REFLECTION CAPSULE – Aug 22, 2021: Sunday

“Rising up to the challenge to remain loyal and faithful to the demands placed on us by Christ, our Powerful and Mighty King!”

(Based on Josh 24:1-2, 15-18, Eph 5:21-32 and Jn 6:60-69 – 21st Sunday of the Year in Ordinary Year)

“Tom Brown’s School Days” is an 1857 novel by Thomas Hughes.

The story is set in the 1830s at Rugby School, a public school for boys.

Much of the novel is based on the author’s experiences in the school.

There is a fine passage in Tom Brown’s School Days which tells of a boy who had the courage to stand up against ridicule.

A new boy – a Christian – had come to the school.

On his first night, in a room where there were twelve beds and boys, he knelt down to say his prayers.

But the boy became the object of ridicule and fun…
… others began to make poking comments
… some others began to laugh and giggle, humiliating him and his faith.

Tom Brown had been observing all the while.

It was at that time, that Tom also saw a heavy slipper flying through the air toward the head of the kneeling boy.

But the boy remained unperturbed and finished his prayers.

When the lights went out a little later, Tom Brown thought of his own mother, and the prayers that she had taught him to say, but which he had never said since he came to Rugby.

Then and there he made a decision that the next time he went to bed, he, too, would say his prayers.

When that next night came, the other boys in the room, ready to laugh and scoff at this newcomer who said his prayers, were amazed to see…
…Tom Brown, whom they all respected and feared, kneel down at the side of his bed and pray.

The courageous prayer of the boy, in spite of the ridicule, won the respect of all his companions!

Yes, Christianity demands…

And only the ones who are willing to respond to these demands are worthy of being the Followers of the Lord.

It pays to be a Christian!

It costs much to be a Follower of Christ!

In the Gospel of the Day, the Lord is pretty straight-forward and candid in His challenging requirements and would even ask us, as He asks His disciples, “Do you also wish to go away?” (Jn 6: 67)

We are at the concluding portion of the 6th Chapter of the Gospel of St John – known as the chapter on the Discourse of the Bread of Life.

The hearers of Jesus, from the beginning of this Chapter have been taken through a very intriguing path…

It began with the fragrance of compassion and mercy being radiated by the Lord in the multiplication of the loaves (Jn 6: 1-15)

This fragrance developed into an aura of authority and power that was displayed in the incident of the walking on the water (Jn 6: 16-21)

This aura began to radiate more gloriously through His teachings on He being the Bread of Life (Jn 6: 22-59)

This glorious splendour was further revealed and explained when He declared Himself as the Son of Man who would ascend to where He was (Jn 6: 61-62)

The Chapter, as it’s nears the conclusion, finds many of the hearers abandoning Christ.

Therefore we read, “As a result of this, many of His disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied Him” (Jn 6:66)

It seemed nice and wonderful to be the followers of Christ, when He provided food to their satisfaction
… But when there was a demand made by Christ, the “goody-goody” feelings disappeared and they began to reject Him!

Is this not the attitude that is prevalent among many of the Christians…
… including us, perhaps?!

As long as the ground of our lives, receives the continual showers of favours being granted and prayers being instantly heard, we feel nice with the Lord.
… But in the times when the ground has to experience the drought of delays in prayers and absence of the rains of consolation, we feel to do away with the ways of the Lord!

As long as the garden of my life, is blessed with the flowers of prosperity, security and comforts, we remain happy to be with the Lord
… But in the circumstances when the garden goes dry and the weeds of misery begin to crop up, we feel to abandon the presence of the Lord and tread our own wills!

And therefore the Lord asks us, “Do you also wish to go away?” (Jn 6: 67)

Faith in the Lord is no cheap thing!

It indeed costs to be faithful!

The History of the Bible is replete with examples for this fact…

It cost Abraham in giving up Isaac, his beloved, in order to prove his faith in the Lord
It cost Moses to let go off his weaknesses and frailties, in order to become the leader of a vast multitude
It cost Daniel to be cast into the den of lions in being a faithful warrior of the Lord
It cost Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to pass through the ordeals of the fiery furnace in proving to be loyal to the Lord
It cost Stephen a painful death by being stoned in order to witness his daring courage in the Lord
It cost Peter to be nailed upside down to stand firm as the rock of faithfulness and commitment

Yes, Christianity demands…

And only the ones who are willing to respond to these demands are worthy of being the Followers of the Lord.

What is it costing us to be faithful to our Lord and King?

Often times, our practice of Christian faith enters, tiptoed and slyly, into the halls of comfort and cosiness…

A Baptism received long ago…

Some Sacraments obtained now and then…

A few Church obligations completed once in a way…

Some occasionally unavoidable practise of piety and devotion…

This is all that sometimes it “costs” us in being a Christian!

But the Lord today powerfully seeks to shake off the dusts of lethargy and casualness and confronts us, “Do you also wish to go away?”

Our remaining with the Lord, ought not to be in mere words, but also in deeds and actions

Being with the Lord demands…
… that we grow in our zeal and love for the Lord
… that we become an extension of Christ to the needy
… that we strive to be passionate proponents of His love and mercy

Yes, let us be fervent in the stipulations of being a Christian…
… and be willing to respond to those demands that make us worthy of being the Followers of the Lord.

May our Christian lives be encompassed by a deep love for the Lord…
… and may we rise up to the challenge to remain loyal and faithful to the demands placed on us by Christ, our Powerful and Mighty King!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

Christ’s body was glorified at the moment of his Resurrection, as proved by the new and supernatural properties it subsequently and permanently enjoys.
But during the forty days when He eats and drinks familiarly with His disciples and teaches them about the kingdom, His glory remains veiled under the appearance of ordinary humanity.
Jesus’ final apparition ends with the irreversible entry of His humanity into Divine Glory, symbolized by the cloud and by heaven, where He is seated from that time forward at God’s right hand.
Only in a wholly exceptional and unique way would Jesus show himself to Paul “as to one untimely born”, in a last apparition that established him as an apostle.
The veiled character of the glory of the Risen One during this time is intimated in His mysterious encounter with Mary Magdalene.

This indicates a difference in manifestation between the glory of the Risen Christ and that of the Christ exalted to the Father’s right hand, a transition marked by the historical and transcendent event of the Ascension. (Cf. CCC # 659-660)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – Aug 21, 2021: Saturday

“Being true followers of Jesus, the Faithful, the Integral and the Honest One!”

(Based on Ruth 2:1-3, 8-11; 4:13-17 and Mt 23:1-12 – Saturday of the 20th Week in Ordinary Time)

There is an interesting story that appears in the 12th Chapter of the 2nd Book of Kings.

Joash was the King of Judah.

He observed that Temple of the Lord was in need of repair.

So he raised a fund-raising program…

“Jehoiada, the priest took a chest and bored a hole in its lid and put it beside the altar, on the right side as one comes into the house of the LORD” (2 Kings 12:10)

The amount thus realised, was given to the master workmen of the Temple.

