REFLECTION CAPSULE – January 01, 2022: Saturday

“Holding the hands of our Blessed Mamma Mary, the Mother of God and marching forward joyfully and fervently on the path of Faith and Love in this New Year 2022”

(Based on the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God – New Year’s Day)

A medical thermometer, also known as the clinical thermometer, is used to measure the temperature of the body.

This device helps us to check the heat in the body

When the heat goes up, and the thermometer level indicates so, we say that we have fever.

When the heat goes low, and the thermometer level indicates so, we say we have gone cold.

When the heat remains average, and the thermometer level indicates so, we say that we are normal.
The thermometer helps us to examine and check our physical health and vigour.

Our spiritual life also needs such kind of a thermometer to check our spiritual health!

The heat levels, however, give a different indication, unlike the physical bodies.

When we are filled with God’s power and enthusiastic, the thermometer shows a high level.

When we are cast down with problems, the thermometer shows a low level.
When we are just pulling on with life, the thermometer shows a lukewarm level.

What is the level on our Spiritual Thermometer at this point of time?

We are on the first day of the New Year… and on the 8th day after Christmas – the Octave Day.

We notice that the hustle and bustle of Christmas, the celebrations and merriment of the
Festival are waning down…

The Crib and the Christmas Tree and the brightly shining stars have faded away
The large number of people in Church for Christmas have reduced to a slender one today
The joy and devout mood of the faithful which was on high, has slowly reduced

Is the message of Christmas slowly being left behind…?

But the Church still dynamically and emphatically keeps up the True Spirit of Christmas.

This Octave Day of Christmas fittingly celebrated as the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God is
a reminder to this fact
… that Christmas is not a one-day event; rather a celebration for life.
… that spiritual exercises and movements can’t be limited; rather need to overflow every day

The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God is a dogma of the Church and Devotion to Mary is one of the great treasures of the Church.

However, often, there are many doubts arising and controversies created over Mary, being considered and called as the Mother of God.

But the logic is pretty simple and easy to understand actually
Premise 1: Mary is the Mother of Jesus
Premise 2: Jesus is fully God and fully Man
Conclusion: Mary is the Mother of Jesus, fully God and fully Man.
And therefore, Mary is the Mother of God!

In honouring Mamma Mary with this title, we acknowledge, and give glory to Jesus, fully God and fully Man. In addressing Mamma Mary with this identity, we proclaim and declare the divinity and humanity of Jesus emphatically. Thus, the Title – Mary, Mother of God
– is an excellent proclamation of our basic aspect of faith – Jesus is both God and Man!

The Motherhood of Blessed Mamma has many implications for us…

  1. We are assured of Maternal protection and care in our journey towards the Lord when we face crises, problems and difficulties.
  2. We are challenged to respond to God’s inspirations, just as She said “Yes” to God’s call to be a partner in the salvation of the world.
  3. We are invited to be faithful and committed in being united with Jesus, in the face of any hardships and troubles that come our way.
  4. We are exhorted to be committed and focussed on Jesus and Him alone and to make His Life as the aim, the goal and the foundation of our life.

On this first day of the New Year 2022, the Lord invites us to check and examine our Spiritual Health on the Spiritual Thermometer.

Am I fervent and zealous in my commitment and consecration?

Am I passionate and ardent in my Love for Jesus, my Lord?
Am I charitable and caring in my dealings with my brothers and sisters?

Blessed Mamma, the Mother of God invites us to hold Her hands and march forward joyfully and fervently on the Path of Faith and Love.

Wish you a Very Happy Feast of Blessed Mamma!
Wish you a Blessed and Holy New Year 2022!

God Bless! Let us always… Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

The laity can also feel called, or be in fact called, to cooperate with their pastors in the service of the ecclesial community, for the sake of its growth and life.
This can be done through the exercise of different kinds of ministries according to the grace and Charisms which the Lord has been pleased to bestow on them.”
In the Church, “lay members of the Christian faithful can cooperate in the exercise of this power [of governance] in accord with the norm of law.”
And so the Church provides for their presence at particular councils, diocesan synods, pastoral councils; the exercise in solidum of the pastoral care of a parish, collaboration in finance committees, and participation in ecclesiastical tribunals, etc.

The faithful should “distinguish carefully between the rights and the duties which they have as belonging to the Church and those which fall to them as members of the human society. They will strive to unite the two harmoniously, remembering that in every temporal affair they are to be guided by a Christian conscience, since no human activity, even of the temporal order, can be withdrawn from God’s dominion. (CCC # 908-909)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – December 31, 2021: Friday

“Readying to usher in the New Year, with Jesus, the Word taking complete flesh in us!”

(Based on 1 Jn 2:12-17 and Lk 2:36-40 – Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas)

Let’s play a game together.

(I know, it will be a bit impractical to play… yet, let’s give it a try)
As they say, “there is no harm in trying to achieve something worthwhile in life!”

The name of the game is “Guess the Word!”

Ok… Ready?

Here we go… All that you need to do is to “Guess which word I am thinking now…!”

Yeah, you read it right… Just guess the Word that I am thinking of… now!

Did I hear someone say “God?”

Well… You are wrong!

“New Year?”

… Wrong again!

Hmmm… “Resolution?”… “Cross?”… “Celebration?”… “Chocolate?”… “Christmas?”

Sorry… but they are wrong

Another try? … Ok

“Selfie?”… “Food”… “Suffering?”… “Mass?”… “Books?”… “Flower?”… “Sleeping?”
… or some other words?

Well… sad to say… all your guesses turned out to be wrong!

The right answer
… the word that I am thinking of now is “Pencil!”

Did anyone get it right?

I doubt…

If you ask me, why was I thinking of a “pencil”
… I will say, “Well, just simply! No reason”

It would have taken you a very long time to guess that word…
… and probably, you would even have never guessed that word!

Not that it was too difficult or something abstract…

But simply because there is almost no other way you can think the Word that I have in mind, unless I myself tell it to you!

