Redeemer!”

Yes, so true is the saying: “Christianity refuses to be proved first and practiced afterwards…
… its practice and its proof go hand in hand!”

• Theoretical knowledge shows the whole forest – builds the context and helps to set strategy.
• Practical knowledge shows a single tree – puts forth the situation and challenges to act.

The Gospel of the Day is the narrative of the ‘first in the series’ of practical applications of the theoretical knowledge that Jesus has expounded through the Sermon on the Mount

The Gospel is a great challenge to all of us who are expected to “Not only tell about Christ, but also show Christ!”

The incident of the cleansing of the Leper in Mt 8: 1-4 is placed immediately after the Great Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:1- 7:29)
• The Sermon on the Mount was the theoretical knowledge that Jesus expounded
• The cleansing of the leper was the theoretical application of some of those principles

At the start of the Sermon on the Mount, we read “When Jesus saw the CROWDS, He went up to the mountain…..” (Mt 5:1)

At the end of the Sermon on the Mount, we read, “When Jesus came down from the mountain, great CROWDS followed Him” (Mt 8:1)

• Many people in the crowd have listened and marvelled at the teachings of Jesus.
• Many of them now follow Him…

Perhaps to see how He would apply those lofty teachings in real life
Perhaps to see whether all those high ideas were really liveable in actual life

And what is the scene that they encounter?

A leper who approaches Jesus!

“A leper!!”… Ooops!!

“Stay away, all” would have been the united chorus of that multitude of crowd!

Leprosy was one of the most feared and dreaded disease of the ancient world.

The Hebrew word for leprosy (Tsara’ath) comes from a root word which means “to scourge or to strike.”

Leprosy was very often, considered a curse.

It was incurable and highly deadly – blatantly evident on the body and an ugly sight!

Leprosy was almost a ‘living death’, with many sweeping implications.

A person would be declared a leper after tests were performed (Lev. 13).
Once declared a leper by the priest, the leper had to be cut-off from contact with society.

• He had to display marks of mourning, as if for the dead (thus, to touch him would defile oneself)
• When someone drew near, he had to call out, “Unclean! Unclean!”
• He had to remain outside the camp with no access to the temple or perform any worship.

Leprosy was, indeed, a living death!

The crowd who saw this leper approach and worship Jesus would have had mixed feelings – shock… anger… unpleasantness…

They would have been also very curious what would Jesus do…
“He preached so much… let’s see what He does now”
“Is He really going to touch and get defiled by that dirty leper?”

But the Lord was not just well-versed in theoretical knowledge; He was also the perfect executioner of applied knowledge!

Theoretically He had said…
“Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees and the Scribes, you shall not enter the Kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:20)

He now goes beyond the ceremonial stipulations of the Law and ‘touches’ and heals the leper (Mt 8:3)

Theoretically He had said…
“… take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them” (Mt 6:1)

He tells the leper not to make a publicized show of his cure; instead to ‘show himself to the priest and offer the gift that Moses commanded’ (Mt 8:4)

Theoretically He had said…
“Judge not, that, you may not be judged” (Mt 7:1)

He doesn’t condemn or despise or mock the leper who comes close to him and instead expresses his whole-hearted willingness to shower mercy on him by saying, “I am willing; be clean” (Mt 8:3)

Theoretically He had said…
“Not everyone who says Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the Will of the Father in heaven” (7:21)

He puts into effect His teachings, ‘walking the talk’ and fulfilling the Will of the Father to be a Healer and Saviour to people.

The Lord was not just an eloquent and effective preacher but also a committed and convinced practiser of what He spoke.
• His deeds matched His wonderful words!
• His words produced dazzling deeds!

This then is the invitation to us too:
To have an integral Christian Life by being a Preacher of the Word (in whichever little or insignificant way possible) and a Practiser of the Word (through a witnessing and charitable life)

May the touch of the Lord take away any ‘leprous’ tendencies in our mind and life and free us from any bondage in order to live a firm and committed Christian Life!

