REFLECTION CAPSULE – Sep 20, 2021: Monday

“Letting the light of Christ’s Love to burn and blaze like a radiating fire through our lives!”

(Based on Ezra 1:1-6 and Lk 8:16-18 – Monday of the 25th Week in Ordinary Time)

One of the beautiful hymns known to many of us is: “Shine Jesus Shine!”

One of the stanzas in this very popular hymn states:
“As we gaze on Your Kingly Brightness
So our faces display Your Likeness
Ever changing from glory to glory
Mirrored here, may our lives tell Your Story
Shine on me, shine on me!”

Yes, each one of us are expected to “mirror the Light of Christ, by our lives!”

Is my life mirroring the Light of Christ to others?

In the Gospel of the Day, Jesus tells to His disciples:
“No one, after lighting a lamp, covers it with a bowl or puts it under the bed; rather he puts it on a lamp stand, so that people coming in may see the light…” (Lk 8:16)

This passage in the Gospel of St. Luke is just preceded by the Parable of the Sower (Lk 8: 4-15).

The parable of the Sower beautifully illustrates the various modes of reception of the Word of God.

When the Word of God is welcomed and received with an open heart, one is able to bear fruit…fruit in abundance.

A person, who receives God’s Word with an open heart and a receptive mind, is able to reflect it in one’s life.

And this is where, a Christian Life resembles a magnifying glass which allows God’s Word to pass through and kindles others with the fire of His love!

We need to be an open and active medium allowing God to permeate through us, in order to let others experience His Love!

Do I…
… allow God’s word to work in me, so that the depressed may experience God’s light of joy and happiness?
… sanction God’s power to direct me, so that the suffering humanity may experience God’s light of healing?
… permit the seed of God’s word to take root in me, so that the sinful may experience God’s light of mercy?
… agree to the authority of God to control me, so that the weak may experience God’s light of strength?
… let God’s commandments to guide me, so that the wayward may experience God’s light of acceptance?

Jesus says, “No one, after lighting a lamp, covers it with a bowl or puts it under the bed…”

Times have changed drastically however…

Earlier times, one used to be proud to call oneself as a Christian and witness boldly to be known as one.

Today, perhaps, many of us feel a tweak and go a bit uncomfortable when called publicly as a Christian!

What was a matter a pride some years has today possibly become a matter of awkwardness and uneasiness.

How well do I witness the Light of Christian Faith to the world outside?

There are many tiny yet significant gestures and practical actions by which we may be hiding the Christian Light in us, with a bowl, and not allowing it to shine forth…

Feeling ashamed to bow publicly before the Blessed Sacrament or as we enter a Church…
Feeling uneasy to make a sign of the cross or say prayers before meals when many are there…
Feeling embarrassed to be called a Christian or a Consecrated person in a secular surrounding…

Feeling disinterested to carry a Bible or wear a crucifix around the neck or hold on to a rosary etc…
Feeling strange to either wear or avoid certain dresses or habits, especially thinking what will others feel…
Feeling awkward to say about Jesus or the Gospel virtues to our friends, thinking that our thoughts are naive…
Feeling bored to participate in the Sacraments and show no interest in making extra efforts to prepare for them…

There are many more occasions wherein we may be losing out a chance to witness Christ and His Love!

The nature of the sun, is to shine upon and enliven the whole earth.

But if one puts a magnifying glass in the rays of the sun over a paper, this light of the sun will turn into fire.

The nature of God’s Love is to shine upon and enliven the whole universe.

But if we act as a magnifying glass, united with Jesus, our Lord, this light of God’s Love will turn to fire!

Let us follow God’s Will deeply and closely in our lives…
… and let the light of Christ’s Love to burn and blaze like a radiating fire through our lives!

Shine, Jesus, Shine!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
GOD’S SPIRIT AND WORD – IN THE KINGDOM AND THE EXILE

The Law, the sign of God’s promise and covenant, ought to have governed the hearts and institutions of that people to whom Abraham’s faith gave birth.
But after David, Israel gave in to the temptation of becoming a kingdom like other nations.
The Kingdom, however, the object of the promise made to David, would be the work of the Holy Spirit; it would belong to the poor according to the Spirit.
The forgetting of the Law and the infidelity to the covenant end in death: it is the Exile, apparently the failure of the promises, which is in fact the mysterious fidelity of the Saviour God and the beginning of a promised restoration, but according to the Spirit.
The People of God had to suffer this purification.

In God’s plan, the Exile already stands in the shadow of the Cross, and the Remnant of the poor that returns from the Exile is one of the most transparent prefigurations of the Church. (Cf. CCC # 703-704)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – Sep 20, 2021: Monday

“Letting the light of Christ’s Love to burn and blaze like a radiating fire through our lives!”

(Based on Ezra 1:1-6 and Lk 8:16-18 – Monday of the 25th Week in Ordinary Time)

One of the beautiful hymns known to many of us is: “Shine Jesus Shine!”

One of the stanzas in this very popular hymn states:
“As we gaze on Your Kingly Brightness
So our faces display Your Likeness
Ever changing from glory to glory
Mirrored here, may our lives tell Your Story
Shine on me, shine on me!”


Yes, each one of us are expected to “mirror the Light of Christ, by our lives!”

Is my life mirroring the Light of Christ to others?


In the Gospel of the Day, Jesus tells to His disciples:
“No one, after lighting a lamp, covers it with a bowl or puts it under the bed; rather he puts it on a lamp stand, so that people coming in may see the light…” (Lk 8:16)


This passage in the Gospel of St. Luke is just preceded by the Parable of the Sower (Lk 8: 4-15).
>> The parable of the Sower beautifully illustrates the various modes of reception of the Word of God.


When the Word of God is welcomed and received with an open heart, one is able to bear fruit…fruit in abundance.
>> A person, who receives God’s Word with an open heart and a receptive mind, is able to reflect it in one’s life.