The point of this game is… “The Word that was thought” will be known only if it is “revealed!”
… Is it not?

Now let’s take this concept of “Guessing the Word” to the Divine Realm…

Human Beings at every point of time in every civilization, every culture, have sought to know and establish a link and relationship with the Divine
… to know what is the mind of the Divine
… to guess what is the plan of the Almighty
… to discern what is the thought of the Supernatural

Some philosophers sought to crack this code by drawing out many theories

Some sages and prophets spent time in deep contemplation and wrote many literature
Some noble thinkers dedicated their entire lives to put forward doctrines and teachings

Some of these we call it as religions.

Some as way of life.

Some as philosophies of life.
But none of them were able to know and discern the Divine clearly.

It was just as we played the “guessing the word” game…

Many guesses were attempted… some were close… yet, none were fully right!

The Word in the mind of the Divine would be known only if it is revealed!
And that spectacular instant of revelation is what we call as Incarnation of the Word!

The Divine Historic Moment when the Almighty revealed His Word is called Incarnation!

We read in today’s Gospel reading… John 1: 14, “And the Word became flesh!”

The Word in the mind of God took human form in Jesus!

Jesus is the visible, the revealed and the manifested Word of God!

Jesus is the Son of God… Jesus is God, the Son!
Jesus is the Word made flesh… Jesus is God in human flesh!

What is the impact of this most unique and most spectacular event of history… Incarnation?

Humanity which had strayed has found another chance to be re-united.
Human beings steeped in sin were provided with an opportunity to be redeemed.
Humanity is empowered not with abstract human teachings, but by the Divine Person

This is what makes Christianity different from all other ways of life or religions

This is what makes Christianity unique among all other philosophies of life

It is utter absurdity for philosophers, for the Infinite to become finite

It is purely mythical for the naturalist, for the Transcendent to be understood
It is totally unscientific for the rationalist, for Fullness to be reduced to limitedness

But This is The Truth.

This is the Reality.

In Incarnation, the God of Love was now wrapped in human flesh.
… the Almightiness of God moved in a human arm.
… the Love of God now beat in a human heart.
… the Wisdom of God now spoke from human lips.
… the Mercy of God reached forth from human hands.

You and I are the beneficiaries of knowing the answer of this game “Guessing the Word” which humanity was engaged with the Divine, for centuries!

Jesus is that answer!

And Jesus can be the answer to all the problems and difficulties of our lives.

Have we allowed Him – Jesus, the Word – to take flesh in ourselves?

Have we permitted Him – Jesus the Word – to have an impact in our lifestyle?
Have we consented to Him – Jesus, the Word – to become the totality of our lives?

We are on the last day of this year 2021
… and at the threshold of yet another New Year.

As we thank the Lord for the gift of this year…
… with its ups and downs
… with its learnings and experiences
… with its joyful events and sad moments

Let us also realize that…
… There can be no spectacular resolve
… There can be no greater discovery
… There can be no better resolution
… There can be no higher decision
… than to allow JESUS, THE WORD to take firm and absolute control of our lives!

Are we ready to usher in the New Year 2022, with Jesus, the Word taking complete flesh in us?

Yes, He is The Only Way… The Only Truth… The Only Life – JESUS, THE WORD REVEALED AND MADE FLESH!

Thank You, Lord, for the Year 2021 that has gone by.

We seek to be Holier and “belonging to You more” in this New Year 2022!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

By his obedience unto death, Christ communicated to his disciples the gift of royal freedom, so that they might “by the self-abnegation of a holy life, overcome the reign of sin in themselves”
That man is rightly called a king who makes his own body an obedient subject and, by governing himself with suitable rigor, refuses to let his passions breed rebellion in his soul, for he exercises a kind of royal power over himself.
And because he knows how to rule his own person as king, so too does he sit as its judge. He will not let himself be imprisoned by sin, or thrown headlong into wickedness.
“Moreover, by uniting their forces let the laity so remedy the institutions and conditions of the world when the latter are an inducement to sin, that these may be conformed to the norms of justice…

… favouring rather than hindering the practice of virtue. By so doing they will impregnate culture and human works with a moral value. (CCC # 908-909)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – December 30, 2021: Thursday

“Pursuing the task, and prevailing in our aim to discover ‘why we are born’”

(Based on 1 Jn 2:12-17 and Lk 2:36-40 – Sixth Day in the Octave of Christmas)

There is a quotation by William Barclay, a famous theologian:
“There are two great days in a person’s life – the day we are born and the day we discover why!”

One of them is easier and simpler than the other.

One is just a date and a moment in history.

It could be something like the 19th of January or the 2nd of November or the 29th of December or the 17th of June or the 28th of November or 16th of January etc…

This was the day, we first made our appearance on this earth.

This day is special….

The other day is also special…
… but it’s not easy to discover it!

In fact, it is an arduous task and a patient undertaking.

That is day we figure out why we are on this Planet Earth.
That is the day we come to a greater realization of our Life.

The first day tells that I am here in this earth!

The second day would tell us “why” I am here on this earth!

To discover this meaning and purpose of life and seek to live it fully well, will make our lives satisfying and truly happy.

It could happen…
… in one day!
… over a period of some years!
… over one’s whole lifetime!

Yet, the most important thing is to “keep seeking for it and be alert for its discovery”

Am I in this all-important process of discovering “Why I am born in this world?”

The Gospel of the Day will point out today to a person who discovered greatly this aspect of the purpose in life, and dedicated her whole life for it – Anna, the Prophetess.

We are still in the festive passages of Christmas – the Nativity of our Saviour.

Joseph and Mary have brought their Beloved Child, Jesus, to the temple to be presented to the Lord.

After the ritual purification rites and customs, the Holy Family of Nazareth is encountered by Simeon.

He who was docile and open to the promptings of the Spirit discovered the Glory of God.

He who was patient and constantly in quest, was blessed with the true meaning of his life.