Let us all become a zealous missionary with a clear awareness that we “not only need tell about Christ, but we also need to show Christ to the world!”

Yes, “let us show the world that we are redeemed, so that they will believe in our Redeemer!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:

Many things about Jesus of interest to human curiosity do not figure in the Gospels.
Almost nothing is said about his hidden life at Nazareth, and even a great part of his public life is not recounted.
What is written in the Gospels was set down there “so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.”
The Gospels were written by men who were among the first to have the faith…
… and wanted to share it with others.
Having known in faith who Jesus is, they could see and make others see the traces of his mystery in all his earthly life.
From the swaddling clothes of his birth to the vinegar of his Passion and the shroud of his Resurrection, everything in Jesus’ life was a sign of his mystery.
His deeds, miracles and words all revealed that “in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.”
His humanity appeared as “sacrament”, that is, the sign and instrument, of His Divinity and of the Salvation He brings: what was visible in His earthly life…

… leads to the invisible mystery of His Divine Sonship and Redemptive Mission! (Cf. CCC # 514-515)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – June 24, 2021: Thursday

“Living in ‘hope’ and becoming beacons of spreading this ‘hope and trust’ to others.”

(Based on the Solemnity of the Nativity of St John the Baptist)

There was a school system in a large city that had a program, to help children keep up with their school assignments…
… during the time when the children were admitted for sicknesses.

One day a teacher who was assigned to this program, received a call asking her to visit a particular child.

She took the child’s name and room number and had a short talk with the child’s regular class teacher.
“We’re studying about words in his class now – nouns and adverbs,” the class teacher said, “and I’d be grateful if you could help him understand them so he doesn’t fall too far behind.”

The hospital-program teacher went to see the boy that afternoon.

The boy had met with a bad accident, been badly burnt and was in great pain.

Upset at the sight of the boy, she stammered as she told him, “I’ve been sent by your school to help you with nouns and adverbs.”

When she left after teaching, she felt she hadn’t accomplished much.

But the next day, a nurse asked her, “What did you do to that boy?”

The teacher felt she must have done something wrong and began to apologize.

“No, no,” said the nurse. “You don’t know what I mean. We’ve been worried about that little boy, but ever since yesterday, you met him, his whole attitude has changed.

He’s fighting back, responding to treatment…

It’s as though he’s decided to live!”

Two weeks later, the boy explained that he had completely given up hope until the teacher arrived.

Everything changed when he came to a simple realization which he expressed it this way:
“They wouldn’t send a teacher to teach about words, and work on ‘nouns and adverbs’ with a dying boy, would they?”

The gesture of teaching about “words” reinforced hope and courage to that dying boy!

Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear.

If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today!

The Feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist comes with this great message of “hope!”

The Gospel presents the beautiful incident of the birth and naming of St John the Baptist.

The birth of John the Baptist is the pivot around which the history of our faith turns.

He was the last prophet of the Old Covenant – and the first of the New Covenant.

One of the highlighting aspects of the birth of John the Baptist is the message that “hope is not to be lost, even in the midst of extreme barrenness!”

The Gospel of St Luke says that “Elizabeth and Zechariah, both were advanced in years”, but they had no child; Elizabeth was barren” (Lk 1: 7)

Elizabeth’s barrenness was also symbolic of the barrenness of the land, of the world and of the entire humanity…

Wickedness had caused creation to be incapable of nurturing and sustaining life
Sin had rendered human beings infertile, to bear God’s grace and live in holiness

But God…
… is the God of hope
… the God of fulfilling every promise
… and the God of surprises!

From the barrenness of Elizabeth emerged the forerunner of the One who is Life!

From the barrenness of the world, God gave rise to the Fountain of hope and trust!

The entire life of St John – through the key events – is a spectacular reminder of this great virtue of “hope”…

A. The conception of John
Even when there is barrenness all around, we need to “hope” in God who is able to work miracles and give us life and joy!