And this is where, a Christian Life resembles a magnifying glass which allows God’s Word to pass through and kindles others with the fire of His love!


We need to be an open and active medium allowing God to permeate through us, in order to let others experience His Love!

Do I…
… allow God’s word to work in me, so that the depressed may experience God’s light of joy and happiness?
… sanction God’s power to direct me, so that the suffering humanity may experience God’s light of healing?
… permit the seed of God’s word to take root in me, so that the sinful may experience God’s light of mercy?
… agree to the authority of God to control me, so that the weak may experience God’s light of strength?
… let God’s commandments to guide me, so that the wayward may experience God’s light of acceptance?


Jesus says, “No one, after lighting a lamp, covers it with a bowl or puts it under the bed…”

Times have changed drastically however…

Earlier times, one used to be proud to call oneself as a Christian and witness boldly to be known as one.
>> Today, perhaps, many of us feel a tweak and go a bit uncomfortable when called publicly as a Christian!

What was a matter a pride some years has today possibly become a matter of awkwardness and uneasiness.
>> How well do I witness the Light of Christian Faith to the world outside?


There are many tiny yet significant gestures and practical actions by which we may be hiding the Christian Light in us, with a bowl, and not allowing it to shine forth…
>> Feeling ashamed to bow publicly before the Blessed Sacrament or as we enter a Church…
>> Feeling uneasy to make a sign of the cross or say prayers before meals when many are there…
>> Feeling embarrassed to be called a Christian or a Consecrated person in a secular surrounding…

>> Feeling disinterested to carry a Bible or wear a crucifix around the neck or hold on to a rosary etc…
>> Feeling strange to either wear or avoid certain dresses or habits, especially thinking what will others feel…
>> Feeling awkward to say about Jesus or the Gospel virtues to our friends, thinking that our thoughts are naive…
>> Feeling bored to participate in the Sacraments and show no interest in making extra efforts to prepare for them…

There are many more occasions wherein we may be losing out a chance to witness Christ and His Love!


The nature of the sun, is to shine upon and enliven the whole earth.
>> But if one puts a magnifying glass in the rays of the sun over a paper, this light of the sun will turn into fire.


The nature of God’s Love is to shine upon and enliven the whole universe.
>> But if we act as a magnifying glass, united with Jesus, our Lord, this light of God’s Love will turn to fire!


Let us follow God’s Will deeply and closely in our lives…
… and let the light of Christ’s Love to burn and blaze like a radiating fire through our lives!
>> Shine, Jesus, Shine!


God Bless! Live Jesus!

——————————–
Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
GOD’S SPIRIT AND WORD – IN THE KINGDOM AND THE EXILE
>> The Law, the sign of God’s promise and covenant, ought to have governed the hearts and institutions of that people to whom Abraham’s faith gave birth.
>> But after David, Israel gave in to the temptation of becoming a kingdom like other nations.
>> The Kingdom, however, the object of the promise made to David, would be the work of the Holy Spirit; it would belong to the poor according to the Spirit.
>> The forgetting of the Law and the infidelity to the covenant end in death: it is the Exile, apparently the failure of the promises, which is in fact the mysterious fidelity of the Saviour God and the beginning of a promised restoration, but according to the Spirit.
>> The People of God had to suffer this purification.
>> In God’s plan, the Exile already stands in the shadow of the Cross, and the Remnant of the poor that returns from the Exile is one of the most transparent prefigurations of the Church. (Cf. CCC # 703-704)
——————————–

REFLECTION CAPSULE – Sep 19, 2021: Sunday

“Humbling ourselves before the Immense Presence of God – like a child – and entrusting our cares to the Lord!”

(Based on Wis 2:12, 17-20, Jas 3:16-4:3 and Mk 9:30-37 – 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time)

A young American student, on a visit to the Beethoven museum in Bonn, became fascinated by the piano on which Beethoven had composed some of his greatest works.

(Beethoven is one of the most famous and influential music composers of all-time)

She asked the museum guard if she could play a few musical pieces on it.

She accompanied the request with a lavish tip (a gift/money)…
… and the guard agreed!

The girl, excitedly went to the piano and tinkled out the opening of the Moonlight Sonata (a famous musical composition of Beethoven).

She was greatly thrilled that she could play on the same piano as that of the music legend.

As she was leaving she said to the guard, with a great sense of exhilaration: “I suppose all the great pianists who come here, want to play on that piano.”

The guard shook his head.

Then he gave a reply which shocked the girl: “Padarewski [the famed Polish pianist] was here a few years ago…
… and he said he wasn’t worthy to touch it.”

The Great Polish pianist felt himself unworthy to play on the piano, which was played the Legendary Beethoven…
… whereas the girl (a novice in piano), took false pride and gratified her vanity!

Great people realize the significance and prominence of others…
… and in humility, lower themselves in rightful acknowledgement!

How many of us dare to humble ourselves, especially before the immensity of God?

How many of us choose to walk the path of humility, and be willing to follow the Ways of God?

The Gospel of the Day is an exhortatory teaching of Jesus on the importance of His Followers to be immersed into a life of humility.

Jesus was walking with His disciples, teaching them on the way….

He began to speak to them of how, He – the Son of Man “would be delivered into the hands of men, and they would kill Him…” (Mk 9:31)

Jesus was the epitome of self-emptiness and total self-giving

He expected His disciples to also learn from Him (Mt 11:29) and follow His lifestyle

St Paul in his letter to the Philippians speaks of this self-emptying (“kenosis”) of the Lord:
“He emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave….He humbled Himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2: 7-8)

And so Jesus tells His disciples of how He would be handed over to human hands and suffer death

He was teaching them…
… how He had to enter into the waters of Humility – in being handed over to human hands
… how He had to pass through the valleys of Humbleness – in suffering death on the Cross

But, sadly, the disciples were able to give little heed to these “Acts of Humility” of the Lord
… They were busy discussing who would be the Greatest among them
… They were occupied in arguing who would be the First among them (Mk 9:34)

And so the Lord gives them the thumb rule to be His Follower: Humility of Heart – “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all” (Mk 9:35)

Humility…
… was to be the sole stepping-stone to greatness in the Kingdom of God
… was to be the lone way to be considered worthy in the Divine Way of Life

We need to examine our lives: Am I living a life of humility?