At the same time, another woman was also eagerly waiting for the Messiah…in constant eagerness and longing… Anna!

‘Anna’ is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Hannah, which means, ‘Grace’

Like the Old Testament Hannah, this Anna is also characterized by prayer and fasting

She was the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.

Asher was one of the twelve tribes of Israel.

Asher is considered to be one among ten of these tribes, which had strayed away from the path of the Lord, that were taken captive by the Assyrians in 722 BC, before the northern Kingdom fell.

However, “some men of Asher, of Manasseh, and of Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem” (2 Chr 30:11).

So, Anna belonged to that small remnant of the tribe of Asher that had humbled itself to seek protection and providence in the Lord.

Anna was, however, a widow

She was a widow for a very very long time…
… for over seven decades, she had been a widow.

It was a tremendous grief to live so long without the love of a husband.

It was a dreadful challenge to struggle for survival and existence as a widow.

Sorrow can cause two consequences to a believer….

It can make one hard, bitter, resentful and rebellious against God
It can make one kinder and dependable on God!

Sorrow can cause our faith to be spoilt
Sorrow can cause our faith to take deeper roots!

Anna, the widow, chose the better part!

She chose to reveal and revel in the Grace of God and live a Gracious Life!
And this process of her discovering “why she was born in the world” made her to…

  1. Practice a life of purity: She lived in holiness and integrity.
  2. Pray constantly: She lived in the temple continually and was incessantly fasting and praying
  3. Persevere Patiently: She battled loneliness and depression and persevered successfully to meet the Lord.
  4. Proclaim Boldly: She challenged others in their cozy life by proclaiming the Messiah and His promises!

Life is constantly calling and challenging us to discover “the day why I am born”

It’s easy to while away our time in comforts and pleasures of this world.

But that will certainly not serve the goal of our existence here on this earth.

Each of us have a specific task and responsibility entrusted by the Lord.

This role is proper to our own vocation as in family life or in a consecrated life.

In God’s precious eyes, there are no small or great responsibilities.

He values and treasures each and every duty -small or big- with equal measure.
Every task, when performed with immense love and dedication has its greatness.

Anna, the old lady, “Young and Vibrant at Heart” teaches us today…

To pursue what we are to be…to discover “why I am born”…to prevail in our aim!
… by Practicing a Life of Purity
… by Praying Constantly
… by Persevering Patiently
… by Proclaiming Boldly!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
Lay people who are capable and trained may also collaborate in catechetical formation, in teaching the sacred sciences, and in use of the communications media.

“In accord with the knowledge, competence, and pre-eminence which they possess, [lay people] have the right and even at times a duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church…

… and they have a right to make their opinion known to the other Christian faithful, with due regard to the integrity of faith and morals and reverence toward their pastors, and with consideration for the common good and the dignity of persons” (CCC # 906-907)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – December 29, 2021: Wednesday

“Being observant and alert to the Holy Spirit talking to us and moving in us!”

(Based on 1 Jn 2:3-11 and Lk 2:22-35 – Fifth Day in the Octave of Christmas)

Mobile phones come with an option of keeping it in the ‘silent mode’.

It often happens, that when a phone is kept in the silent mode, one fails to notice a call.

But if one has been eagerly and excitedly waiting for someone’s call, it will be received, even if the phone is kept in the silent mode…


Great blessings from God often come to us silently and quietly.

But the one who is waiting eagerly and patiently excited, receives these blessings even in the silent mode of events…

Such was the case when the Lord was born…

The Messiah was promised long back… centuries ago.

Yet, when we go through the accounts of the Bible, it seems that most people were not ready to receive Him…

The Scribes and Scholars of the time never seem to have expected…
The rich and the powerful people of Bethlehem failed to have any notice of Him…

Hardly anyone knew when and where the Saviour – the Little Babe was born!

It seemed like a call on the mobile phone that is kept in the silent mode!

Silently, the Precious Gift was delivered…

Without and fuss or fanfare, the Marvellous Treasure was presented…

But there was also a tiny group of people, who were waiting for this Blessed Fortune…
There were some who were waiting eagerly and patiently excited…

Among this tiny set of persons was Simeon!

In some dramas, we see some characters who appear on the stage just once…
… speak a few crucial dialogues or perform some significant deeds
… and they disappear
… never to be seen again!

Simeon is one such figure…

We know nothing about his background, his hometown, his education, or even his occupation.

We assume that he was an old man, but even that is not explicitly mentioned.

He simply appears on the stage of salvation drama for a few moments…
After his part is over, he fades from the scene, never to be heard from again!

We however, do know… that this Simeon was waiting eagerly for the Lord.

We could just imagine how Simeon would have gone through his days of waiting for the Saviour of the world…

Every time some couple walked in with child, Simeon would have asked, “Could this be the Promised Messiah?”…

Finally, when Mary and Joseph walked in with the child Jesus…
… Simeon sensed the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

However, looking at them, perhaps, a doubt would have arisen in his mind…
“Could the child of this simple and ordinary parents really be the Messiah?
The man seems to be some ordinary carpenter sort of…and the mother looks so ordinary a peasant girl.

Is it really possible that the Messiah, the Promised Saviour of the Universe, be having such simple and ordinary parents?”

And probably, the voice of the Holy Spirit would have boomed into the ears of Simeon…
Truly… there is the Messiah… the One promised by God!

“Human beings seek external appearances….but God chooses by His own Divine standards.
Doubt not… but go and meet Him, Who was promised for ages!
Believe firmly…and encounter the One who is the Salvation of the world!”

What about us?

Do we seek and listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit in our lives?

It could come through various formats…
… Inspirations… Thoughts… Circumstances…Other people… Commandments of the Church… Bible… Challenges in Life…etc…

Are we in patient waiting and constant vigilance to hear this voice of the Lord?