B. The naming of John
Even when there are many worldly voices that seek to distract us from the ways that God wishes for us, we need to “hope” in God and follow whatever He wills, so as to find glory and joy in Him!

C. The life of John in the desert
Even when life takes us through the deserts of emptiness, dangers, hardships and misery, we need to “hope” in God who has a definite plan and purpose for our life!

D. The beheading of John
Even when we become victims of cruelty, exploitation, wickedness and inhumanness, we need to “hope” in God by living a life of truth, courage, convictions and valour!

The Church celebrates the Nativity of only three persons, in her liturgical calendar…
Jesus -“Hope” Himself

Mother Mary – the Mother of “Hope”
John the Baptist – the symbol of “Hope”
We are invited to have our lives truly rooted in “hope” and become beacons of spreading this “hope and trust” to others.

There are many who are sick in our world.

There are many who are burnt by the fires of afflictions and at the point of death
There are many who have lost all faith in life and give themselves up to despair and dejection.

Our gestures of teaching about “The Word – Jesus” can reinforce hope and courage to those dying…
… in sin, in affliction, in depression, in loneliness.

Wish you a Happy Feast of the Nativity of the “symbol of Hope” – St John the Baptist.

May Jesus our “Hope” and Blessed Mamma, our “Mother of Hope” strengthen us!

God bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:

Concerning Christ’s life the Creed speaks only about the mysteries of the Incarnation (conception and birth) and Paschal mystery (passion, crucifixion, death, burial, descent into hell, resurrection and ascension).
It says nothing explicitly about the mysteries of Jesus’ hidden or public life, but the articles of faith concerning his Incarnation and Passover do shed light on the whole of his earthly life.
“All that Jesus did and taught, from the beginning until the day when he was taken up to heaven”, is to be seen in the light of the mysteries of Christmas and Easter.

According to circumstances, catechesis will make use of all the richness of the mysteries of Jesus. >> Here it is enough merely to indicate some elements common to all the mysteries of Christ’s life, in order then to sketch the principal mysteries of Jesus’ hidden and public life. (Cf. CCC # 512-513)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – June 23, 2021: Wednesday

“Allowing the Love of the Lord to infill our heart to experience true peace and joy!”

(Based on Gen 15:1-18 and Mt 7:15-20 – Wednesday of the 12th Week in Ordinary Time)

Joseph Grimaldi was an English actor, comedian and dancer, who became a very popular English entertainer in the 18th century.

This celebrated clown, used to go through phases of depression.

Once he went to a physician to obtain a cure for his depressed spirit.

The physician however, did not know who the patient was…
… and thought, he only needed a little amusement
He failed to realise that this man was a comedian himself.

So the physician said to him, “I think one of the best solutions for you is…
… go down the town, and there is a person named Grimaldi.
Hear his amusements… and am sure, you will be out of your depression!”

“But, doctor,” was the grim answer that came back, “I am Grimaldi!”

Even though he was a person who was able to make all others happy…
… within himself, Grimaldi failed to experience inner joy and peace of mind.

Does it happen with us as well…

Externally things seem to be good and fine…
… but perhaps, internally we are experiencing pain and brokenness!

Exteriorly, maybe we have fair amount of money, luxuries and comfort…
… but perhaps, interiorly, we fail to have a sense of true joy and peace of mind

We are invited today to shun off every external “mask or façade” and truly bear fruits of peace, joy and love!

The Gospel of the Day is a stern admonition by Jesus on the need “to become aware of any such spiritual deception and pretence” that can ruin our Christian Faith.

The world is fraught with a lot of dangers.

There are physical, social, emotional, environmental, intellectual, occupational dangers etc.

Most of the time, we are aware of these dangers…
And we take means and measures…
… to be protected from them
… and to keep ourselves free from harm.

But there is also another very important area to which, many of us…
… either remain ignorant
… or don’t pay much attention
… or take it very lightly

They are “Spiritual Dangers”

Today, the Gospel discusses one of the most powerful Spiritual Dangers: DECEPTION!