Do I try to always have it “my way” and insist solely on feeding my ego and my pride?
Am I willing to let go of my cravings for position and fame, and embrace a life of service?

Ralph Emerson, an essayist and poet once said, “A great man is always willing to be little”

Every Christian is expected to follow the Way of Humility – which was the Way of Christ!

He humbled Himself – and expects each of us to live in humility
He came to serve, and not to be served – and challenges us too, to be so
He let go of His personal glory and self-desires – and dares us to “let go” and “allow God!”

May we humble ourselves before the Immense Presence of God… like a child…
… and entrusting our cares to the Lord, find Him supporting… strengthening… and lifting us up! (Cf. Ps 54:23)

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
GOD’S SPIRIT AND WORD – IN THEOPHANIES AND THE LAW

Theophanies (manifestations of God) light up the way of the promise, from the patriarchs to Moses and from Joshua to the visions that inaugurated the missions of the great prophets.
Christian tradition has always recognized that God’s Word allowed himself to be seen and heard in these theophanies, in which the cloud of the Holy Spirit both revealed him and concealed him in its shadow.
This Divine Pedagogy appears especially in the gift of the Law.
God gave the letter of the Law as a “pedagogue” to lead his people towards Christ.
But the Law’s powerlessness to save man deprived of the divine “likeness,” along with the growing awareness of sin that it imparts, enkindles a desire for the Holy Spirit.

The lamentations of the Psalms bear witness to this. (Cf. CCC # 707-708)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – Sep 18, 2021: Saturday

“Submitting ourselves to this mysterious Power and Strength of God’s Power, and be willing to ‘sow them’ generously”

(Based on 1 Tim 6:13-16 and Lk 8:4-15 – Saturday of the 24th Week in Ordinary Time)

A devout woman, once bought a Bible in her native language.

She was very much afraid of her husband who was deadly against God and sent forth atheistic vibrations.

In fear, she would read the Bible in his absence, and would stealthily hide it away from his presence and sight.

One day, however, by mistake, she failed to hide the Holy Book, and her husband saw it on the table.

Without saying anything, the husband opened the pages of the Bible, scanned through some and read a few lines.

As the wife stood, a little away – stunned and trembling- not knowing what he would tell her, the husband said, “Hmmm… This seems to be a good book!”

And it so happened, that every night, the man demanded for That Book when he returned back from office.

A few weeks later, the man suggested his wife that he wished to meet her parents, as for nearly 3 years, he had stayed away from them.

A tremendous and miraculous wonder had taken place.

A woman’s persistent faith had been rewarded…
A man’s heart had been finely melted…
A relationship had been restored…

That’s the power of the Word!

The Word can work in unexpected ways…
The Word can transform in unknown places…
The Word can bear fruits in unexplored areas…

Are we ready to sow the Word, everywhere, any time?
Are we open to allow the Word to work, anywhere, any time?

The Gospel of the Day is the classic presentation of the power of the Word through the Parable of the Sower and its explanation.

This is a parable that, probably we have read, reflected and meditated several times.

One of the striking messages of this Popular Parable is the “unknown, unexpected and unexplored” manner in which the Word is sown.

Going through the various places in which the Seed was sown would probably make one to say..
… “why was it that so much Seed was simply wasted – on the wayside, on the rock, among the thorns – places where there was hardly any possibility of growth?”

… “Why was it that the Sower was so unscientific, so lacking in common sense and so careless in simply broadcasting the precious seeds haphazardly?”

Probably, a logical answer and a reasonable explanation to these questions is to be found in the fact that the Seed has a tremendous power and potential.

And therefore, the Sower ‘takes the risk’ of broadcasting the Seed everywhere.

This then is the challenge that is thrown open to us also…

Can I be a person who is willing to “broadcast” the seed of God’s Word even in the most unfavourable or the most unexpected areas – to people who are hostile, arrogant or even closed?

Can I be a person who does not count the fruits in advance or get discouraged and disappointed at the possible failures in the future; instead boldly sow the Seeds of goodness, kindness and service?

The Book of Isaiah 55: 11 says, “… My Word that goes out from My Mouth: It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

We need to submit ourselves to this mysterious power and strength of God’s Power…
… and be willing to “sow them” generously…
… to all
… at all times!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE SPIRIT OF THE PROMISE

Disfigured by sin and death, man remains “in the image of God,” in the image of the Son, but is deprived “of the glory of God,” of his “likeness.”
The promise made to Abraham inaugurates the economy of salvation, at the culmination of which the Son himself will assume that “image” and restore it in the Father’s “likeness” by giving it again its Glory, the Spirit who is “the giver of life.”
Against all human hope, God promises descendants to Abraham, as the fruit of faith and of the power of the Holy Spirit.
In Abraham’s progeny all the nations of the earth will be blessed.
This progeny will be Christ himself, in whom the outpouring of the Holy Spirit will “gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.”

God commits himself by his own solemn oath to giving his beloved Son and “the promised Holy Spirit… [Who is] the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it” (Cf. CCC # 705-706)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – Sep 17, 2021: Friday

“Growing in the Love of the Lord with deeper piety, profound conviction and committed service to one another!”

(Based on 1 Tim 6:2c-12 and Lk 8:1-3 – Friday of the 24th Week in Ordinary Time)

A story is said of an elderly priest who was known for his deep piety, committed service and profound conviction in preaching.