Sometimes we cast away inspirations and feelings as trivial and minor…
Sometimes we discard some people as just insignificant and unimportant…
Sometimes we pass of situations and circumstances as ordinary and common…
Sometimes we reject commandments and teachings as outdated and obsolete…

But the Lord…
… through the patient and ever-watchful Simeon, today, invites us to always be on the watch to listen to the promptings of the Spirit…

We sometimes miss important calls when our phones are kept in silent mode…

Let it not happen so with the movements of the Spirit…
Let us always be observant and alert…

The Spirit is talking… the Spirit is moving…

Are we listening?

Are we aware?

Ting ting…
… Is there a missed call or a message?

Check check….

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

Lay people also fulfil their prophetic mission by evangelization, “that is, the proclamation of Christ by word and the testimony of life.”
For lay people, “this evangelization… acquires a specific property and peculiar efficacy because it is accomplished in the ordinary circumstances of the world.”
This witness of life, however, is not the sole element in the apostolate; the true apostle is on the lookout for occasions of announcing Christ by Word…

… either to unbelievers or to the faithful. (CCC # 90)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – December 28, 2021: Tuesday

“Let Christmas be an occasion for all of us to renew our commitment to the cause of justice and peace in the world, and make this earthly pilgrimage more meaningful!”

(Based on the Feast of the Holy Innocents)

Christmas is one of the most – if not the most – popular Fest in the world!

This Fest is – besides the spiritual nourishment – greatly celebrated…
… with a lot of joy and merriment
… with the aspect of renewing relationships through get-togethers
… with a lot of decorations and festoons to amplify the exciting tone

But for a moment, when we think of the very First Christmas Night…
… we begin to understand that such was not exactly the mood back then!

There were many elements on that First Christmas Night which were very ordinary and some even, sad and scandalizing!
… the long and arduous travel of the “expectant Mother with Child” and the “uncertain father” towards Bethlehem
… the Holy Family failing to find a place in the inn (perhaps, refused to be given a place!)
… the birth of the Messiah, the Creator of the entire universe, in a manger – which was actually the place of feeding for the animals!
… the terrifying and indecisive flight into Egypt

As the famous Carol goes, it was in all probability more of a “Silent Night…!”

Another importantly sad and scandalizing event was that of the “Killing of the Innocents” under the age of two, at the order of King Herod (Mt 2: 16-18)

On this fourth Day of the Christmas Octave, Dec 28th, Holy Mother Church celebrates this Commemoration of The Holy Innocents.

The news that a new King of the Jews was born caused great ordeal for King Herod (Mt 2: 3)

He became all the more furious when he heard that the Magi had deceived him (Mt 2:16)

The easiest solution found was to kill all the males under the age of two.

To react negatively, in a situation of hardship, often seems to be the easiest way out.

But it is an extremely cheap and low way of going about

But Herod fell into this snare of “negative reaction” and had little babies killed.

These babies, too little and young to form a will and a desire to love, became martyrs of Blood. (Mt 2:16)

St Augustine would say, “They are the first buds of the Church killed by the frost of persecution;
they died not only for Christ but in his stead!”

The number of children killed is uncertain. There are several views on the actual number of children who were killed.

The Byzantine Liturgy (Greek) says that Herod killed 14,000 boys
The Syrian Liturgy speaks of 64,000.
Another scholarly study suggests that Bethlehem was a tiny town, at the time of Jesus, with a population of maybe 300. The number of children below the age of two could be very less – maybe six or seven.

But the fact remains, that it was a tragedy gravely foul and grievously painful.

The death of the little children is a reminder that our earthly life is a pilgrimage…
… to be oriented for the eternal life in heaven

The dreadful massacre of the innocent children can easily cause a question to arise in us:

Why did God allow the helpless death of the children before their own parents?
Why did these little children have to be murdered, for saving the Divine Child?
Could not God have planned a noble way of saving Him?

Such questions can cause our faith to be disturbed or even be scandalized by the ways of God.

But it brings home an important truth: Our earthly life is a pilgrimage.

No one knows how long we will live – some die in infancy, some in their old age; some die prepared, some suddenly and tragically.

This is the reality that we find in the world – we like it or not, we accept or not.

It, therefore, is a call for us, to nurture life in the best way possible

Our own lives by living in holiness and fidelity to the Will of God
Preserving, nurturing and enhancing others – including the little infants in the wombs.

This commemoration of the Holy Innocents is a reminder to open our eyes to see the tragedies of the world and become courageous torch-bearers of justice.

This passage of King Herod and the Holy Innocents might sometimes seem to be like…
… “the unwarranted bone” in the tasty meal of Christmas
… or the “jarring note” in the melodious music of Christ’s Nativity.

We often like to live in “cozy and comfortable” situations – even if it means, closing our eyes to the stark and tragic realities of life.

But it is the obligation of every Christian to “get out of every comfort zone”…
… and enter into the “suffering sections” of the society, and give them hope and consolation

The “cry of the mothers of the innocent children”…
… Mt 2:18 – “A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation”… is also a “Carol”, that is heard every Christmas

Yes, let us genuinely understand that Christmas – the birth of Christ, ought to not merely be a “festival of fun or frolic”…
… but also should lead us to hear the many “cries of innocents” today – the oppressed and the abused, the voiceless and the helpless, the sinful and the lonely etc.

Christmas is undoubtedly, one of the most – if not the most – popular Fest in the world!

But let not this Fest be drowned only in external celebrations and merriment

Rather, let it also be an occasion for all of us to renew our commitment to the cause of justice and peace in the world, and make this earthly pilgrimage more meaningful!

Salutations to the Holy Innocents and Glory to the Divine Babe, Jesus!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

“Christ… fulfils this prophetic office, not only by the hierarchy . . . but also by the laity. He accordingly both establishes them as witnesses and provides them with the sense of the faith [sensus fidei] and the grace of the word”

To teach in order to lead others to faith is the task of every preacher and of each believer (CCC # 904)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – December 27, 2021: Monday

“Being inspired by and learning to imitate the passionate love of St John, the Evangelist and Apostle of Love!”

(Based on the Feast of St John, the Evangelist)

Christmas is a time of great celebration and festivities!