These master workmen in turn…
… gave it to the carpenters and builders
… to the lumbermen and stone cutters
… and for the purchase of wood and hewn stone used for repairing

There is a fascinating verse that then appears…
… It says, “They did not require an accounting from the men, into whose hand they gave the money to pay to those who did the work, for they dealt FAITHFULLY.” (2 Kgs 12: 16)

Other Bible translations read…
… they worked with INTEGRITY
… they acted with complete HONESTY

Faithfulness, integrity and honesty are qualities that are expected of everyone…
… who engage themselves in the works of the Lord

And naturally so, for all of us as Christians – the followers of Jesus, the Faithful, the Integral and the Honest One!

Do I live my Christian life in Faithfulness, Integrity and Honesty?

The Gospel of the Day presents a Challenging Jesus…
… who seeks to expose the duplicity in the life of the Teachers of the Law
… and exhorts, instead, to lead An Authentic way of Life!

Chapter 23 of the Gospel of Matthew is an extremely emotion filled and volatile passage.

The Great Master Jesus, is in a confronting mode and minces no words in exposing the duplicity of the Teachers of the Law.

Chapter 23 almost speaks of Jesus reaching a sort of boiling point…

Let’s think of a pan of water on the stove…
You turn the burner on high and slowly the water becomes warmer and warmer…

And then, there are a few bubbles in that water and those few bubbles come to the fore…

And pretty soon the water in the pan is furious with bubbles because the water has come to its boiling point…!

The words of Jesus in Chapter 23 come to a boiling point!

(23: 1-12): Denunciation of the attitude of the Scribes and Pharisees
(23: 13-36): Pronouncement of 7 woes on the Scribes and Pharisees
(23: 37-39): Lamentation over the city of Jerusalem

Today’s Gospel Passage deals with some of the crucial areas of the Teachers of the Law…
… which very often have a similarity in our lives too

  1. They preach, but do not practice! (Mt 23:3)

How often are we in the habit of telling virtues to others…
… but fail to practise them ourselves?

How often do we love to advise goodness to others…
… but fall short of trying to be good ourselves?

How often do we want the whole world to be changed…
… but reach nowhere in trying to improve our own selves?

  1. They lay burdens on others… but lift not a finger to help (Mt 23: 4)

How often do we expect others to achieve perfection…
… but fail to do our own activities with zeal and passion?

How often do we want others to fulfil their duties well…
… but miserably unaware of our own obligations and tasks?

How often do we impose others to be good and holy…
… but indulge ourselves in deeds of corruption and sin?

  1. They practice deeds of Religiosity to be seen by others (Mt 23: 5)

How often do we parade our acts of charity before others…
… in order to boost our index of popularity?

How often do we want our deeds of assistance be noticed by others…
… in order to win admiration and acclaim?

How often do we go vocal in boasting of our own achievements…
… in order to become great and famous?

  1. They love places and titles of honour and respect (Mt 23: 6-7)

How often do we seek the best places in society and the Church…
… and try to make a peripheral show of our status?

How often do we grow attached to places and titles of glory…
… and develop an unconscious love for vain glory?

How often do we get disturbed and even troubled easily…
… when others fail to acknowledge our positions and repute?

The list of questions is too long… the record of queries is too extensive…

But we need to make this check… a reality check of our own lives!

It is not very difficult to live under the garb of a well-polished and neat looking title of a “Christian”.

It is not very hard to move forward with our Christian lives being peripherally good and “appearing” pious.

But we need to realise…
… in our life here, some day or the other, our hollowness will get exposed if were are not true to our inner selves.

A false life does not befit a person who seeks to follow the Authentic Christ.

Yes, on Judgment Day, none of our ‘external packing and wrapping’ will come to our rescue!

To live an authentic and true life is certainly hard…
… and is a treading through paths of difficulties.

… in difficulties, Grace abounds
… in hardships, Blessings increase
… in adversities, Mercy flourishes

May we seek knowledge in order to serve, by growing in the virtues of faithfulness, integrity and honesty…
… and thus be true followers of Jesus, the Faithful, the Integral and the Honest One!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

The Paschal mystery has two aspects: by His death, Christ liberates us from sin; by His Resurrection, He opens for us the way to a new life.
This new life is above all justification that reinstates us in God’s grace, “so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”
Justification consists in both victory over the death caused by sin and a new participation in Grace.
It brings about filial adoption so that all become Christ’s brethren, as Jesus himself called His disciples after His Resurrection: “Go and tell my brethren.”
We are brethren not by nature, but by the gift of grace, because that adoptive filiation gains us a real share in the life of the only Son, which was fully revealed in his Resurrection.
Finally, Christ’s Resurrection – and the risen Christ himself is the principle and source of our future resurrection.

The Risen Christ lives in the hearts of his faithful while they await that fulfilment. In Christ, Christians “have tasted… the powers of the age to come” and their lives are swept up by Christ into the Heart of Divine Life, so that they may “live no longer for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised. (Cf. CCC # 654-655)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – Aug 20, 2021: Friday

“Called to radiate Love of God and Love of Neighbour in all our acts and deeds!”

(Based on Ruth 1:1,3-6,14b-16,22 and Mt 22:34-40 – Friday of the 20th Week in Ordinary Time)

Among the twelve Apostles of Jesus, St John is known as the Apostle of Love.

His writings focus primarily on the theme of Love.

There is a legend handed down from the early church about this Apostle of Love.

Of the twelve original apostles, only St John is said to have lived to a ripe old age.

In his later years, not only his body but also his eyesight and his mind began to fail him.

St John’s mind had deteriorated to the point that he could only speak five words…
… one sentence which he would repeat over and over.

The legend says that every Sunday, St John would be carried into the midst of the congregation that had assembled for worship in the church at Ephesus, where he spent the last years of his life.

Total silence would fall over the congregation, even though they already knew what St John was going to say.

Then the old man would speak the five words…
… “My children, love one another”

Over & over, he would repeat them until he grew tired from talking!

None yawned or gazed off absentmindedly.

The Apostle of Love, fed & filled by a deep love of God preached his five-word sermon, over & over…
… “My children, love one another”

Love is the starting point, the essence and the end of Christian Life!

The Gospel of the Day emphasizes and affirms this aspect of Love: Love of God and Love of neighbour.

The Pharisees come together to trap Jesus with a question from the Law:
“Teacher, which is the most important commandment of the Law?” (Mt 22: 36)

The Lord of Love is sought to be trapped in a web of malice!

This was a complicated question that was put forward to Jesus.

The Jewish Law of the Torah comprised 613 precepts.

It was certainly a challenge to condense these codes into a single commandment.

Probably Jesus would’ve looked into the eyes of the one who asked this question and thought, “Why do you seek to put me to the test??

There was malice and a corrupt intention in the one who questioned.

But the greatness of the Lord overwhelms the evil designs of humans.

Jesus answers the question which had an evil bent, with an answer filled with goodness…
… “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind… Love your neighbour as yourself”! (Mt 22: 37,39)

Bingo…! Two birds with one shot!

He not just answered His interrogators…
… but He also proclaimed the summary of the Gospel.

He not just silenced His critics…
… but He also won many followers for the Good News.

The Pharisee came asking which is “the” greatest commandment.

He expected just one commandment.