His old age had rendered him nearly blind and he even found it quite hard to breathe normally…
… and in fact, struggled to speak even in whispers!

However, despite his old age, he loved to visit prayer meetings to speak about the love of Christ.

He would take the help of the catechist to get his message delivered to the people

Once, while preaching, he repeated the sentence:
“Jesus Christ is precious and He loves you very much!”

The catechist, thinking that the priest had made a mistake… reminded and whispered to him, “Father, you have already said that statement twice!”

The priest, turning to the catechist said in a strong tone, “Yes, I know I have said it twice, and I will say it once again!”

And so saying, with a firm and convinced voice, he told the people, “Jesus Christ is precious and He loves you very much!”

The priest re-iterated to the people of the Love of God, and How Precious He is!

Have we discovered and tasted the deep Love of God in our lives?

Do we treasure our Blessed Lord as Precious and follow Him with conviction and courage?

The Gospel of the Day is a beautiful narrative of a group of people – women, in particular – who experience the Love of the Lord, and considered Him as precious and worthy to be followed!

This passage is a strong narration by St Luke who presents Jesus, the true liberator, breaking some new ground in granting a new status to the discriminated and oppressed class of women.
“Accompanying Him were the Twelve and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities…..and many others who provided them out of their resources” (Lk 8:1)

Women who had been healed and had experienced the Goodness of the Lord, accompany Him in His mission…
… and supported Him with their resources.

We can take a couple of lessons from these few, yet significant words from the Gospel of St Luke:

  1. Broken to Blossom

Jesus broke some societal traditions to help people to blossom people and experience genuine freedom and liberty.

Women were generally kept out of public life…

They were forbidden from reading the Sacred Scriptures.
They were mainly reduced to mere onlookers, and not participants in the Sabbath worship.
They had a specially designated outer court at the synagogue, which was located beneath the court for men.

But Jesus loved to break open… to let free… and to allow people to blossom!

Jesus permitted Mary of Bethany to sit at His feet (Lk 10: 39)

Jesus touched a little girl who was dead and restored her to life (Lk 8:54)
Jesus allowed Himself to be touched by a woman in hemorrhage (Lk 8:44)
Jesus engaged in a life-transforming conversation with the woman at the well (Jn 4:7-26)
Jesus let the sinful woman to wash his feet, and shower his feet with kisses of love (Lk 7: 38)
Jesus had strong words for the practice of divorce which had reduced women to mere objects (Mt 19:3-9)

The Lord showed Himself as being Precious and declared that He loved everyone very much – including the rejected and the oppressed!

Do I let unhealthy and inhuman practices or mentalities to govern my life…
… or am I ready to break free and blossom?

Do I give in to societal pressures in following certain norms or thought-patterns…
… even if they are harmful?

Do I fail to be bold and courageous to initiate a change in attitudes…
… to achieve genuine liberation?

  1. Transformed to Tread!

The women who were touched by the Lord, had found greater meaning in their life and they accompanied the Lord in His ministry and mission.

They were not people who only sought favours; they rather happily extended gratitude and thankfulness.

They were not people who wanted Jesus in order to get something from Him; they rather had much to give to the Lord in return.
They were not people who lived for mere material needs; they, in fact, focussed their attention on the higher values of life and of the Kingdom!

These women were willing to respond to the Precious Love of the Lord and prove with acts of service that even they loved the Lord very much!

What is my response to the Lord who has showered my life with many blessings at crucial moments of my life…

Do I tread in His path after having been transformed with His Grace?

Do I get stuck with seeking only material favours and fail to allow them to lead me to a deeper God-experience?
Do I only remain with the prayer of intercession and prayer of asking, but not grow higher to prayer of thanksgiving and prayer of praise?

We live in times when the cry for deeper respect and genuine esteem for women is on a high.

You and I can make a great change in our society, by our attitude and our determination, with the Grace of God!

Let us cast away barriers which reduce people to mere objects…
… which yokes people, especially women.

Let us imitate Jesus the liberator to ‘break open to blossom’…
… and also grow in our commitment to ‘tread after having been transformed by Him!’

As St Francis de Sales says, “The Love of God is calm, peaceful, and tranquil, and so the work done for its sake, even in worldly things…
… is gentle, trustful, and quiet!”

Let us never forget that “Jesus Christ is precious and He loves us very much!”

Let these words be repeated constantly in our life, with deep piety, profound conviction and committed service to one another!

The words of St Robert Bellarmine, the Saint of the Day and Doctor of the Church, is an inspiration to all of us:
“Love is a marvellous and heavenly thing.

It never tires and it never thinks it has done enough!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
God’s Spirit and Word in the Time of the Promises

The Word of God and his Breath are at the origin of the being and life of every creature
It belongs to the Holy Spirit to rule, sanctify, and animate creation, for He is God, consubstantial with the Father and the Son
Power over life pertains to the Spirit, for being God, He preserves creation in the Father through the Son.

God fashioned man with His own Hands [that is, the Son and the Holy Spirit] and impressed His own form on the flesh He had fashioned, in such a way that even what was visible might bear the divine form. (Cf. CCC # 703-704)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – Sep 16, 2021: Thursday

“Falling in love with the Lord and remaining faithful to the love-life in the Lord!”

(Based on 1 Tim 4:12-16 and Lk 7:36-50 – Thursday of the 24th Week in Ordinary Time)

A catechism teacher, while distributing answer scripts of the Catechism Exam to her 3rd Standard (3rd Grade) students told them:

“I am so happy that most of you have done so well for these exams.

But remember, all these classes and exams are in preparation for the Bigger Examination.”

And she went on to explain:
“This Bigger Examination – the General Examination – is the Last Judgement Day!

And as St Robert Bellarmine tells us, the School of Christ is the School of Love.

In the last day, when the general examination takes place…
… Love will be the whole syllabus!”