The time after Christmas is often a phase of getting through with many cakes, sweets, food…

The foodstuff prepared for the occasion often exceeds the required amount and thus, it needs a few more days to consume it fully….

Something similar also happens in the spiritual realm…
For many people, the spiritual significance of an event like Christmas cannot be absorbed and completed in a day.

It’s like trying to comprehend the grandeur of some magnificent places like…
… the St. Peter’s Basilica at Vatican
… or the Taj Mahal in Agra
… or the Niagara Falls
… or other great and dazzling sites, in one walk-through.

It’s not too easy.

We have to return back to grasp greater the beauty and the splendour.

So it is with the spectacular event of the Nativity…

We need…
… more time to comprehend about the Christmas Night
… more time to understand the virgin birth
… more time to fathom that God came down to earth as a tender Babe for our salvation etc…

As a result, the Church gives us seven additional days to contemplate these divine mysteries.

These extra days on the liturgical calendar, along with the feast day – eight in total – is called as The Christmas Octave.

Every day of the Christmas octave is filled with meaning that reflects back on the Nativity – not just the birth of Christ…
… but the impact, the reality and the consequence of that birth in the lives of different people.

It’s interesting to note that each of the three days following the Feast of Christmas, commemorates a different type of martyrdom…

Dec 26th – the Feast of St Stephen – the Martyrdom of the Will, Love and Blood:

By His powerful witness, St Stephen was stoned to death in act that was completely willed by him, totally offering his Love for Jesus & shedding his blood.

Dec 27th – the Feast of St John – the Martyrdom of the Will and Love:

By a life of immense faithfulness & total dedication, lived with a tremendous passion and fervour, St John suffered the martyrdom of the Will and of Love.

Dec 28th – the Feast of the Holy Innocents – the Martyrdom of Blood:

On coming to know of the birth of Jesus, King Herod ordered that males under the age of two should be executed. These little babies, too little and young to form a will and a desire to love, became martyrs of Blood. (Mt 2:16)

Their innocent blood came in defence of the blood of their Divine Contemporary – Baby Jesus, who would grant salvation to them by His Precious Blood!

On this third Day of the Christmas Octave, Dec 27th, Holy Mother the Church celebrates the Feast of St John, the Evangelist – the Martyr of Will and Love!

St John, the Apostle and Evangelist is known as the Apostle of Love.

His Life defined Love.

His writings expressed Love.
His thoughts instilled Love.

The Gospel of St John is a witness that “this disciple who was loved by Jesus” received two unique places alongside Jesus, that none of the other apostles received.

  1. Near the heart of Jesus – in the bosom of His Divine Lord! (Jn 12: 23)
    Jesus bestowed this unique place, close to His heart, to John, His Beloved Disciple, at the Last Supper.

At the last supper, while Jesus announced that one of His disciples would be betray Him, John, leaning on Jesus’ bosom, asked Him, “Lord, who is it?” (Jn 13: 25)

While the synoptic Gospels testify to the fact, that when Jesus said, “One of you will betray me”, all other disciples, with a (perhaps) sense of guilt or doubt asked, “Is it I, Lord?”

But the Gospel of St John, clearly testifies to the fact, that when Jesus said, “One of you will betray me,” John with a clear conscience asked directly, “Lord, who is it?”

The innocent heart of John did not bear any guilt or doubt.

The love in John’s veins prompted him to not have any fear or panic.
The child-like trust in John prompted him to ask Jesus bluntly, “Who is it..?”

Love seeks to be close to the One who is loved.

Love wants to have the nearest place to access the One who is loved.
Love longs to be intimate to the heart of the One that is deeply loved.

St John, the Apostle of Love, was given this place to be closest to the Heart of Jesus!

  1. Near the Cross – in the crucible of suffering of His Divine Lord (Jn 19:26)
    Jesus bestowed this unique place, close to His Cross, to John, His Beloved Disciple.

While all other disciples had forsaken the Lord, John remained close to the Cross of Jesus.

The Apostle of Love remained faithful and committed to His Master.

The Apostle of Love was staunchly courageous in the face of extreme fear and danger.
… desires to be with the pain of the One who is loved.
… defies every hurdle to be joined to the suffering of the One who is loved.
… breaks itself completely to have a share in the anguish of the One who is loved.

St John, the Apostle of Love, was given this place to be closest to the Cross of Jesus!

It’s a point to be noted, that the only other person who was given this unique privilege of being closest, both, to the Heart and Cross of Jesus…
… was our Blessed Mamma Mary – the Supreme Apostle of Love!
… She was closest to the heart of Jesus, nurturing and nourishing Her tender Babe
… She was closest to the Cross of Jesus, sharing and suffering the pain of Her beloved Child.

YES… An Apostle of Love can be made and moulded only in these two unique places…
… Near the Heart of Jesus and near the Cross of Jesus.

Love longs to be close to the Heart…

Love drives every fear of the Cross.

Love seeks to kiss the Heart…

Love impels to embrace the Cross!

Blessed Mamma Mary and St John invite us, with much tenderness and affection:

“Come my Child… Come my brother and sister…
… Be an Apostle of Love – close to the Heart and Cross of Jesus”

Happy Feast of the Apostle of Love!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

In a very special way, parents share in the office of sanctifying “by leading a conjugal life in the Christian spirit and by seeing to the Christian education of their children.”
Lay people who possess the required qualities can be admitted permanently to the ministries of lector and acolyte.

When the necessity of the Church warrants it and when ministers are lacking, lay persons, even if they are not lectors or acolytes, can also supply for certain of their offices, namely, to exercise the ministry of the word, to preside over liturgical prayers, to confer Baptism, and to distribute Holy Communion in accord with the prescriptions of law. (CCC # 900)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – December 26, 2021: Sunday

“In Faith and Love, trusting that the Lord, Our Mother Eagle – will always care for us and our families – and wants us to seek Him to Be His, forever!”