But Jesus answers with two…
… and showed that those two commandments are nothing but one!

The Love of God and the Love of Neighbour… are two dimensions of the same Love.

And this One Love, with two facets, formed the basis of all the other commandments of the Law!

However, the tragedy of our world and our spirituality very often, is the separation of these two dimensions…

One loves God…
… but fails to love one’s neighbour!
Another loves the neighbour…
… but fails to love God!

One loves to read and hear and understand God’s Word…
… but fails to apply it in real life.
Another loves to have a lot of social relations…
… but fails to build a strong spiritual basis.

One loves to preach powerfully about virtues of the Gospel…
… but fails to live them in actuality.
Another loves to be in friendship with all…
… but fails in closeness with God, the source of Love.

One loves the Church and her teachings…
… but falls short to serve the society and its peoples.
Another serves people…
… but vehemently hates the Church, the ark of the Sacraments of love!

Christian love is not just…
…. about emotions

Christian love…
… is making a decision to serve, even if one does not feel so.

Christian love, is being faithful…
… even if one is rejected or even shown indifference.

Christian love, is being committed…
… even if one feels an aversion towards the other.

Easier said, than done….right?

This is where, we need to depend on God, the Source of Love itself!

This is where, we need to draw strength from the Sacraments that the Church offers!
This is where, we need to be filled with a Passionate love of God to share it with others!

Unless we are in Communion with the Lord…
… all this reading of these reflections remains merely a theory.

Unless we are joined to God, the Source of Love…
… all our meditations remain superficial.

We need to pray as the Psalmist: “I love you, Lord, my strength” (Ps 18: 2).

He is the strength for us to love our neighbour.

He is the source for us to share our lives with our neighbour.
He is the supplier of hope for us to sustain in our difficulties to love.

The world is thirsting for Love…

Each one of us is called to radiate this Love: Love of God and Love of Neighbour.

Yes, let us become an Apostle and Agent and Ambassador of Love!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

“If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.”
The Resurrection above all constitutes the confirmation of all Christ’s works and teachings. All truths, even those most inaccessible to human reason, find their justification if Christ by His Resurrection has given the definitive proof of His Divine Authority, which He had promised.
Christ’s Resurrection is the fulfilment of the promises both of the Old Testament and of Jesus himself during his earthly life.
The phrase “in accordance with the Scriptures” indicates that Christ’s Resurrection fulfilled these predictions.
The truth of Jesus’ divinity is confirmed by his Resurrection.
The Resurrection of the crucified one shows that he was truly “I AM”, the Son of God and God himself.

Christ’s Resurrection is closely linked to the Incarnation of God’s Son, and is its fulfilment in accordance with God’s eternal plan. (Cf. CCC # 651-653)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – Aug 19, 2021: Thursday

“Living life to the utmost fullness by responding to God’s Graces!”

(Based on Judg 11:29-39 and Mt 22:1-14 – Thursday of the 20th Week in Ordinary Time)

A story goes of a King in the olden days and of his “clown” or “jester”

This jester would sometimes say very foolish things whereas sometimes he would make some wise utterances.

One day, it so happened, that this jester said something so foolish that the King handed him a staff and mocked at him saying: “Take this, and keep it… till you find a bigger fool than yourself!”

Years later, the kind fell ill and was on his deathbed. His favourite courtiers were summoned to him; his family and other friends were also around him.

The King, sick and pale, addressed them saying, “I am about to leave.

I am going on a very long journey and will never be returning to this place.
In deep sorrow, I wish all of you ‘goodbye'”

At that moment, the Jester stepped forward and said to the King, “Your Majesty, May I, please, ask a question?”

“When you journeyed abroad – visiting your people, or paying diplomatic visits to other Kingdoms, you have always made sure there is a great deal of preparation that is ensured.

May I kindly ask, what preparations has your Majesty made for this long journey that he is about to take?”

With tears and remorse and self-realization, the King replied, “Alas! I have made no preparation!”

‘Then,’ said the jester… and taking the staff that he had with him, said:
“Then, here is this staff for you. For now I have found a bigger fool than myself.’

Is the state of the King – being unprepared for the journey towards heaven – finding resonance with our own lack of preparations, with respect to eternal life?

The Gospel of the Day presents the parable of the Wedding Feast with a mighty warning to “stay prepared” in our endeavours to be part of the Banquet of Eternal Joy in Heaven.

The Parable of the Wedding Feast, broadly speaking, presents two dangerous attitudes that can overpower a Christian:

  1. The arrogant attitude of rejecting God’s omnipotence
  2. The lethargic attitude of taking for granted God’s graciousness

In the first part of the parable, we come across the group of people, who turn down the offer of the King for the Wedding Banquet (Mt 22: 5-6)

They made several excuses…
… some ignored the invitation and went away
… one to his farm
… another to his business
… the rest manhandled the King’s servants

On display was their highly casual and lethargic attitude towards the King.

They were least bothered regarding the royal nature of the invitation
They cared little for the feelings and the sentiments of the King who had called them with much expectations

In the second part of the Gospel, we come across the guest, who failed to wear to the appropriate wedding garment (Mt 22: 11-12)

It was a sheer lack of failure to follow the customs of the land and was a betrayal of the host’s generosity…
… It was customary for the hosts to provide the suitable wedding apparel
… The “speechless” silence of the man, showed his inability to produce any valid reason for this act of disobedience and non-compliance

On display was his highly diminishing and disrespectful attitude towards the King.

He was overly adamant in keeping up the wedding protocols of his times
He was exceedingly proud to acknowledge the generosity of the King and chose to purposely insult the King

These two extremes, then, are fearful plagues that a Christian needs to be wary of…

  1. A devastating tendency to be arrogantly proud towards the Mercies and Favours of God
  2. A dissipated tendency to be lethargic towards the Graces and Blessings of God

Do I put down the power of God…
… by failing to give any response to His constant calls and inspirations to lead a more holy life?
… by busying myself in my worldly activities and failing to give any heed to the works of the Kingdom?
… by engaging constantly only for self-centred glory and sideline anything that promotes the Glory of God?

Do I make a mockery of the Grace of God…
… by professing to be a Christian and yet failing to wear the garments of doing God’s Will and in living His Gospel Virtues?
… by wanting to be proudly seen as a follower of Christ and yet unwilling to follow His teachings and commandments in daily life?
… by enjoying all the comforts that comes alone with being a ‘Christian’ but shamelessly failing to perform the duties associated with it?

The foretaste of the Heavenly Banquet is seen in the Holy Eucharistic Celebration.

The seriousness in our preparation for the Holy Mass is a clear indicator of our seriousness in preparation for the Heavenly Banquet.

Do I approach the wonderful foretaste of Heaven – the Holy Eucharist – with greater devotion and preparation…
… or do I adopt an attitude of arrogant denial of its Holiness or an attitude of lethargy and “taking for granted”?

Many of us these days, due to the situation of the pandemic, are greatly missing the Sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist.

Do I still nurture in my heart a deep fervour to receive Him in the Eucharist, and thus receive the Graces that are surely due, “to a soul who ardently longs for the Lover’s Real Presence!”
Do I regularly receive the Lord Sacramentally into my heart and radiate His Presence in all the activities of my life?