Yes…
… All of us are called to grow in this understanding and practise of the “syllabus of Love!”

Have I “fallen in love” with the Lord and remain faithful to the love-life in the Lord?

The Gospel of the Day presents a wonderful expression of love towards Jesus and the subsequent acknowledgement of this gesture of love, by the Lord of Love!

The incident of sinner woman, washing the feet of Jesus in the house of Simon the Pharisee, ends with a statement, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” (Lk 7: 49)

The answer of this statement is probably what is expressed by the woman in her gesture of love.

Jesus was a guest in the house of Simon, the Pharisee.

It was probably one of those meals whereby a respected and wise host would invite several of the socially elite to dine with an important guest.

At this meal, they would recline along the table, laying down on their sides, to eat.

The meal would also involve a series of debates and discussions, over many crucial issues, centred around the special guest.

However, suddenly, out of nowhere, a lady enters in the scene.

It was one of those highly embarrassing and highly disgusting moments for the Host!

The lady was a known sinner…
… In the society, she had earned a notorious reputation

Her very presence was causing terrible insult.

Her ensuing action…

wiping the feet with the ointment from the alabaster jar
wiping them with her hairs
kissing them with tenderness
… caused still further damage to the reputation and honour of the host and his Guest!

However, what followed later, was like adding salt to the wounds of the host…

Jesus publicly recognizes, acknowledges and appreciates the action of the sinful woman.

He says, in solemn tones of approval of the action of the woman, “… She has shown great love! The one to whom little is forgiven, loves little” (Lk 7: 48)

Jesus had openly and publicly acknowledged the tremendous and daring love of the woman for Him!

And in doing so, she had given an answer to the question that would be put forth later, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?”

Her actions of love gave an answer…
… that He was the One worthy of receiving the highest and deepest love – one that counts no humiliation or hardships!
… that He was the One deserving the sweetest and the most priceless affections of our hearts – one that is limitless!
… that He was the One meritorious of every expression of endearment and fondness – one that is passionate and pure!

What is my level of love for the Lord?

Am I courageous to express my love for Him in actions that trespass humiliations or shame or guilt?
Am I bold to show that I truly love Him by living a life in accordance with the virtues of the Gospel?
Am I credible enough to say that I really love Him by extending His care to all those who are in need?

As we go about doing all our works, let us not fail to prepare ourselves well for the bigger examination – the general examination – The Last Judgement Day!

And let’s remember that when this general examination takes place…
… Love will be the whole syllabus!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
GOD’S SPIRIT AND WORD IN THE TIME OF THE PROMISES

From the beginning until “the fullness of time,” the joint mission of the Father’s Word and Spirit remains hidden, but it is at work.
God’s Spirit prepares for the time of the Messiah.
Neither is fully revealed but both are already promised, to be watched for and welcomed at their manifestation.
So, for this reason, when the Church reads the Old Testament, she searches there for what the Spirit, “who has spoken through the prophets,” wants to tell us about Christ.
By “prophets” the faith of the Church here understands all whom the Holy Spirit inspired in the composition of the sacred books, both of the Old and the New Testaments.

Jewish tradition distinguishes first the Law (the five first books or Pentateuch), then the Prophets (our historical and prophetic books) and finally the Writings (especially the wisdom literature, in particular the Psalms) (Cf. CCC # 702)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – Sep 15, 2021: Wednesday

“May the Compassionate Heart of our Blessed Mother help us to imitate our Blessed Lord who was ‘meek and humble of heart’ and thus to ‘be Merciful, like the Heavenly Father is merciful!’”

(Based on the Feast of the Mother of Sorrows)

The Church abounds in celebration of many feasts.

All of them focuses our attention on the joyful and happy aspects of life.

But we know, that…
…. Life is not always a superhighway

Life is more a kuccha (temporary) road with many pits and rough areas!

The Church today celebrates one such feast of our Blessed Mother, which is a celebration for sure…
… but focuses our attention more on the darker realities of life – pain, suffering, tears and struggles: The Feast of the Mother of Compassion.

This feast is characterized by the commemoration of the Seven Sorrows of our Blessed Mother…
… seven major events, evoking compassion, in the life of “Mater Dolorosa” (Mother of Sorrows)

Let us journey with our Blessed Mamma through the Seven Mysteries of the Sorrows:

  • The First Sorrow: The Prophecy of Simeon
    The time was festive and the mood was joyous when Jesus was being presented in the Temple.

It’s in this special time that Simeon comes forward to bless the Child Jesus.

But it comes with a catch: Mother Mary was to be pierced by a sword – a sword of sorrow!

The celebratory atmosphere suddenly turns a bit gloomy and overcast!

Many are the times when we enjoy joyful moments, when a sudden crisis hits our life.

The Compassionate Mother Mary becomes the Model for us: To be Patient and Trustful!

  • The Second Sorrow: The flight into Egypt
    Mother Mary and Joseph took up the great duty in the safeguarding of their Little One, Jesus!

They listened to God’s voice…
…. to come together as the parents of God’s Child
… to share the difficulties during the Birth of the Child.

And now, they listen to God’s voice to flee to Egypt and save the Saviour of the World!

To listen to the voice of the Lord, was a remarkable aspect of the success of their life as a couple!

To listen to God’s voice through the Bible, through our authorities or through our life situations sometimes becomes difficult for us.

The Compassionate Mother Mary becomes a model for us: To be attentive and obedient to God’s voice.

  • Third Sorrow: The Loss of Jesus in the Temple
    The picture of the Holy Family had also some shadowy spots.

They were not free…
… from troubles
… from doubts
… from conflicting situations

The Holy Family was very much a human family.

But what made them Holy and a Model for families?

It was their willingness to let go of their personal mindsets and seek how God wanted them to live.

Often, we find our families or communities broken and unable to gel with each together.