The power of this danger lies in the fact that it is…
… very “subtle”
… very “tricky”
… and apparently appears to be highly “good”!

Jesus cautions: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Mt 7:15)

The Lord begins today’s Gospel with the word, “BEWARE”!

This is a strong word that is used in Greek – “prosecho”

“pros” means ‘before’
“echo” means ‘hold’
Thus, “prosecho” means “hold before”!

BEWARE – Prosecho – means…
… to hold one’s mind back from
… never to expose one’s mind

Jesus in the previous verses had given an invitation to walk along the narrow gate…

“Enter through the narrow gate…” (Mt 7:13)

In this striving to “enter through” to the gate of life…
… Jesus issues a strict warning to be aware of the false prophets who would misguide and lead astray

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing…” (Mt 7: 15)

In Palestine, the most dangerous enemy of the sheep was the wolf!

It was a natural enemy, roaming the hills…

It would wait for a flock of sheep
At the precise moment, it would come out of its place of hiding
And snatch the sheep and rip it to shreds!

The sheep would be totally defenceless against such prowling wolves!

The Lord presents this imagery to His followers – His sheep: Of being aware of such “sheep-clothed” wolves!

We have in the world, today…

Many religious philosophies
Varied spiritual methods
A number of attractive theological views
… which present Religion in a very alluring, charming and pleasant way!
… which presents Christianity as a bed of roses – cosy, comfy and casual!

But let us give heed to the Cry of the Lord: BEWARE!

Let us not bleed away our precious spiritual life and our Christian Faith!

Are we a seeking a Life…
… without the Cross and the Crucified Lord?

Are we fascinated to a Prosperity Gospel which glorifies richness & success & good social life…
… but nothing on repentance, virtuous life & inner holiness?

Are we attracted to “fiery preachers” and “awesome praise and worship” which appears good…
… but are deprived of the Real Sacramental Presence found only in the Catholic Church?

Let us also BEWARE and examine…

The books we read…
The talks we engage in…
The jokes we indulge in…
The habits we occupy ourselves with…
The music and the songs we delight in…

Are they all worthy of being “Christian”…
… or are they deceptively and subtly leading us away from the innocence and honesty of Christian Life?

Are they in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves?

Yes, we need to Beware!!

We need to examine:

Am I really on the watch, with respect to my spiritual life…
… or I am, exposing myself to the deceptive techniques of satan?

Jesus said: “By their fruits, you will know them…” (Mt 7:16)

Gal 5:22 says “The fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control!”

In all our actions… and with respect to all peoples…
… let us weigh their truthfulness in the light of these “Fruits of the Holy Spirit”
… let us check their reliability by the yardstick of these “Fruits of the Holy Spirit”

The world will often resort to “deception and pretence” to suit its needs and wants…

The world will often take recourse to “deception and pretence” to rob spiritual resources…
But, as Christians, we need to be aware, as well as be on our guard, constantly…
… preserving our innocence
… and keeping alight our light of faith!

Let us realise that no amount of external goodness, money, luxuries or comfort…
… can “vaccinate” us from pain and brokenness!

It’s only when we allow the Presence of the Lord to heal us…
It’s only when we allow the Love of the Lord to infill our hearts…

That we can experience true peace and joy!

Let’s pray therefore: “O Lord, you know that there are so many moments when I externally need to make others happy and put up a smiling face…
… even though I am broken and depressed within

I pray, at this moment…
… that Your Tender Mercy may heal, strengthen and renew me
… so that I truly become an Icon of Love and Peace in the world
I believe that by the Power of Your Love, I can truly become a joyful person, Amen!”

God bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
By his virginal conception, Jesus, the New Adam, ushers in the new birth of children adopted in the Holy Spirit through faith. “How can this be?”

Participation in the divine life arises “not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God”.
The acceptance of this life is virginal because it is entirely the Spirit’s gift to man.
The spousal character of the human vocation in relation to God is fulfilled perfectly in Mary’s VIRGINAL Motherhood.