The Lord adopts a tone of seriousness and strictness, when it comes to our question of preparation for Eternal Life.

Let us understand that “there is only one life here on earth….
… and it deserves to be lived in its utmost fullness by responding to God’s Graces!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

Christ’s Resurrection is an object of faith in that it is a transcendent intervention of God himself in creation and history.
In it the three divine persons act together as one, and manifest their own proper characteristics. >> The Father’s power “raised up” Christ his Son and by doing so perfectly introduced his Son’s humanity, including his body, into the Trinity. Jesus is conclusively revealed as “Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his Resurrection from the dead”.
As for the Son, he effects his own Resurrection by virtue of his divine power. He affirms explicitly: “I lay down my life, that I may take it again… I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.”

The Fathers contemplate the Resurrection from the perspective of the Divine Person of Christ who remained united to His Soul and Body, even when these were separated from each other by death: “By the unity of the divine nature, which remains present in each of the two components of man, these are reunited. For as death is produced by the separation of the human components, so Resurrection is achieved by the union of the two” (Cf. CCC # 648-650)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – Aug 18, 2021: Wednesday

“Being ready to let go of ourselves and get transformed to be a Volcano of Generosity!”

(Based on Judg 9:6-15 and Mt 20:1-16 – Wednesday of the 20th Week in Ordinary Time)

One of the most powerful, spectacular and amazing natural wonder of the world is a Volcano!

The image of a Volcano brings to our mind a massive mountain, erupting fumes of smoke and lava.

A volcano represents mighty force.

A volcano stands for…
… immense heat
… great strength

The Gospel of the Day lets out a life-challenging message, delivered with much power and force…
… like a volcano!

We have the familiar parable of the Landowner and the workers from Mt 20:1-16 for our Gospel Passage today.

This landowner is quite unique and amazing in his approach.

He hired labourers for his vineyard first in the early hours of the day…

Then periodically throughout the day…
Finally, he hired some at the fag end of the day – to work only one hour.

The labourers in those days, like often in our society too…
… had no secure work and no consistent income.

They were given hired on a day to day basis.

Those hired late, were not sure of what wages they would be paid…
They had to, therefore, solely depend on the kindness of the one who had hired them!

The landowner in the Gospel, pays the labourers, not as per their work…
… but as per his kindness!

He pays the labourers, not just based on their hard efforts…
… but based on His big-heartedness!

The Landowner is like a Volcano – mighty and immense and great…
… in his generosity!

He is a Volcano of Generosity!

Like a volcano, he is mighty…
… in standing up to his principles in being firm to render benevolence.

Like a volcano, he is immense…
… in lavishing unexpected favours and rendering surprising packages

Like a volcano, he is great…
… in being fair in his dealings and yet going beyond justice to the needy.

This landowner is Jesus!

He is the Volcano of generosity.

Jesus has given us life and many essentials and comforts of life…
… in His generosity.

Jesus has strengthened us with His transformative words in the Bible…
… in His generosity.

Jesus has provided us with grace and mercy when we have been lost in sin…
… in His generosity.

Jesus has blessed us with His Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist to nourish us…
… in His generosity.

Jesus has showered us with love and affection when we have been broken and shattered…
… in His generosity.

All this He has done when we least deserved it.

Like the late-employed workers we did not deserve this great bounty.

Perhaps, some of us might identify ourselves with the workers who were employed at the start of the day…
… and we feel ourselves been cheated and treated unfairly.

We feel that since we have been more faithful and committed, we ought to deserve more!

But the words of the Lord, need to sink deep into our hearts, “My friend, I am not cheating you…
… Am I not free to do as I wish, with my own money?” (Mt 20: 13, 15)

Let’s accept it:
We have been treated justly…
… we have been given our just wages
… we have been paid rightly.

But we lose our temper, because we compare ourselves with others and feel, “I deserved more!”

We cry foul, because we judge other people and their efforts and say, “That fellow was not so much worthy!”

We shout unfair, because we look over on the other side of the fence and exclaim, “I did better than that one!”
We go blind to the fact that we have been treated justly, and instead crib that others have been prized with greater generosity.

This is the Volcano of Generosity – Jesus.

His generosity goes beyond our wildest imaginations.
His generosity crosses all human boundaries of expectations.
His generosity traverses way ahead of what we can think or conceive!

And this Volcano of Generosity invites us to be similar in our attitude and life…

Be a volcano of generosity…
… with encouragement, for those who fail in life, despite trying hard!
… with love, for those who lose heart and struggle with problems of life!
… with patience, for those who get irritated and annoyed with situations!
… with kindness, for those who constantly find faults and are pessimistic!
… with hope, for those who find no meaning in life and remain depressed!

The Volcano is one of the most powerful, spectacular and amazing wonder in the world.

If we can shape our lives, into a Volcano of Generosity…
… we too can be a powerful, spectacular and amazing witness to the Lord in this world!

Are we ready to let go of ourselves…
… and get transformed to be a Volcano of Generosity?

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

“O truly blessed Night,” sings the Exsultet of the Easter Vigil, “which alone deserved to know the time and the hour when Christ rose from the realm of the dead!”
But no one was an eyewitness to Christ’s Resurrection and no evangelist describes it.
No one can say how it came about physically.
Still less was its innermost essence, His passing over to another life, perceptible to the senses.
Although the Resurrection was a historical event that could be verified by the sign of the empty tomb and by the reality of the apostles’ encounters with the Risen Christ, still it remains at the very heart of the mystery of faith as something that transcends and surpasses history.

This is why the risen Christ does not reveal himself to the world, but to his disciples, “to those who came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now His witnesses to the people” (Cf. CCC # 647)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – Aug 17, 2021: Tuesday

“Making Christ as the greatest possession and treasure of our lives!”

(Based on Judg 6:11-24 and Mt 19:23-30 – Tuesday of the 20th Week in Ordinary Time)

A distinguished man was lying on his death-bed.

As he lay, some of his precious ornaments, priceless stones and his fine collection of exquisite watches were brought to him.

Turning a cold glance on the treasure, which he would once have clutched with an eager grasp…
… he said with a sigh:
“Alas! this is a very fine thing in this country…
… but I am going to a country where it will be of no use to me!”

The man, at his death-bed realized the worthlessness of clinging on to riches and wealth!

If only, he had realized it, when he had years to live…
… life would have been much peaceful and contented
… life would have been better utilized to prepare for eternal life

… all of us, do have time to realize – the worthlessness of clinging on to riches and wealthy..

Do we seek to make Christ as the greatest possession and treasure of our lives?

Do we mend our lives accordingly, and live in pursuit of heaven?

Jesus, in the Gospel of the Day gives a triple perspective on the aspect of riches (Mt 19:23-30)

  1. The difficulties that attachments to riches pose, in entering the Kingdom of God
  2. The power of God that alone can assist and help one to attain eternity
  3. The promise of reward to those who live a life of detachment

Jesus says, “Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of heaven” (Mt 19: 23)

The reason why riches are given such a strong reprimand by the Lord is because:

Attachment to riches can easily take away one’s heart from the Lord…
… The Lord, Who stripped Himself of all glory and became poor is often given less priority!