The Compassionate Mother Mary, as the Mother of the Family, becomes a model for us: To adapt to God’s Will.

  • The Fourth Sorrow: Mary meets Jesus on the Way to Calvary
    The sight of the Mother and Child meeting on the Via Dolorous was a picture of total sadness!

Tears filled both their eyes…
… the Divine Child and the Sorrowful Mother!

One with a Cross over the shoulders…
… the other a cross in Her heart!

Both their lips, however, sang the same chorus – Fiat, Thy Will be done Lord!

Life often puts us to situations of total hopelessness and darkness…
… the way ahead seems closed!

The Compassionate Mother Mary becomes a model for us: To remain faithful and loyal.

  • The Fifth Sorrow: Jesus dies on the Cross

At the Annunciation, when asked to give birth to a child, Mary had asked the Angel: “But how can this be since I am a virgin”.

At Calvary, when seeing the death of the child, perhaps, Mary was asking the Lord, “But how can this be since I am a mother”

They were questions which expressed human limitations and the demand to let everything be resigned into the hands of God!

We ourselves have had many such mini-experiences of Dying – of loved ones, of relationships, of great dreams…

The Compassionate Mother Mary, becomes a model for us: To accept our human boundaries and give ourselves into God’s hand.

  • The Sixth Sorrow: Mary receives the Dead Body of Jesus in Her arms
    “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me”, was the cry of the Lord from the Cross.

With Her Dead Child in Her arms, perhaps, the Mother of God would have also echoed the same question!

No answer given.

Yet, the tears that dropped from her lovely eyes, to the cheeks of her tender baby, carried the power of Hope and Trust and Faith!

We too sometimes encounter situations and times, when life crushes us

The Compassionate Mother Mary becomes a Model for us: To remain resigned to God’s Providence and be hopeful in faith!

  • The Seventh Sorrow: The Body of Jesus is placed in the Tomb
    As the body of Jesus was placed inside the tomb, it seemed to be the end of the world for Mother Mary.

The life of the Old Testament Isaac was spared and Abraham had to joy of being reunited with his Son.

The life of the New Testament Isaac was however not spared!

Was it the end of her life too?

Circumstances often drags us to give up in life…and to abandon our call to be soldiers of God’s Kingdom!

The Compassionate Mother Mary becomes the model for us: To reply to life’s harsh challenges with an even bolder face of courage!

Let the Commemoration of this Feast of the Mother of Sorrows…
… spur us to live our Real Lives of Struggle and Hardships with Immense Faith, Hope and Love!

May Her Compassionate Love help us to imitate our Blessed Lord who was “meek and humble of heart”…
… and thus “be Merciful, like the Heavenly Father is merciful” (Lk 6:36)

Happy Feast of the Mother of Compassion!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE NAME, TITLES, AND SYMBOLS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

THE FINGER: “It is by the finger of God that [Jesus] cast out demons.”
If God’s law was written on tablets of stone “by the finger of God,” then the “letter from Christ” entrusted to the care of the apostles, is written “with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts.”
The hymn Veni Creator Spiritus invokes the Holy Spirit as the “finger of the Father’s right hand.”
THE DOVE: At the end of the flood, whose symbolism refers to Baptism, a dove released by Noah returns with a fresh olive-tree branch in its beak as a sign that the earth was again habitable.
When Christ comes up from the water of his baptism, the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, comes down upon him and remains with him.

The Spirit comes down and remains in the purified hearts of the baptized. In certain churches, the Eucharist is reserved in a metal receptacle in the form of a dove (columbarium) suspended above the altar. Christian iconography traditionally uses a dove to suggest the Spirit. (Cf. CCC # 700-701)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – Sep 14, 2021: Tuesday

“Reflecting deeper on the Cross of our Blessed Lord, and preserving, nurturing and beautifying our lives – which is truly a ‘treasure in clay’ – in holiness and love!”

(Based on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross)

Venerable Fulton J Sheen is undoubtedly one of the greatest proponents of Catholicism of the 20th century.

In his autobiography titled, “Treasure in Clay,” Bishop Sheen gives a beautiful and heart-rending illustration of the Cross – the Crucifix:
“In the Crown of Thorns, I see my pride…
… my grasping for earthly toys, in the Pierced Hands,
… my flight from shepherding care, in the Pierced Feet
… my wasted love, in the Wounded Heart
… and my prurient desires, in the Flesh hanging from Him like Purple Rags!”

Yes…
… on the Most Holy Cross, we have the autobiography of all our lives!

On this Great and Blessed Feast of the Exaltation of the Most Holy Cross, we turn our gaze towards the Cross on which our Blessed Lord redeemed us…
… as we gratefully thank Him for His Awesome Sacrificial Love
… and pledge to live a life in expectation of this Great Sacrifice of our Crucified Lord!

In the Gospel (Jn 3: 13-17), Jesus tells to Nicodemus, “… as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life” (Jn 3: 14)

Centuries before Jesus was crucified, Divinity in its Immense Wisdom was already preparing for the plan of salvation!

Having been powerfully freed from the slavery in Egypt, the people of Israel were travelling to the Promised Land through the wilderness.

However, this difficult journey caused the people to lose their patience, and they murmured against God and His servant, Moses on the lack of comforts!

The result of this sin was the plague of poisonous serpents that caused suffering and death to them. (Num 21: 4-9)

However at the intercession of Moses, God had him lift up a bronze serpent on a pole, so that all who looked it would be healed!

This was the foreshadowing of the Cross of Christ!

(This method of Interpreting the Bible is also called “Biblical Typology”

“Biblical Typology” refers to a person, place or event in the Old Testament that has its own proper significance…
… but also prefigures a person, place or event, later in the New Testament

In the words of St Augustine: “The New Testament is hidden in the Old, and the Old Testament is made manifest in the New!”)

Like the people of Israel, our life is a journey through the wilderness.