(Based on the Feast of the Holy Family – Sunday within the Octave of Christmas: Lk 2:41-52)

It’s interesting to know the making of an Eagle’s nest!

When a mother eagle builds her nest, she starts with thorns, broken branches, sharp rocks, and a number of other items that seem entirely unsuitable for the house.

Then she lines the nest with a thick padding of wool, feathers, and fur from animals she has killed, making it soft and comfortable for the eggs.

By the time the growing birds reach flying age, the comfort of the nest and the luxury of free meals make them quite reluctant to leave.

That’s when the mother eagle begins “stirring up the nest.”

With her strong talons, she begins pulling up the thick carpet of fur and feathers, bringing the sharp rocks and branches to the surface.

As more of the bedding gets plucked up, the nest becomes uncomfortable for the young eagles.

Eventually, these urgings prompt the growing eagles to leave their once-comfortable abode and move on to more mature behaviour – and thus, these eaglets learn the art of mastering the skies!

It’s similar in our lives too!
“Stirring of the nest” ought to become moments for us to experience and trust the Divine Providence of our Lord who always protects us and wants us “to fly high!”

Today – the Feast of the Holy Family – is a day when we as a Family recall all those moments of “stirring of the nest” in our families, and thank God for His Protective Care…
… as we also renew our bond and commitment to one another, and as a family, to the Lord.

Every family is a “domestic church”

And every member of the Family has a duty to uphold the home, and thus the Church!

The Feast of the Holy Family is a day for all of us to thank God for the gift of our families

God loves Family Life!

The Bible gives a clear picture of this beautiful dimension of God’s Love for Family Life.

In the creation of Adam, God clearly expressed His Will concerning Family Life – “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (Gen 2:18).

Thus Adam was given a life companion in Eve, to be the “bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh” (Cf. Gen 2:23), laying the foundation of the principle of “unity and indissolubility in marriage.”

This is what Jesus later highlighted when He was questioned on the permissibility of divorce, when He emphatically declared, “What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder!” (Mk 10:9)

The story of the nation of Israel begins with Abraham and his family moving to the place directed by God (Cf. Gen 12:1-7).

Yes, the story of the salvation of a nation began with the obedience of a family!

This virtue of obedience would later be perfected by the Holy Family of Nazareth!

Mother Mary and St Joseph lived family lives seeking and doing God’s Will at all times
As we see in the Gospel of the Day, even when they faced the crisis of missing their Divine Child, they did not resort to any blame-game, instead, “when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him” (Lk 2:45)

When Jesus, the Eternal Word became flesh (Cf. Jn 1:14), He chose to be born in a Family.

The first sign shown by Jesus in St John’s Gospel, is that of a family facing a crisis (Cf. Jn 2:1-11)
Thus, we see that Family Life is dear to the Heart of God!

Today we live in times where the very fabric of family life is threatened and even questioned!

It’s in such a perilous context – when there is much “stirring of the nest” in our families – that the Feast of the Day is a call to every Christian Family to witness the Trinitarian Love to the world.

How do we foster our Christian families to be “God’s untarnished Eden of peace of love?”

a. Prioritize Worship: Worship is participating in the Sacramental Life of the Church – especially the Holy Eucharist. Going to Mass together, attending Adoration, Confession and partaking of other spiritual benefits offered by the Church as a united family goes a long way in “cementing familial bonds.”

b. Cultivate Discipleship: The call of every Christian is to be a disciple and an apostle (“to be with Him and to be sent out!” – Cf. Mk 3:14).

Learning and discussing the Catechism of the Catholic Church, having Bible study, preparing for the Sacraments especially the Holy Mass, sharing spiritual and faith experiences, reading the lives of saints

c. Foster Devotion: As we see in the Gospel, the family of Jesus used to go to the Jerusalem Temple every year, “as was the custom” (Cf. Lk 2:42) – teaching us to also foster regular devotion in the family.

Our own families need to have simple and habitual spiritual customs that will be ingrained into every member of the family – especially children…… daily family prayer, children seeking the blessing of parents, marking the sign of the cross with holy water especially while going out
… having a sacred space in a prominent place of the house which acts as ‘the hub for devout activities’, going for spiritual pilgrimages, practising the works of mercy, celebrating the feasts of saints and other important days of the Church, practising of ‘a virtue for the month’ etc

d. Nurture faithfulness: Family members ought to support and encourage in being faithful to one another, to the teachings of the Church and one’s duties as a Christian.

e. Promote Service: Every Christian family should steep itself into extending the merciful blessings of the Lord to others.
This also includes avoiding judgmental discourses, petty critical chit-chats and character assassination!

In moments of the “stirring of our nest” in our family life, let’s not panic or be disturbed…

Rather, in Faith and Love, let’s trust that the Lord – Our Mother Eagle – will always care for us…
… and wants us to seek Him… to Be His, forever!

Happy Feast of the Holy Family!

Jesus, Mary, Joseph, we love you!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

Hence the laity, dedicated as they are to Christ and anointed by the Holy Spirit, are marvellously called and prepared so that even richer fruits of the Spirit maybe produced in them.
For all their works, prayers, and apostolic undertakings, family and married life, daily work, relaxation of mind and body, if they are accomplished in the Spirit – indeed even the hardships of life if patiently born – all these become spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
In the celebration of the Eucharist, these may most fittingly be offered to the Father along with the Body of the Lord.

And so, worshipping everywhere by their holy actions, the laity consecrate the world itself to God, everywhere offering worship by the holiness of their lives. (CCC # 901)

  • Fr Jijo Jose Manjackal MSFS
    Email ID:
    Bengaluru, India

REFLECTION CAPSULE – December 25, 2021: Saturday

“Having the Birth of Christ in our heart, and singing with conviction, ‘Joy in my life, the Lord has come!’”

(Based on Christmas – The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ)

A catechism teacher was explaining the reality of sin, to her 5th Standard (Grade) students.

She said: “Children, how does a worm get inside an apple?”