Being obsessed with riches leaves us with little time and thought for things of eternity
… Our plannings, aspirations and projects often end up being only earthly in nature!

Having too many riches can pose a danger to feel proud and independent
… A sense of “I can manage all by myself” creeps in; in the process, keeping aside God from our lives!

Venerable Bishop Fulton Sheen says:
“It is ever true that the richer the soul is on the inside, the less need it has of luxuries on the outside;
Excessive adornments and an inordinate love of comforts are proof of our inner nakedness!”

  1. The power of God that alone can assist and help one to attain eternity

On hearing of the difficulty of the rich to enter the Kingdom of God, the disciples asked Jesus, “Who then can be saved?” (Mt 19:25)

Jesus replied, “For human beings, this is impossible; but for God all things are possible” (Mt 19: 26)

The demands of Christianity to live a life of detachment from riches, can sometimes cause undue anxieties.

And we begin to ask…
… Is it really possible for us to live as Jesus expected of us?
… Is it not beyond my capabilities to achieve what the Lord wishes of us?

Such kind of anxieties and worries, can often cause weariness our soul!

St Francis de Sales says:
“Anxiety is the greatest evil that can befall a soul, except sin!
Have patience with all things, but first of all with yourself!”

The Lord tells us that even in our efforts to be detached…
… we need to depend on Him
… we need to know that His Grace will take us through

Therefore, to have detachment…
… we ought to come to the Lord in prayer, surrendering our lives
… we need to thank the Lord continually for all His blessings, acknowledging Him as the source
… we need to reach out to the Lord in the poor, the weak and the needy (Mt 25:40)

  1. The promise of reward to those who live a life of detachment

Jesus says: “Everyone who has given up”…will receive a hundred times more and will inherit eternal life” (Mt 19:29)

A question of despair or hopelessness sometimes nags a Christian…
… What is the use of living an honest and virtuous life?
… Why is my life unrewarded, whereas many others thrive even by unjust means?

The Lord however, gives an answer…

… that none of such sacrifices will go unrewarded

He does promise His rewards – temporal as well as spiritual…
… but these are to be received in accordance to the Will of God.

Many times, the Will of God, is not taken into consideration…
… when we look for rewards in having made a sacrifice.
… when we seek for answers to our prayers
… when we expect fruits for our efforts

The Lord therefore invites and challenges us…
… to purify our motives when we make sacrifices
… to align our interests to God’s Will when we work for Him

That’s why Jesus would say: “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness…and all other things shall be added unto you” (Mt 6:33)

The words of Mother Angelica, the founder of EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network) are a reminder to us:
“Have we lost sight of this world being a pilgrimage?

It’s a journey! You’re not home yet!
A Christian must never lose sight of this passing reality of life”

Yes, let us come to this realization about attachments to riches:
“Alas! This is a very fine thing in this country…
… but I am going to a country where it will be of no use to me!”

God bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

By means of touch and the sharing of a meal, the Risen Jesus establishes direct contact with His disciples. He invites them in this way to recognize that He is not a ghost and above all to verify that the Risen Body in which He appears to them is the same Body that had been tortured and crucified, for it still bears the traces of His Passion.
Yet at the same time this authentic, real body possesses the new properties of a glorious body: not limited by space and time but able to be present how and when He Wills; for Christ’s humanity can no longer be confined to earth, and belongs henceforth only to the Father’s Divine Realm.
For this reason too, the Risen Jesus enjoys the sovereign freedom of appearing as He wishes: in the guise of a gardener or in other forms familiar to his disciples, precisely to awaken their faith.
Christ’s Resurrection was not a return to earthly life, as was the case with the raisings from the dead that he had performed before Easter: Jairus’ daughter, the young man of Naim, Lazarus.
These actions were miraculous events, but the persons miraculously raised returned by Jesus’ power to ordinary earthly life. At some particular moment they would die again.

Christ’s Resurrection is essentially different. In His Risen Body, He passes from the state of death to another life beyond time and space. At Jesus’ Resurrection, His Body is filled with the power of the Holy Spirit: He shares the Divine Life in His glorious state, so that St. Paul can say that Christ is “the man of heaven” (Cf. CCC # 645-646)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – Aug 16, 2021: Monday

“Focussing our attention back on the True Riches of Life!”

A man was passing out of a church when he met an old acquaintance whom he had not seen for several years. In their brief interaction, the man said to his acquaintance, “I understand you are in great danger.”

(Based on Judg 2:11-19 and Mt 19:16-22 – Monday of the 20th Week in Ordinary Time)

This statement was said seriously, and was heard with surprise.

The acquaintance who was addressed was not aware of any danger that he was facing, and so, curiously inquired what was meant.

The man, with a sense of concern, then replied: “I have been informed… that you are getting rich!”

(The acquaintance was being reminded of the danger that riches have…
… Riches can lead one’s heart away from the Lord, the greatest treasure
… Riches can blur one’s vision to help and reach out in service to the needy)

With a sense of acceptance, the acquaintance answered: “I thank the Lord for this timely intervention!

I do agree I have been losing my peace of mind over the last years…
… even though my bank balance is on the rise!

I do experience a spiritual vacuum!
And I hope that your reminder will help me focus my attention back on the True Riches of Life!”

This is the great and a naked reality of our 21st century, in particular: There is a great spiritual vacuum at the heart of our society… a tumour of the soul!

There are many who have plenty of wealth…
… but extremely poor in peace of mind

There are many who have honour and fame…
… but strangely lost in loneliness and despair

There are many who have cashed in popularity and glam and glitz…
… but end up in depression and gloom

There are many who have built bungalows and estates…
… but sadly abandoned in nursing animosity at home

Our world is habitually sick…

Our families are frequently cracked and broken!

The Gospel of the Day, brings on stage, one person…
… who claimed he had everything right
… who claimed he did everything right

And yet….yet…”he lacked something!”

A vacuum filled his soul!!

The rich young man in today’s Gospel passage apparently looks as an ideal person…
… and some of us can even identify the pattern of our lives with his.

He seeks for Eternal Life…
… We too seek the spiritual treasures and religious riches

He addresses Jesus as the Master…
… We too acknowledge the supremacy and authority of God in our lives…

He knows the laws…
… We too know the basics of our teachings and are informed of the doctrines

He practices the commandments…
… We too do our bit in keeping the rules and regulation of religion

Despite all these aspects, he still lacked something…..


To hear that statement was hard for that man…
… and it is hard for us too, to hear and digest that – “You are lacking something!”
It’s a statement which can belittle people!

It’s like telling a Great Artist…
… your art is superb, but you still lack the quality in painting the nuances

It’s like telling a Great Speaker…
… your talks are classic, but you still lack the trait of modulation of tones

It’s like telling a Great singer…
… your voice is amazing, but you still lack the punch in singing the high notes

After doing and achieving many things, to hear that “You are lacking something” is hurting….

But that was the fact…. that was the reality and the reason, for the vacuum and the void that was experienced!

The rich young man thought he had gained everything… He assumed he did everything right…

But he still lacked something
… What was that?