Sometimes there is a lack of comfort.
Sometimes there is an inflation of hardships
Sometimes there is an increase in uncertainty.
… And we begin to complain, grumble… falling into many sinful ways and habits!

But Divine Love, wanting to have us back to Him, provides us the means to be rescued from the deadly effects of such sins…
… The Holy Cross is the Symbol of this redemption and salvation that is won for us, by Christ!

Are we ready to take refuge in the shadows of this Holy Cross…
… and affirming our sincere acceptance of Christ in our lives, do we live a holy life, worthy of our salvation?

St John of the Cross would say, “The road is narrow. He who wishes to travel it more easily, must cast off all things…
… and use the Cross as his cane.

In other words, he must be truly resolved to suffer willingly for the love of God in all things.”

Usually the heart is considered to be the great symbol of Love…

But, from a Christian perspective, probably, the Holy Cross is a greater and a more meaningful symbol of the Immense Love of God for each one of us.

The Cross demands sacrifice…
The Cross demands a self-emptying nature…
The Cross demands a complete commitment…
… And this is indeed the true nature of Love – sacrificial, self-emptying and committed! (Phil 2: 6-11)

As we honour and venerate the Holy Cross, may we hear the words of our Crucified Lord, tenderly whispering to us, with deep love and affection:
“You are mine, forever…
… and you belong to Me and to Me alone!

Hold on to My Cross, always!”

Two thieves on either sides, died with Christ on the Cross

One mocked Jesus…
… the other sought Jesus

One took pride in himself…
… the other humbled himself
One lost a golden opportunity…
… the other, won the Prized Paradise!

The Cross – with Jesus hanging – beckons to each one of one of us today

We have a choice…
… like both the thieves

What choice are we going to make?

Are we going to lose a golden opportunity…
… or are we going to seek the Prized Paradise?

ESCAPE FROM THE CROSS…
… OR EMBRACE THE CROSS!!

EXIT THE CROSS…
… OR EXALT THE CROSS!!

May we reflect deeper on the autobiography of our lives, written on the Cross of our Blessed Lord…
… and thus preserve, nurture and beautify our lives – which is truly a “treasure in clay” – in holiness and love!

In the words of Ven. Fulton Sheen, “The ideal is to reach a point in practice, where, like Our Lord on the Cross, we witness to God even amidst abandonment and the agony of a crucifixion!”

Wish you a very Happy Feast of the Holy Cross!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

SEAL: The seal is a symbol close to that of anointing.
“The Father has set his seal” on Christ and also seals us in him.
Because this seal indicates the indelible effect of the anointing with the Holy Spirit in the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders…
… the image of the seal (sphragis) has been used in some theological traditions to express the indelible “character” imprinted by these three unrepeatable Sacraments.
THE HAND: Jesus heals the sick and blesses little children by laying hands on them.
In His Name, the apostles will do the same.
Even more pointedly, it is by the Apostles’ imposition of hands that the Holy Spirit is given.
The Letter to the Hebrews lists the imposition of hands among the “fundamental elements” of its teaching.

The Church has kept this sign of the all-powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit in its sacramental epiclesis. (Cf. CCC # 698-699)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULE – Sep 13, 2021: Monday

“Making our faith and our Christian living, worthy of an ovation from the King of kings!”

(Based on 1 Tim 2:1-8 and Lk 7:1-10 – Monday of the 24th Week in Ordinary Time)

A standing ovation is a form of applause where members of a seated audience stand up while applauding…
… after extraordinary performances of particularly high acclaim.

Ovation comes from the Latin word “ovo”, which means “I rejoice”.

When a certain accomplishment causes great rejoicing and happiness, it is often, responded with an ovation..

Sportstars receive this ovation after a stupendous performance of sporting skills…

Musicians are accorded this ovation after a special rendition of their musical piece…

Orators and speakers are given this ovation after a marvellous speech or a talk…

The Gospel of the Day is a similar account of Jesus expressing His ovation for a person who showed tremendous faith.

When the faith and trust becomes so intense, even Jesus gives a special sign of appreciation!

We have today the incident of the healing of the Centurion’s servant.

Jesus lavishes His appreciations and admirations for a wonderful display of faith.

Here is the story an unusual faith found in an unusual man who displayed his faith in an unusual way.

  1. The Centurion was an unusual person…
    A Centurion was a person who worked for the Roman Empire and were Gentiles.

This Centurion however, was unusual, because of the fact, that he was very much concerned of his slave.

This was rare indeed!

In the Roman Empire, slaves had no rights.

They could be mistreated and even put to death.

It was said that “when your animals are old, you throw them out to die. You do the same with your slaves.”

So this is the unusual thing about this unusual Centurion – He cared very much about his slave!

  1. The centurion showed an unusual faith…
    The Centurion came to Jesus asking and pleading for help.

But when Jesus said that He would come to his house and heal him, the centurion was quick to answer him, ” I am not worthy to have you under my roof” ( Mt 8:8)

The spirit of a military man is clearly exhibited by the centurion..

A soldier’s way of thinking is extremely logical and to the point: When an order is given, instant obedience is expected.

“My commanding power goes beyond the realms of space…
…my presence or absence is no excuse for my soldiers to disobey”

The Centurion fully believed that Jesus was a mighty commander with all powers subjected to Him.

And so a word was enough for the healing to take place…

An expression of approval was good enough for the miracle to happen…

  1. The Centurion received an unusual response
    This tremendous expression of faith was enough for Jesus to admire and appreciate Him.

Jesus was astonished by this wonderful demonstration of confidence and belief: ” Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel, have I found such faith” (Mt 8: 10)

We have seen many instances of people praising and appreciating the works and wonders of Jesus.

But, it’s one of those rare occasions, when Jesus publicly acknowledges and asserts the glorious faith of the one seeking for help.