The question interested the students, and they keenly listened to the teacher, as she continued:
“Perhaps you think the worm burrows in from the outside?
No! Scientists have discovered that the worm comes from the inside.”

One of the students then asked: “But, how does the worm get in there?”

The teacher with a smile said, “Simple! An insect lays an egg in the apple blossom (bud).
Sometime later, the worm hatches in the heart of the apple…
… then eats it’s way out.”

She then continued: “Children, remember…
… Sin, like this worm, begins in the heart and works out through the person’s thoughts, words and actions. That’s why make sure you root out sin at its very beginning…
… and pluck it out, at the very first instance of its appearance!”

The world – steeped in sin – is celebrating the Birth of the One Who alone could root out sin…
… and this Momentous Instance is the Incarnation – when the Word became Flesh (Jn 1:14)

This is the Day when the Saviour of the World became human, so that ‘we could share in His Divinity!’

On Christmas night, the Angel proclaimed with great joy to the “shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night: ‘To you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord’” (Lk 2:11)

When the Angel had appeared to Joseph, he said, “you shall call His Name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Mt 1:21)

The meaning of the Name Jesus is “God Saves!”

When Adam and Eve were created, they were to live in communion and obedience with God

However, they chose to misuse their freedom, and went against God; they broke away from Him!

But God could never abandon His people. We belong to the Lord, and He can never forsake us!

It is beautifully said: “The entire Salvation history can be summed up in 3 sentences.

  1. First, God said to human beings, ‘Do’
  2. Then human beings said to God, ‘We will not do’
  3. Then God said, ‘Then I will do for you!’”

God knew that human beings needed a Saviour.

And so when He took flesh, He came as a human being:
“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous!” (Rom 5:19)

Do we realise that we need a Saviour?

Do I personally realise that I need to have Jesus as my Saviour…
… and that this Christmas would only remain an external celebration, if I don’t offer my life with all my sins and weaknesses and uncertainties to Jesus, my Saviour!

It is beautiful to see that God always works best, in the worst or most weird scenarios of life!

The Bible speaks of this saga of God’s amazing wisdom in impossible and improbable situations!

Through the aged Abraham, God would form a nation who were to be the light to the Gentiles!
Despite the stammering mouth, God raised Moses as a leader to rescue Israel from slavery!
The unlikely shepherd boy David would be raised to the glory of being the greatest King of Israel!
Apparent barriers like Isaiah’s unclean lips and Jeremiah’s youthfulness would not stop them from being God’s Holy Prophets!

This consistency is hard to be missed: God’s glory shines best in moments of weakness and frailties!

Do we feel weak and fragile and burdened with sin and the struggles of life?

Do we feel that despite our best efforts, we seem to be only meeting with failures and rejections?

Then this Christmas, the Good News is for us: “To you is born this day… a Saviour… Christ the Lord”

As St Ambrose of Milan wonderfully exhorts: “Open wide your door to the one who comes.

Open your soul, throw open the depths of your heart to see
the riches of simplicity…
… the treasures of peace, the sweetness of grace.
Open your heart and run to meet the Sun of eternal light that illuminates all men!”

Let’s understand that “sin, like a worm, begins in the heart and works out through the person’s thoughts, words and actions.”

This Christmas, let us allow our Blessed Lord – our Saviour – to root it out at its very beginning…
… and pluck it out, at the very first instance of its appearance!

So that we may truly have the Birth of Christ in our heart, and thus sing with conviction, “Yes, Joy in my life, the Lord has come!”

Wish you a Blessed and Joyful Christmas!

God Bless! Let’s always… Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

Since, like all the faithful, lay Christians are entrusted by God with the apostolate by virtue of their Baptism and Confirmation, they have the right and duty, individually or grouped in associations…
… to work so that the divine message of salvation may be known and accepted by all men throughout the earth.

This duty is the more pressing when it is only through them that men can hear the Gospel and know Christ. Their activity in ecclesial communities is so necessary that, for the most part, the apostolate of the pastors cannot be fully effective without it. (CCC # 900)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – December 24, 2021: Friday

“Fervently preparing our hearts – in holiness and sanctity – to prepare a beautiful crib for our Blessed Lord, Who comes as a Babe!”

(Based on 2 Sam 7:1-5, 8b-12 and Lk 1:67-79 – Friday of the 4th Week in Advent)

Music has been a popular part of the celebration of our Lord’s birth for a long time!

The Bible records that many characters in the Christmas story almost instantly responded to the events surrounding the birth of our Saviour with songs.

In our own days, we take immense delight to sing Christmas carols.

We also get a special feeling in lifting our voices in joy and thrill…

Today we have on the stage of the Gospel a beautiful Hymn being sung.

The title of the hymn is “Benedictus” and it is sung by Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist!

The setting of this song is during a very gloomy period in the life of the nation of Israel.

Israel had been chosen by God from among all nations to be a priestly nation to the rest of the world.

But this nation that was to lead all other nations to God, was being led by a pagan empire.

Israel was under the domination of the Roman Empire.

The Roman Kingdom was the last in a long line of pagan nations that had ruled Israel.

The ruler in Zechariah’s day was King Herod.
Herod was not a man of God.

In fact he was just the opposite – a very degenerate man.
He had introduced Roman temples into the land and had built idols to the Roman gods.

Under his leadership Israel became a land filled with immorality.

The spiritual life of the Jews lost its vitality.

In the midst of these dark and cloudy moments, Zechariah sings the “Benedictus” – a Song of Blessing!

A child had been born…
…signaling the Coming of the Messiah.

John the Baptist ushered in a period of singing praises and glory to the Lord.

Like a drop of fresh water in the deserted land…
Like a gleam of light in the midst of thick darkness…
Like a faint melodious tune in the thick of deep silence…

The life of Zechariah and Elizabeth was favoured with reasons to sing blessings to God!

It’s interesting to analyse the names of this simple yet wonderful family – Zechariah, Elizabeth and John.