“He lacked” having heaven as his greatest treasure and fortune…

“He lacked”…
… the control to let go off money and mammon as the controlling factor of his life…
… the charity to share his resources and his possessions to the needy and the wanted…
… the generosity to set free his mind from being dominated by the cares and burdens of this world…

The man had gained much in life, but he still lacked what was most important: A great vacuum had engulfed his soul…
… a great void had overpowered his life!

Is my life in resemblance with this person, who thought he had everything right…
… yet lacking the Basics?

Is my life similar to this person, who considered he was on the right track…
… but lacked the Right Direction?

St Francis de Sales says, “It [is] overambitious to aim at being poor without suffering any inconvenience…
… in other words, to have the credit of poverty and the convenience of riches!”

The Lord invites us, as He invited the Rich Young Man:
“Go, sell what you have
…give to the poor and follow Me!”

“Give up the feeling that money and worldly riches can rule your life…
… rather acquire spiritual treasures”

“Give up the notion that worldly success can satisfy you…
… rather feed your lives with divine riches”

May this intervention of the Gospel help us to have a sense of acceptance, and reply:
“I thank You, Lord for this timely intervention!

I do agree that perhaps, I have been losing my peace of mind…for various reasons
I do experience a spiritual vacuum!
I hope that Your reminder will help me focus my attention back on the True Riches of Life!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

Christ’s Resurrection cannot be interpreted as something outside the physical order, and it is impossible not to acknowledge it as an historical fact.
It is clear from the facts that the disciples’ faith was drastically put to the test by their master’s Passion and Death on The cross, which He had foretold.
The shock provoked by the Passion was so great that at least some of the disciples did not at once believe in the news of the Resurrection.
Far from showing us a community seized by a mystical exaltation, the Gospels present us with disciples demoralized and frightened.
Even when faced with the reality of the Risen Jesus, the disciples are still doubtful, so impossible did the thing seem: they thought they were seeing a ghost. “In their joy they were still disbelieving and still wondering.”
Therefore the hypothesis that the Resurrection was produced by the apostles’ faith (or credulity) will not hold up.

On the contrary their faith in the Resurrection was born, under the action of divine grace, from their direct experience of the reality of the risen Jesus. (Cf. CCC # 643-644)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – Aug 15, 2021: Sunday

“Like our Blessed Mother Mary, properly channelizing the God-given Freedom towards excellence of life, blossoming of virtues and the Glory of God!”

(Based on the Solemnity of the Assumption of our Blessed Mother Mary)

The Feast of the Assumption of our Blessed Mother Mary is celebrated in variety of ways, all over the world.

Assumption, by Titian, 1518, Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, Venice

In some of the small towns of Rome, there is a very symbolic custom.

It is called as L’Incinata – the Bowing Procession.

The people in the village carry a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary down the main street.

This is symbolic of Mother Mary on Her way to heaven

From the opposite direction comes another procession, carrying the statue of Jesus.

This is symbolic of Her Son Jesus coming to welcome Her

Under an arch that has been prepared with branches and thousands of flowers, the two processions meet.

The statues are then made to bow to each other, three times…
… It is symbolic of Jesus welcoming His Beloved Mother at the gates of heaven.

Then the combined procession continues, with the people carrying the statues side-by-side to the Church….
… Symbolically indicating, Jesus taking along His Mother to Her throne in heaven!

This ‘bowing procession’ so very beautifully and symbolically represents the wonderful event of the Assumption of our Blessed Mother Mary.

It celebrates the Son-King sharing His Glory with His Mother.

Human kingdoms have followed the tradition of the son who is the King of the Land, crowning his mother, as the Queen of the Kingdom.

The Old Testament bears witness to this fact:
King Solomon on assuming charge of the throne, after King David, raised his mother Bathsheba to his side, to be the royal queen (1 Kings 2: 19)

This was also a foretaste of what was to follow…
… Jesus, the King of Kings awarding the throne of glory to His Mother, Mary and raising Her to be the Queen of Heaven and Earth!

The feast of the Day – the Assumption of Mother Mary – is one of the four Marian Dogmas that the Catholic Church pronounces.

A dogma is a doctrine that is solemnly proposed by the Church as formally revealed in Scripture or Tradition.

The four Marian Dogmas are:

  1. Mary as the Mother of God
  2. The Perpetual Virginity of Mary
  3. The Immaculate Conception of Mary
  4. The Assumption of Mary into heaven

The declaration of the Dogma of the Assumption of Mary is as follows:
“By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.”

This Dogma of the Assumption was proclaimed on November 1, 1950, by Pope Pius XII in the Apostolic Constitution “Munificentissimus Deus”

This proclamation was not defining something new in the Church…
… rather it was an official recognition of the centuries-old belief on Christians about the Assumption of their Heavenly Mother.

The celebration of the Feast of the Assumption teaches us one important aspect: The Assumption of Mother Mary is the sure hope for us, for a life of eternal glory!

Our Blessed Lord came to this world to “die” and “win” salvation for human beings.

This act of salvation had its total co-operation in the Person that God had chosen as His Own in the Divine Plan – Mother Mary.

From the moment, She said “yes” to the messenger of the Lord to become the Mother of God’s Child…
… She placed Herself in a position of “constantly being under the scanner to say a Yes” to God’s Will!

Her Yes to God, meant a “No” to many things in Her personal life…
… her own individual desires
… her own undisclosed dreams

She would become the epitome of the one who lived the teaching that Jesus would later expound during His ministry, “No one who puts a hand to the plough and looks back is fit for service in the Kingdom of God” (Lk 9: 62)

Her echo of “Yes” reverberated and resonated all through Her life…
…. in times of loneliness
… in times of immense pain
… in times of utter hopelessness

It was this daring faithfulness that made God to bestow on Her the privilege to share in Her Son’s Glory!

This is wonderful story of the Assumption.

This then is one of the great promise and assurance that God gives to each one us through this Dogma of the Assumption of our Blessed Mother Mary.

Does life grind us, with its daily toils and do we undergo immense pain and suffering – sometimes even unbearable and agonizing?

Does life grill us, with many incidents of misunderstandings, exposition to calumnious talks and total absence of positive encouragements and unconditional acceptance by people?

Does life gnash us, with constant tensions and difficulties that never seem to leave us alone and paralyze us with innumerable jolts of depression and despair?

Then, the Assumption of our Blessed Mother comes to our rescue, with a hopeful answer to all such miserable questions!

We need to be reminded that Mary had exclaimed, “Behold, I am the Handmaid of the Lord” (Lk 1:38)

Mary was an ordinary human being.

She too had Her ordinary and humble beginnings.
She too went through common life’s struggles and strains.

But through these “ordinary” circumstances…

God “raised” Her to the Heights
God “assumed” Her into Glory
… simply because She “found favour with God” and lived a life worthy of that call
In total submission, humble obedience and loyal faithfulness!

This then is our call too…

As Baptized Christians, we too have “found favour” with God.

We dwell in “ordinary” circumstances of life – with hardships and pains.

But if we also…
… seek and live the Will of the Lord at all times
… constantly submit to what He wants
… and dutifully bow to His mercy and grace

Then the glory which Jesus has “won” for us at Resurrection, can be ours!