The Lord gives a wonderful ovation and applause for this wonderful presentation of faith.

This Gospel is a wonderful challenge for each of us to examine our life of faith…

In a situation when we are surrounded by sicknesses of negativity and discouragement,

Can we also boldly say, ” Only say a word, Lord… and I will be healed!”

In a situation when life-threatening moments of crushing-failures and despair encircle us,

Can we also boldly say, ” Only say a word, Lord… and I will be healed!”

In a situation when we get depressed by the various day to day problems of life,

Can we also boldly say, ” Only say a word, Lord… and I will be healed!”

As a famous saying goes, “It is easy to praise the Lord…

But it really is a challenge to receive praises from the Lord!”

When we stand firm in our faith in God, we receive ovations and appreciations from Him

When we have confidence in our love for God, we receive ovations and admiration from Him
When we remain strong in our Hope in God, we receive ovations and approval from Him.

The Trusting Confidence of the Centurion was blessed with a verbal ovation by the Saviour of the World!

Shall we also make our faith and our Christian living, worthy of an ovation from the King of kings?

God Bless! Live Jesus!


📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
SYMBOLS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
CLOUD AND LIGHT: These two images occur together in the manifestations of the Holy Spirit.

In the theophanies of the Old Testament, the cloud, now obscure, now luminous, reveals the living and saving God
while veiling the transcendence of His glory.

In the Holy Spirit, Christ fulfills these figures (Cf. CCC # 697)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – Sep 12, 2021: Sunday

“Being ready to give a bold and convinced answer to the Lord, from the depth of our hearts: ‘Lord, you are truly the Messiah of God; You truly are my Saviour and Lord!’”

(Based on Is 50:5-9a, Jas 2:14-18 and Mk 8:27-35 – 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time)

Most of us have been to hotels or cafeterias.

Hotels or cafeterias provide a menu book or a menu card, which allows customers to select and choose their choice of food or drink.

This choice of food depends on various factors:
The availability of food
… the company of friends we have
… the mood and feelings of our mind
… the time and occasion of the meal etc…

The choice of food varies based on several changing factors!

This cafeteria mentality works out very well for our food taste and our appetite.

But sometimes, we adopt a similar attitude, even in our Christian Lives!

We like to pick and choose aspects and portions of Christ and Christianity to fit into our choice…
We like to prefer and select parts and segments of Christ and Christianity which are more comfortable…

We follow a “Cafeteria Spirituality” in Christianity!

The Gospel of the Day warns and cautions against choosing this attitude of a Cafeteria Spirituality in following Christ and instead demands a total commitment:
“If anyone would follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me” (Mk 8: 34)

Today’s Gospel is the familiar passage of Jesus enquiring His disciples with the dual-query, “Who do people say that I am?” and “Who do you say that I am?” (Mk 7: 27b, 29)

The world may have innumerable answers when the question “Who do people say that I am?” is posed.

Many saw Jesus preaching zealously on repentance… and considered Him as John the Baptist
Many saw Jesus being mighty in deeds and wondrous acts… and considered Him as Elijah
Many saw Jesus powerfully authoritative in his words… and considered Him a Prophet

But most of them failed to see Jesus truly as the One He really was!

The SON OF GOD!

This can easily happen to any one of us too.

We may find Jesus as a source of many powers and many blessings and with many qualities.
… And we may tap this source for our various needs and wants.

We may be deeply impressed with Jesus and His huge treasury of teachings
… And we may admire and appreciate Him as a Great Moral Teacher

We may look at Jesus as being a wonderful person, like many other great people in the world
… And we may engage ourselves in studying about Him, collecting quotes on Him and reading various books on Him

But with all these “varied” qualities and dimensions, sometimes, we tend to forget the fact that our Blessed Lord…
… came not merely to be a storehouse of blessings and favours to be delivered
… came not simply to give some teachings and bring some societal transforms with some philosophies
… came not simply to be called as a “great man” and become a subject of many books, articles, talks etc

He primarily came to be Our Saviour!

He came to help us gain eternal life
He came to save us from our sins
He came to win us back to God

But sometimes, we adopt a “Cafeteria Spirituality” in our understanding and following of the Lord.

We choose the qualities we like but in the process, we might sometimes lose the very person Himself!

The Cafeteria Spirituality in our Spiritual Life may cater many of our wants.

But it might be found short of answering our basic need of redemption and salvation!

Jesus is primarily our Messiah…
… the Anointed one
… the Saviour of the World!

This is what Peter boldly expressed, “You are the Messiah of God!” (Mk 8:29b)

Prophet Isaiah invites us to have the attitude of Jesus, the Suffering Servant:
“The Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame!” (Is 50:7)

This understanding of the Real Jesus can be experienced only through our complete commitment to the cause of Christ and a faithful following by taking up our crosses.

The Lord encounters each one of us today personally and puts forward the same question,

Who do YOU say that I am?

Am I going to adopt the “Cafeteria Spirituality” and answer vaguely, imprecisely and abstractedly…
… depending on my moods and likings and situations?

Or I am ready to give a bold and convinced answer to the Lord, from the depth of our hearts:
“Lord, you are truly the Messiah of God…
… You truly are my Saviour and Lord!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
SYMBOLS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

FIRE: While water signifies birth and the fruitfulness of life given in the Holy Spirit, fire symbolizes the transforming energy of the Holy Spirit’s actions.
The prayer of the prophet Elijah, who “arose like fire” and whose “word burned like a torch,” brought down fire from heaven on the sacrifice on Mount Carmel.
This event was a “figure” of the fire of the Holy Spirit, Who transforms what He touches.
In the form of tongues “as of fire,” the Holy Spirit rests on the disciples on the morning of Pentecost and fills them with Himself

The spiritual tradition has retained this symbolism of fire as one of the most expressive images of the Holy Spirit’s actions. (Cf. CCC # 696)