Zechariah means “God (Yahweh) remembers”
Elizabeth means “the promise of God”

John means “God (Yahweh) is gracious”

The union of Zechariah (“God remembers”) and Elizabeth (“the promise of God”) gave birth to John (“God is gracious”)
Zechariah + Elizabeth = John

God remembers + the promise = God is gracious!

Yes, God remembers His promise, and thus shows that He is gracious!

Our lives may often be in darkness or undergoing a night of dryness…

Our lives may seem to be devoid of true peace and happiness…
Our lives may be rendered meaningless or hopeless…

Yet, Zechariah, Elizabeth and John invite us today, to sing a song of Blessing to God!

When we live in God’s love, we can sing the chorus of service!
When we trust in God’s providence, we can sing the chorus of joy!
When we hope in God’s mercies, we can sing the chorus of faithfulness!

With the armour of faith, the shield of hope and the sword of love, let us join Zechariah and Family to sing our Hymn of Blessing to God Yahweh!

Blessed be the Lord, for He is challenging in His gentle inspirations!
Blessed be the Lord, for He is merciful in His Divine Compassion!
Blessed be the Lord, for He is generous in the Blessed Eucharist!
Blessed be the Lord, for He is majestic in His Holy Sacraments!
Blessed be the Lord, for He is faithful in His gracious promises!
Blessed be the Lord, for He is vibrant in His Holy Church!

On this eve of Christmas, let us fervently prepare our hearts – in holiness and sanctity – to prepare a beautiful crib for our Blessed Lord, Who comes as a Babe…
… in our hearts
… in our lives
… and in our homes!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

Lay believers are in the front line of Church life; for them the Church is the animating principle of human society.
Therefore, they in particular ought to have an ever-clearer consciousness not only of belonging to the Church, but of being the Church, that is to say, the community of the faithful on earth under the leadership of the Pope, the common Head, and of the bishops in communion with him.

They are the Church! (CCC # 899)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – December 23, 2021: Thursday

“Listening to our Lord Who speaks to us, even in the silence of our life!”

(Based on Mal 3:1-4, 4:5-6 and Lk 1:57-66 – Thursday of the 4th Week in Advent)


For some people, Silence causes an awkward feeling in this our noisy world.

For some people, Silence creates an uncomfortable feeling.

For some, not so much.

For others, definitely yes.

For many of us, silence is rare.

And when silence is rare, silence can be uncomfortable.

A moment of silence when we listen to our favourite song causes a little irritation.
A pause of silence by an eloquent preacher causes people to focus back the attention.

Silence sometimes is much more louder than any noise or sound

The Gospel of the day takes us through a fascinating journey of Silence.

A God who breaks His silence by blessing His People with a Prophet.
A father whose silence is broken by his faithful response to an amazing Divine intervention.
A Child who sets free the silence of a Mother who had been shamed in society.

The Birth of John the Baptist is a beautiful drama through the medium of Silence.

  1. A God who breaks His silence
    The Bible is a witness to many people feeling God taking a moment of silence.

In 1 Sam 3.1: “Now the young man Samuel was ministering to the Lord under Eli. And the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision.”
In 1 Sam 28: “And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams, or Urim, or by prophets.”
In Amos 8.11: “‘Behold, the days are coming,’ declares the Lord God, ‘when I will send a famine on the land – not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.'”

The silence of the Lord was very much profound…

And then after Prophet Malachi, there was again a great silence…

For nearly 400 hundred years, there was no prophetic writing.

These are called “The Silent Years”…

But with John the Baptist, the silence of the Lord was broken…

This speaking of the Lord could be compared to a lover eagerly waiting for her partner to talk to her after a long time…

The silence was very long
… the silence was a bit painful too..

But once the silence is broken, there is great thrill and happiness…

God, the Lover, renews His soothing and comforting talks with His People and ushers in the time to invite them to His love and affection

  1. A father whose silence is broken
    The birth of John the Baptist also lead to the breaking of the silence of his father, Zechariah.

When the angel Gabriel had appeared to Zechariah, he did not believe the message of the Angel of God and as a result, was rendered speechless (Lk 1: 20)

The silence of Zechariah could also be symbolic of the silence of God….
Just as John the Baptist signalled the breaking of God’s silence, Zechariah, his father too had “his tongue loosened and spoke, blessing God” (Lk 1: 64)

The silence was broken with a shower of praises and glorification of God.
The silence was banished with a shout of genuine worship and honour of God

  1. A Child who sets free the silence of a Mother
    The Birth of John the Baptist also led to people praising his mother, Elizabeth, who for long had been barren and had been in disgrace. (Lk 1: 25, 58)

She had suffered much disgrace in silence.
She had underwent much agony in silence.
She had gone through much humiliation in silence.

But now there was every reason to break the silence and rejoice with gladness!

Is my life going through a period of Silence with God?

Is my life in a silent mode because of many disturbing factors and crippling issues?
Is my life passing through a desert of silence as a result of storms of troubles and nights of calamities?

We are invited to look into the incident of the Birth of John the Baptist and find hope!

We are invited to meditate on the Birth of John the Baptist and discover optimism!

The Lord speaks to us in the Silence of our Life.

There is much treasure hidden in the silent moments of our living.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (Jn 1:1)

Through the breaking of His silence through John the Baptist, God is preparing us to receive His personal Word, His Son.

At times God seems silent…
But He is never distant.

He is near.

He is close.

He is personal.

And He speaks through His Word made flesh – “Jesus”!

Listen to Him!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

By reason of their special vocation it belongs to the laity to seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and directing them according to God’s Will.
It pertains to them in a special way so to illuminate and order all temporal things with which they are closely associated that these may always be effected and grow according to Christ and maybe to the glory of the Creator and Redeemer.
The initiative of lay Christians is necessary especially when the matter involves discovering or inventing the means for permeating social, political, and economic realities with the demands of Christian doctrine and life.
This initiative is a normal element of the life of the Church. (CCC # 898-899)