God’s plans are indeed wonderful…

In the “Story of the Fall” a mother (Eve) had been involved intimately with a man (Adam) and humanity fell into the sea of sin!
In the “Story of the Rise”, a Mother (Mary) was involved intimately with a Man (Jesus) and humanity is promised to “assume” to the skies of glory!

Are we ready to co-operate with God’s plans in our lives, just as Mother Mary did…
… and thus receive the “Privilege of Assumption into Glory” just as Mother Mary received?

Let us grow in our Love for the Lord and for the Blessed Woman who bore God in Her womb and was borne by God into heaven, and not left in the grave to turn back into dust!

Today, the Great Land of India celebrates her Independence Day.

May all Indians grow to understand the true meaning of freedom…
… and like Mother Mary, properly channelize the God-given Freedom towards excellence of life, blossoming of virtues and to the Glory of God!

Happy Feast to Jesus, Our Great King and to Mamma Mary, His Glorious Queen-Mother!

Happy Independence Day to all Indians, all over the world!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

Mary Magdalene and the holy women who came to finish anointing the body of Jesus, which had been buried in haste because the Sabbath began on the evening of Good Friday, were the first to encounter the Risen One.
Thus the women were the first messengers of Christ’s Resurrection for the apostles themselves.
They were the next to whom Jesus appears: first Peter, then the Twelve. Peter had been called to strengthen the faith of his brothers, and so sees the Risen One before them; it is on the basis of his testimony that the community exclaims: “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!”
Everything that happened during those Paschal days involves each of the apostles – and Peter in particular – in the building of the new era begun on Easter morning. As witnesses of the Risen One, they remain the foundation stones of his Church.

The faith of the first community of believers is based on the witness of concrete men known to the Christians and for the most part still living among them. Peter and the Twelve are the primary “witnesses to his Resurrection”, but they are not the only ones – Paul speaks clearly of more than five hundred persons to whom Jesus appeared on a single occasion and also of James and of all the apostle. (Cf. CCC # 641-642)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – Aug 14, 2021: Saturday

“Seeing the world through the eyes of a child – in openness, sincerity, wonder and innocence – to have ‘a wonderful day,’ every day of our life!”

(Based on Josh 24:14-29 and Mt 19:13-15 – Saturday of the 19th Week in Ordinary Time)

Charles Francis Adams was a 19th century American historical editor, politician and diplomat.

His son was Brooks Adams, who became a historian.

A researcher, while making a study on the life of the Adams Family came across their personal diaries.

Both, the father and son, had entered a description of a particular day…
… It was a day when they had gone fishing.

However, interestingly, their descriptions had a world of difference…

The father, wrote in his diary:
“Went fishing with son. Day wasted.”

The son, however wrote in his diary:
“Went fishing with my father. The most wonderful day of my life!”

Why such a huge contrast in the description of the same day?

The son Brooks, was only twelve years at that time.

It was a bad day at fishing as they didn’t catch any fish…
… but they spent a lot of time talking

The boy had asked a number of questions, and the father had creatively answered…
… in the process, explained many important aspects about life.

The father, on the other hand, felt it as a waste of time…
… without even any fish being caught!

Our attitude in life makes a world of difference!

Seeing the world through the eyes of a child – in openness, sincerity, wonder and innocence – can help us to have “a wonderful day,” every day of our life!

Hence, in the context of a family life, there is a popular quote which says:
“A house is built with bricks and beams…
… A home is built with love and dreams!”

The Gospel of the Day presents to us an occasion to dwell on a reflection on our families…
… and some of the basic essentials that needs to be part of every family (religious community included as well)

Family Life is an important component of every society.

The Gospel of St. Matthew, Chapter 19, has an interesting structure or a progression with respect to the topics discussed and the persons involved.

The chapter begins with a discussion on the institution of ‘Marriage’. (Mt 19: 2-10)

Jesus explains the importance of this sacred bond and a strong exhortation is given on the need to do away with divorce.

The chapter proceeds, as we see in today’s reading, with a discussion on ‘little children’. (Mt 19: 13-15)

This discussion is followed by an incident in which a ‘young man’ encounters Jesus (Mt 19: 16-22)

The Chapter will finally end with an exhortation by Jesus to have maturity as an ‘adult’ is making choices for the Kingdom of God! (Mt 19: 23-30)

Thus, the Chapter 19 of Matthew is a travel through a FAMILY context…
… starting from MARRIAGE…and the need to avoid DIVORCE…
… to little CHILDREN
… to the problems of a YOUTH
… and finally ending with the choices as an ADULT.

In today’s Gospel, we have the discussion on Little Children (Mt 19: 13-15)

Though it’s a short passage, the Gospel gives us enough food for thought…
… especially in the context of a family or a community life.

We see four different groups or sets of people in today’s Gospel Passage, and we can learn some aspects from each of those sets…

Three of them give us a positive quality which is to be inculcated
One gives a negative quality which is to be avoided in life.

  1. Firstly, the Gospel begins with the statement, “Little children were brought to Jesus…” (Mt 19: 13a)

Probably the parents, the elder brothers/sisters or the guardians of the children would have brought them to Jesus.

So we see here, the First set of people… Parents, Guardians, Elders etc…. and they teach us the First Positive Quality – the Spirit of Responsibility!

They were Responsible in caring for the good and future of the children.

It was an ancient practice that children would be brought to Rabbis to be blessed and prayed over.

This first set of people teach us to be responsible for the growth of others in our family and in our communities.

  1. The Second set of people are obviously the Little Children.
    These little ones teach us the Second Positive Quality, needed in a family or a community – the Spirit of Receptivity!

Children display a great sense of receptivity and openness.

They are able to accept the affection, the care, the love and the blessings that are given to them.
They do not close themselves to the good things in life.

We too need to cultivate this Spirit of Receptivity, to be open to the actions, thoughts, views and feelings of others in our family and our community.

  1. The Third Set of people display a negative attitude which we need to avoid.

When the children were brought to Jesus, the Disciples refuse to accept them and want to keep them away (Mt 19: 13b)

They show a Spirit of Rejection!
They perhaps felt that these children would be a nuisance to Jesus and His ministry.

They felt it as a waste of time and energy to entertain the children.

Little things in life were considered to be a useless and futile activity.

We need to avoid this Spirit of Rejection…

In our families or communities, we can have this attitude towards those who don’t do any work or fail to contribute anything.

We often fail to understand the importance…
… of little tokens of love
… tiny expressions of care by our family and community members

And we, instead, tend to reject and avoid them.

  1. The fourth Set is represented by Jesus Himself…
    … and he presents the Spirit of Restoration and Redemption.

He does not reject…
… rather, He accepts and seeks to redeem the little children.

He seeks to restore the little ones who are rejected…
… who are avoided and who are not given the due importance.

In our lives, we too need to be having a Spirit of Redemption and Restoration…

To redeem the ones who are at the periphery and who fail to get any attention
To restore the ones who are broken and abused and are shunned!