Mary is a virgin because her virginity is the sign of her faith “unadulterated by any doubt”, and of her undivided gift of herself to God’s will.
It is Her faith that enables her to become the mother of the Saviour: “Mary is more blessed because she embraces faith in Christ than because she conceives the flesh of Christ.”
At once Virgin and Mother, Mary is the symbol and the most perfect realization of the Church: “the Church indeed…

… by receiving the word of God in faith becomes herself a mother. By preaching and Baptism she brings forth sons, who are conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of God, to a new and immortal life. She herself is a virgin, who keeps in its entirety and purity the faith she pledged to her spouse. (Cf. CCC # 499-501)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – June 22, 2021: Tuesday

“Making a choice for the Divine, Who alone can sustain our lives!”

(Based on Gen 13:2, 5-18 and Mt 7:6-14 – Tuesday of the 12th Week in Ordinary Time)

A man once came to a crossroad, which had a church on one side, and a golf-park on the other.

At the crossroad was an interesting sign board.

It read…

Make a choice!
Would you – like Lot – look at the greenery and be attracted to spend time there?
… or would you, like Abraham, be ready to walk in, to have an encounter with the Divine?

The greens may attract you…allure you… and entertain you
… but remember, its only the Divine that can sustain you!

Life indeed attracts us with many things that can allure and entertain us

But Christian Life demands that we make a choice – for God and His Virtues
… a choice to enter by the “narrow gate”

Jesus says, “Enter by the narrow gate… for the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Mt 7: 13-14)

The Sermon on the Mount continues with Jesus presenting the wonderful message of the Kingdom of God and its radical requirements.

One of the key aspects in the Sermon on the Mount is the demand made on the part of the disciple to “make a choice”
• One has to radically “make a choice” for the Kingdom of God.
• One has to stay committed to this “choice” that is taken and live it to the fullness.

It is this “choice” that will determine whether our entry to eternity…
… eternal condemnation – is through the “wide gate” or
… eternal life – is through the “narrow gate”.

Jesus says that it is easy to pass through the wide gate…
• All those who choose not to live in accordance to the Gospel values
• All those who are content to make life “merry” and just “live life to the max”
• All those who fail to respond to God’s Grace and deny having a life in Him

But this will lead to doom and condemnation!

To pass through the narrow gate is hard…
• All those who make a choice to live according to the teachings of the Lord
• All those who boldly seek to proclaim the Kingdom by their faithful and holy lives
• All those who constantly hold on to the Lord despite hardships and difficulties in life

But this will lead to joy and eternal life!

The book of Genesis tells us about how two people looked at life differently…

Lot – who looked with “human eyes” and was enticed by the external attractions and allurements
Abraham – who chose to look with a “Divine vision;” though he had to “see rivers in the wilderness with the eyes of faith”

“Human eyes” can often deceive and land in folly… just as Lot would experience!

But “Divine vision” always upholds and guides to blessings… just as Abraham would experience!

As we stand at the crossroads of our life, let’s make a choice, remembering…
… The “greens of worldly pleasures” may attract us …allure us… and entertain us

But, it’s only the Divine that can sustain us!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
The eyes of faith can discover in the context of the whole of Revelation the mysterious reasons why God in his saving plan wanted his Son to be born of a virgin.

These reasons touch both on the person of Christ and his redemptive mission, and on the welcome Mary gave that mission on behalf of all men.
Mary’s virginity manifests God’s absolute initiative in the Incarnation. Jesus has only God as Father. “He was never estranged from the Father because of the human nature which he assumed.
He is naturally Son of the Father as to his divinity and naturally son of his mother as to his humanity, but properly Son of the Father in both natures.”
Jesus is conceived by the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mary’s womb because he is the New Adam, who inaugurates the new creation: “The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven.”
From His conception, Christ’s humanity is filled with the Holy Spirit, for God “gives him the Spirit without measure.”

From “His fullness” as the head of redeemed humanity “we have all received, grace upon grace (Cf. CCC # 502-504)