Thus, this powerful Gospel passage teaches us…

To avoid the Negative Quality of the Spirit of Rejection…


To adopt the positive qualities of…
… The Spirit of Responsibility,
… The Spirit of Receptivity
… The Spirit of Redemption and Restoration!

Today we celebrate the Feast of St Maximillian Kolbe, who was called by Pope St John Paul II as the “Patron Saint of our Difficult Century!”

May the words of this Heroic Saint, who volunteered to die in place of a stranger in the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz, be an inspiration for us:
“The most deadly poison of our times is indifference.

And this happens, although the praise of God should know no limits.
Let us strive, therefore, to praise Him…
… to the greatest extent of our powers!”

Let us seek the Intercession of the great Saint that we may avoid the tendency to Reject People…

And instead, we may be…
… Responsible towards others
… Receptive to others
… and Redeem and Restore the lives of others!
And thus build happy and loving homes!

May we always understand that “our attitude in life makes a world of difference!”

Seeing the world through the eyes of a child – in openness, sincerity, wonder and innocence – can help us to have “a wonderful day,” every day of our life!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

“Why do you seek the Living among the dead? He is not here, but has Risen”
The first element we encounter in the framework of the Easter events is the empty tomb.
In itself it is not a direct proof of Resurrection; the absence of Christ’s Body from the tomb could be explained otherwise.
Nonetheless the empty tomb was still an essential sign for all. Its discovery by the disciples was the first step toward recognizing the very fact of the Resurrection.
This was the case, first with the holy women, and then with Peter. The disciple “whom Jesus loved” affirmed that when he entered the empty tomb and discovered “the linen cloths lying there”, “he saw and believed”.

This suggests that he realized from the empty tomb’s condition that the absence of Jesus’ Body could not have been of human doing and that Jesus had not simply returned to earthly life as had been the case with Lazarus. (Cf. CCC # 640)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – Aug 13, 2021: Friday

“Making the Lord – the Lover of our souls – as the “fireproof” strength in our relationships!”

(Based on Josh 24:1-13 and Mt 19:3-12 – Friday of the 19th Week in Ordinary Time)

“Fireproof” is a 2008 Christian drama film.

It is an incredibly gripping, compelling and a transformational story about saving a marriage – of Catherine and Caleb – that had hit rock-bottom.

Catherine was a hospital administrator, married to fire captain Caleb Holt.

Caleb recruited young men under the dictum of never leaving one’s partner, ‘especially in a fire’.

But at home, the scenario was quite opposite; he and Catherine argued over almost everything.

Catherine accused Caleb of being selfish with time and money.
Caleb complained that Catherine was ungrateful for all he did to help others.

Both felt that the other didn’t care or appreciate each other

The constant bickering reached the high point, when Catherine demanded a divorce and an irritated Caleb agreed.

The two complained to their respective friends regarding this unpleasant phase of their life.

John, Caleb’s father convinced his son to delay the divorce proceedings in order to try “Love Dare”, a 40-day challenge for improving marriages by changing the way a spouse was treated.

Caleb’s friend Michael also persuaded Caleb to hold off on divorce and challenged the fire-captain with a bold statement:

“I’ve seen you run into a burning building to save people you don’t even know, but you’re going to let your own marriage burn to the ground?”

The acceptance of Christ into his life invigorated Caleb to ask God to help in defeating his demons and overcoming his addictions.

The movie proceeds, through many twists and turns, with Catherine finally realizing and acknowledging the many selfless acts done by her husband and enters into reconciliation with him.

The film ends with Caleb and Catherine renewing their wedding vows as a covenant with God.

Marriage is a sacred institution – a precious covenant – that demands a lifelong commitment and a faithful dedication, despite the ups and downs of life.

It is this message that is driven home by Jesus in today’s Gospel when He expounds His teaching on the sacredness of the Covenant of Marriage.

The passage begins with a testing interrogation by the Pharisees, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” (Mt 19:3)

Jesus came to the world to demonstrate the magnanimity of God’s Love.

This magnanimity includes…
… His unconditional manner of loving us, irrespective of our worthiness
… His unfailing faithfulness to us, despite our many acts of betrayal and disloyalty

It is this model of God’s love that becomes the blueprint for us in loving others, and especially in a marriage relationship.

The partners, pledged in love to each other in marriage, ought to imitate the love that God has for us…

We have cheated and strayed away from what God wants of us…
… He still loves us and is faithful to us

We have, on innumerable occasions, spat at His face by our shameful deeds and defamed His name by our sinful acts…
… He still holds us close to Him and remains loyal to us

We have, despite many warnings, purposely hurt Him in thoughts, words and deeds and even rejected His graces by not co-operating with His Will for us…
… He still waits patiently for our return and constantly seeks to draw us to Him

We have failed Him many times, but He has always made efforts to try to win us

We have hurt and pained Him much, but He has still longs for us, with His soothing balm of acceptance

It is this “magnanimity of God’s Love” that becomes the basis, the inspiration and the ideal in every marriage relationship.

Therefore Jesus says, “What therefore God has joined, let not man put asunder” (Mt 19: 6b)

We live in a world where the quickest solution to many problems is found in “throwing it away!”

And the same mentality affects human relationships too… especially to those in marriage.

The challenge therefore is to dare to swim against these worldly currents and bring in the “Jesus Culture of Faithful Commitment” in human relationships, especially of marriage.

Theoretically speaking, this sounds quite good and wonderful.

But when it comes down to the actual practice… in married lives… it is undoubtedly a very hard effort.

“But what is impossible for humans is possible for God” (Lk 18: 27), is the assurance of Jesus.

When the going gets really hard and we want to call it ‘quits’ in our relationships…
… let us look to Jesus who said Yes to the Will of God in the painful agony at Gethsemane

There may seem no hope ahead…

Still, can we say Yes to God’s Will – to be faithful and committed?

When none of our efforts of restoration work out and we get ‘fed’ up and feel to have reached the ‘limit’ in relationships…
… let us look to Jesus Crucified, who was never ‘fed’ up with our misdeeds and our constant misunderstanding and misuse of His love

It may seem that all the past was mere fantasy and the future appears to be non-existent…

Still, can we hold on to Hope in God – to be true to our promise and be loyal?

The promises made…

to our Faith in Baptism
to the spouse in Marriage
to the Lord in Consecrated and Priestly Life
… all demand an undissolved commitment and an undiluted faithfulness.

As the dialogues in the movie “Fireproof” says (in the scene where the ‘salt and pepper bottles’ are glued together):

“When two people get married, it’s for better or for worse, like these joined salt and pepper.
… For richer or for poorer.
… In sickness and in health.

If you pull them apart, you’ll break either one or both of them.
God made marriage to be for life.”

Yes, fireproof doesn’t mean that a fire will never come…

But it does mean, that when it comes, one will be able to withstand it!

May the Lord, the Lover of our souls be the assurance of “fireproof” in our relationships!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

The mystery of Christ’s resurrection is a real event, with manifestations that were historically verified, as the New Testament bears witness.
In about A.D. 56 St. Paul could already write to the Corinthians: “I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve…”

The Apostle speaks here of the living tradition of the Resurrection which he had learned after his conversion at the gates of Damascus. (Cf. CCC # 639)